Friday, July 18, 2014

Michael Miller Fabric Challenge 2014

As a member of the North Jersey Modern Quilt Guild, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2104 Michael Miller Fabric Challenge. We were given several 9" wide pieces of Michael Miller's new fabric line, entitled Petal Pinwheels. We were given fabric in May and the deadline was June 23rd. Life got a little crazy for me in May due to some serious family illness, so I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to complete the challenge.

However, the deadline was extended until July 25th, so now that my husband is recovered from his open heart surgery and life is back to normal, I knew I needed to make a quilt for the challenge. The inspiration for this quilt, which I call "Arc Reactor", was from a website that I found when I googled "WONKY DRESDEN PLATE". The website is called thegirlthatquilts.com. Another guild member was looking for the pattern and I helped her find it. Little did I know that she was looking for it to use as her challenge quilt. However, I decided that I wanted to make my own version of this wonky, modern dresden design. I purchased additional MM solids at my local quilt shop in purple, green, charcoal and two yellows to use to complete the quilt. I already had a basic white solid for the background. I cut strips of varying widths from all of the fabrics and sewed together 9 strata to be used to cut the wedges out to form the arc of the quilt. I wanted the edges of the arc, both inside and out to be 'wonky' so I added strips of the white to each of the strata on either end. I thought if I carefully varied where the die was used to cut the pinwheel wedges it would give me the look I was after.

I employed my Accuquilt cutter and the Go! 9" wedge die to cut 70+ wedges in less than 30 minutes from the strata. Later than evening, I ended up piecing together 40 of them to create the center of my challenge quilt. At this point I had not yet decided what I was going to do with it. I basically had a big giant donut of MM fabrics. The easiest solution for me was to applique the ring design down to a piece of the solid white fabric. I used invisible thread and my sewing machine to do invisible machine applique on both the inner and outer borders of the circles.

Next I set off to quilt the challenge and decided to utilize my machine quilting skills to enhance it with a wide variety of hand guided stitching patterns. I started in the center of the quilt and used a radiating arc pattern in hopes it would give the quilt some movement. I used rulers to stitch the radiating lines before stitching the arched patterns.



Next I quilted the MM fabric wedges with a myriad of patterns with no marking, just me, my machine and some ruler work. Here is the bottom left side of the quilt. The picture shows one of my favorite sections with a free hand peacock feather in the quilting. I did a bit of research on Pinterest and Google to find some stitching inspiration. Next is the bottom center of the quilt, and yes, those are supposed to be coffee beans in the one wedge. It was 1:45 a.m. when I finished stitching for the night. The next picture is of the bottom right corner of the quilt, where I tried to use a fish scale pattern for the first time. I like it alot and will use it again.

This shows the detail in the top left corner of the quilt and it was the first section of the background fabric that I quilted after finishing the arc sections. I used my rules to extend the arch sections out to the borders and then quilted various patterns in those sections of the background. The next picture shows the top center of the quilt. And here is the top right corner of the quilt. It contains another peacock feature motif and a section of checkerboard quilting also.

As you can see if you look at the quilting, I mixed up modern quilting designs with some more traditional ones.

Here is a photo of the entire finished quilt. I hope you like it as much as I did making it! The finished size of this quilt is 41" x 50" wide. I decided a white binding was the best option so that your eye isn't distracted from the beautiful MM fabrics in the piecing.



And finally, here is a quick partial shot of the back, so you can see, it really is quilted very heavily.

The name of the quilt came from my brother Steve, who said it looked like Iron Man's Arc Reactor that he wears on his chest. Works for me!

#MichaelMillerChallenge #ModernQuilt #ArcReactor
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