When I saw the fabrics selected for the QuiltCon 2024 fabric challenge, I knew I needed to accept the challenge. Purples and blues with lime green–what’s not to like?

Windham Artisan Cotton fabrics for QuiltCon2024 Fabric Challenge

Windham and QuiltCon offered a free fat eighth bundle of the fabrics to the first 500 people who asked for them, so I threw my name in. I got the fabrics and started mulling over what I would do with them.

The rules state that you must use at least three of the six fabrics on the front of the quilt–no other fabrics or colors are allowed. The back and the facing can be any fabric, since they don’t show on the front.

I decided to challenge myself to use only the fabrics I was given. A fat eighth is about 9″ x 22″– so it’s not huge, but should be enough to make an Improv wall hanging.

I considered and discarded several ideas–not enough fabric to make freehand curves, for example.

Log cabin piecing Improv style – Cindy Grisdela

I decided on Improv Blocks in a log cabin style.

Beginning the composition – Cindy Grisdela

The block on the top, above, is the finished piece from the earlier photo, combined with two smaller blocks below. The one on the right is a simple log cabin with two colors and the one on the left is more improvisationally pieced. I included both types of blocks in this composition, similar to my Improv Puzzle series and workshop I teach.


Using all the scraps with tiny Improv piecing – Cindy Grisdela

As I got to the end of the process, there were a lot of very tiny pieces and fewer large chunks, so I got creative with the piecing. The block above is about 3″ square–with the rotary cutter and mat in the bottom photo for scale.

I enjoyed the process of making these small compositions using the scraps I had available.

Challenge Accepted – Cindy Grisdela

The finished quilt measures about 23″ square and has an interesting variety of lines and shapes. It’s quilted with irregularly spaced vertical lines on my Bernina 570 with a walking foot.

Adding texture – Cindy Grisdela

And this is what I had left over.

All that was left – Cindy Grisdela

I’ll use the larger scraps on the right to make a label for the back, so I will have used every last scrap!

I learned a lot from this challenge.

First, only six fabrics is hard for me! I’m a more colors are better type of girl. But the palette was well chosen with a variety of color and more importantly, value. I wasn’t sure about using the light blue fabric, but it turned out to play a vital role in moving the eye around this composition.

Second, having a limited palette and amount of fabric enhanced my creativity, instead of stifling it. I really enjoyed putting those small compositions together using up the scraps, some of which were about 1/2″ wide, and sewed down to really skinny 1/8″ – 1/4″ lines.

And finally, I played with the idea of having the colors in the blocks bleed into one another so they created shapes that were larger than I had fabric to express.

Using color placement to make larger shapes – Cindy Grisdela

You can see that in this slice of the quilt in the top block that has an Improv center and a purple border that bleeds into the same color in the stripes on either side, the block in the middle with the tiny light blue center that sits next to a purple stripe in the same color as the outer element of the pieced block, and the Improv block at the bottom that is surrounded by the medium blue running into the angled stripe below it.

I’ll enter the quilt in the challenge when it opens up tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens. Even if it doesn’t get in, I’m glad I accepted the challenge!



  1. Debby on September 3, 2023 at 11:36 am

    I love it. It’s stunning

  2. Donalee J Kennedy on September 3, 2023 at 11:46 pm

    Looks fun, and I enjoyed hearing about your process. Thanks!

  3. Jan Hamilton on September 5, 2023 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you. You’ve given me an aha! moment. Don’t join the blocks so they contrast: join them so they match, adding up to make new shapes. It makes so much sense. Thanks!

    • Cindy on September 11, 2023 at 11:30 am

      You’re welcome, Jan! I’m glad you found that idea helpful.


  4. Julia Muench on September 18, 2023 at 10:01 am

    Stunning work! How do you go about signing your works for exhibits? Just curious. Julia

    • Cindy on September 18, 2023 at 10:19 am

      Thank you Julia! I sign my work by stitching my name on the front with free motion quilting, and I sew a cloth label on the back that has a photo of the quilt, the title, my name and contact information. The label is created by printing onto treated fabric that can be run through the printer.

      I hope this helps!