Challenge Success – ‘Pathfinder’

Update on the 1 Million Mile Quilted Postcard Challenge:  My postcards for March are in the mail and I will reveal the design next week. Remember to let me know if you sent postcards that should be included in the count towards 1 million miles.

April will be a special month.  The cards are being mailed from a mystery location and will be limited edition. You can start requesting them now. The first 10 names will receive cards; the remainder will be added to a list that may have to wait until May. If you are from Winnipeg and want a card, this would be a good month to request one.


Ken’s Kitchen: Mushroom Soup


Plan A was shredded. Plan B was ugly. Plan C was my third attempt. Panic was setting in. I had lost confidence and there were only 2 weeks left to finish my piece of wall art. Most critical of all, there was only 3″ left of the ‘must use’ blue fabric.

2 fabrics provided

2 fabrics provided

To review, the challenge was to use two given fabrics plus a max of 5 other fabrics to create a piece of quilted wall art. It will be part of a collection sold as a fundraiser at the Manitoba Prairie Quilter’s 2016 Quilt Show (April 8-10 at Canad Inns, Polo Park).

By luck or Providence, I was invited to attend a Creative Circle meeting last fall. We were asked to bring something for discussion. At the last minute I drew a very rough sketch of an Inukshuk with this challenge in mind. Why an Inuksuk? When I first started quilted we traveled to Hawaii where I became fascinated with Hawaiian quilting. Gradually I became aware of quilting styles associated with countries or cultures and have looked for opportunities to promote Canadian culture in a quilting format ever since.



The Inuksuk is a monument of rough stones used for communicating in the north. The traditional meaning is “You are on the right path.” A large Inuksuk can easily be seen from a distance and acts as a major coordination point.  It is also a message center.  Stones at their base are arranged and rearranged by hunters or followers. The configuration of the stones leave messages such as locations where food or other objects are buried, or they might indicate that the traveler has changed direction from an intended course. Families and hunting groups often have their own ‘stone’ language so that everyone concerned knows what the configurations mean.

Looking at the initial drawing now, I decided it had potential. It was simple – but was it too simple? Did I have enough blue fabric? This time I did not even take a picture of my sketch. In my panic, I cut it up and used it for my pattern.

Instead of Northern Lights, I decided to insert 3 ribbons of the ‘must use’ blue into the sky. With 3″ of blue left to work with, that would end up as 1/2″ ribbons (after seam allowances) except for one problem – the fabric wasn’t wide enough. So my first task was to ‘stretch’ the blue fabric. I pieced it for additional width and later hide the seam under a rock. Then I had to strategically place the ribbons so that short ends would coordinate

all that's left

all that is left

with the top long rock.

The Inuksuk itself was attached with Heat & Bond, as raw edge applique. I used both front and back of the same fabric in order to get variations in colour without using more than 5 fabrics. There is some free motion embroidery on the stones to indicate weight and painted shadows, thanks to the suggestion of my art group.

The ground was hand appliqued and then decorated with free motion embroidery. It all came together in Plan C but it was Plan A & B that taught me:

  • plan c rocksA little metallic goes a long way. In Plan A I tried to add small pieces of the blue metallic fabric after the fact. That didn’t work. In Plan B it was too dominate and there was too much. This was the right amount.
  • In Plan A, I used some pretty rayon thread and was tempted to quilt the starry sky with it here in Plan C, but resisted because of the disaster in Plan A. It was the right decision.
  • Plan B gave me practice quilting the sky and shrubs. I changed a few things, and Plan C turned out better as a result.
  • I had shredded the green fabric to use as algae in Plan A. I went back to that idea as moss on the north side of the hill.
  • Plan B had rocks added for 3-D effect and I decided to incorporate them here as well.

This was a very valuable learning experience. But I sure am glad it is done! Quilt Show2016Now, if you are in the Winnipeg area the weekend of April 8-10th, I invite you to visit Quilt Reflections 2016. You can bid on Pathfinder or any one of the other wall quilts. 50 kits were sold. There will be a great selection to choose from, with all proceeds going to a very worthy charity.


About Judy's Quilting Studio

Creator of all things quilted; minimalist in everything except fabric!
This entry was posted in 2016, challenges, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Challenge Success – ‘Pathfinder’

  1. Miriam says:

    Looks great Judy! Your unwanted projects happen so that new ideas can evolve?

  2. marginmirror says:

    I really like your Inukshuk — the use of an irregular edge at the bottom is particularly effective. Best wishes for success at the Quilt Show!

  3. Laurel says:

    LOVE you work, Judy! Your Inuksuk is beautiful.

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