I am fortunate enough to have a group of friends - fellow quilters - with whom I have been going on retreat twice a year for many, many years. We've changed locations for our retreats, and have gone from making our own meals and sleeping in dorm-type beds to having catered meals and extremely comfy beds, but other than that, the format is more or less the same each time we meet. One of the things we do is have a challenge, taking turns to choose the topic. For the last couple of years I have been making my challenge piece as a 12" X 12", inspired by the Twelve by Twelve Challenge Group. It's not a size I would normally choose, but that in itself is a challenge. I try to work quickly and not to overthink the possibilities on these pieces, with the result that some are more successful than others. The first is "The Taste of
Chocolate". The second is "Under the Sea". The third is "Cityscape", and the fourth is "The Old Apple Tree". I've never won one of these challenges, but am always interested in how people choose to interpret the theme, and all the different techniques they employ in making their pieces. Cityscape was our most recent challenge, and now we are all putting on our thinking caps to see how to interpret the challenge for next fall - "Hands". I'll be sure to show you the results of that one. Meanwhile I've just joined an online Twelve X Twelve Challenge group. It's so early, that we don't even have the first challenge topic yet. But the idea is that we'll complete a 12 X 12 every three months, with an online reveal of the results. Once it's up and running, I'll be sure to include that website address so that you can follow along too, if you'd like to. It's amazing how
many off-shoots there are now of the original 12 X 12 group - a way to stretch ones wings without spending too much time on something that may or may not work. A close cousin to Journal Quilting, really. With all the same advantages.