Our Yard Michael Miller Fabric Challenge

Michael Miller sponsored a fun new Fabric Challenge as part of 2018 QuiltCon.  This year's challenge bundle featured fabrics from the Our Yard fabric collection.  MQG members were eligible to sign up to receive a free fabric challenge bundle that included Fat Eighth Yard cuts of 4 prints and one coordinating Cotton Couture solid. 
Fat Eighth Yard Pieces of Challenge Fabrics
The challenge rules allow entries to be any size or shape, but at least two fabrics from the "Our Yard" line must be incorporated, along with as many Cotton Couture solids as desired and the option for the binding/backing fabric made from any Michael Miller fabric.

The two striped prints appealed to me (one was black & white and the other featured bright colored stripes) and I love the drape, feel and range of colors available within the Cotton Couture line of solids.

After considering a few different design possibilities, I revisited some sketches I made last year for an improvisationally pieced Peace sign block.
Peaceful Prototypes
Here are some mock ups and blocks that I made but scrapped as they didn't quite capture the modern/abstract look that I had envisioned.  Later that night I experienced some insomnia and spent some time brainstorming new design alternatives.  Inspiration finally struck after I revisited my own Slice of Pi quilt where I experimented with stack, whack and shuffling my background fabric squares before inserting fabric strips.  A few adjustments were made for this new quilt:
1.  Slice a peace sign into the background squares
2.  Incorporate more contrast into the background squares by using 3 super bright solids plus a few of the challenge prints (and I opted to have the stripes going in different directions as it would be easier once it was time to layout the blocks)
3.  Use only one solid for the strip inserts.  Black and white were both auditioned but given the amount of white in the prints, solid black was the clear winner!  Widths of the strips ranged from 1-2"
4.  Incorporate one large off-center block

Piecing Together Peace Signs
I began by layering 5 squares and absolutely loved the first set of blocks.  In less than 24 hours I had pieced a total of 32 blocks.  I did experiment with incorporating the light blue lime leaves print but chose not to use them as they didn't add any interest.
Peaceful Progress
Piecing the large Peace sign block was a bit of a challenge, mostly because I only had smaller swatches of the pink and yellow solid remaining.  But with some careful planning, I was able to make it work without having to seam together fabric remnants!  I considered adding an imbalanced border of solid black but needed to conserve any yardage for a 2nd QuiltCon entry I was making.
Peace Filled Pebbles
As I was piecing my blocks, I began planning out the quilting.  White (#2024) Aurifil 50-weight thread was used to free-motion quilt a zig zag meander in around the background for the smaller blocks and peace sign filled pebbles on the larger block. Leaving the black fabric strips unquilted helps them to really pop (especially since all the seams were pressed under adding a little more loft).  The quilting was completed in just one day.

And in lieu of a larger border of black, some 1/4" black binding beautifully frames this quilt.
"Peace by Piece," Finishes 37" x 37"
I had some fun coming up with quilt titles that played off Peace vs. Piece.  Here are some of the brainstormed quilt titles:  Peacework (my mom's suggestion), Peace de Resistance, Conversation Peace, Think Piece, Peace Together and the winner--Peace by Piece. 

I managed to finish this quilt almost 3 days before the QuiltCon deadline and include in my online submissions today (the deadline!).  Here is my Artist Statement:  Abstract peace signs dance against this vibrant backdrop consisting of Our Yard prints and Cotton Couture solids.  Squares of background fabrics were stacked, whacked & shuffled prior to inserting the black strips.  A zig zag meander adds energy as it is stitched throughout the smaller blocks and a peace sign filled pebbling motif is featured in the larger peace sign block.  Peace & love to all.

Regardless of QuiltCon's decision, I am excited to have a new sample for my Slice of Improv workshop and foresee making more of these blocks with different fabric palettes!


  1. I love this design! So bright and colorful and the quilting is awesome!

    1. Thank you Cheryl--the colors made me so happy as I worked on the piecing & quilting. And I had lots of fun with the quilting as well!!


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