Paisley Pavane arrives home safely!

I had a nice surprise in the mail last night: a box from the Museum of the American Quilter’s Society with my quilt inside! Paisley Pavane has been on tour or at the Museum since late 2005, so it’s good to have it home again.

Paisley Pavane by Nadine Ruggles

(Click on the photo for a larger pic and detail shots.)

I made this quilt for the MAQS New Quilts from an Old Favorites Contest at MAQS; the block theme for the 2006 contest was Dresden Plate. The purpose of the contest is to showcase innovative interpretations of traditional blocks. I’d had two other quilts accepted to the contest in prior years and I really wanted to enter, but couldn’t come up with a design I was happy with until really late in the game.

I’d really sort of given up on entering, and then I was digging through my stacks of in progress work looking for something else entirely, and I came across the pieces for the medallions that were made using a 9° wedge ruler. The idea took shape and I managed to complete the quilt in time for the contest, and the quilt was awarded a Third Place ribbon.

Dresden Plate: New Quilts...

Dresden Plate: New Quilts…,
by Shelley Hawkins

Quilts that are finalists in the contest are published in a book each year, so this quilt and the complete story of it’s construction from idea to binding is featured along with the other four award winners and 13 other finalist quilts in Dresden Plate–New Quilts from an Old Favorite. You just have to excuse the photography of the quilt in the book though; I have no idea why the color reproduction was so bad, and I tried to have it corrected when they sent the page proofs, but it didn’t happen. Though I realize that color reproduction isn’t always true on computer monitors, what you see here is undoubtedly better than what’s in the book, since the picture in the book is soooo bad.

Themed show exhibits and contests are a great way to stretch your skills and break out of whatever box you might be in. Solving the inevitable issues that arise when developing your own designs can be difficult and at times completely frustrating, but ultimately very rewarding and satisfying in terms of artistic growth and creativity. Upcoming theme information from the MAQS website:

The Museum of the American Quilter’s Society (MAQS) competition is open to quilts that are innovative interpretations of the following traditional patterns for upcoming competitions:

  • Burgoyne Surrounded – 2009
  • Sunflower – 2010
  • Orange Peel – 2011
  • Baskets – 2012

Should you hear the challenge to enter calling you, keep in mind that the years shown above are actually the years that the books will be published and the winning and finalist quilts are first exhibited at the Museum. Deadlines for entry are usually in October the year before. In other words, if you have a great idea in mind for the Burgoyne Surrounded contest, you’d better start cutting fabric now, because the deadline for that contest is October, 2008.

Burgoyne Surrounded BlockI wasn’t really thinking I would enter this year, because Burgoyne Surrounded is kind of a weird, rather boring block in my opinion. Now I’ve got myself thinking though, and the wheels are turning. Since there’s nothing on the MAQS site to show you what this block looks like, I’ve included a picture here so you can see it. I might try to enter, what about you?

Your Voice: Have you designed around a theme in any of your work? Was it for a contest or for yourself as an exercise or goal? What’s the most challenging aspect for you when you work in a theme? Share your experiences»

Quilt stats: approx. 59″ x 59″, 100% cotton fabrics, machine embroidered with Sulky rayon thread, machine pieced with 100% cotton thread, hand appliquéd with #100 silk thread, machine quilted with variegated rayon thread, variegated cotton thread, and #100 silk thread, Midnight Dream Poly Batting, embellished with over 3,100 Swarovski crystals. Completed: Fall, 2005.