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The Grocery Challenge, Part 1

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

This past year my co-program chair, Gail Galloway-Nicholson, and I, also took on the annual “Chapter Challenge” for the Coastal Quilters of the greater Camden (Maine) area.   We both had the same idea, but didn’t have enough time to implement it for 2011, so that will happen in 2012 (and be announced at our October meeting).  Then I had this FUN idea for this year…what about groceries?   Some of the wine labels are just awesome in color and graphic designs!   So I noodled around the idea.  Last August at the Coastal Quilters annual picnic at Joan’s camp cabin, I deputized those present and sounded them out.  They loved it and had some great suggestions…. so guess what… The local quilters came through GANGBUSTERS!

The (Camden area, Maine) Coastal Quilters Chapter Challenge 2011

The Challenge was this:  to take a packaged food or beverage product (not the fruit which is nice, or cleaning stuff which is work), but a food item of some sort.  You had to use at least four colors from the packaging (all of the colors if the label had fewer than four), plus you could add black and white.  But then I thought hmmm…someone could just troll the aisles looking for a package in colors they liked and wanted to use.  So I added a kicker:  you had to use something from the packaging in the quilt.  For example, if you used Tabasco sauce, you could use red-hot chili pepper fabric.  Or you could use rotini (corkscrew pasta) and make a corkscrew quilting motif.  I am so proud of this group:  12 signed up, 12 finished quilts (2 of us, including me, finishing a week before I had to turn the quilts in to Maine Quilts for hanging in the show and only 2 months after the ostensible deadline that I set!), and all are FANTABULOUS.  I’ll share them all in two long blogposts.  This is the panel I’ll share today:

The first panel of quilts

The finished size was 20 1/2 by 20 1/2 inches, in the hoeps that some of the traditional quilters would be tempted to participate as mostly the art quilty types have done recent challenges.   The irony:  the two with really traditional bits are by Louisa Enright (the hexagons) who is a contemporary quilter and does watercolor painting and me!  I had figured with this size you could do four 10×10 blocks (for example, what if someone bought frozen succotash–corn and lima beans–and used the traditional corn and beans block) plus have a bit for binding.  Or do a 12″ block and sash it, etc…. Sigh!

The first quilt completed was by Eleanor Greenwood, who does almost everything by hand!  She used a Naked smoothie bottle, and got permission from the Rainforest Alliance to use their frog logo in the center of the quilt (it appears on the back of the bottle).

Naked protein smoothie

The frog is stuffed and 3-D, the beading is spectacular, as are the colors, the 3-D petals… you name it.  WHAT a way to begin!

La belle grenouille contente (the happy frog) by Eleanor Greenwood. This takes my breath away every time I see it!

Next on the drape (I’ll do the quilts on the left, first):

Leigh's Blueberry Soda

Leigh Smith used a bottle of blueberry soda with an arched window as her item. She used a green metal garden stake as the rod and the rope to edge the window.

Karen Martin stretched the definition of food and beverage to include Centrum Vitamins:

Centrum Vitamins....notice the curve in the rainbow color logo and how Karen interpreted that in the blocks

Karen Martin used improvisational curved piecing which she learned from Northport (Maine) quilter Dianne Hire to make her blocks.Clever!

Next up is Jim Vandernoot’s AWESOMEly quilted piece.  Jim works for Campbell’s so used the V* Fusion drink as his inspiration.   I wish I had written down the proper title….  Jim, if you read this please send it to me because it’s perfect for this piece:

V-8 Fusion

Jim Vandernoot is a part-time Maine resident; we're thrilled he likes to take some of his vacation time and come visit with us!

Update:  the correct title (Thanks Jim!) is “In Search of the Quilting Gene.”  LOVE it!

Betty Johnson chose Land O’ Lakes half and half, and the curved lines in the graphics for her quilting motif:

Land O Lakes Half and Half (I'll take the full fat version!)

Btty Johnson perfectly captured the swirling lines and colors of the package graphics, wondei\ring about the fish swimming under the surface of the lake!

And on the bottom right of this panel, Rebecca Hokkanen made Tea-Bags using The-Tea Nation…with real teabags in the florette on the largest of the bags… notice the “T” in each bag??? How punny! (Please do not throw tomatoes at me as they will only mess up your keyboard…)

Cranberry Tea

Rebecca Hokkanen makes bags, and drinks tea, so she make Honest-Tea T-Bags!

If anyone wants my instructions for the challenge, just write to me and I’ll send you a PDF!


Coastal Quilters, January 2010

Monday, January 18th, 2010

It has been a while since I blogged about Coastal Quilters, our wonderful local chapter of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild.  Maine is lucky to have a great statewide guild, with something like 73 local chapters.  Our group runs from traditional to art, beginner to experienced.  This month we had a fun show and tell, including my lap quilt.

Eleanor Greenwood is relatively new to quilting, but clearly willing to try anything, and succeeds well.  She LOVES her grayhound, Louie, and is actively involved in rescue placements and supporting the organization.  She told us that he loves to sleep on his back; apparently this is quite common among the breed and is called “cockroaching” or “dead cockroach.”  I love it!  Anyway, she used a photo to hand PIECE (not applique!) this portrait of her pooch, “Jigsaw Louie”:

Great work!  If you’re interested in adopting one of these sweet dogs, visit, a 501c3 organization.

Joan Herrick is one of our traditional quilters (as well as an accomplished knitter).  Her work is meticulous…. I hope she never looks too closely at the pieced work I’ve done recently…my piecing is, well, let’s just say it’s nowhere NEAR as precise as I would like it to be, and even further away from hers!  In this photo, Joan is on the left, and another guild member (Patty C.) is on the right:

A new member, Paula Blanchard, shared some of her work with us.  In a class with Jude Spacks (an artist living in nearby Belfast, Maine) a while back, she did a fabric collage based on Edward Steichen’s photograph of Gloria Swanson, the silent film diva:

Here is her take in fabric…. I think Paula has a great future in art quilts!

And finally, my lap quilt, done.  The photo isn’t too precise, so one of these days I’ll take one that is sharper and share, but you can see now how I put it together.  Think when I’m done with writing blogposts, I’ll go cuddle under it…the back is creamy yellow minkee!  I’m on the right and Barb M., our tallest member who is always so willing to help is holding it up on the left…thanks Barb!

Maine Quilts, quilts I liked!

Friday, August 7th, 2009

OK…for the final installment of my Maine Quilts 2009 review, here are some quilts that I just thoroughly enjoyed.  I wish I had had enough time to snap a close-up of the labels to give proper credit to all the quilters!  Enjoy this last romp.  Next, I’ll give you some close-ups of the quilted version of Be Inspired…stay tuned!

Coastal Quilters (my local chapter) didn’t have as many quilts this year, but what we did have was wonderful…Mathea’s quilt of her husband and son was in an earlier post, and here is Louisa Enright’s glorious NY Beauty…she picked and chose from various patterns, drafted her own blocks, and designed the whole shebang…glorious!


The Coastal Quilters also had another fun, 10×10 inch Grab Bag challenge…you had to use EVERYthing (at least a little bit) of everything in your bag.  I suggested we also add a strip to show what we got so folks could understand where each of us began and where we ended up:


Another chapter, the Crazy Quilters, had a tea cozy challenge…think I can convince CQ to do that one year?


then, there are quilts I just plain liked.  One of the judges liked this one, too….and (oddly?) it had no regular ribbon, but DID receive (a well-deserved, I think) Judges’ Choice ribbon:


A Hawaiian style quilt that I loved:


And some fun other ones:



Maine Quilts, Art Quilts

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

There didn’t seem to be as many art quilts this year in Maine Quilts, but I enjoyed the ones that were there!   From my friend Betty’s cat quilt (in the Cat’s Meow section—each year the show has a theme…last year was schooners, the year before lobsters, etc., this year the Maine Coon Cat):


To some of the quilts in the Art Quilts Maine section, there were some really wonderful ones.  AQM had a challenge:  black + white + one color… it was fun to see the results:


And down the aisle from my Be Inspired Quilt was Judy Anderson’s seals:


And Mathea Daunheimer’s quilt of her son and husband at the beach:


And some more quilts…alas I don’t know who made the lilies, but the tree is by Mary McFarland:



I’ll have one more post about the show in a few more days….

Maine Quilts, Jo Diggs

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Jo Diggs has been at the forefront of the art quilt movement since there has BEEN an art quilt movement.  She lives here in Maine, and we are fortunate to have her nearby teaching and exhibiting.  This year, there was a special exhibit of some of her quilts.  I was suprised at the range of the subject matter and colors:  usually Jo’s landscapes are small, sometimes wool cloth, and lovely muted tones.  WOW was I inspired by her quilts:



When I saw her birch tree quilt, I thought why should I even try to make my “blue birches” quilt that has been hammering at the inside of my head asking to be  let out and made into cloth…..   I LOVE the sunset colors in hers.  I think I have just about talked myself back into making mine, telling myself that mine is just different…. but still…this quilt is close to perfection:


More on Maine Quilts in a few more days…