Friday, April 9, 2010

The Quilt Files, Episode 18

I've been quilting for almost ten years now, and for most of that time I've been receiving the Keepsake Quilting catalog. I've bought quite a few patterns from them, and a few fabrics, although many of those patterns remain on my "to-do" shelf. I'd always eyed their KQ Challenges with interest, and a few years ago decided to try one for myself. The idea of the KQ Challenge is that you get six fat quarters, and you have to create a 30" x 30" quilt using at least four of them, with the addition of no more than two extra fabrics. I'd been hesitant before because you don't get to see the fabrics ahead of time, but finally I saw a challenge that sounded promising. I can't remember the exact title, but two things stood out: it was to contain no applique, just piecing, and the fabrics were described with something along the lines of "bright." Since I love bright colors, I thought I could stand working with that. Imagine my disappointment when my package of fabrics arrived and contained the following:

Now, the pink, turquoise, and purple fabrics were fine. The stripe, however, didn't really match the same cool palette, and the barf-green plaid was just plain hideous. I don't have a scrap of the sixth fabric, as I used it all on the back, but it was a bali-type that was mainly brownish-black, with spots of turquoise, peach, and a pink that was plummy-brown—a much warmer tone than the pink confetti fabric. I really wasn't sure what to do. Then I looked a little more closely at the pink fabric (which was actually a slightly different pattern than the sample above from the same manufacturer's line). I saw lots of what looked like ones and zeros. My little nerd mind immediately thought digitally, I bought some golden-orange fabric to pick up on the gold in the purple and pink patterns, ... and this is what I ended up with:

It was tricky, as I couldn't use applique to make the ones and zeros (and besides, I hadn't really done any applique to that point). Instead, I used the little trick with triangles: if you use them in the right proportion, you can approximate the look of curves. Take a closer look:

So you can see I managed to get four fabrics in there: the turquoise for the ones, the purple for the zeroes, the stripe for a small inside border (judiciously cut to avoid the ugly colors), and the digital pink print for the large border. If you look closely at the above photo, you'll also see that I quilted all in "1s" and "0s," using a metallic ombre thread by machine. To complete my
Digital Delight," as I called it, I translated "Keepsake Quilting Challenge," my name, and the date into binary numbers (A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, except in this case A=1, B=10, C=11, D=100. Yes, I know I'm a total nerd.*) and quilted it into the big border. The challenge judges didn't award it any prizes, but I liked the result, especially considering the sad prospects of what I started with. I'm not sure what to do with it, so it sits in my closet until I find some place or some person (maybe a computer programmer?) who can appreciate my weird mix of fabric and math.

*It reminds me of the old joke: There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

1 comment:

  1. I love it !! You made something beautiful from a big pile of nothing !! I can't believe you didn't win.

    I too, make quilts and put them in a closet and wait for a baby to be born or another suitable owner to come along.