Sunday, February 5, 2023

Project QUILTING - Season 14.3 - 54/40 or Fight

54/40 or Fight

Welcome to The Joyful Quilter!!  And... Welcome to the wonderful world of Project QUILTING hosted by Kim Lapacek @ Persimon Dreams!!  This is my 3rd year of participation in the Challenge.  Trish Frankland @ QuiltChicken is the creator of the crazy challenges that participants will face during the next 8 weeks.

Sassy @ Farm Quilter got me started at the beginning of Season 11 by inviting her readers to join in the fun.  I accepted her invitation and the rest is history.  As I have for the past two years, I will be dragging along my friend LeeAnna @ Not Afraid of Color again this season, as she enjoys having a reason to stretch her creative wings.  Would YOU like to join me in this creative journey, too?  

FAIR WARNING:  It's a wild ride, but oh SEW rewarding!

Challenges are given and start to finish you have ONE WEEK to complete your project.  PQ 14.3 can be found at THIS LINK:

Step One...

Read the instructions to see what is required of the third challenge.  Here's what Trish had to say:

Let’s look at the super-traditional, historic and beloved block “54-40 or Fight.” It’s not especially complicated – four-patches and triangle-in-a-square blocks. But there’s something so appealing that makes it more than the sum of its parts: I adore those pointy bits, and when you set together more than one block the delightful chain threatens to steal the show.
Why the weird name? Well, it’s debatable, historically … but if you wanted you could blame the 11th US President James Polk, who may (or may not) have used the phrase as a campaign slogan.


But before you get excited about elections run on a quilt block platform, it wasn’t about the number of thread spools a sewist should own or the hours in a week you should set aside for quilt work. It’s about land acquisition, and in the 1840s many suggested the northern edge of Oregon should be drawn at the 54°40′ north line of latitude. And they were willing to go to war to make that happen. “Fifty-four Forty or Fight!”


After much negotiation (but no war), eventually, the 49th parallel instead become the US-Canada border, and the phrase lives on only in history books and quilt blocks. I can find no real link between the quilt block and the politics – other than if something’s in the news enough you KNOW we’re going to quilt about it.

Well, that's all a bit heavy, but Trish goes on to say...

This week, I want you to be inspired by and use the traditional 54-40 or Fight block. Twist and edit it as you wish. Add to it. Use it to explore your feelings about land acquisition by non-indigenous peoples (or not). But spend some time with this classic and see where it takes you.  (Did you HEAR that, LeeAnna???  Project QUILTING allows for freedom of expression, as well as, creative license!)

Step Two...

Calm my mind.  It's flown into a number of different directions I could take for PQ 14.3!

Step Three...

Gather supplies:

I was reaching for my PINK Quilted Scrap Basket, again...

Because that's the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Color of the Month for February.

Tutorial for these baskets can be found HERE.

Step Four...

Review the rules:


Kim created a bonus post HERE with some links to tutorials to make this block and other tips and tricks if you’re interested.  (Thanks SEW much for these resources, Kim!)

2. You have one week to meet the challenge. Every challenge piece must be a FINISHED project seen through from INCEPTION to COMPLETION during the challenge timeline – that is, started on or after January 29, 2023, and posted by noon Central Time February 5, 2023.

3. Each piece must stand alone as DONE to count toward prizes.

4. Your project does not need to be a traditional quilt, but must meet at least one of these requirements: include patchwork, include appliqué, have 3 layers stitched together by hand or machine. 

Incomplete or unfinished does not qualify. Every challenge piece must be a FINISHED project seen through from INCEPTION to COMPLETION during the challenge timeline.

Step Five... Any ideas?

Yes.  I have one, but I need to experiment before sharing.

Step Six...PLAY!!!

Sorting through my scraps for bits that feel right is usually the place I begin any project:

Here is a bit of my construction process...

(Scroll down to the bottom of the post NOW, if you don't care to see a blow by blow of the making of my quilt.)

I was hesitant to make those triangle spiky blocks.  I tend to avoid them at all cost but with just 2 days until the deadline, my project was finally on its way...

About those spiky triangle units... With only one single day remaining, I decided to do them with raw-edged applique:

This is the completed quilt top.  If you look carefully, you might notice something unusual:

Soon enough, my little quilt had found a scrap of batting to fit, a fun chunk for the backing and was layered up for basting:

Some fun straight line quilting emphasized the deliberately wonky nature of the quilt:

Here is my completed entry for PQ 14.3:

There is usually a reason that I participate in these challenges...

... And this time, it was because I thought this was the perfect block to play with scale.  Remember when I said you might notice something unusual about the quilt top?  Each section is a different width.  2", 2.5" and 3" sections were combined to create this 5 x 6.5" mini quilt.  It was SEW much fun to make (once I quit procrastinating and got to work!)

There you have it...

Process, product, and the REAL reason for accepting this Challenge.

Follow THIS LINK to the Season 14 overview.  Check back on the Challenge release days (or sign-up to be notified automatically) and there may be one that YOU just can't resist.

It's a SHORT turnaround time!

Depending on the size and complexity of your project, that doesn't HAVE to be insurmountable.  With a little creativity and a few evenings, you really CAN do this!  My project was got off to a slow start and was still finished with more than a half a day to spare
!  My post was ready for release with 14 hours until the deadline.  Even so, I linked up with only a couple hours left before the deadline.  (Yes, I have a thing about releasing my post on Sunday and I didn't want to join any earlier.)

Until next time...
Challenge accepted!!!

Remember:  If I can do this, YOU can do it, too!

(Plus, there's a spot to post your completed Project QUILTING inspired projects AFTER the deadline for any of the challenges.)


  1. That is cute, Joy! I love how you made it wonky and off center. Very creative!

  2. Very fun and creative! I have one sewing speed and it's slow. I love watching what people come up with, but I'd never finish anything in a week.

  3. Good job, Joy. I kept looking at your block but couldn't figure out what was going on. Cool how you keep your imagination flowing!

  4. Great interpretation, Joy! I love the wonky and off center presentation!--TerryK@OnGoingProjects

  5. Great job on this, Joy! I love that you incorporate the RSC color into your challenge and also that you used different dimensions for each section. You met the challenge in a fine fashion.

  6. I love the movement your mini has because of the scale choices you made. A shooting star! :)

  7. Pretty pink star. Love how you created it.

  8. Great projects! I love the wonky pink star!!!!


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