UPDATE (2/10/2015):  Our quilt was accepted to be in the AQS 2016 Quilt Art Engagement Calendar, click this link to purchase this calendar from AQS.

Towards the end of 2013, a quilting group that my Mom and I are a part of a challenge to create a quilt that is 30″ x 30″ to submit to a the AQS Grand Rapids Quilt Show Guild Challenge.  A few months later the group decided to make the challenge a Mackinaw Island Bike Tour theme.  Mackinaw Island is located between the upper and lower peninsulas in Michigan, USA.  Mackinaw Island is open from Spring to Fall and the only way to access the island is by boat or plane.  There are no cars on the island and the modes of transportation around the island are bike or horse.

If you would like more information on Mackinaw Island follow this link: Mackinaw Island

Each of the members of the group picked some pictures from the island taken by Brenda Bremer, it needed to be 30″ x 30″, and included a bike. We each started to create our quilts based on the photograph we each chose.  There were 9 quilts that were going to be created, several were being put together by two group members like my Mom and I.

My Mom and I chose the Little Stone Church and we took our photograph and projected it onto a wall and started by tracing the larger elements of the picture onto a white sheet of paper. Once we had our base tracing, the we started auditioning fabrics for all the background, church and grass.

Image by Brenda Bremer that we based our quilt on.

Image by Brenda Bremer that we based our quilt on.

Cutting main elements of the quilt.

Cutting main elements of the quilt.

Cutting main elements of the quilt.

Cutting main elements of the quilt.

We spend about a combined of 30 hours with auditioning the fabrics,  cutting the main elements and getting them fused to the muslin to get our background elements, at this point we could start auditioning fabrics for the foreground objects and details.  We took about a month off in between the background and foreground and then we put about a combined 80 hours into adding the details of the quilt.

Background elements fused.

Background elements fused.

Background elements fused.

Background elements fused.

Fabric auditioning for foreground elements.

Fabric auditioning for foreground elements.

Foreground elements applied.

Foreground elements applied.

In the last picture above we had most of our elements applied, we were missing the bike and sign, but we took this picture and studied it and realized that the tall tree on the right didn’t look very natural and worked on that tree so that it didn’t look like the utility company had worked on it.  Below is the modified tree.

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Tree modified on the right.

Once we felt like we had our foreground elements in place, we fused it all down, and I began to do some quilting on it before we put the bike and sign in place.  We also added black tulle to the left side of the church and the left side of the entrance to give it some depth and shadowing.

Quilting the foreground elements in place.

Quilting the foreground elements in place.

Quilting the foreground elements in place.

Quilting the foreground elements in place.

Tulle on the left side of the entrance

Tulle on the left side of the entrance

At this point we enlisted my graphic artist husband to re-create the sign of the church and we printed it on fabric and added it to our quilt, and we printed pictures of a bike and cut it out and added it behind the stone wall on the left side of the quilt.  We used fabric markers to add shading and color the blocks on the church and then my mom put the binding on the quilt.

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

Once we all finished our quilts and went to submit them in the guild challenge for the AQS Grand Rapids Quilt Show, we found that we were ineligible because only one person can work on a quilt, and we had several quilts that two people and worked on.  We did submit each quilt individually to the show and we were all accepted to show our quilts!   At this show my Mom and I were approached by Klaudeen Hansen who puts together the QuiltART engagement calendar for AQS about including our quilt into their calendar book.  We should find out in Feburary 2015 if our quilt will be added to this calendar!  I will keep you updated.

Finally, I want to show all the other quilts that were a part of this awesome project.  The quilt group is called Pieceful Valley Quilters and most of the women that worked on these art quilts had never done anything like this before and if they had it was not of this scale.  Each quilt has many many hours of work in them, and it turned out to be quite a piece of art as a whole group of quilts and individually.  Below are the other quilts that are a part of this challenge.

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