Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Riley Blake Challenge

A while ago all members of the Modern Quilt Guild were invited by the "mothership" to participate in a multi national challenge. I signed up mostly because I wanted the free fabric...uh, who doesn't? So after a bit a little box came with 6 wee pieces of Riley Blake's collection, "The Cottage Garden", all tied up with a pretty ribbon and a note outlining the rules.


But, right off the get-go we had a problem: the Riley Blake solids weren't available anywhere in Canada. So, our little guild said, "Well then, let's just have our own little challenge and allow Kona!"  Okeedokee Smokee! Works for me. I loves me some Kona now and then! So, off to the fabric store I went to pick up some matching Konas and I even managed to find a hunk of a Riley Blake mottled white. But what to make? It had to be something fantastic I hadn't done before, and I had to learn something new along the way. Okay!?!

I wasn't feeling very well yesterday, that stupid plague has returned, so I was having a lazy day at home. What better way to avoid the housework than to get that oh-so-important challenge done? The deadline is looming & I know my priorities people. Play comes first! Poking around downstairs I found that little whizzy circle attachment from Pfaff that I had only used once in a class. I saw a guild mate applique circles with it once and since I'm kinda liking circles these days, I sat down & figured it out...

First, I cut a square and folded it in quarters to mark the center and layed it on the base fabric with tear away interfacing underneath. With the whizzy circle thing attached to the machine, I then set the push pin to the size of circle I wanted and straight stitched around it. It's so cool. And perfect.

Then, I trimmed very closely to that stitching. After that I just replaced the push pin, changed my stitch and went around again with the tight applique stitch to cover the first stitches and secure the raw edge. I used 50wt. cotton thread but a 30wt. would have given a nicer, more dense finish. Next time.

Before I quilted it I cut away the 2 layers of fabric (the white and the Kona) from under the 6 print circles that were stacked up 3 high. It made it lay nicer when I pressed it and I expected that the Robot might be happier with less bulk to quilt through.

I was a little sad about the garbage can. To be honest I don't like to toss scraps and all that used interfacing troubled me. I reused the big circles under the smaller circles, but beyond that saving it seemed silly. Where would I store it? So it's trash. My inner tree hugger cried a little when my practical self slapped her.

So. Much. Waste.

Then came the quilting. Another challenge. Haven't mastered the Robot yet, not by a long shot, but I did know that none of the on board quilting designs suited the runner; I wanted something more modern. Although I'd never done it, I knew you could download designs so I Googled it and voila! Everything a robot needs on one little site: Intelligent Quilting. With a little help from the websites FAQ section I figured out how to download, unzip, save and transfer to the robot! Not bad for a technically challenged sick girl!

All done!
Quilting design is "Round About" by Apricot Moon

Quilting designs are like chocolates. Once you start you can't stop. 4 new designs are loaded up on the robot now...and my Visa? It's loaded up too. This could easily become my latest slippery slope of money eating madness, but this time it was justified. It was medicinal. I'm sick. I needed some retail therapy and boy, this digital stuff came fast and easy! Figuring out how to nest the pattern? Not so fast and easy. But eventually I got it done, with a little help from my stitch ripper. A pieced binding finished if off and used up some scraps.

Anyway, this little runner checks all the boxes for our Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Challenge.  It was a lot of fun and I'm glad to have some new tricks up my sleeve. I even used the ribbon that the fabric bundle came tied up with, it made the perfect compliment to my "selvage label" on the back...another a new trick!


  1. Sheesh - I'd hate to see what you come up with when you are NOT sick! This is super (and I love the label). Congrats on conquering those new skills . . .

  2. What a great idea! Love the scrappy binding and the label, awesome idea to use the ribbon with it too. Kudos for figuring out all the techno-stuff with the wiggler, that would be over my head for sure! Lol.

  3. Completely inspiring! I live through your learning adventures! I finished my challenge top but I am not in love with it. Not sure if I will finish it or abandon to the "I give up for awhile" wip pile

  4. It's really beautiful. The circles are inspiring.