Hoffman NZ chooses a particular fabric to be used. As with all Hoffman fabrics, the quality is excellent, the colours vibrant and the chosen offering modern in regard to current fabric fashion.
The 2015/16 fabric was as pictured on the right. Most of the fabrics I've seen in the Hoffman challenges are not fabrics I would normally have purchase, either from the colour range or flamboyancy of design. They are however perfect for making a unique one-of designs, stretching my creativity to work with unfamiliar type fabrics.
A single vendor carries the challenge fabric, and sells it in pre-cut one metre increments. These come in a package along with instructions for the challenge. The current Hoffman challenge vendor is Quilter's Lane in Masterton. Only one entry may be made per metre purchased.
The traditional Hoffman rules are that the quilt must be no more than one metre in any direction (including embellishments) and that the shape must relate to the subject of the quilt. No squares or rectangles allowed. A recognisable amount of the challenge fabric must be used, but any other addition of fabric or embellishment is valid. Labelling and hanging requirements are included. The due date is not negotiable.
The resultant entries every year are amazingly varied with fabulous skill exhibited. Competition is stiff with only a certain number of quilts making the cut to tour and many inevitably rejected. The coveted winning spots are announced at the yearly Symposium or mini-symposium where the next year's fabric is also publicly displayed.
This is not an inexpensive challenge to enter. The fabric price is only the beginning. Once the quilt is completed there is an additional entry fee as well as paying for postage (both directions) for the quilt. All this expenditure goes out with no guarantee that the resulting quilt will be displayed.
In my past personal attempts at Hoffman entries, more of my entries have been rejected than accepted. Twice the purchased fabrics never left their tidy plastic bag, a lost opportunity in my battle to come up with a compelling design. Entries represent a real investment so one friendly word of advice-
Any time a quilter enters a competition either locally or nationally, the quilt created needs to have value to the creator outside of the competition. When competitions are over - that quilt comes back to the creator (unless sold as part of the competition) and should have a 'place' to occupy.
Resist the urge to create only for the hope of winning a competition. A rejection will leave you annoyed at the expenditure and have you doubting your creative muse.
If you aren't connection with your quilt on a personal level, it will show in the final product. Judges are unlikely to swoon over something you feel blasé about.
Yes, I've completed an entry from the above pictured fabric, and I'm breathlessly waiting to see if it returns instead of tours. Here's hoping!
A family member has already claimed ownership of this year's entry if it doesn't sell on tour, so I'm content with the expense and effort.
You might ask why quilters keep entering such challenges when they risk rejection? Perhaps because designing and competing are addictive and the opportunity of making a unique quilt for public display entices. What do you think?