Sunshine and Daisies, which appeared on the cover of McCall’s Quilting March/April 2019, denotes my first crack at a quilt competition! The competition was held at the Home Machine Quilt Show (now the Utah Quilt Show and Marketplace) in Salt Lake City, and sponsored by Adornit. The rules were pretty simple: make a quilt out of the challenge fabrics from the Adornit fabric line called Crazy For Daisies.
I was a novice quilter at best, and entered the competition with no expectations. The entry fee was minimal and I was so delighted with Adornit’s bright, cheery fabric. I simply wanted to make a fun quilt.
I had just purchased a book called Fantastic Fabric Folding by Rebecca Wat, and I couldn’t wait to work those folded flowers into my quilt! Initially, I planned to use buttons in the flower centers and the yellow yoyos came as an afterthought. Like many embellishment tricks, they served to hide what I didn’t want to see, which was the not-so-pretty joints in the centers of the folded flowers.
To my surprise, Sunshine and Daisies won a Judge’s Choice award, with particular praise for the folded flowers and yoyos!
Winning a fourth place ribbon on my first try was a thrill for me, which fired me up for more quilting! (Plus, I had ‘bragging rights” to say I was an award-winning quilter.) Since then, I’ve been hooked on challenge quilts and I try to do at least one per year.
What’s so great about quilt challenges?
I have several reasons as to why I like quilt challenges. A challenge might require the use of a fabric or technique that I normally wouldn’t consider. This gets me out of my comfort zone where I find I’m more inclined to try new things. I love searching for that elusive “wow” factor these challenges demand. They’re a relatively inexpensive way to receive much-appreciated feedback from quilt judges so that I can continue to improve. Even better, challenges are often part of an effort to support a worthwhile organization, such as Sew Much Hope or Quilts of Valor®.
With quilt challenges, the most important thing I’ve learned is to keep it fun. I realized this lesson one year when I took the challenge too seriously and ended up having a quilt that didn’t compete well.
Opportunities for quilt challenges can be found in magazines, shops, company sponsorships, guilds, county and state fairs, and of course, quilt shows!
If you’re a quilter interested in elevating your skills while having a lot of fun then you should consider making a challenge quilt for a quilt competition!