Cactus Bloom: Blogger's Quilt Festival

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Cactus Bloom is my second entry into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival on Amy’s Creative Side. It will be entered into the Original Design category. While it is not my first ever original design it still covers many firsts for me, and is the quilt I am most proud of. During its creation there were many tight deadlines.

The catalyst that started the whole journey happened in the spring of 2011 with the re-release of the Lazy Angle Ruler by Creative Grids. When I got my hands on this ruler I was in love and a whole host of ideas popped into my head. My husband and I had just moved from Tucson to Phoenix and on a drive back up to Phoenix the image formed in my head. As soon as I got home I jumped on EQ5 and started playing. The concept behind the ruler, and how the blocks went together clicked right away and once the design came together quickly.

Now with a completed top design I was ready to start playing with color. First, I colored the design in grey scale to get a feel for the values I wanted and what worked best. This is something I do regularly before coloring designs because if it works in grey scale it will work in just about any color combo if your fabrics are the right value. My next step was to raid my stash for a main fabric that would give me a variety of colors to pull from.

The process of picking fabrics took quite a while because hey, who doesn't need to shop for more fabric, and then replace the fabrics you just bought with new fabrics. More time was spent on the selection and re-selection of fabric than the actual sewing of the quilt top.

Armed with fabric I cut all 1144 pieces with the Lazy Angle Ruler. Since at this point I knew I was working on a deadline because I needed a finished top as a class sample I started sewing right away. Every night for 3 weeks I worked about 8 hours after my work shift ended and completed the top at 5:55 AM in time to drive down to Tucson at 6 AM. Before giving the top to Sculptured Thread Quilting I presented it as a show and tell at The Quilter's Market's bi-monthly Stripper's Club.

The quilting was completed on the top and delivered to The Quilter's Market the weekend before the class samples hang and it went up without binding. The first class was successful and so they kept the sample so I could teach it again (still with no binding). 

Since Cactus Bloom was so well received I decided to enter it in the 2012 Quilt Fiesta hosted every year by the Tucson Quilt Guild. This would be my first time entering a quilt to be judged. In order to get the quilt to Tucson in time to hang in the show I had to get it back and bind it in a week and attach a sleeve. The week I had to bind it I was also traveling to Missouri for a family event. I hand bound it on the plan both ways and after returning it we attached the sleeve the night before my mother and I attached the sleeve. 

After work on the last turn in day I drove down to Tucson, turned in the quilt and then drove back up to Phoenix that night. During the week before the show I received a call that I never expected to receive. Cactus Bloom had won first in the 2-Person Medium Pieced category.

After the quilt show it went to hang in my Aunt's store, Peddler's Wagon, before finally coming home to hang on my wall. I have poured my heart and soul into Cactus Bloom at every stage of the journey and not only did I learn a lot of new quilting skills in making it, I also found the courage to face my fear of judgement and criticism, and also a lot about myself and my ability to push myself to meet all the deadlines and road blocks along the way. On top of all of that Cactus Bloom helped inspire the name Desert Bloom Quilting.

Thank you for taking the time to read about Cactus Bloom and please head over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival to see all of the wonderful quilts and please enjoy the pictures below of Cactus Bloom and a few close-ups of the quilting!