My MQG Fabric Challenge Quilt and Why It’s Important to go Out of Your Comfort Zone

I recently finished “Fractured Puzzle” which was my Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge entry. All contestants were given samples of Michael Miller Glitz fabrics and we could add in additional Michael Miller fabrics as desired. My quilt is based on my Puzzle Box quilt design that’s a free download for newsletter subscribers.

fractured-puzzle_resize

Fractured Puzzle by Christa Watson, 56″ x 60″

This quilt was way, way out of my comfort zone for so many reasons! At first, I thought I would play it safe, and sew together the blocks in a standard, traditional grid format, shown below:

black_white_blocks

I really like the graphic quality of this layout, and the Glitz fabrics really play off of each other. Next, I thought it would be fun to add a pop of color with a red Cotton Couture solid:

with_red_sashing

By now, I’m really, really starting to like how this is turning out. I shared these pics in social media on instagram and facebook and received a lot of very positive feedback. But then a crazy idea popped into my head, and I couldn’t get rid of it:

What  would happen if if I slashed up the quilt top and then sewed it back together??

first_cut

Getting ready to take the first cut – this was so scary!!

Going this route scared me so much because I thought people would really think I’d gone off the deep end. But something in me said I had to try, and that was truly exciting. After all, this WAS a quilt challenge. It’s not for publication, nor is it for a class sample, and I really didn’t need anyone else’s approval to do this. I finally decided to just dive in and  see what happened. What a liberating feeling!!

slashed_blocks

Wanna go crazy? Slash up your quilt!!

After making the first cut, things got a little easier. Now I’m liking the fractured look and for a time, I considered adding white strips in between each of the sections, “slash-and-insert” style. I still may explore this idea in a future quilt. But with this one, I decided to sew the sections back together, creating a really fractured, disjointed look.

At this point I’m not quite sure if it’s a modern quilt, or really more of an art quilt, but I don’t care, as I’m truly loving the process!!

puzzle_pieced

Fractured Puzzle quilt top – a more dynamic design, don’t you think?

The hardest part was figuring how to sew the pieces back together. I felt like I was sewing a puzzle, joining sections back together to create larger units. I knew that I’d lose quite a bit around the edges once I squared it up, but that was totally okay with me.

quilting_in_progress

After the top came together, I had a really great vision for the quilting, even though I knew it would be a TON of work! With my new BERNINA 770  I quilted tons of straight lines, about 1/4″ apart in each of the fractured sections, following a different angle.

This meant lots of loose threads to tie off at the end, but it was important for me to go with what the quilt “wanted” rather than what was easy. After all, I realized this quilt was more about the process and the journey, rather than the finished product.

fractured-puzzle-detail

Quilting Detail – it’s all about the angular texture!

I truly enjoyed making this quilt from start to finish. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me the freedom to explore the boundaries beyond traditional design.

I entered it into QuiltCon for 2016 and statistically the odds are slim that it will get in: there were over 1800 entries and only around 325 are accepted. But I’m an optimist and I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 🙂 Besides,  no matter what happens, this was a fabulous journey for me to complete, and I’m now emboldened to make other, “un-safe” choices when it comes to quilting!

fractured-puzzle_resize

What’s the most interesting, unique, or non-traditional quilt you’ve ever made?
Let me know in the comments, or post pictures over on my Facebook Group: Quilt With Christa.

20 thoughts on “My MQG Fabric Challenge Quilt and Why It’s Important to go Out of Your Comfort Zone

  1. Adrienne says:

    Christa this is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing the details of your process. I love this quilt. I hope to get the nerve to make something like this one day. You are a great inspiration.

  2. cheryljbrickey says:

    I really like this finish. I had watched your periscope where you were pondering whether to cut it up or not and I chanting to myself chop it up, chop it up! I really like the result and how your quilting emphasizes the chunks of the quilt.

  3. Christina in FL says:

    OOOoooo Christa, this turned out SO well! :))) I’m with you… this quilt didn’t need the white space in between. 🙂 I look forward to seeing more of your adventures. 🙂

  4. Micki says:

    wow…love the idea. You are a brave girl. Turned out lovely. Great quilting. Inspires me to think about some of my quilts. Thanks for sharing the process – fun to see the steps. I will cross my fingers that your quilt gets accepted. Micki@2dogsstudio.us

  5. Judy Sturm says:

    Christa, I absolutely love the way you finished the quilt! The finished (fractured) product is so much more interesting and dynamic than the previous versions. I am not an experienced quilter, I am a beginning quilter. However, I have looked at and seen many, many quilts, and I absolutely love what you made here! Thanks for showing it to us.

  6. Rike says:

    I love the quilt! It’s really more dynamic by now.
    One of my challenge was a little modern Mondrian- quilt with no rectangular angles. My Mom loves him so much, so I gave him to her.
    Greetings from Germany, Rike

  7. Mary says:

    Your work is such fun to see and learn about, and it’s generous of you to share your thinking processes as you try new things. Thanks so much for doing this. Thinking outside the box is, in my opinion, the real way to grow as a quilter, designer, and person.

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