What the $%#& Was I Thinking? Quilt Challenge: Safari Spirals

Back in August, I launched a fun new quilt challenge for my guild, the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association.  The challenge rules were fairly simple:

  • Look for inspiration within your own personal stash that causes you to wonder "What the $%#& Was I Thinking?" when I purchased this fabric and incorporate them into an exciting new project.  
  • Entries could be any shape or size but had to have 3 layers, some form of quilting and finished/bound edges.
  • Entries were due by the October meeting which was just 2 months away!  

As I combed through my stash, I found a few fabric contenders for my entry--but this ombre leopard print certainly fit the What the $%#& Was I Thinking? theme as there was lots of brown and for some strange reason I purchased 2 full yards of this wild print!  For the life of me, I cannot remember what the $%#& was I thinkingwhen I purchased it just last year?!?!  Continuing with the safari theme, I added a zebra print, a beautiful aqua to blue ombre and some solid black fabric to create these improv pieced wonky spirals.  My first two pieced spirals (2nd row) were a bit too standard for me so I was sure to turn up the wonkiness factor on subsequent spirals.
Wild Challenge Print and Wonky Spirals
The spirals were actually super easy and fun to piece and I didn't concern myself too much about finished shape or size.  Once I had a collection of 12 blocks (4 from each fabric) I experimented with quite a few layout options--thank goodness for design walls!
Wild Layout
Once I started laying out the blocks in a ring, I was intrigued by the frame they created.  Of course that left me with a large void.  Several aboriginal print panels were auditioned as well as some bright greens.  They were ok solutions but didn't hold up to the excitement of the surrounding blocks.  A friend suggested creating a larger pieced spiral for the center and so I selected this black & white triangle spiral batik that I had recently purchased, and had not yet put it away.
Void to Fill
Using wider strips helped the center spiral come together very quickly.   Of course, assembling all 13 spirals (each of which was slightly different shape and size) required a bit more planning and troubleshooting.  Continuing with the wild theme, I had lots of fun adding more "Wild" quilting (inspired by Christina Cameli's Wild Quilting Craftsy class) to my quilt top using a variegated teal thread.
Wild Quilting
As per my last minute MO, I finished hand stitching the binding just hours before the quilt guild meeting deadline!!
Safari Spirals, Finishes 24" x 27"
And while I had lots of fun organizing the challenge and working on my entry, it seemed that the other participants had just as much fun...all 24 of them!!!  It was such fun listening to the stories of the different quilt entries.  Several of the participants shared that this was their first quilt challenge ever!!!  I enjoyed seeing all the wild fabrics that quilters found lurking in their stashes and just the amazing creativity of the designs and amusing quilt titles (ie.  One quilter naming her quilt "Blood, Sweat & Tears" which were all part of her quilt's journey!!)  Several recognition awards were issued including Judges Choice for Best Original Design, Largest and Smallest Entries (working small is my favorite trick for completing so many quilt challenges), Smallest Pieces Used (one of my favorite strategies for working with an ugly or challenging fabric), Most Interesting Inspiration Fabrics, Best Use of Inspiration Fabrics, Unique Shape and Participation Awards!! 

It was clear that a fun time was had by all...so I may just have to plan another quilt challenge for 2018!!  ;-)


  1. I wish I'd been there to see them all. Thanks for the challenge. It helped me get some old fabric out of my storage and made up, too.
    Looking forward to another one in 2018.

    1. I wish you could have seen all the fabulous entries too--I just loved seeing everyone's enthusiasm and creativity! Stay tuned for more challenge fun in 2018!!


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