Those Pesky Challenges

Last week I talked about challenges and showed my very first challenge.

The second challenge that I participated in was about a year later and was quite different from anything that I had ever tried before!!

It all started with a quick one-day trip to Houston for the International Quilt Festival in 1988. While there, I first encountered the Hoffman challenges….Hoffman fabrics would present one fabric each year and then challenge the makers to design a quilt featuring that fabric.

I was SMITTEN with the process!

A few years later I saw the next year’s fabric and was even more excited. It was a dark night-sky with bright colored planets and stars. My mind started racing.

Now, I don’t remember exactly WHY I thought about a checkerboard (my kids were young and loved playing board games so that might have been an influence), but I decided that the planets were going to play checkers with the stars!!

To make the stars shine more, I pieced them in Lamé fabric!!

This one actually looks pretty good since, as you know, Lamé is thin, fiddly, and frays at the slightest touch!!

At some point, I got the idea that I wanted to make it 3-D so that there were planets BEHIND the board and planets IN FRONT of the board, and even one planet breaking THRU the board…..

There was a lot of quilting done with metallic threads…..

And I individually quilted each of these stars…..

WHAT was I thinking!!!

The final quilt was a fun one…..

…and I happily sent it off to be judged. I was disappointed when it was rejected but not particularly surprised!!

But, when I look back at this quilt, I am amazed that I tried so many different techniques on it…..

  • I played a bit with paint to add some color to the white space.
  • I successfully pieced using a slippery, fiddly fabric.
  • I quilted with metallic thread!!
  • I used trapunto to puff the planet out.

AND most importantly, I used my imagination to design it!!

As I look at this quilt from so many years ago, I can see the pre-cursor to my quilting career and that is one reason that…..