Every year one of the quilt groups I belong to holds a Christmas Challenge. The previous years winner sets the new challenge and last year Frances Meredith set a Round Robin challenge which proved to be SO MUCH fun.

The first round was to make a twelve inch block which was then to be passed to the next person. Each additional round had a theme, be it strips or stripes, triangles or just your own favourite technique. There were five rounds in total and all this done in complete secrecy. We had all popped our challenges into shoe boxes and would bring them in on swap night to hand over to Frances who did a fabulous job of keeping track of who had what. You can imagine the excitement at the final reveal where we again voted for the winner. (Half hoping not to win as we’d have to set the next year’s challenge!)

Round Robin Quilts

So what other types of challenge are there? Well, anything you can make up but I thought I’d tell you about some of the ideas I’ve come across. Sew a Row (last years winner Jennifer has chosen this for 2018) where each participant Sew a Row of a quilt.

Selection of Sew a Row pattern books

 There are a few books out there based on Sew a Row to help you choose some designs and keep an eye out on your own UKQU for a surprise of this kind! Chinese Whispers is another great idea. The first quilter makes a quilt, setting a size helps keeps this manageable, inspired by a picture or theme. This quilt gets passed, or shown, to the next quilter who interprets this into her own work. This continues through those that are taking part. At the end all the quilts are shown together and you can see the ideas as they’ve developed and been adapted by each participant. I first saw an example of Chinese Whispers at exhibition by Gwent Quilters’ and was amazed at the results. You could see the theme develop through each working.

Postcard Challenge 

The year before, 2016, my group members were given a piece of fabric and had to make a block which had to include a star. We then have gathered all these blocks together and have created a charity quilt. (I love stars but they’ve been banned from our sew a row!) Another idea I’ve recently come across is a Jigsaw Quilt, each member has to make a piece of a jigsaw that can then be fitted together, a creative idea I think that I’d really like to have a go at and would also be great for charity or Linus quilts.

Jigsaw Quilt

Then you could also set a theme, as in the larger quilt competitions, which could be anything or what about a Journal Quilt Challenge. An A4 sized quilt, the making of which is easier to fit into a busy life!

There’s lots more ideas I’m sure so let me know what challenges you know of below. I’d love to hear your ideas.

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