Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole

This is the only warning:  if you are part of the Martin County Quilters and want to be surprised about my entry for the member challenge - STOP READING!

This quilt was oodles of fun!  It all started back when Martin County Quilters announced the 2013 Member Challenge -- black and white. I knew immediately I would be doing one of my zentangle doodles, but didn't know exactly what or how so I put the thought away for a while.  One morning I woke up, poured my coffee and sat down to doodle.  Well, I doodled and doodled and this happened:

I had been playing around with an Alice in Wonderland-ish quilt in my head for awhile, and well, the Mad Hatter, he's one of my favorites and this quilt totally speaks Mad Hatter (at least to me).  So this just seemed like the perfect place for all these ideas to meet -- kinda cool if I say so.

The rules for the challenge were pretty simple -- max size 160" perimeter, must be black and white (you can add 1-2 other colors but they can't total more than 25%) and that's it.

So I took my drawing and enlarged it to about 39" square:

Yep, that's an aerial of my kitchen table -- wow, it looks amazingly fun now huh?

So I started with a piece of really nice white fabric -- when I say really nice, it is such a smooth silky feeling fabric!  Now, to try and remember when and where I purchased this... that just might kill me, but let me tell you it is absolutely sweet fabric!  I'll make a mental note to keep looking for it because now I've only got a little chunk left -- it looks like this:

I know, that wasn't much help huh?  So from there I transferred the pattern to the fabric in pencil:

And then the inking and coloring began:

And after about 80 hours this happened -- awesomeness!

And then it was time for the quilting... Yes, I still suffer from I'm-really-gonna-mess-this-up anxiety!  Seriously!!  When it comes time to quilt my own stuff I turn into a nervous-nelly.

So as with almost all quilts, I start by basting the entire quilt so I know it is square and make sure there will be no surprises when I get down to the bottom.  This also allows me to roll the quilt back and forth as much as necessary while quilting.

 Then some test stitches and we're off:

Staying on those lines... hmmm, maybe next time I'll quilt it first then color it in!  And some super-duper tiny pebbles -- FUN!

Hey... did you know that if you stick your hand in front of the needle it will bite you!  This has happened to me many times, but this is the very first time I got blood on the quilt!  Oh no!!  But, did you know that a tiny little bit of peroxide on a Q-Tip takes it right off!  Magic!

Although this quilt was hanging fairly flat, blocking is always a good idea with any competition piece.
before blocking
So it was dipped, blocked, and stayed like this for a couple of days while it dried:
during blocking
 And that leaves us with binding... ugh... yuck... hate... slow...

But here we go, the finished picture -- OMG, I love this quilt!!!
Down the Rabbit Hole - an original design by Karen Marchetti
So the best part of this... as I was finishing inking and coloring the design I realized how awesome it was and decided to submit it to MQX Quilt Festivals Pacific Northwest show.  It was accepted, so everyone will get to see it debut there.  No worries, it will still be my member challenge for Martin County Quilters, and hopefully many more shows!  Hope you get a chance to see it!


  1. Wildly fantastic!!! I will see it next week!! Can't wait! Thanks for sharing the process!

  2. Simply stunning!

  3. Super gorgeous, absolutely love it. Well done.

  4. Your commitment to detail is inspiring...You love the perfection of all steps, I can see that, and I need to emulate that. I will never attain your skill level, but, I will always reach for it. Really amazing quilt, thanks for sharing.

  5. Karen, this is absolutely amazing. I wish my brain worked like yours. Now, what kind of ink, did you use Glide thread? What kind of batting. And I love, love, love the back too.

  6. Very cool. What kind of inking did u use? Always wanted to design my own fabric, not nearly as good as you are!!!

  7. very cool - do you think this fabric may be southern belle? that is a very very nice white with a marvelous hand.

  8. This quilt is incredibly amazing and will have ribbons on it! You Rock!!! Love your attention to detail and the journey through your process. Thank you for that. The back is perfect for it. I would also like to know what type/brand of ink that you used. .

  9. Love this Karen, and the name is perfect! I started to read this and I don't know how I missed your picture and name, looked at three or four of the larger blowups and saw your name, and thought WOW, that's Lisa's friend Karen! What did you use to color the quilt with, is this considered a whole cloth quilt?

  10. Fabulous, can't wait to see it next week....

    Good luck
    Kay in Scotland


  11. awesome quilt.....amazing talent that you have with design and freemotion.....

  12. This quilt is definitely a winner!! Did you stabilize the back of the fabric while you "inked it"? Freezer paper, stabilizer, etc.??

  13. Absolutely love this! And congrats on having it featured on The Quilt Show. Thanks for sharing the process with us.

  14. This Quilt is utterly, utterly, utterly amazing!!! Superb!!!

  15. love this so much, I bought the fabric, or sue pattens fabric... similar design zen, feathers

  16. love this so much, I bought the fabric, or sue pattens fabric... similar design zen, feathers