Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Planning my challenge quilt

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was going to participate in my guild's latest quilt challenge. The theme: "Terror in a Brown Paper Bag!" Each participant selected one of their UFOs and placed it in a brown paper bag, including the pattern (if available) and as much project fabric as possible. Then we traded in that bag and received someone else's bag. The challenge: to finish the UFO you receive. The twist: there is no requirement to finish the UFO as originally intended.

Well, the challenge is due at the February meeting. And, what with the holidays and illness and all that, I still haven't started. Eeep! Slacker that I am, I never even showed y'all what the my bag contained:

sack o' challenge
Whoa. Talk about a challenge! I have no idea what this person was planning on doing with all these squares of chenille. Some are sewn into strips (seemingly in no particular order). Some are pinned together in strips. And the colors are a little on the funky side-- soft yellow, tan, off-white, and aqua. Very pretty, but not a combination I would have ever thought to put together.

chenille strips
You would not believe the crazy amount of shedding that took place when I emptied my bag onto the table. Crazy, I tell you! Little chenille fluff balls everywhere.

Inspired by the feel of the chenille, I came up with a vague plan to do a textured quilt. I had a couple in my stash that would work well (one a very cute flannel kitty print that actually features all of the same colors as my bag o' chenille). And I went out and picked up a few more. I even special ordered a satin to match the tan color. So by the second week of December I had my fabric. Now, what to do with it?

As I lay awake in bed last night (with the sudden realization that it is January, and I need a quilt before February 2nd), I brainstormed. This morning I got out my graph paper and did some sketches. With a sort-of plan in mind, I went to Electric Quilt and drew up this block. It's simple, but I think it will be a lot of fun, and I should be able to get it done (an important consideration!). All the small squares will be chenille. Then the rest will feature other fabrics, including flannel, micro-fleece, corduroy, and woven suede.

This is my "test" quilt. I did a couple different colorations of the block, and rotated some them. The outside border will be more chenille squares, though my plan is to do piping between the center and border to break it up. This version is a little busy. I'm loving the center, but I may still change up my border plans. But I also need to use as much of the challenge fabric as possible in my project. A border seems like a good way to go. Or maybe I can use it on the back or something instead.

But, now I need to stop fretting and start working. I have a plan for the center, so I can start on that, and I'll just have to wait see where that takes me. I'm starting to feel excited about this project!


  1. Boy, you really have a challenge but your drawing looks pretty good.

  2. Wow, very ambitious. Good for you to incorporate so many different textures once you were given the chenille to start with. It might end up making a nice Alzheimers quilt for someone. of course, if you can part with it after all that work.