Thursday, December 26, 2019

2019 Guild Challenge: highest response ever!

The Choo Choo Quilters annual Guild Challenge is always a popular event for our guild. Participation has increased over the past several years and this year hit an all-time high—15 entries!
2019 Choo Choo Challenge Reveal at the November guild meeting.

What makes a popular Challenge?
The guidelines this year were similar to past Challenges, so what made the 2019 Batik Guild Challenge so enticing and popular? Was it:
  • the use of batik fabrics?
  • the color palette?
  • that fabrics were provided at the Challenge's commencement?
  • no size limitation?
  • a broad ranging project category?
... or maybe the planets aligned, the fabric goddesses were smiling, and our quilting muses were working overtime. Who knows! Take a look at the 15 creative entries from our guild's talented members and tell us what you think made this year's Challenge so popular.

2019 Challenge entries
Deb decided HST [half square triangles] would be perfect for the multi-sized collection of batiks she received. She paired the blue/green color palette with a white background for her table runner. The geometric zigzag design is striking.
Table runner by Deb.
Kim was inspired by an American Quilter magazine article about making and using fabric strips. She made a pillow with an Amish-inspired color scheme.
Strip technique pillow by Kim.
Joanna used a slice-and-weave technique for her quilt. The woven pieces were fused in a random layout on the background fabric.
Woven and fused quilt by Joanna.
She took the Challenge as an opportunity to practice free-motion quilting.
Detail of weaving and quilting.
Betty combined the Challenge fabrics she received with a bundle of Alaskan-themed batiks from her stash. This runner was hand quilted and a lovely remembrance of a trip to Alaska.
Left: Betty's runner. Right: detail of hand quilting.
Martha found a pattern for making a graduated bargello-style pieced quilt. She added fish appliques to complete her composition (and because she likes fish).
An underwater scene by Martha.
The curved piping strips provide a beautiful contrast and movement to the wedge shaped patchwork on Sherry's bag entry. Sherry included additional fabrics, a zipper closure and a label that also served as the inside pocket for this shoulder bag.
Zippered shoulder bag by Sherry.
Cheryel found a Cathedral Window pattern in a Block quilting magazine as her inspiration for this piece. As the often-used "white fabric" for traditional Cathedral Windows did not appeal to Cheryel, the colorful batiks were a welcome option. 
Batik Cathedral Window by Cheryel.
Check out the decorative machine stitching with colorful variegated thread that she added to the strippy window inserts.
Detail: Cheryel's decorative stitches.
"Batik Divided" is Delores's response to the guild Challenge. She took the classic Bull's Eye block and cut and rearranged the pieces to make this barn raising layout. This piece is raw edge appliqued and also has a dimensional flange inner border.
"Batik Divided" by Delores.
Garie took another path and made an apron with her Challenge batiks. The five star motifs were foundation paper pieced.
Paper-pieced apron by Garie. 3rd Place.
The apron includes a functional front pocket.
Apron pocket detail.
Linda found a black/white drawing of macaws on the internet for the basis for her wall piece. She used fusible applique to create the birds and overcame a few obstacles (a melted piece of netting, for one) during the process. The finished piece was stitch-mounted to a heavy-weight mat board for a professional presentation.
Fused applique quilt by Linda. 1st Place.
Some quilts seem to "light up" when you see them. This one did—literally. Veronica stitched soft circuits into her woven and quilted piece, called "A Light Touch." She added LEDs and electronic "soft switches" to the appliqued circle motifs.
"A Light Touch" by Veronica.
A "Do you push buttons?" sign prompted interaction between the viewer and this quilt. As the buttons were pushed, the stitched electrical circuit was completed and the LEDs lit up. See Veronica's blog post if you're curious about the creation process of this piece.
LEDs were activated with the push of a button.
Cristy ventured into free-motion thread play for her floral-inspired wall hanging. She started with black thread over the colored appliques and then incorporated colored and variegated threads.
A study in thread sketching by Cristy. 2nd place.
A curved piecing technique was used for the sashing pieces that frame each of the thread sketched drawings.
Thread sketching detail.
Another HST table runner was made by Vista. Colored strips in warm colors accent the cool blue and turquoise color palette.
Table runner by Vista.
Theresa added a creamy white fabric to complement the blue and green batiks (a favorite color scheme of hers) for her quilt. Theresa used nearly all of the provided fabrics and the quarter log cabin block makes quite a graphic statement. 
Log Cabin variation by Theresa.
The last quilt entry is this strippy quilt made by Ginny. Additional fabrics were incorporated into this lap-sized quilt. She strip pieced the blocks as well as the appliqued circles.
Fun with circles and stripes by Ginny
Decorative stitching with variegated threads add a colorful detail to the circle motifs.
Decorative stitching detail.

Congratulations to all the 2019 Challenge winners and participants! Thanks to Team 4 for organizing this year's event. It was a huge success!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The 2019 Challenge deadline is fast approaching

There is less than a week before the 2019 Choo Choo Quilters Guild Challenge reveal. Will yours be finished in time?
Guild members received a total of one yard of batik fabrics to use
for this year's Choo Choo Quilters Guild Challenge.

At the November 18 guild meeting, the One Yard Batik Challenge pieces will be revealed. The Guild Challenge reveal meeting is always a highlight of our guild year. Creativity, craftsmanship and artistry abound and individual interpretations of the Challenge guidelines are interesting and varied.

As a reminder, Challenge entries are due at the beginning of the meeting. And for any guild member that hasn't started on an entry yet, there is still time... however, not much.

But hey, it's only a yard of fabric, right?


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Two Step: a strippy, stash-busting quilt block

The Choo Choo Quilters Cuddle Quilt block pattern for this month's guild meeting is the Two Step block... and it's a fast, easy stash buster. So, get your strips out!
September Cuddle Quilt block: Two Step in shades of blues and browns.

Fabric requirements and Color Palette
Medium grey 5" square (for upper left corner)
2.5" strips in turquoise, blue, navy, lime, orange, clay, brown, tan.

If using scraps, cut 2.5" x 5" strips and 2.5" x 9" strips.

September Two Step Block in shades of blues, browns.

Sew the 5" strips and the 9" strips into pairs. Chain piecing the strip pairs is easy and efficient! 
Sew a 5" strip set to a grey square. (You can also chain piece these units.)
Chain pieced strips and grey square ready for pressing.

NOTE: Keep in mind the placement of the grey square!

After a 5" strip set is sewn to a grey square, sew a 9" strip set to the right-hand side of this unit. Make sure the grey square is in the upper left. (See photo above.) The [unfinished] block should measure 9" square.
Squaring up the Two Step block.

These blocks take no time at all! Even if you start now, you can whip up a few before the October 21 guild meeting. Here is a video of the assembly process.
There are lots of layout possibilities with this quilt block.

Bring the completed blocks to the October guild meeting. You could win a prize!