Loss of prize quilt helps woman fashion a winner

Sharon L. Schlotzhauer of Colorado Springs took first place in the mixed category with her quilt titled “Spilling Over.

“Gazania Mania,” a quilt made by Colleen Harvey of Nederland, placed first in the pieced category.

A creation by Colleen Harvey of Nederland was chosen Most Humorous Doll. Titled “Surprise,” the cake is adorned with the number 25, in celebration of the silver anniversary of the Hoffman California Fabrics Challenge, as well as Harvey’s 25th wedding anniversary.

“Celestial Garden,” by Pennee Clanton of Buffalo, S.D., was recognized for best machine workmanship.


When one of Sharon L. Schlotzhauer’s prize-winning quilts didn’t return last year by mail from a major show in Houston, she was heartbroken. The sad reality is that some quilts are lost, perhaps stolen, as they travel to and from contests around the U.S. and the world.

Besides their monetary value, the hours of designing and sewing these works of art make them precious to their owners, who are devastated when their quilts don’t come home.

For Schlotzhauer, who lives in Colorado Springs, the loss of her “very special quilt” in 2011 was a blow to the entire quilting community, with condolences engulfing her from family, friends, quilters in other states and even from some international quilters.

“I received so much love and support that it was overflowing,” she says. “Eventually my faith, God’s peace and all these friends helped me overcome that difficult time.”

Through this process, Schlotzhauer envisioned a new quilt, “Spilling Over,” sketching it first on notebook paper. Soon it became her entry in the 25th anniversary 2012 Hoffman California Fabrics Challenge, and it captured a first-place award.

“The cup (in the upper left corner of the quilt) represents my heart,” she says.

“The quilted blocks represent the hundreds of prayers and loving thoughts and sentiments I received” — so much that her cup is spilling over, hence the quilt’s title.

It was entered in the mixed category, because

of the number of techniques she used — paper and machine piecing,  hand and fused appliqué and hand-painting with Tsukineko ink.

Some of her blocks showcase the challenge fabric
  of large lavender and pink roses, and she “fussy cut” some heart shapes from it as well to highlight her undulating fabric strips.

Schlotzhauer plans to continue a seven-year tradition of Hoffman entries. She doesn’t yet have a design in mind, but says she loves the new 2013 challenge fabric, called Peacock Gold. Turquoise is a prominent color in the newly manufactured cloth, which has a metallic sheen.

The challenge fabric and its coordinates, as well as Blendables and Metallic threads by Sulky, should be in stores in October. See http://www.hoffmanchallenge.com for rules and other details.

First-place winners receive $500 cash prizes and Sulky products valued at $250. Sulky Thread of America is a co-sponsor.

Another top winner, in the pieced category, for 2012 is Colleen Harvey of Nederland for her quilt titled “Gazania Mania,” a complex-looking design of curved Y seams sewn into equilateral triangle units, then joined in rows.

“I got the idea for this from living in a geodesic dome house and studying the triangular panels that made up the walls and ceiling,” Harvey says.

Since 1996, she has entered 10 quilts, two garments and one doll in the Hoffman Challenge. Nine pieces have won awards.

This year, her first doll entry, “Surprise,” received the Most Humorous designation. The vivacious female doll is jumping out of a cake decorated with the silver number 25, in celebration not only of the Hoffman Challenge anniversary, but of Harvey’s own silver wedding anniversary.

Light molding paste mimics swirls of icing on the three-layer cake. Woven fabric strips decorate the layers, a design innovation that delighted the judge. The entry is now part of a traveling exhibit, and as the judge commented, the doll “exudes the overall challenge in her sassiness.”

The process of making this doll was reward enough in itself, “but winning the award put the icing on the cake (excuse the pun),” Harvey says.

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