A quilt challenge that ends up teaching an old Dog and new tricks

Remember my Floral print quilt challenge I gave myself the year we were remodeling the attic and I was stuck making quilt tops in the dining room in summer 2018? I wanted to prove that design is EVERYTHING in quilting; that you could take the same fabrics and work them into different designs and get totally different looking quilts. The fabrics were important to the quilt but the design is what made the difference. Well, here are the results of that challenge. The three quilts were the one I made for The Westmoreland Museum of American Art Big Art Party in 2018, called "The Big Art Party Goes Green," the quilt I made for the Westmoreland Historical Society Education Center Grand Opening in 2019, called "Garden Window," and the third quilt came back from the long armer this week, I have just bound it  and it is on the bed in the guest room. I am calling it "Floral Challenge." I has 1600 2-1/2 inch blocks. Simple pattern, huge quilt! See the other two quilts  below and see th difference pattern design makes. They were all three made with the same 22 floral prints.

So what did I learn from the challenge and what did I learn from each quilt?  Here are my thoughts.

1.  Quilting in the dining room is not a bad thing if a) you are not having dinner guests and b) you plan to make just quilt tops, not the entire quilt.  I got all three tops done the summer of 2018 in the dining room.

2.  Quilting takes time and each quilt will come to it's own purpose in its own time.  I started donating one quilt a year to non-profits for fundraising purposes and these were the first two donated.  The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is my employer.  I run their database and work in the development/membership department.  We have tons of beautiful handmade American quilts in our collection.  This one of mine sold for $600 at the silent auction at our annual fundraiser, the Big Art Party, in October 2018.  Frankly I was disappointed in the final price.  I wanted it to break $1000.  It appraised at over $1800. 

The Westmoreland Historical Society is where I did my history degree internship in 2004-2005.  The second quilt above is called Garden Window and it was for their Education Grand Reopening in 2019.  It was raffled off at the event.  Both of these quilt I quilted myself and bound in my usual way of bringing the back over to the front.

3.  Sometimes old dogs need to learn new tricks. The third quilt in the challenge took the longest time to complete.  It is the one in the beginning of this post with detailed pictures above.  It sat in my quilt chest for two year until I decided to send it to a long armer for quilting.  I did this for a couple reasons.  First, it is sooooo big. Truly king size 102 x 102 inches.  Quilting it on my home sewing machine was gonna be a challenge and I am not getting any younger.  Secondly, I wanted a test run on what a long armed quilt would be like.  This is very simple patchwork pattern so I thought it was a good one to experiment with.  I sent it out to The Modern Quilting Company in New York State.  Just picked them out of the blue (plus they had sent me an email).  It took two months and cost about $200 total, including the thread and batting.  Pretty good deal and they did beautiful work.  They do not bind however, so I got the experience of binding a quilt.  I had never done this before in 47 years of quilting.  It was not too onerous, I machine bound it, not by hand.  You can see how well (for terrible) I did on the above pictures.

4. The last thing I learned is that some quilts are worth waiting for.  The third quilt is the only one that lives with me, the other two having been given away to fund raise and I am happy as a clam to have a least one of them.  It was worth the two year wait. 

I think I will sleep in the guest room tonight!

Happy quilting!


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Comment by Riana Noyes on July 3, 2020 at 1:02pm

Ginnie, l so understand the diningroom top making, as l had to do same whilst awaiting repairs to my lower level sewing/ laundry room after a spring flood. The perks l enjoyed during that time?..being close to the kitchen so l could sneak in some sewing while dinner was in the oven, and the lovely view of my back garden through the french doors! 

Your three quilts are lovely. Yes, at auction, one never knows how the results will end up, and with draws, the ticket sales determine the outcome. Sometimes we barely recoup the cost of materials. It's a shame that quilting is still not given the same credance as art in other media. After having a close look at your turn over edging method, l must say l'm not a fan. I love a nicely bound quilt with careful hand stitching down from the back. I particularly love saying " goodbye" to a quilt as l spend 2 or 3 evenings while listening to music or television with my husband. I find it relaxing. I see that others, like yourself, avoid the task, and understand why. As to the quilting, have you ever considered buying a midarm in a frame? It only took me a few days to get the feel of that and really enjoy finishing my own quilts all the way to finished. Enjoyed your blog post , Ginnie. I hope you and yours are keeping well.

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