When I lectured at Northwest Quilters in Portland at their June meeting, there were at least 20 challenge quilts on display and members voted on their favorite. I encourage you to participate in challenges if you have the chance – it stretches your imagination and is a great opportunity for trying out techniques that you haven’t previously explored. The challenge topic provides the initial inspiration and is open for any kind of interpretation. For this challenge, each participant received a piece of fabric that had either fruits or vegetables on it. They had to use that fabric in at least five places in their quilt and the quilt had to be no larger than 24″ x 24″. Here are four examples.
Shauna Sonoda made Nature is my Teacher (pictured on the left), this beautiful scene. She writes, “The beauty, color and serenity of Breitenbush Hot Springs has inspired me to grow both personally and professionally for over a decade. It is a place that taught me to open my heart and my mind and accept the many blessings that have flowed into my heart. I’m forever grateful!” Her fabric had beets on it. Denna Bandeen was inspired by trees swaying in the wind in December and made Dancing in the wind including the turnip fabric which she was given.
Barbara Neill’s, A Stellar Harvest, was the winning quilt. She used many surface design methods to create this very Northwestern scene with delicious blueberries (her fabric) and a gorgeous thread-painted Stellar Jay. Design, Cut, Stitch, Create was made by Nikki Schoeffel who used her grape fabric in the Log Cabin blocks by the machine. Nikki writes, “Growing up, no one would have called me creative. Sure, I would follow a sewing or needlework pattern and I always colored neatly inside the line. But through quilting and age, I’ve found the freedom to step outside the box and experiment with color, design and new technologies.” I hope these sentiments ring true for many of you and that quilting is a freeing and inspiring activity.