QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “The James: Not to Scale” by the Central Virginia MQG

by Wanda Dotson, President


Our 2017 QuiltCon Charity Challenge quilt is a reflection of where each member lives and our connection to the James River which runs along much of Central Virginia to the coast. We explored the theme of Scale by looking at the geography of our region from an aerial view. While sewing the blocks together, we laughed that “It was not to Scale.”
In April we gauged interest on participating in the Challenge. Since we were a new guild, there was apprehension and uncertainty about the process. In May we shared the theme and color palette. Many members did not like the color palette but we were excited to see what we could create with them. At our June meeting, we brainstormed which led to an idea of using an aerial view of the James River as inspiration. We agreed we wanted the quilt to represent Central Virginia and each of our members. Thereafter we had discussions on the Community page of the MQG. Reaching a consensus was difficult but it appeared members wanted to stick with the James River idea.

Before our August meeting, two members, Ann Prince and Wanda Dotson, mapped out a 4 by 5 grid with a “river” running through it with the idea that the entire quilt would be inprov. They shared their paper grid at the September meeting. It was met with confusion and general concern for making an improv river. It was obvious the vision for the quilt was not clear to members. At that meeting one of our members, Truda Lee, had demonstrated the Scrappy Bits Appliqué technique from Shannon Brinkley’s book. Members suggested we use that technique to make the river. Members also suggested we each make an improv block representing an aerial view of where each of us lived along the James River. Our members showed their willingness to compromise and their ingenuity to make this happen.
In October our members turned in their blocks and on October 30, 2016, we had a Sew Day to assemble the improv blocks and to add the river to the completed geography. Melanie Leckey then quilted it and Ana Conceicao added the binding.
We learned that more instruction on what we expected and more communication at the onset would have helped the process run more smoothly.
We enjoyed seeing where each member lives and how creative our members are. We learned we can take colors we do not like at first and produce an amazing result. We saw Scale in a new way. In the end, we were happy with the result and were excited to share our work at QuiltCon East.

We plan to vote on a charity for our quilt at our March meeting. Picking a charity will be a challenge for us. We have a variety of organizations we want to support and it will be difficult to choose what group will receive our quilt, The James: Not to Scale.


Instagram @cvamqg

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Our Ohio” by the Central Ohio MQG

by Nadia Barksdale and Betsy Truex-Powell


This was our guild’s first year as a chapter of the MQG, and we were so excited to tackle this challenge as our very first group quilt! We took a deep breath and jumped right in by collectively reviewing the theme, handing out color chips, and dreaming up designs. Everyone brought their designs to the group and we voted from a total of six designs. Though it was hard to pick a favorite, we chose a design that we thought best spoke to our modern style and to our chapter as well. Here in Columbus, you’ll find the outline of the state of Ohio everywhere–from t-shirts, to posters, to handmade jewelry–and we couldn’t resist making a modern and iconic statement with our charity challenge. USE6

Everything from the design choice, to the fabric pulling, to the assembly and quilting was 100% collaborative. It was so inspiring to see everyone come together to work on the design. One particularly talented member – an architect by trade – drafted up the design in AutoCAD and produced the Quilt Math for us to be able to turn the vision into a reality. We divvied up blocks, brought our stashes together, and pieced blocks both together and on our own. We held a few weekend events to really work together as a group. We assembled and pressed the whole top in one sew-in at a local library and got together for a weekend at one of our members’ homes to do the long-arming.

The coolest part of the whole process was that everyone was so willing to pitch in and help! In our first year, we realized how many different strengths we have as individuals. It was incredible to see us put those strengths together, and even leave our comfort zones a little, to get the job done. Some members were petrified at the thought of long-arming (both because of the probability of mistakes, and the likelihood of falling in love and “needing” a long-arm in our own homes), and some were not as block-savvy as others. Still, we made it happen, and we were thrilled to reveal the whole thing at our celebratory December guild meeting.

Our first charitable giving project was geared toward the Nationwide Children’s Hospital here in Columbus, Ohio. Together, we collected quilts and packaged hygiene products in quilted zippy pouches for dozens of children and their families. We are choosing to donate this quilt to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, as well.Pic3

Follow @centralohiomqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Colorado Cadence” by the Boulder MQG

by Ann Deister, Social Media Director


2017 marks the third year the BoulderMQG has made a QuiltCon charity quilt. Making charity quilts has always been a large part of our mission. We have donated over 50 quilts in the past three years. For a small guild, averaging around 24 members, I think that’s pretty amazing!

This was our process for creating Colorado Cadence.

When the color palette and theme were announced, we talked about possible ways to depict the idea of scale and agreed upon the colors we wanted to work with. We also chose to use mostly prints. Using the prints allowed us to use scale at the micro level within the design giving the quilt greater variety and depth.


As chairperson, I developed a few ideas for review. Our President, Cynthia, suggested this mosaic by Roberto Burle-Marx, a Brazilian landscape designer as a possible source of inspiration. 

At the review, everyone agreed the mosaic offered wonderful opportunities for exploring scale. The next step was to develop the design. Squares and circles, structured through the use of color blocking, was the basis of our concept. I started with super large areas of color to create a vast sense of scale. These areas were broken down into 12” blocks using the square and circle design elements. More and more details were added providing texture and variety. With each progressive refinement more movement and rhythm was introduced.

Packets of fabric were pulled together that included a small amount of a solid plus some prints based on color. Members signed up for 2 or more blocks and supplemented with fabrics from their stash which added more variety. Block assignments were flexible so quilters could add their own twist. The main criteria was to stick with the color scheme and square/circle elements. This worked well for our group. Some made blocks exactly as the diagram showed and others added something. BoulderMQG_detail_of_quilting

Members worked at home and during our monthly sew days and, as the blocks came in, I put them up on my design wall to keep tabs on our progress.

During our October sew, many people pitched in sewing the blocks together so by the end of the day we had a finished top and a nearly finished backing. Cynthia, then took everything home. She completed the backing and worked her fabulous free-motion magic, quilting a variety of different motifs in the various sections of the quilt. We are so lucky to have her talent in the guild. By early January it was ready for the finishing touches. Binding. Label. Sleeve.

Most of our guild participated and I want to thank everyone for giving their time and talents to our effort. I am so proud of you and our quilt.

Having Colorado Cadence hanging in Savannah with the other charity quilts will be very exciting. Seeing so many quilts, all sharing the same theme and colors, hanging together in one place is simply AMAZING!  And all for charity. Quilters truly are generous people. BoulderMQG_design_development

The Boulder Modern Quilt Guild is based in Boulder County Colorado. If you live in the area or even if you’re visiting, we’d love to have you join us. Learn more about us by visiting our Facebook page or our website. Follow us on Instagram too @bouldermqg. #bouldermqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: by the Austin MQG

by Dawn Golstab and Amanda Hohnstreiter, Team Leaders


Over the past few years, we have focused more on improv for the QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge. Improv has become more and more popular this year, we have seen it more in the social media realm but also in projects that our members have been bringing to our monthly meetings for show and tell.
Around the time that the challenge was announced, Chawne Kimber visited Austin and taught a small scale piecing workshop. It was exciting and fresh and it was one of the catalysts for our design.
After all this focus on improv, we wanted to swing the other direction with the challenge. In an effort to test and build our skills for the precise, a design was created using small scale 3 inch finished churn dash blocks to create a larger scale churn dash. While the need for 720 mini churn dashes seemed daunting at first, our guild embraced the challenge and pressed on full speed ahead!

Building community and creating a supportive environment became so important on this project. One of the biggest blessing we saw were people honing their skills during piecing, but showing up even to iron, or cut fabric, anything to help out the team. Most sewing on this project was done in these group meet ups, which made the process all the more enjoyable. Everyone had a hand in the larger layout, fabric combinations, placement of individual blocks and more.
What’s most impressive is how well each person did with their precision piecing on this project. The idea of having a group of people sewing up 720 blocks individually and having them actually align and match up without much work seems impossible. However, each of those tiny pieces fit together like a glove. We couldn’t be more proud of the work from our guild members!

Instagram @austinmqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Tangle of Triangles” by the Bloomington-Normal (Illinois) MQG

by Donna Lee, Vice President


Featured on front are equilateral triangles of low-volume prints with the given palette shining like gems in the centers. A huge “log cabin triangle” is on back.

backWhat an adventure this was! The Bloomington-Normal (Illinois) Modern Quilt Guild members were very excited to start creating this quilt!! Ideas & texts were flying like crazy! With over 50 members in the 4 year-old guild, there was no problem getting volunteers to be on the Design Team! Equilateral triangles were chosen to provide a diverse platform for demonstrating scale. Low volume prints were added for the triangles allowing the given palette to glimmer like gems in the center of some triangles! Those bits of intense color would be sprinkled all over the quilt.

Was the finished product drafted on graph paper? Were kits assembled to pass out to members? Oh, no. We just jumped on the Design-As-You-Go Bus and took off!
Members enthusiastically attended sewing days and produced stacks of triangles! This soon revealed that low volume triangles resulted in a nondescript quilt! Eeek! Back to the design wall to add larger triangles and greater areas of color!! Lessons in color value were emerging! How big could a triangle be? Well, we would soon find out! Areas of threesomes were intentionally created to morph into larger triangles. Aah, now it was taking shape!
While attending a guild retreat, members swooped in to complete piecing the top. Triangle templates were constructed as larger triangular areas were defined. (It did have to fit together eventually, right?) If a little diversity was needed in some areas, the “other side” of the low volume fabric was used! No more worrying about right side and wrong side! Donna Lee, Vice-President and Project Manager, constructed a gigantic triangle for the quilt back that incorporated lots of teal along with low-volume prints.

Next step: custom quilting. Can a quilt be loaded diagonally on a longarm? Whaat?? Betty Woodruff, famous local longarmer, figured out how! (Not sure she’d do it again, though!) Notice how the quilting emphasizes the triangles…well, of course it does! President Kathy Cook carried out the binding task.
Many members would probably agree that a favorite part of the challenge was exploring design options with like-minded guild members. Deciding color influence and puzzling over fabric possibilities are always fun tasks to undertake!

Instagram @BNMQG


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Star in Your Future” by the Asheville MQG

by Connie Brown, Charity Quilt Coordinator


In July 2016, the Asheville Modern Quilt Guild held a brainstorming meeting to share ideas for our 2017 QuiltCon Charity Quilt. Our vice-president was the project manager. She ordered the fabrics we were to use and the book “Patchwork City” by Elizabeth Hartman. The theme had been selected, “playing with scale”, as well as color choices and the idea to incorporate stars. Our first sew-in was held in Sept 2016 where members made large units of improvisational piecing because there were no guidelines or plan for an overall design. In October, we were to have another sew-in, but that was soon canceled. Our guild was in turmoil. The president, vice-president, and secretary all resigned and urged the guild to dissolve. Several members felt we could accept their resignations and continue on as a guild for at least one more year. The remaining members gathered for our regular November meeting. We discussed being able to complete the charity quilt project. If only we had the fabrics and improvisational units that we had already made. We received those items from the former project manger on December 19, 2016. Time was now a huge factor. A design was sketched out. It used star patterns found in “Patchwork City”. Stars in 4 sizes would be off-set and float on the improv background. Kits were put together so members could take a few home, sew them together and turn them in. We scheduled a sew-in day but snow caused us to postpone to the next day. On Tuesday January 10, 2017 we lugged sewing machines and supplies through 6 inches of snow to work on our charity quilt. Thank you to the Southern Highland Craft Guild staff and the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC for allowing us to use a meeting room. During the sew-in, a few spinners were meeting just next door. I invited them to see what we were working on. They were curious as to what is a “modern” quilt. This was a wonderful opportunity to educate other textile artists about modern quilts. We left our machines there overnight and the next day completed our “Stars in your future” quilt top.

A member has volunteered to longarm quilt it for us and another has volunteered to bind it. This guild has pushed through adversity to see this project through to the end. As I write this we have 2 weeks to quilt it, bind it, attach the sleeve and label and then ship it to QuiltCon. A big THANK YOU to all of the AMQG members who contributed to this project, including, Monica T, Moncia H., Avery, Christina, Jo, Tina, Erica, Diana, Paula, Pam, Sara, Rachel, Amy, Patty, and me, Connie. We did it!


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “White Noise” by Ann C. Malhotra & Catherine R. Herman

by Catherine R. Herman


With the quilt challenge theme SCALE, we immediately thought music! For decades, our family has enjoyed many musical genres! We scoured our Modern Quilting resources. Ann spotted Debbie Grifka’s WAVES quilt in Modern Patchwork Summer 2014 (an Interweave Publication) and we were hooked! We chose the KONA pallette because of the wonderful colors (white, silver, pink, citrus, yarrow, ultramarine, hyacinth, ocean) and sewing ease. With permission from Interweave Publication, we began our construction by making a paper mockup to establish quilt size, block size, and color placement. Rotary cutting, design board placement, and machine piecing ensued. We were so pleased with each wave addition! Grey was added in the backing selection and machine quilting. Pink quilting lines added panache! We continue our musical and quilting adventures during daylight and sleep to white noise – thus the title!


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Fibonacci+Scale+Fabric=One Quilt” by Albuquerque MQG

by Vicky Kemp Harms, ABQMQG QuiltCon Charity Quilt Chairman

This is the first time that Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild constructed a QuiltCon charity quilt. Like most guilds, volunteers are the backbone of every activity. Our approach was to include as many members as possible in the process, and we are very fortunate to have awesome volunteers.

The theme for the year, Scale lent itself to a math theme for this quilt. For Scale, we used multiples of three to construct blocks ranging from three inches to twenty-four inches square. We used the Fibonacci sequence to determine the number of each sized block to construct. The Fibonacci sequence starts with 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 where a number is found by adding up the two numbers before it. If you take the time to count the number of blocks of each size, you will see that there are twenty-one 3” blocks, only one each of 21” and 24” blocks, for a total of 54 blocks. All blocks follow a set color combination, except the 3” blocks which are many color combinations.

ABQMQG is fortunate to have a fantastic sponsoring quilt shop, Hipstitch which carries the entire Moda Grunge line of fabric for us to match the color theme set for this year’s quilt. Another amazing Albuquerque quilt shop, The Quilt Works provided us space to have work days to construct block kits and assemble the blocks into a quilt top.

Members of the Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild who made significant contributions to the construction of the quilt are Barbara Deshler who drafted out the double plus blocks in each size, including the paper piecing foundations for the 3” blocks which the ABQ Modern Mini group pieced during a sewing day, Tisha Cavanaugh who pieced the back which also follows the Fibonacci sequence and added her amazing quilting to bring this quilt to life, and Dana Brabson who bound the quilt and added the hanging sleeve. Many, many more members helped to make this quilt a reality. This truly was a group effort, with members gathering to determine color combinations for the various sized blocks followed by cutting fabric and assembling block kits with piecing instructions for guild members to construct. At a guild meeting, block kits were available for members to check out to take home, sew and bring back the following month. Some members took one, two, three or four home to sew and return. It’s a great way to include many members in the process. A group of members gathered once again to determine the layout of the blocks and transform them into a quilt top.

The favorite part of the QuiltCon Charity Quilt was being able to include so many members in making this quilt a reality, and we learned that our guild has many willing volunteers. The Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild has not yet selected a charity for this quilt. This will be determined later this Spring. While this is the first QuiltCon Charity Quilt for the Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild, it definitely will not be the last.

Instagram: @abqmqg


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!