QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Wintry Mix” by Seacoast MQG

By Kali Zirkle, Charity Quilting Chair

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The Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild is located in the coastal areas of southern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts, and we wanted to represent ourselves and what we would be experiencing in February while QuiltCon was happening in Pasadena. After some discussion we decided to use Charity Quilting Chairperson Kali Zirkle’s idea of a wintery outdoor scene with a red barn in an icy low volume background as the basis for our improv with intent.

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On a Saturday in July at our guild meeting, we came armed with scraps in the given colors and our sewing machines to begin to create the quilt. Peg Connolly focused on piecing the red for the barn, Judy Durant focused on the area of sun peeking through the clouds, and most of the other sewists focused on creating a low volume background that had hints of icy blue mixed in. Everyone worked from a pile of fabric left on a cutting table in the center of the room and as the pieces got larger they were added to a portable design wall. Once we had a few sections made we started to piece them together and begin thinking about the placement of the barn within the quilt. After the meeting a small group got together to finish piecing the top, Jessica Benoit May pieced the back, and it was handed off to our 2016 guild president, Mary Gregory of See Mary Quilt for the quilting. She quilted dense swirls over the entire quilt which give it great texture and movement and attached the binding.

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The quilt was donated to HAWC, Healing Abuse Working for Change, located in Salem, Massachusetts.

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QuiltCon Charity Spotlight: “This Quilt is Our Quilt” by the Tulsa MQG

By Kris Farnsworth, Charity Quilt Project Manager

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When the Tulsa Modern Quilt Guild first heard the guidelines for the 2016 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge, the concept of “Improv with Intent” immediately inspired some of us to look at various project ideas. The thought of breaking an image down into pieces and individuals creating improv blocks to match those quickly found some support. In deciding on a subject, we considered superheroes, pop art, florals, architecture, and portraits. When one member mentioned Woody Guthrie as a possible subject, it seemed a great choice: he is a native of Oklahoma, and the Woody Guthrie Center is located right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In fact, the husband of one of our members is on the board of the Woody Guthrie Coalition, so we had an “in” with a possible charity!

Now that we had a plan, we needed to generate enthusiasm and ease the apprehension of some members who were intimidated by the project. We decided to do a trial run with a different image. While the process of making the blocks proved quite a challenge for some members, when the final product was assembled, they were impressed with the outcome and ready to tackle Woody (with the understanding that when doing the larger project, most of the individual blocks would be less complex, with a good number of background blocks needed of simple improv in one color).

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As project manager, I took our digital inspiration and cut it into images to each inspire a 5”x5” (finished size) block and named them each with coordinates in a spreadsheet to make assembling the finished blocks easier. We ordered fabric and distributed all the material and images. In order to kick the project off, we hosted a sew day to share techniques and advice.

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As the blocks started to be turned in, they were identified, labeled, checked for size, and given a trim if necessary. We held another sew day to create some time to focus on knocking out more blocks and to start assembling the top. When we first laid out the loose blocks and started to see how it was coming together, we all felt added motivation to see the finished product and were ready to tackle the remaining blocks.

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Once all the blocks were in, they were all joined into the final quilt top. One of our members, Brenda Shreve (brendasredbarn.com), agreed to quilt the project for us with a combination of matchstick and a guitar/music pantograph with even some lyrics from “This Land Is Your Land” thrown in! Then all it needed was the binding, sleeve and label.

The Woody Guthrie Coalition, a nonprofit corporation, hosts the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in mid-July to commemorate Guthrie’s life and music. The festival is held in Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma with the simple goal of  ensuring Guthrie’s musical legacy.

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Woody Guthrie photo by New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer: Al Aumuller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Never Forgotten by the Melbourne MQ

By Catherine Mollica, member

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For this project, the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild design team was gathered together from a handful of volunteer members. We started by thinking about the landscape of our state, and soon turned closer to home. Our inspiration pictures were those that featured as part of the 5000 Poppies Project commemorating the ANZAC campaign centenary 1915-2015, which marked a significant nation-building time for the new federation of Australia and the sacrifice of young men in the trenches of Europe and the Middle East during WWI. During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground. The sight of poppies on the battlefield at Ypres in 1915 moved Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write the poem “In Flanders fields.” In English literature of the 19th century, poppies had symbolised sleep or a state of oblivion; in the literature of the First World War, a new, more powerful symbolism was attached to the poppy — the sacrifice of shed blood.

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Many a quilter has looked at Federation Square in the heart of our city and wondered how they could recreate its angular features in fabric. We quickly realised that the images from the 5000 Poppies Project presented a unique inspiration: The background of Fed Square (as locals fondly call it) places us wholly in the present; the sea of poppies represents remembrance for heritage, respect for history and a nod to our traditional quilting roots. In addition, the actual sea of crafted poppies was created by a global creative volunteer collaboration.

This translated beautifully to the colour palette chosen for the MQG challenge this year. The grey, cream and black showed the glass, frames and unique shapes of Fed Square, and the yellow and blue represent the reflected sky and neighbouring Flinders Street Station. We asked members to contribute shades of red to allow great variety in the petals of the poppies.

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We were inspired by the challenge to improvise with intent, and ran collaborative construction sessions so that we could explore our framework and try to develop the design as a group. At first many of us felt daunted at the task, but once we started to get some shapes on our floor-based ”design wall” we felt excitement at seeing the concept develop. We had “check ins” periodically during each session, to gather round the blocks and see where it was heading, and to discuss what we liked and didn’t like. The discussion and exchange were what moved the quilt forward, and these moments of re-examining and evolving were wonderful! It was exciting to hear everyone’s observations and be open to changing what we had done as we made new discoveries.

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Our final quilt reflects input from everyone who worked on it and problem solved when everyone became very aware of the extra time needed to improvise and fit irregular pieces together, rather than following a repeating pattern. We’ve enjoyed the process of developing this quilt together — working outside our comfort zone at times but discovering new ways of working and improvising. We’re very proud of our finished quilt, which will ultimately benefit a local charity in the coming months.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: “Sew Pieceful Together in the Desert” by the Phoenix MQG

By Bonnie Bobman, Quiltcon Charity Quilt Project Manager

After reviewing the MQG prompts and video, the PHXmqg discussed what “Improv with Intent” means to us. We talked about the challenge that improvisational quilting brings to many sewing tables. We found that only one of our members truly worked with an improvisational direction in her quilting. More importantly was that many of the members were eager to learn but never knew how to approach this fantastic method! 

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Our intent for the Quiltcon charity quilt journey was to take this wonderful opportunity to learn together and join our many varied backgrounds and improvising our way to become one solid, cohesive group.

One member led a workshop on improv quilting as well as provided a home video where we could see the process and revisit the clip any time. The most important part of the process was to let go, have fun and, of course, have no rules! We tried to be concerned with only the moment and not so much the outcome. It’s easier to reign yourself back in but it is so much harder to break down the structure on our conventional quilt piecing.

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During our workshop, everyone was instructed to bring only rotary cutters and self-healing mats. Making that first random cut without a ruler was probably the most challenging step for those new to improv piecing. But once the first unmeasured cut was complete, the next came easier, and those that followed were even better! We experimented with curves, slicing, dicing and using tiny bits to create larger pieced segments. You could see the relieved, surprised and excited expressions of accomplishment all around the room!

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We had collected close to fifteen miscellaneous sized blocks. The project manager had permission to put them together and fill in the gaps to create one focus “fabric” for the quilt top. In the true improv method, the final design came from playing with the fabric until it reflected the group’s direction — togetherness.

Once the top and back was complete, the quilting was balanced and simple. The quilt went to another member for binding where she had full reign to do what she liked. Finishing touches of the sleeve and label were done by our final member. 

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We strive to have a learning environment within our guild; sharing our boundless talents and insights from all of our members. This group challenge was just one of many creative projects we have here in our Arizona guild. Our intent was to reach a very important, intangible and supremely crucial goal for our guild: to create a sense of cohesiveness within a chapter that is blessed with wonderful members from so many places — Alaska to Mexico, Connecticut to California. We are indeed a living form of a “quilt in the desert”!

More pictures on phoenixmodernquiltguild.com.

QuiltCon 2017 Charity Quilt Challenge

The QuiltCon Charity Challenge is one of the MQG’s largest-scale charity projects, and we look forward to getting as many member guilds and individual members involved as possible.

The QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge is open to MEMBERS ONLY. Become a member today!

Guilds will donate the finished quilt to their local communities! After the quilts are displayed at QuiltCon, guilds are asked to donate the completed quilt to a local charity your guild supports.

The 2017 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge is a bit different from the 2016 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge. Please read carefully.

This year’s challenge requires participants to work collaboratively to create completed quilts using a predetermined color palette while crafting a design that plays with scale.

About the Challenge

Working with the Color Palette

The color palette can be described as:

Quiltcon Charity Quilt Palette 2017See a complete list of coordinating solid fabrics at quiltcon.com.

Once you have some of these solids on hand, it is easy to pull prints from your stash that coordinate. Yes, you can use prints! If your group prefers, it can be all prints. When choosing prints, it’s best to look for monochromatic/tone-on-tone prints rather than those that include other colors outside the color palette. No additional neutrals are permitted, only those included in the color palette.

Playing with Scale and How to Use It

Carefully chosen guidelines are so important when working with a group. Start your planning with a brainstorming session where all members can contribute ideas. If everyone feels invested in the plan, there will be better follow through. Consider not only the theme, but also how to best use the color palette and keep the other MQG aesthetics in mind as well. Nominate a Project Manager (see below for more on that) and make sure that person will be available through QuiltCon 2017 to receive and follow through with emails regarding the challenge.

Fly Away by Heather Jones

Fly Away by Heather Jones

You could decide to go with large-scale piecing. The overall design would be created with large pieces of fabric and a simple overall design. This might mean designing a quilt with one large block balanced in negative space. Heather Jones uses large-scale piecing in many of her designs. Check out her website for inspiration.

Untitled by Lindsay Stead

Untitled by Lindsay Stead

Lindsay Stead’s 2015 QuiltCon entry is another great example of large-scale piecing.

Log Cabin WIP by Chawne Kimber

Log Cabin WIP by Chawne Kimber

Or, you could go the opposite way and make blocks with very tiny pieces. This type of scale play is very popular right now. Chawne Kimber has made many modern quilts crafted from tiny (1/4”!) pieces. Please visit her website as well.

i Quilt by Kathy York

i Quilt by Kathy York

You could use multiple sizes of the same block in your quilt design. The Quilt Con 2015 Best in Show winner, Kathy York’s “i Quilt” is a great example.

Emergent by Kari Vojtechovsky

Emergent by Kari Vojtechovsky

Emergent by Kari Vojechovsky uses a combination of large scale piecing and smaller piecing in one cohesive design.

If you want to incorporate prints into your quilt design, you could choose prints with the same graphic element in different sizes. For example, one fabric might have 4-inch circles, another might have circles that are a half inch in diameter. You could scale right down to the pindots. Careful fabric choice is important here to make sure the scale change is obvious and an important part of the overall quilt design.

Pixel Pusher II by Caro Sheridan

Pixel Pusher II by Caro Sheridan

You might also think about pixelation. Pixelation and scale are closely related, especially when cropping comes into play. Pixelation can be the magnification of an object rather than the way most people think of it as low resolution.

Pixelation and scale are very closely involved especially when cropping comes into play. Pixelation can be the magnification of object rather than the way most people use it as low-res.

Resources

Organizing Your Guild’s Challenge

Determine Your Guild’s Project Manager

When you begin discussing this challenge with your guild, we ask that you nominate a QuiltCon Charity Quilt project manager for your guild. She/he will be the point of contact for direct communication between the MQG and your guild. She/he should be the person who signs the guild up for the challenge, oversees the project to make sure things are on schedule, and mails the quilt to QuiltCon. All emails sent about the challenge will be sent to this contact person only. That means that the project manager is responsible for communicating to the guild.

Sign-ups

  • Guilds: Project managers for local guilds can use this form to sign up their guild. Please make sure this is filled out by July 30, 2016. Please have your QuiltCon Charity Quilt project manager sign up.
  • Individual member teams: Individual Members Teams (IMTs) should select a leader who will be the only point of contact for the team. Individual members should sign up by May 15, 2016. IMTs can be formed in two ways:
    • Form their own group: If you want to create your own individual member group, please email Deborah Fisher and provide her with a name for your team and the names and email addresses of the two individuals who will be points of contact for your IMT.
    • Be assigned a group: If you want to be linked up with other members, fill out the form we will be sending via email soon. We will work to get groups together according to zip code and/or country to keep your traveling/shipping costs low.

Design the quilt!

  • Guilds, groups and/or individuals will complete a quilt using the predetermined color palette.
  • Guilds, groups and/or will complete a quilt playing with scale.
  • Patterns are allowed but you must credit the designer and obtain their permission in advance.

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 twin size (generally no smaller than 68”x 88” and not much bigger 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 okay.

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, 2017.
  • We will email directions to participating guilds on submitting your content in October 2016.

Shipping

All quilts must have a sleeve and label.

  • Label: Each charity quilt sent must have a label securely attached to the back of the quilt. We expect that this is a temporary label that you will take off before donating the quilt to your charity. The label should identify your guild/group and contain the return shipping address.
  • Sleeve: Quilts will be hung with sleeves. Charity quilts require 4” sleeves. Quilts received without sleeves will not be hung. We suggest attaching the sleeve in very big stitches, so that it can be removed before sending to the charity, if applicable. Please review Jacquie Gering’s tutorial on how to make and apply a sleeve to your quilt.

The deadline for these quilts is February 3, 2017.

  • Complete details on shipping will be emailed to your project manager in December 2016.
  • If you need help, please visit the Community site or feel free to email our QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge Coordinator, Amy Friend.

Thank you for your interest in completing the QuiltCon 2017 Charity Quilt Challenge. If you or your guild are interested in becoming a part of the MQG, read about membership here!

QuiltCon Charity Spotlight: “Louisiana: Oh What a State We’re In!” by the Quilters’ Guild Acadienne/Mod Squad

By Amy Aderman (Membership Committee Co-chair), Jonelle Archibald (Chair) and Ken Broussard (member)

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 25-year-old traditional guild. We saw this challenge as an opportunity to expose our traditional quilters to the world of modern quilting. We invited all guild members to participate. Quilters of all levels, most of whom were new to modern quilting, accepted. With little or no knowledge of how to begin, we began. 

pieced_charityAs a group, we watched the webinar, “Improv with Intent,” browsed galleries of modern quilts, and discussed how traditional concepts, techniques, and designs can be adapted for modern quilting. Since most of us were modern quilting newbies, we decided to collaborate by sharing ideas, teaching and learning from others. Our number-one priority was for our collaboration to be a fun, social learning process. Working alongside intermediate and advanced quilters, novices soaked up tips, techniques and confidence. They shared their own knowledge as well, and everyone grew from this exciting collaboration.

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The webinar, inspirational photos and state maps led to a brainstorming session for determining our intent. We decided that we would represent various aspects of our beautiful state, and then connect them all with the winding river. We started with a very rough sketch of the concept. At each sewing session thereafter, team members used his or her imagination to create landmarks, memories, and representational pieces in both abstract and realistic designs. The prescribed color palette, at first a challenge, soon became a source of fun and whimsy, spurring our imaginations. 

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When you view our quilt, visualize the scenes along the Mississippi and its tributaries. Can you find rice fields, crawfish ponds, a shrimp boat and an oil rig? Can you feel the joie de vivre in the vibrant rhythm of jazz and zydeco? Our state flower, bird, tree, and insect each have a place. The tranquility of the rural areas and the energy of the urban scenes flow around each other as one might discover Louisiana.

Whether you’ve lived in Louisiana your whole life, are a transplant from somewhere else, or even a visitor, you can’t help but be inspired.  Just as threads bind the various pieces of a quilt together, the mighty Mississippi is a source of energy stitching together all aspects of our lives: connecting, enriching, sustaining, feeding, and binding us all. 

The Charity Quilt Challenge has stirred the pot within our guild, challenging traditional members — both novices and experts — to taste a genre perhaps unfamiliar to them. We’ve added spice to our pot and a new flavor to our already-rich gumbo.

Mod Squad Charity Quilt Challenge Members (listed alphabetically)
Amy Aderman, Beth Andrepont, Jonelle Archibald, Kenneth Broussard, Nadine Cain, Linda Ducotey, Judy Garber, Beth Glass, Stella Guidry, Marty Mason, Diane Redfearn, and Polly Stacks.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Flying Colors by Anita Lahay

By Anita Lahay, Individual Member

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My QuiltCon Charity quilt “Flying Colors” is inspired by the Hindu Holi Festival. As soon as I saw the color palette I immediately thought of the colored corn starch powders flying through the air. I started searching on the Internet for photos of the festival. In North America there are also “color runs” where people throw colored powders as well. The website for the Calgary color run says it is a race that “celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality.”

I used improv with intent to convey the colors flying out from the bottom left side of the quilt. My main improv choice was slash-and-insert to show movement and direction. The movement of the powders is continued across the quilt with colored thread. There are ribbons, circles indicating powder clumps and particles, arrows and clouds of powder filling the white space of the quilt. The grey fabric indicates the streets people are running and celebrating on.

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When I was piecing the quilt, I originally planned to have the colors running from left to right (blue, red, yellow) along the bottom edge of the quilt and exploding upwards, but when I turned the top sideways to press seams I realized I liked that much better. Since I was free in the improvisational technique to do whatever I wanted, I changed my layout plan halfway through.

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I thought about what happens after the runs and the festival. People would need to wash the colored powders off of their skin. The three large bars in the top left of the quilt are quilted with big drips to show the colors dripping off of people. Immediately below the bars the drips continue in threads of corresponding colors. There are more water drops and more drips quilted with white in the space below the three large bars.

The majority of the white space is filled in with white cloud quilting to represent the clouds of powder in the air and the breath being expelled by the people running.

My favorite part of the challenge was searching for inspiration photos and the quilting after it was pieced. I have never made an “improv with intent” quilt before, and I found myself improvising the quilting too. I would look at an area on the quilt and just let it speak to me with what I should fill in there with thread. The clouds were an area where I could let my mind wander while quilting them. It was a freeing and fun process and definitely took me outside my usual box.

I plan to donate this quilt to the Alberta Cancer Foundation after losing my Aunt Valorie Weir to cancer on Christmas day December 25, 2015.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Spotlight: Kansas City MQG

Completed Quilt 2

The creation of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild QuiltCon 2016 charity quilt, Strata Steps, was truly a group effort. The guild asked members to complete improv strata blocks using one focus color from the list of provided colors. Blocks had to be at least 12” x 12”.

During the presentation of how the guild would be approaching the challenge, Community Service Committee Chair Kristin Marciniak made the tactical error of pointing out that lime green was not one of the MQG-approved colors. She would live to regret that, as the rest of the meeting was peppered with questions like, “What about lime green? Can we use that color?” and “Wait, so the blocks are supposed to be entirely lime green?”

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Members posted on the guild Facebook group as they created their strata blocks and turned them in at the next couple of guild meetings. The KCMQG knows how to keep a joke going, so the threads were filled with lime green jokes and questions. But the more than 20 blocks collected fit the MQG’s color guidelines to a T. (The bag of blocks Kristin received from cheeky friends was another story altogether.)

Top in progress

Members then met at a Community Service Committee sewing day to help determine how to put the blocks together into a quilt top. During the sew day, Kristin and Jaime David posted a picture of the strata blocks on the guild Facebook group to let other members weigh in on how to put the top together. A few recommendations were made and, of course, members made sure to point out the lack of lime green blocks in the photo. Making a decision was harder than we thought, and by the end of the day, a quilt top was still not completed.

Luckily Jacquie Gering volunteered to take the blocks and create a quilt top. With some creative advice from Kim Eichler-Messmer, Jaime, and Denise Best, and some Kona Sunny, Rich Red, and Yarn-Dyed Essex in Black, we had a quilt top! Paula Leber put together the backing for the quilt and Denise quilted it with her long arm. It was then handed off to Shea Henderson for binding and sleeve and label creation. Shea transferred it to Jessica Toye to bring to the January guild meeting where Lesley Latham took over for this blog post and shipping.

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Label ready for labeling

There were quite a few steps and people involved for this quilt to exist, but it was worth it for the oohs and ahhs when the finished quilt was presented to the members during Show & Tell at the January meeting. Thank you to everyone who contributed blocks and/or helped with each step of the creation process. And next year, we’re voting for lime green.

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