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Quilt Canada Solids Mini-Quilt Challenge!

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge to its members, create a 14 inch square solid mini-quilt from a select colour palette. No embellishments, no applique, and the quilt had to be bound with a faced binding. The quilts would be put on display during Quilt Canada and the pubic would vote for their favorite.

TMQG solid mini colours
TMQG solid mini colours photo courtesy of TMQG

Seven colours were selected for the palette and only 3 of these or less could be used. The colours are from the top: Storm, School Bus, Peridot, Ash, Berry, Coal, and Pomegranate.

Frond
Frond

I chose to use Pomegranate, Coal, and Ash. I created this piece improvisationally using a log cabin design.

I enjoyed the process and especially loved hearing comments from people viewing the quilts during Quilt Canada.

Frond detail
Frond detail

There were three winners of the Quilt Canada Solids Mini-Quilt Challenge. First prize went to Rebecca Burnett, second prize went to Doris Lovadina-Lee (me!!) and third prize to Lynda Hutchinson.

Many more great photos are on the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild Facebook page and blog. Head on over to see the other entries in the Solids Mini-Quilt challenge and other quilts our quild had on display.

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Circles for the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild

I was the facilitator for the May meeting of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild. One of our new members, Emily, was interested in how to piece curved seams. So, I demonstrated curved piecing – full circles, quarter circles and my favourite – wonky circles. I used Petal Pinwheels fabric from Michael Miller. These are the six fabrics that Michael Miller donated to the  4th annual MQG member’s fabric challenge. I added the Kona solid in green from my stash.

Circles from Petal Pinwheel
Petal Pinwheel Circles

Five tips for successful curved piecing:

  1. Cut your pieces out exactly!
  2. Stitch a precise quarter in seam (a 1/4 inch pressure foot helps!)
  3. Focus only on stitching the half inch or so of the seam in front of your pressure foot
  4. Reduce the length of your stitches
  5. Match the edges accurately at the beginning of the block

When sewing curves, you will need to stitch slowly, sew a few stitches, stop, pivot to readjust the curve, continue sewing a few stitches, stop, and pivot and so on. You are only looking at about 1/2 an inch in front of the pressure foot and in smaller circles, this might only be 1/4 inch or so in front of the foot. Sewing curved seams is not like sewing straight seams where you can quickly sew through piles of blocks in an assembly line. Stitching curves requires focus and time.

Quarter Circles
Quarter Circles

The circles below were the pieces cut out of the background or square fabric. I took these circles, split them and inserted a wedge of the Petal Pinwheels fabric. I then trimmed the block into a circle. I had wanted to make the insert off centre – a little wonky but I didn’t make the cut enough off the centre line. Nevertheless, I am happy with the way they look and will use them in another project.

 

Circles with Petal Pinwheel wedges
Circles with Petal Pinwheel wedges

As for the Modern quilt challenge blocks, I need to think about them a little longer before I decide what I want to do. Should I combine the circles with the wedges? The deadline and my fabric stash will factor into the process!

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Modern Quilt Guild Challenges

The Modern Quilt Guild announced the 4th annual MQG member’s fabric challenge. This year Michael Miller Fabrics is the sponsor. The fabric is from their new collection called Petal Pinwheels.

The rules are super easy: use all or some of the line, add a solid or another Michael Miller fabric and make something quilted. That’s it! So, why is so difficult to make decisions? I’ve participated in 3 other Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenges and they were challenging! Not in the piecing and quilting necessarily, but narrowing my focus in order to decide what I wanted to do.

I determined that I would try something different with each challenge – a new technique, a new block, or a new free motion quilting design. I also decided to use only the amount of challenge fabric provided and to ‘shop’ for additional fabric from my stash. This adds another layer of complexity to the process!

Riley Blake sponsored the 3rd annual MQG members fabric challenge . 6 fat eighths from the Basic category were sent out. The rules: make anything quilted, use any solid or other Riley Blake print. With this challenge I set out to try two new things.

Riley Blake quilt
Riley Blake challenge quilt

I had just seen a demonstration on making half-square triangles and decided to make the biggest half-square triangles I could with the fabric I had! I also tried different free-motion quilting designs in each of the sections. I am happy with the results. I could see improvement in my quilting from the first block I quilted to the last.

With the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge I chose a solid from my stash that I loved. I had purchased the end of the bolt of this particular yellow/green fabric and had a limited quantity. That plus the challenge fabric resulted in this: Urban Habitat.

Urban Habitat
Urban Habitat quilt

I like the Habitat fabric pieced with the solid. I used a light pink to bind it. The top was long arm quilted by Sandy Lindal in an allover design. The angular shape of the quilting with the occasional spiral gives it a modern look.

The MQG challenge in 2011 was sponsored by Robert Kaufman. You can see many of the quilts from the challenge here. My quilt, Sunday Morning was created with the Robert Kaufman Kona Solids 5” charm packs. I added a creamy white solid to act as the sashing. This was the first time I sewed an entire quilt top using fabrics from the same manufacturer and I noticed a difference in the piecing. Since all the fabrics were the same, it sewed together beautifully – no fudging required!

Sunday Morning Quilt
Sunday Morning quilt

My husband suggested the name – he said that the quilt looked like stained glass windows. I machine quilted this one and am not entirely happy with the look of the quilting. I would quilt the top differently if I were to remake this quilt.

How many of you use fabric challenges to try new techniques? In many ways it is liberating to work on a challenge quilt. There is less of an emotional attachment. This could be because the fabrics are donated and the quilt is not being created for a specific person. Fabric Challenge Quilts allow me the opportunity to stretch my technical and design skills without pressure. Some of my most interesting pieces of work come from answering the question: What if…?