QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Weaving Between the Lines” by the Seacoast MQG

by Diane Sheckellsquiltconquiltoutside
Each year the Modern Quilt Guild presents its members with a unique challenge: to create a quilt for charity with a limited palette that also illustrates a design principle. Scale was the design principle this year and the solid colors were indeed unique. The Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild drew upon the rich textile history of our geographic area. Many of us see thundering rivers and the brick remains of the factories that dotted their banks on a daily basis.
These “model” factory communities gave Yankee farm girls a taste of independence and the money they earned supported their families. Even after working bone numbing hours in the mills weaving, they took advantage of lectures and cultural opportunities. Early strides in the labor movement were born right here too, first with the mill girls and later with their immigrant replacements. Bread and Roses was a cry for a living wage and respect for the individual worker back in 1912.

quiltcon2Our design committee came up with an original design. At a sew-in, members improvised the basic unit……a traditional rail fence block. The right angle placement represents the weave of a textile. This plan also speaks to the design theme of the challenge by making the strips varied widths, and by having some blocks stand singly and others stand together in a larger arrangement. Many hands made light work as members volunteered to assemble, quilt and bind the quilt.


Weaving Between the Lines is destined to be given to a charity organization. The individual strips represent the weaving together of lives. The finished quilt captures the spirit of our Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild. It celebrates where we are from and the rich history of brave women who shaped New England and us. The teal bars in the quilt could represent those valiant mill girls who dared to strike out on their own….the revolutionaries who changed the world of work, unions and women’s rights forever.quiltconquiltoutside3

Instagram @seacoastmodernquiltguild


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Diamond Heist” by the Saskatoon MQG

by Bev Drew, Treasurer

A number of months ago at one of the Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guild meetings I volunteered to take the lead to create the charity quilt for QuiltCon 2017.
I came back to the next meeting with 3 original ideas fleshed out and got members feedback. They picked diamonds! I followed up later with specific information in terms of size and geometry, brought in some samples I created, and encouraged everyone to make one or two blocks. We have 40 members so I thought this should produce plenty of blocks.

Well, it turns out 60 degree diamonds are a bit challenging. My family certainly heard some colourful words coming from my studio when I was building some of the diamonds. And I certainly heard some grumbling from some of the guild members. In fact, at one of our sewcials, someone actually cursed my name. All in good fun, of course.
The evidence of the challenge was clear when I gathered up blocks. Some diamonds were perfect, and just the right size. Other diamonds looked like they had been drinking and could no longer hold up their 60 degrees. I had to get busy and trim or add more fabric to ensure I could fit them together. IMG_0022We recently gathered for a sew day at one of our members houses. One of our tasks was to try to complete the top and back of our diamond quilt. Mission almost accomplished.


‘Diamond Heist’ QuiltCon Charity Quilt, original design by Bev Drew, for the Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guild

A few more hours work on the last few seams and now I have passed it off to two other members who are quilting it on a long arm machine, and then the last details such as binding, hanging sleeve and label will be finished up before the quilt is shipped off.
Although we don’t have a photo of the finished quilt ready for this blog, our ‘Diamond Heist’ quilt will certainly be highlighted on Instagram at saskatoonmqg or at quiltingbev.
When our quilt arrives back in Saskatoon we will be donating it to our local Ronald McDonald House.

Instagram @saskatoonmqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Breaking Out” by the San Diego MQG

by Jenifer Collins, San Diego MQG Charity Committee Chairchallenge_finalThe San Diego MQG was excited to participate in the Quiltcon Charity Challenge for the fourth year in a row. For this year’s challenge, we wanted to not only explore scale but how scale could simulate movement in a quilt.

Our members were provided a mock-up of the proposed project, but with the understanding that the ultimate design and layout would be created as a group during our challenge sew-in day.
Inspired by popular high-contrast nine-patch quilts, we decided to use the nine-patch as our base for experimenting with scale. However, we tweaked that idea a bit and settled on a 2×3 patch block, so that we would be working with rectangle instead of square blocks.

A variety of Kona fabric packets were handed out so that the primary components of the quilt could be made in advance of the sew-in. Members were asked to sew two-color blocks using any color combination they would like. We also encouraged people to substitute tone-on-tone prints where desired, but everyone kept it solid!

On the day of the sew-in, we used the large design wall at Quilt in a Day (the one Eleanor Burns stands in front of when they film the shows!) and, as a group, began laying out the collected blocks. We quickly realized that we had a problem: we didn’t like it…at all.

We tried various configurations and just couldn’t get the blocks to work right. We felt the color balance was off primarily due to the heaviness of the mustard and teal blocks. I had made several of those blocks as examples of the scale we would be using prior to the fabric distribution. I had picked mustard and teal thinking it would be a nice compliment to the blocks that would feature a neutral as one of the color pairs.

However, the majority of the blocks turned in featured a high-contrast set of colors, with one generally being a neutral. The mustard and teal blocks stood out in such contrast with the rest, it threw off what we were trying to accomplish. To be honest, we almost threw in the towel… until we discovered that if we eliminated all blocks containing mustard, we were back on track.


We were able to finish the top and passed it on to member Carrie Hanson (Gotcha Covered Quilting), who frequently quilts our charity projects. She did a phenomenal job, adding additional movement within the design through the negative space quilting.

This quilt is destined to support Just In Time for Foster Youth’s My First Home program. JIT and My First Home help San Diego youth aging out of the foster care system to establish and furnish their first apartments. We are proud supporters of this program.



Instagram @sandiegomodernquiltguild

#sdmodernquiltguild #sdmqg

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Transparency” by the Mod Squad (a Quilters’ Guild Acadienne bee)

by Jonelle ArchibaldTRANSPARENCY PHOTO


Our Mod Squad is a modern quilting interest group, comprised of individual members of the Modern Quilt Guild. We are all members of Quilters’ Guild Acadienne, a 26 year old traditional guild. This is our second year entering the Charity Quilt Challenge. Our journey for this quilt, based on the theme of “scale”, began in July 2016 when our Mod Squad members met to research and brainstorm ideas for scale.

The challenge in design was met by brainstorming concepts after doing some research on scale through written and graphic examples. After sketching several designs, this geometric collage was agreed upon. The final design was blown up to exact size of quilt.

Several factors were considered in the design before it was cut into sections. Seam allowances had to be added to each section. It was decided that each piece would be made slightly larger than needed. Learning from last year’s entry when we had to improvise sections to make our pieces fit together, we knew that would not work with this precise design. Writing the color of each section and numbering each block before cutting pattern apart made certain the transparency sections would be fit correctly. Using all colors in pallet and choosing solids allowed us to focus on the shapes and overlapping to create illusion of transparency.

We worked together at the first production meeting and then each member took their section home to complete piecing. This was a very different experience from last year. Because of the design we worked on our pieces at home rather than in our group sessions. So in this aspect it was a challenge to keep momentum and enthusiasm.

Bringing back our sections and putting the puzzle back together was a neat experience. Because we had the foresight to add a small amount to each of the pieces it was easy to adjust and make the entire top fit perfectly.

Turning to the design of the back we realized we had enough large pieces of each color to put together another geometric design of different proportions.
Several of our members have done free motion quilting on domestic machines. Having a member acquire a long arm gave us the opportunity to practice on this quilt. Our choice of quilting design is Gee’s Bend inspired. Our guild sponsored a trip there this past year and we came back all fired up. Using straight lines and echo quilting, our result is free form, improvisational and reflects the geometric shapes we chose in the design.

Our intention is to present this quilt to a local charitable organization that will organize its own fundraising activity.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Made to Scale” by the Portland MQG

by AnnMarie Cowley

Final_QuiltSince the challenge featured scale, we used the 10-point divider tool that is used to measure space and proportion and figured it would work just fine if we mirrored it.

Twenty members signed up to help and we passed out packets with a variety of colors asking that each member make a predetermined size diamond. Once they were returned, both a gold and a blue print stood out. We focused on choosing a diamond from each member with both of the blues, the gold and the grey.

Another surprise was finding that a dark blue worked on the border much better than our original thought of grey.

At the January meeting, our guild unanimously chose the title, Made to Scale. A charity has not been chosen, but with the vast need in the Portland area, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a home for our quilt.Work_day_on_floor

Instagram @portlandmqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Coming Together” by the Northampton MQG

by Michelle JensenNohoMQG_Charity_Quilt-
This quilt was inspired by our guild’s work with Wonky Half Log Cabin blocks for an unspecified charity quilt. When we saw the Quilt Con Charity Quilt call for entries, we decided to move our efforts in that direction and to play with scale in a number of ways. The individual blocks are of different sizes and, when combined, create a large half log cabin block as the entire quilt.

Blocks were submitted by individual members and the full design was sketched out by Carson Converse using the blocks received. Diane Wespiser and Carson then assembled the top. The quilting was done by Donna Adams and the piece was bound bee style at a guild gathering. Our resident photography guru, Caro Sheridan, went to work as the deadline for entries closed in.
As a guild, our color sensibilities were definitely challenged as we were determined to use all colors represented in the palette.
Our finished quilt will be donated to a refugee family being hosted by the cooperative community where we hold our meetings monthly.NohoMQG_Charity_Quilt-24598

Instagram @northamptonmqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Shockwave” by the Niagara MQG

by Heather Salter, Coordinator of Charity Project 2017; Susan Bowslaugh, President’ Tara McInerney, Vice President

From the landscape, a sense of scale.
From the dead, a sense of scale. –Richard Siken

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.—Phyllis Diller

The injuries we do and those we suffer, are seldom weighed in the same scales.—Aesop

Scales always lie. They don’t make a scale that ever told about value, about worth about significance.—Ann Voskamp


A Shockwave Strikes Niagara Modern Quilt Guild

On July 17, 2016 the first meeting of the Niagara Modern Quilt Guild design team for the Quiltcon 2017 Charity Quilt Challenge assembled at Starbucks. Heather, Debbie, Sue, Lorna and Tara, fuelled by caffeine and enthusiasm, quickly settled on our design objectives: broad participation by Guild members of all skill levels, ease of assembly, alternate grid and a modern aesthetic. Design ideas submitted by guild members and inspiration gathered by team members were all evaluated against the design objectives and MQG challenge to “play with scale”. Surprisingly quickly, an improv curved arc in four different sizes was chosen as the base for our design. Choosing a colour palette was more challenging. Eschewing the conventional white/grey background options the team settled on Yarrow as the background and dominant colour. With this striking background, ultramarine, bright blue, pink, silver and white rounded out the chosen colour scheme.

Once the fabric was received—–big thanks to Modern Bee and Kindred Spirits quilt shops for donating most of the fabric — the team assembled on a hot summer evening in Lorna’s cool sewing room to make up kits for members to take home. Much laughter, snacking and ideas followed. Even some patriotic cheering as we watched Canada’s Olympic performances at the same time. Heather – being the highly organized professional that she is – had drawn up a detailed checklist of the number of kits needed (indeed the checklist was almost as impressive as the Olympics!!)

When our September meeting rolled around, 40 kits were ready to hand out. Demos were given of two different approaches to improv curved piecing and most of the kits were snapped up by our enthusiastic members. At our October Saturday Sew-in day, the finished blocks were revealed. A design wall was hastily improvised and the blocks started to come together into a cohesive quilt. With the addition of a few extra blocks and lots of negative space, the quilt design was finished. Heather finished assembling most of the quilt top at home and passed it on to Tara, who squared it up and added some negative space to meet the size guidelines. A grey crosshatch Carolyn Friedlander fabric was chosen as the backing panel, and the last few unused blocks leftover from the quilt top were incorporated into the backing panel design. In the end, every single block made it into the quilt!

Dorothy Holdenmeyer, one of our very talented members, graciously offered to machine quilt the top. She researched quotes which use the word “Scale”, and tore into a frenzy of quilt-doodling circles, feathers, loops, arcs, quotations and free-motion magic that danced across the mustard negative space and weaved throughout the colourful arc-shaped piecing of the top. Dorothy used so many of the motifs that dwell inside her head, but ran out of ideas about a quarter of the way through the quilting. That didn’t slow her down—she began consulting books and electronic resources for inspiration to make admiring our quilt an exploration; a literal adventure in texture.

Many of us stood around the quilt for the entire break in our December meeting, with smiles of delight as we took turns pointing out surprises and discoveries to one another: “Look at those teardrops!”; “Look! That’s an awesome quote!”; “Did you see how she quilted the sun!”; “I can’t believe she did that on her domestic machine!” Seeing the quilt in its completed state was such a reward to the collaborators in this process, and was inspiring to those who didn’t get a chance to participate in this year’s project. At this point in time, Dorothy will be the only member of our guild who will make it to Quiltcon 2017 to see our quilt in all its glory! How fitting that she already had made plans before she even knew she would have such an important role to play in our quilt’s production!


The quilt, which was named by vote at our most recent NMQG meeting, now answers to “Shockwave”, and she is ready for shipment to Quiltcon. We are so pleased with the outcome of our guild’s second collaboration for the MQG Charity Project, 2017, and are feeling twitchy to get started on the next project to come in 2018!

Our guild has chosen to donate the quilt to the Niagara Health System for a fundraising raffle. We hope the winner of the raffle will be as amazed by our creation as we all were. Who knows… we might even manage to put a few improv curves on the faces of those who benefit from the funds it is sure to raise!IMG_5513

Instagram @niagaramqg


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Supernova” by the NHMQG

by Susan Boots and Marie Joerger, Co-Chair Charity CommitteeDSC_0275
Once again the NHMQG decided to do the Charity Challenge using Robert Kaufman’s Kona as our color palette. The committee decided to use shades of blue, yellow, silver and white to meet the requirements.

The co-chairs met and decided to use some sort of stars in their quilt. With no real game plan on how to use these stars, they handed out packets at the meeting. Members of their guild were to take a sample of 2 shades and complete a star or 2. They were asked make either 3” or 6” stars using the colors on their card. They could use any color from that palette the only requirement was to use the white, grey, or yellow solid as their background.

Once we received the stars back we had a group sew-in with members from the guild. A game plan was established! Yellow fabric was donated from members of the guild which was cut and sewn back together to create a “scrappy looking” made fabric. We used this made fabric to make a large scale star.
We then used a design wall to scatter the stars for placement in the large pieces of fabric to be used for the bursts.

After a bit of trial and error it was determined to make non uniform star points. We started with the large star and bottom burst. We continued breaking down the quilt into large sections, working our way up and around the quilt.

As we laid our finished quilt top on a flat surface, we found the *made fabric caused a pucker.(*made fabric has an excessive amount of bias in play) After consulting our long arm quilter it was determined she could work out the excess in the quilting process.

Off to the quilter it went! Lisa from Garden Gate Quilting, Amherst, NH worked her magic. The puckers disappeared as she used a variety of quilting designs to enhance the quilt. Once the quilt was returned, blocking was completed and binding added. Let us present “Supernova”, NHMQG entry into Quilt Con 2017.DSC_0258

Instagram @NHMQG


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “WELCOME HERE/BIENVENUE ICI” by the Montreal MQG

by Michele B. Fitzgerald, Project Manager for Charity Challenge


Montreal Charity Challenge for 2017

A Project Manager was nominated for this project, Michèle B. Fitzgerald, to be assisted by Lily Lam. During the springtime meetings, brainstorming and open suggestions were invited regarding the design and production of this quilt to explore the theme of Scale and we chose to design a large, single abstract flower inspired partly from the artwork of Georgia O’Keefe. Two other members offered concrete support in providing a grid and sketches (Josée and Cinzia) which allowed Lily to produce a final drawing and mock-up of the planned blocks. Although many of our members had not sewn curves and circles before, they were willing to learn and the entire quilt design was made of large curved petals spanning several blocks ranging from 8″ to 16″. Our goal was to not be bored assembling repetitious blocks and that goal was definitely achieved!

The first ten blocks were sewn at our October first sew-in, which was three weeks BEFORE our scheduled professional workshop where we would learn to sew curves and circles. We take the word ‘challenge’ very seriously here. Another fifteen members took blocks home with a hand-made pattern based on Lily’s detailed sketch and brought them back for assembly at the end of October. As expected, several blocks needed a little adjustment or fixing and the assembly procedure was modified to reduce the original fractured design. At this point, the poor quilt top looked like an awkward teenager going through growing pains but soon a devoted long-arm quilter, Francine Benoit stepped in to straighten it out, discipline it and work miracles. With patience and hours of hard work, Francine tamed and quilted it to accentuate our large curved flower petals. When returned to Montreal, this quilt is designated for a refugee family being sponsored by a local church community. Many of us want to continue sewing curves in the future but at least one of us said: never again! But we all had fun.IMG_1167


QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Creating Opportunities: Challenge and Charity” by the ModQ-Boulder

by Erika EcholsFullSizeRender

We were impressed with the variety of solid colors selected from the participating fabric producers. As a group, we loved them all and couldn’t decide on which line to go with. Therefore, we decided to purchase all the fabrics on the MQG list. After we compared the vast differences in color and texture, we decided to integrate as many of these as we could—hoping it might create some unexpected design elements in the quilt.

Next, for inspiration, we considered the final purpose for the quilt—which charity would we select? Would that have an influence on the design? After some debate, and indecision, we arrived at a broader question: What can the charitable organization do with the proceeds from this quilt? We decided that regardless of the type of critter, person, place, or space charity we eventually give this quilt to, they should, at a basic level, provide opportunity. They can open doors or close doors, offering people, animals, or the environment alternative solutions, options, safe zones, or education. This became our central theme.

Our group of diverse-thinking quilters first created two doors each, then two more each. We reminded each other about ‘modern’ ideas. We had lively design board concept discussions about the use of negative space, color, and composition. Some in the group had strong opinions about color: some for grey, some for gold. We compromised by using both as our “background” fabric. We tested each other with different ideas. We returned to the theme for the composition, this time considering the path one can take leading to a charity, or the path after a charity’s influence.

During the design process a member offered the Emerson quote, Be an opener of doors, which felt natural and complimentary to the theme. This offered an opportunity to integrate paper pieced letters to the background, and the opportunity to use another quilting technique.

Individually we were motivated and inspired by participating in, and supporting, the MQG International Show, collaborating with friends, trying “modern” ideas, and offering a modern quilt to a charitable organization in our community.IMG_9805_copy