Friday, January 23, 2015

New SAQA challenge -- it's quite a challenge

First, a shout-out to the Pixeladies, Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt, two art quilters who have made a great day job out of their computer knowledge.  They conduct online classes in Photoshop Elements and I am taking class 1, the total beginners' program.  I may write more about the classes later but for now just let me say they're great teachers.

Yesterday I tackled the lesson on how to make quiltlike designs by copying a fabric swatch, cutting "squares" out of it, and arranging them into patterns.  Sure, I could have googled "fabric designs" or gone to any one of the prominent fabric manufacturers' sites, but only minutes before I had looked at my email and found a call for entries from SAQA.

It seems that last year SAQA paired up with Andover Fabrics to put out a collection called Urban Textures, six different fabrics designed by six SAQA members.  Now the fabrics are in the stores, and there's a challenge to make quilts from the fabrics, which will be shown online and in the SAQA Journal.

Longtime readers of this blog may recall my ambivalence about challenges; they're a temptation I try to resist except in closely defined circumstances.  But now I needed some "fabric samples" to practice my Photoshopping, so I got them from the Andover site.

After most of the day I think I have pretty much mastered the art of making nine-patch "quilts" on my computer.  I can even make twelve-patch quilts!  But what I realized about the SAQA collection is that it's not really a collection, it's a bunch of unrelated designs.  Each of the designs is attractive by itself, and if you were to combine all three of its colorways you could probably make an interesting quilt.

I particularly like this first pattern below,  "Urban Gesture," designed by Elizabeth Brandt.  I can't tell from the website how big the designs are on the fabric, but I hope this one is REALLY BOLD.

Unfortunately, the six patterns don't play well together.

Not sure what kind of responses they will get to this challenge; I suspect those who participate will buy just one of the fabrics, perhaps in different colorways, and combine it with stuff from their stash.  I don't anticipate much mixing.


  1. I totally agree with you. This is not a collection. It would be a real challenge to put them together in one piece. I am tempted to try but reluctant to buy the set because the scale seems off. I was afraid of this when the call went out for designs. A cohesive collection builds on elements that coordinate and strengthen each other. Scale, pattern, color and value are paramount to the success of the whole. This is like a group show, disparate elements speaking different languages. Not sure what the SAQA people were thinking when they selected such diverse patterns.

  2. Thanks for this Kathy... I just ordered the FQ bundle (actually ordered two) from EQuilter's online shop for our next SAQA Central Canada Regional meeting - the group can ponder the Challenge. I agree that the collection is questionable re: working all together, but there are some interesting individual pieces - have to wait for the Challenge...and the arrival of the fabrics.
    As always, thanks for your insight.

  3. As I skimmed the call for entries, you didn't have to use all the fabrics, so presumably you could order just your favorite one instead of getting the bundle.

    Let me know what you think when you get the fabric -- I hope it's even nicer in person than on line.

  4. eQuilter has all of the collection designs as individual pieces in yardage as well as Fat Quarters. I ordered the two bundles to have enough for a few Cdn. SAQA members to share... they can pick their favourites at our next Regional meeting and maybe we can do something here, not necessarily for the Challenge (whatever it is). Wait and see. Let you know.

    Each design had two colour ways as I remember... I would have loved to have seen all of the MANY submitted designs (over a hundred I think). Luana Rubin chose the collection pieces.