MQU 10x10 Challenge

In honor of Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine's 10 year anniversary, they sponsored a 10x10 challenge.  For this challenge, the rules were fairly simple:  "Create a quilt with 10"x10" finished measurements, including the binding, that refers to the number 10 in some way."

For my entry, I wanted to incorporate Xs, which are the roman numeral for 10.  I began by laying out a grid of background squares and rectangles...ten to be exact.  I planned on inserting mostly white strips into each square with a few pops of color (lime, orange, magenta and teal).
Improvisational Xs
I was so excited about this design that I dived right in and somehow forgot to add the seam allowances necessary to achieve a 10"x10" design!  No worries...we'll consider this a design opportunity!  So I set out to add borders in order to meet the finished size requirement.  

I was delighted to find this bubbly print in my stash that amazingly had all the same colors:  grey, white, teal, lime, orange and magenta.  I added some solid black flanges and created a tic-tac-toe grid (seemed appropriate given all the X blocks).  I went to layer it with batting and backing, but held off on pin basting it.  The next morning I returned to my studio with fresh eyes and just wasn't as excited about my mini quilt.  I felt like all my Xs were lost in the sea of bubbles.  However, I did like how the black strips created great contrast with my center blocks.  I wondered how it might look with all solid black borders and used Microsoft Paint program to do a quick mock up by copying/pasting my X blocks onto a black background square.  This was such a vast improvement and I set out to immediately rip out and remove all the borders and attach the new black borders. 
Border Options
As I was attaching the black border strips, I began contemplating quilting designs.  I thought it would be fun to extend the X design into the borders.  I used blue painter's tape to outline the X extensions.  Matching Aurifil 50 weight threads were selected to densely stitch straight match stick lines in white and circular motif for each of the four colorful Xs.  The quilting really pops against the solid black background.  Black Aurifil thread was used to stitch a zig zag meander throughout the rest of the black borders.  
Before and After Quilting
Detail of Quilting
When it came time to trim up my quilt, I rotated the ruler a little to create wonky borders.  Faced edges were used to continue the stitched lines out into the edges of my miniature quilt.  

"Happy Birthday Kisses & Wishes," finished 10" x 10"
Artist Statement:  "X marks the spot with this miniature quilt celebrating MQU’s 10th Anniversary.  X is the roman numeral for 10, and it has historically been used to represent kisses and affection.  The ten blocks were improvisationally pieced using the slice & insert technique.    Dense quilting in matching thread colors help carry the X motifs out into the black border and into the faced edges."

Chosen finalists will be notified on October 24th...wish me luck!!  


  1. Thanks for sharing so much of your process, Mel. Your black border improved the quilt. Love the x extensions and the way your quilted them. Congratulations on another finish!

    1. Thanks Ann...I had fun with this mini quilt. Sometimes I find the smaller quilts are more tricky to design...but I am pleased with how this one turned out.

  2. Great interpretation, love your X's! Good luck!

    1. Thanks Paige...let's hope the judges appreciate my X interpretation too!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for following up Afton...alas I did not receive any notification emails yesterday so I suspect my quilt was not selected to proceed to the judging round. It's all good...I still love my lil' mini!

  4. Beautiful and fun mini! I too made an entry and did not make the cut.

    1. Thanks Cheryl...I had fun with this little mini. I would love to see your entry...I don't recall seeing any posts on your blog/facebook? Please share!!


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