The most recent “large” challenge for our ThreadBenders group was entitled “Colored by Emotion”, and these were the rules:
“Everyone randomly draws one color from a bag, which contains the 12 colors listed on the color wheel: Yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-red, red, red-violet, violet, blue-violet, blue, blue-green, green, yellow-green. (There will be two copies of each color in the bag since we have more than 12 members). Then everyone draws three emotion slips out of another bag and chooses one emotion of those three. Everyone makes a quilt based on these two pieces of information. You may use black, white, and the color you draw as well as all the tints, tones, and shades of your color. No gray. At least 50 percent of the quilt should be your color. Due at the February 2020 meeting.”
At the original meeting I drew the color violet, and the emotion I chose from the bag was puzzled. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I love all kinds of puzzles, so this was an easy choice. As I pondered what to do, a design didn’t come springing to my mind. So I surfed the internet and was intrigued by a number of pieces of clip art with swoops of jigsaw puzzle pieces… but, still, nothing was coming together in my head.
As I often mention, my faith is a huge part of my quilting inspiration, so I decided at this point to pray that this quilt would glorify God (I don’t know why I don’t do this first 😊). Shortly thereafter I realized that the swoop of pieces needed to be swooping towards something – and that something needed to be the cross.
I backed a variety of violet fabrics with fusible web, and began cutting out jigsaw puzzle pieces and placing them on a background of white fabric, grading from larger and darker in the lower left, to smaller and lighter as they tumbled upward.
At this point I pinned a paper cross in place, and added purple and black tulle strips to emphasize the “swoop”.
More tulle strips were added, and I planned to leave plenty of white background for intense quilting to give the quilt a modern look. Fortunately at this point I read the rules and realized “at least 50% of the quilt had to be my color”! The solution? Cover the entire quilt with a layer of the purple tulle.
This would make my quilt “legal”, and yet still give it a modern look. Plus, wherever the tulle had multiple layers, it intensified the shading. I left the paper cross under the tulle, and layered the entire piece with backing and batting. It was now time to mark my quilting designs, but how does one mark on tulle???
I decided to free-motion quilt around the puzzle pieces and the cross while I thought about it, and as I did an idea began to form. Now that the major motifs were quilted through to the back – I could make my marks on the back and quilt from behind. I didn’t want to get the quilt wet to erase the marks, so I used a Frixion™ “heat erase” marker.
I’ve avoided this tool because of removal problems in the past, but I made an exception this time because I was using it on the back (to read my previous post on this topic click here). I designed feathered rays that would radiate from the cross; and the marker showed up well.
You’ll notice I had to move the basting pins from the front to the back to avoid broken needles while quilting.
I quilted from the back of the quilt with a very light violet colored thread in the bobbin, filling in with echoing around the feathers.
There was a large area of background that needed more than just echoing, so I quilted some jigsaw puzzle lines from the back too.
When the quilting was done I trimmed the tulle away from the cross, removed the paper pattern, and bound it all with more violet fabrics.
Thus the only pure white area was in the cross. I decided to call my quilt “Puzzled No More”. The label reads: “My life was a purposeless puzzle until I met Christ at the foot of His cross, and now I’m Puzzled No More”.
It was a fun adventure, I learned a lot, and whenever I look at it – I smile!
The ThreadBenders entered 8 of our quilts in the AQS Ultimate Guild Challenge contest this year, but the Grand Rapids show has been canceled 😔. So I’d like to invite you to do a virtual tour of this exciting group of quilts by going to our site. Please click here to view all the quilts!