How to Host a Quilty Olympics at Your Quilt Guild

Quilt Olympics Trophy

Photos in this blog by Wendy Planicka who also made these amazing trophies

This blog post should really be titled, “How to get other people to host a quilty olympics at your quilt guild” because I didn’t actually participate in the Quilty Olympics that I helped plan for the  this month in honor of the slightly higher profile Olympics currently happening right now in Brazil. I did however, help with the planning until I got sick and couldn’t go to the guild event. So my awesome Quilt Olympics Team (aka the IOC) took over and made it happen without me – thanks team!

However, I thought this write up we put together would be helpful for other guilds!

Here is a great write up from another guild that was really helpful in our planning- definitely check it out! I was also influenced by the version of the Quilty Olympics hosted by our fellow Ohioans (and my beloved former guild) the Columbus Modern Quilters. 

quilt olympics fabric hunt

Hunting for a scrap of fabric

Here are some example events you could use that our IOC brainstormed:

  • Thread 5 needles
  • Unspool a spool of thread (for example junky thread from an old sewing kit)
  • Find a particular scrap of fabric in a pile of scrap fabric
  • Cut out x number of pattern pieces/applique pieces – this could be for a charity quilt if we wanted
  • Hand sew 20 inches – again it could be for a charity quilt if we wanted!
  • Seam rip 20 inches – neatly!
  • Iron a really wrinkly piece of fabric (this could lead into the cutting challenge – the next person could cut that fabric 🙂
  • Fabric basketball – toss a fat quarter (rubber banded) three times into a basket
  • Find a needle in a haystack (would probably lead to injuries)

As you can maybe imagine from the list up above, we had thought about having the activities actually lead to a finished project (so, first person in the team iron, then cut, then sew/applique/etc), but decided that we wanted to keep things fun and silly, and I was terrified to introduce any rotary cutters to a “speed” event. We went with the needle threading. the fabric toss, seam ripping, thread unspooling and the finding the scrap fabric as the culminating event.

Quilt Olympics fabric toss

The fabric toss. Which may have resulted in injuries. It’s not the Olympics without some gruesome injuries!

And here is the flow of the event, which is basically a quilty relay race. We had three organizers who each took on a few challenges to organize and set up.

    • Break up into groups – this will be done randomly – chance to get to know new people – count the room off into teams of four or five – whichever makes mathematical sense with the number of people there (for example if there are 25 people, 5 groups of 5. The organizers can bow out as needed to make the math work).
    • You can have an opening “get to know you” question to break the ice in the small groups, since there will be lots of chatting during the events.
    • Set up stations with all the challenges before the meeting and Present all the challenges at once while people are in small groups- the organizer who set up the challenge can intro their challenge.
    • You will need to guesstimate how many people you expect to attend so you have enough materials for each event!
    • One person per team per challenge. People can pick which challenge they want to perform.
    • As soon as they are done with their challenge, they run back and tag the next person to go do their challenge. The first team to finish gets the “gold” medal!
    • Feel free to sing the national anthem for the winners on the podium 🙂
    • Award the amaaaaazing prizes. Pictured below are our Olympic Champions and the awesome prizes that Wendy made for our guild’s Olympics!quilt olympics winners

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