Charity Quilt Spotlight: Chicago MQG

The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild’s entry into the QuiltCon Charity Quilt project was inspired by the pattern “Blue Ice” from Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen. As a longtime member, Jacquie has contributed so much to the spirit of the guild and it was a natural choice to turn to her for inspiration.

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The first group of blocks were made at our guild’s fall retreat. We put out a call to bring scraps in the blue, green, and grey from the assigned color pallette, brought some coordinating yardage and borders, and set the group loose. The instructions included the finished block size and some guidelines about the block borders: at least three, using the yardage we bought, and only use berry in the middle border. Some ladies produced entire blocks while some created the gorgeous improv centers and passed them on to others to put borders on. Choosing a pattern that combined some improvisation with some specific guidelines allowed participants to play within their comfort zone or push themselves to try something new. The group had a lot of fun working together and exchanging ideas, encouragement, and scraps.

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A couple of weeks later, we brought all the supplies to our monthly guild meeting and invited everyone to participate by taking fabric home to make a block. For those who had missed out on being in the group working together, it was fun and helpful to look through the blocks that had been made at the retreat. Looking through the blocks together provided an opportunity to notice details and ideas together and share in that inspirational part of the group process. In all we had at least 25 members participate in the project.

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With the blocks done, three of us got together to press, trim, arrange, and assemble. The best part about helping with this task was being able to spend time looking at every single block. Each one is so incredibly different. Some have huge centers and skinny borders while some are tiny in the middle with extra-thick borders. Some centers are tall and skinny, some square, some funky parallelograms, and some break out into their borders. Some blocks follow the guidelines to the letter and some beautifully break the rules. Looking at just two or three blocks lined up may make one wonder how they will fit together in the same quilt, but stepping back to look at the entire quilt reveals that what each block has in common is more than enough to hold them together in a beautiful whole. In this way, the quilt has become an unexpected reflection of our guild and of the wider quilting community. There are as many different styles, methods, and personalities as there are quilters, but when you bring us together the resulting friendships are the kind that are made to last.

Charity Quilt Spotlight: Central Jersey MQG

The Central Jersey MQG took on the QuiltCon Charity Challenge! We wanted to involve ourselves on the international level and contribute to charity further (we just finished our 2014 project of making 25 baby quilts for a New Jersey charity).

Earlier in 2013, our guild banner came together with incredibly creative, original modern blocks by our members. Therefore, it wasn’t rocket science to suppose that they could step up to the plate again. I sketched a rough idea in my sketchbook, setting the blocks into circles, or bracelets – something new. Then, I visited my LQS (Pennington Quilt Works), armed with the MQG’s challenge color scheme. After cutting the fabric I bought into various strips and squares, I created 18 piles of fabric on my carpet to be bagged.

Members brought their blocks to the guild meeting one month after they had received the fabric. At our November guild retreat, I spent two days piecing the blocks and negative space to fit my vision for the quilt. I also set random blocks on-point for visual interest. The negative space was a lot harder to piece than I thought it would be!

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Next, Jessica Levitt quilted the quilt with her longarm. She used many thread colors to blend with the fabric, and did an amazing job of highlighting all of the blocks and the negative space. Finally, Neva Asinari bound, labeled, sewed on a quilt sleeve, photographed, and sent the quilt to Austin. We had a short time frame to make the quilt, but I’m so pleased at all the teamwork within our guild!

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Overall, “Modern Bracelets” is a tribute to minimalism, bright colors, and modern piecing of every kind. My favorite part is the hidden gray block (Neva’s)! When it arrives back from Austin, we will donate the quilt to S.A.V.E., a New Jersey animal shelter, who will raffle it off at their spring gala. Those of us attending QuiltCon can’t wait to see our quilt hang along with all the rest of the charity quilts!

-Jessica Skultety, President

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Charity Quilt Spotlight: Calgary MQG

The Calgary Modern Quilt Guild completed its QuiltCon charity project with the direction and spirit of Becca Cleaver. From an energetic and laughter-filled coffee shop meeting to designing the quilt to making the final stitches, she led the commitment.

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Our design is built off of blocks from guild member Bernadette Kent’s book, Rubies, Diamonds and Garnet, Too. Bern also helped sew the quilt. With its on point layout, a million HSTs and that great gray slab background, the quilt takes some seemingly traditional blocks to a wonderfully modern level. We decided to use the chosen fabrics to represent the four seasons, and the machine quilting reflects that as well.

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We had members piecing, a long arm volunteer, others squaring up, another binding, someone attaching the sleeve. It was a true group effort completed around everyone’s busy schedules. That quilt traveled a lot in the city!

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Calgary is no stranger to giving, and even needing a helping hand. After the devastating floods in 2013, the city rallied to help neighbours, friends and strangers clean up. We even did some of our sewing in a flood ravaged house, with members who themselves were flooded out of their homes. The spirit of giving is in our quilt, the support of our guild members and hopefully translated into our quilt.

All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing Beyond The Hexagon

By Diane Gilleland 

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106_cAlexandraGrablewski_ElongatedTableRunner_AllPointsPatchworkAll Points Patchwork covers English paper piecing from every angle: how to baste and sew patches, how to finish various kinds of projects, how to make your own designs and templates, and special tips for working with hexagons, diamonds, triangles, octagons, curved shapes, and more. There are 30 project ideas and 84 pattern ideas, but the book focuses on technique instead of specific project instructions, so you have more flexibility to dream up your own designs.

English paper piecing is a very old method for making beautiful, intricate patchwork. You don’t need any special skills or tools. All you need, aside from some basic hand-sewing supplies, is a stack of paper templates. When you baste fabric to these shapes, you get crisp, precise patches. Sew the patches together, and the paper does all the work of matching up the points.

IMG_7041I found EPP about five years ago, when hexagon patchwork began popping up around the internet. I was hooked after my first hexie. As much as I love my sewing machine, I find the slow, hand-stitched pace of EPP to be so meditative, and I can carry my projects with me anywhere. The craft goes way beyond hexies, too – you can EPP in any shape you can dream up, and you can work with great big patches or tiny little ones.

Learn more about the book at AllPointsPatchwork.com, and if you’d like to dip a toe into some EPP right now, try these simple free patterns on my website!

Storey Publishing is giving away three copies of All Points Patchwork to members and friends of the MQG. Enter here for a chance to win! We’ll select winners on Wednesday, June 17. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Charity Quilt Spotlight: Kansas City MQG

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KCMQG on the loose with a project – QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge 2015

First order of business? Who will we choose to work on this TOP SECRET MISSION?

What? It isn’t a secret? Then why will anyone read this? Oh, because inquiring minds want to know! OR just because.

October — a small elite group of sewists take on the challenge. Marsha Rhoads, Elizabeth Rogers and Monica Vega meet discreetly at the downtown branch of the Kansas City library to avert attention from those who would be spies. They choose a pattern — Fractal from a book called Quilt Lab, and agree to collect fabrics from their stash. Elizabeth agreed to draw the design to scale along with suggesting color ideas.  

Next step, meet at a secret location. They chose a store front — cleverly disguised as a quilt shop, Show-Me Quilting in Raytown. Oh right, it is an actual legitimate quilt shop with a great selection of modern fabrics! Make a note to go there! Between them, they owned a few good fabrics but were able to buy everything else they needed there. Marsha and Monica snuck off to a secret hideout to cut the blocks. In a further attempt to throw off would-be spies, Marsha suggested they meet up at the Rainbow Mennonite Church fellowship room to finalize the fabric placement.

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kansas city pic3At an undisclosed location (her sewing room), Marsha worked long hours by candlelight… okay, maybe a light or two. Elizabeth and Marsha met to exchange the package. Elizabeth would toil long hours in silence to quilt the project. All that was left was the binding and other finish work. Soon the package would be off to the secret destination in Austin, TX. There, it would be mixed up with all the other “projects,” in the hope that no one would know what quilt was submitted by which group. Oh, right – they all have labels…  And that is a wrap from the TOP SECRET team from the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.

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Charity Quilt Spotlight: Knoxville MQG

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The making of the Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild’s Quiltcon charity quilt was a collaborative effort spear-headed by founding member Emily Doane. Emily, who enjoys experimenting with graphic design in her spare time, used her skills with Corel Draw to create the quilt’s design, an updated take on the classic drunkard’s path and curved piecing. After coming up with the 3/4 circle block that would be the foundation of the quilt, Emily decided on the block size she wanted, 12.5”, and then varied the placement of the individual blocks within the rows of the quilt, experimenting with the amount of negative space between the blocks in each row until she was happy with the end design. The result is a quilt pattern with movement and space between the individual elements; each block unique in it’s coloring, pattern, and orientation to the rest of the blocks and quilt as a whole.

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After the design was set, Emily created a key for the members of the guild to follow to create the individual blocks. Participating members signed up to sew one or more of the individual blocks in the chosen colors.

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The blocks were collected from individual members, and then pieced by Emily, along with a generous donation of the background Kona Ash from member Dawn Green, into the quilt top. Member Pat Pike (Emily’s mom!) donated backing fabric as well as the use of her Gammill longarm quilting machine, which Emily used to quilt the quilt with an interlocking squared circle design.

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After the quilt was finished, Emily described the process as “very rewarding;” to see her design transform from idea, to pattern, to real quilt in “REAL fabric!” In the end, the guild’s quilt is a melding of Emily’s design efforts, the collaborative sewing of the guild members, and the modern quilting aesthetic.

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KMQG would like to thank Emily for her time and effort in designing, piecing and quilting the guild’s quilt, as well as all of those members who participated by piecing the individual blocks and/or generously donating materials for the quilt.

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Charity Quilt Spotlight: Boise MQG

Over the next few months, we’ll be featuring the work of some amazing charity quilts from QuiltCon 2015. Our first post is by the Boise MQG. Take it away!

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Laura Pukstas took the lead on organizing the Boise Modern Quilt Guild 2015 QuiltCon Charity Quilt submission. She gathered member feedback, finalized the design, and quilted it on her longarm machine. Most of the guild members wanted a lot of negative space and a non-traditional quilt layout. With this in mind, Laura worked on a quilt design that incorporated these elements. Laura says “I liked the idea of a block slowly building and getting bigger with additional elements being added to it. With the blocks getting larger in size, I wanted it to be emphasized by adding another color to each block. I liked the cascading feel of blocks starting in one corner and leading to one large block.”

Once the design was set, members were assigned a color, raided their fabric stashes, and helped to sew the individual blocks. Laura gathered the blocks and pieced together the quilt top, looking at it for several days to decide on a quilting design. She quilted some of the star block designs, various-sized flying geese, and a variety of filler designs to fill the expansive negative space. Two layers of batting made the quilting seriously pop, especially in the less-quilted areas. The quilting took a long time because it was so densely quilted.

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Once quilted, it was Angela Bowman’s turn to apply the binding. She chose some blue fabric from her stash and tried to stop staring at the stellar quilting long enough to bind the quilt.

 

Michael Miller Fabric Challenge — QuiltCon 2016

Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge at QuiltCon 2016

Hold on to your sewing machines, because the fabric for the next QuiltCon Michael Miller Fabric Challenge is here! And we’re excited to unveil these fantastic metallic prints from Michael Miller’s Glitz collection.

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This year’s fabrics include 12 glamorous prints from Michael Miller, and each participant will receive six fat eighths at random. Like previous fabric challenges, we have many more members than available fabric bundles… We wish everyone could get one, but the bundles are first come, first serve. That said, we ask that everyone who signs up to please plan to submit the final quilt to the Fabric Challenge category at QuiltCon — like other categories, this category is eligible for judging and awards up to $1,000!

To be eligible, quilts must primarily use the fabrics above, but additional coordinating Michael Miller solids are permitted. Once completed, these quilts will be entered it into the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge category at QuiltCon. The top prize for this category is $1,000!

The registration link will be sent to members via email on May 9th at 10 a.m. Eastern time, 7 a.m. Pacific. To make things easy, here’s a handy time converter so you’ll know exactly when the link will be available to you. Registration is open until all fabric bundles are gone or until May 23. Bundles go quickly, so if you’re sure you want to enter, don’t wait! (However, if you’re not ready to commit, remember that you don’t have to get the free fabric to be involved – all you have to do is use the fabrics above in your quilt.)

All fabric will be shipped by mid-July, and the deadline for entries is November 30, 2015 (the same as other QuiltCon quilt show entries).

Have ideas for this sweet fabric yet? We’d love to hear ’em. Post a comment below! And for more info, visit the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge page at quiltcon.com.

Best of QuiltCon, Instagram Edition

We’re still riding our QuiltCon high (seriously, is it 2016 yet?), and half the fun is reliving the show from the eyes of our fabulous attendees. Collectively, we tagged over 12,000 new photos with the hashtag #quiltcon! Here are some of our favorites. Miss you already, QuiltCon.

By the end of the week, people were weighted down with pins from new friends and old. The pin swap was a huge success!

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Teachers and students strutted their stuff, and quilted apparel was all the rage in Austin. Hey Victoria!

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Classes and workshops were some of the highlights of the show!

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Sometimes a quilt just sticks with you!

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Our feeds were flooded with happy people taking #quiltconselfies. Like these two!

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So much quilting to do, so little time.

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You may have noticed the #quiltconartist getting into mischief at the show. Hilarity ensued.

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The biggest debate of all? Which tattoo to choose. So many good ones!

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Fabric was not in short supply — we all found treasures to take home.

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Sometimes a good quilt fort is all you need in life.

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The Quilters of Gee’s Bend shared their stories, wisdom, songs and of course, quilts.

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Quilt heaven, indeed.

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Each class was an opportunity for attendees to hone their skills and show off their personalities!

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Even our youngest quilters found their favorites!

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And there’s just no substitute for meeting your idols.

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Thanks QuiltCon! See you next year!

Thank you QuiltCon Sponsors!

QuiltCon would not be possible without the support of our amazing sponsors. From all the feedback we’re getting, the show was a resounding success, and part of the fun was seeing our sponsor booths on the show floor. Thank you all! Can’t wait until next year in Pasadena.

Baby Lock 

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Baby Lock had their machines out to sample and purchase.

 Bernina

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At Bernina’s booth, people fueled their passion by trying out the latest and most popular Bernina machines.

 Handi Quilter

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Handi Quilter also had machines to test and buy — a great experience for our attendees!

 Michael Miller Fabrics

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Michael Miller Fabrics drew crowds with their bright quilts and temporary tattoos!

Moda Fabrics 

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At Moda’s booth, show-goers could play bean bag toss to win a cute Moda prize.

Robert Kaufman

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Robert Kaufman brought their Kona booth, complete with the fun “Test Your Kona IQ” challenge. What was your score?

 Stash Books

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Stash Books kept show-goers supplied with inspiration — their endless stacks of books and patterns were a hit!

Windham Fabrics 

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Windham Fabrics brought designers like Lotta Jansdotter to talk with show attendees at their colorful booth.

Thank you also to Platinum sponsors Coats & ClarkPanasonic and Purl Soho for their support!

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