Three Reasons I Love Quilt Challenges

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

12 thoughts on “Three Reasons I Love Quilt Challenges

  1. For me, challenges offer constraints - whether they be timeline or theme or fabric usage - that I really find interesting. I think they can be a good way to learn about what we like and don't like in potentially less stressful ways. Have you ever wanted to make client quilts? How does working with a weird color palette feel? etc.

    Reply
    1. sarah

      Post author

      So true. When I first joined a quilt guild in 2002 I had been watching the website and they had a block of the month challenge where you could submit a block and they'd raffle off the pile of blocks to one winner. I had seen pictures from previous months and was excited to participate. Then I arrived and the block of the month to make that month was appliqué. I was not excited about appliqué, but I went ahead and made three blocks to submit. (They were cute apple blocks in September.) I'm glad the challenge pushed me to try it, but it certainly provided me the feedback that appliqué was not my cup of tea. Knowledge is power. ;-) Thanks for visiting, Yvonne!

      Reply
  2. Anja @ Anja Quilts

    Yes!! It totally agree. With no deadline to a WIP, it's easy to let them slide in favour of a new project. Challenges force you to stay on tops of things. Also why I like taking classes. I like being in my comfort zone, so challenges force me to do things I normally wouldn't do. I'm hoping to work on the Curated Quilts one over the Christmas break. And I have Project Quilting noted on my calendar. It was a bit stressful trying it for my first time last year, but I really enjoyed it.

    Reply
    1. sarah

      Post author

      Yay! I have some projects that are higher priority, but I hope to get to the Curated Quilts project in time. I just love the colors! Thanks for visiting, Anja.

      Reply
  3. I've just started participating in challenges myself lately, as a way to stretch myself and use my creativity rather than just quilt. I started the Curated Quilts Challenges with the last one (Houses) and I hope to continue with them. A one week challenge sounds very challenging but I might participate in some of them. Thanks for the link. I have also participated in two challenges this fall with my modern guild ( I came up with one of them). Thanks for all the resources and the thoughtful post Sarah.

    Reply
    1. sarah

      Post author

      I loved seeing the Houses challenge. I wanted to make a piece with inspired by the housing on Kauai, but I never got to the cutting fabric on that one. The timeline just didn't end up working for me... especially as I was envisioning something rather intricate. Are your guild challenge projects on your blog? I'd love to see them. Thanks for visiting, Lisa!

      Reply
  4. Deb M

    I do enjoy participating in challenges, especially Project Quilting! As I often find it difficult to come up with an original design, I try new (to me) techniques and sometimes something original comes of it.

    Reply
  5. I did the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge, my first quilt challenge and will participate in the one for 2019. I haven't really done a BOM and won't rule it out.
    I also participate in the Art with Fabric Blog Hop which is a one-shot challenge to interpret art utilizing fabric. That one pushes me outside of my comfort zone and resulted in an Honorable Mention at the CA State Fair. Working on my piece for the 2019 fair exhibition.

    Reply
    1. sarah

      Post author

      The monthly color challenge sounds like a great one... limiting only color leaves a wide variety of options. I checked out the Art with Fabric blog hop. I hadn't seen that one. Great stuff! And congratulations on your piece that went to the CA state fair! Thanks for visiting, Tami.

      Reply
    1. sarah

      Post author

      Indeed! I think that limitless options is sometimes stifling. Challenges certainly help with that aspect of artistic creation. Thanks for visiting, Cheryl.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.