I belong to several quilting guilds, the most traditional of which is the Paintbrush Piecers based out of Cody. Each year the Guild presents a challenge to its members. I try to participate, in part because I want to support the group and it is sometimes like pulling teeth to get people to contribute, and in part because I just can't resist a challenge! Different people make up the challenge rules each year and as a result we have some very interesting contests. I will admit I whined quite a bit this year. For one thing we were given six (yes, six!) fabrics that we had to use. On top of that, the main fabric was a fat-quarter of novelty fabric with bright hot-air balloons all over it and we were told we had to use at least half of it in our piece. Then the theme we were given was "Go Wild" which didn't seem to me to correspond with the fabric at all. I guess you can tell I am still whining about the rules! A few months ago I sketched out a design for a round quilt that looked like you were looking down at the top of a balloon. I just couldn't get excited about it however, so I let it sit on my drawing board for weeks. Then a few weeks ago during my daily morning meditation (aka my five mile run) I suddenly had a brainstorm. I would interpret the theme as "Into the Wild Blue Yonder" and I would turn my round flat quilt into a three-D fabric sculpture. From that point on the project became much more fun and I finished it yesterday. I started by blowing up a balloon and then taking a Sharpie marker to it and dividing it into eight segments. I took some measurements, transferred the drawing to paper, added quarter inch seams and presto - I had my balloon pattern. I then pieced each section, quilted it with Timtex as a middle layer, sewed the sections together and turned it right side out. I have to say the last part was a bit like giving birth. Ken insisted there was no way I could turn all that fabric through that small opening and it took me about an hour of pulling, pushing, tugging and some swearing to prove him wrong. Once I had my balloon I needed a basket. That part was easy but it soon became obvious that it needed some occupants. I have never worked with polymer clay but I've never been one to let a little thing like ignorance slow me down so I charged ahead with making a clay boy and girl to ride the balloon. My only regret was that I spent so much time on their feet which no one can see. You will have to take my word for it that he has really cute bare feet in sandals and she is wearing darling little Mary-Janes. I have no idea how the finished project will be accepted at Guild. But at this point I figure even if they disallow my entry it has been well worth it in the entertainment it has provided me for the last few weeks!
I also finished a couple more postcards for the Heart2Heart project yesterday. The top one is called "Storm at Sea" and was made up as I went along. The background is a small piece of hand-dyed satin I had left over from another project. I wish I could find more uses for the satin as I love the way it takes dyes and the beautiful sheen it retains. The bottom one is called "Birdwatching" and it was fun to make as I just used my scissors like a pencil and cut an image of my cat from the gray and white fabric as he sat looking out the window of my studio. The bird leaves a little to be desired (okay, a LOT to be desired) but I decided to not get too picky about the whole thing. You can see another of the finished postcards in Tuesday's post. I plan to mail them all out on Monday.