Last year I decided to participate in my first ever quilt challenge. In 2014 the National Quilter’s Association (NQA) held their annual show in Columbus, OH. Since the show was going to be right down the road from me, I thought it would be fun to participate, especially knowing I could go see my quilt!
The challenge theme was “Going Green”. I paid a small fee and was sent fabric that had to be used in my final quilt. The fabric was a beautiful batik with greens and blues and about the size of a fat quarter. In trying to use that fabric and the theme, I tossed around several ideas and was thinking a lot about what I should do. A few days after receiving the fabric I was sewing at my machine and my teenage son walked by my sewing machine and picked up a clump of clipped threads and told me that it would be good tinder for a fire on one of their Scout campouts. I shamelessly took a hold of that idea and went with it!
In creating my campfire, I knew I would need to layer the fabric to get the effect I wanted. I enjoy hand appliqué so my technique for the fire was decided. And I actually used the threads he picked up that day in my completed quilt. I drew out my design on paper, then colored paper with the pieces layered so I knew what fabric to cut out. The appliqué was fairly challenging for me with all the different layers, curves and points. I know it is a skill I need to keep improving.
I incorporated the challenge fabric through friendship stars on the corners and hand appliquéd leaves on each of the sides. The leaves represent nature and being outdoors where a campfire burns.
Quilting this piece was fun! I “finished” the leaves by adding veins and stems. I also quilted in smoke. As a final touch I added a few yellow/orange beads as embers coming off the fire. I named the quilt Renewed Threads in recognition of those tiny tinder pieces in my quilt. And because of the way the idea came to me it will always remind me of my son and his campouts growing up. Great memories!
Seeing my quilt displayed was exciting! I did not win but felt like a winner anyway because I completed the challenge and was able to be a part of the show and had my quilt displayed with other quilters who took the challenge. After the show ended, my quilt went traveling around to various parts of the country for display with other challenge quilts. My quilt made it safely back home about a month ago. I’ve been in search of another challenge and hope to do one soon.
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎