I spent almot all day Friday working on a journal quilt for a timed challenge for my Janome Internet Challenge group. We had eight hours to complete a journal quilt from start to finish and weren’t allowed to look at the theme until we were ready to start.
When I looked at the theme I almost decided not to bother because all the images it conjured up just don’t go with living in hot, humid Brunei. The theme was “Hearth and Home” and I immediately thought of log fires, warmth, comfort, sleeping cats, and dark, warm colours, just the things one doesn’t associate with Brunei, apart from the sleeping cats! I also thought of the wonderful Christmas story by Dickens, “The Cricket on the Hearth”, but decided that was a bit obscure. I started off by looking on the internet and finding some clipart images of sleeping cats and fires, but this seemed like cheating, and a bit too easy so I rummaged through my shelves and found a few old magazines for inspiration. I started ripping out a few pages here and there, but the image that stuck in my mind was of a cat staring out of a darkened window, all it needed was a nice warm fire so I scanned in a few images and then played around with Photoshop until I had a composition I liked. Meanwhile the clock was ticking away and I still had to draw out the design, find fabrics and then quilt the whole thing.
I don’t really like raw edge appliqué but with the time limits this was the only alternative and as I started pulling out fabrics with an idea in my head of what I wanted, the whole thing started to fall in to place, and I was enjoying the process. No time for lunch, luckily there was a bit of pizza left over from last night, and I carried on working through the day. Once the initial design was fused in place I added the batting and backing and then started to embellish with threads and free motion stitching. I used mostly rayon threads as they are the only ones I have in a wide variety of colours.
With the hands of the clock starting to speed up I finally got to the point of finishing and adding the binding and with just two minutes to go off the eight hours my journal quilt was finished.
If I’d had more time I would have like to have added some foliage and flowers in the area below the window and maybe also I might have written the title of the piece.
I’m glad I did the quilt, it was a real challenge, not just the subject matter but the time limit also, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out and maybe there is even potential for a larger and more detailed quilt there. As the challenge went on over the weekend it was interesting seeing everyone elses journal quilts and how each person had interpreted the theme so differently.