By Susan Wells, TMQG President

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The head in this quilt is exploding with ideas for quilts. The open mind concept comes from images found online and, of course, Monty Python. The floral spray at the bottom is based on a painting by Cassie’s mother.The head is the profile of one of our members and was the first part completed, inspired by the piecing technique used in Stephanie Zacharer Ruyle’s quilt “What’s the Frequency, Love?” Members made more than 80 blocks for the quilt. We envisioned a cloud of ideas but as we worked on the layout the cloud morphed into a question mark. Except for the hexie blocks and the Dresden plate all the blocks are pieced into the top. It would have been smart to lay out the blocks in a grid but we were enthralled with randomness.

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We divided the quilt up into about 11 sectors. We used photographs and tracing paper to record the placement of the blocks. Members were sent home with a handful of blocks and a piece of the purple backing for each sector. Then the fun began. Piecing randomly positioned blocks is not easy, earning the quilt a nickname that cannot be shared in polite company. Some people tried paper piecing techniques. Others experimented and somehow wrangled their sectors into submission. Our limited supply of the purple background fabric made things tense as the process included lots of trial and error, creating wasted fabric. We all are still finding bits of purple batik fabric in our sewing rooms.

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This is our fourth QuiltCon Charity Challenge quilt and includes blocks representing three of our past Challenge quilts — the San Xavier del Bac Mission, an Arizona star block (Arizona Star Shine) and a Dresden plate (Life in Pieces). It appears that when we get together to plan we lean towards making concept quilts. The most interesting part of making a group quilt is the give and take of the process. We are making “our” quilt not “my” quilt. We seem more willing to take chances and try silly or impossible things. It is unlikely that we will try piecing randomly placed blocks again but it is likely that we will try something equally bold or unadvisable in the future.

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