The 2021 Challenging Fabric Challenge Winners!

We are so pleased to announce the winners of our Challenging Fabric Challenge for 2021!  We had over 2450 votes for 24 beautiful quilts and one 3-D project - wow!

As a reminder, here is the fabric that our quilters were tasked with using:


 Crazy Mane

In first place, with 505 votes, Othella Wells wins!

She says, "The challenge fabric this year was just perfect to use up a lot of my Mardi Gras fabrics.  I did use all of the half yard cut of the challenge fabric in my quilt.  I used a pattern called Oh My Stars by Pat Sloan and added extra borders.  This quilt will be for my daughter.  She and her husband moved to New Orleans when he got orders for Belle Chase, LA.  My heart was broken that she had to move so far away but we went down to visit a lot.  We did all of the tourist things and enjoyed some wonderful food while they lived there.  My favorite memory of all was on 10-30-09 at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans while waiting for our precious little Mardi Gras babies to be born (twins).  New Orleans will always hold some very dear memories for me.  They live far away in Wisconsin now and I hope that this quilt will bring warmth on cold winter evenings and memories of a very special place and time.

Thank you for picking this fabric this year and pushing me to go ahead and make this special quilt."

Othella Wells Quilt

In Second Place, with 340 votes, congratulations to Rowena Ball.

"Pattern name: 10 minute block

Name: Fairy Garden Windows

When thinking of this quilt, the pattern, and picking out matching fabrics I could see a small child watching out the window while see dragonflies, butterflies, bees, & hummingbirds all fluttering around. I remembered my 5 year old granddaughter, Elizabeth, telling me in the spring about her visitors. You see she shared the same birthday as my brother Eddie who passed away in December 2020. She began to tell me a beautiful story of how he came to visit her all the time so I asked how, she said on the dragonflies and butterflies that would fly very close and sometimes “stop” to visit her. She told of how she knew he was there saying hi & taking care of her all the time, & how much she missed and loved him. So, as you look out the windows of my quilt see if you can see all the fairies guarding the wonderful gardens for the butterflies, dragonflies, bees, & hummingbirds as they pick up and transport our loved ones around to see us. We must also remember the whispering bee who comes very close to you as if looking in your eyes, hovers, and tells you a secret message before leaving. All these are protected in the gardens of the fairies."

Rowena Ball's Quilt

 In third place with 212 votes, Nancy Kelly is our winner!

"I have long been a fan of Monterrey Bay Aquarium.  I love to watch the live cams, especially the kelp forest, the otter, and the jellies cams.  I often save pictures that the aquarium posts as inspiration for art quilts, which I have just begun to try. The challenge fabric immediately brought “underwater” to mind when I opened the brown bag.  I call this quilt “Kelp Forest.”  You never know what you will see when you watch the kelp forest cam.

This is my 3rd art quilt.  I used this quilt as a challenge to try new things. Never before have I……

  • Not worked from a pattern or a photo to create art
  • Let a fabric inspire the design
  • Tried free form curved piecing (Braided Curves, Easy Improv With A Complex Result, Quilting Arts Magazine, Issue 110 Summer 2021).
  • Embellished a quilt
  • Created design elements first, then selected background
  • Entered a challenge or a competition

Nancy Kelly's Quilt

Thanks to all 25 creators who entered the challenge this year! 

Look for this challenge again next August at Cary Quilting Company.  In the meantime, we will be on the lookout for a fabric to top this year's selection!"

2017's rodents say "Impossible!"
2018's little people say "Bring it on!"
2019's cats say "Let's just see you try..."
Cat fabric 
2020's cheese fabric says "It wasn't easy being cheesy!"
2021's Crazy Mane says "This one was too easy!"


See you for next year's challenge!


To find out what our challenge was all about, click here.


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