100 Days – Week of Participation – Tips to Running a Successful Quilt Along

Thanks to the MQG for asking me to come over and host today’s post on participation. I’m Katy and I blog over at Monkey Do and also Fat Quarterly.

Ok, so I really enjoy quilt alongs. They’re a great way to get involved with a group of like minded people and to share hints, and help on making a quilt.

When I first bought the Swoon quilt pattern I knew I would need a kick in the butt to get going, and there is no better way than a quilt along. I had hoped there would be 10 or 20 people join in with me – but the group just exploded, it was crazy! I guess a lot of people were needing that butt kick like me!

There are currently over 900 members in the flickr group, some of the members are still making the swoon quilt, and others have moved on to 2 different Thimbleblossoms quilt patterns (on a whim and hopscotch).

swoon along group progress

For me there are a few golden rules in hosting a quilt along and although they might seem obvious, it’s easy to forget them.

Make the quilt.
I know that seems ridiculous but it needs saying. If you don’t make it, how can you impart any wisdom or advice?

Be involved.
Comment on the pictures in your flickr group, take part in the group discussions. Check your group daily. At least once. We’re all busy people, but finish what you started with the same gusto as when you started it.

Be gracious.
The people that are quilting along with you don’t have to do it, so be gracious to them and make them feel welcome. I’ll say it again – comment on their photos, answer their questions (this is really key in my opinion).

Be friendly.
You’re not running a corporate team build session, you’re hosting a quilt along. Don’t be too straitlaced and professional about it, chill out, relax a little, share your mistakes (and if you say you don’t make them – you’re either lying or not human!), have a laugh (especially at yourself).

swoon top - done!

And that’s about it. I guess you only get out what you put in (now I sound like my mother!) whether you are the host of the quilt along or one of the members of the group. If you haven’t joined in with a quilt along before then give it a go – they can be wonderful experiences and a fantastic way to make something that you might have found tricky without a helping hand.

aunt edna swoon quilt front

You can join in with the swooning on a hop along (catchy name, huh?!) at our flickr group – there is no start or stop date, it’s jump in whenever and go at your own pace. We’d love to have you!

100 Days – Week of Participation – Featured Quilt 7

The final featured quilt of Week of Participation is the Math Facts Quilt by Amanda Jean Nyberg of the well known blog Crazy Mom Quilts.  Her quilt was part of the Tangerine Tango challenge.


What do you enjoy most about quilt challenges?

I had the quilt started before I knew about the Tangerine Tango challenge. When I read about the challenge, I was thrilled because I could use one of my WIP’s to enter. That gave me the push and the motivation to get it done by the deadline. Having the focus to do so was just the ticket! Who knows how long it could have taken me otherwise. That, for me, is one of the best parts of participating in a challenge. I work well with a deadline.


What do you think makes this quilt modern?

Well, first off, I’d say the simple clean lines of the pattern. The bold color. The simple straightline quilting.


Tell us more about yourself as a quilter.

I am passionate about quilting, and more specifically, using my scraps. Using up every last bit of my fabric has become one of the trademarks of my work and it’s something that I find extremely satisfying. I love playing with color and fabric. I’m so thankful that I get to do something that I love to do every single day.

I’m thrilled that I teamed up with Cheryl to write our very first book, Sunday Morning Quilts: Sort, Store and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics. It includes 16 Modern Quilt scrap projects. Published by Stash books and just newly released at the beginning of March.

100 Days – Week of Participation – Quilt Along Round Up

Rather than a tutorial round up, this week we’re providing a round up of Quilt Alongs that haven’t already been featured this week.  Maybe you’d like to join up and get quilting along!

Farmer's Daughter blocks made by Amanda of Hey Porkchop!

Farmer’s Daughter Quilt Along

Value Quilts & Quilt Along

Bloggers Block-a-palooza Quilt Along

Patchwork Squared Modern Solids Quilt Along

Granny Squares made by Amber of One Shabby Chick

I Love Granny Squares Quilt Along

Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along

Quilt As You Go Quilt Along

Billboard Quilt Along

Sew Out Loud Quilter's Wordplay block made by Amy of Badskirt

Sew Outloud Quilter’s Wordplay Quilt Along

There are so many more Quilt Alongs out there than we’ve listed here, but this should certainly get you started! Enjoy!

100 Days – Week of Participation – Featured Quilt 6

Sometimes it’s not just a specific quilt that inspires a quilt along, but an entire book!  Today we are featuring Sarah Minshall’s Love Beads quilt, a pattern from Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr’s book, Modern Quilt Workshop.  The love of the book inspired the Modern Quilt Along which started all the way back in 2005!

Sarah answered a few questions for us.

What do you like most about a quilt along?
This was actually the only time that I’ve actually participated in a quilt-along (for the book the Modern Quilt Workshop by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle) and I was a pretty lousy participant at that.  This quilt ended up taking me three years to finish!  But I love that they help get the inspiration ball rolling when you might be stuck in a rut.  There’s nothing better than a positive, helpful community to get you motivated to try something new!


What do you think makes this quilt modern?
I initially just loved the pattern and thought that I should use small prints on a solid background so that the pattern would really stand out.  In fact, when I started this quilt, there wasn’t a whole lot of “modern” fabrics yet to choose from, and a few of the fabrics even came from my own Granny’s fabric collection.

Tell us more about yourself as a quilter.
I’m a sporadic quilter these days.  I do so much other sewing now that I really only work on a few quilts a year.  Only last year did I start machine quilting my quilts–I’ve been a hand quilter for so long that it really was a hard jump for me to make.  However, I still really love the process of finishing quilts by hand–it does take a long time to do, but the end result is like nothing else to me.

Sarah blogs at Hip to Piece Squares and you can see more of her quilts in her flickr stream.

100 Days – Week of Participation – Featured Quilt 5

Today we are featuring Ann Sands’ version of the Single Girl Quilt pattern by Denyse Schmidt that Ann was inpired to dive in and make because of the Single Girl Support Group.  Her great use of color with one blue ring, surrounded by many mostly orange rings, makes the quilt her own.

What do you enjoy the most about quilt alongs?
Single Girl was my first quilt along and I was thrilled to have found the opportunity. I had purchased the SG pattern and had it “in the wings” for a few years. It was a quilt I really wanted to make, but was a little intimidated to start… it had to be just right. Knowing that there would be assistance with the details of construction, smaller steps, soft deadlines (for the most part), and fellow quilters by my side gave me the boost I needed to hop aboard and just do it. I have been in an orange phase, and really wanted to use orange as I had yet to make a quilt using such an out-of-the-box color. I had been inspired online by a couple of orange and aqua quilts to add aqua to the mix too. I sketched three different color layouts in EQ and posted those pics to the SG Flickr Group and asked for everyone’s opinions.

I remember being so giddy seeing that not only had my fellow quilt-alongers responded, but most were leaning toward my favorite!!!  I also truly enjoyed being able to see everyone else’s color selections and was just in awe at the different combinations they were all coming up with.  The completed blocks and then quilts were inspiring and knowing that each one of us worked so hard together really gave me such a feeling of accomplishment.  The entire experience was so positive.

What do you think makes this quilt modern?
I think it is a combination of things that makes this quilt modern… first of all the pattern for sure. It’s a twist on the traditional Wedding Ring, but it’s not! The 31 wacky shapes that make up the circles and the circle blocks themselves are somewhat organic. The bright color combination surely isn’t traditional and lends to the modern feel of the quilt. Lastly the quilting is very non-traditional, and again… organic. My best friend is a long-arm quilter and did the quilting on this one for me. She spent a ton of time on it and I think she did a FANTASTIC job… I love circles! I think she really brought it all together with the quilting, it was exactly what I had imagined.

Tell us more about yourself as a quilter.
I am a 30-something wife and a mamma to 3 children 11, 9 and 6yrs. When I’m not taking care of them or working part time, I try to fit in as much fabric activity as possible.  My mom started quilting as a form of therapy after my sister passed away almost 11 years ago. I remember my uncertainty about quilting and how it was, in my opinion, “an old lady sport“… not to mention the puffy mauve and country blue cliché… No thanks. Little did I know! For my birthday a couple years later Mom presented me with a HUGE stack of 60-70 fat quarters of Aunt Grace 1930’s reproduction feedsack fabric. I was hooked once I realized there was so much more too it and that there were so many options to really make it your own. It didn’t take long for me to acquire all that I needed to put together my first quilt. Now, I’ve been quilting and making fabric items for over 8 years and it has become my passion. For the past two years I have become very interested and inspired by the modern quilt movement, and the blogs and online activity that accompanies it all.  I am constantly starting something new, and just can’t get enough. I love it all!

I am very new to blogging at Celia Blue and I’m lightly on Flickr as CeliaBlueQuilts.

100 Days – Week of Participation – Featured Quilt 4

Today’s featured quilt is by Ashley Newcomb and was inspired by ComfortStitching’s Half Hex Quilt Along.  There were lots of quilt made through the quilt along and Ashley’s quilt is a great example of how someone can be inspired to put their own twist on a technique being taught.

What do you enjoy the most about quilt alongs?
It’s fun to be part of a group all making a similar quilt! Not only do you get to see the quilt made up in a number of different fabric pairings, but it’s fun to see the different ways the pattern can be interpreted. I think there’s a great sense of energy and excitement around a quilt along, and often it provides the motivation I need to start that quilt I’ve been wanting to make!

What do you think makes this quilt modern?
I love the look of a traditional hexagon quilt, but in this case I wanted to shake things up a bit by adjusting the layout to make it more modern. Using a large expanse of solid white, limiting the number of hexagons, and ‘sprinkling’ those hexagons in the lower half of the quilt gives this one a modern feel. It also works to really show off the fun hexagon shape and at the same time to showcase some favorite fabrics.

Tell us more about yourself as a quilter.

I didn’t start out as a quilter — more as a fabric admirer and hoarder! In looking online to figure out what to make out of all the gorgeous fabrics available, I came across several beautiful modern quilts and almost immediately knew this was something I wanted to do. I have been quilting for several years now and I think I love it just a little bit more each and every day! I enjoy every part of the quilting process (well, maybe not basting!), but I think I’d have to say my favorite parts are the beginning and ending stages — I really enjoy the stage before the quilt is even started, when I’m just pulling out and combining fabrics and considering design ideas, and then I just love hand sewing the binding, finishing that last stitch and admiring the quilt as a whole!

Ashley blogs at Film In The Fridge.

100 Days – Week of Participation – Featured Quilt 3

Today we have Steffani Burton’s version of the Tokyo Subway Map quilt that Elizabeth designed and hosted a quilt along for on her blog.

What do you enjoy the most about quilt alongs?
I enjoy the process of fitting a quilt into my ‘free sewing’ time, as most of what I sew are samples to hang in our shop (my mother and I). Its nice to sew something for myself, something that doesn’t live in the shop for months until I get to take it home. With quilt alongs I am able to fit personal sewing into my work sewing.

What do you think makes this quilt modern?
The clean lines made from bright, happy fabrics on a crisp white background. Its fun, and makes me smile. I just love it.

Tell us more about you as a quilter.
I grew up with quilting in my blood-my grandmother started one of the first quilt shops in 1970. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in Design, I’ve joined my mother in MN as the third generation of ‘women who sew’. I want to change the stigma that goes along with “quilt shop” and show the next generation that modern quilting/sewing is where its at! I am surrounded by beautiful modern fabrics all day at the shop and I love it. In my free time, I design, create and sew in my home studio. I thrive on creativity, inspiration and all things colorful.

You can see more of Steffani’s work on her blog and in her flickr stream.

100 Days – Week of Participation – Featured Quilt 2

Next up we have a quilt made by Kristen Takakuwa with the Mod Mood Quilt Along.  We featured one of the original quilts by Sherri Lynn Wood during Week of Improvisation.  Nicole’s twist on the design is beautiful.

Kristen answered a few questions for us.

What do you like most about Quilt Alongs?
I joined the Mod Mood quilt along at Daintytime.net  long after it was originally blogged. Even still, because quilt alongs build in sharing, show and tell, troubleshooting and camaraderie I had this wealth of resources and inspiration that I don’t normally get when I make a quilt in isolation. The quilt along also gave me the confidence to try something new that I would not normally tackle all on my own, with step-by-step instructions and real live proof of others’ successes. I have to admit, the curves in this quilt were quite intimidating!

What do you think makes this quilt modern?
To me, the quilt is modern because of it’s unique design. The clean lines and use of white space give it a modern appeal.

Tell us more about yourself as a quilter.
I learned to sew from my grandmother, at the age of 9. My first quilt, made 3 years ago, was for my daughter’s school auction and I’ve been hooked ever since. Quilting has been a process of discovery. I have found that I often don’t want to follow patterns – or start them and then don’t want to finish them. On the flip side, I love the process of improvisational quilting (a big surprise for me). Hand work will often find it’s way into my quilts, whether it is a whipstitch finish on the binding, embroidered labels, sashiko or other quilting by hand.

Kristen is a proud member of The East Bay Modern Quilt Guild and you can see more of her work in her flickr stream.

100 Days – Week of Participation – Featured Quilt 1

The first quilt featured this week is by Nicole Bontemps and this is the quilt she made for the LAMQG’s Habitat Challenge.


Nicole was nice enough to answer a couple of questions for us.

What do you like best about a quilt challenge?
It’s fun to know that a whole group of us are working on a common project –  I was really looking forward to seeing what everyone else did. We were given the Habitat fabric, which I’d wanted to buy anyway, so I was thrilled!  What’s not to love about that? Challenges are an opportunity to work on a project you might not otherwise have taken on.

What do you think makes this quilt modern?
First of all the fabric. Jay McCarroll’s Habitat line is the most innovative quilting fabric I have ever seen. Traditional patterns done using it become modern. I actually got my inspiration for the front design from the pixilated flower print. Then, I decided to replicate the random angled lines from other prints in my quilting. I think the palette of solids I chose to pair Habitat with are also modern. Finally, I think it’s the freedom of expression. Approaching quilting more like collage or painting.  Not being restricted by rules and patterns. I thought about Gees Bend and abstract painting as I worked on this piece.

Tell us more about yourself as a quilter.
I am relatively new to quilting. The quilts of Gees Bend sparked my interest in quilting some years ago.  Before that, the idea of quilting was not appealing to me. I didn’t get started quilting until 2009, though, shortly after my second daughter was born. A group of us quilt curious mom’s started meeting together to try it out. We’d pick a square, work on it independently and meet again over wine and share. Eventually, I had a sampler. It was through that tiny group that I first heard of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild, which was brand new at the time. Last year I joined the Bee Happy Bee, which has been a fantastic experience! Like the guild challenges, it fosters a creative community and pushes me to experiment. I really love improv quilting and I’m so happy that I finally dove in and did it.  I’m not blogging, but I can be found on flickr .

100 Days – Week of Participation – Introduction

This online modern quilting community that we’re all a part of has so much to offer!  Last week we talked all about Virtual Quilting Bees and this week, we’ll learn about other ways to join in!   Swaps, challenges, and quilt alongs are all out there, waiting for you to participate in them and have some fun.

Like to stretch yourself but don’t always have new ideas on how to do that?  Join in challenges that people create.  Last year The MQG organized Project Modern and had four structured challenges that modern quilters were able to take part in.  The results were beautiful!  Here’s an example of a quilt that was one of the winners of Challenge 4, The Find Your Own Voice Challenge.

"Two Headed Boy" by Andrew Montejo - composite photo of front and back of quilt

Or maybe you love getting something special in the mail?  There are so many swaps to take part in.  People are busy sewing each other up wonderful gifts all over the world.  The Doll Quilt Swap is just one example of a reoccurring and successful swap.

Or maybe you don’t enjoy deadlines, but you want to feel a sense of camaraderie with your sewing.  A quilt along is just for you!  You can join in whenever you want.  All you have to do is make a specific quilt, along with other people!  Flickr groups create conversation and community while everyone works away at their version of a pattern.

There was a point in time when every Modern Quilt Guild probably saw a version of Elizabeth’s Mod Sampler at their show and tells.  There were so many beautiful versions of it made!

So we hope that this week’s featured quilts inspire you to jump in and participate in all there is out there in this active online modern quilting community!