The challenge of a challenge

This year’s QuiltCon Michael Miller Fabric Challenge was a finishing challenge.

While  I was machine quilting, my Bernina 560 machine gave me fits. The needle position was to the left when I turned it on but the display said it was in the middle. Then the tension acted up and the stitches looked terrible. This was at the first of November. I took it to the shop— wait time could be 30 days or more. Good grief!

I came home and used my credit card points to purchase an inexpensive machine, a Brother. I didn’t have a backup and this seemed like good time to get one.


City Hall Secrets

That meant I switched to handquilting. I love handquilting but finishing it on time would be a struggle. And it was.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Brother arrived. On Sunday, I added the binding even though I had until November 30 to enter it. You never know when the computer will go out too.

Because sections of the edges were not quilted, I got puckers on the back using the regular presser foot on the Brother when stitching the binding. I was used to my walking foot. And this confirmed how valuable a walking foot is. Most of it was okay but about a third had to be removed and redone. The next pass I pinned the whole thing and no puckers. Yeah for patience!

I took photos on Monday, November 27, and entered the quilt that night.


The quilt design has a nice backstory. In May I took over our Guild’s Instagram account. On May 8 the theme for the day was Inspiration. I took a photo of the back side of City Hall. I live across the street.

Last year I bought Heather Jones’ book, Quilt Local, Finding Inspiration in the Everyday. Heather used photos of local scenes and turned them into quilt designs and quilts. I took her instructions and sketched a quilt from the City Hall photo. Then, a graph with sizes for each edition.


Along the way I adapted it, preferring an asymmetrical design. And I added two rows on the right. Rather than solid “sashing”, I used the Michael Miller Our Yard prints. They started as large improv blocks that I cut and stitched into long strips. That changed my plan to connecting the rows. Instead of three long rows, I had multiple sections and rows. It actually helped with accuracy. I find that sewing long strips together can create wonky lines.


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