Challenges

My guild usually has a challenge every year, where we are given rules to follow to create a quilted item. Typically, we work without showing anyone what we're up to, then display the challenges, anonymously, at a guild meeting. It's always interesting to see how we take the same rules and run in different directions.


Most of my quilts are given as gifts, but my challenges are often made just for me. Sometimes it's difficult to follow the rules, but being pushed to follow them takes me to places I might not get to otherwise. These have been great opportunities for creative play.

Posies for Jane - 2010

One of the rules for this challenge was to use the chartreuse/orange-red Dimples fabric in the block above, on the right. I added other fabrics in those colors plus a blue-violet.

The pieced blocks were foundation pieced. The motifs in the center were fused applique and machine blanket stitched with metallic thread.

Friendship is Always in Season - 2007

This Challenge is also a Story Quilt.

Pennies From Heaven

This Challenge is on my Shisha Embroidery Page.

My One and Only - 2007

This guild Challenge had many rules (ideas were pulled from a bag).

Here are the rules I remember. Quilt must include:

  1. A Kaleidoscope block
  2. Purple and Green
  3. A 9-Patch block
  4. A flower

I always wanted to make a 6-pointed star. This is my One and Only.

I "hid" my 9-patch block in the border. The three gold squares are the diagnoal patches of a 9-patch block. The other squares in the block match the border fabric, so the block disappears into the border. I wouldn't have added the 9-patches if I didn't have to, but they really add a wonderful element to the quilt. This is an example of Challenge rules taking us to great places we might not go to otherwise.

I attached tiny flower beads to each of the gold squares, to meet that requirement.

Using Paula Nadelstern's technique, I fussy cut the diamonds within each star to look identical. Each block was a surprise when the diamonds were put together.

I was stunned when I finished this last block. I was out of fabric, and I saw purple-eyed aliens! Can you see them?

The gold and green fabrics are cotton lamé. Beautifully shiny, but easy to work with. All quilting threads are metallic, except for black thread used inside each star block.

Parcheezi in the Garden - 2006

I printed out a diagram of the quilt (many times) and practiced drawing the border design over and over until I felt comfortable with it. It was SO exciting when I started stitching and it turned out just as I had hoped!

The Challenge required us to use this block. I used four blocks in the center, then repeated the corner unit of the block in the border corners. I wanted to make the challenge blocks disappear. Can you see them?

See the little green dots? That is actually a triangle of green dotted fabric with a black background.

This is the first quilt where I started feeling confident about my free motion quilting.

I still got negative comments from a quilt judge about some tension issues that showed on the quilt

I still got negative comments from a quilt judge about some tension issues that showed on the quilt back (even though I'd covered the worst parts with my quilt label!)

Summer Was Invented for her to Wear That Dress - 2005

This Challenge was to be inspired by text.

Greg Brown is one of my favorite story-telling folk singers. His words paint loving pictures in my mind.


His song, If I Had Known, has a line that makes me think of my sister-in-law on the day she married my brother.



For Mom - 2004

This Challenge required a curved pieced seam, and shades of black, white and another color.

When I found an old photo of my mother, I realized it would work for shades of black and white. Our Challenges were presented anonymously, so I knew if I used purple everyone would know it was mine. So, I chose pink to help me deal with my aversion to pink (my mother's favorite color).

The back was made from photo transfers of family 'love notes' to my mom.

The feathers below were my first machine-quilted feathers. I always loved my grandmother's hand-quilted feathers, so it was great learning to do them by machine.

Underground Railroad Challenge - 2003

We had to include blocks used in Underground Railroad quilts, along with certain reproduction fabrics from that era.

I wanted my machine quilting to be identical in each block. Stitching through Golden Threads paper helped me create this traditional style of quilting. These colors don't excite me, but I was pleased with the result.

Made for my buddy Cherie.