Fabric Challenge

Been working on Karen Musgrave’s vintage fabric challenge. I’ve had a few projects in between the last time I worked on it and now, but I think it’s finally finished. We were supposed to use this fabric and work in the style of Rayna Gillman’s new book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts. That part was easy, since that’s how I work anyway. Well, you all know that I am a rule-breaker, but I really did start out being good!

   The only alteration to the fabric I made was to give some of it a little bleach bath, and then I started making strips.


When I compared my strips to what I saw in Rayna’s book, I felt that she works with much smaller pieces than I do. It’s hard to get a true perspective when you don’t see the actual pieces, even if the finished measurements are given. My strips just felt chunky, so I kept cutting and re-sewing some of the fat pieces until I got a strip set I liked.

I didn’t get very far along when I had the impression that the fabric, even in it’s original state, just wanted to become flowers in a garden…so that’s what I made!

Free form flowers, fused to a background of strips with dark top and bottom borders. No side borders–that felt too confining, but a little bit of funky at the bottom. Not quilted, yet, but I have the hardest part, the design part, done. The piece is quite small, but it feels like the perfect size to tell it’s own story.

I don’t usually show pictures that aren’t properly lit, but I was just taken with the way the sun was shining on this one.

Thanks for the challenge, Karen. I have a small box of assorted vintage fabric pieces that I ‘inherited’ but none are as challenging as what you shared with us! This was lots of fun.

And here’s a little additional challenge info…when I got this ready to quilt, I put it back up on the design wall for a few minutes. I was clearing off a few things from my cutting table and found some organdy that I had dyed. On a whim, I put it up on the board with this piece and now I want to put a lime green organdy ruffle around the outside edge and quilt leaves with neon green thread!  Am I crazy?



18 thoughts on “Fabric Challenge

  1. Kathy – this is delight! You listened to the fabric tell you what it wanted to be when it grew up and voilà! — a charming, whimsical, totally original piece! It makes me smile to look at it and of course, since I haven’t had a minute to get back to my own ugly fabric, I am feeling somewhat guilty and stressed about this. I have serious production deadlines – but I’ll get there.
    You’re a tough act to follow.


    • Oh, Rayna–never feel guilty. Those production deadlines are what lead to bill-paying!!! This is just for fun and we are following along with the hard work you have already done. You led the way, so if you don’t get to the piece for a while, or at all, it’s understandable. It’s great to see the different vision everyone can have when starting with the same base fabric and it keeps our minds open! Stay strong and keep up the good work. Kathy


  2. I am amazed at your work-this piece is divine! I think the green is a great counter point-I never would have thought of it but it enriches the piece. And the sun slit photo is great-apporopriate for the piece! The challenge of that fabric brought out the best in you.


  3. Kathy I love, super love how you moved with the challenge. I gathered my fabrics yesterday and will head to the studio in a while to begin my strip making. I spent a few days reading and re-reading the process Rayna uses so that I would come to the project with her technique and not one of my usual working ways.
    I love the green ruffle…the green leaves…yes, they will be fabulous with the flower garden you have created here.


    • If you aren’t used to working as Rayna (and me!!) does, this is a great way to start. You certainly won’t be worried about messing up any fabric! And it is absolutely so much fun!!! Can’t wait to see your project, too.


  4. No! You are not crazy. That green changes the whole “flavor” of the piece. I love it and a small ruffle all the way around will be perfect for it. Way better than I thought that fabric would look in anything! Woot!!!!
    I just went back and looked again. It’s almost like someone thre a switch and lit it from within.


    • Awesome! That’s the way I felt when I threw the fabric up there, but I lacked a little confidence with the wild color! And I usually never have trouble with wild colors!!!!


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