Understanding Copyright, Derivatives and Design Credit in Quilting

Based on member feedback, this post is currently under review and will be revised in the next few days. We still feel this is an important issue to discuss, and we invite you to post your questions and comments below. While we may not be able to get to every comment, we invite open dialogue and will respond to comments as we are able to.

Update: We were hoping to have a response within a week of the post, but we are facing vacation or business travel schedules from external consultants, volunteers and staff. We will post the updated blog post the week of August 22nd and apologize for the delay.

Inspired by?

Ever heard the phrase “inspiration is everywhere?” If you’re looking at all, it is. We are bombarded with inspiration: on Instagram, in quilt shows, and all over the Internet. Modern art and graphic design are ripe with inspiration for modern quilts. Steven Bradley wrote an informative post, The Line Between Inspired By and Copied From and How to Stay On Its Right Side. This line can be blurry and, in some cases as Bradley points out, it can be a good thing to be on either side. When it comes to entering a quilt in a quilt show like QuiltCon, it is important to understand the difference between an original design and a derivative of someone else’s work. Both are welcome entrants in quilt shows, but with derivative work, the maker has additional responsibility to credit the source of inspiration, acknowledge the work as a derivative and obtain permission to exhibit the quilt. All quilt shows have their own requirements, but at QuiltCon, derivative quilts should only be entered with appropriate credit, permission from the original artist and for exhibit only.

All About Derivatives

“Derivative.” It sounds complicated, and you may have heard it in a negative context before. But what does it mean when it comes to quilting? First, let’s define the word. According to the Oxford dictionary, a derivative is “(typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person; originating from, based on, or influenced by.” In the quilt world, this means that if you make a quilt using someone else’s pattern, artwork, photography, or quilt design, it’s a derivative.

How can I tell if my quilt is a derivative?

The hard and fast rule is this: If someone can recognize who or what influenced your work, then it’s a derivative. The easiest way to determine this is to ask around: Ask your family, friends and members of your guild. Ask quilters and non-quilters. If it was based on something, show people the original work and ask if they can see the influence in your work. Our best advice: use common sense.

Derivative: Using or altering a pattern

If you use a pattern for your quilt, that’s great! It’s a great way to grow your skills, make awesome quilts and do what you love. However, when entering your quilt in a show, you should acknowledge the design source (the pattern and the designer) and get permission to enter your quilt. You may have purchased a pattern and put your own spin on it, but if the original quilter’s work is still recognizable in your version, it’s a derivative. Because of the nature of patterns, a quilt created from a pattern — even if it’s different — is still a derivative.

In this example by Jacquie Gering, the quilt on the right is a derivative of the Fly quilt on the left, and credit would need to be given to Jacquie and permission would be needed to enter this quilt in a show.

The quilt below is also inspired by the Fly quilt below, but it is not derivative. The designer of this quilt took the concept of overlapping triangles and developed that concept into an original design. While you may not need permission from the designer to enter this quilt, it’s always courteous to ask — and designers love to see original work inspired by their own and to be credited for the inspiration.


Original: Inspired by artwork

Derivatives aren’t always based on other quilts — sometimes inspiration comes from the art or design world, but the rules are the same. You may, however, be inspired by artwork and still create an original piece that embodies your own voice and style. This quilt by Shannon Page is a great example. She created an original quilt inspired by a 1940s placard. In this case, she would not need to ask permission from the placard artist, because it is not a derivative — it’s merely inspired by the art.


Shannon used a “This is a V-Home” placard (left) as inspiration for a quilt (right). The placard was created by the federal government’s Office of Civilian Defense, and is part of the public domain according to U.S. copyright law.

Derivative: Quilt reproduction of artwork

Reproducing a piece of art in a quilt does not make it original. Sometimes quilters mistakenly believe that a reproduction of art is an original design because they did the work to figure out the math, draft blocks, make templates, choose different colors or write a pattern to translate art into a quilt.

albers final

Left: Anni Albers Black White Yellow, 1926/1964, silk and rayon, 80 × 47 in. (203 × 119 cm). Image used with permission © V&A Images, London / Art Resource, NY Permission for quilt from Artist Rights Society.* | Right: A quilt derivative of Anni Albers’ weaving by Jaime David.

Jaime David made this beautiful quilt based on a weaving by Anni Albers. As you can see, Jaime obviously did loads of work to translate this weaving into a quilt, but she will be the first to tell you that this quilt is not her original design. It was a personal learning exercise to learn from the genius that was Anni Albers. What she learned about color, shape and design from this quilt has helped her find her own voice as a quilter. If she wanted to enter this quilt into QuiltCon she would need to enter for exhibit only, credit Anni Albers and secure permission to exhibit the quilt.

Derivative or original: Taking a workshop

Techniques are not copyrightable, but patterns and designs that you may learn in a workshop are. If you take a workshop with a well-known designer and learn their technique, often the product that comes out is a derivative work. This is especially true of pattern-based workshops. If you’re entering a quilt for show that uses someone else’s technique, your goal is to infuse your own style and voice so much into the quilt that it isn’t recognizable as someone else’s technique. Create and submit a work that is truly your design.

Who decides if it is derivative?

Only a court of law can decided if a work is derivative. Lawyers, legal teams, other quilters, even a show jury can disagree on if a quilt is a derivative. As we said earlier, it’s a fine line and many times a blurry one. A good rule of thumb is the original designer/artist is the one who decides. If you can’t ask the original artist or designer, step away from your work and ask others, but only you know if and how much you were influenced by the work of others.

When to get permission

If you are using a derivative quilt at home privately, you do not need to get permission — though whenever you use someone else’s work it is polite and best practice to ask for permission. However, if you plan to display the quilt publicly or enter it into a show, you should obtain permission to exhibit.

How to get permission

This part is usually easy — and fun! Send an email to the designer and show them a photo of the work you’ve made. Explain that you were inspired by their work and ask politely if you can enter it into a show or display it publicly. Be clear that you plan to give credit in your description. Chances are the artist will be happy to give permission and flattered by the work you’ve done. However, if they decline, you need to respect their wishes.

If you enter a quilt for QuiltCon, you may disagree with the QuiltCon jury on whether or not your quilt is derivative. The best person to decide this is the copyright owner. Ask! Sometimes the copyright owner will say it is not derivative. We will also honor the artist’s/designer’s wishes.

What if I can’t get permission?

“I saw the design on Pinterest and don’t know who made it!” Unfortunately credit isn’t always given on the Internet, and it can be hard to find the original artist. But if you want to enter a quilt based on another design, you need to do due diligence. One way to do this is using Google image search. Upload your image to images.google.com, and Google will find image results that are similar. Click through as many as it takes to find the original artist.

“I was inspired by the work of an artist, but he/she is dead!” If the work is not in the public domain, you may consider contacting their estate for permission. See the section below about our process of contacting an estate for this blog post.

What is public domain?

“Public domain” refers to any creative materials that are not protected by copyright, trademark or patent laws. These are owned by the public and can be used by anyone without permission. For quilters, the most common designs in the public domain are traditional quilt blocks. These designs have been around for dozens (if not hundreds) of years, and the rule in many countries is that the work falls into public domain 70 years after the last creator’s death. Once a work enters public domain, it cannot be copyrighted again.

If you create a quilt using traditional quilt as an inspiration or starting point, you do not need to obtain permission. See Amy Garro’s post Copyright & Quilting for a more in-depth discussion of copyright and public domain. (Note: Copyright laws change from country to country, so it’s best to research laws where you live for more information.)

Submitting a derivative work to a quilt show

Quilt show juries for international or national shows almost always prefer to exhibit original work, and since derivatives are not original, they aren’t as desirable in large shows (local shows are more open to derivative work). However, if you feel strongly about submitting a derivative quilt, follow these steps:

  • Request permission. Ask the original artist if you can enter your quilt into the show. Show them a photo of the finished quilt, and get their permission in writing (email is okay). Often times, they’ll be pleased you want to enter a quilt based on their work! However, if they don’t give permission, don’t submit the quilt.
  • Be transparent. Be clear in your submission that the work is derivative. Also share with the jury or quilt show committee that you obtained permission from the original maker, designer, or artist.
  • Give full credit. In the quilt description, you must give credit to the designer who influenced your work. It’s not only fair, but simple common courtesy.

Additional Reading

How do I find my own voice and style?

Great question! Many quilters work on this for years and build up their style over time. Yours will become clear as you make more quilts, learn what skills and styles you gravitate toward, and recognize what you love most about the process and your designs. Here are some ideas to help you on your journey:

  • Stop consuming. Start creating. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the endless quilts on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Step away from the screen from time to time and simply sew. Make what you want to make — not what the Internet tells you to. Do the work.
  • Take time to play. The more you experiment with techniques and styles, the easier it is to find your niche. Increase the time you spend sewing without a pattern.
  • Do what you love. One technique or design may inspire you more than others. Use that as your starting point and see where it takes you.
  • Watch Latifah Saafir’s webinar, “Being True to Your Inner Quilt Artist.” It’s a great resource for any quilter, no matter where you are in your journey.

latifah copy


Interested in how we obtained permission to publish the image of Anni Albers’ weaving above? Read about it below. Sometimes obtaining permission is as simple as sending a few emails. Sometimes it can be more complicated.

  1. We contacted The Art Resource, Inc., to express interest in using the image of Anni Albers’ weaving as an example.
  2. We were asked to explain the scope of publication, including authors, publish date, distribution, etc.
  3. We paid a fee to the Art Resource, Inc., for the one-time, non-exclusive world English language rights for the use of the one image in the article.
  4. We were asked to obtain additional copyright permission from the Artists Rights Society (ARS).
  5. The representative at ARS contacted the Albers Foundation on our behalf to request permission to use the image in the blog post.
  6. We submitted a draft of the blog post in PDF form for the Albers Foundation to approve and went through a few rounds of changes.
  7. We paid a fee to the Albers Foundation for one-time use of the image.
  8. The whole process from first contact to final approval took about 60 days. But it pays to do the work!

* Reproduction, including downloading of Anni Albers’ works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Catching up with MQG member Charlotte Newland, winner of the Great British Sewing Bee

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 10/05/2016 - Programme Name: The Great British Sewing Bee - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. Generics) - Picture Shows: Charlotte - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

Photo courtesy of Love Productions/BBC

If you’ve been watching the BBC’s television show Great British Sewing Bee, you probably know Charlotte Newland, who was announced as the winner on July 4! Charlotte is an individual MQG member from London, and one of 10 contestants on this year’s show. She made it through eight weeks of tough sewing challenges to become Britain’s best amateur sewer of 2016. We caught up with Charlotte to talk about the Bee, modern quilting, QuiltCon and the MQG.

Hi Charlotte — and congrats! We’re so excited for you. When did you decide you wanted to apply to be on the show?

My kids and I had always watched the show together, and last season my girls in particular kept telling me I should apply. They were so excited to see that applications were open, and made sure I filled in the form!

What happened when they told you you had been accepted?

The application process was pretty drawn out — there were several stages to go through and it was about four months before I heard I had been accepted. By that time I had gotten to know the people in the production company pretty well, so when they called with the news there was a lot of excited squealing.

The Great British Sewing Bee

(L-R) Joyce, Charlotte, Jade the moment Charlotte was announced as the winner – (C) Love Productions/BBC – Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

Did you watch the episodes as they were airing? Any funny fan moments that happened as the show progressed?

I watched the episodes as they were shown, every week. It was really interesting to see the bits that we hadn’t been aware of at the time, like the judges’ discussions. The editing team did an amazing job cutting down probably 100 hours of footage into a one hour show. I did get recognised from about episode two. I was walking across Tower Bridge one day and someone called out “Oooh! You’re the lady from the sewing bee!” It was so strange to be recognised!

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 22:00:01 on 27/06/2016 - Programme Name: The Great British Sewing Bee - TX: 04/07/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. 8 - The Final) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY 27TH JUNE 2016 AT 22:00HRS** Charlotte - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

Charlotte sews a garment during the show. – (C) Love Productions/BBC – Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

Does your quilt experience influence the way you design and create garments? 

It was definitely an advantage to have good rotary cutting skills, especially bearing in mind that the challenges were timed. Pinning and using scissors is so much more time consuming than using weights and a rotary cutter. It’s also a lot more accurate when cutting out stretch or delicate fabrics. Rotary cutting FTW!

During the ’60s week, your color block dress was lovely! And very reminiscent of a modern quilt… The judges were also impressed that you were trying out your fabrics ahead of time. Is that a quilter technique? Did any of the other challenges require you to reach into your quilting bag of tricks?

Using fabric scraps to test out colour placement in the Mondrian dress challenge just made sense to me. It’s definitely something that I did because of my quilting background. I use a design wall a lot in my quilting, and this was a teeny version of the same concept.

The time I’ve spent matching HST seams also stood me in good stead in the chevron top challenge in the first week!

Is your garment design style similar to your quilt style?

I am primarily an improv quilter, and I think that the “chop it up randomly and sew it back together” approach was really helpful in the alteration challenge, particularly with the duvet cover in the semi final.

What was it like being critiqued by Esme and Patrick?

As an amateur sewer I’ve never been critiqued before (apart from by myself, of course!), and it took a bit of getting used to. The judges were extremely fair in all their comments, though, and really kind about how they said things even when there were serious issues. Getting a good review felt amazing – like winning a prize!

It seemed like all the contestants became good friends during the season! Are any of them also quilters?

We had so much fun in the sewing room, and we learned so much from each other. Because we are all amateurs we each had a different approach, so there was a lot of skill sharing. I love them all to bits, and wish that we lived closer. Joyce is the only other quilter in the group.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 10/05/2016 - Programme Name: The Great British Sewing Bee - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. Generics) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Rumana, Angeline, Duncan, Charlotte, Patrick Grant, Esme Young, Josh, Jade, Claudia Winkleman, Tracey, Joyce, Jamie, Ghislaine - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

(L-R) Rumana, Angeline, Duncan, Charlotte, Patrick Grant, Esme Young, Josh, Jade, Claudia Winkleman, Tracey, Joyce, Jamie, Ghislaine – (C) Love Productions/BBC – Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

The MQG community has been cheering you on the whole season — what was it like knowing that 10,000 people were rooting for you?

Having the support of so many people from the quilting community was wonderful! Quilters are the best:-)

You were going to attend QuiltCon last year, but couldn’t because of filming. What was your reaction when you found out the two would overlap?

I couldn’t believe it when I found out that filming would coincide with QuiltCon! I was so looking forward to coming to Pasadena, it was crazy that both things happened at the same time!

Are you working on any quilts or is it just garments for the time being?

I’m working on a solids improv quilt inspired by the art of Sonia Delauney. It’s been a bit neglected over the last few months, but I hope to get some work done on over the summer. I’ve also got loads of clothes I want to make, including a new swimsuit.

What do you plan to do with your sewing time now that you’ve won the Bee?

I am looking forward to sewing just for me again. During the Bee there really was no time to sew anything for myself.

Will we see you at QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah?

I plan to be there as crew — I’m just looking into flights now!

What is the best part of being an MQG member?

The MQG community! I’ve met so many fantastic people online and in real life, and everyone is so supportive. It’s really wonderful!

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 22:00:01 on 04/07/2016 - Programme Name: The Great British Sewing Bee - TX: 04/07/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. 8 - The Final) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY 4TH JULY 2016 AT 22:00HRS** (L-R) Claudia Winkleman, Esme Young, Charlotte, Patrick Grant - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

(L-R) Claudia Winkleman, Esme Young, Charlotte, Patrick Grant – (C) Love Productions/BBC – Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Rise Up and Reach” by the Southern Appalachian MQG

By Randy Case, Member & Design Team and Janelle Warren, VP Ed/Events & Design Team

SAMQG 2016Charity Quilt

The Southern Appalachian Modern Quilt Guild (SAMQG) is now almost two years old and growing! We are a gregarious and creative group of modern and traditional quilters, drawn together from western North Carolina, northern Georgia and east Tennessee and meet in Murphy, NC to explore the intriguing facets of modern quilting.

With a year of study, tinkering and sharing notions of improv piecing, negative space, wonky stars and a lot of other new modern quilting ideas, our ambassador to QuiltCon 2015 told us about all the wonderful charity quilts she had seen at the show and challenged us to consider doing one for this year.

After a bit of tentative tiptoeing around the color palette and wondering if we could actually do this, someone suggested that we make the quilt for REACH, our local women and children shelter. That was just what we needed to spark the vision. REACH’s motto is “Compassion. Hope. Shelter.”

We wanted to express how our mountains are a shelter of love and reflect love and compassion in a safe environment.  Throughout the process, REACH’s motto resounded. With that safety and security of our environment, there is hope of the light as we see so clearly in our starry skies.

We had a great idea, a great group of members and a great organization to support. Now onto the great challenge of how to transfer this into an improv quilt. Together we watched the MQG’s webinar on improv, and we were on our way.

After an initial brainstorming session with the full membership, and a frenzy of sketching and swapping of sketches among the design team, headed by Randy Case and Janelle Warren, the final concept was narrowed down. We decided on an abstract representation of a sunrise in our beautiful Appalachian Mountains with a water reflection.

2 Design Board

This gave us a chance to refine and apply the improv techniques we had been working on recently. We roughed in a couple design options in EQ7 and, after feedback from the overall team, fine-tuned the final design and generated a full sized rendering of the main panel to guide the piecing process.

We gathered at our local quilt shop, Bless My Stitches in Murphy for several sew-ins to see this vision come together.

3 Patty Singer

Patty Singer


4 Diana Randy Janelle

Patty Singer, Diana Turkovics, Randy Case & Janelle Warren


5 Janelle and Terry

Janelle Warren and Terry Baird at Sew-In Fun

We supplemented the basic color palette with a variety of shadings and prints and started constructing some improv panels to capture the spirit and shadows of our mountain scene.

Lessons in color value and improv piecing emerged.  It was fun to see our members sewing away, laughing and having fun making their own material. Stepping outside the box of perfection and embracing the flow of improv further anchored out love of the modern quilting way!

As the component stars, mountains and sunrise elements began to take shape the team’s enthusiasm also began to build.

9 stars

Wonky Stars by Jeanne Hewitt and Randy Case.

Each new addition to the design wall was met with ooohs and ahhhs along with a growing confidence in the processes we were using. Our stitching sessions were genuine sharing times and, as we encouraged each other to stretch a bit past our comfort zones, we got to know each other and appreciate each individual’s contribution.

Randy engineering the piecing.

Randy engineering the piecing.

After numerous sew-ins, we figured out how to piece it all together.

Jeanne Hewitt, Randy Case, Pam Howard, Barbara Fowler, Terry Baird, Maureen Ripper Members not pictured:  Ann Graham, Patty Singer, Janelle Warren, Karen Hopple, & Barbara Haydon

Jeanne Hewitt, Randy Case, Pam Howard, Barbara Fowler, Terry Baird, Maureen Ripper
Members not pictured:  Ann Graham, Patty Singer, Janelle Warren, Karen Hopple, & Barbara Haydon

At another sew-in, the team was challenged with using all our scraps from the front of the quilt to piece the back!

Terry & Janelle Getting the Quilt Ready for our brave new long arm quilter, Randy Case!

Terry & Janelle Getting the Quilt Ready for our brave new long arm quilter, Randy Case!

14 Back of Quilt

The back of the quilt showing off Randy’s great quilting.

Our trusty hand quilters, Barbara Fowler and Maureen Ripper, added the binding and sleeve.

We were pretty pleased with the result and thoroughly delighted to share our passion of improv quilting with our community and the REACH organization.

Buoyed by this year’s experience, and with QuiltCon 2017 just down the road a piece, it was an easy decision to do it again. We’ll see y’all in Savannah!

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Niagara MQG


I had only recently joined the Niagara Modern Quilt Guild when the topic of a charity quilt came up. I had been involved in guilds before and with charity quilts, however this was to be a totally different game! Our group was led by the indefatigable Tara. She deciphered the challenge details, timelines and colours and stressed the improv nature of the work. Before I knew it, I had agreed to longarm the quilt too. I was swept up in the creative energy that our guild generates when we get together.

The materials for our quilt were generously donated by a local quilt shop, The Modern Bee. Our president, Susan, obtained the fabric and had it cut and ready for us to get to work. The game had just begun.

The first challenge came when deciding what the theme of our quilt would be. Even with our fairly small guild, we had more ideas than we knew what to do with. We started a Pinterest page to gather ideas — from Canadian inventions like lightbulbs, Robertson screws, zippers, snowmobiles, wine and grapes (we are a Niagara Guild after all), to inukshuks, beer bottles, donuts and Mountie hats — we have more than enough ideas for a lifetime of charity quilts!


Eventually we settled on hockey. But how to improv on a hockey theme? Again Tara came to our rescue with a fabulous tutorial on her blog. She suggested each member make a simple hockey stick member to start, knowing perhaps we would move on to words, nets, masks, jerseys — and yes, even a Stanley Cup! Finally the blocks were complete.

We met for a sew-in, thinking perhaps this part would be simple and quick. But it took a concerted effort and again the guidance and patience of Team Captain Tara, who worked magic with only a taped out quilt perimeter on the floor and a tape measure. We stitched the mismatched block sizes together until the very end of our sewing day.


Next, the longarming, which was where I came in. How to quilt something so unique? We had decided to add the words to The Good Ol’ Hockey Game by Stompin’ Tom Connors to the quilt. In addition to the words, I quilted modern squares that reminded me of the skate marks on a hockey rink.

After quilting, it was bound by Heather and labelled. More photographs were taken, and the quilt was packaged and ready for its American tour. So many steps, and each time a guild member there to pick up the puck and pass it on.


It certainly was a challenge. It pushed us all to try something new and, best of all, work with no rules — no pattern! We had no idea how this game would end, but we were all thrilled with the result. We made it through the season to the tournament and now our quilt is off to the finals… at QuiltCon 2016!

Hope you enjoy our quilt. Proudly modern quilters and always Canadian!

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Wintry Mix” by Seacoast MQG

By Kali Zirkle, Charity Quilting Chair

014 (1)

The Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild is located in the coastal areas of southern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts, and we wanted to represent ourselves and what we would be experiencing in February while QuiltCon was happening in Pasadena. After some discussion we decided to use Charity Quilting Chairperson Kali Zirkle’s idea of a wintery outdoor scene with a red barn in an icy low volume background as the basis for our improv with intent.

IMG_4220 (1)

On a Saturday in July at our guild meeting, we came armed with scraps in the given colors and our sewing machines to begin to create the quilt. Peg Connolly focused on piecing the red for the barn, Judy Durant focused on the area of sun peeking through the clouds, and most of the other sewists focused on creating a low volume background that had hints of icy blue mixed in. Everyone worked from a pile of fabric left on a cutting table in the center of the room and as the pieces got larger they were added to a portable design wall. Once we had a few sections made we started to piece them together and begin thinking about the placement of the barn within the quilt. After the meeting a small group got together to finish piecing the top, Jessica Benoit May pieced the back, and it was handed off to our 2016 guild president, Mary Gregory of See Mary Quilt for the quilting. She quilted dense swirls over the entire quilt which give it great texture and movement and attached the binding.


The quilt was donated to HAWC, Healing Abuse Working for Change, located in Salem, Massachusetts.


#QuiltsforPulse Charity Drive with the Orlando MQG

OMQGButtonLogoThe Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilts and blocks for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub on June 12, and MQG members around the world are invited to participate. The goal is to gather enough quilts to help not only the victims who survived, but the families of victims who perished, as well as first responders, nurses, police officers, etc.

The Orlando MQG is asking for a minimum of 102 quilts — one for each survivor, and one for the families of each victim who perished. Any quilts that surpass that number will be given to first responders, and then distributed to the LGBT community in Orlando via organizations like The Center and Zebra Coalition.

Rainbow hearts are the design theme, and members are asked to submit either finished quilts (strongly encouraged) or 10-inch blocks with at least one heart. See the gallery below for block and quilt ideas, or visit our Pinterest board for more inspiration. You can also use this tutorial for a 10-inch heart block by Cluck Cluck Sew (or this paper piecing version by Elizabeth Dackson).

If you’re part of a guild, we encourage you to sign up as a whole guild and coordinate locally to make a finished quilt (or quilts). This will help ease the strain on Orlando MQG members. They’re asking for quilts larger than 48″ x 60″ but no larger than a twin. The Orlando MQG is also accepting quilt tops, binding and backings.

How to help:

  • Please sign up using this form so the Orlando MQG knows what to expect and when items will arrive.
  • When you’re ready to ship, please print out this form and place it in the box with your quilt or other items.
  • Ship the quilt to:
    Alissa Lapinsky

    c/o A List Hair Salon
    106 South Woodland Blvd
    Suite B
    DeLand, FL 32720
  • Please post photos and follow #quiltsforpulse on Instagram for ongoing updates. You can also find more information on the Orlando MQG’s website, here.

Blocks are due August 15 and quilts are due September 15. Thank you for your support!


If you want to add a button to your blog to promote awareness, feel free to use this image:


QuiltCon Charity Spotlight: “This Quilt is Our Quilt” by the Tulsa MQG

By Kris Farnsworth, Charity Quilt Project Manager

woody final

When the Tulsa Modern Quilt Guild first heard the guidelines for the 2016 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge, the concept of “Improv with Intent” immediately inspired some of us to look at various project ideas. The thought of breaking an image down into pieces and individuals creating improv blocks to match those quickly found some support. In deciding on a subject, we considered superheroes, pop art, florals, architecture, and portraits. When one member mentioned Woody Guthrie as a possible subject, it seemed a great choice: he is a native of Oklahoma, and the Woody Guthrie Center is located right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In fact, the husband of one of our members is on the board of the Woody Guthrie Coalition, so we had an “in” with a possible charity!

Now that we had a plan, we needed to generate enthusiasm and ease the apprehension of some members who were intimidated by the project. We decided to do a trial run with a different image. While the process of making the blocks proved quite a challenge for some members, when the final product was assembled, they were impressed with the outcome and ready to tackle Woody (with the understanding that when doing the larger project, most of the individual blocks would be less complex, with a good number of background blocks needed of simple improv in one color).


As project manager, I took our digital inspiration and cut it into images to each inspire a 5”x5” (finished size) block and named them each with coordinates in a spreadsheet to make assembling the finished blocks easier. We ordered fabric and distributed all the material and images. In order to kick the project off, we hosted a sew day to share techniques and advice.


As the blocks started to be turned in, they were identified, labeled, checked for size, and given a trim if necessary. We held another sew day to create some time to focus on knocking out more blocks and to start assembling the top. When we first laid out the loose blocks and started to see how it was coming together, we all felt added motivation to see the finished product and were ready to tackle the remaining blocks.


Once all the blocks were in, they were all joined into the final quilt top. One of our members, Brenda Shreve (brendasredbarn.com), agreed to quilt the project for us with a combination of matchstick and a guitar/music pantograph with even some lyrics from “This Land Is Your Land” thrown in! Then all it needed was the binding, sleeve and label.

The Woody Guthrie Coalition, a nonprofit corporation, hosts the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in mid-July to commemorate Guthrie’s life and music. The festival is held in Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma with the simple goal of  ensuring Guthrie’s musical legacy.


Woody Guthrie photo by New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer: Al Aumuller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Riley Blake Sashing Stash Fabric Challenge Winners

Riley Blake DesignsPlease congratulate the winners of the Riley Blake Sashing Stash Fabric Challenge! Thank you to everyone who participated — the fabric presented a unique challenge, but it gave way to some stunning quilts. And a special thank you goes to our amazing sponsor, Riley Blake Designs for providing the amazing fabric!

Winners for this year’s challenge are as follows:

1st Place: Out Of Line
By Adrianne Ove
Individual MQG member
From the judges: “We are so impressed with the imaginative design, graphic quality and intricacy of the piecing. It created such a dramatic effect.”


2nd Place: Hills and Valleys
By Cassandra Beaver
Central Ohio MQG member
From the judges: “We were amazed at all the different styles of quilting motifs. Also, the wonderful use of the challenge fabric and the color scheme.”


3rd Place: Jumble
By Betsy Vinegrad
North Jersey MQG member
From the judges: “We loved the use of the challenge fabrics. The black and white color choice is so striking and powerful.”


Honorable Mention: Caught in a Cross Stitch
By Antoinette McNulty
Individual MQG member
From the judges: “We really liked the graphic quality of the quilting along with the use of the challenge fabric. We also loved the splashes of pink!”



And congratulations to the six finalists!

Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who entered!

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Postcards from North Caroline by the Charlotte MQG

by Elizabeth Busscher, Vice President, 2015


First off, please let me say how proud I am of all the members who contributed to this quilt. When I proposed this project, I got some grumblings from the group.  Apparently, improv quilting is not our favorite! But, I think we all can agree – the end product was totally worth it!

To prepare for this challenge, our guild reviewed some basic improv techniques by watching the MQG webinar “Improv with Intent” and discussing how we as individuals could create blocks that were improvisational, but still form a cohesive quilt. We decided a quilt with six individual blocks, each with its own theme would work best for our group.

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At our September meeting, we brainstormed the themes for each block, all to be captured under the umbrella “Postcards from North Carolina.” The six ideas represented are:

  1. Beach
  2. Mountains
  3. Sports
  4. Fields/agriculture
  5. Charlotte City
  6. State bird/flower

From there the guild broke up into six teams and created individual postcards. This was a great program for our guild as it allowed for sewing time, and time to get to know other members. We also very quickly learned who was not a fan of unstructured cutting and sewing – me for one!  It was definitely a challenge for some of us. Others had issues with the limited color palette, but we all got over our fears quickly. 

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At the October meeting, we revealed each group’s finished block. It was wonderful to see those piles of fabric turn into six finished blocks. A big thanks to Keleigh for taking all the blocks home and making them into the finished quilt top. (And for free piecing all those letters!)

And another big thanks to Vicki for quilting and binding. It looks amazing!

When this quilt returns from the show, we plan to vote on a charity that will receive it. I’m sure whoever the final recipient is will treasure it. I know I’m honored to have been part of the group who made it.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Never Forgotten by the Melbourne MQ

By Catherine Mollica, member


For this project, the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild design team was gathered together from a handful of volunteer members. We started by thinking about the landscape of our state, and soon turned closer to home. Our inspiration pictures were those that featured as part of the 5000 Poppies Project commemorating the ANZAC campaign centenary 1915-2015, which marked a significant nation-building time for the new federation of Australia and the sacrifice of young men in the trenches of Europe and the Middle East during WWI. During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground. The sight of poppies on the battlefield at Ypres in 1915 moved Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write the poem “In Flanders fields.” In English literature of the 19th century, poppies had symbolised sleep or a state of oblivion; in the literature of the First World War, a new, more powerful symbolism was attached to the poppy — the sacrifice of shed blood.


Many a quilter has looked at Federation Square in the heart of our city and wondered how they could recreate its angular features in fabric. We quickly realised that the images from the 5000 Poppies Project presented a unique inspiration: The background of Fed Square (as locals fondly call it) places us wholly in the present; the sea of poppies represents remembrance for heritage, respect for history and a nod to our traditional quilting roots. In addition, the actual sea of crafted poppies was created by a global creative volunteer collaboration.

This translated beautifully to the colour palette chosen for the MQG challenge this year. The grey, cream and black showed the glass, frames and unique shapes of Fed Square, and the yellow and blue represent the reflected sky and neighbouring Flinders Street Station. We asked members to contribute shades of red to allow great variety in the petals of the poppies.

We were inspired by the challenge to improvise with intent, and ran collaborative construction sessions so that we could explore our framework and try to develop the design as a group. At first many of us felt daunted at the task, but once we started to get some shapes on our floor-based ”design wall” we felt excitement at seeing the concept develop. We had “check ins” periodically during each session, to gather round the blocks and see where it was heading, and to discuss what we liked and didn’t like. The discussion and exchange were what moved the quilt forward, and these moments of re-examining and evolving were wonderful! It was exciting to hear everyone’s observations and be open to changing what we had done as we made new discoveries.


Our final quilt reflects input from everyone who worked on it and problem solved when everyone became very aware of the extra time needed to improvise and fit irregular pieces together, rather than following a repeating pattern. We’ve enjoyed the process of developing this quilt together — working outside our comfort zone at times but discovering new ways of working and improvising. We’re very proud of our finished quilt, which will ultimately benefit a local charity in the coming months.