A View of My Quilt Life

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Van Gogh Challenge Story - The Beginning.

In order to tell this story on this quilt, we need to travel back in time. 

 February 2017: Van Gogh in Switzerland

I only took two fabric projects with me when I was stationed in Lucerne.  The most important one was the Cherrywood Van Gogh Challenge project.

I knew from the beginning this was going to be a raw edge fused wall hanging. I LOVE Cherrywood hand dyes for fused work.  I began by searching the Van Gogh museum online, searching for inspiration.  It took a while. I wasn’t looking for irises, 




or landscapes. After spending a good amount of time on the online Van Gogh gallery site, I finally found just the painting for me.

 August 1883, The Hague, Netherlands.
Vincent Van Gogh painted ‘Lying Cow’, oil on canvas.  This painting is now in a private collection in France.

I love the blue hues of the challenge pack. It is a requirement of the challenge that your piece must be 75% of the challenge pack colors, with the entire front to be composed entirely of Cherrywood fabric (the exception being white as they don’t dye white fabric) No problem for me – I have Stash!

However, in an effort to converse fabric, I need to come up with a base fabric to fuse to, rather than construct the pieces jigsaw puzzle style, where each piece has an underlip on certain edges.  But not muslin. Something lighter, but not having an open weave. Something I had on hand. Something 100% cotton, light colored so I could trace on it, without any finish that would impede the fusing and preferable already the right size to work on.

Okay – don’t laugh!  I know that’s a lot of requirements but I have Stash and am determined to use it.  Trouble is, that stash is 95% batiks and hand dyed fabric, which I was trying to conserve.  It took me a bit of brainstorming but eventually, viola! A flour sack towel!  I had bought a few of these at Yoder’s Department Store in Shipshewana awhile back with no idea I’d be using one of them for a quilt base.  It turned out to be just the thing!  And yes, I will be buying a few more whenever I end up back that way next.
Using 'Lying Cow' as my inspiration, I sketched out the cow just the head and shoulders, for my challenge quilt. Then I traced it so I could produce a paper pattern to cut apart.  Then I traced it again, on the flour sack towel. 

One of the hardest things to do was to limit my palette as I couldn’t carry all my stash with me so some ruthless decision making was done. In a way, it was good because there was no dithering about which shade of pink/coral/blush/rose the tongue would end up. Decide & move On! became my motto.  It worked!

I quickly narrowed the background down to three (3) greens.

Those were cut out and hand stitched in place to conserve (there’s that word again) the fusible I had on hand.  

I didn’t have time to even begin to try to track down WonderUnder 805 in Switzerland.

Up next - cow parts.


  1. What a great choice for your quilt subject.

  2. You have definitely gone for the non-cliched Van Gogh painting! Fantastic!

  3. nice this blog.
    You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. I’m looking to reading your next post.