Letter Challenge

Have you ever made a craft (in my case, a quilt) that just didn’t “work” for you the whole way through?  You didn’t feel good about it to begin with, but you carried on anyway and then you couldn’t seem to make it work no matter what.  It’s happened to me several times before, but I was beginning to feel a little cocky, thinking I knew how to put together quilts.   And, here I am now, with a piece of crap that I’m going to try to pass for a quilt…  :o( <eye roll and sigh>

One of the guilds I belong to has a “challenge” that is due October 2nd.  The challenge is to make a quilt with letters on it, any kind of letters.  It could be a “Dear John” letter quilt.  It could be a baby quilt with letters of the alphabet on it?  Really… how hard can that be?  Well, teacher of reading that I at one time was… I was stumped!  I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do related to letters.  I almost did not participate.  Then I remembered a pattern by Edyta Sitar in one of her books that I have that I’ve been wanting to use for some fabric strips from a fabric exchange.  It’s a wall hanging called Family Estate from her book Friendship Strips and Scraps.  I had some beige background fabric that looks like cross-stitched letters on it, so I could easily “cheat” and use that and then add EST. 1974 (for “established” in 1974 – the year my husband and I were married) at the bottom.

Okay!  So, I had my idea and I proceeded to look through my scraps for fabric swatches.  I had fabric strips from a “strip exchange” with folks from the forum of “The Quilt Show” with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  I could use those for the logs on the house.  I wasn’t sure about my choice of border fabrics, so I thought I’d look while I was out at the quilt stores dropping off flyers for the Hollis Chatelain event (2 more days now, but who’s counting?).  I looked for my standard basic black background color fabric that should go with my home decor, but I found myself drawn to this brown fabric.  I think it was the red and pink swirly things that look kind of like quilting feathers that sucked me into buying that fabric.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like the fabric.  Just wait until you see the colors I put with it, though.  I got a contrasting fabric from the same fabric line for the thin inner border and started working on the quilt.

This wall hanging would be about 2 square feet, finished.  So, it shouldn’t take too much effort.  Wrong!  I started out fussing over the fabric strips from the exchange.  I wanted reds for the house, but I only had about 3 strips that would work.  And, red is funny with all its different shades, so I had to nix that idea.  So, I started looking at my strips and saw that I had a lot of blues.  Well, blue just wasn’t going to look right with that brown border.  When I looked a little closer at the border fabric, I noticed there were dots of teal in it.  Okay.  I had blues, greens, and teals that would blend together and might draw out that little speck of teal in the brown border fabric.  That should pull it all together, right?

 

 

 

Wrong!  Yuck!  This is the finished top.  I’m a crappy “piecer” too.  Good thing I do quilting for others, because I am much more tolerant of others who do not have perfectly pieced tops because of my own inability at it also.  Nothing was working for me.  The background fabric with the letters on it is barely noticeable as having letters since it is cut up and not one big piece of fabric.  And, how does that “EST.” qualify for a “letter” quilt challenge???  So, I just sat this aside and decided that when I put the layers together to quilt it, I will quilt my first name and my husband’s first name into it along with our last name.  Then I’ll add both our daughters’ names to the stitching.  Although I’m not real happy with this product, it’ll have to do for this challenge.  The letters will be in the quilting and I will call it a day… well, several days… and surely one day that will not end with an award for winning the challenge!

Good grief!  Who would have thought a “letter challenge” could be such a challenge?

Author: cowtownquilts

Professional longarm quilter and thread artist in the Kansas City area.