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Story Themed Quilts by Jill Monley: A New Challenge for Your Group?

The Royal Roost by Jill Monley

The Royal Roost by Jill Monley

I first met Jill in my class at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar in 2011.  It was the five-day design workshop, Flying Colors, where each student designs their own project.  Jill told me with enthusiasm about the story book quilt challenge that her guild was running.  The Princess and the Pea was the story that inspired the above quilt.

Jill says,  “Usually, there are 8 to 25 quilts in each challenge.  The chair of the challenge for that year figures out some sort of challenge.  The year of the Princess and the Pea, the challenge was children’s stories/books.  There were/are very few rules. The quilts are kept totally secret right down to turning them in.  They are delivered in a brown paper bag and then displayed.  Members vote, not knowing the maker of any of the quilts.  The winning quilts best meet the intent of the theme, workmanship, best quilting, etc. Princess and the Pea was the winner that year. Then these quilts become a special exhibit at the Guild’s show, and sometimes at Sisters Quilt Show in Sisters, OR.”

On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jill Monley

On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jill Monley

Jil says, “On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a a delightful story in the early 1940s  set in Seattle WA.  It is about a young Chinese boy and a young Japanese girl.  It was a good read!”

“Our small book group reads two books a year, on which we base a quilt.  One is done in conjunction with the local library which annually chooses a ‘community read together’ book.  The project receives a lot of publicity and 6,000 people in our area participate. The author is brought in to town for a week of lectures, book signings,gallery visits, book group visits and a variety of other events.  Many artisans here are now making pieces, paintings, sculptures and, in our case, quilts based on things that spoke to the artisan about the book. ”

Mozarts Requiem by Jill Monley

Mozarts Requiem by Jill Monley

“Last year 67 quilts were made.  The author was blown away!  As a matter of fact, all the authors have been very moved by them.  Those of us in small book groups talk about the book as we are formulating ideas.  We bounce ideas off each other and share partially completed work.  I’ve found that synergy in the design stage to be very insightful and helpful.  And, to some level, it’s skill building as less experienced quilters try new techniques or products and we talk about them.

Lumbys Bounty by Jill Monley

Lumbys Bounty by Jill Monley

“The second book is one that our small quilt group selects.  We meet monthly at someone’s home and have cookies and tea. In the selection process, we each bring a book for suggestion and pass it around. We make a decision and then each of us makes a quilt based on that book. The quilts are generally small which is appealing to a lot of people. Our hope is for all of us to try new techniques or new approaches. We talk about the book as we read, about ideas that strike us or that maybe that no ideas are striking us. It is so rewarding to me to see the quilters gaining confidence in their skills.  At the end, we have a big reveal which is not a surprise for the most part, but we put on clean shirts and have a little upscale evening of fun.”

“Then the quilts become an exhibit that hangs almost annually in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, generally in the library, in our guild quilt show and in the gallery of the local quilt shop.”

“Some of us the book as inspiration to make a quilt for a ‘need’. One gal owed a quilt to a fellow who had done a lot of favors for her, soshe found some batik with big crows in it (his favorite bird) and made him a pieced quilt using that fabricas that year’s book mentioned crows throughout.  This quilt was outrageously beautiful and masculine!”

“I sold one of mine to the author’s uncle and it hangs in a public building.  Last year, I gave mine to the author, a young gal from Alaska.  It was her first published book.  She loved the quilt so I gave it to her!”

As we all look for inspiration for our local groups, I just love this idea.  Perhaps it would be a good challenge for your group too! If you do sponsor a challenge like this, please send photos to me of your finished quilts.  

 

 

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