by Wanda Dotson, President
Our 2017 QuiltCon Charity Challenge quilt is a reflection of where each member lives and our connection to the James River which runs along much of Central Virginia to the coast. We explored the theme of Scale by looking at the geography of our region from an aerial view. While sewing the blocks together, we laughed that “It was not to Scale.”
In April we gauged interest on participating in the Challenge. Since we were a new guild, there was apprehension and uncertainty about the process. In May we shared the theme and color palette. Many members did not like the color palette but we were excited to see what we could create with them. At our June meeting, we brainstormed which led to an idea of using an aerial view of the James River as inspiration. We agreed we wanted the quilt to represent Central Virginia and each of our members. Thereafter we had discussions on the Community page of the MQG. Reaching a consensus was difficult but it appeared members wanted to stick with the James River idea.
Before our August meeting, two members, Ann Prince and Wanda Dotson, mapped out a 4 by 5 grid with a “river” running through it with the idea that the entire quilt would be inprov. They shared their paper grid at the September meeting. It was met with confusion and general concern for making an improv river. It was obvious the vision for the quilt was not clear to members. At that meeting one of our members, Truda Lee, had demonstrated the Scrappy Bits Appliqué technique from Shannon Brinkley’s book. Members suggested we use that technique to make the river. Members also suggested we each make an improv block representing an aerial view of where each of us lived along the James River. Our members showed their willingness to compromise and their ingenuity to make this happen.
In October our members turned in their blocks and on October 30, 2016, we had a Sew Day to assemble the improv blocks and to add the river to the completed geography. Melanie Leckey then quilted it and Ana Conceicao added the binding.
We learned that more instruction on what we expected and more communication at the onset would have helped the process run more smoothly.
We enjoyed seeing where each member lives and how creative our members are. We learned we can take colors we do not like at first and produce an amazing result. We saw Scale in a new way. In the end, we were happy with the result and were excited to share our work at QuiltCon East.
We plan to vote on a charity for our quilt at our March meeting. Picking a charity will be a challenge for us. We have a variety of organizations we want to support and it will be difficult to choose what group will receive our quilt, The James: Not to Scale.