Several years ago I was part of a “I’ve Got the Blues” challenge. Each participant was given 5 fat quarters of blue fabric which had to appear in the finished quilt in a recognizable amount. Other fabrics of our choice could be added.
What I have learned from my experience with challenges is that, in order to win a challenge, ordinary won’t do. I chose to do one of my Inside the Box pieces.
Using the 5 challenge fabrics and many blues from my stash, I randomly pieced the outer border, adding the words “Blue, blue, my world is blue.” Using a large circle as my base, I then made an entire blue landscape complete with woven blue sky, a blue forest, a woven body of water and even shiny blue fish which were reverse appliqued into the water. Using blue painted rings, I attached the circle inside the square. I added a blue turtle at the bottom of the circle, a blue sun in the sky and a blue spider in the upper right hand corner.
As a lover of whimsy, I allowed two fish to escape the inner circle and float in space, secured with mono-filament thread. I called the piece Fish in Space.
The piece not only won the challenge, but went on to win another challenge entitled “Voyage of Discovery” at the Empire QuiltFest. Most participants who entered that challenge based their pieces on Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River, the theme of that year’s show. Having Fish in Space win the “Voyage of Discovery” challenge tickled me more than any award I’ve ever won. Every time I think about it, I crack up. Being different certainly paid off in that case. People like FUNNY, apparently even quilt show judges.