Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby Quilt Challenge for 2011

Goals are great. They help us accomplish things we think are beyond us. And, well, they help us accomplish something and know we've done it. Yea! I've been pondering for some time setting a quilting challenge for myself, but have been kind of stuck as to what that should be. Considered several options. My main objective was to challenge myself here - something where I have to complete new techniques or just force myself to ship, ship, ship.

But what exactly? I started out thinking maybe doing one quilt for every pattern I own. (I'm a bit of a collector.) counting up, I realized I had more than a thousand of them. Do the math and even it I could get one done a week, it would take me 19 years to finish. And would I have to include new patterns I bought in that time? Yowsers.

Since I love baby quilts and blog about them here, I wanted to keep it within that theme. And use it to tackle some new techniques. And challenge my notion that any quilt pattern can be made for a boy or a girl based on fabric choices. Narrowing this down to make it a manageable challenge for a year, though, was tough.

Enter Keepsake Baby Quilts From Scraps. I picked this up the last time Joann had quilting books on sale because the patterns in there are just adorable. And there are nine, which actually works out well for the challenge I've thought of. I'm going to work each pattern in the book three ways - girl, boy and neutral - in the course of the next year. That averages out to give me about two weeks to work up each quilt, which I think is doable.

The big challenge with this particular book of patterns is that she definitely leans toward girl baby quilt patterns. Dresden plate done as flowers, butterflies, ruffles, pink fabrics - poor boys just get left out. But, it should help make the point that, for the most part, fabric choice is everything.

Here are my rules:
  1. Two weeks to do a quilt. This means completing it all the way through the binding process.
  2. Three from each pattern in the book - girl, boy and neutral.
  3. Only changes will be fabric choices with the exception of obvious girl parts of the pattern like a ruffled binding or butterfly blocks.
  4. Quilting design may not be a single overall pattern. Must be unique to each pattern (but not necessarily to each quilt) and incorporate some design I haven't done before.
  5. As much as possible, use fabric in my stash! This might mean a couple of the quilts use exactly the same fabrics/palette to use up some bolts I have, but all the better. (I can already think of one exception to this where my idea for making one pattern "boy" would be to use homespun plaids. Of which I have none.)
  6. Blog post at the beginning with the pattern and showing my fabric choices and thought process behind them. Post at the end showing the finished quilt and detailing what I enjoyed about it as well as any head-banging that resulted.
At the end of this, I'll have 27 baby quilts finished and ready to be used as gifts or donate. That doesn't sound like a lot of work, but it will be. The hardest part will be making these the priority to complete rather than the 30 thousand other projects floating around my craft room!

So - have you set a quilting challenge for yourself before? Interested in quilting along with me on this one? I'd love to hear from you!

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