Wisconsin Quilt Museum's Strawberry Challenge: Strawberry Blonde

There is a Wisconsin Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum in Cedarburg WI. The city of Cedarburg has a strawberry festival every June and the city and the museum joined forces and created a strawberry quilt contest this June.

I came up with the idea of strawberry blonde because it is a commonly used term in the hair salon to describe light red hair and I decided to be literal with the description and give a woman hair made of strawberries.

I did not own any strawberry themed fabric and went shopping for some but only found one digitally printed version. I put a post on my Facebook page to see if any of my FB friends had strawberry fabrics and/or buttons/trims. People came through with 5 different prints which I fussy cut all but one which I used in the background. Another friend brought me 2 styles of shank strawberry buttons. At my local quilt show late April one of my 5th grade hair customers/new quilter told me to go to a particular booth because there was red with white dot buttons which I purchased!!

I fashioned the hair as a collage and created rows of strawberries, including sliced ones, to look like strands of hair. I used burgundy for the under part of the hair and the digital print for the right side foundation. I added the dotted buttons as a row as well.

The dress was influenced by the green on green stripe from my stash that reminded me of 1960s dresses with the stripes going in all directions. I wanted to add embellishments but everything was too bold and took away from the hair. I purchased nail art motifs from The Dollar Tree which had a summer theme and included fruit and I was happy to discover there were sliced strawberries which were very tiny and worked well!!


This photo is a close up of the face and hair. I love using Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics for the skin tone gradations, eye brows, lips, lashes and iris. I embellished the face with a bit of nail polish, fabric paint and a "strawberry" nose piercing!

Dress close up photo

Dress close up photo

Button close up photos.

The contest is on display at the WI Quilt Museum from June 3-22 in which voting of entries will take place. The Strawberry Festival is June 24-25, 2017 and the quilts are on display until July 9th at the museum.

If this quilt does not get a ribbon in the contest I will have a quilt I really enjoy and I can use it for a color theory sample of a Complimentary Color Scheme of red and green. Also fun because these two colors are usually associated with Christmas, As they say "nature always gets it correct with color!"

Just the Portrait Part of Quilt

This is a sneak peak of a quilt I just completed. When I attended both the IQF Quilt Show in Chicago and the Quilt Expo in Madison, the Wisconsin Quilt Museum in Cedarburg WI (which I have never been to) was displaying a yurt. A yurt is a portable structure traditionally used by nomads in Central Asia as their home. The yurt was covered in banner sized quilts and the museum was selling yurt kits encouraging quilters to make a quilt which will travel for over two years to various quilt shows. The kits were sold by seasons and had batting included-I chose the "Spring" kit which had three Jane Sassaman fabrics from Free Sprit. I chose those because of the great color combination of hot pink, lime green and blue. It also had great flower motifs.

The rules stated the quilt was to be 32" wide by 71" long and use the three fabrics included in the quilt. This is a size I have never made before. I drew up a design on graph paper with traditional quilt blocks and using my "Intro to Portrait Quilts" pattern I created three women to fill in the middle of the quilt. It was the first time I made a portrait quilt and had more than one person in the quilt.

I selected three skin tones, three hairstyles, three hair colors, three garment styles and each woman has one of the three theme colors in her clothing. I chose blonde hair to contrast with the black background, red/pink hair to repeat the pink in the quilt and blackish/brown to say consistent with an African American woman's natural hair color. I stayed away from browns (too boring) and oranges (warm tones clashed with the cool pinks and blues.) One woman got blue eyes to repeat the blues in the quilt and same with the green eyes.

When the quilt was nearly finished I like to look at it from a distant by taking a picture with my iPhone. I discovered the afro blended too much into the background. What to do? I laid some turquoise wool roving on the hair and decided it showed too much contrast and she looked like Bride of Frankenstein!! Then I tried a black thin yarn with sheer pieces of bright tricot knitted in and the colors where awesome but she looked like a black folk doll with braids and ribbons. No other of my yarns seemed to work. I ended up machine quilting it tightly with a Sulky shiny blue/turquoise variegated thread to look like a tight curl. I added some blue glitter nail polish to enhance it and I was satisfied with the results.

The woman with the afro got some "earrings" and the other ladies got glitter nail polish in their hair.

I may add some small rhinestones to the traditional areas of the quilt. The quilt is not due until May and that is why I am not showing the whole thing so no one tries to copy my design.

If my quilt is judged into the Yurt Display I surrender ownership of the quilt which is the hard part. I struggled for a few days with that rule and decided to give up ownership if the museum choose it. If not, yeah!!!, I get my quilt back and will enter it in a quilt show or two.