Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Friday, June 13, 2014

Everyday Inspiration

The West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild has hosted some of the best swaps and challenges in the past year and a half that we have been in existence, but I think the recent "Everyday Inspiration" is my favorite so far. Our President, Robyn Webb, challenged us to take pictures of things we see in our everyday life, and then to select one and create a quilt that is inspired by the photo.
As with most assignments, I chose not to completely follow directions. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I toured Heath Ceramics in Sausalito with family and friends. Even the historic factory design by Marquis and Stoller in 1959 is inspiring. Read more about that here.
But I was most taken with glaze samples that I saw hanging on the walls. The image immediately put me in mind of all the Kaffe Fassett shot cottons I had sitting in my stash - some dark, some light, and some just that shade of gold. I knew before we left the place that this image would somehow figure in my entry for the challenge.
Later that same day we were in Berkeley and stopped in a restaurant called Eureka, (which I am determined to call Bang because of their signage). When I saw that sign facing me as I sat down, I loved it! For those that aren't in the know, this is an exclamation mark, or exclamation point, but for printers and programmers, it is commonly referred to as the "bang". 
Not to stray too far afield, but the symbol was thought to derive from medieval copyists who used to write the Latin word io at the end of a sentence to indicate joy! what a perfect summation for what had been a perfect day in the bay area.
So I didn't choose just one photo for inspiration, but two. However, I didn't noodle on those images for long after we returned to Atlanta because we left a few days later for a week at the beach. I needed a hand project for the car ride and this was it! I printed out two inch squares on freezer paper, grabbed fabric and scissors and off we went. I never would have thought to make this sort of straight-forward grid using English paper piecing, but it worked out great. In the past when I've tried to work with the Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, I've found them to be a stretchy pain, but there was none of that with this method. 
I did have a bit of a fit with the big gold bang, as it wanted to move around quite a bit, and I wanted to do some thread painting prior to quilting. I compromised by spray basting it to the background and then stitching all around the raw edge to start. given the barn wood decor of the restaurant and the sign, I wanted to let the edges ravel and be a bit more rustic. For quilting I decided to use straight-forward stitch-in-the-ditch to make the "tiles" pop. 
This was a truly fun challenge that had our members stretching to try things they had not done before - like designing their own piece and working without a pattern. Check out some more of our finishes here, and consider a similar challenge for your guild in the future.

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