Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Hoffman Challenge and Serenity Shoulder Bags

One of the special exhibits that I always enjoying seeing as I travel to quilt shows throughout the country is the Hoffman Challenge.

Started in 1988, the Hoffman Challenge has grown to be a premiere traveling quilt, clothing, and doll collection. The quality of entries and a growing number of exhibit requests have led Hoffman to establish additional traveling collections. Currently, twelve collections travel coast-to-coast within the USA and to several Canadian locations.

The Challenge started with 94 enthusiastic quilters, and in some years, the number of entries has grown to more than 700. In addition to the three quilt categories (pieced, appliqué and mixed technique), new categories include clothing (wearable art), accessories, and dolls. While the majority of the entries come from the United States, a wide variety of international entries are received.

Each year, the top entries are grouped into traveling collections and visit quilt and fiber shows, seminars, quilt shops and quilt- and doll-makers guilds nationwide and in Canada. For more information about the schedule of these events please visit the Hoffman Challenge website.

For the 2010 Hoffman Challenge, Chris Franczek made a purse using my Serenity Shoulder Bag pattern. Her gorgeous entry was selected to travel with the exhibit.

Chris wrote this about her entry:

The Challenge fabric is actually on the back of the bag (pocket.) The checked fabric is from the same line and I used Sulky holoshimmer in gold to stitch the parallel lines to form the 'checks'. So I named the bag 'Serenity Checks'.

I had to have a very serene attitude to do all that stitching with metallic thread! - but it worked - I think it only broke twice during all that stitching (I still can't get the hang of how to keep the spool so metallic thread doesn't get so twisted the longer you sew.)

NOTE FROM ANNIE: Chris, next time you need to stitch with metallic threads, try Superior Threads' metallics. Put a topstitch 90 needle in your machine, position the spool vertically on your machine, and lower your upper tension to "1". They GUARANTEE that it will work beautifully.

I added that cording which I thought was so cool until I was merrily sewing along and got about two inches from the point on the flap and stopped and said -uh oh -HOW am I going to make THIS work. I stopped for lunch, then did the best I could, but when I tried to turn the point to it's pointiest point I ended up rubbing off some of the gold (I didn't point that out in my entry form though).

But looking around my sewing room, the Origami flower came to mind since my sister had given me the book by Kumiko Sudo and I hadn't made any of the flowers yet. The button was going to be plan A, but the flower came out okay, but there was too much dark blue in the center I thought, so I used the button in the center to cover the 'too much dark blue'.

I completed another Serenity bag before this one that I use and people can't believe the texture magic flap is the same fabric as the rest of the bag. It is really a cool design idea you came up with! - when I showed the Challenge bag to non sewing people, I explained the texture magic and they all had to take the bag back to look again - they couldn't believe you don't buy the fabric already poofy!

Congratulations, Chris, for being selected to travel with this prestigious exhibit. I am honored that you chose to make a bag using my pattern. Your bag is absolutely gorgeous!

Note that entries for the 2011 Challenge are due in July. There's still plenty of time to enter. Who's up for an On the Town Handbag made with this year's challenge fabric?

I can just see that fabric in that bag, can't you?

Happy stitching,


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