Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Challenge Number Two

Okay, so every quilt show our Guild has two challenges. One is the AQS National challenge, which I don't even bother with, as I simply am not worthy. The second challenge is sponsored by one of the vendors at our show and it's called 'The Bloomin' Challenge'-- I've finally figured out that 'The BLOOMIN' Challenge' really has nothing to do with flowers (took me 3 years--I'm a little slow to pick up on life's subtle nuances sometimes).
About 6 months prior to the quilt show, (and no, we do not wish to explain why I wait until 1 month before the show to even start thinking about this), we get a little packet with 3 fat quarters, each of which must appear on the front of the quilt in a recognizable amount. Maximum size is 160" perimeter--so a 40x40 wallhanging or table quilt is what I strive for.
In the past I have liked the challenge fabrics. In fact, I've liked them so much that I've purchased extra. There's been so much love that my entire quilt tops have been made of nothing but challenge fabric. Has this won me any prizes? No. The pieces that usually win are those really creative artsy kind of quilts that are mostly made of lovely coordinated fabric with just the right amount of challenge fabric to cover the rules.
Anyway, I digress. Getting back to the challenge at hand, let me just say that this years fabrics are pretty hideous.
You can see how I thought that this fabric might have been handprints when I saw the folded fat quarter. Then I opened it and saw the dinosaur footprints and stars and tulips. And that color? It is unaffected by the flash of the camera or the indoor light....what you see is what you get. Interesting, no?.
Next we have this beauty. I don't get it, it's kind of an  M.C. Escher before the drugs kicked in print. I will tell you that the theme of the challenge is 'Geometry', which is where that must have come from. I cannot imagine how anyone would have used this fabric in anything other than a men's short sleeve, button down, polyester bowling shirt circa 1957.

Finally, we have chicken scratch. Nondescript beige with tan scratchy lines throughout. It lends a painful, discordant contrast to the other two fabrics.

Now I'm not the kind of girl that's gonna miss the bus three days in a row. Twice, okay....but not three times. So this time I wised up and tossed in a couple of solids to detract from the sheer hideous-ity of the challenge fabrics. And while I'm not an art quilter (refer to previous posts on Suz  Zwizzle, Art Quilter), I had to find some way to make a competitive 'geometric' quilt, so I fell back on my conversion quilt skills)

And then to be just a tad arty, yet still constrained by 'geometry' (as defined by a math-challenged person), I found a little spool of metallic gold iron-on bias tape in a drawer and went to town. I'm pretty pleased with myself, so far. (What is with my affinity for shiny, sparkly things?)

Before we crack open the Cristal, we need to acknowledge that one of the challenge fabrics is missing. I thought about using a black binding and adding the tiniest little beige flange around it that I could get away with. However, I don't want to take the chance that it's 'nonrecognizable' in the quilt top and be disqualified, so my back-up plan was to make these (call me crazy) 1/2" precision-pieced 36-patch blocks that incorporated the missing challenge fabric.

My intent is to set these in the quilt border, ON POINT (cue maniacal laughter here). I have no sure idea of how to accomplish this, and it's definitely going to finish with a LOT of seams in that border if left to me to figure out, so let me just say that any instruction/advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

At this point I'm telling myself that it's Geometric--albeit LOOSELY---hey, it's got squares and lines (and hopefully a couple of diamonds), and I'll quilt it with some diagram-ish patterns.  I don't expect my effort to win any prizes.  It's just all about the journey. We all need to be challenged sometimes. Especially those of us that are usually the ones dishing out the challenges :)

When all is said and done, this little quilt will add some color to my daughter's classroom as a table quilt (which is where last year's challenge quilt wound up). And I'll have had some practice piecing, and quilting, so it's all good.


  1. That's a rough challenge. But, you pulled it off nicely. Each of those fabrics has merit, if you could design around them, but to use the three of them together would be hard to do. If you can, show us the best and worst from the show. Lane

  2. Repeat after me, "I am worthy." I've seen enough of your work to know that you could do the AQS challenge easily. Nonetheless, you did a wonderful job on the bloomin' challenge.


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