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'Tis the season for Modern Quilt Guild members to wait in limbo to hear about their quilt submissions for QuiltCon 2019. I know I'm in lots of good company. The show will be in Nashville February 21-24. I look forward to attending the show and connecting with the community.

This was the first year that I wasn't racing to finish all potential submissions at the last minute. Unfortunately, I did run out of time for the Michael Miller Hash Dot Fabric Challenge project that I was working on in November. However, I did choose four of my 2018 finishes to submit. You can click through if you'd like to read more about my process and see more pictures of each project.

 

Pantone Ultra Violet All About Angles

Greenery

Fandangle Scrappy Squares

Modern Batik

Congratulations to everyone who has submitted their work and best wishes as you wait for selection letters.

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I participate in a lot of quilt challenges. I even finish many of them by the deadline. ;-) So, I thought it would be great to share some of the reasons why I enjoy participating in quilt challenges. If you haven't participated in one, I hope to encourage you to give it a try. (Maybe it could be on your 2019 goal list. *hint hint*)

Challenges have a deadline.

Maybe you're like me and have a lot of projects in progress. The number of quilts on my list honestly doesn't bother me, but sometimes it does make choosing which quilts are top priority difficult. A quilt challenge project has a deadline, so it helps to push through to the finish. In many cases it is appropriate to make a small quilt. And sometimes another item, like a bag, may fit the requirements.

Challenges stretch me creatively.

Sometimes it's a color palette or a challenge fabric that may not be my cup of tea. Sometimes it's simply trying to create something new and interesting. Often quilt challenge pieces are small, which makes it more palatable to try out something new. I often like to take the opportunity to do something I wouldn't otherwise do. Or, if I'm working in a series, a challenge can provide a twist to something I've already done. My All About Angles and Animals quilt was a twist on my All About Angles technique that used printed and directional fabric. I made it additionally challenging by varying the width of my rows. My Greenery quilt, which the top was originally created for the 2017 Pantone Quilt Challenge and a Bay Area Modern guild challenge to use squares and rectangles developed into my Planned Improv: Scrappy Squares workshop that I enjoy teaching to guilds.

Challenges add a sense of community to my quilting.

Working on the same challenge adds a stronger common thread among quilters. For instance, it gives you a specific topic which you can engage about and discuss. Kelly and I were working on our Pantone Ultra Violet challenge quilts at the same time and had shared at least a bit about out projects online. Before the challenge we were pretty much strangers, but I got to know her a bit through direct messages that started out about these projects. The common quilt challenge offered an opportunity to connect with a new friend. Now I look forward to hanging out with Kelly at a future QuiltCon or other conference. Over the seasons of Project QUILTING some of the same quilters have participated from year to year. The link ups for sharing finished projects allow a path to visit each quilter's project post and connect in the comments section.

 

Intrigued? There are a lot of places to find challenges. You can find them at your local quilt guild, through fabric manufacturers (like Cherrywood's current Bob Ross challenge), in magazines, and online through blogs and company websites. Be sure to let your quilting buddies know if you want to hear about challenges that they run across. My friend Mel shared on her blog about her many challenge quilts and where to find quilt challenges.

The photo above is my fabric selection for the current Curated Quilts Curves Mini Challenge. I love the Curated Quilts challenges because they have a set theme and a specific limited color palette. And the size is limited to a square, between 10" x 10" and 16" x 16". Selected mini quilts will be photographed and featured in the Mini Quilt Gallery in a quarterly issue of Curated Quilts. The deadline for submission to this challenge is January 2, 2019. Lots of time to join in!

Also, coming up starting Sunday, January 6, 2019 are the Project QUILTING weekly challenges, hosted by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams. Each January through March Kim hosts a series of six one-week challenges over 12 weeks. I've participated the past two years. Tuned Into Texture and Brighter the Better were two of my favorites in 2017.

Have you participated in a quilt challenge? What did you enjoy about it? Was there anything that didn't work for you about participating? If you haven't tried a quilt challenge, what is holding you back?

 

Here are some of my projects that have grown out of quilt challenges:

Antioxidant Delight

Tuned Into Texture

Brighter the Better

Rockstar Rhythm

Pantone Ultra Violet All About Angles

Vincent's Ear

i Mini

Mellow Yellow

Emerald Swallowtail

Connections Mini

Greenery

Jungle Cabin

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If you're new here, maybe you haven't seen my WIP list. No need to click. Spoiler: it's long. ;-) The way this happens might be obvious. I have a lot of things in progress that I love, but something new and shiny comes along (in my head or on the internet) and I think "I want to make that." Can you relate?

That's exactly what happened with the Waterfall Quilt Along. I admired the original quilts as Amy made them. So when she offered the quilt along, I decided to go for it. Do I need a new project? No. Do I have time for a new project? Probably not. Will I stay on schedule for the quilt along? Unlikely. But all I had to do what pull fabric for this project to reassure me that I should go ahead and dive in. All these beauties were in my fabric collection suitcase. (Yeah, most of my fabric is living in a suitcase right now.) Clearly this was meant to be.

Side note: I like to use the black and white mode on my camera phone to easily view the value of each fabric. It helped me get them in gradient order which is especially tricky when the pile has a variety of colors.

We're in week four of the quilt along which means I should be sharing my first three finished blocks in three days. Well, yesterday I cut all my fabric (for a 45" x 54" baby size quilt). Next up is strip piecing (that was week 3). That should go pretty quickly and I hope to have time to sew today. Stay tuned. ;-)

Have you participated in a quilt along? What are your favorite parts? What did you struggle with?