Monday, November 14, 2011

Habitat Challenge Reveal

Last week we had our monthly LAMQG meeting and I was finally able to make it. The past couple months I've been absent because of work, but my friend Jay McCarroll was calling in via Skype on this one and I didn't want to miss it. It was also the chance for us all to reveal our finishes in the Habitat Challenge. This one tested my boundaries. I love Jay's Habitat line but using several of his prints all at the same time was a stretch for me creatively. I thought a lot about what I wanted to make for this challenge a lot before I dove into the project. Our guild had very simple ruled for this challenge:

1) We have to make something quilted, since we are a quilting guild.
2) We can add as many fabrics from the Habitat line as we like but the only other fabrics we're allowed to add are solids.


I decided that I wanted to make a pillow for the challenge for a couple of reasons. The main one being my schedule has been so out of control lately I didn't think that I would have the time to make a quilt and a pillow seemed the perfect thing. I focused on the fabrics a lot before I started cutting. I wanted to let the fabrics speak to me since they're very bold and have a definite voice. Honestly they're very much like their creator, Jay. Those are two of the things I admire very much about him. He's so super talented and honest and hes' not afraid to speak his mind.


I started thinking about curves as I looked at the fabric. And while I did do a little sketching, this was mostly improv pieced and I didn't know what the end result would look like when I started. It was a bit like jumping off the deep end. It wasn't until I started quilting that I allowed myself this kind of freedom with sewing. Usually I use patterns when I construct garments. Quilting has really pushed me to grow as a sewer. Even now I approach patterns in a different way and I'm not so handcuffed any more.


I didn't intend the piece to turn out as literal as it did. I started by using crisp, straight lines on the bottom and then the top was all curved piecing because I wanted it to have a different flow.


I did straight line quilting using Gutterman variegated yellow 100% cotton thread. I wanted it to feel like a starburst. Then I machine appliqued the circle over the top of the quilting. This wasn't to hide my points - actually they were almost perfect - instead it was deliberate and I wanted to break up the quilting with some "negative quilting" for lack of a better word.


I used Kona Ash on the back and laid in a zipper enclosure. At first I wasn't so sure about the finished product and all of the prints playing off each other the way they do. I even sent pictures to Natalie to get her feedback because I value her aesthetic and I wanted to make sure it wasn't ugly. It worked for me but it's definitely busy. In the end she convinced me to go with my gut.


It was definitely nerve-wracking to show it off to our entire guild and to Jay. There were so many absolutely amazing projects made by the incredibly talented members of our guild. But even more fear inducing was having Jay call me out in the middle of the meeting to chat with him while the votes were being tallied. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful to talk to him. It had been way too long since we last caught up properly and even longer since I've seen him, but it put a spotlight on me that I'm not used to. But it was so good too. I miss him to pieces. He's such an amazing guy! If you get a chance to work with some Habitat you really should! I am actually adding a little more to my stash. I think I see a Habitat dress in my near future.


  1. What a cool idea (and I bet there were people in that guild in awe of you knowing quilting royalty like that :oD )

  2. Cool story and very cool end product. I really love it! It kind of makes me want to get in on the Habitat bandwagon . . . but I know I'm a little late to that party!

  3. It's so cool that he remembered you :) The finished pillow looks great!

  4. great pillow, i love it! Habitat is a challenge, but I've loved everything I'm seeing with it. And a dress would definitely be cool!

  5. I love that you stretched your comfort zone on this one. It looks great! And lucky you--that you know Jay McCarroll personally!

  6. Have 't enough good words about your pillow work. Pillow work make your room beautiful and cool. Matching pillow and bed-sheet attract to them, who want change their home 's new look.