2021 Challenges

This page is for current and forthcoming members' challenges; the 2020 challenges page is here; 2019 is here and photos of earlier challenge entries can be found on this page.

February 2021: Scrap Quilt Challenge

We hope that those of you who saw Rachel Nichols’ EQ talk on zoom are inspired by the idea of making a scrap quilt. Our challenge to all members is to make a scrap quilt – either a quillow or a miniature.

The “rules” are fairly simply:

Your quilt must be a scrap quilt.

The quillow should be lap quilt in size – so sides probably between 36” and 55”, but the actual size is up to you – see below for what one is and how to make one.

The miniature should measure no more than 30cm on its longest side – this is the Festival of Quilts stipulation, so you could enter it there if you wanted to! See below for a definition.

There will be prizes!

What is a scrap quilt?

They are hard to define, but those who saw Rachel’s talk will have a very good feeling for them. To quote Rachel “Scrap quilts are quilts sewn in a random assortment of fabrics—almost as if the quilter shut his or her eyes to choose the next fabric. In reality, a bit of planning does enter into your fabric choices”. They are often made from scraps left over from previous projects or clothing but could also, for example, be made from a charm pack.

Any techniques can be used from traditional blocks through to modern piecing styles, and of course applique.

If you want some ideas, here are some books you could look at – maybe if you have one you could share it with a friend:

Scrap quilts to Use it Up – Lynne Edwards

Calico and Beyond – Roberta Horton

Scrap Quilt Sensation – Katharine Guerrier

Scrap Quilts – Judy Martin

Sensational Scrap Quilts – Dara Duffy Williamson




(above) Scrap quilts by Rachel Nichols and Sandra Scott




What is a quillow?

A quillow is a quilt with a cushion panel attached to the back (it is an American term – what they call pillow we call cushion). When folded the quillow looks like a cushion, but when opened out it is a quilt with a cosy pocket for your feet! They are ideal to put in the car, take on a picnic, give to children or for wheelchair users, putting feet in the pocket stops the quilt dragging on the ground.

How do I make a quillow?

First make your quilt, and quilt it, prepare the binding, but look at the options below before binding it. You then need to add the cushion cover, so make sure you keep enough scraps for that.

The cushion cover needs to be a square with sides just over one-third the length of the shortest side of your quilt. For example, if your quilt is 42” x 50”, a cushion cover 15” square would work.

To make the cover, make a patchwork piece to the required size and layer it with backing and wadding and quilt it. it needs to look nice as it will be on show when the quilt is in cushion mode.

You now have 2 options:

Option 1: Either bag out or bind the cushion cover on three sides only (i.e. leave one side raw). Pin the cover in place on the wrong side of the unbound quilt (`see Fig. 1 below) with the raw edge of the cushion cover along the edge of the quilt. Bind the quilt, sewing in the cushion cover with the binding. Now sew down the two sides of the cushion cover by hand (leave the bottom open as shown), using a very secure blind stitch. Alternatively you could anchor it by machine in the middle of each side and at the corners, depending on whether this would show up on the quilt front.

Option 2: Bind the quilt. Either bag out or bind the whole cushion cover. Sew the cushion cover to the back of the quilt along three sides as shown below (Fig. 1). Use a very secure blind stitch.

As folding the quillow is easier to see than describe, we plan to do a demo a little later in the year!

If you can’t wait, here is a description: Fold the quilt lengthwise into thirds, overlapping if necessary (see Fig. 2). Turn the cushion bit inside out and fold the quilt so that it fits in the pocket. You then have a cushion! You could add handles to make it easy to carry.

Figure 1

Figure 2