Omaha Modern Quilt Guild Challenge: Shades of Gray: Because I Had To

This year the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge ... in honor of the bad books and worse movie, a shades of gray challenge. :) The rules were simple, quilters could use any of the shades of grays from whitest white to blackest black and the tonal shades of one accent color.

I had purchased two charm packs from IKEA for this challenge. It was a mix of black, white, a multi-gray on white print and some bright, bright green. Some of the print pieces had spots of orange.

In brainstorming this project, I set a few goals for myself:

  • Improv Piecing ... no sketches, patterns or mock-ups
  • Curves
  • Some type of quilting that was not straight edge-to-edge straight lines

I began by piecing strips. The fabric became a bit unwieldy at about 36 inches so each strip was about three feet long. Once I had three strips, I was nearing the challenge deadline. :) To add variety, I cut two of the strips lengthwise. Then I smashed with a coordinating gray solid. One of the challenges this project had was that all of the fabric was home dec weight or a medium canvas.

Throughout the process, the orange kept speaking to me. Near the end of the last strip, I added one orange accent. I think it makes the quilt. This led to the name of the quilt, "Because I Had to." It was breaking the rule to include the orange, but the other guild members agreed that it had to be there.

For my quilting pattern, I used my regular domestic machine with a new walking foot. I wasn't so impressed with the walking foot during this project. It kept falling apart. (I've since fixed it.) In the gray sashing, I made an improv connected square and rectangle pattern. In the pieced strips, I outlined the seams to not detract from the piecing. Both styles met my goal of not being straight edge-to-edge lines.

In the end it all worked. I am pleased with the end result. Pleased enough that I entered it in to QuiltCon16. It might not make it, odds are only a little over 16% based on previous shows, but I am proud to enter it into the conversation.

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