MQG Members in the News!

One of the great benefits of becoming a member of the MQG is our free Quilt of the Month patterns. Each month MQG members are sent via email a modern quilt pattern designed by one of our talented members!

In February, Paige Alexander (an Individual member from South Carolina) fell in love with Debbie Grifka’s (a member of the Ann Arbor MQG) Zephyr pattern. Below is a great interview with AQS about her quilt Variegated, which received honorable mention the Modern category. Her quilting was inspired by a post written by Christina Cameli, a member of the Portland MQG.

Congrats Paige! We are so excited to for your win.

Are you or your guild interested in becoming a part of the MQG?

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QuiltCon Charity Quilt: Alternative Gridwork

We  hope you have already read all about the 2015 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge and are planning to join in! If you missed reading about it, you can find the original post here, and the Color post here.

The QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge is one of the MQG’s largest-scale charity projects. For QuiltCon 2015 guilds are asked to follow a predetermined color palette and alternate grid work design.

As quilters we are often (but not always) naturally forced into grids based on our construction techniques. In this post, we’ll talk about different forms of grid work and how to consider using them in your charity quilt design.

Alternate grid work is a modern quilting design element that is used frequently by modern quilters. It is often one of the easiest design elements to experiment and explore modern quilt making with. Modern quilters often “break the grid”. Alternate grid work is a tool to help showcase modern quilting design fundamentals such as negative space, no borders, minimalism, asymmetry, modern traditionalism and exaggerated scale.

Alternate grid work in modern quilt making refers to quilts that don’t follow the traditional block format of many quilts. The majority (but not all) of traditional quilt styles follow a predictable grid structure. It’s important to note that some modern quilts DO follow traditional quilt grid work and some traditional quilts do NOT follow traditional quilt grid work.

Traditional Grid Work Examples

The Straight Set – columns and rows of repeating blocks.

On Point – columns and rows of repeating blocks on a 45 degree angle

Medallion – a central focus feature with design elements bordering outward.

Credit: Marcelle Medallion Quilt by Alexia Abegg

Alternate Grid Work Examples

Traditional grids can be adapted or altered beyond the normal repeating columns and rows.

Increasing negative space.

Shifting the on point angle to an atypical degree.

Alternate gridwork refers to the underlying grids. As quilters, our seam lines guide our grids. Here are some examples of alternate grids.

Modular Grids are the basis for a vast majority of quilt design. You can use a modular grid, but don’t follow strict columns and rows. Using scale is a great way to use a modular grid in an alternate way.

Adding negative space is another way to use the modular grid in an alternate way.

Variable Framing uses the modular grid, but floats blocks in negative space. The underlying column and row format is there, but utilizes negative space to make it modern.

Offset or Misaligned Grids shift the rows and columns to offset blocks.

Paneling does not follow a modular grid structure and disguises any underlying grid.

Are you really into grids? Here’s some great reading:

Grids for Graphic Designers:

The Designer’s Guide to Grid Theory

Grid-Based Design Theory

Five Simple Steps to Designing Grid Systems

A Brief History of Grids


Making and Breaking the Grid by Timothy Samara

Geometry of Design

The Alternate Grid Chapter by Jacquie Gering, Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making, Lucky Spool

General Design Books:

Design Basics by David Lauer and Stephen Pentak

Design Elements by Timothy Samara

Applying Mathematics to Web Design 

Understanding the Impact of Design:

A great book to understand how forms impact and are processed by the human brain is Sensation and Perception by E. Bruce Goldstein. This book was the first book that really got me to think about design in an objective rather than intuitive manner. Have fun everyone!


Heather Grant, Director of Marketing & Programming

QuiltCon Charity Challenge: COLOR!

We  hope you have already read all about the 2015 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge and are planning to join in! If you missed reading about it, you can find the original blog post here.

Post by Amy Friend, QuiltCon Charity Challenge Project Manager:

Today, we will talk a little bit more about the color palette. I hope you are excited about these colors and want to help you locate them in your stashes and in your local quilt shops.

The color palette can be described as white, light gray, chartreuse, burnt orange, sky blue, cerise and a deep turquoise.  No, you don’t need to use all of the colors, you can be selective if you prefer. You do not need to use the fabrics listed by the manufacturer’s below but seeking out some of these solids might help you pin down the color palette.  


If you are using Kona solids by Robert Kaufman, the best choices are:  Snow, Shadow, Wasabi, Cedar, Bahama Blue, Cerise and Glacier.


Bleached White, Bunny Hill Blue, Citrine, Clementine, Capri, Boysenberry and Horizon Blue are your best bets if using Moda’s Bella Solids.


Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture Solids in Bright White, Fog, Grass, Orange, Malibu, Jewel and Marine are shown in this photograph.


And although Windham doesn’t have their own line of solids, a number of Marcia Derse’s Palette collection textured solids work well.


Solids from the Free Spirit Designer Essentials and Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids that match the color palette are: Mist, Silver, Solar, Carrot, Bahamas, Tropical and Baltic (Solar” is temporarily unavailable and not pictured here.)

Once you have some of these solids on hand, it is easy to pull prints from your stash that coordinate.  Yes, you can certainly use prints too!  Here is a collection of prints I had on hand that coordinate with the palette.  As you can see, my stash is weaker in some areas than in others but a trip to the quilt store could solve that problem quickly.

When choosing prints, it is best to look for monochromatic/tone on tone prints rather than those that include other colors since those colors may not be part of this color palette.


We’ve reached out to fabric shops and shared this palette so that they could make fabric bundles available to you in their shops. That’s an easy way to start gathering your fabric for this project.

The following sponsors have bundles for this challenge:


Pink Castle Fabric

Pink Chalk Fabrics

Rock Paper Scissors

Sew Modern

The Intrepid Thread 

We hope that this information is helpful. If you have any questions you can post them in the forums on Community here, or feel free to email us at


Are you or your guild interested in becoming a part of the MQG?
Read about membership here.

QuiltCon Quilt Show: The Judging Process

This is post 3 of a series of posts on the QuiltCon Quilt Show.  You can see the first post here and the second post here.

The Judging Process

The MQG has listened carefully to feedback on the judging process at QuiltCon 2013 and we are working to improve the judging experience for our members and the judging process for our judges and volunteers. The MQG is committed to developing a competitive experience that is positive for all involved and which will allow our members to receive feedback which will be encouraging and allow them to set goals for improving their work if they so desire.

A panel of three judges, one of whom will be an NQA certified judge, will conduct the judging process at QuiltCon. The quilts will be judged with an elimination process rather than a points system. Quilts will be organized by category. Each category of quilts will be “fanned”or held up in front of the judges one at a time so that the judges can view each quilt at a distance and get an overall impression of the quilt, evaluate the overall design and see the general appearance. Judges will consider individual design elements and how they have been combined to create an effective, impactful design. The judges will have an evaluation form to use as a guide during judging. We will share the form as soon as it is in its final version, but essentially the quilts will be judged on Design and Composition, Overall Appearance, and Workmanship.

The quilts will then be examined individually, on a flat surface, so that the judges can view the quilt up close and examine workmanship, applique, quilting, edge finishing techniques and visual detail. Quilts can be held up again at the judges’ request. The judges will discuss each quilt as a team and decide on feedback for the quilter that will be written verbatim by a volunteer scribe. The judges at QuiltCon will be asked to give a minimum of three pieces of positive feedback for the quilter and if the judges deem appropriate, constructive feedback which will help the quilter improve.

After a quilt has been examined individually the judges will decide if the quilt will be released or held for a possible award. After all quilts have been judged, the held quilts will be reevaluated as a group and individually to determine the awarding of ribbons. It is at this time that judges may recommend that quilts be held for special awards such as Best Machine Quilting.

Each quilter will receive their feedback sheet from the judges with the return of their quilt. We hope the comments and feedback will be taken in the spirit in which they were intended. No judging process is perfect and final results will vary based on the individuals involved. Every effort will be made to conduct the judging process in a professional, impartial manner.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

The Education Committee

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge!

We are thrilled to announce the QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge! This is one of the MQG’s largest-scale charity projects and we look forward to getting as many guilds as possible involved in the challenge.

The 2015 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge is a bit different from the 2013 QuiltCon Block challenge. Please read carefully.

This year’s challenge requires participating Modern Quilt Guilds to work collaboratively to create completed quilts using a predetermined color palette and alternate grid work design. This can be accomplished by using blocks of different sizes, adding negative space, or in numerous other creative ways. We’ll have a series of blog posts about design and color for these quilts.

Week of August 18: Working with the Color Palette

Week of August 25: What is Alternate Grid Work and How to Use It

Leaders of all of the local MQGs will be sent a sign up link in order to get their guild signed up. Please make sure this is filled out by September 30, 2014.

The MQG will feature selected guilds and their quilts in a series of blog posts about these charity quilts in Spring 2015. So make sure you get your leaders your best photos of your process and stories!

Something else that is a bit different this year is guilds will be able to donate the finished quilt to their local communities! After the quilts are displayed at QuiltCon, guilds are asked to donate the completed quilt to their local children’s shelters.

The deadline for these quilts is January 3, 2015.

Attention Individual members!

If you are interested in contributing to a quilt bee style, fill out the form we will be sending in email soon. We will work to get groups together according to zip code and/or country to keep your traveling/shipping charges low.

In Review:

Guild Leaders and Individual Members sign up via the online form the receive via emailed newsletter.

Design the quilt!

  • Guilds will complete a quilt using the predetermined color palette of white, light gray, chartreuse, burnt orange, sky blue, cerise and a deep turquoise.
  • Guilds will complete a quilt using alternate grid work.
  • If your guild decides to use a pattern, be sure to get permission from the pattern designer!


Work Together

  • Your guild and/or members will provide the blocks for the quilt.
  • Your guild will provide batting, backing, binding and additional fabric to complete the quilt top.
  • Quilts should be no smaller than 68”x 88” and not greater than 72” x 92”
  • Quilting must be no farther apart than 2”. These quilts will be used, so please make sure they are sturdy.
  • Machine sewn bindings are ok.

Blog Post (optional)

  • Your guild will submit an optional blog post with 3-4 accompanying photos discussing the process of designing and completing your guild’s quilt by January 14, 2015.
  • We will email directions on submitting your content in October.

If you need help, please visit the Community site or feel free to email our QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge Coordinator, (Amy Friend at

Thank you for your interest in completing the QuiltCon 2015 Charity Quilt Challenge.

The following sponsors have bundles for this challenge:


Pink Castle Fabric

Pink Chalk Fabrics

Rock Paper Scissors

Sew Modern

The Intrepid Thread 

Are you or your guild interested in becoming a part of the MQG? Read about membership here.

QuiltCon Quilt Show Entry Process

This is post 2 of a series of posts on the QuiltCon Quilt Show.  You can see the first post here.

Next up from the Education Committee are the details about the QuiltCon Quilt Show entry process.

First, you’ll need to decide if you want to enter a quilt in the general show or tackle one of our show challenges. Let’s get you the details about those challenges:

Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture Challenge:

Members will receive eight fat eighths of fabric when they sign up for this challenge. Quilts primarily use solids from Michael Miller’s Spring Cotton Couture Pastels. Additional solid Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabrics are permitted. Michael Miller prints are permitted on the binding and the back. These quilts will then be entered it into the Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture Challenge category! The top prize for this category is $500! All MQG members have been emailed a newsletter with details of how to get fabric from Michael Miller. Space is limited, so if you’re interested you’ll have to sign up now! Remember that you don’t have to get the free fabric to be involved – all you have to do is use the Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture line in your quilt!

Panasonic Bias Tape Applique Challenge:

What better way to flex your creative modern quilt design muscles than to make use bias tape applique in your design? Make a modern quilt featuring bias tape applique and submit it to the Panasonic Bias Tape Applique Challenge. You could win the $500 prize sponsored by Panasonic! Watch an MQG tutorial on how to make bias tape here.

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of getting your quilts submitted!

Quilt entry is online and you may access the entry form on Art Call, here.  You may submit up to three quilts per registration and more than one registration is allowed. The entry fee for each registration is $30 whether it’s 1 quilt or 3. The process is easy and self-explanatory, but you’ll want to have a few things prepared before you begin the entry process.

What to prepare

The first decision you will need to make is if your quilt will be entered as part of the judged show or for exhibit only. While the QuiltCon quilt show is primarily a judged show, you have an option to choose not to have your quilt judged. If you enter your quilt for exhibit only, and it is juried in, it will hang with the other quilts, but it will not be judged and it will not be eligible for any of the show prizes.

You’ll also need to decide if you’d like your quilt to be for sale while it’s hanging at QuiltCon. Remember that you can’t retroactively decide to not sell it, so think ahead as you make this decision!

Before you go online to enter, have jpeg photographs of your quilt ready to upload before you start the process. You will need a flat shot of the quilt that shows the entire quilt including the binding as well as a close-up of the quilt that shows the piecing and quilting in detail. Clear, well-lit, quality photographs are essential. You want your quilt to look its best and the jury to be able to see the whole quilt and the detail clearly. This is not the time to take fancy photos with cute backgrounds that have the quilt draped or folded over a chair. Read this information for more information on photographing your quilt for show entry.

You will also need:

  1. The name of your quilt
  2. Dimensions of the quilt
  3. Names of all the makers who contributed to the making of the quilt including the quilter or binder
  4. Information on the design source, inspiration, pattern, technique or design process used in the quilt (It is essential that you have documented permission for designs that are not your own.)
  5. A 100-word description of the inspiration, story, or making of the quilt. This description may be read to the judges to help them understand the quilt, so please don’t include information which will allow them to identify the maker.

Remember, if you don’t enter you have no chance to be part of this amazing modern quilt show so don’t hold back and get your beautiful modern quilts entered into the QuiltCon Quilt Show! You have until November 30th, 2014, so get sewin’!

-See you then!
The MQG Education Committee

Are you or your guild interested in becoming a part of the MQG? Read about membership here.

Michael Miller Fabric Challenge: The Winners are…



We are so pleased to announce the three winners of the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge.

Picnic Petals by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill a Southern Connecticut MQG Member

scifaldi FRONT

The inspiration for my quilt, Picnic Petals, was the Petal Pinwheels fabric collection as a whole, but specifically the Tile Pile pattern. Going into the challenge, I looked at a lot of photos of pinwheels, flowers and sketched elements of these objects to study how I could convey organic shapes and movement and a block quilt. As a relatively new quilter (only 2 years), this was the first time I worked with curved elements. This challenge encouraged me to work with fabric patterns and techniques I might not normally work with. Many thanks to The Modern Quilt Guild, Michael Miller Fabrics and the wonderfully-talented women of the newly formed Southern Connecticut Modern Quilt Guild. They are constant source of inspiration and knowledge for me.


Spinning Mills by Michelle Hart a Phoenix MQG Member


My inspiration for this quilt started with the name of the collection, Petal Pinwheels. I knew I wanted the quilt to show a lot of movement. I used a combination of colors from Cotton Couture solids, Petal Pinwheels fabrics, and a few from my stash to create the geometric design. I wanted to offset this with contrasting quilting to add another layer of movement. I quilted it using coral, yellow, green and turquoise 50 wt. Aurifil. The lines started more compact and then spread out like a ripple in water. The back is leftover scraps and dark gray dumb dots.  It is a simpler design, but just as fun as the front. This was a very fun challenge to put together!


and the moon at night by Colleen Molen an Individual member


My inspiration for this quilt came while browsing for a new kindle cover. I was drawn to a piece of art and knew I had to make it into a quilt. This is the most fun I have ever had throughout the entire quilt-making process, from design to choosing just the right solids, and even quilting concentric circles and burying hundreds and hundreds of thread ends. Sewing the binding on (by hand, which I hardly ever do!) happened during an emotional time for me. As I thought about what to name it, several people suggested names related to the sunrise. I was reminded of an old Broadway song and knew that “with the sun in the mornin’ and the moon in the evening” I’d be all right. And I feel happy every time I look at it hanging on my wall.

Congratulations to all of you!

There were so many amazing entries to this challenge that a congrats is due to all of the participants. Thanks so much to all of our wonderful and talented members for making this another successful challenge.

Are you or your guild interested in becoming a part of the MQG? Read about membership here.

Michael Miller Fabric Challenge Top Nine!


We had over 750 entries for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge! Everything from clocks to quilted jackets. The competition was fierce…but we were able to narrow it down to the nine top entries. The rest is up to Michael Miller to pick the top three!

Those three lucky winners will be announced on August 1st and they will receive a posting on the Michael Miller blog and “A year of Free Fabric”.

MMF Top 9

Tammy Lawson-Indianapolis MQG, Colleen Molen-Individual Member, Deb Westerberg-Lake Superior MQG, Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill-Southern Connecticut MQG, Judy Durant-Seacoast MQG, Kim Simpson-Melbourne MQG, Abby West-Individual Member, Cath Hall-Portland MQG, Michelle Hart-Phoenix MQG

Click on the photo to see the gallery.

Congratulations to all of you! As well as all the participants. Check out #mqgfabricchallenge and #michaelmillerchallenge to see some outstanding projects!

Are you or your guild interested in becoming a part of the MQG? Read about membership here.

QuiltCon 2015 Quilt Show!

Did you know that QuiltCon quilt show entries are now open?!? Think you want to enter the show? Wondering what you need to know before you do? This series of posts will provide information that will help you understand what will happen before, during and after the show. Jacquie Gering has been leading the Education Committee, made up of 17 members, on revamping judging for QuiltCon 2015. The MQG Education Committee has been hard at work at these posts so they will be jam packed with loads of information for you!


TODAY!: Show Overview and Choosing Your Quilt

Post 2: Challenge Details + The Submission Process

Post 3: Judging

Post 4: Post Show

Ok – so let’s get to it and dive into the first post of the series!

Quilt Show Overview & Choosing Your Quilt

QuiltCon is the convention of the Modern Quilt Guild and the quilt show, as the main event, is our opportunity to showcase the spectacular work of our members from around the world. In order to enter a quilt you need to be a member of the MQG. Not a member yet? Join here.

The first step is to submit a quilt for consideration. Quilt submissions opened July 1, 2014 and close November 30, 2014 so you have lots of time to get a fantastic modern quilt made to submit!

Submitted quilts will not automatically be part of the quilt show. There is limited hanging space at the venue, all submitted quilts will undergo a jurying process to choose the quilts that will ultimately hang in the show. Think carefully about the quilt(s) you’d like to enter. The jurors will look for quilts that fit the modern aesthetic as defined for our guild:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

Quilts do not have to have all of the characteristics of the aesthetic, but since this is a modern quilt show we are looking for modern quilts. The jury will also be looking for quilts with visual impact and quilts that are well made. Quilts will be chosen so that the show is balanced in each of the categories. We want to showcase the best work of our members. If you’re unsure about what is a modern quilt, we recommend you take the time to watch Heather Grant’s webinar that is available free to members on the MQG Community website.

How do you choose which quilt(s) should be entered into a show?

  • The quilt doesn’t have to be brand new, but it does have to be in great shape and made in the past four years.
  • The quilt should be clean and shouldn’t have stains, pet hair, tears, or worn areas. You can of course also make a quilt especially for entry into the show.
  • Pick your best work. Choose a quilt that has maximum visual impact, a quilt viewers at the show will walk up to, or move over to from across the room, and say, “Wow!” about.
  • Submitted quilts will need to fit into one of the categories listed below. Read the category definitions carefully to determine where your quilt fits. The jury and judges will make the final category determinations for quilts that hang in the show. Your quilt may fit into multiple categories, that is ok!

Quilts will be placed in the following categories based on entry:

Group or Bee Quilts – Modern quilts made by 3 or more people

Small quilts –  A quilt that fits into the categories listed below that measures 36″ or less per side. The quilt can be any shape as long as it does not exceed the size limit. The challenge is open to individuals or groups. Individuals may only be involved in one quilt or group.

Quilting Challenge – Bias Tape Applique, sponsored by Panasonic – Quilts that include either machine or hand sewn bias tape as part of the main design element.

Fabric Challenge – Cotton Couture Pastels, sponsored by Michael Miller – Quilts must primarily use Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture Pastels. Coordinating Michael Miller prints and cotton couture fabrics are permitted.

Youth – Entrants 18 years and younger


Quilts will be placed in the following categories during the judging process:

Applique – Quilt includes either machine or hand layering of fabric where the quilt’s primary focus is applique.

Handwork – Quilt includes at least one element of handwork including, but not limited to: hand piecing, hand quilting, embroidery, redwork, cross stitch, crewel, etc. Hand stitched binding does not qualify as handwork.

Improvisation – Quilt is pieced improvisationally (without the use of a defined pattern or templates).

Minimalist Design –The design of the quilt emphasizes extreme simplification of content and form to achieve maximum visual impact.

Use of Negative Space – Quilt design incorporates a creative or significant use of negative space which is integrated into and/or organizes the composition of the quilt.

Piecing – Quilts that are machine pieced and reflect a particularly strong or innovative use of piecing.

Modern Traditionalism – Quilt design incorporates the use of an identifiable traditional block pattern and modernizes it by applying design elements such as alternate grid work, asymmetry, color, scale, etc.

The Details:

  • The maximum perimeter of a quilt in the show is 480″. If a quilt is accepted and larger then 480” it will not be able to hang.
  • Quilts entered in the show must have been made in the four years before QuiltCon 2015 happens, so no quilt that was made before February 2011 may be entered in the show.
  • All entered quilts will not make it into the show. Does that mean it’s not a beautiful quilt or that it’s not a quality quilt? No, it doesn’t. It simply means that it didn’t get into the show. Sure, you might be disappointed, but no risk, no reward.

In the next post we’ll review all the information you’ll need for the submission process.

-See you then!

The MQG Education Committee