Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A project in motion

I mentioned a while ago that I would be working on a quilt for Diva's school auction. I'd like to take a moment to tell you a little about it.

Every year Diva's school hosts an auction/dinner-dance to raise funds, with both live and silent items. The very last item to be auctioned off during the live auction is the annual quilt. The blocks of the quilt are drawn by some of the middle-schoolers, and then interpreted into fabric by parents, grandparents, staff, and friends of the school. Usually between 18 and 24 children's artwork is selected for the quilt. The quilt brings in anywhere between $7,000 and $22,000 for the school. Pretty redonkulous, right?!

When I arrived at the first auction meeting, I learned two key things that threw me into a panic. 1) Our theme for the event, and thus the quilt, was the Kentucky Derby, and 2) I was a co-chair of the quilt committee which meant that the responsibility of making this thing happen was up to me and one other woman (who doesn't really sew but takes care of the logistical part of the project). Crap. My first year in the school as a parent and probably the hardest topic for a quilt... ever. And so began the project in motion.

We set up a day in November for the 5th-8th graders to draw and, quite frankly, were blown away by their artwork. Their horses and scenes were amazingly impressive, and I don't even mean just for their age. We selected 30 kids artwork to appear on the quilt and came up with an amazing design. We would create a center panel which would feature 13 of the kid's drawings appliqued on-- horses running around a track-- and the rest would create a border around that center panel. It looked great on paper and everyone loved it. There was only one hitch. From speaking with the (only) 10 volunteers who agreed to help us, we had a lot of people who did not feel comfortable with a challenging design. Unfortunately we categorized 80% of the designs as having "medium" to "extremely hard" difficulty levels. Crap. We needed to scrap the idea and come up with a new one.

 I decided to think waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy outside the box. The quilts are always appliqued and embroidered and/or embellished, but with the horses I just didn't see how that was going to be possible. Being somewhat of a techie, I came up with a radical idea. I just hoped the school staff, auction/dinner-dance chairperson, and live auction chairperson liked it. I proposed printing the kids artwork directly onto fabric and then just embroidering and embellishing them without any applique whatsoever. I got some fabric, and did a sample to show them. Everyone liked the idea, though we do need to make some improvements.

Now its just a matter of figuring out the logistics and making it happen. At this point, many of the pictures have been painted with watercolor by one of the high school students. My next step is to take the finished (now) paintings to the printer to have them transferred onto fabric, then rally some more volunteers! The auction is not happening until the end of April, but I'm hoping to have the quilt wrapped up by the end of March.

I'll post progress updates as we go.


  1. if this goes well, i might commission you to do one for my school next year (seriously).

  2. I can't wait to see the finished quilt!!

  3. What a great project! The artwork is amazing. Looking forward to seeing the quilt ... :) Pat


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