Quilt Challenge

Shaking Up The Quilt Reveal

Following this past October’s retreat I found myself giving serious thought to the focus and direction of my quilting. I had reached a point of feeling stuck. There is an inner artist in me that lives in a rich internal environment of completed art quilts, where my ever unfinished Princess hangs fully stitched alongside the others in her series; quilts yet unmade but already envisioned, with titles like The Duchess, The Pope, and The Jester. Beyond that series, another plan and pattern exists, one for my (fingers crossed) 1st submission to the prestigious Quilt National Exhibit. Curly Girlie is both it’s name and subject – and I feel certain you would like her if I would ever actually make her. Additionally, my grandson Chase has been patiently waiting for his half-finished portrait for so long now that it’s possible he’s forgotten all about it.

That all leads me to this…

Back when I decided to start writing a blog, the idea was to use it as a tool to jumpstart my creativity. Shortly thereafter, the “T For Two” Quilt Challenge idea with Candace Winiarski took root and wonderful things started happening. It was great fun exploring new techniques and growing my skills through sharing small quilt projects with friends…and it’s still fun. The problem that’s developed for me – the feeling stuck part – is that I’m a bit of a slow worker and a lot of my available quilt time has gone to those small challenge quilts. Other projects receive stop and start and stop again kind of attention.

So that aforementioned serious thought led to an idea: tweaking the premise of the quilt challenge. With a green light from the group, here’s the new plan: We will be circulating a piece of fabric amongst ourselves every month or so, each person taking a turn at altering or embellishing the fabric in some way. Each time the fabric changes hands we’ll show the latest alteration. The themed quilt challenges will still continue for those who wish to participate and those will be revealed as well, generally every 2-3 months. At the end of the year, we’ll divide the altered fabric evenly and each use it in a challenge quilt for a big final reveal. This way I get to play with the fabric when it’s my turn, socialize with my friends, enjoy everyone else’s quilts, and free up my quilt time by making just the final quilt at years end. Win – win!

Now that that’s all taken care of, let’s enjoy the quilts from our latest reveal. 🙂

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Our challenge this time was to modernize an older, traditional quilt block. I chose the block known as Grandmother’s Flower Garden, which is often represented as softly colored hexagons pieced into circular “flower” shapes spread over the larger quilt. I picked this design initially because I just happened to have a bag of already made hexagons tucked away, that I had been working on sporadically over the last couple of years. What a surprise when I spilled out the bag of colorful hexies made from Kaffe Fassett fabrics and had a wonderful memory of my own Great Grandma Jewett’s bright and beautiful zinnia garden. That sealed the deal! Her garden of hot orange, pink, and red flowers was so impressive to me as a child that I convinced my Dad to carve out a small flower garden at our house too, so could plant zinnias. My quilt has a central embellished garden with sequins, beads, and sparkly butterflies. It was a sensory delight to make and brought back many precious memories.

Photo: Emery and Lena Jewett, my great grandparents. Detail (top), old block (bottom).

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Alison Lerg didn’t modernize an old block – she made a fresh and beautiful quilt from an old handkerchief! After having been given a box of vintage hankies and linens, she felt inspired to use origami folding techniques to create this delicate dress. What a wonderful way to repurpose and recycle. This quilt is being given as a gift back to the box owner. 🙂

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Candace Winiarski modernized a basic nine patch with unusual fabric choices, including a piece of her own weaving in the bottom center. The feathers on her quilt are a nod and a wink to the traditional feather quilting motif. Scattered aboriginal fabric hexagons bring in a modern design element.

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Brenda Koepf went for a “split screen” to feature both a traditional Sunbonnet Sue and her  own updated design.

Coming Up: The next themed challenge is “Idioms” but before revealing those quilts, Candace will be unveiling her alteration to the One Year Project fabric. Something to look forward to…and now I’m off to (finally) finish The Princess!

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