Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Riley Blake Challenge, Start to Finish

My Riley Blake Challenge quilt....

After receiving these Riley Blake Challenge fabrics from The Modern Quilt Guild, back in September, I started working on my piece. We could use these, or any Riley Blake fabrics, and add any solids.
Inspired by another Riley Blake fabric with circular motifs that sorta-look like circles, and being a big fan of circles (but not dots),  I used my nested acrylic rings to begin cutting and sewing circles.

I drew each circle on a piece of white cotton broadcloth and then machine-sewed completely around the circles.

I often listen to an audiobook while doing routine sewing and quilting.

Every circle was notched like this before cutting a slit in the broadcloth to turn it right-side out.

Teeny trimmings.

Because, for the background, I wanted the Riley Blake "Shuffle" print to directionally radiate outward from the center, it's comprised of four, large, bias-sewn squares.

After making all the circles I thought I'd need, I tried different arrangements. Hubby even got in his play time.


I didn't like any of them, finally deciding that the aqua prints didn't fit.

So, I went back to machine-sewing more circles, this time with the color green. Lots more teeny trimmings piled up! 

During the design process, I put this picture on Instagram: #MQGRileyBlakeChallenge. The picture was picked up by the national MQG and used in the December e-newsletter, so you may have seen it.

Once I'd settled on an arrangement, hand-appliqué began in earnest. This technique was my best option for car travel time, going to and from visiting our kids in Kansas and Texas. 

Knowing my finish, but perfectly symmetrical, design needing something more...

... I forced myself to make it asymmetrical, adding pieced, diagonal borders to two sides.

In early January, I began quilting the center fussy-cut motif. Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Wool, which I love for its loftiness, and being light-weight.

All the top quilting threads are YLI 40/3 cotton. The bobbin thread is Aurifil 50/2. I chose a different quilting design for each round of circles.

 When I reached the space beyond the circles, I free-form quilted spirals.

By the way, the circles and border pieces that appear as solids are not solids. They're Riley Blake ombres. The color gradation shows more clearly in the green circles.

YLI thread colors used are gray, variegated yellow and variegated orange. The yellow and orange don't show up well on the gray Shuffle background, but they look good on the circles.

From the back, the quilting shows up nicely on the yellow and orange solids, the only non-Riley Blake fabrics in the entire piece!
outdoor photo
indoor photo
For binding, I used bias Shuffle on two sides. On the other two sides, the binding is diagonally pieced prints that align with the inner borders.

From the back.

47" X 47"

Since the focal design looks like a dandelion head, I named this Dandelion Clock. What's a dandelion clock, you ask?
The number of puffs needed to blow the filamentous achenes from a dandelion is supposed to tell the time. - Wiktionary.

Thanks to votes cast by CentralFloridaMQGers, my quilt won Viewer's Choice at our January 13 meeting. Our new president, Karen, donated this generous prize - 16 Waterfront Park fat quarters and one yard of Kona! Thank you, Karen! Linda


  1. What a beautiful, modern quilt! And your quilting is excuisite :)

  2. Another wonderful quilt. What an accomplished quilter and colorist you are, Linda. It's beautiful!

  3. Oh My Goodness!!!! Absolutely breathtaking...the whole process as well as the finished quilt! Congratulations on Viewers Choice too...I imagine the competition may have been pretty stiff :)

  4. So fabulous on so many different levels. I knew it would be a winner even though I hadn't seen the whole thing. Great binding treatment. And even though I am not a bright colored girl, I do love the colors in this.

  5. Oh, of course it won! It is wonderful! I love the process story and the name! The name!!!! As a little girl I would often blow the head of a dandelion to tell the time! And I recently wondered aloud to my sister about it and whether any child does that now??!! Perfect!

  6. Another stunning exahmple of your wonderful quilting and color design. I am not surprised you won Viewer's Choice at all. It would have been MY choice too. The name is perfect. I used to blow dandelions too, but didn't know anything about telling time with them. It was just fun to see them float across the air like tiny feathers.

  7. Wow! I'm speechless. This is amazing! And I'm so stinkin' proud of you for quilting it yourself! Go - domestic machine quilters!!

  8. Wow oh wow! This is so awesome.

  9. Well done again. I knew it was a winner!

  10. I was so excited to open up my computer and see your finished product, is just fabulous, as I knew it would be. Congratulations on the deserved! I've never heard the whimsy about telling time with a dandelion...very sweet and a perfect name for your gorgeous quilt. Are you going to hang it in your home?

  11. Wow!!! Totally gorgeous and totally Florida! What an amazing quilt, Linda!

    You are right, my challenge piece is ending up very similar to yours without any conferring whatsoever...but I hope I can keep going with mine because right now, it is very dull in comparison! It's going to take some strong will, but I plan to gain inspiration from your triumph rather than throw my hands up in defeat!

  12. This is a truly stunning quilt Linda...your fabric choices made all the difference. Blessings, Marlene

  13. Amazing! And thank you for the detailed description, I learned a lot!

  14. Oh Linda, what an accomplishment. My jaw hit the floor. As usual, gorgeous colours, and the quilting is superb. Speechless really.

  15. Linda it is gorgeous! Your circles are so perfect and the quilting is amazing. Question...why do you clip the edges of the circles? To reduce bulk? Also how do you secure your circles to applique?

  16. Thanks for your questions, Kelly! I clipped the edges because if I'd left that fabric in there, it would have skwooshed to the inside curve, making the edges of the circles lumpy and bulky. So yes, to reduce bulk. Someone else suggested I could have used pinking shears, however, given the small size of the circles 1-1/2" to 3", I think I wouldn't have done such a clean job of making precise snips, which I was able to do with my small, sharp embroidery scissors. I secured the circles to the background with pins. I used the small appliqué pins which are suitable only for small work.

  17. OMG! You did such a fabulous job on this - perfect from start to finish.

  18. What a show-stopping quilt! Your attention to detail from the little snips to the backing and binding is outstanding. Beautiful work.

  19. This is gorgeous; stunning even. It deserves to win awards. Oddly enough, my original idea upon seeing the fabrics was very similar to yours (recreating that orange dandelion motif), but since I started mine in JANUARY it wasn't to be. I also changed my mind about 20 times, as is par for the course, you know. ;-)

    Hope to see this one hanging in a show someday soon...

  20. It totally deserved to win! I love all the details! The quilting is beautiful.

  21. Wow Linda another beautiful example of your creativity and your wonderful colour sense and attention to every detail. The quilting is always beautiful and very fitting.
    This quilt is deserving of all accolades it gets.
    Congrats on that new grandson he is adorable. Hope you are well. Blessings

  22. Ah. MAZE. ing. The beauty just progressed with each photo, and I thank you for sharing every one of them! You had a great vision that continued through the layout, quilting and binding!
    Kudos, Miz Linda ~

  23. Ah, the colors, the design, the quilting! Every inch a WINNER! Fantastic!!!

  24. WOWEEEE!!!! Linda, your creation is stupendous, gorgeous, amazing!!!
    Congrats on winning viewers choice, well deserved.

  25. Wow Linda, that is amazing, just everything about your creation is beautiful.
    Congrats on winning viewers choice.
    Julia ♥

  26. A beautiful quilt; I especially like the quilting! Congratulations on winning the viewers' choice; it was certainly well-deserved!

  27. Such a stunning design, Linda. I absolutely love the clean bright colours and I find circular designs very pleasing to the eye. Creating those circles as you did, with a backing, was such a good idea, and I'm taking note for the future. Clever! Your meticulous preparation in sewing, clipping and turning was so worthwhile and would have made appliquéing the finished circle shapes a snap. You deserved your Viewers' Choice win - Well done!

  28. Absolutely gorgeous, LInda. And I have great admiration for your FMQ skills--I'm always learning from you. I love that we got a post that told how it came together, and the process you took. When I trim convex curves like that, I use my pinking sheers, as it makes the work go faster. I was impressed by all your wee snips!

    So glad you won--it deserves to win!!


  29. gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the whole process - truly a beautiful quilt. Congrats on your win!

  30. It's beautiful Linda! Well done.

  31. Love your quilt!!! Thank you for sharing your process and design decisions. And I love the name that you picked. So beautiful!


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