I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great ... So I started this companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. But also check out my regular blog at http://olderrose.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Are you up to a challenge?

I think combining specific personal challenges with the CQJP is a great opportunity... I've belonged to Crazy Quilting  International for a long time and have participated in many of their activities, but BY FAR my favorite was the couple years they did the challenge list for a block...  It involved doing a one 11" block over a year's time.    A list of things was posted and it was up to the individual to include as many as they wanted....this was a challenge for personal growth and not a competition in any way...  Here was my challenge block for 2009...

Things I chose from the 2009 list that were either a new skill or something I needed to improve.  You can find them all...The list included using: pansies, paisleys, hankies, butterflies, fancy beaded seams, lettering, embellished rick rack and painting on fabric.  I chose them all since I had a whole year to do it but many only chose 3-4.  So you not only got to challenge yourself, you got to see what others did with the same list.    I was  just blown away by all the gorgeous paisleys.

I was really disappointed and distressed when the format of the challenge block concept changed.... Rather than being skilled focused it was more about adding bizarre embellishment.  I dropped out then but have always continued to have at least three personal  challenges I want to focus on for every project I start.. usually skills I need to improve or using something interesting I've seen on another block...

Haven't made a final decision but on my early list for CQJP is silk fabric flowers, surface embellishment, maybe woven or folded ribbon work, and ALWAYS elaborate seam work.  Sometimes I choose a tool or thread to try.  Years ago I bought a punch needle I've never used and another possibility is to use some of the novelty threads that are accumulating and multiplying in a drawer unused...especially Kreinik metallic ribbon. I'm still thinking on it...

So if you are participating in CQJP or even if you're not, give some thought to choosing at least three things you'd like to focus on and improve in the upcoming year...  If you think of some you'd like to use, leave a comment...maybe it will be something someone else would like to do and hasn't thought of it.....  I will try to provide some examples and ideas for you as the year goes on.


  1. Your 2009 block is lovely. I'm still in the beginning stages of learning developing my crazy quilting techniques, so my big focus for next year will be to use more elaborate seam treatments, attempt ribbon work flowers, and to work on better precision in my embroidery work. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. I'm a newbie at crazy quilting and I have joined the CQJP 2015. I've never participated in something like it before so I'm a bit nervous. So any and all suggestions and advice are quite welcome:)

  3. Gerry this block is absolutely stunning. My eye keeps traveling, and the more I look at it, the more I marvel at. I love the paisleys, pansies, birds, butterflies, and I could go on and on. My challenge as a newbie was creating a spider web using metallic thread. I think I conquered that because Willa used my spider web as a cover photo on Crazy Quilt Divas. I was thrilled. Embroidered seams is my new challenge. Ribbon embroidery will be my next challenge. That's not specific, but those are the things I need to be able to do at least adequately if I ever want to sign up for the Crazy Quilt International Year of blocks.

  4. I can't believe I've never seen this one before - Gerry it is outstanding! My eyes wander all over and over and I keep finding new pretties! Love it!

  5. this is a really beautiful block so much to see and admire. Unlike you I do not enjoy ribbon work and have decided to have a break from the CQJP challenge next year

  6. Stunning! I think it is a great idea to explore new techniques or strive to improve the ones we struggle with. I am planning to participate this year and need to come up a subject as your corsets.....putting on my thinking cap.