Autumn Bounty Challenge Quilt

I set out looking for a quilt guild a few months ago.  Of course, I had no idea what you even do when you're part of one, but the idea intrigued me and I knew it was a lot of other people who like to play with fabric.  There can't be anything wrong with that. As luck would have it, a guild had just started that was meeting about 20 minutes from me.  I still consider myself an amateur quilter, but a full-fledged fan, so I was hoping I wouldn't be out of my depth.  Turns out, this group will welcome you with open arms, even if you don't know all the quilting lingo.  It's a highlight of my month.

Recently, one of our members organized a fun event called the Autumn Bounty Challenge.

Anyone who wanted to participate was given a piece of fabric, 6 by 24".  The instructions were to use as much of the fabric as you could.  The rules were that the project had to be quilted, be no larger than 45 by 45" and have a label.  This is what we each started with:

Autumn Bounty Challenge Quilt fabric
Autumn Bounty Challenge Quilt fabric

I'll be honest, this fabric wasn't something I would have picked if I were out shopping.  At first I was at a loss as to what I should do with it.  But I couldn't bail on my first ever quilt guild challenge, so I hit the books to find something that would make me happy when it was finished while still keeping the integrity of the fabric.

I ended up finding three blocks on Craftsy by Diane Knott that I loved.  Because they're all pieced and small, I didn't even have to buy any fabric.

Pieces for quilt blocks
Pieces for quilt blocks

The first one that caught my eye was the pumpkin.

Pieced Pumpkin quilt block
Pieced Pumpkin quilt block

The next was the scrappy sunflower.

Scrappy Sunflower Quilt Block
Scrappy Sunflower Quilt Block

And of course, I had to include the leaf to tie in to the fabric print.

Leaf quilt block
Leaf quilt block

Did I mention that all three of these patterns are free?

Three finished quilt blocks
Three finished quilt blocks

These were each 8 1/2" square when they were finished, but I cut them down to 8" to better fit with the leaf print.  I cut it into six 3 by 8" pieces.  I decided to go with the black background in the challenge fabric and add black between each piece.  That worked out well, since I end up with LOTS of black strips of fabric left over from my vendor aprons!

Blocks with top and bottom fabrics added
Blocks with top and bottom fabrics added

Black strips in between…

Black strips in between quilt squares
Black strips in between quilt squares

…and around the outside.  Top finished!

Black strips around outer edge
Black strips around outer edge

And there it sat for a while.  It's a little intimidating to think about quilting something that other, more experienced quilters are going to examine.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and just do it.  I pinned the heck out of that thing though.

Quilt pinned
Quilt pinned

I thought about quilting it by hand, but in the end did it on the machine.  I'll save that monumental attempt for another project.

Quilted pumpkin
Quilted pumpkin

I went through the same thought process over the binding.  In the end, it felt more important to have it finished.  Again, I went crazy holding it all together while I sewed.

Clips to hold binding
Clips to hold binding

Surprisingly, after all that the biggest sticking point of this whole project was the label.  I've made a couple of quilt labels in the past, but I don't think one has ever made it all the way to becoming attached to the quilt it was intended for.  The tiniest thing gave me the biggest headache.  What should I put on it?  What should it look like?  Should I embroider it?  Print it?  Handwrite it?  Ugh.

I finally decided to make it look like a postcard and print it from the computer.  I LOVE it!

Autumn Bounty Challenge Quilt Label
Autumn Bounty Challenge Quilt Label

It was really fun to work with something I didn't choose, and I found I really welcomed being forced to think outside my usual little bubble.  It caused me to find a method to use something in a different way, and not cast it aside because it wasn't my style.  The challenge was completed at last night's meeting, so now I can't wait to start using this on my table.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the next challenge is going to be!

Autumn Bounty Challenge Quilt on Crafty Staci
Autumn Bounty Challenge Quilt on Crafty Staci