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Meet the Winners of the Create a Landscape Keepsake Challenge

We could never have imagined the incredible variety of landscapes we would see when we issued our challenge to Create a Landscape Keepsake. There were lighthouses, sailboats, sentimental fishing spots, a backyard tree swing, a tropical beach, Mount Rainier, and even an outhouse and the Brooklyn Bridge. And to show how far we’ve all come, we even had a view from up above inspired by Google Earth™. The quilts were all so unique that choosing winners couldn’t have been tougher. Judges Denny Stringfellow, an accomplished quilter and quilting instructor, Marilyn Ray, a teacher and award-winning quilter, and Judy Sabanek, Keepsake Quilting founder, focused on the judging criteria of creativity, design, use of color, and workmanship as they made their difficult selections.

Meet the Winners

Create a Landscape Keepsake Challenge First Place Winner - Teresa Apodaca of Greenfield, INFirst-place winner, Teresa Apodaca of Greenfield, Indiana, certainly met all of the criteria and excelled in creativity, design and artistry. Not only is Teresa’s quilt an exceptional piece of art, her quilt sends a profound message of the struggle between nature and urbanization. She entitled it, “Mother Nature Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” “When I saw the Create a Landscape challenge,” said Teresa, ”I thought that was right up my alley—until the fabrics came. They were a bit more literal than I had in mind. When I told my friend Cathy, who I had convinced to enter also, she said, ‘That just makes it more of a challenge for you, doesn’t it?’” Teresa went on, ”I could easily imagine a traditional landscape coming together with these fabrics, but I kept searching for something more.” She had made several “convergence” quilts using Ricky Tims’s method of cutting a design into strips and sewing it back together. With the Medley™ fabrics, she made a traditional fusible-appliqued nature scene (visible on the left side of her quilt). She then slashed through the rural landscape, and slashed strips of the urban fabric that she had added, and sewed them back together. Additional color and shading were added to both the urban print and the Medley fabrics with watercolor pencils. Teresa told us, ”I appliqued fussy-cut portions trying to show the struggle between nature and urbanization until, unfortunately, Mother Nature was deposed.” Teresa works fulltime as an x-ray technologist doing mammography, but manages to do something creative almost every day. Along with quilting, she also does painting, wool felting and fabric collage. Her friend Cathy, who entered the challenge with a wonderful barn quilt, was the one who got Teresa started in quilting. Teresa had seen a kit for a quilted jacket that she loved and asked Cathy to make it for her. Cathy told Teresa that she was completely capable of making it herself. Teresa did make the jacket and became hooked on quilting. “I laughingly tell her,” said Teresa, ”that was the best gift she never gave me!” We couldn’t think of a better gift to give a friend—the gift of quilting. It’s a gift that will provide pleasure for a lifetime.

Create a Landscape Keepsake Challenge Second Place Winner - Cindy Carlson of Jamestown, NYOur second-place winner, Cindy Carlson of Jamestown, New York, chose as her subject the Barcelona Lighthouse in Barcelona, New York, on Lake Erie. The lighthouse was completed in 1829 and was the first public building illuminated by natural gas. Cindy grew up near this historic sight and had painted it many times but had never done it in fabric. When she opened up the Medley package, she said, ”Oh my gosh! It’s the lighthouse!” The judges felt she did a masterful job of realistically capturing the scene using her great sense of design and her clever use of fabric. For her two additional fabrics, Cindy chose a mottled sky print (which she used instead of the sky print in the Medley) and a leaf print on a blue background. She did lots of fussy-cutting of the leaf print, using it for vines, leaves and shrubs, as well as the binding. Neocolor II crayons, Pigma® pens, Sharpie® pens, seed beads, and loads of free-motion machine stitching transformed the Medley fabrics into her fabric palette. Cindy believes that if you don’t have the fabric you need, create it. Well, she certainly did a good job of doing that in her fusible machine-appliqued Barcelona Lighthouse scene.

Cindy learned to sew on her great-grandmother’s treadle machine at age five, and began quilting 12 years ago. She told us, “My first quilt took me 12 years to finish. I started it when my son was little, and I never finished it till he graduated.” She has certainly made lots of quilts in the meantime. Two years ago she challenged herself to make a quilt a month for soldiers in Iraq who didn’t get packages or mail from people back home. She met that goal by piecing and hand quilting a 50" x 50" quilt, or larger, each month. What thoughtfulness.

When we called Cindy to tell her that her latest quilt was a prizewinner, she was attending a lakeside quilt retreat with a group of fellow quilters. We talked to Cindy a couple of days later, and she told us that the gals at the retreat had honored her achievement with a champagne dinner. We join them in raising a toast to you, Cindy, for your outstanding quilt.

Create a Landscape Keepsake Challenge Third Place Winner - Mary Pavlovich of Upland, CAThe depth and beautifully balanced composition of Mary Pavlovich’s quilt earned her third-place honors. Mary, ofUpland, California, received permission from artist Madeline Bohanon to base her quilt on Madeline’s artwork. Mary’s quilt was a reminder of how amazing it is to see how eight pieces of fabric (or less) can be transformed into a work of art. To the challenge Medley, Mary certainly added the perfect fabrics to bring her quilt to life. She chose blue-and-white water fabric and the brown-and-green textured tree fabric, using both front and back, in her fusible machine-appliqued design.

When asked what type of quilts she usually does, Mary responded that she often gives quilt talks entitled, ”I have no style!” meaning she likes to do everything. She says she’s been getting more ”arty” in spite of the fact that she’s a mathematician by training and career. Because of that math side of her brain, she says, “I love shrinking, growing, turning, slanting…” When it comes to “shrinking and growing” designs, Mary gets some help from her local print shop. Several years ago Mary made a quilt depicting the man at the print shop making a copy for her. When she presented the quilt to him as a gift, he was overwhelmed and gave her a lifetime of free copying.

Mary started quilting 25 years ago when her friend “dragged” her to a class. Now that friend attends Mary’s talks and says that she’s created a “monster.” Another friend is responsible for Mary entering this, her first, Keepsake Quilting challenge contest. The friend had heard about the challenge and emailed Mary saying, “You make fabulous landscape quilts. Get going right now!” Boy, are we glad that Mary did get going and created her marvelous landscape quilt.

Create a Landscape Keepsake Challenge Staff's Choice Winner - Bea Mansanarez of Monte Vista, CO“Just looking at that quilt makes me excited for fall,” exclaimed Betsy when she saw the quilt made by our staff’s choice winner, Bea Mansanarez of Monte Vista, Colorado. Bea’s quilt may have been inspired by the aspens and the mountains of Colorado, but it made Betsy and the other Keepsake Quilting staff members think of the white birches and White Mountains of New Hampshire in autumn. Bea certainly captured the beauty of the season in her fusible machine-appliqued design, which has great dimension, balance and color. Bea added a leaf print in gold and rust, which brought lots of wonderful color and contrast to the greens and browns of the Medley fabrics. Her other added fabric was a light cream and gray mottled print, which she used for both the sky and the trees. The reverse side of the sky print from the Medley became the mountains and stream. An oil-paint stick added shading and the markings on the aspen trees. She built her quilt from the top down, layer upon layer, cutting the fabrics into the smallest of pieces to get the depth and dimension she wanted. Lots of different thread colors brought another layer of interest and detail to her “Splendor in the High Country” quilt. She said, ”I thought I was never going to finish that wall hanging. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into!”

Bea loves landscape quilts, but it isn’t her only quilting passion. She told us that full-size bed quilts are really “her thing,” and she tries to do an original hand- appliqued and hand-quilted design every other year. Her many awards and honors include cover quilts on Quilters Newsletter magazine and Baby Quilts from Fons & Porter, a quilt in McCall’s Quilting magazine, and an honorable-mention award at the prestigious Paducah show. Bea is one talented lady who began quilting in 1950 when there weren’t any classes for her to take. “I didn’t know what I was doing. When I hand quilted the first one, it was like three stitches to the inch.” “My first quilt was atrocious!” Well Bea, you’ve certainly come a long way.

Congratulations to all of the challenge winners! Each winner has received a gift certificate for a Keepsake Quilting shopping spree: first place, $500; second place, $300; third place, $100; and staff’s choice, $200. Everyone who entered the Create a Landscape Keepsake Challenge received these 6 fabricsWe thank everyone who participated in the Create a Landscape Keepsake Challenge. The winning quilts will be on display in the shop until November 7, 2010. The first- and second-place quilts become part of the permanent Keepsake collection and will join the traveling exhibit, which is available for quilt shows, guild meetings and art exhibits across the United States. The exhibit features about 20 quilts in all, along with a framed poster board for each challenge, which tells a little about the winners and shows the challenge fabrics. The only cost involved is to ship the exhibit to its next location. For information on hosting the exhibit, contact customer service at 1-800-525-8086.

Congratulations to all of the challenge winners!

Tips for what the judges look for:

  • Creativity
    Color, fabrics and patterns used in an unusual way. Design reflects something unique about your personality or style.
  • Use of Color
    Color values (lights and darks) arranged in an interesting way. Color accents lend spark, design interest or movement.
  • Workmanship
    Piecing fits together smoothly and lies flat. Applique stitches are invisible or add to the design. Binding is neat and square. Embellishments are tasteful.
  • Design Balance
    Design has a focal point. Size of the design elements are in scale with the overall design, and the sashes and borders are well proportioned. Uniform amount of quilting over the entire quilt top.