30 March 2010

Denver National Quilt Festival

Rainbow FlakesI missed the March deadline for this year's Denver National Quilt Festival in May, even though I had good intentions.

I had planned to embellish a quilt with colorful snowflakes I made from sock leftovers during the Ravelympics. I had a backup plan if I didn't have time to finish that, as it would be from scratch.

LivestrongA couple of years ago, I printed some of my favorite cycling photos on fabric. I finished piecing the black and white photos, but there are mistakes, so I never finished the mini quilt. This was my last-ditch plan, in case I couldn't get anything else done for this year's DNQF. All I would need to do is assemble the layers, and quilt away. I could have it done in about two days.

I never got a chance to piece the color photos. I wasn't able to find bicycle fabric I thought would work as sashing. Ultimately, I thought I might make my own, using creative and possibly artistically manipulated photos of bike parts and tools. That way, I could make the fabric whatever color I wanted. Unfortunately, my printer bit the dust before Christmas. About a month ago, I found some white fabric with black bicycle outlines, and I bought it, just in case I needed to work this option up in a pinch.

Living ColorAlso about two years ago, I used up all the remnants of lizard fabric I'd bought for bandanas for The Lizard to make an all-leftovers quilt top. Not one inch of new anything went into this entire quilt! The backing is leftovers from a charity quilting project I participated in back in 2006, and even the batting is comprised of odd-sized pieces left over from projects throughout the years. All I need to do to finish this quilt is quilt it, which I'd like to do by hand because I have a special design in mind, and finish the edge. This could take up to a month to finish. Unless I'm riding my bike to work several times a week, which would mean the quilting could take up to six months!

After the Ravelympics, I had 18 days to finish a quilt. I was so optimistic. But then an unexpected event took us out of town for a week, and I just couldn't get in the mood to sew when we returned. Two nights before the deadline, I looked over my projects once again, wondering if I could finish something in a night.

Lizard LeftoversNot a chance on the snowflake quilt. Not enought time. That one likely will take me about six months. I decided I don't want to enter something that is not perfect, so the "Livestrong" quilt was out. I still yearn to make my own fabric for the sashing on the color cycling quilt, and I couldn't finish that in a night regardless. I could machine quilt the Lizard Leftovers if I stayed up all night. I had been somewhat sleepless, but I didn't feel like spending a sleepless night slaving over a quilt I hoped might one day envelop anyone beneath it in warm memories.

So even though I'd realized while still in Vernal that I would not be able to enter this year's quilt festival, the reality didn't hit me until that night. Once again, I was somewhat depressed, and I felt as though I had failed because this had been an important item on my list of 2010 goals.

Then I suddenly remembered that I DO have a quilt to enter. My friend Mary Jafek had finished a quilt in 2009 and left it in my hands to enter in whatever competitions I deemed appropriate. It hung across the Rotunda from my fourteener quilt in the Capitol last summer. And now it could hang at the Denver Merchant Mart to inspire quilters from all over the state.

Dwila Gerih embroideryThis quilt has such an amazing story, it immediately lifted my spirits. And that's the kind of emotion I want to tuck into the quilts I make. So my quilts are on hold for a while, but Mary's soon will be hanging, if juried into the show, at the Denver National Quilt Festival.

Dwila Gerih of Wauneta, Nebraska, hand-embroidered all 50 states, state flowers, state birds and dates of statehood during the long commutes to and from Denver while her husband was being treated by Bruce Jafek, my friend Mary's husband. Dwila presented the embroidered squares to Dr. Jafek as a gift when her husband's treatment was completed. Mary pieced the quilt, and Merrie Jones of Aurora, Colorado, quilted it.

Mary and her husband currently are serving a medical mission in the Philippines. That's why I've been entrusted with her priceless quilt.

Now, I think this is a quilt the judges absolutely cannot refuse. What do you think?
America the Beautiful by Mary Jafek, Dwila Gerih and Merrie Jones

1 comment :

  1. I had to look at this post over and over and over again! You are so talented- in so many, many venues. Seeing your handiwork is like getting flowers delivered to my office on any given Tuesday. :)


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