Teddy Pruett
Certified Quilt Appraiser
Second Hand Story Quilts *** Free Lance Writer
Challenge Quilts
Participants in a "challenge" are given a set of guidelines to follow and usually a piece of fabric.  Each quilter creates her own vision within the set parameters.  The following quilts are the result of challenges.

Sunrise, Sunset - Oh, Wow!  

This was made by invitation for the Pilgrim Roy Challenge for 2012.  We were given dark, dull, solid fabrics.  I don't use dark dull solid fabrics, so it truly was a challenge for me.  I used embroidery and machine stitching to jazz up the somber colors.  It was inspired by the death of Steve Jobs, after reports that he said "Oh wow!  Oh, Wow!" on his deathbed.  Some of the motifs relate to the mourning embroideries of the late 1700's and early 1800's.  

This quilt traveled to various exhibits throughout the country until April of 2103 at which time it was auctioned off to benefit the National Quilt Museum in Paducah KY. I think I heard it was purchased by The Handi-Quilter Corp. 

"Old Hickory" was made for the Presidential Challenge organized by Sue Reich.  She chose various artists to participate.  No one would take Jackson, the scoundrel, but Sue figured she could talk this old Southern gal into doing it.  I'll do almost anything to get my work into a traveling exhibit and book, so I said yes.  Each President is in a 24" square format, and made in the style that would have been popular while he was President.  If possible, we were to use authentic fabrics. I came pretty close, I used a bit of fabric from the 1840's. 

 

"Memory Jars"  

Challenge title was "Treasures."  We were given a piece of blue hand dyed fabric (I used mine in the large jar) and a little bag of embellishments, including feathers, of all things. So my "treasures' were the vintage log cabin blocks used as a background, and all the little thingies sewed to the jars.

In the early part of the 20th century, there was a practice of squeezing clay around an old bottle or jar, and encrusting the jar with found objects.  These original memory jars fetch amazing prices on the folk art market today.  This is my version. 

 

"Memory Jars" detail

Can you believe all this stuff?  Most of the embellishments were sewn while I waited on my Mom at the dentist's office.  It always created a lot of questions in the waiting room.

 

"Art Deco at the Improv" 

40" square

Each year the Pilgrim/Roy challenge committee invites 12 artists to participate in a challenge, then the quilts are auctioned off to raise funds for the Museum of the American Quilter's Society in Paducah, KY.  The artists are provided with one yard cuts of eight fabrics.  Because I work with old and recycled textiles, these new fabrics were really foreign to me.  I just could not get inspired.  Finally, I found a box of hankies from the 1920's - and the art deco decoration on the box was my inspiration for this quilt.  I used a calla lily pattern that my mother in law in West Virginia had saved for decades.

 

 

 

"Suwannee River Bend"

40" W X 50" L

Some friends and I drove all the way to Mobile AL to see the Gee's Bend quilt exhibit.  On the drive home, we decided to make our own version inspired by what we had seen.  Again, my stash never lets me down - I had old corduroy, pieces of jeans, and even sugar sacks.  It took two hours to piece and layer the top, and hand quilting was completed the next day.  Instant gratification! 

 

 "The Sissies"     50" L X 55 1/2" W

Made for "Sister, Sister" challenge, Lady of the Lake Quilter's Guild, 2003.

Antique quilt blocks, 1950's yardage, beading and embellishments.

I used 2 antique Seven Sisters blocks, and my then 10 year old granddaughter, Taren, designed and cut the seven little girl figures.  I am fascinated by the freedom of a child's art, and the quilt has an almost 'outsider art" look to it that I love. 

"Starklers"

I hate this quilt.  Always did.  I was making a nice, normal challenge quilt that fit the rules, and realized I didnt' like anything about the challenge rules.   So I took a rotary cutter to the pieces and whacked it up - what fun!!  Then I sewed the pieces back together and beaded and sequined it.  It was better. I still hate this quilt.  You can buy it. 

For that matter,  you can buy any of them.