The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

This year’s QM staff challenge was based on the book Surprise Yourself! by Charlotte Angotti and Debbie Caffrey.

DCM113 The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

We could use four basic units for these quilts: Four Patch, half- and quarter-square triangles and Flying Geese; we could add squares and triangles. All of the units had to finish at 3″, 6″, 9″ or 12″. We had a general size in mind so the quilts would work on the pages of Jan/Feb ’13 we had allotted.

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What is it they say about the best laid plans? When I started working on my staff challenge quilt, I really did have a plan. It was even sketched out on graph paper. But as sometimes happens, this quilt had a mind of its own. My plans fell apart and I ended up making not just one, but two challenge projects.

PWDS029.Fuchsia The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own PWDS031.Red The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own PWDS032.Lime The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own PWDS037.Green The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own PWDS033.Green The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own PWDS029.Lime The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

I used Chicopee fabrics by Denyse Schmidt for FreeSpirit. They have a retro feeling with updated colors. I love them. I added in some tone-on-tones from FreeSpirit’s lines of basics.

Free%20Spirit Logo 300 170 The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

I had in mind to do an applique floral arrangement surrounded by the units we were permitted to use. I made several dozen of each unit in various fabric combinations.

dhchall3 The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

I had so much fun creating the floral arrangement! I added and subtracted freely cut flower shapes, leaves and background elements until I was happy. I love rickrack so I had to add some of that for stems.

dhchall5 The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

Then I added a border of Four Patches. So far, so good.

But as I tried to add more of the units I had pieced, the trouble began.

dhchall1 The Quilt with a Mind of Its OwnNot so attractive.

dhchall2 The Quilt with a Mind of Its OwnNot any better.

I kept moving things around, making more units, adding and subtracting, but I just wasn’t getting anywhere.

dhchall6 The Quilt with a Mind of Its OwnFinally I decided to go with what the quilt seemed to want, even if it wouldn’t qualify for this challenge. More and progressively darker checkerboards from Four Patches seemed to fit the bill. I really liked it now but the deadline was looming and I still didn’t have a challenge quilt!

QMMP 130200 challenge DH 450 The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

My challenge quilt top in FreeSpirit fabrics

I took all the units I had made and moved them around on the design wall until something started to take shape. Here is where I landed. I am going to quilt this and then add rounded corners and wavy edges to the border, something like this quilt:

All Drezzed up The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

All Drezzed Up, a quilt I designed for the March/April '10 issue of Quiltmaker

My design process for this challenge was not very efficient but I guess if you end up with two quilts you like, things could be worse!



About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email:
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3 Responses to The Quilt with a Mind of Its Own

  1. Diane, I disagree about your first plan not working. I see what you mean, but I think that all you need to do is add an applique border design over those inner pieced borders to balance things out visually. And more ricrac — definitely love the ricrac! :-)


    both of them are really neat

  3. Lovely! I especially like the scalloped edging and the fact thatyou used a black print fabric. Perfect.

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