June 18, 2014

Colorful Colorado

I did it!  I got my challenge quilt done and delivered in time for the show next weekend. WaHoo!!!

"54 Fourteeners and Amber Waves of Grain"

Indian Peaks Wilderness in the distance

My understanding is four modern quilt guilds in Colorado participated in the challenge. We were given fat quarters of Free Spirit Solids in Tango, Saffron, Apple Green, and Hyacinth. Not the colors I would have chosen to highlight Colorado, but that's part of what makes it a challenge right?

the four given challenge fabrics

More than 50 solids were used altogether. I stopped trying to keep track but most were Kona Cotton Solids by Robert Kaufman. They are the easiest to find locally plus I have a Kona color card.

most of the additional solids used

The rules:  use a discernable amount of each color along with any other fabrics of our choice to create a modern quilt representing the theme Colorful Colorado. It needed to measure at 40".  Mine finished at 40" x 55" to approximate the proportional shape of the state.

My concept:
  • use the mountain block from the logo I designed for the Boulder Modern Quilt Guild.
  • depict 54 mountains to represent the 54 fourteeners here in Colorado. A fourteener is a mountain peak with an elevation of 14,000 ft or more. In researching the number of fourteeners, I discovered counts of 53 to 58 peaks with the most common agreed upon number as 54. 
  • depict the eastern plains which are an integral, but often overlooked part of the state.
  • use color to emphasize the Colorado sky from dawn to dusk. This provided a way to include the orange and yellow challenge fabrics as they are used in the dawn and dusk rows of mountains.
Working on this quilt was a great example of color study in terms of relativity. The three blocks below all use the same green in the mountain and yet all look quite different due to the color relationships. A little hard to see the color differences here but the green gets progressively darker in appearance.

I quilted large zigzags among the 54 peaks to suggest all the other peaks of the Rocky Mountains. It reminds me of seeing the mountains when they are a bit hazy in the distance.

zigzag quilting in the mountain section

The eastern plains were quilted with a series of curvy lines to suggest the waves of grain blowing in the wind. We can have very strong winds here.

gentle curving lines in the plains

To be really honest though, it was a struggle to finish this quilt for many reasons.
  • I went with one of the first ideas I came up with and am not in love with the whole concept. Normally I would work through a design and explore several directions but didn't have the time for that on this one. Not feeling passionate about the design made it hard to stay motivated.
  • I decided in order to pull it off, I needed LOTS of different colors. After 50, I lost count. This meant finding more solids which isn't easy at our local shops and when buying online proves quite hard to discern color differences.
  • I thought I'd piece the mountain blocks improv but ended up going with a paper piecing method instead. I designed 7 slightly different mountains. Forgot to reverse the printing the first time but eventually it came together. You can see more about that process here.
  • I quilted it in two sections and then pieced the sections together . . . new for me so I winged it. Thankfully it worked without incident. Whewww!
  • I faced the edge rather than use a traditional binding . . . not as familiar with this technique but I like the overall finish.
  • I lost a week.
  • I procrastinated . . . haha, no surprise there.

I'm quite happy to have this one behind me now and am looking forward to a summer of projects I feel a lot more passionate about. Maybe even some non quilt related projects. Time will tell.

If you'd like to see all the challenge quilts, visit the Berthoud Outdoor Quilt Show this coming Saturday June 21st. Maybe I'll see you there.

one last shot before delivering the quilt shows Long Peak elevation 14,255ft. in the background.

I had hoped to have this finished in time to share on Esch House Quilts Sew Solid Sunday last month but missed the cut off so I'm linking up this month. Check out the great pillow Debbie made along with the tutorial to make your own.

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  1. Oh it's wonderful Anne. What a great selection of solids. The quilting gives such nice texture

  2. Suhweet!!! You are going to be pretty stiff competition for the other guilds!! XX!

  3. it's really lovely - I love that the mountains are all different. Beautiful!

  4. Holy cow!!!! I love it so much!!!! Way to blow the challenge out of the water! You are my hero.

  5. Congratulations on persevering and getting it done; it's stunning and unusual and very worth the effort. Have fun with your other projects now this one's in the "finished!" pile!

  6. I really like this! Great idea with the mountains and the plains, and the colors really work well together.

  7. I like the snow capped mountains, lovely and colourful with a sprinkling of snow.

  8. I love the quilt! I think you did an amazing job representing Colorado. And the quilting is perfect. Great finish! :-)

  9. It is lovely, and such wonderful colours. I do understand the challenge to finish a project you are not in love with, but this is really a wonderful quilt.

  10. What a great Colorado quilt, Anne...it says it all. Your photos are super, as well!

  11. Love the quilt!!! Hope the show went well.

  12. I think this is fabulous, Anne! It's really nice to know the process you went through to come up with this design... what you liked and didn't like. And so many solid colors! I'm thoroughly impressed that you could come up with that many different ones. As always, I'm in awe of your creativity. What I wouldn't give for a smidgen of yours.

  13. Anne, your challenge quilt is gorgeous!!! I am glad you shared your process with us.

  14. This is SUCH a fabulous quilt. And I love all the "windy" quilting on the Eastern Colorado side. Having lived in Western Kansas, I totally understand the very strong winds there!

  15. This is such an amazing quilt! The colors are just stunning! I also love all the ideas behind it - I'm so glad you explained it all. I had no idea what a fourteener is having never lived anywhere near a mountain :) Sizing it to match the shape of the state is genius! I'm super impressed with the final product! Thank you for linking up with Sew Solid Sunday!

  16. I so love this, and am sending a link of the post to my friend, who is heading to Colorado in a week with her husband and son so that some climbing of the 14-ers can be accomplished.

    I know we are always hardest on ourselves, but this quilt really finished up so lovely! I like the channeling of Josef Albers that you did (the discussion of the greens was wonderful), showing in a quick illustration how effective color use can be. I love the layout, the spread of colors throughout and the "14-ers" on the left side of your quilt. Fabulous, simply, fabulous!

    Well done, my friend!

  17. New reader here, and I just had to comment. This is a fantastic quilt! I absolutely love that you included the plains portion of the state. The whole piece is inspiring to me, a relatively new quilter.

  18. So beautiful, and nicely quilted. The design is inspiring to me.


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