Make a Mini Quilt This May!

May 1, 2020 Jonna Mayberry Leave a Comment

“Quilt”: A cover or garment made by putting wool, cotton or other substance between two cloths and sewing them together. An American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, LL.D., New York 1828.

Did you know that the history of quilting goes as far back as 3400 BCE? The quilting arts have a long and storied history, not only as an art form but as a tool to foster community, tradition and family bonds. And at times of national discord, quilts found new purposes. During the Civil War, for example, quilts provided warmth to soldiers on the battlefield.

By Emma Sromek (Whitefish Bay, WI): Modern Mini Quilt Challenge 2018.

Right now, we all need a little bit of comfort and, honestly: A distraction. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in profound ways. If you take comfort in textile arts like quilting or are interested in trying something new, consider entering The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show’s online Modern Mini Quilt Challenge this May.

Three years ago, The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show — a PBS Wisconsin fundraising event presented by both PBS Wisconsin and Nancy Zieman Productions — hosted its first Modern Mini Quilt Challenge on Facebook, and has since been an annual social media tradition.

View previous Modern Mini Quilt Challenge entry galleries on The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show’s Facebook:


So, what exactly is a “modern mini” quilt? As the National Quilt Museum says, “Miniature quilts have grown in popularity and sophistication over the past several years. These quilts are made to scale as any size quilt would be; they are simply smaller in scale. As a general rule, to be considered a ‘miniature quilt’ a quilt must be no more than 24 inches on a side.”

The Modern Mini Quilt Challenge follows this same guidance, asking that quilts be no more than 24 inches square and incorporate themes, colors and techniques that could be considered modern. Other than that, the rules are simple and entries are submitted via email. Once you send in your email entry, your quilt image is posted to the Facebook gallery for all to admire before judges pick prize winners on May 22-24.

Click here to read full entry guidelines before submitting your quilt. 

“Bright Eyes” by Vicki Steffe (Hot Springs, SD): Modern Mini Quilt Challenge 2017 entry.

This year more than ever, an online-exclusive challenge seems like the perfect way to be creative, have a little fun and stay busy — from the comfort of our homes.

The challenge is now open for entries, and entries will be accepted through Thursday, May 21. Each year, the challenge receives entries from first-time quilters and longtime fiber artists from across the country; don’t let your experience (or lack thereof) stop you from entering! The challenge offers more than $2,000 in prizes from its sponsors — everything from magnifying glasses for quilting to unique fabrics and gift cards. There’s even a handmade quilt ruler rack made from a live-edge piece of maple!

We hope that this challenge gives you an opportunity to connect with an online community of artists, sewists and PBS Wisconsin supporters.

“The Best Dog” by Bridget Jane Vian (Windsor, WI): Modern Mini Quilt Challenge 2019 entry.

And speaking of community and comfort, one more thing: The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show was founded by the late Nancy Zieman of Nancy Zieman Productions — the beloved sewist, television host, author, entrepreneur, extremely talented artist and so much more. She brought immeasurable joy to her colleagues here at PBS Wisconsin and her viewers across the nation, and she continues to do so even after her passing.

As PBS Wisconsin continues to celebrate Nancy’s legacy, part of that celebration includes a brand-new documentary: Nancy Zieman: Extraordinary Grace, coming to PBS Wisconsin this fall. In times like this, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. So join us in anticipating this wonderful new documentary this fall.



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