The Winners have been chosen! Congratulations to everyone who entered-there were so many beautiful quilts to choose winners from! Below you will see the top ten quilts as voted on by YOU, the MQG Membership. Over the past two years, you have used your sewing skills to help us raise over $2,850 to donate to organizations supporting sustainability around the world with our annual MQG Make-A-Difference Challenge! This year we raised $1000 to benefit Wild Earth Allies. Wild Earth Allies is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect vital areas of our natural world for the benefit of wildlife, habitats, and people by inspiring collaborative action. Founded in 1981, Wild Earth Allies joins forces with local organizations and individuals to protect wildlife and habitats that are so vital to our global biodiversity. The MQG’s annual Make-A-Difference Challenge is designed to bring awareness, support, and conversation surrounding sustainable actions within our communities and even our own sewing practices. Sustainability includes environmental impact but also takes into account the economic and social well-being of current and future generations too. We encourage participants to think about these principles while constructing a quilt or open dialogue with other makers about this topic. 2023 Prizes & Winners 1st Place Grand Prize Winner: It’s a Trap!by Melissa de Leon Mason Sponsored by: In It’s a Trap! I explore the brutal femininity of the Venus fly trap. Elegantly curved traps, colored with seductive hues conceal the unforgiving power of these creatures. The intricate balance between alluring softness and strength is explored in this quilt through sharp lines, vibrant colors, and soft blushes. The striking paradoxes this plant must embody to survive parallels the complexity of womanhood as echoed in the much-discussed monologue from the recently released Barbie movie. And yet the seriousness of the subject abates when a flash photo is taken and reflective thread reveals a hidden playfulness and joy. Wonderfil: InvisaFil™ Mini Full Collection in 60 colours. 2nd Place Blue Ribbon Prize Winner:Femme Fataleby Cindy O’Neal Sponsored by: In the book “Where The Crawdads Sing”, Kya reflects that “insects know how to deal with their lovers.” This praying mantis is keeping a tally, can you find it? 1 Tiny Frights fat quarter bundle, 1 Flowerland jelly roll, 1 Sugar Maple charm pack, 1 Ruby Star Society Phoenix patch, 1 Patchwork panel, 1 Melody Miller tote bag 3rd Place Blue Ribbon Prize Winner:“At night, when the sky is full of stars and the sea is still you get the wonderful sensation that you are floating in space.”by Lauren Corwin Sponsored by: This quilt had quite the journey. Based on an idea I had over two years ago, I took the prompt for Biodiversity and tried my hand at appliqué and layering. The blue background was from upcycled materials dyed in an indigo bath. I also made some block prints of organic shapes layered in the middle. I tried to recreate the improvisation in the organic forms of ocean life, root systems, and the vastness of the atmosphere. This was quilted matchstick-style which (albeit imperfectly) encapsulates the network of nature we occupy. 12 fat quarters of Oakshott fabrics and a bundle of Liberty Tana Lawns. 4th Place Blue Ribbon Prize Winner: Phylogenyby Kristen Soto Sponsored by: Genetic phylogenetic trees show the evolutionary relationship between organisms. These maps not only celebrate the biodiversity of life on earth but also show how much even seemingly different species have in common. This phylogeny was based on the ‘Tree of Life’, a project to map the genomes of 2.3 million species. This phylogeny highlights some of the most important, yet underrecognized organisms: bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. “Synthesis of Phylogeny and Taxonomy Into a Comprehensive Tree of Life,” C. Hinchliff et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS Sept. 18, 2015. DOI: 10. 1073/pnas.1423041112) Rainbow Sherbet by SariDitty Fat Eighth Bundle, Tiny Frights by Ruby Star Society Layer Cake, Desert Oasis by Create Joy Project Charm Pack, Creativity Roars by Creativity Shell Charm Pack, Flowerland by Melody Miller Charm Pack, Bella Solids Color Card, Ginger Tea Towel, Sew It Away Zipper Pouch by Rashida Coleman-Hale, 3 Notebook Set by Alexia Marcelle Abegg, Maker Zipper Charm Set 5th Place Blue Ribbon Prize Winner: Amazon Jukeboxby Marisa Wilhelmi sponsored by: My approach on the biodiversity theme for this challenge is an elusive bird that lives in the Brazilian Amazon forest. It has bright colors, majestic feathers and an enchanting singing voice, hence the name “Amazon Jukebox”. My work was inspired by an artist named Ty Wilkins and my imagination of what the Amazon still holds undiscovered, untouched. I built the blocks on EQ8 and pieced all the foliage stripes. Tula Pink — Homemade Collection. 100% Egyptian Cotton Threads. Made in Italy. 6th Place Red Ribbon Prize Winner: Mama Tree by Arlitia Jones sponsored by: Trees are one of the most important cradles of life. So many organisms from all walks depend on them. My house is surrounded by birch, poplar, spruce and alder, each grouping a family growing and dying and sprouting with each lifecycle. We know trees communicate. Like us, they watch out for each other, sending nutrients through root systems to struggling family members. Mama Tree is a portrait of a tree I know, made completely from scraps; no color left out; every shape of scrap the exact shape she needed. She’s elderly, vibrant and welcoming to all who lean against her. 1 copy of Collage To Quilt by Sarah Hibbert, 1 Lucky Spool hoodie, and 1 $200 gift voucher to Brooklyn General Store 7th Place Red Ribbon Prize Winner: Photic Zone Fun: Phytoplankton Partyby Brina Smith sponsored by: Come with me on a lighthearted adventure to explore the sunlit layers of water beneath the waves called the Photic Zone. Down here thrives a diverse community of microscopic organisms collectively called Phytoplankton. These amazing little creatures (algae, diatoms, cyanobacteria, and others) make up most of the base of the aquatic food pyramid AND produce an estimated 50-70 percent of the world’s oxygen – Wow!! Machine pieced, raw edge appliqué, machine quilted with touches of hand quilting. This four-piece African print fabrics bundle includes 1 charm pack, 1 patty cake (10” squares), 10 fat quarters, and 1 jelly roll. 8th Place Red Ribbon Prize Winner: Save the Manatees by Elisabeth Stebbins sponsored by: I enjoy the zen of fabric collage and tend to become immersed in my subject matter. Manatees are a threatened species. Due to their slow speed and relatively high buoyancy, manatees are often struck by vessels, which is the primary cause of human-related deaths of the species. Additionally, manatees continue to be threatened by loss of warm-water habitat and periodic die-offs from red tides and unusually cold weather events. This quilt consists of quilting cottons and various tulles to enhance the shadowing and to create the air bubbles. Succulent Garden quilt kit featuring e Bond Root fabric. 9th Place Red Ribbon Prize Winner: Wishes on Weeds by Steph Skardal sponsored by: “Wishes on Weeds” was inspired by dandelions! Though sometimes considered a weed, dandelions have served many purposes in history including in medicinal and edible uses. However, most of all, they remind me of childhood and the excitement of blowing the seeds into the wind! I translated my dandelion inspiration to a modern quilt via bias tape appliqué and a mix of several fabrics. I aimed for high contrast in layout and variety in dandelion composition. Blocks were pieced together and the quilt was finished with straight line quilting and pieced binding. $100 gift card to Stash Fabrics 10th Place Red Ribbon Prize Winner: Forest Fungi by Cristin Grothaus sponsored by: “Forest Fungi” is one of a series of mini quilts I made for an ongoing challenge in my local guild; it is inspired by a photo I took on a mushroom foraging walk. Mushroom gills have such beautiful and intricate shapes, and I really enjoyed trying to depict them in fabric and thread. This quilt uses raw edge applique (a first for me) and machine piecing, and was quilted on my domestic sewing machine. 1 ergonomic rotary cutter, 1 6.5” square non-slip ruler, 1 Endurance 45mm rotary blade, 1 12” rotating cutting mat Theme and Rules Design and sew any size quilt embracing the theme of BIODIVERSITY – the different kinds of life that make up our natural world, including animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms. Participants can use any fabric of their choosing, though we recommend shopping your stash first, if possible. Entries will be submitted online via photo submission, limit of one entry per MQG member. Each entry fee of $15 will be donated in its entirety to Wild Earth Allies. Submissions are now closed. One submission is allowed per member. Every quilt submitted will help fund real, measurable change for sustaining the biodiversity of our world, from helping protect threatened species like Asian elephants and trees in the Selva Maya rainforest in Belize to gorilla conservation in Central Africa. As in past years, members who don’t submit a quilt but still want to support Wild Earth Allies will have the opportunity to make a donation only. MQG members will have the ability to vote for the winners of the challenge from August 2-9, 2023. MQG Make-A-Difference Challenge Timeline: May 1: Announcement of theme and rules. Start designing and sewing! May-June: Sew! July 17-30: Submit your quilt. August 2-9: MQG member voting on submitted quilts. August 11: Challenge winners and total donation amount announced. MQG Make-A-Difference Challenge Rules: Each MQG member is eligible to enter one quilt for the MQG Make-A-Difference Challenge. Quilts must have 3 layers held together with quilting or tying. Quilted items (apparel, sculptures, etc.) are not considered quilts and will be removed from voting eligibility. Quilts must have a finished edge. Quilts can be any size. Quilts should embrace, reference, or be inspired by the challenge theme of BIODIVERSITY – the different kinds of life that make up our natural world, including animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms. Makers will submit their quilt via online photo submission. There will be no physical shipping of quilts. The entry fee is $15. Each MQG member is eligible to vote on the submitted quilts. All voting is anonymous. The top 10, as determined by member votes, will receive prizes!