Saga of the Quilt Panel Challenge

by | Apr 30, 2021 | 10 comments

Once upon a time my local quilt guild issued a challenge for members to participate in what was called the Panel Challenge. The mission was to take one or more panels and make it into something new and different and possibly not even be able to recognize said panel(s). Think back to pre-Covid days, say, circa January 2020. Our projects were to be revealed at the June meeting. This quilter chose to accept this mission and proceeded to do some research on different ways to use panels in a quilt. This process was fun but labor intensive, as there were so many great ideas and so little time. Said quilter finally decided on a pattern around March 17th and ordered the pattern and panels for the project. Shortly after the order was placed, around 3/19/20, many states began issuing stay at home orders. Our state order went into effect on 4/4/20. I thought, hmmm, this shouldn’t last too long, right??!

OK, I thought, here’s some extra time to get this challenge completed! If only I knew then what I know now!! But, I digress! When my pattern and panels arrived, I began working on my project. Over the month of April and into May I steadily worked on my project and was about half-way through when I realized, nope, not gonna get to meet in June to present these quilts. Our guild had over 200 members at the time, and we met in a large senior center, which was shut down as were all senior centers in our state. And guess what took leave? Yep that sewing mo-jo!!

During the summer and fall, I completely lost interest in this project and it sat on my design wall until last month when I noticed another blogger, Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts posted a panel challenge on her blog. Plus, though we are meeting via Zoom right now, our guild decided that we will present our challenge quilts in June of this year! That was a great opportunity for me to finish this challenge and also mark it off my list of PHD projects for 2021 (I’ll post more about this over the weekend!)

Since everything was already cut and the large blocks were pieced, not to mention it was half-way sewn together, I thought it shouldn’t take much time to finish this. And really, it was time!! The hardest part was deciding where the colors would fall in the quilt, and this took the longest time for me. Once decided, things went very quickly!

So these are the panels I used in my quilt with a pattern by Cindi McCracken Designs. I love these Hoffman Super Nova and Kabloom panels!

The pattern I chose from Cindi’s website is called Star Flowers. I love stars too!! When I got ready to start putting this together, I realized, I had made a boo-boo!! I cut the squares at 3 inches instead of 3-1/2 inches! What’s a girl to do?? Well, she breaks out EQ8 and redesigns the quilt. I added some strips here and there around the large blocks so it would equal out. That was a challenge all within itself! LOL The first blocks I stitched together were the large stars. I decided to use a mottled blue fabric to coordinate all of this. Gray would have been pretty too, I think!

And here was my stalled project that stayed this way for almost a year!

Fast forward to April 2021. Many states have ended their lock downs. Our mask mandate ended 4/9 and Safer at Home took effect until 5/4. Hopefully, she won’t extend it again. Most people are out and about and we have had no increase in cases. Here is the flimsy I completed last week. I love how the sun is shining through and makes it look kind of like stained glass!

A lot of quilting got done over the weekend, and yesterday afternoon and evening, I got the binding on! So, without further ado, here is my FINISHED panel challenge quilt!

It was quite windy when we took this pic this morning, so please excuse the picture! I do love how this turned out!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Star Flower Borealis
Size: 51×61 inches
Fabrics: Hoffman panels above
Thread: Piecing – Aurifil 50 wt in a neutral gray
Quilting – Glide gray 40 wt top and Superior Thread 60 wt gray bobbin
Quilting: Wavy lines – ruler work
Small dream blocks – free motion
Nova bursts – from Pro-Stitcher designs by Sweet Dreams Quilt Studio
Large star blocks – These were specially digitized for me by Kim of
Sweet Dreams Quilt Studio. I sent her a photo of the block and she
digitized it for me! Thank you so much Kim!! You are wonderful!!
Batting: Quilter’s Dream Wool

TIP: Do NOT put wool batting into the dryer to unwrinkle it – even on the Dewrinkle Setting! My batting was really wonky when I got it out, but I really wanted to use it, so forged ahead. It worked out OK but I would have been happier without the lumps in it!! Hopefully it will even out when it is washed!

I think the back looks almost as pretty as the front! The quilting really shows up well. I’ve never used cotton pique, but it was the perfect match, I think!

Thanks so much for reading along the saga of this journey with me! I hope you weren’t too bored! I’ll be linking up today with Kathleen who is hosting Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday and with the panel challenge at Prairie Moon Quilts!

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  1. Needle and Foot

    Wow, that is crazy unusual. I’ve seen that panel – there are lots of cool projects done with it. Yours looks wonderful!

  2. Shelly Pagliai

    Wow! It’s just gorgeous! And that quilting! What a project. Thanks so much for entering it into the Panel Challenge. And isn’t it always windy on the day/time you need to take a quilt photo?

  3. Gail Beam

    Hi Brenda, your quilt is Absolutely Gorgeous!! The back of your quilt is Absolutely beautiful too! The quilting that you did on your quilt is exquisite!!

  4. Gretchen

    Your panel quilt is beautiful! There was a lot of work and effort in your quilt and you did a wonderful job. I hope you win a prize ! I’ve never tried putting a wool batting in the dryer to remove wrinkles but a friend did tell me to add a damp washcloth. Maybe I’ll try it someday, happy stitching!

  5. Barbara Neiwert

    Way to go! Your design works so well, and the quilting is wonderful. Good to have EQ8 to get you out of a bind, lol! Great quilt!

  6. Shirley Clark

    I’m in awe! That is just incredible! You’re so talented.

  7. stitchinggrandma

    Spectacular!!! The pattern you used for the panel is terrific, and the setting with the smaller blocks really let it shine. The quilting is amazing.

  8. rl2b2017

    Hi Brenda! You had me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole saga! I’m so glad you stuck with it and got ‘er done. And how fabulous it is!! I would never in a million years know that was a panel or panels. Well, maybe the flowers because I’ve seen others quilt them as is but what a transition. Really nice job. And talk about a three-fer win/win/win. Woohoo! ~smile~ Roseanne

  9. sewswift

    Oh my gosh, this is gorgeous and your quilting is incredible…love it!


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