QuiltCon Block Challenge: Pick Up Sticks

This is part of a series of posts about the QuiltCon Block Challenge. From August 27 – September 22, I’ll be posting photos of blocks received for the challenge. On September 24, I’ll start announcing which 20 blocks will be used in the quilt. You can see more photos of challenge blocks in the Block Challenge Flickr Group.  

As I was unpacking the challenge blocks, I noticed certain themes popping up again and again. Some of them were easy to describe (stars, wonky log cabins, etc.) but some of them were visually obvious, but not as easy to name. The blocks in today’s post are an example of this. They’re similar in that they all feature multiple diagonal lines, but each quilter has taken their block in a unique direction.

For lack of a better term, I’m referring to these are the Pick Up Sticks Blocks.

Here’s a breakdown of who made what.

Block A = Chin Fien Tsai of the Houston MQG

Block B =  Jenny Hibberd of the Scotts Valley/Santa Cruz MQG

Block C = Elizabeth Johnson of the West Virginia MQG

Block D = Liz Tius of the Vancouver MQG

Block E = Carolyn Slappey of the DC and Northern Virginia MQG

Block F = Vanessa Lynch of the Minneapolis MQG

Block G = Carol Miskin of the Dallas MQG

Here’s a second group. Once again, I think it’s fabulous that each one is so different, and yet they look so harmonious together!

Here’s a breakdown of who made what.

Blocks A = Abby West 

Block B = Susan Kephardt of the San Diego Modern Quilt Guild

Blocks C = Yvonne Fuchs

Block D = Shelley Brooks

Block E = Rebecca Williams of the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild

Block F = Linda Dixon

Block G = Elizabeth Phillippi of the Charlotte MQG


As a way of giving something back to QuiltCon’s host city of Austin, Texas, we’re going to use the blocks that aren’t selected for this  quilt to make quilts for each of the 46 beds at the Austin Children’s Shelter. This will be MQG’s first large-scale charity project and we look forward to both using the many beautiful blocks we received for the challenge and getting as many guilds as possible involved in the process! Participating guilds will receive a package of 7 or more blocks (much like the groups of blocks being shown in these blog posts) to expand into a 68″ X 88″ Twin bed quilt. This can be accomplished by adding blocks, adding negative space, or some combination of the two. The quilts will need to be machine quilted, bound, washed, and shipped to Austin in advance of QuiltCon. MQG will also be interested in hearing about each guild’s process and will feature the completed quilts in a series of blog posts in Spring 2013.

If your guild is interested in this project, please e-mail info@quiltcon.com to let us know.


Note: It’s important for us to give proper credit to designers. If you used a pattern or tutorial to make your challenge block, but didn’t mention it on the application form, please use the comments below to tell us more about your inspiration. Thank you!

3 thoughts on “QuiltCon Block Challenge: Pick Up Sticks

  1. When you look at the hundreds of blocks submitted, yes, some do tend to have certain thematic connections – those are the easy ones to put into groups. The difficult ones will be those that don’t, some of which are going to be very difficult to put with anything else – and might need extra piecing of more blocks plus lots of bordering, to somehow blend them in some way. Next time what about some general guiding theme? like Wonky Log Cabin, or Split Squares so that the resulting collection will be more overall harmonious ….

    • Actually, I think it’s preferable that the blocks are all different. My idea with the challenge was to have people make the kind of blocks that most appealed to them. Giving everyone more specific guidelines might have made the blocks more homogeneous, but I think it would have also made them less interesting. Having gone through all of the blocks myself, I can assure you that they look just great together.

      The guiding theme of this challenge was to be inspired by the QuiltCon logo, specifically it’s colors. In terms of adding more piecing and negative space, that will be part of the process both for me making the raffle quilt and for the guilds who work on the quilts for the Austin Children’s Shelter. Again, that’s part of the challenge.

  2. Such beautiful blocks and I love the name you’ve given them. It’s amazing how great these blocks (and others you’ve featured) look grouped together. Even though they were made by different participants, they fit together so well. I can’t wait to see more groups and the finished quilts.

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