Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Guild Challenge entry: The Juggler
The Process, Part I

"The Juggler"
by Veronica Hofman-Ortega
My guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, had our Guild Challenge reveal last week. The Challenge was called "Beyond the Panel" and a fabric panel of our choosing  was the impetus for each piece. Although we were expecting 13-14 entries, 11 completed quilts comprised the final display.

My team was in charge of creating and organizing this year's Guild Challenge. (We break the guild membership into teams that alternate hosting meetings and presenting programs throughout the year.) I am happy to say that each member of my team—Dawn, Betty, Theresa and I—completed pieces for the Challenge. Our four pieces, and others that were part of the display, can be seen in this post on the guild's blog.

When you decide to submit an entry in a Guild Challenge, the majority of the time seems to be the percolation period for potential ideas or quilt layouts. My piece, "The Juggler" did not start off with this composition, but somehow "morphed" into this final layout. Here is Part I of the back story [my process] for my entry.

This was the panel I decided to use. It's a 24" panel with a Halloween theme. I was drawn to the bright, jewel toned color palette—something I could work with.
Original fabric panel from StudioE Fabrics.
Auditioning companion fabrics: For the Challenge requirements, 75% of the panel needed to appear on the front of the quilt. Additional fabrics could be added to compose a piece between 36" and 70" on each side.
Auditioning companion fabrics.
Without a firm layout in mind, I gathered several fabrics that could be used in the piece as needed. Of this group, however, two found their way into the final piece (see arrows below). I think you need to have an abundance of choices up front which can be whittled down during the process if necessary.
Possible fabrics. The arrows indicate those that were ultimately chosen.
Experimentation and Discovery: One of the reasons I like guild Challenges is because they give you an opportunity to try something new—a product, technique, construction method, etc.—in a controlled environment (your guild) with people who know your work and you are comfortable with (your fellow guild members). I had this roll of "Sew and Fold on a Roll" Tri-angles that I decided to give a try. They were very close in size to the horizontal center stripe of my panel (the row of creepy houses and scary trees).
"Sew and Fold" paper with test sample.
I didn't have the companion 36-degree ruler for this process (which would have been so much easier!), but was able to make a paper template to cut out the appropriate sized fabric pieces. I did a test using scrap fabrics first (above), then pre-cut the pieces from the panel (below).
Triangle pieces cut from the panel center.
Using the Design Wall: At this point, I was still experimenting with layout… with the initial design that I thought would incorporate paper piecing and improv piecing.
Composition begins on the design wall.
A design wall is imperative for this stage.

In the mean time, I found these felted wool dots and wool square charm packs at two quilt shops in my travels. With my Challenge in mind, the colors and circle shapes prompted the purchase.
Felted wool bits add another option to the composition.
 So, with these new bits now in the layout mix, the layout "morphed" into… the juggler.
The Juggler begins to take form.
The placement and arrangement of the triangles was probably the most difficult to decide. The design wall and a digital camera are excellent tools for this stage of the process. (Gee, it would have been grand to have a digital camera back in my paste-up days.)
Potential design layouts.
Stay tuned for the quilting and finishing stages in a future blog post. [Part II is at this post.]
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