QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Constellation of Wishes
 by the 
Vermont MQG

By Janet Jaffe, memberConstellation_of_Wishes

Greetings from the Vermont Modern Quilt Guild! We’re 30 women (no male members… yet!) of different ages and backgrounds who meet in downtown Burlington on the 2nd Sunday morning of every month to share our ideas, talents, quilting know-how and workmanship. We also have a lot of fun at meetings punctuated by laughter. Although the Vermont Modern Quilt Guild is barely a year old, we continue to welcome new members on a monthly basis.

We began the process of entering our very first MQG Charity Quilt Challenge in July, first by selecting our local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to be the recipient of our quilt. Next we considered the challenge theme, “Improv With Intent.” Have you ever seen the Make-A-Wish Foundation logo? A consensus was quickly reached to use improvised star blocks set in black backgrounds as our theme, no holds barred.

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At our September meeting, fabric swatches were brought in by Rachael Arnold to provide color guidance for our individual block construction. Janet Jaffe gave a demo of an improvised star, based on the Gwen Marston’s technique for variable stars in her book, “Liberated Quiltmaking.”

By Thanksgiving weekend, when we gathered as a group to decide on the layout and assembly mechanics, we had collected 50 stars and the feverish piecing ensued! Thirty-six stars ended up on the front and the remaining fourteen were pieced into the back, effectively making it a reversible quilt!

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At our holiday meeting/pot luck brunch/Yankee gift swap in early December, the quilt top and back were revealed. Guild member, Marty DelNevo volunteered to do the quilting on her long-arm. The binding was attached by Anya Byam.

In all, 13 members contributed in some way to this effort. The process of working together served as a bonding experience for the diverse membership of a guild in its infancy, uniting us in a common cause to serve our community through the sharing of our unique talents. Thanks for the opportunity, MQG!

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: 35 Sisters by the Pittsburgh MQG

By Amanda Hancock, President

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When the color scheme and challenge theme (Improv With Intent) was announced for the 2016 QuiltCon Charity Challenge, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to represent our fair city! Pittsburgh is well known for the beautiful golden steel bridges that surround the downtown skyline. Three of the most iconic of these bridges are affectionately termed “The Three Sisters.”

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For this challenge we expanded an image of one of these sisters to quilt size (70″ x 90″) and then deconstructed it into 24 manageably sized blocks. Guild members were then given these block images along with packets of fabric that were no bigger than fat eighths (and were in fact mostly small strips) and instructions to improv piece their block using the image portion as a reference point. In the end the blocks were put back together to reconstruct the bridge in its entirety. The final effect is a cool, impressionistic image of the bridge which is at once cohesive and also expressive of the individuals who contributed to the effort.

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We were lucky in this endeavor to have had Sherri Lynn Wood visit us while we were working on this project to lead a workshop on improv piecing. Many of the members have expressed their gratitude for this opportunity, and we all agreed that the concepts and skills learned during the workshop were instrumental to our success with the challenge.

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Initially, many of us felt nervous and apprehensive about the project. How would it turn out? Would it look crazy? What if my block doesn’t look like her block? What if the lines don’t match up! How do I even do that curve?! However! Many agreed in the end that it was a very freeing experience to shake off all the rules, lay the apprehensions aside, and just make. Many are even asking when we can do this again! Overall, the experience really brought us together as a guild. We are, as of this blog post, a guild that is 34 women strong. We named this piece “35 Sisters” as a nod to both the bridge itself and the hands that constructed this version of it.

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As of yet, we have not identified a charity to donate this quilt to. We would like to donate it to an organization that can perhaps auction if off to raise proceeds to maximize its potential impact for the greater good.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge: Flame of Inspiration by the Seattle MQG

by Amber Arnold, Member

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The Seattle Modern Quilt Guild saw the 2016 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge as an opportunity to involve many members of our guild, respecting the diversity of their individual styles, while striving toward the stated theme of the challenge. We decided to start from the traditional lone star quilt and add a modern interpretation, following the stated guidelines of improv with intent.

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Members of the guild were asked to create individual diamonds using a main color and two accents in an improv style. The produced diamonds were unique and a great representation of the variety of quilting styles we see in our guild members. We organized sew-in events to work together assembling the quilt and derive inspiration from each other.

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Our quilter, Megan Riley, quilted to bring the disparate diamonds produced by our members together, including words in the quilting that followed the burst of the star, starting with the flame of “ideas,” working with “shapes,” inspiring the “makers”, and ending with “art.”

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As the committee chair for this project, my favorite part of the whole process was seeing the diverse work of our members unified in a single quilt in such a beautiful fashion.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Milky Way the Modern Way” by the Portland MQG Hillsboro Carpool Group

by AnnMarie Cowley, member

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The Hillsboro carpool gals (eight of us from Portland MQG and one deserter now with San Antonio MQG) agreed to do this challenge, and once we decided to make improv stars, off we went. One of us purchased Kona solids per the predetermined color palette. Each of us could add any solid or print that matched the chosen colors and made three stars each finishing at 3.5″, 6.5″ and 9.5″. PMQG has Sew Days at Fabric Depot, so we met two consecutive months with a plan in mind, then one last time at a member’s home. One member made the back from scraps, another quilted it, and then another bound and applied the sleeve.

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Probably the thing we learned in this challenge was about each other. Our carpool ride is usually 1.75 hours getting to the meetings, and an hour back, but we spent a lot more time together on this quilt. It was great having one member not sewing and moving the blocks around and giving direction. Occasionally, we would all break and get a consensus.

For me, I love the name of the quilt and that we met the deadline and will get to show it off at PMQG next Thursday. Important to all of us was to use fabric from fellow PMQG members: Elizabeth Hartman, Mo Bedel, Violet Craft and Monica Solorio-Snow.

Call for Submissions: QuiltCon 2018 Faculty

The schedule and lineup for QuiltCon 2017 is full, but applications are now open for QuiltCon 2018! We’re now accepting proposals for 3-hour, 6-hour and 9-hour workshops as well as 45-minute lectures on a variety of topics.

Want to stay up to date with future calls? Email riane@themodernquiltguild.com to be added to our designer email list so you never miss a call for submissions again.

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Call for Submissions: QuiltCon Magazine 2017

QuiltCon MagazineQuiltCon_2016_Front_Cover_1024x1024 is a special publication brought to you by the editors of Modern Patchwork in close association with the Modern Quilt Guild. The magazine celebrates the modern quilt aesthetic and features articles about QuiltCon, behind-the-scenes interviews, tips for modern design, and other distinctive content.

QuiltCon Magazine will also include quilt patterns from MQG members and leading modern designers, galleries of beautiful quilts from the 2017 show, interviews, tutorials, and more.

We encourage all submissions; however, we are specifically looking for:

  • Modern quilts: Approximately a dozen quilt designs will be patterned in this publication and exhibited at QuiltCon. Submission guidelines are noted below.
  • Articles on topics such as:
    • Savannah’s vibrant sewing community
    • Making the most of your QuiltCon experience
    • Quilting techniques and tips

We will accept submissions for QuiltCon Magazine through Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

How to Submit:

  • Quilts: Send up to three low-resolution images of the completed quilt or a computerized mock-up (with fabric choices, quilting plan, and brief description of the project)—please include final quilt dimensions. Quilts must be original designs and available for shipping. (Note: Any quilt that is selected for the magazine is automatically accepted into QuiltCon!)
  • Articles: Send a brief description of the article you propose for publication, along with sample low-resolution images, if appropriate.
  • Quilt, project, or article proposals should be sent to submissions@quiltingarts.com with “QuiltCon” in the subject line. Attach up to three low-resolution photos per email.
  • One project or article per email.
  • Include your full name, address, phone number, website or blog, and credentials.
  • Quilts accepted for publication will be exhibited at QuiltCon. Quilt makers will be able to enter the quilt for judging and prizes at the $30 entry fee or no fee for quilts entered “For Exhibit Only.” For complete rules, visit quiltconentry.com.
  • For questions, contact info@quiltingarts.com.
  • See more information at quiltingdaily.com/submissionguidelines.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The MQG Staff and the Modern Patchwork editorial team

The QuiltCon 2017 blog button is here!

Going to QuiltCon? Grab a blog button! Just copy and paste the code below and add it to your blog. You can also grab this and share on social media if you’re so inclined. Don’t forget to use #quiltcon — the official hashtag for all QuiltCon events.

“I’m Going to QuiltCon!

Copy/Paste this text:

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QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Beach Blanket Improv by the South Florida MQG

By Allison Schnackenberg, President

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South Florida MQG is a newly formalized guild — we took the leap and joined the MQG midway through 2015. Prior to that we were an informal group meeting once a month in our local quilt shop, the wonderful Stitchcraft of Boca Raton. Most of our members are new to modern quilting, coming either from a traditional quilting background, or being entirely new to quilting. Our very first workshop was an improv round robin, and it was a joy to see the gusto with which everyone abandoned their rulers and threw themselves into improv! So we were pretty excited about the idea of a group improv with intent for this challenge.

SFMQG covers a large land mass — a part of Florida that stretches from Palm City to Miami! Due to our members being so spread out, it can be a challenge to organize time to work together as a group on a sewing project. For this reason, we decided to work on individual pieces of the quilt. Many of us have been profoundly influenced by Sherri Lynn Wood’s wonderful Improv Handbook, and following her lead, we identified the steps we wanted to follow for this project.

Curating our fabrics

In fact, the first step was done for us by the MQG — the colors, which were part of the challenge framework. 

Find inspiration
These colors really spoke to us: a Florida sunset! We have glorious, dramatic sunsets in this part of the world – the blue skies melding into the golden and crimson sun on the dark horizon over the sea. The colors were a gift for us! 

Set limits
We then limited ourselves to five colors, and we restricted our patchwork size by limiting the amount of fabric available to each participant (a fat eighth of each color).

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Defining our process
An important part of the process for us was to make it easy for everyone to participate. For many of our members, working on this quilt would be their very first hands-on attempt at improv. I gave a presentation at a meeting which was aimed at removing some of the fear and loosening up the death-grips on those rulers. I then devised a step-by-step process for the patchwork which I hoped would make everyone comfortable. The instructions were specific enough to give the terrified a guide rope, but loose enough to allow the more confident to base jump right into the wild blue yonder. I deliberately did not include any photographs with the instructions, or post any tutorial photos, because I wanted imagination to take flight. We simply used that inspirational sunset as our guide, and used our scissors to create shapes to build our patchwork.

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I can not tell you how dumbfounded I was at our November meeting, as block after beautiful block turned up on the design board. A glorious wall full of colorful, abstract, improvised sunsets! As a guild, we knocked it out of the park.

For our December meeting, we spent the entire afternoon sewing. We are lucky to have Tonya Ricucci, the Unruly Quilter and a master of improvisational piecing, in our guild. Tonya led the group in charge of devising a layout. They simply starting putting pieces together like a puzzle, fitting one patchwork section to another and building our quilt top. Another group improv-pieced a back for the quilt from the leftover fabric used for the top. A third group cut and prepared binding. We had two members pressing everything as we went. We pieced the top and back together that afternoon. Our talented member Patti Auten did the free motion quilting in the following weeks. Charlotte Noll and Kerrilyn O’Rourke lent their talents to sew the binding and sleeve.

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It fills my heart with joy to see a such a new guild come together and complete this project. So much fearless creativity was harnessed and devoted to the completion of our quilt. I hope that the visitors to QuiltCon enjoyed our work as much as we have enjoyed seeing the beautiful creations made by other modern guilds. There is something truly special about feeling part of a project that so many people around the globe have also been a part of. Thanks to the MQG for making this wonderful project possible!

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Styx” by the Tasmanian MQG

By Katherine Jones, Secretary

Blog_post_photo_4In taking on the charity quilt challenge, the Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild wanted to create a quilt that would reflect a visual aspect of life in Tasmania. Our secretary, Kat Jones, proposed the chosen concept based on the rear view of a logging truck, a familiar sight on Tasmanian Roads. Kat also volunteered to project manage the quilt construction.

A Sunday sew-in was held and participating members were issued with a fabric pack to complete their “log.” Solids were preferred for the quilt, and the entire supplied colour palette (excluding white) was adopted whilst black was chosen for the background.

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We wanted this project to be a learning experience as well as a project to include all members. They learnt how to make bias binding and machine appliqué it into place. Each person created 3 quarters of a circle, each with a number of rings to represent the log growth rings. They then improvised by slicing the quarter pieces into wedges and added alternate wedges of black background in order to form a full “log.” To complete the block an oval of black was appliqued in the centre.

We thought improv was perfect for this project as the quilt concept is more effective if each and every block was unique, as no two “logs” are ever the same. Everyone had a fun day making the improv blocks and learning some new techniques along the way.

The next challenge was working out how to piece them together; a jigsaw puzzle magnificently solved by the hand piecing talent of Shirley Jeffery (Member) and Kat Jones. Each and every block or partially completed block was included in the quilt layout.

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The quilt was then basted and handed over to the talented Jess Frost (Communications Officer) for machine quilting.

Once Jess had completed the quilting it was handed back to Kat Jones to add highlights of hand quilting using perle cotton and to attach the binding.

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To complete the concept a label was made by Jo Chandler (Treasurer) and Kat Jones to represent a number plate using bias binding and hand embroidery that you would see if following a log truck on our Tasmanian roads.

TMQG members were asked to suggest names for the quilt and the name “Styx” was settled upon as it references the old growth forest conservation area of the Styx Valley and Styx River in south west Tasmania.   Our president Helen Stubbings organized for our quilt to be auctioned at annual ball of Colony 47, a local Tasmanian charity,  to raise funds to support their work in providing housing to over 15000 children, young people and families every year.  Thanks to all our members who participated in making this wonderful unique quilt.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Sew Pieceful Together in the Desert” by the Phoenix MQG

By Bonnie Bobman, Quiltcon Charity Quilt Project Manager

After reviewing the MQG prompts and video, the PHXmqg discussed what “Improv with Intent” means to us. We talked about the challenge that improvisational quilting brings to many sewing tables. We found that only one of our members truly worked with an improvisational direction in her quilting. More importantly was that many of the members were eager to learn but never knew how to approach this fantastic method! 

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Our intent for the Quiltcon charity quilt journey was to take this wonderful opportunity to learn together and join our many varied backgrounds and improvising our way to become one solid, cohesive group.

One member led a workshop on improv quilting as well as provided a home video where we could see the process and revisit the clip any time. The most important part of the process was to let go, have fun and, of course, have no rules! We tried to be concerned with only the moment and not so much the outcome. It’s easier to reign yourself back in but it is so much harder to break down the structure on our conventional quilt piecing.

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During our workshop, everyone was instructed to bring only rotary cutters and self-healing mats. Making that first random cut without a ruler was probably the most challenging step for those new to improv piecing. But once the first unmeasured cut was complete, the next came easier, and those that followed were even better! We experimented with curves, slicing, dicing and using tiny bits to create larger pieced segments. You could see the relieved, surprised and excited expressions of accomplishment all around the room!

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We had collected close to fifteen miscellaneous sized blocks. The project manager had permission to put them together and fill in the gaps to create one focus “fabric” for the quilt top. In the true improv method, the final design came from playing with the fabric until it reflected the group’s direction — togetherness.

Once the top and back was complete, the quilting was balanced and simple. The quilt went to another member for binding where she had full reign to do what she liked. Finishing touches of the sleeve and label were done by our final member. 

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We strive to have a learning environment within our guild; sharing our boundless talents and insights from all of our members. This group challenge was just one of many creative projects we have here in our Arizona guild. Our intent was to reach a very important, intangible and supremely crucial goal for our guild: to create a sense of cohesiveness within a chapter that is blessed with wonderful members from so many places — Alaska to Mexico, Connecticut to California. We are indeed a living form of a “quilt in the desert”!

More pictures on phoenixmodernquiltguild.com.