A Color and Design Challenge

I signed up for a virtual quilt challenge call Exquisite Quilt #4.  It is run by the very talented Abigail Vargas.  Click here for more info about this project. Signups are closed for this round but hopefully she will open up #5 this fall.

The Challenge

We were instructed to make 9-1/2″ blocks using a specific color palette.

  • Specific shades of BROWN–a color that I use only minimally.  In fact the last and pretty much ONLY time I used it in 2022 was HERE when I created a QuiltsUnscripted block.
  • True Green
  • Painters Palette Coral – Abigail provided this fabric so that all the block makers would be consistent.

The design challenge is to create blocks that have ‘connectors’ on one, two or all sides.  The connectors must be made from the Coral fabric.  We were free to use any style or piecing technique to create our blocks.  However, the connectors had to be precisely placed in the middle of any side of the block.


I created several EQ8 sketches to get my creative juices flowing.  I really wanted to see how the brown, coral & green palette might look.

Here are a couple of the sketches.  I liked them but decided to make improvisational blocks instead.  I might come back to these sketches for either small studies or larger quilts.




Exquisite Quilt Test Blocks

Then, I buckled down and got to work making a set of test blocks with other fabric.  I realized that I had almost NO brown fabric so I quickly put in an order to add to my stash.  Here’s my order from a couple of online fabric stores.  I only ordered half and 1 yard pieces and I have plans to use some of it in other projects coming up this year.

Meanwhile, to make my test blocks, I picked out black, pink and green color palette. I wanted to make sure that I could accurately piece the connectors–they had to fall in the middle of any side of the blocks. The connectors are the pink strips that touch any side of the block.

Here are my test blocks measuring 9-1/2″ square.  They were pretty accurate so I felt confident to move ahead making the Exquisite Quilt blocks.  After I show you my final blocks for the challenge, I will show you what happened with these test blocks later in this post–they did NOT go into a scrap pile.

Final Exquisite Quilt Blocks

Here are the blocks that I made for Abigail.  It was challenging to get the coral connectors in the correct position in the blocks because I was making improvisational blocks.  I decided to make the improv blocks  fairly complex — and it required some adjustments along the way.  But, it was worth the effort.  I am very pleased with the final results.  All three blocks measure 9-1/2″ square.




So…What Became of Those Test Blocks?

One of my goals this year is to repurpose test blocks if possible.  I liked the color palette, which is surprising because I am not usually drawn to ‘pinks’.  Here are the original test blocks in black, green and pink.

I decided to turn these blocks into small studies stretched on canvas and wood frames, suitable for hanging.  After studying the blocks for a bit, I started cutting them apart and re-configuring them.  Here are the blocks in progress after some cutting and re-sewing.

And here are the first two finished blocks.

I played with the in progress pieces a bit more.  Then, I added wide black borders, and wrapped these first  two on gallery frames. I have at least one more in progress. I decided not to add any quilting stitches.  I wanted the geometric abstract design elements to stand on their own.  I am pretty sure that these design elements will show up again in larger quilts.  This is definitely part of my Geometric Abstraction series. I love the clean lines and sharp definition of forms in each piece.   (Want to learn more abut geometric abstraction?  It started as a 20th century worldwide movement by painters and continues to this day. Start with this essay and keep Googling!)

The first two finished pieces shown below are available for purchase, along with other framed works and quilts,  on my brand new Gallery Site.


Let me know what you think!

I’d love to hear your comments about this improv process and the challenge of playing with colors you might normally avoid.  And yes, I love, love, LOVE geometric abstraction and improv!

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