Modern Quilt Guild

SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016

The first annual SWO Mod: a modern quilt retreat just happened this past weekend. It was a fantastic weekend spent with fun modern quilters from South Western Ontario.

Grand Ballroom - SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016
Grand Ballroom – SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016

The London and Toronto Modern Quilt Guilds organized and hosted twenty-six modern quilters at the Elmhurst Inn & Spa.

Work space - SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016
Work space – SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016

Our quilting space was in the Grand Ballroom where we had plenty of room to set up our sewing stations, lots of natural light and a constant supply of coffee, tea and snacks.

Quilt Block Game - SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016
Quilt Block Game – SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016

On our first evening, Rebecca hosted her Quilt Block game. Half square triangles in four colours were arranged by the contestants to create a variety of quilt blocks.

Quilt Block Game - SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016
Quilt Block Game – SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016

Here we see Karen and Sheilagh in the final round of competition.

Winner Quilt Block Game - SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016
Winner Quilt Block Game – SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016

Karen was the very happy winner of a fantastic prize of fabrics, notions and pattern! Each person attending also received an amazing swag bag with numerous gifts from:

and so many more!

My door prize was a Hobbs Tuscany Collection Quilt Batt. This batt is a blend of cotton and wool. I was excited because I had wanted to try quilting with a wool batt and now I have the opportunity to try it out! Also included were a package of ColorWorks Microchips by Northcott Fabrics and a couple of fat quaters that coordinate with the Color Works soids.

End - SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016
End – SWO Modern Quilt Retreat 2016

The weekend ended with a few projects completed and many begun. New friendships were formed and the desire to repeat this experience again!

Thanks to Kristyn of the London Modern Quilt Guild and Becky and Andrea of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild for organizing and hosting this great quilting retreat. To see more photos of the event check out #swomodquiltretreat2016.

Inspiration from architecture

I have a fabric challenge that I signed up for and am committed to having a finished piece by the end of November. I had a couple of ideas for the quilt but I haven’t narrowed down the concept so that I can begin.

Stone window panel
Stone window panel

One of my ideas is to use the log cabin block, another is to base the quilt on architecture.

Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor

Looking back at some photos taken on vacation last year may provide the spark that I need.

Mosaic floor tiles
Mosaic floor tiles

Tumbling blocks, rail fence, hexagons, attic windows, these are just a few of the patterns I see.

Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor

Inspiration is all around us, we just have to look for it.


TMQG Postcard Swap – Part 1

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild doesn’t meet during the summer months, but to keep us active our Presidents have organized a Postcard Swap. Interested members of the guild have signed up to make and receive up to three postcards. This is a casual no stress activity with no themes or restrictions, we could do whatever made us happy. I signed up to make three postcards and  will receive three in return.

TMQG postcard flower top
Flowers postcard in process

The postcards only need to be received before August 31st and the participants are asked to bring in the postcards they will receive to the meeting in September.

Flowers postcard with embroidery
Flowers postcard with embroidery

I decided to use some of the beautiful hand dyed fabric left from the Tiny Homes – Fusing Workshop I took with Laura Wasilowski of Artfabrik. I haven’t yet finished the piece I started during this workshop and have small pieces of scraps fused and ready to use.

TMQG Flowers postcard

Once the pieces were fused, I began to add detail with embroidery. I enjoyed this part of the process much more than I expected to. I used embroidery floss and perle cotton, including some I hand dyed! To finish this little flower garden, I embroidered my initials, added a tiny bumble bee and satin stitched the edges with a variegated thread.

I will be posting photos of the other two postcards I made for the swap in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

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!

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…?


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