The quilt I have been working on for the last year was finished last month, and went to it's first show this past week. MQX is a fantastic machine quilting show, and will forever be regarded as my home show. It is the first real show I ever entered, the first one I got a real quilting ribbon at, and the first Best of Show that truly matters. The competition is always stiff, so to place is an honor. Last year my Big Bertha surprised even me by winning the BOS, but I knew that wouldn't repeat itself this year. There were too many great quilts entered. What I did get, though, was nearly as good. I took 4 awards, much to my surprise. My Autumn's Surrender (the silk quilt I showed in Feb) won 1st in it's Solo category as well as the much coveted Best Frame Machine Quilting Award. The latter award is honestly, the best to me since this is a machine quilting show. It validates all of the neurotic, miniscule and seemingly foolish decisions I make to perfect my craft. My Rainbow Nouveau quilt was re-entered at MQX again this year, as it didn't ribbon last year. It got a 2nd place! It just goes to show you that some years, some categories are harder or larger. This year I entered it in the custom heirloom category, and it had only 10 entries (one of whom was bumped up to best of show, leaving another placement). And, my 3rd 2014 show quilt, which I have yet to show the entire quilt, (below) "Springtime in the Geisha's Garden" took first in the large wall hanging category, another sweet award. I really love this quilt and am thrilled to have all my hours of handwork and careful design decisions rewarded.
It measures just about 60" square (a hair smaller).
I started on the dahlia center last March. This center medallion has a dark brown piping between the ivory and the print from the silk Radiance. I have also put silk accents in other areas on the quilt. This fabric is simply addictive, and I love working with it. Here are a few links to the thought process I used during construction...Here and here
I wish I could tell you how many leaves I appliqued, but I have lost track. It is nearly 150. Each also has embroidery on the veins from silk floss. This is a little pricey, but it has such a pretty sheen. Like the leaves, I have also forgotten how many tiny circles I hand appliqued down as well. LOTS!...and many were silk.
One thing I ran into with this quilt that I have not had before was the fact that the deep green stem (3/8" bias piece) seemed to pull in as I worked on the applique. I was pretty disgusted with the top when the applique was all done because I was not certain it would ever be flat again. I did something I have not done before - I blocked the top prior to quilting. I carefully set pins to mark the center square on point, then wet the background and eased it all out smooth, setting pins around the outer area to hold it in place. About 3 days later when it was dry and I was certain it would not revert to a C-cup, I removed it from my blocking board. It was a nice flat piece of cake to quilt! This doesn't explain why it bled a little during the final blocking, but that is a story for another day!