This past April during my mom and I’s big trip to Paducah, there was a little show on the side by their Rotary Club. It had some nice traditional quilts and interesting quilts from the turn of the century. But there was one booth that caught my eye the most, Cherrywood Fabrics. And on their table they had bundles of green fabric for a Wicked challenge. At this point I was very busy with quilts to make for classes and saw the deadline right before the Tampa Bay Comic Con. I thought I wouldn’t have enough time so walked away. But yep, walked the floor once and went straight back to the challenge bundle. I figured even if I didn’t have enough time, better to have the challenge then regret not getting it. It’s still fabric right? And they were all hand dyed fabric, really great quality.
So fast forward to the deadline, I am sewing up a storm for Tampa Bay Comic Con and running out of steam. This happens a lot during my ‘production sewing’ mode. I needed a break from plush making and thought that little mini quilt would be perfect. The size had to be 20″ square but whatever you wanted. The colors were not really speaking to me, so I decided to do something completely different than normal. I wanted to create a minimal style quilt, focusing on the steam punk gears. Then I found this awesome embroidery from Urban Threads.
I decided to do needle turn applique, also not my thing. I first drew up a sketch then took it to the computer to clean up. Working in the layers and concept of things farther away are lighter, I made the few giant fabric gears. I thought I would use some simple quilting for the others. I was limited with the fabric so I tested out the embroidery design on some spares first. So glad I did! Even though its a light sketch design, my machine was not happy with it. I had to stitch it super slow, which took forever, but was worth it in the end. I added a little color on the binding. I imagined the quilts would be hung on black and the purple would help pop it from the wall.
I had fun and even though it was a different type of design and style I was proud of it. I mailed it off with hopes that the simple style would be different and stand out. I didn’t make the top 24, which was a bummer. Then a whole bunch of stuff happened which made it even worse and lent me to lose confidence. At first the company was only going to take 24 quilts to travel. I didn’t make the finalist group so that was a little disappointing. But then they said they were going to take 48. Still not selected, feeling a little worse. But there were 114 entries, so still felt ok and awaited its return. A few days later they posted they were going to take 92 quilts to travel. Not selected again, now feeling dejected. My quilt was simple but not bad. Some fellow quilters of the rejected 18 felt the same and complained on Facebook. Others were as heartbroken as me. Not making 24 is one thing, but not making 92 felt horrible. Company’s excuse was some didn’t fit the guidelines. Well I know mine was the correct size so it was just they didn’t feel it was good enough. I love entering challenges with the hopes of being selected, knowing its not always possible. It is brave to enter your work into any competition. But the way the selections were handled just felt wrong.
But as a nice twist of fate the people running the event decided it was treated unfairly and are taking the entire collection to travel. There is no guarantee what show they will be at but at least there is now a chance for all of them to be seen. The finalists were just in Chattanooga for the special AQS show and were shown at Spool. Good for them, those quilts deserve it. They are truly amazing. I am just happy that mine will be traveling the next year and hope to have more pictures to share. The next stop is the Gershwin Theater in NY where Wicked is played. I hope I am there and people take pictures.
And you know what, my design is simple and different from all the others, it does stand out. Even though I made it, I can spot it easily. This picture is the entire collection at The ‘Q’ Gallery in Brainerd, MN. They also hope to create a book of the collection. And if they do I would be proud to own a copy.