Banner Challenge

This years Quilt Challenger for Quilters Holladay was based upon this website.  We were to make a quilt that was 50 cm wide by 2 meters long using any fiber or technique we wished to use.  I decided to experiment with soywax to make a batik.  I painted some swirls with thickened Procion Dye and then flicked spots of dye allover.  I then waxed the swirls and all the spots I wanted to keep. 
I did this on my back patio in October.  I really liked how easy it was to melt the soywax in my make-shift double boiler but soon realized why it's really best to use wax in a warm enviroment - the wax was cooling too quicky on the fabric.  Luckily my friend Anne, the fabulous batiker, showed me a little trick in her class this summer that saved me.  Anne likes to keep a knife hot by sitting it under the coils of the hot plate.  This hot knife can then be used to remelt any wax that has refused to pentrate the fabric.  Genius!    After waxing the color I threw the whole piece into a zip lock bag and dumped black dye on it.  I was looking forward to seeing the extreme differences from the bright colors to the black.  As I looked at the black dye in the bag I realized I should have added just a bit more water so it could spread through the fabric easier - and here is where I made my fatal mistake - so I thought "Oh here is some water in the double boiler, no reason to let it go to waste."  I dumped about a cup full of the boiling water into the bag.  As I watched the steam rise from the bag I realized what an idiot I'd been:  WAX MELTS!  After I contemplated this reality for a few minutes I decided I should pull the fabric out and rinse it immediately to prevent myself from having an all black piece of fabric. Some of the red was dulled by the black infusion but the piece wasn't totally wasted.  I could have dried the piece rewaxed it and then dyed it black again but the weather had gone from balmy to freezing during the few hours I had been on the patio.  I decided to stay warm and work with what I had.

I added some petals to the upper swirls as they were looking like flowers to me and then I used Paintstiks to embellish.  The bottom half is quilted in layers of "soil" which are very difficult to see from far away.  Perhaps different colored thread would have been beneficial.  I like the top half much better than the bottom half.  The entire project was an education.

I was truely humbled by the other quilts displayed at this years challenge. 
There were so many beautiful pieces!
(Unfortunately my pictures are a little yellow from the lights in the gym.)
 
The Holiday piece on the left (above) was the overall winner.
The quilting was perfect on front and back. 
There were even little jewel embellishments on the back.
Look at all these beautiful banners!
  There was some pretty tough competition this year.

The piece on the left in the above photo was the second place winner. 
The banner is made from hundreds of small pieces of raw silk. 
My quilt looks very dull next to all those rich colors! 
The silk is so beautiful.

The third place winner was the cats banner on the left.  The edging was so interesting on this piece.  It looked like she had quilted a lot of small swirled pieces and then stitched them on top. They really added an extra dimension to the piece.  The banner in the middle was made by our resident expert hand quilter.  She is 90 something years old and hand quilts lap quilts for soliders in the hospital at Bethesda.
I am so blessed to be able to associated with such talented women!

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