Monday, August 11, 2014

sink or swim - Sewvivor - Challenge #1

Two weeks ago, I was ecstatic to discover that I was selected to be one of 16 contestants participating in this years "Sewvivor" competition. Its such an honor and my fellow competitors are all amazingly talented. Today we get to reveal our first challenge and I can't wait to see what everyone's been working on. I barely slept last night in anticipation. The theme for Challenge 1 is something (anything) nautical.

sink or swim
  1. fail or succeed entirely by one's own efforts.

For this nautical challenge, I used Tula Pink's Anchor's Aweigh pattern. I have wanted to make this pattern since I first saw it, but couldn't see quilting the full size pattern in enough time. I adjusted the pattern size and scaled it down by one third. It measures about 60 x 64 inches. Using a gradient of warm greys to creamy whites, against a aqua and white striped background really made the quilt for me. This one is my baby... the second quilt I've ever made just for me.

This quilt was definitely a challenge. It has more than 700 pieces and each of the background pieces required individual recalculation. I spent a couple hours with my calculator before ever cutting anything out, and the piecing took hours. I built a portable flat design board to hold the pieces for each part of each row in order to make piecing easier. The pattern is very well written, which definitely helped. I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.

For quilting, I was planning on doing concentric spirals, but, long story short, this was nothing short of a disaster, and I ended up unpicking one whole spiral, and making the spiral quilting cover the whole top. It may be predictable, but spiral quilting is still one of my favorite textures in a quilt.

I did a simple backing with a gradient of the anchor colors pieced in. It breaks up the turquoise nicely and definitely draws your eye upwards.

My family and I couldn't have picked a better day for a photo shoot. We wandered around a small, local sea town, dodging tourists and ice cream cones and managed to find the coolest picture ideas. It was such a fun day and I'm so glad my family was able to share it with me. 

I've named this quilt "sink or swim" as the definition is to "fail or succeed entirely by one's own efforts". I ran into some pretty huge road blocks with this project, but was able to recover and in the end, whatever happens, whether I make it to the next round or not, I'll know that I "succeeded" - this is definitely a quilt that I will proudly stand behind and cherish for years to come.

Of the sixteen amazing contestants, only ten will be proceeding to the next round (I really, really want to make it through!), following a voting process where 50% of the vote is by selected judges, and 50% is by the public (that's you!). I cannot believe what an awesome experience this has been - my fellow contestants are incredibly supportive, funny, talented and I'm definitely proud to be a part of this group for as long as possible.

Rach, our amazing competition organizer, at Family Ever After has all 16 projects on her blog and if you like, you can vote for your favorite over there. The voting is only open until Wednesday, so head on over. :) Thank you for your support and for stopping by!



  1. OMFG YOU KILLED IT! Love this - love, love, love!!! *dies of jealousy*

    1. Thank you Angie!! You're a doll to say so. The suspense was KILLING me. You can only sneaky peak this one so much before giving it away LOL. I'm heading over to see what you did! Can't wait!!

  2. This is so awesome. Your pictures are amazing and the location is dead on perfect. Love the shading affects. Good Luck girlfriend

  3. Amazing! You are definitely swimming girl, no sinking for you! The quilting and all the hard work involved were totally worth it, the photography is awesome! YOU ROCK!

  4. This is just gorgeous Jade! everything about it is perfect, and what a great location for your pics!
    Good luck, not that you're going to need it ;)

  5. It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO AWEWSOME Jade!!!! The colors are perfection!!!! Good thinking on scaling down the size too! You killed it girl!!

  6. This is just stunning! Perfect colors. All that math sounds CRAZY! Good job with that part too!
    Gorgeous photos too.

  7. This is gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful! I love it more than words can say. Great job!

  8. I think this pattern is great too :) Nice to use the competition as an excuse to make stuff for us!

  9. This quilt has been on my todo list FOREVER! I love how your turned out, and the colors of the stripes are fantastic!

  10. Absolutely stunning! Your quilt is my top choice. Love the quilt, the photos, the quilting, everything!

  11. Your quilt is beautiful. Love the colors and the pixelation!

  12. This is just stunning, love it !!

  13. Awesome job my friend! Love how you have made it your own and the photos are fab. that location is breathtaking! Good luck x

  14. i think we have the sam favorite color! im obsessed with the aqua stripe and it looks perfect with the anchor pattern. i love the greys you chose as well! i have actually never really liked this pattern until now-- and now i want to make it!! i love the back too. great, great job!

  15. This is beautiful, congratulations on a job well done!

  16. I am in LOVE with the quilting you did on this quilt! You did a great job!

  17. Hello! Lovely quilt! I'd like to ask permission to feature your project (one photo with a link back to your post) on the Craftsy quilting blog. Please reply and let me know if that sounds okay.

  18. Hi Jade, im wondering if the scaled down version of the anchor pattern is available to purchase through you?

  19. Hi Julie,
    I wouldn't feel right doing a pattern for purchase. But I can tell you how to work it out for yourself. First print out the pattern. It's the Anchors Aweigh pattern by Tula Pink (I noticed the link wasn't working last time I checked but other locations have the PDF for download if you search.)
    The pattern is broken down into row by row instructions. The formula I used to calculate measurements is this:
    Original number -.5 (seam allowances) divided by 3, multiplied by 2 and then add .5 (seam allowances). This will give you your new measurement. Repeat for each figure given.
    For example, in the original pattern, the pixelated squares are 2" by 2".
    2-.5=1.5 1.5/3=.5 .5 x 2= 1 1+.5=1.5
    So all the pixelated squares for this size of quilt will be 1.5" x 1.5".
    Periodically, you will come up against a measurement that doesn't quite match a fraction. Ie. 27.83333. I choose the nearest fraction to that on the larger side, and trim down - in my example that would be 27 7/8 or 27.875. It's close enough to not make much of a real difference in the long run. I should do a blog post about this. Does this make sense?

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