Photo: Trish sporting her Project QUILTING hoodie with Cedi, Capri, and Pip. Photo Credit: Karmen Lindner Photography
I’ve been participating in Project QUILTING for a number of years, and Kim just recently announced that now in Season 8 I’m taking over as the challenge designer. I hope you’re planning to participate this year – I’ve got some STELLAR challenge ideas cooked up, and I’ll be sewing along with you, too, because I can’t just step away from that part of the fun. While the challenge timelines of Project QUILTING are only a week long, there ARE ways you can prepare and get ready without blackmailing me for insider knowledge of the challenge topics.
Sort your stash:
Because the turn-around time on our PQ challenges is so short, you might not have the time to buy specifically for the challenge (certainly not from online stores, with delivery time). I try to work from stash for these challenges – not too much of a hardship, because I’ve been quilting (and collecting) for 16 years. But you don’t have to have a giant fabric vault: I mean simply to find a way to use what you already have. Maybe sort scraps into color families or palettes, get out those fat quarter bundles that have been too pretty to untie, or even just group together a few fabrics into an inspiring stack. I’ve been making Christmas ornaments lately, and I’ve gathered all the festive scraps into a plastic baggie. It made clean-up easier, and I just know there will be some project this year that will be IDEAL for these red, green, snowflake and sparkly bits. (That’s not a hint – sorry)
Do you have a gadget or whoseywhatsit you’re just dying to try out? Project QUILTING is the fantastic way to experiment with new toys. Shiva paintstiks, fabric stamping, thread painting, Inktense pencils, 3D elements … these are all great ideas to play with on a future PQ challenge. My advice is to work small and stay loose – give yourself a chance to screw up, start over, wreck it and then fix it.
I have a Pinterest board of inspiration for PQ challenges. I pin quilting techniques and blocks and even color palettes that I think I’d like to use some time. And don’t limit your pins to quilts – one of my “Focus Through the Prism” quilts was inspired by (but not copied from) a print I found on Etsy. I try to keep my eyes peeled for any spark of inspiration that I can draw from on a future project.
Cozies for Gel Air Fresheners made by Trisha Frankland – keeping it small is just fine!
Consider creating small projects within this limited schedule. Don’t start an ambitious bed quilt – maybe make a bed scarf instead? I make A LOT of table runners and wall hangings to meet these challenges because I work full-time and have frequent evening meetings. Sometimes I only have one evening to make my project, which means I’ve got to work quickly and efficiently. Plus, these ready-made small projects eventually make great gifts, easy donations for local fundraisers, and quick-change snuggle quilts in all the favorite napping spots of my cats. There have been several projects my 11-year old feline princess Scudaria claimed even as I was photographing them for entry!
Go easy on yourself:
Just remember: Done is done. You’re eligible for Project QUILTING prizes just for finishing, and every piece doesn’t have to be kissed by the quilting gods. Sometimes a quilt gets whomped with the ugly stick, but if you learned something THAT IS ENOUGH. Do it, get it done, and MOVE ON. Good luck, and I can’t wait to see what you make!