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!


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