A Challenge, A Surprise, and A Win

Yesterday was a day of fun and prizes for the members of the Memory Makers Quilt Guild.  At the first meeting in 2009, I gave the members of my guild a Challenge.  The Challenge was to make a quilt that fit all the requirement sets out in the rules of the challenge.  The challenge was issued at the first meeting in January 2009.

The rules:
Make a monochrome quilt.  You may use three or more values of only one color. You may also use one other fabric that has additional color in it, or you may use only values of one color.

Monochrome is the use of one color throughout the project.  It is one color in any or all of its values.  For instance, pure green through all values of green to total black. Or it can be a grayscale, all shades of gray, from pure white to total black.  This a grayscale value chart, but the same thing is true of any color.

Many questions came up in the past six months.  “Have you started your challenge?”  “What did you say the challenge is?”  “How big is the quilt supposed to be?”  Little did I know that those were the easiest questions. The guild members had much harder questions that they did not ask because of their secrecy.   The members had many more questions, answerable only on the day the quilts were revealed.  Almost half the guild members decided to make a quilt, just to see if it met all the requirements.  Prizes and awards were promised.


Just as the others, I had to figure out how to make a really fun quilt that would catch the judge’s eye.  I purchased the fabrics early, but because of other projects, trips and commitments, I didn’t start my quilt soon enough.  These photos show my blocks on a design wall while I arranged and tried different placements.  Maybe you can see the difference in the arrangement of the blocks.

In the last two weeks, I have spent nearly all my waking moments, making my quilt and quilting it.  I didn’t have time to do hand quilting, so I did some machine quilting, which I seldom do.  While making my quilt, I had to plan the “Reveal,” and make it “almost a party.”  I spent three days making the award ribbons, making my quilt, and  answering more questions from those guild members who, like me, were still trying to finish.  Two other people helped me make awards, and gave me their opinions and planning ideas.

The day had come, the refreshment treats were baked, the quilt was finished, the quilt label made and sewn on the back. I even had time to rest and read a book.  At the meeting, it seemed like everyone was just a little on edge.  It’s pretty special to see that there were nine people who cared to put many hours into a project for nothing more than the recognition of their quilting friends.  I felt anticipation the moment I arrived at our meeting place.   I also felt the anticipation of the other guild members who made quilts and those who did not.

Our judge, a member of another guild, was wonderful, taking it as seriously as if it were a State Fair contest.    What fun!  Brenda had traveled more than an hour and a half, just to help us out as our Judge.


The time arrived, the judging and the awards were given.  It was all a grand success.  NOISE!  There was lots of noise, laughter, and shouts of satisfaction, surprise and happiness.  It was a fun day.

Because of space and the fact that I didn’t manage to get photos of all the quilts, here are some examples of the talent in this small guild.



This quilt was named the “Most Likely To Be Copied.”

There were eight prizes.  These are photos of a few, including the best label.  I am showing a photo of the winning label, because it was a big surprise and made us all laugh.

Viewers Choice is another of the special awards because it is the award given by the votes of the Guild members for their favorite entry.

This quilt was named the “Most Likely To Be Copied.”



I was surprised beyond words.  My machine quilting leaves MUCH to be desired.  I was really upset at the results of my machine quilting, but the front of the quilt  was good enough to win the “Best of challenge and Best Use of Color” award.

We all enjoyed the day and it was worth the effort for all of us.

Stitches to you,


One more thing, I said last time that I would start the Block of the Month this time.  However, I’ve been so busy, that I haven’t done the final plans for it.  I promise that it will come next time.

Comments (12) -

crafterbarbara 8/1/2009 1:38:26 PM

Great pictures, you gave me some new ideas.  Thanks

La Rue,

That was quite a challenge, but they rose to the challenge beautifully! My local shop is doing an ME block of the month for a monochrome (mocha) quilt. I wish I would have joined them. The blocks & quilt are absolutely gorgeous!!

Your guild sounds like a fun group!


Crafterbarbara and Rosie,

Thank you both for your comments.  I so appreciate all of your comments and I wish more people who read this blog would leave a little word or two.

Yes, Rosie, it did turn out to be more interesting and fun than I ever imagined.  I have done many challenges, but none of them drew as many interesting twists and turns.  also, I had many comments from the guild members.  It was all great fun.

The monochrome topic really made everyone think about the color wheel and testing their color eyes.  I too, had some difficulty choosing my fabrics, but I did find that reds seemed to be one of the easier choices.  I found it is a bit easier to see the small differences in a bright color than the cool colors like blues and lavenders  I was happy with what everyone did.

Stitches . .


I just love your Monocrome Quilt. I don't do a lot of Quilting or Patchwork as other crafts seem to get in the way. I am a Smocking Teacher, and this takes a lot of my time.

This year I have taken on a new challenge. I am organising a Fleurieu Sewers Picnic. (Fleurieu means the area we live, it covers about one hundred square miles). On Oct 31st. I have over a hundred coming so far. Will let you know the outcome.

Regards, Marian. Victor Harbor, South Australia. Australia

LaRue, Your quilt is beautiful.  I bet your machine quilting is just fine but I know your don't like to machine quilt.  


It sounds like you do a lot of needlework.  I'd like to see some of it.  I haven't done smocking since my granddaughters were small.  The oldest is now almost nineteen.  Thank you your comment and the compliment.  I hope you have a great time at your picnic.  I wouldn't want to plan for that many people.  We had only refreshments, at our little party.  

Thank you from writing from  "down under." That's how we refer to Australia here in the USA.  Do you have nickname for our country?


Thanks for your comment.  Actually my machine quilting was pretty bad.  I forgot to watch the back closely and didn't see what was happening until it was finished and the binding sewn on.  Since it was quilted in circles, the backing pushed to the center with each circle I made..

I just told on myself.  I showed everyone in the guild the mistake, because I wanted to show them my "learning experience."  But I'm glad you like the front.

Stitches . .


LaRue, the Quilt is pretty.  I just started a cheater's quilt.  I haven't learn to quilt, or sew, so I choose this to begin.  How do you learn to quilt?  Any idea's?  I love the red.  I have an ellageo, and it quilts, I just need to find someone who can give me a few beginner's pointers.  

I love the monochrome idea also.

Brenda from MS


I'm so glad that you have taken the step to learn quilting.  My first suggestion is that you go to the very begining of my blogs and read through all of them.  There is a list in the box titled "archives" on the left hand side of this page.  Begin with July 2008, and you will get about as much as I can give you here.

Second, I suggest that you find a quilt shop in your area if there is one, and ask about taking classes.  If there is not a shop near you I suggest that you go to a library nearby and ask if they know of any quilt guild in your area.  Beyond those suggestions, you should read all you can get your hands on.  If you want to hand quilt find a book about hand quilting at the libraby, and read that and do whatever you can.  Check with your sewing machine dealer too for lessons.

I hope you have great success with you quilting.  A cheater quilt is a good place to start.  You also need to look for a book about basic piecing, and read all my old blogs.  

Stitches to you,


I love your winning quilt.  Would or could you let us know what pattern you are using and if you would share it.  Most monochromatic quilts I have seen are in blacks, which are lovely, but I like your red so much better.  Since my stash is nearly comparable to your local quilt shop, this would be a great way to use up part of what I have. Thanks so much for your help.

Great blog.  



I'm glad you liked it.  I meant to say what block it is, but I guess I was working too hard to get it posted.  It is the Winding Ways block.  You can find it in a lot of places.  "Winding Ways Quilts" is written by Nancy Elliot MacDonald.  Char Jorgenson had a book and templates years ago, don't know if it's still published.   There is also a novel wirtten by Jennifer Chiaverina called Winding Ways, but it only tells about the block, doesn't show it in the book.  The book is in the Elm Creek Quilts series of books.  I read the book while I made the quilt.

I made the blocks and arranged them myself, to my liking.  If your are making a monochrome quilt, taking fabrics from your stash, be careful of the shades and values of reds, making sure that they are all of the same "kind" of reds, without any yellow or blue in them.  Don't know any other way to say it.  Whatever color you work with, in monochrome,  you can use any color on the color wheel, but be sure ALL the fabrics you choose are in the same color family , but going lighter and darker from your original choice, lighter to white and darker to almost black.

Sue, Thank you for the copliment and comment.  Just wish you had said more.

Whenever someone comments, I'd like to know a little more about them and where they live.  It's so nice to know where everyone comes from.  Especially other countries.  I love my readers in Australia.

Thanks to all,

Stitches . .


Hi LaRue,

What an absolutely beautiful quilt! How did you know my favourite colour is red?


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