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Riley Blake Fabrics and Modern Quilt Guild Challenge

This past spring, the Modern Quilt Guild held its biannual fabric challenge. The MQG partners with a fabric sponsor and presents a challenge based on specific fabrics and requirements. I participated in this challenge and, for the first time in one of these challenges, actually submitted my finished project! The result was surprising!

For the spring 2019 challenge, Christopher Thompson, both an MQG member and fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs, chose four featured fabrics. It included Shades Robin, 1/8” Stripe Denim and/or Navy, Blossom Baby Pink and Blossom on White Navy. Participants were required to use these fabrics as well as any other Riley Blake Designs fabrics to construct a quilted project.

I had an inkling before I saw the fabrics that I wanted to do a curved piecing project. I love curves and never use them enough in my projects! As soon as I saw the fabrics selected, a very soft palette, I knew exactly how my project would come together.

I wanted to create multiple dimensions with my piece. There would be several circular movements acting as a guide. I also knew that the only other color I’d introduce to the project was white. I used Confetti Cottons in Riley White for the background and backing on the project. I wanted to keep that soft, cozy feel to the project.

I utilized the fabrics in various dimensions to construct a compass. Each piece played a role in developing the story. The pink fabric serves as the compass point. The outer blue and white striped piece, in the upper left corner of the quilt, serves as a guide. I also thought of it as a bumper you might see at a bowling alley, placed in the gutter, to assist bowlers in keeping their ball on track to hit the pins. This served as a metaphor for my life and a meaning behind many of my quilts. Life throws you off course every day. As an orienteer, I’ve learned to stop, take a bearing, course correct and move forward to the next checkpoint. That bumper is a reminder that you may step off course, get lost, lose your way, feel defeated, but somewhere along your path, something/someone will help you get back on track.

This is how I named my piece – it’s called Guide.

And this piece placed 3rd in this national competition!

[Insert so many emotions here. Shocked and humbled top the list.]

It will be displayed at the Riley Blake Designs Garden of Quilts event from September 12-14. Held at Thanksgiving Point, the exhibition will have over 1,000 quilts, including the top 3 winners and other finalists of this competition.

If you happen to be at this event, I would LOVE to see a picture of my quilt hanging! Feel free to message me on Instagram (I’m @maeberrysquare) if you see it :)

So there’s one more important point I want to share about this quilt. I quilted it myself. It’s not perfect. It’s not even intermediate. It’s very beginner. I have struggled with quilting because I haven’t studied it enough to really nail it. I worked very hard on this quilting as it plays a key role in the meaning. In fact, I was going about it all wrong, and about 15 rows in, I called it quits. My husband talked me off that ledge, I spent an hour ripping out seams, ironing it smooth and starting over. And my perspective: I nailed it. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly representative of the quilt and me. I hope you enjoy!

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