Tuesday, October 23, 2018

My Answer to the AHIQ Maps Challenge

What I love most about starting something on a whim, is that it often stimulates the brain in unexpected ways. I have been so stumped about what to do with the AHIQ Maps Challenge. For goodness sakes, the challenge was thrown out to us in July? To me, quilting 'maps' felt kind of complex and 'arty'. Not really my thing on the best of days. Summer complaint fatigue didn't help any either. My brain like mush most of the time.
Basic log cabin
The crisp, fall weather has definitely helped to wake me up a bit. With this project, here I am, basically going in circles with the uncomplicated sewing I started earlier this month {enjoying how open ended and pressure free it is}, and it hits me from out of the blue. This log cabin sewing reminds me of how I constantly have to turn around and go back when I'm driving in a new-to-me area! Okay, why not? And so without a lot of extra thought for the end result, I decided to applique a turn right arrow onto the center of my quilt. You see how it works around here? Apparently I have to start some challenges quite by accident!
Turning into my answer to the Maps Challenge!
After that, I just kept on cutting and sewing the 2 1/2" strips, {all without measuring the proper lengths}, until I found myself with a real mess on my hands. Well, you knew it had to happen eventually. I can almost see some of you nodding your head. Uh huh.  Free sewing just doesn't make for straight, square quilts, ever, ever, ever. Sometimes I think my purpose here in the quilt blogging world is to make all the rest of you quilters feel pretty awesome about your own stitching efforts. lol
Too much crazy, even for me....
And of course, by now, I'd also decided that eventually there needed to be a 'road' unit added in as a single round in the quilt. All that accrued wonkiness was definitely becoming a bit deflating in terms of making it larger. Not that I was truly upset you understand. Mostly I just found myself curious as to the resulting dilemma: how very much the fabrics had started misbehaving, at which point it manifested itself and, how very, very quickly it multiplied past a certain point in the sewing.
Not a lot of options so I'll try this....
But hey, it really, really needed to be addressed before moving on. I get that. And so I thought about it for several days until finally, today, I girded myself to do the insane. 'Cuz I was NOT unpicking. Nope. Out came the rotary cutter and I very calmly cut across the length of my quilt, right at the pre-determined area.*gulp! Then I layered the two edges, smoothed from the center of the quilt out, and then very carefully cut once again. Fingers crossed it would take care of all that slack and bias stretch!
What do you know, it might just work out!
The first cut and sew looked promising and so I did the same to the other side. Then, realizing it was gonna have to happen on the other two sides as well, turned the quilt and cut one side at a time into the top and bottom of the quilt too.*whew! Pin, pin, pin and then sew and iron. Would you look at that quilt below! It's much, much flatter and neater than it was before. And I'm not the least bit unhappy with the new look as per those affected strips being slightly curved and much more narrow. Oh, that was a sticking point for sure. Where oh where to make the least offensive cuts? But it works. Thankfully it was a good day in the quilting {and/or living} room today!

I'm absolutely sure this has made quite a few of you cringe and want to look away, but I am having a enormous amount of fun here. Really. A bit of anxiety about the unknown has never killed a single one of us! The next row is going to be where I attempt to make that 'road' unit, but after getting this piece squared up {not pictured here in this post}, I ran out of creative ambition for the day and basically called it quits.

Obviously my version of this maps challenge is going to be very interpretive {improv. anyone?}, but it should satisfy my desire to not intentionally duck a hard challenge. Frustration with dreaming up a workable idea is one thing, but avoidance just gets me to the point of being very annoyed. Kaja and Ann are our wonderfully creative motivators over at AHIQ and are very tough quilters to keep up with on occasion. They like to keep us on our toes!
And here it is, almost totally flat!
Earlier in the week I also dove back into Playing With Scale #2 after leaving it sitting idle for almost three months. Something about the quilt was bugging me and I felt that it needed a chance to gel a bit more. I don't know if it was the quilt colors or the way the strip units were behaving, but I just had a feeling that to continue on at that particular point would end in regret. This time I'm starting from the hst angle on purpose. Maybe I'll backtrack to the strip units as I want to slip these hst strips inside some of them anyway!
Playing with scale #2
Once again, I didn't get nearly as far as I'd like, but what I'm seeing on the wall is making me very happy. All the hsts are cut very freehand and once sewn into units, then I'm just lining them up into a long row, joining like sizes one square to the next. At the point of having a long strip of hsts, I'm using a ruler and trimming off the excess at the edges, taking care not to straighten them to the point of rigid formality. Before trimming, they are very rough and scary looking but afterwards, have a great organic feel to them.

It feels good to be working this type of improv. again and mixing it up with all the other quilting that I love to do. It's when I get boxed into rigidly pre-determined ideas and patterns that I start feeling the most twitchy, bored or otherwise start to lose creative mojo. Balance, people. It's always about the proper balance....


  1. Wow! Looks like you're off & running again. Since I'm going along for the ride, I'm looking forward to what's coming next!

  2. Can you hear me laughing? I knew the moment I saw the wonkyness that you would come up with a creative solution that really worked. The arrow is also perfect. In my creative process my arrow would actually be a circle as I tend to always come back to where I started. As for your comment about being here just to make the rest of us look good - ha! You always stretch my imagination and make me want to run right out and create something new. Keep up the good work!

  3. It is amazing how one little applique piece changed the whole thrust of your map work! Both my hubby and my eldest grandson are map fiends--me, not so much--(eg. I don;t really know which way is east from where I sit right now!! uhhh?? And can you imagine trying to find North by moss on trees? Is it on the same side or opposite? Definitely not in my comfort zone!!) See, now I think NSEW with maps--most everyone else has thought roads...yikes--talk about being off the beaten path, marching to a different drummer, right?
    I love how yours is coming along..and those neutrals say "map" to me, too hugs, Julierose

  4. I was never able to make a square log cabin block until I decided to piece the blocks by paper piecing them. Now I paper piece any block that allows it. So glad you figured out what to do with your block; I don't like picking out stitches either. :)

  5. This is comical but the reality is I agree. Taking risks is risky and it looks like you found a solution. Cheers!

  6. You are a brave quilt warrior!!!
    I almost had a panic attack just thinking about it!! LOL

  7. Now I understand why your corners look the way they do. What a clever way to interpret maps. This has been a difficult challenge get for me but I love the way it's expanding our mknds.

  8. You're right, I cringed when you pulled out the rotary cutter, no ruler, and zip! But it looks like the ripples vanished. You're much, much braver than me and a champion problem solver.

  9. This map challenge has been a real bug-a-boo for me. I have enjoyed mapping my own journey with the posts over on the AHIQ blog, and it has made me realize several big-picture things about myself that had gotten lost in the shuffle. So that is good. And, at long last, DH has given me a sketch that shall turn into a small (maybe mini) map quilt to finish off the challenge. Your post today is great!!

  10. I love that you just sliced into the whole piece (I've done that before and no one's every commented on the finished quilt). I thought maps might be 'arty' to start with too, but I guess in the end it's mostly just about squares and lines, like most quilting. This is already looking very appealing.

  11. Very brave move to cut it, but it's worked!

  12. Looks like you rose to the challenge!!

  13. Thank you for the 365 Day Challenge from 2016. Absolutely love my two quilts that I created with the Quilty Circles. Both need labels and one still needs the binding sewn down but I'm almost done. Best challenge ever.


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