When we were on the Quilters Safari in April, Liz and I decided to do the Calapooya Quilts "Civil War Quilt Challenge 2010". The premise of a challenge quilt is thus: you get a fat eighth of a specific fabric and the challenge is to incorporate the fabric into a quilt project that is specified by the challenge sponsor. Calapooya's challenge is based around the OSU vs. UO Civil War football game in Novemeber. They gave us a choice of fabrics that represented OSU and UO in some way: OSU is a mottled print that resembles a cheetah or giraffe print;
UO is green stripes. While the UO print would have been easier to design something around, I can't do that! We both picked the OSU side and were each given a fat eighth of the OSU fabric. The other requirements for the challenge quilt were actually quite minimal: the minimum lenght of each side is 30", the quilt must be bound with a hanging sleeve and is due in the shop by November 1, 2010.
I've been looking at a quilt project for about a year now, it was always something that looked fun to do, and this challenge quilt seemed to be the right time to spend the money and try the project. Since the challenge fabric is like an animal print, I decided to go with a safari/wild animal theme. The quilt project is called "Safari" and is from the Silver Linings Originals website: http://www.silverliningsoriginals.com/safari.html. She also has a beaver pattern that I am going to incorporate into the design and the label of the quilt will be "Gone Wild for Beavers" or something like that.
I ordered the patterns and the fabric pacs, since I don't have a lot of time (month or so!) and didn't want to have to chase down all the fabrics I would need for this round. There are six safari patterns in the quilt and she included the background strata fabric and instructions as well - bonus! I also have the beaver pattern and Liz and I went and bought that fabric last weekend. In the safari line-up are: Zig and Zag (two zebras), Mama Kass (five elephants), a Roaring Lion, a Giraffe at a watering hole, and a Giraffe Colony. The beaver will be added in there as well, along with a few borders and the title somewhere on a border.
I started out with the Giraffe Colony since it has two colors and is a larger pattern. Both make it easier to show how this works for those of you who don't know what this is or how to do it. You start out with your pattern and instructions which tells you what colors and how much of each fabric you'll need. In this case, there are only three colors (one is for the border so only two are used in the actual pattern).
After you have your colors, it is a good idea to put small samples or swatches on your reference pattern so that you always have something to compare to when you are working your pattern.
I make a couple copies of the pattern, mainly because I don't like the vellum she prints her patterns on, but also because if I screw up, I haven't destroyed the original pattern. After you've sorted out your fabrics, it is time to prep the pattern for sewing. It is totally up the to person sewing the pattern on how to do this, the designer doesn't recommend this, but I prefer to cut up the entire pattern before I get to sewing. Then I stack the pieces in order in an envelope and work my way down. The pattern has three different elements to it: 1) colors, 2) segments, and 3) sub-segments. Each segment is made up of sub-segments which is comprised of the colors. You have to cut the pattern apart to sew the colors into each sub-segment, then sew the sub-segments together into segments, then the segments get sewn together into the final pattern. Here is what the Giraffe Colony looks like cut apart:
All of the little pieces are the sub-segments. After you have sewn the colors onto all of your sub-segments for a particular segment, you sew those together. Here is what a segment looks like (upper right hand corner of the piece):
After you have all the sub-segments sewn into their appropriate segments, you'll get a less fragmented-looking puzzle like this:
When you sew the segments together to finish the piece, it looks like it is supposed to, not a broken puzzle:
I have finished the Giraffe Colony and the Roaring Lion so far and am in the process of working on Mama Kass and the other elephants. Here is the Roaring Lion stuff.
Reference pattern and fabric swatches with instructions:
Sub-segments ready to put into segments:
2/3 of segments sewn together: