Simba and the Moda Bella Challenge - Robin Quilts

Simba and the Moda Bella Challenge

Sasha and Simba, taken in 2016


I’ve been away for a bit for a couple of reasons. First, my favorite cat Simba passed away. He had an excellent life – he was almost 20 years old, and had been with us for the last 15. We spoiled him rotten, especially over the last couple of years when he really started to show his age. (I had no idea that there was such a thing as Ensure for cats until this guy!) As I’m sure most of you know, the passing of a beloved family pet is never easy. This guy was my bud, so I took it especially hard.

Moda Bella Challenge

While I was caring for Simba before he passed, I did a lot of quilting. (Like we ever need a reason, eh?) He’d doze in his orthopedic, self-warming cat bed (I did mention we spoiled him, right?) while I did my thing. I came across the Moda Bella Challenge, and was intrigued. The green fabric was exactly the color of Simba’s eyes, and I liked the thought of doing something with him in mind. I’d never done anything like that, though, and I was terrified that I couldn’t. That, of course, meant that I had to do it.

The basis of the challenge is that 12 specific fabrics had to be used (Bella Solids, of course). The quilt also had to be original, modern in style, and 72″ x 90″. The Fat Quarter Shop (one of my favorite places to shop!) had the brilliant idea of putting all 12 fabrics into a fat quarter bundle. I bought two.

I wish I could say that inspiration struck me and everything came together. In reality, I sat on it for a couple of weeks, afraid to start. My goal here was not to win – this being the first time I tried anything like this, I didn’t expect to – my goal was just to make the quilt and get it submitted by the deadline.

Finally, about 10 days before the deadline, I cut everything up and made a bunch of half-square triangles. (Who doesn’t love half-square triangles, right?) I moved them around on my design wall until a pattern “spoke” to me.

I finished putting the top together, and basted the layers together. Then it was time for machine quilting! I had that moment I always have before starting to quilt something, whether it’s for me or someone else. I just freeze, and it’s like all the quilt patterns I know fly right out of my head. Eventually, I just start, and it all comes back to me.

I don’t do simple when I quilt. I thought about doing an all-over design to get it done, but I knew I would be bored to tears on something this large.

Each row in the rainbow-diamond got a different pattern (most of which I’d never done before). There was so much negative space, I think I went a little crazy. I really like the “row” outside the diamond (the gray thread on the black fabric). 10 bobbins of thread were used on this monster (that’s the way I judge complexity), and it weighs a ton, but it’s finished! My husband helped me take some (not great) photos, and I submitted it – one day early, even!

I did find out yesterday that my quilt was not selected to be a finalist, but I really didn’t expect it to be. I learned so much through this process! Especially with regards to free motion quilting – I got to try out many of the things I’d seen but never been brave enough to try. My goal was to get it done and submitted in time, and I did.

Simba, 1998-2017

Simba would have loved to shed all over it. We miss you, buddy.


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