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Journal Quilts

Journal Quilt Challenge 2020 - by Glenys Davies

Welcome to the 13th year of the Journal Quilt Challenge. Every year since 2007, members have joined in this project by agreeing to create one small quilt for each month of the year. As the new JQ Organiser,
I would like to invite you to take part in the 2020 challenge. Whether you are an experienced JQ maker or someone who has never created a single JQ, please do think about giving it a go this time.

Journal Quilts can provide a great opportunity to try out new ideas, techniques, products and materials – and make a good excuse to experiment and have some fun without committing to a huge project. You can, if you wish, make them seasonal or a record of ‘your year’ in some way, but there is no obligation to do this. The choice of subject or theme, and how the quilts relate to each other, is entirely up to you.

Last year, 139 members registered to take part in the Challenge. The requirements for the 2019 JQs covered sewing and colouring techniques as well a request for participants to use fabrics other than cotton. This year we are adopting a slightly simpler approach but, as always, we expect to see an exciting range of JQs reflecting the wide range of skills and creativity in Contemporary Quilt.

The 2020 Challenge requirements

  • Each JQ should include at least one element – fabric or other material – that has had ‘a former life’ in some way. When you submit your quilt, we would like you to tell us which bit of the quilt this applies to, and what it used to be. It could be, for example, a pocket from a pair of jeans that no longer fit, a fragment of a family wedding dress or a small piece of the curtains that clashed with the new de?cor. Or you could choose to include plastic from drinks straws or carrier bags, paper from magazines or catalogues, even metal from drinks cans or food packaging.

  • Each JQ should relate in some way to your chosen subject or theme.

  • Each JQ should be 9” x 9” square.

    There are four ongoing rules

1. You must complete one JQ for each of the 12 months starting in January.
2. You must keep to the size and your JQ must be a quilt. This means a minimum of two complete layers, quilted, and the edges must be finished neatly and in keeping with your style of quilt. Any technique is permissible.

3.You are requested to write a statement with each JQ stating your source of inspiration and the materials and techniques that have been used.

4. Your photo image files, submitted online, emailed or posted to the organiser, must be named in this format: ‘forename_surname_month.jpg’. Please follow this request because, if you don’t include your name, it is impossible to tell who made the JQ.

Please do not send me the actual JQs. Your only commitment is to provide images and statements for each quilt, as described above.


You do not need to submit the images and text every month; submission can be made in a group of four at the end of each period: 30 April, 31 August and 31 December. That said, setting yourself a deadline each month for your JQ submission can be a good way to instil a creative discipline into your work.

You may submit by uploading your images into the correct album in the CQ closed Facebook group, or by email or post to me.

Please note that NO image sent to me will be uploaded to Facebook. If you would like others to see your JQs in this way, please join the Contemporary Quilt closed FB group, if you have not already done so, and upload your images and description of your JQ into the appropriate monthly album.

If you need help doing this, please contact me.

Exhibiting your JQs

As Contemporary Quilt is now a large national group, it has become a logistical nightmare and a difficult operation to stage exhibitions representing all our many JQ makers. So it was decided that local groups and the regions would be encouraged to include JQs in their own exhibitions. This is now starting to happen. JQs also, of course, often make excellent pieces for display at local group and Regional Day ‘show and tell’ sessions. Other opportunities to exhibit JQs do arise from time to time – such as at the 2018 Festival of Quilts and the 2019 AGM.

Are you willing to make the commitment?

If so, then email or write to me and ask me to add your name to the list. Please also tell me what your proposed subject or theme is. Nothing is set in stone and you can always make a change later, should creativity relating to your chosen theme dry up. The deadline for joining the 2020 JQ Challenge is 31 January 2020.

Contact details: Glenys Davies, 160 Church Path, Deal, Kent CT14 9TU