Monday, August 11, 2014

Sewvivor Nautical Challenge Entry

Welcome to my Sewvivor Challenge 1 Post!  I must admit that I was beyond excited to make the Top 16 and although there was some anxiety involved as I hemmed and hawed over the layout, I really enjoyed making my project for this challenge. 

First a little about my concept and inspiration ... 

Have you ever found yourself telling someone that you sew or quilt for your sanity? Some of you may even sport the popular "I quilt so I don't kill people" t-shirt!  We love spending time cutting our favorite fabrics and sewing them back together to create something new.  And we're involved in blogging and sharing our work on Instagram and other social media because we crave community in our craft. 

My challenge project was designed as both a representation of that sentiment (sewing for sanity) as well as a celebration of community. Community has meant so much to me as so many people graciously "threw me a line" during a particularly difficult season of life earlier this year.  

In February, my father passed away unexpectedly.  My world was rocked.  And it seemed like my own Titanic was sinking. And you know who was among the first people to show up?  Some of my real-life sewing friends.  They didn't politely ask or offer their help - they just showed up.  I will always be grateful. 

Since then, my personal "life preservers" have stepped in when I needed them most.  Some picked up my slack at work - insisting upon their assistance even when my pride insisted they didn't. Some remembered to ask how I was - knowing full well that I might not say "fine" and they were okay with that.  And some told me to "just keep sewing" when at first it seemed I could find no joy even at my machine.  

For me, this mini celebrates the community built on our common love of fabric and thread.  
I could not be more grateful for my own little community of life preservers - some quilty and some not. (You know who you are.) 

But as my dad once wrote, "Enough crap - on with the show!"  

Here's more about my project ... 

Once I honed in on my theme for this mini quilt, I started by making a bunch of mini Cheerio blocks (by Camille Roskelley featured in Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine Issue 8).  By changing the color way and setting these blocks on point, they made perfect life preserver rings!  

I used a variety of white and cream low volume prints and reds for the rings and used a pretty aqua print from Sphere by Zen Chic for all of the watery background.  

(horrible phone picture ... sorry!) 

Once I pieced all the blocks, I laid them out and sashed them together.  I used some strips to fill in the zig zag of space between the rows and used some half square triangles to set them and create a larger rectangle with each set of rings. 

Since my background fabric is directional, I took care to fussy cut and keep the lines in the print going horizontal whenever possible. I included a strip of aqua between to provide space for the flags to hang and added a 3" border prior to quilting.   

I did some free motion wavy lines throughout the entire background of the quilt, but chose to add in some spirals in the center of all the rings to help accentuate the circular shape.  

I chose to leave the rings unquilted so they would appear to sit above the quilted portion and "float in the water."

One of the things I really wanted to include from the very beginning when I first started sketching this concept was nautical flags spelling either "sew" or "quilt."  I ended up spelling "quilt" and made the flags by piecing 3.5" squares and adding a backing (like making a small pillow) to finish them off nicely. 

Before sewing the fronts to the backs, I stitched a two inch piece of twill tape to the top of each flag back to provide a little channel to string some rope through later. The 3" finished flags are strung across the quilt with some thin rope, which is knotted and tacked down at the sides of the quilt. 

These flags were super fun to piece (and applique!) and I love how they dangle above the water.  The finished project measures about 20" x 30" and was backed in a red print and bound with a red and white stripe.

I'm thrilled to have this celebratory mini hanging in my sewing room!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you'll take the time to vote for your favorite nautical project (hopefully mine! :-).  I'll be anxiously awaiting the results and working on an epic bag should I get to round two!

(Edited at 12:40 PM - the voting link is now available!  :-) 

Happy Sewing!  :-)


  1. Omg this is too stinking adorable. We were almost on the same wavelength. I love love it and what it means. Good luck my friend you deserve it!

  2. I love this! Love it. I'm sorry to hear that you're Father passed away - I'm pretty sure he'd be really proud of you and this piece. I love this block - tell me you'll be doing a tutorial/pattern for it. Love the flags - love it all. Well done!

  3. What a great interpretation! I especially love the dimensional flags. I'm so sorry about your Dad--I can only imagine how horrible that must have been.

  4. What a beautiful and creative quilt! I love it, it just sings "nautical!" Your dad would be proud of you!

  5. Oh i love this one! The flags are so perfect above the water, and i love your Cheerio life preservers! Great job and good luck! You're dad would proud :)

  6. your not you're!! hate when i do that!

  7. WOW- what a very very special mini quilt!!! So much meaning! It's fabulous. Nice work!!!

  8. This is adorable! I love how you did the flags. The twill tape is a great idea that I will use some day. Very cool to spell the word "quilt". So sorry about your father. Thankful good friends were there for you.

  9. This is so creative an adorable - love it!

  10. Chrissy, this mini is so cute and I love the story behind it! I think we need to have a little life preserver sew along since we all have life savers in life! Great job!

  11. This is amazing, and the story behind it is wonderful. I love the nautical flags and the cheerio blocks are perfect!

  12. What a sweet way to celebrate your friendships! I love the story and how you expressed it through your mini!!!

  13. Love your little lifesavers and 3D flags. Good luck! x

  14. I love your life preservers and flags!

  15. What beautiful and meaningful words, and to capture all that in a quilt is real skill. Yay for community, and a beautiful reminder to have with you always :)

  16. i love the meaning behind this quilt, and i love the red on aqua! the wavy quilting lines are really great too. great job, and good luck!

  17. This is so adorable, and I love the story/inspiration behind it. You definitely got my vote - awesome job!

  18. The meaning behind this quilt makes it so very special...and it's beautiful too!

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  20. My condolences to you and your family. I am in love with this mini and the inspiration behind it. I too lost my dad suddenly 10 years ago, and it was very difficult for me and there were certain people that without them I would have never survived that and the ordeal that followed. I wish that I had had the forethought that you did. You have created something beautiful that is something that you will cherish from a difficult period in your life, the lemon to lemonade story that many people don't get. I'm very happy that you made lemonade. Big hugs to you and your family!

  21. I voted for you yesterday and when I saw your quilt I just loved it. It was very creative with the flags. You are one creative gal!


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