Show of 2020 Challenge Quilts

In January of 2020, we were challenged to make a quilt that was 20″ x 20″ from 20 fabrics that were chosen from our stash in 20 minutes.  Little did we know a serious pandemic was headed our way beginning in February and remaining for the rest of the year!  Below are the remarkable results of our 2020 Challenge.

These quilts were shown at our 2020 Quilt Challenge Reveal on November 24th, 2020.

Click on any photo for a larger view.

Kim Toffel

When I designed this quilt we were in the throes of the pandemic with PPE shortages. I, like many others, answered the call to make masks. I found the idea on Pinterest, but modified the meaning for the times. Every fabric with the exception of the blue background and tree trunk were scraps from masks I made. When I showed it to my minister she asked if she could borrow it for the pulpit. I have received feedback from church members that it is very meaningful to them, and so this challenge was what quilting should be…spreading joy…in sometimes unexpected ways.Kim Toffel

Bette King

“Starlight on the Shimmering Fields”. This is a winter landscape. The fields in the foreground are lighter gray and textured. The fields in the background are darker and merge into the dark night sky. Crystals sprinkle over the fields. Bette King

Lisa Roberts

Photo 1: the 20 fabrics I pulled from my stash Photo 2: completed 20×20, Title: “COVID: Light at the End of the Tunnel” Photo 3: Hanging by our front entry door

Rosalie Movius

I had a collection of keys for fidget quilts. When I found the scientific image charm pack, the idea of “finding the key” just popped into my mind. Clearly we are still trying to find the key for Covid 19. I used fingernail polish to color some of the plainer keys.

Jean Vollmer-Moore

I had just finished making a solid color quilt and had lots of scraps left over. I had taken a class at the Sister’s Quilt Show about Kitchen Sink Quilting by Maria Shell. I also wanted to practice my free motion quilting so this is what I came up with!

Teresa Koster

My quilt is called Soaring Complements. I saw it hanging down at Woodburn Sew and Vac and I just had to make it. I had most of the colors from a previous project I had just finished. I love how it turned out. The first picture is of my 20 colors before I started. The second picture is of the front and the third is of the back.

Dawn White

“Uptown Funk” was so much fun to make! Its title was inspired by the Bruno Mars song. The pattern is “Dresden Neighborhood” by Persimon Dreams. The houses are machine pieced and the roofs, doors, and windows are fused in place. That one little chimney was added to hide a dirt smudge! Rather than put windows in every house, I fussycut some fabric in my stash that had actual windows printed on it and used it on only five of the 20 windows. I quilted it with straight lines of varying lengths and added a very narrow lime green flange to complement the zebra print binding. My quilt is a little bit bigger than the 20 x 20 size limit but MPS challenge leaders kindly allowed me to submit it anyway.

Christie Frey

Years ago I saw this image on a brochure and always wanted to put it into fabric. Raw edge appliqué allowed me to create brushstrokes of color. The thread play helped to add dimension to the bottle and goblet. Thankful for this challenge that helped me finally complete this goal.

Fran Meigs

I wanted to do something simple and participate in the challenge, and I had these reproduction fabrics, some that a friend had given me. I straight lined quilted it and am happy with the results. There are 2 lilac fabrics in the back, one in the middle and another one on each end for 20 in all, plus the label.

Dianne McDonnell

This quilt is the result of a “Happy Villages” class taught by Karen Eckmeier. I had pulled my 20 fabrics to try to make an Arizona sunset quilt. But when I saw Karen’s class, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go. A few fabrics were traded out for something more appropriate. The back of the quilt shows the 20 fabrics used. It was fun to be the “architect” of this village. I call it “Sunset on the Mountains.”

Deb Messina

I created this project for me, for my own piece of mind – to remind myself that focusing on the positive, even during the darkest of times is the only way forward. Every part of this project is symbolic of these times. The rainbow background represents my daughter and her wife and all those LBGTQ people fighting every day just to be accepted for the individuals they are instead of being defined by their sexual or gender identity. The pieced border represents the many different and beautiful colors that people come in. The Peace Sign with a center of hands in both Black and White represent coming together in a peaceful way, extending a hand and helping each other to understand this experience from the other’s perspective. The Zig Zag stitching in the background is meant to symbolize the ongoing global pandemic and how we are all touched by it even if indirectly. May we all get into some (John Lewis inspired) Good Trouble – working together toward a more positive, more inclusive future. Many thanks to Teresa and Tom Koster for their help in the embroidery, I couldn’t have gotten this done without you!

Marcia Sanderman

I wanted to remember our trip to Bermuda a few years ago. I love the Bermudian homes in pastel colors with their white roofs that collect rainwater. I used the fused technique I learned when I made portrait quilts. You quilt after covering your finished design with tulle. While I had a lot of solid fabrics I didn’t have them all so admit I did purchase some. The tulle did push me to 21 fabrics. I faced the quilt rather than bind it. I really enjoyed this challenge.

Jessica Cutright

For the 20/20 challenge, I used the leftovers from the wonky Greek key class. I saw a way to use fusible interfacing to help make a crazy quilt. Used 25 different stitches.

Nancy Killingsworth

Beginning this quilt by selecting the binding first seemed appropriate for such a topsy turvy 2020. And so began my little Ohio Stars, at our virtual retreat. If Claudia could start hers then, then so could I!

Ruth Turler Paiya

I had the 20 fabrics (all with dots!) picked out for awhile and could not think of a design. Then I saw the “Wash your hands” quilt on the APQS website and knew that was it! I had to shrink it down a bit to make it 20 by 20” and substitute the silver faucet fabric for one of my original choices – hopefully, the “quilt police” will give me a pass! It was still a challenge to use 18 fabrics on the front but those wedding bands came to my rescue. My twin 7 year-old granddaughters helped me take the photos. I plan to hang this in my bathroom as a gentle and colorful reminder of the year 2020.

Betsy Sayre

This quilt combines piecing, painting, fusing, and was fun to make.Betsy's 2020

Naomi Macioce

Quite an interesting challenge. I selected colors somewhat randomly to match a friend’s new apt. that I had not seen. I wanted to make a couch or decorative pillow. I felt a longing to go back to a traditional square and picked the Ohio Star. I hadn’t expected how difficult it was to harmonize fabrics previously picked w/out the pattern, rather than selecting them purposely for each slot, or as you went along. Now just hopes she likes it. (Also hadn’t considered the issue of getting a 20 x 20 pillow to Boston.) Fun all around, and glad to submit; Mission Accomplished.

Linda Gillins

‘70….the Fall of Life’. Fall is my favorite season – crisp, colorful. I was thinking about the seventh decade of one’s life being like Fall. The quilt represents early Fall with the leaves mostly staying high on the tree. I suppose as one nears the winter of life, the quilt can be flipped with leaves mostly fallen.

Linda Gillins

‘Movement in Social Distancing ‘. The quilt idea came from quilt pattern from Diamond Quilts in Cannon Beach and my daily walks. It’s a challenge to keep the 6 feet distance sometimes. I find myself in lawns, bicycle paths, roads trying to keep social distance. The red blocks get bumped to the back of the quilt when the purple block enters. Sometimes that’s my walking experience.

Liz McElhinny

I selected 18 scraps from masks I had been sewing for COVID-19 in March 2020. Added one background and a stripe. Inspired by a heart quilt by Gnome Angel. PSA: As a retired Pediatric RN, please follow the science, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. Protect our healthcare workers, your neighbors and family.

Michelle Herrmann

Storm at Sea is far and away my favorite quilt block. I love all the matching points, I love the rectangles and squares, I love how the interplay of colors can make you wonder what is background and what is foreground, and I love how depending on color placement, you can get a completely different look. Storm at Sea is traditionally a two color quilt. After choosing my 20 colors, I had some warm brights and some cool brights. My plan was to use these as two groups as if they were the two colors. But should the cool colors be the center diamonds of the rectangles? Or should the bright colors be the centers of the rectangles? Can’t choose? That’s easy — make two quilts! So I have two quilts, and a picture of each. And I have a picture of the back which is the same on both quilts.

Marilyn Henderson

I learned how to paper piece this summer, had this pattern and decided to use it for my 2020 quilt. It is actually 20 x 36.Marilyn's Elephant

Nancy Watts

Title: “JUST LIKE LUCY”. While browsing online I came across a polar bear quilt with a scrappy background. I decided to use a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as my central animal since we have a Cavalier named Lucy. (See her picture on the label on the back.) I had recently made a large quilt for a convention (which sadly had to be cancelled due to COVID-19) so I had collected many pieces of turquoise. I enjoy paper piecing so I just started drawing random shapes behind the dog. This was the most challenging part to get these pieces sewn together. I arranged the shades from light in the center to dark on the outside. Another challenge was needle-turn appliqué on the eyes and nose, and the embroidery on the face. I have not done very much of either technique so that was fun. When the piecing was done, I tried many quilting designs on paper and decided on two rows of echo quilting lines and then radiating lines to highlight the central figure. This was a great project and I really enjoyed the process.

Carol Rasor

I was excited about this challenge and figured out my design right away. I came home from the meeting and chose the fabric. There are 18 different leaves , plus the trunk and front and back. I hand quilted the trunk and leaves using a blanket stitch. This was a perfect size project for me to complete.

Jean Kelly

This quilt is called “Grab Bag” because I had no say in the selection of fabrics. My daughter thought picking a pattern then the fabrics was backwards. So she picked them for me and I had to come up with a design based on the fabrics. It was surprisingly fun.

Jean Kelly

This is my Happy Village quilt using Karen Eckmeier’s Happy Village book. I chose the pattern then the fabrics. I used an assortment of Cherrywood fabrics for my version of a town in the Cinque Terre. It stretched my use of color groupings. Great fun!

Julie Rinder

Kachinas are a part of the Hopi tradition and represent different spirits. For this challenge, I created a Corona Kachina. I managed to stay within the 20 fabric limit. I thought that I was going to have to use 21 fabrics to make the white face-paint, but, happily, I found a white selvage edge on one of the fabrics that I used, so I used that edge for the white. Most of the fabrics used are leftover fabric from face masks that I made. In one of the first MPS meetings that I attended, someone said something along the lines of “…you bought both sides of the fabric, so why not use it?” For this quilt I took that advice and I used the back sides of the fabric for the mountains, so that they would be more muted and, hopefully, look like they were in the background. For the thread spool head, I stitched back and forth to make thread cover the fabric. After I am done with the quilting, I am going to add some tiny, hand sewn masks to hang from the Kachina’s right hand. For new techniques, I used my machine button hole stich and clear mono/poly thread to sew on the applique pieces. I experimented with zig- zagging over the darker fabric on the right with a tan thread, which did mute the black a bit. I’ve never tried to make an object be an exact size, so that was a bit challenging. I am happy to report that the dimensions are really, really close to 20×20 inches. I will be machine quilting this, which will only be my second machine quilted fabric. This is also the first guild challenge that I have participated in. In conclusion, I add this note to myself: Self, one inch square pieces for the border are a pain in the neck!

Feel free to leave your comments below.  We’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Beautiful. Moving. I am blown away by the creativity and skill you all expressed. My dear friend, Linda, sent me this link. I’m so happy she thought of us. Thank you artists! It just goes to show that beauty is found in many places but especially in 20″ X 20″ squares!

  2. Wow! So many different designs, every person is thinking their own thoughts and putting them into fabric. Loved the results of this challenge.

  3. Well, this is an impressive artistic collection ! Bravo to you all and the variety of beautiful “Challenge” creations! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I loved all of them! That’s what I love about quilting…everyone has a different and special perspective. Congratulations to all of you!

  5. Fun to see all the quilts again and be able to zoom in closely on them. Thank you to all who participated. You’re creativity continues to inspire me.

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