From time to time, Shenandoah Valley Quilters Guild has a challenge for members. In some cases, a challenge may be exhibited in our quilt show. Here is are directions for the 2023 President’s Challenge Quilt.

2023 President’s Challenge

This will be a year-long project culminating in December 2023. Finished projects will be displayed at our Christmas Celebration.

The purpose of this Challenge is to help build community within the Guild and also to refashion a common practice in quilt guilds across the nation.

The main idea is that members will be creating easily sewn blocks and exchanging these blocks with each other at the monthly meeting. Each block will be signed by its creator. After 11 months, members can create a quilt top of the blocks they have actually sewn and also those received from the exchange with other Guild members.

The patterns include blocks that are easy, fun, and fast (1e, 2f’s). Members are encouraged to use your scraps (so each quilt is individual). Also, each of the patterns allows for improvisation for a bit of a twist. Finally, you can participate in this project as much as you want. With the blocks you create and those you swap  you could create a pillow cover or a table runner if you want to sew just a few blocks however, if you want to do more, and therefore swap more you could create a quilt.


You could create all the blocks for yourself, but this is NOT the Spirit of the Challenge. Sew two blocks and exchange one with another member – that’s what this challenge is about.

SO, for the easy, fun and fast pattern. There are 2 main patterns and then you can change the size of them as you desire.

The FIRST pattern is the free pattern, Village by Moda, designed during Covid epidemic to create a community. The thought behind the pattern is found here:

And the actual pattern is found here:

The pattern creates a little house block finishing at 5 ½ X 7.

You can also make this at double the size for a bit bigger house (finishes at 9.5 X 13)

–measurement of the pieces of the larger block house:

Sides of house: 9.5 X 4 (cut 2);

Door: 2.5 X 7.25 (cut 1);

Above Door Section:2.5 X 2.75

Roof is 6.5” square cut on the diagonal (you end up with 2 but use only 1 and save other

for next house);

Background of Roof is 6” square cut on the diagonal (you make two and use them on

either side of the roof.


The SECOND pattern is an improv block of a simple tree. Many simple directions abound I used the free pattern by Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter)  but you can choose any pattern to use as long as it finishes at 5 ½ X 7.  However, I did not want the tree to be symmetrical, so I resisted the use of a template and just free hand cut the tree trunk portion and the tree itself like a stack and whack. I cut several at a time so I could mix and match fabrics. Here is a video that describes my process: You could also piece strip fabric and then cut the tree image so the tree is striped – think “Wonky Tree” and search on this as well.

The key to the success of this block is to start with a rectangle of fabric about 7’’ x 9’’ – this will allow you ample room to trim the finished block to 5 ½ X 7 to align with the small house blocks! To align with the larger house blocks, start with a rectangle 11 X 14 and trim to 9 ½ X 13.

Once you make a few of these blocks and become familiar with the basic process, have fun and let your imagination run wild and change up your measurements of the pieces of the block. They are addicting. Just be sure to trim to the sizes 5 ½ X 7 or 9 ½ X 13 for your sharing blocks to align with the other blocks creating by guild members.

As you exchange blocks with other members you can create your own COMMUNITY (key word) with houses and trees and if you want you can add in other blocks. Your own quilt is only limited by your imagination.

For each month, I want to see a table full of blocks created by members ready to exchange!