Alice in Avant Garde Land

2016 is off to a wonderful start! The weather in December was unseasonably warm,  but now it’s cold and we got a major snowstorm this weekend.  Doesn’t mother nature realize I’m supposed to be on the Avant Garde blog hop?  30 plus inches of snow.  Brrrr….but onto quilting adventures!

Back in November, Katarina Roccella asked if I would participate in a blog hop celebrating her new Art Gallery Fabrics line Avant Garde – clicking on the link will take you over to AGF so you can see the entire line.  She didn’t have to ask twice.

And here’s the line up for the blog hop.  As you can see, I’m up today, but I wanted to make sure you had the entire line up so you could go visit these incredible makers to see what they’ve done with this line.  And you can click on the blog tour emblem and go to Katarina’s blog to read more.

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January 15th: Megan Jimenez from Quilt Story
January 16th: Svetlana Sotak of Sotak handmade
January 17th: Sharon Mcconnell of Colorgirlquilts
January 18th: Rachael Gander of Imagine gnats
January 19th: Ali Brorsen of Because of Brenna
January 20th: Laura Scaramella of Simple Life Company
January 21st: Alexis of My sweet sunshine
January 22nd: Marija Vujčić
January 23rd: Hema Malini of Malini’s quilts
January 24th: Kristy Sachs – Rockbabyscissors
January 25th: Paul Hallinger aka Evildemondevildog
January 26th: Erica Jackman
January 27th: Kathleen Quilts
January 28th: The Tattooed Quilter
January 29th: Nicole – Lillyella
January 30th: Sari – Sariditty handmade

January 31st: Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s quilts

As usual, I played in Electric Quilt 7 for a few days and came up with a design I thought played well with the fabric line.  Well, truth I came up with 18 different designs.  Here are a few of the varieties.  I settled on the first one and fabric was on its way.

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I waited (impatiently of course!) for the fabric to arrive.  I had picked some of my favorite pieces from the line, as well as some pieces from Katarina’s prior line Indelible and of course some of the wonderful Pure Elements solids from AGF.  And when it arrived I was adrift in a sea of color and composition that was Avant Garde.





I was about to start to work on the project when I got that very annoying nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right.  The design didn’t feel right anymore.  As I stared at the fabric, I had a brainstorm. Or just a bad headache because I was stuck.  Who knows.  But I then came up with a plan.  And that plan led to Alice in Avant Garde Land.

I had been enamored with Katarina’s Wonderland fabric but had not participated in the blog hop.  I had told Katarina I was afraid I would take Alice to places she didn’t want to go.  So here I am, taking her on a journey through Avant Garde Land.  The combination of the lines, along with the pure elements solids, was calling me.  A big shout out to Hawthorne Threads for supplying all the additions (and some last minute Avant Garde since I changed directions a few times).

For those of you who haven’t used AGF fabrics, yes you can feel the difference.  It has a wonderful hand and cuts and sews beautifully.  As I began constructing blocks, I set about telling a story on Instragram for each of constructions.   This blog post is the finish of Alice’s journey.

I stared with fussy cutting six Alices from the Wonderland line – the block is of my own design (well, technically I deleted some lines from a block in Electric Quilt 7 to make the block I wanted).








I paired this with a very geometric block –  I used this on the outside of each of the many designs I had developed – which showed off some of the central prints and fabrics from Avant Garde so well.








And of course my quilting life wouldn’t be complete without some flying geese.








I kept the 3/4 compass stars that I really wanted to include, though I did reduce their complexity from the original design.


Then I ran into trouble.  With a capital T.  As I started to sew blocks together, I realized I had forgotten to add in the bottom chalk mark string for the geese.  My geese had no feet!  Ack!  I pondered and pondered and could not figure out an easy fix to keep all the geese and not have them look incomplete (to me!) so I added some other blocks, again with a very geometric frame to them.  You’ll see those in the finished piece (since I apparently forgot to take pictures of those!).

And all these blocks make up the story of Alice in Avant Garde Land.  Here is the full tale and season finale!

Alice In Avant Garde Land

Her eyes adjusted as she stepped from the darkness of the looking glass.  Oh my, she cried, the colors are so bright!  I must be in wonderland.  No, a voice boomed behind her, you’re not in wonderland anymore.

And Alice turned to where the voice was and saw an explosion of color  Where am I, yelled Alice.  You are in Avant Garde Land Alice.  Be prepared for anything.

How do I prepare, cried Alice.  Tears were streaming down her face.  I just want to go home.  We can help!  Alice looked up to see a flock of the most beautiful and colorful flying geese she had ever seen.  Follow us and the chalk marks we leave for you.  A smile returned to Alice’s face.

Alice took the advice of the beautiful geese and followed them and the chalk marks they left for her.  Where would they lead her?

Alice kept walking through Avant Garde Land.  At times she found herself almost skipping along the colorful paths.  This was nothing like home, she thought, it was so different.  I can feel the difference.

Alice walked until the lights were low.  This was truly a fantastic voyage, she thought.  As she looked up into the night sky, she saw the prettiest star.  I’ve been waiting for you, said the starman.  The stars are out tonight, Alice, and they will help guide you home.

Alice realized she had been walking throughout the night.  Good morning, Alice, exclaimed the morning sun as it peeked over the crest of a hill.  Your journey is almost done as your destination is near.  Thank you, fair sun, said Alice.  A sudden sadness crept over Alice.  Would she never see the beautiful geese, stars and colors of Avant Garde Land again?  She felt the sting of a tear as it moved down her cheek.

Alice wiped away the tear and realized she had reached the end of her journey.  She found herself standing in front of the looking glass where she had started this long journey full of color and beauty.  She stared at the glass, looking for a way home, but saw only her reflection.  There is no way home, Alice thought, because I am home.  I always have been.  When I feel overwhelmed, or feel like I’ve lost my way, I just need to keep my eyes open to the beauty and wonders around me, and I will always find my way.  Alice smiled and her reflection smiled back.

I may not be the best writer or quilter, but I have fun, and living  with the beauty around me makes me happy, as does creating.  And so I give you the finished piece!  I quilted it on my Bernina 730 and am in love with it.  Thank you Katarina for another stunning line, thank you Art Gallery Fabrics for wonderful fabric and letting me play on the blog hop.  Always a pleasure!

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And of course, as with many of Katarina’s other fabric lines, I couldn’t stop at just one piece.  I really did want to make this into a 50 inch square piece.  But I settled for a 24 inch square and am thrilled with this piece.  For me it truly speaks Avant Garde.  Because I couldn’t get the final patterns to work in Electric Quilt, I wound up using heat and bound to fuse the 97 pieces of material I painstakingly cut out onto backing fabric.  I’ve done a small zig zag stitch to each section for added stability (I have found heat and bond breaks down over time, even on wall hangings, and nothing worse than dangling fabric!).  Now to quilt it and I have a new piece of art for the wall.


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