QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Detroit Rising” by the Detroit Area MQG

by Lori Miller


The Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild is made up of members from across the entire Detroit Metro Area in Michigan. We were inspired to create a quilt that represented the growth, resurgence and positive momentum we are seeing in the city and metro area. This quilt also represents the diverse and talented population of individuals who are coming together to build that growth.

Donna Tarnas, Quiltcon Charity Quilt Chairperson, issued the call to our membership for assistance. Our member, Coleen Merte, an accomplished pattern designer, offered to help design the quilt. Coleen starts her design process with graph paper and pencil and then recreates the design on her computer.

The design inspiration was the beautiful Detroit Riverfront and downtown skyline including the historical Renaissance Center Building. The kaleidoscope colors represent the diversity of the people and the industry in Detroit. There is a newly energized industrial and artistic maker community thriving and redefining the city. It also represents our historic automotive and industrial legacy, rich musical scene, and the overall rebirth of spirit and infrastructure in Detroit.

The committee decided to put together kits of the different sections of the quilt so that all the members could have a chance to stitch a part of the quilt. Some members sewed at one of our Annual Retreats and others took a kit at a monthly meeting and returned their finished block for assembly. This approach helped keep the required color palette in check as well as made the piecing much simpler.

On a snowy day in December, members braved the weather to come together and assemble all of the blocks. The design began to take life with the Chevron Detroit River emerging, the downtown landscape, and even a few blocks of color highlighting the friendly rivalry between the University of Michigan and Michigan State.

The finished quilt was quilted using the street scape layout of Detroit as a pattern. Amy Lobsinger from Big City Quilting Company provided her long arm expertise. The Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild is proud to share this beautiful quilt from the Motor City. This quilt will be donated to a local charity.IMG_0301

Instagram @damqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Ripples” by the Denver Metro MQG

by Kari Vojtechovsky

20170118-P1180129_0120170118-P1180135The Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild has enjoyed participating as a group in previous MQG charity quilt challenges, so it was easy to keep that momentum going with this year’s challenge.

We used the opportunity of creating a collaborative quilt to suit the purposes of both the MQG charity quilt challenge and another upcoming show. Our guild has a unique opportunity coming up with a guild exclusive, juried show of original works at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum with the theme of How New is Modern? Our guild made a quilt that fits the criteria for both! (More details on the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum show can be found at http://www.denvermetromodernquiltguild.com/2017-show-details/)

One of the inspiration quilts for the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum show is a traditional Robbing Peter to Pay Paul design. This quilt was our conceptual launching point. From there, the quilt took a decidedly modern path. The concept also goes deeper than just the visual in Ripples. It speaks to the way individuals can magnify the impact of their work by joining together.

It was designed so that there are varying elements of scale creating interest and of course using the palette prescribed for the MQG challenge. From across the room, you see the bold overall design of concentric ripples. A little closer, you can see that the composition of the quilt is made up of deconstructed Robbing Peter to Pay Paul blocks. From arms length, the small details pieced into each block become apparent, from the improv curved piecing to inserted details to the rippled quilting.

The quilt was mapped out into individual blocks that were assigned to a member of our guild to piece. Directions included only the fabrics in the needed colors, finished block size and a visual of what is needed as a rough guide. Each of us was asked to take the general idea but to get creative with it and make it our own. No coordination of how or what shape to piece the curves was provided so that there was naturally variation in how each block turned out.

The result is a visually dynamic quilt that was interesting for each maker to create. Once the quilt was pieced together, the design remained cohesive because of the master plan but has a wonderful improv quality with the signature of many makers. The complementary quilting finishes the quilt. The quilting motif echoes the rippling circles of the piecing but at a smaller scale and texturally adds another element of interest to the quilt.

A favorite part of the quilt is seeing how the work of so many individuals comes together to create a work of beauty and function. It is a special quilt that could not have ended up with the interest and personality it has with a single maker. Although we have not chosen the charity that will receive this quilt, we all hope it will bless and benefit the eventual recipient.

The Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild would like to acknowledge the role our members played in creating Ripples:

Coordinators: Denise von Minden & Christine Perrigo
Blocks pieced by: Members of the Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild
Quilt top pieced by: Denise von Minden & Christine Perrigo
Quilting designed and quilted by: Christine Perrigo
Binding by: Stephanie Ruyle

Instagram @dmmqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Capital Confetti” by the DC MQG

by Lynne Mackay-AthaQuilt_Final
I thought that we were a little late in getting started. I knew from last year how tight the timeline felt. I wisely asked Robin to be my partner in this endeavor, and we read the guidelines and started playing with ideas. Scale. That is what we were focusing on. We had a meeting coming up at the end of August, not typically the most well-attended meeting of the year. I had stepped up as coordinator of the project, but not as a major quilt designer, so in the meeting I talked about the guidelines and what I had played with so far – our logo. I really love our logo. The group liked the idea of using our logo, and in the back and forth about the guidelines and the logo, Jessee Maloney @jessee_artschooldropout, a new member of the guild, brought up the idea of pixelating our logo. And, that she could design it so that there would be individual blocks so that lots of people could do the sewing. So, we were off and running!


Robin set to ordering fabric as Jessee was sending me block instructions…63 separate sheets. The call went out to the membership. Want to make a block or two? At the October meeting Robin and I made kits – one for each block except the 3 buildings – we decided that each building should be made by just one person. We handed out lots of kits at that meeting, and some were mailed to members. The deadline was the DCMQG retreat the weekend before Thanksgiving.


All of the blocks came in on time. First Robin had the Washington Monument put together, then I added the Lincoln Memorial. Linda put together a lot of the sky blocks, then Melinda brought the Capitol while Robin worked on the Potomac River. Once together, several other members worked on snipping threads and tidying the back.
It was time to hand the top over to Sari Thomas @sariditty and let her work her magic. When she started on the quilt, Sari would send me little teasers…so exciting!
We already had someone lined up to attach binding, and the label and sleeve ready to be sewn on. The completed quilt came to a guild meeting for us all to see!
From start to finish, this quilt has passed through the hands of roughly a third of our guild. We are proud of what we have created and are excited to see it displayed with the other charity quilts at QuiltCon in February. Each fall our guild sponsors a quilt drive – 100 quilts for Kids. Those quilts go to organizations that help kids, this year to The Children’s Inn at the National Institute of Health. After QuiltCon, this special quilt will be donated to one of the many worthy organizations in DC that will auction it and use the funds to support their programs.FotorCreated

Instagram @dcmqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Dallas” by the Dallas MQG

by Shannon PageFull_pic

The Dallas Modern Quilt Guild decided to have an original design for this year’s quilt that represented Dallas and modern quilting. The designer, Shannon Page, chose the Pegasus because it is an iconic image in Dallas. The origami-inspired winged horse is made instantly recognizable as a city symbol by adding bars on the wing while the pink colors is a send up to the traditional red. The scale theme is represented by the large-scale Pegasus and small-scale strips.

A paper piece pattern was created by the designer and then finalized and made actually usable by Beth Phillips. It was then enlarged to gigantic proportions by Kristi Carpenter. At a group sew, Kristi Carpenter, Carol Dennis, Cathy Fields, Chelsey Fields, Lee Jenkins, Ashley Leon, Shannon Page, Liz Perini, Beth Phillips and Stacey Smith spent the day learning how to strip piece on giant sections while specifically randomizing the strips to create the bars of white and color. After all the pieces were complete and sewn together the quilt was quilted by Lee Jenkins as a collaboration of ideas between Lee and Shannon. Denise Strueber kindly hand-bound the final product.
The entire groups had a great time working together creating the pieces that would come together and form such a striking image. It was great to learn from each other and truly inspirational to have all these talented quilters working one vision and putting their own touch on each piece.


Sewing all day with the group was the highlight. It was so much fun and, when the piecing got tough, we had each other’s company, and copious snacks, to keep us going!
We are still deciding what charity would best benefit. We are thinking of using it as a raffle to support our guild in supplying more than one quilt to a charity.

Instagram @dallasmqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Power of Scale” by the Chicago MQG

by Melissa Bogusch & Emily Handley, Members and Co-Chairs Chicago MQG

ChicagoMQG_Power_of_Scale_Overall_ShotThe inspiration for the quilt design came from the 1977 short film “Powers of Ten” by husband and wife designers, Charles and Ray Eames. This film, set in Chicago, examines the world through different levels of magnification. It shows the extent of our scientific understanding and how we as humans are situated within it. As the film traverse these extremes it becomes apparent that we are all very much connected. We are all made of atoms, DNA, and skin. We live in neighborhoods, cities, and regions created through complex social and spatial relationships. While we may often feel we are alone on our blanket islands, we are actually all on a planet, traveling through space, surrounded by stars made of atoms.

03_Finished_Block_AnimationA series of 15 still images from the film were chosen as inspiration for the blocks, each highlighting a different scale from the atomic to the galactic. Distinct block designs were developed for the front of the quilt and utilized the specific color palette for this challenge. The level of magnification begins at the most detailed level, in the upper left quilt block, and moves across the quilt from left to right, and down, broadening in scope. A suggested method of block construction was provided for each scene, but final construction was left up to the individual block maker. This flexible approach allowed guild participants some freedom in how they went about completing their task. It also provided an opportunity to try out or perfect a particular technique. Participation from our guild members was very high, with 20 people of all skill levels and quilting styles contributing their time and energy.

Techniques represented in this quilt include English paper piecing, needle turn applique, foundation paper piecing, fusible applique, and traditional piecing. The off-center positioning of the blocks created an opportunity to emphasize the change in scale through varying densities of straight-line quilting in the negative space. A different free-motion quilting design was applied to each block to enhance the scene. The design for the back of the quilt is a large scale number “10”, referencing the quilt’s inspiration. We plan to donate this quilt to DIFFA/Chicago, the Chicago chapter of Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids, for auction at their annual fund raising event.

Guild Participants: Emily Handley, Melissa Bogusch, Terri Karls, Ilia Raguay, Debbie Pine, Sarah Shulman, Cathy Sisco, Carole Wool, Rebecca Murphy, Amy Struckmeyer, Emily Hall, Rosalie McMenamin, Laura Hartrich, Dianne Bienick, Charity Simpson, Donna Moscinski, Sara Hochhauser, Dani Miller, Heather Kinion, Holly Harper.

Instagram @chicagomqg


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: “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!