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15 Quilt Challenge Ideas for Your Guild

A quilt challenge is a fun way to spark creativity and connection in your quilt guild.  Get your members creative juices flowing with one of these ideas.


A color challenge is a fun way to get members creating.  By providing a limited color pallet say three paint swatches.  Or randomly picking a few crayons from a bag can stretch members to think creatively about how to join those colors in a quilt.

In addition to a color combos your guild could try a color gradient challenge.  Each participant is assigned a specific color gradient; warm tones, cool tones, or ombre.  Their challenge is to showcase this gradient effectively.

Another color challenge is to try a monochromatic quilt.  With this challenge quilters are given a single color.  Then using various shades and tones of that color they must create a quilt.   This challenge encourages exploration of different fabric textures and patterns.  As well as allowing quilters to discover how value works in quilts.

Having a challenge fabric that everyone must incorporate into a quilt is another way to challenge quilt members.  Having the members purchase that fabric can be a way to earn a little money for the group.  This could be used for prizes once the challenge is completed.  You’ll be amazed at the diversity of quilts even when everyone came from the same starting point.


Another challenge may be to tell a story with a quilt.  Mary Lou Weidman is so good at this method.  Her story quilts could be an inspiration to your members.  With this challenge you may wish to have a theme; history,  my favorite day, or anything goes. 

One of my favorite challenges was when my guild had their “I Heard It on Vinyl” challenge.  It was not only fun to see the many quilts.  But to find out what song inspired them.

Or a nature inspired challenge may be what your guild is looking for.  You could choose a specific natural element; flowers, birds or landscapes.  Or try stretching the imagination by using patterns and textures found in nature.


Give quilts a 3rd dimension by having a challenge that encourages embellishments and texture.  Encourage members to experiment with techniques like applique, painting, or 3D fabric manipulation.   This may get members out of their comfort zone.  And is sure to create some amazing quilts


Maybe your group would enjoy a challenge that builds on tradition and gives it a modern flare.  I love the idea of this challenge.  Drawing on the past is one of my favorite ways to come up with new designs.

How about an upcycling challenge?  Encourage quilters to repurpose old clothing, linens or other fabric items to create a quilt.   What a fun way to promote creativity while being earth friendly.

Instead of a full sized quilt have members try a mini quilt instead.  Afterward you could exchange mini quilts.

Challenging quilters to create a quilt that focuses on intricate geometric shapes and precise piecing is another way to build skills.  This will appeal to the more technical quilters in you group.

Quilted and patchwork clothing is big right now.  So why not try a quilted garment challenge.  It might even be fun to have a fashion show at the completion of the challenge.

Build Community

Build friendship by having a collaborative quilt challenge.  Divide participants into small groups and have them work on one quilt together.  I participated in this kind of challenge where there was also a time element.  We had 12 hours to come up with a quilt top.  Free Spirit Fabrics supplied pre cuts and the quilts were auctioned for charity.  It was fun to combine talents and strengths to make a quilt.

Incorporate your areas culture or heritage into a challenge.  Encourage members to draw on traditions, history and identity.

Whichever challenge you choose.  A challenge is a fun way to build skills and community.  Be sure to arrange for a quilt show to display the quilts.  And prizes are also a fun bonus.  You could have a viewers choice as well as other prize categories.

Don’t belong to a guild?  Still want to take part in the fun of a quilt challenge?  Join Aunt Em’s Sew Along Adventure.





One Comment

  • Nann says:

    Thanks for the challenge ideas, Emily. Our guild has a challenge every other year. I’ve coordinated three of them: Name That Tune (interpret a song title), Birds of a Feather, and Check It Out (each participant got a FQ of a red-check print and had to use some of it recognizably on the front of the quilt). Other themes have been Birth Stone and Flower (for the month you were born), Initial Colors (one block and two colors, each corresponding to the initials of your name), Butterfly Morning, In My Garden, Death of Sunbonnet Sue, Tradition with a Twist. It is always great to see the many ways a theme can be interpreted!

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