Saturday, April 5, 2014

April Meeting Recap

Hi, it's Amy here today filling in for vacationing Laura. Please don't expect the same quality, highly detailed minutes that we are used to because I am a tad bit over committed at the moment. However, I did manage to get photos of all the show and tell projects...I think!

Peg started our meeting by distributing the Michael Miller fabric for the MQG challenge.  Please bring your completed project to the June meeting.

The May meeting will not be held in Portland, ME.  Instead, the meeting on May 3 will be held in West Newbury, MA in a new location.  Try not to get confused...we normally meet at the Town Hall and the new location is also a Town Hall.  It's what locals call the Old Town Hall.  It can be found on Main Street, on the same side of the road as our normal location, opposite the town library.  There is parking in the rear. The location is 491 Main Street, Old Town Hall, West Newbury, MA 01985.  Our meeting will be an improv piecing workshop with Robin and Samantha. Please bring your sewing machine and basic sewing essentials including one fat quarter for your focus fabric.

Samantha introduced the block for next month's lottery.  (Fail number one, I forgot to take a picture of the block).  The chosen block is a Herringbone block.  The tutorial can be found here. An example of a quilt using the block can be found here. Please use bold, bright summer solids or prints that read as solids. One set of stripes should be white. Section 5 should be 6". Check position before sewing on.

Next, we listened to our speaker, Kevin Quigley. (Fail number two, I didn't take a picture of our speaker). He came to us to share helpful hints about improving our quilt photography. His presentation will well researched and prepared. He took many sample photographs of quilts for us so that the presentation really applied to quilt photography, specifically.  He hit upon technical aspects of aperture, etc., how to photograph a quilt and make it appear square for entry into competitions, how to compose interesting and compelling photographs, and tips for processing and organizing our photographs. Thank you Kevin!

Finally, we moved onto our show and tell. Here, I remembered to pick up my camera!

Peg shared this 1" scrappy log cabin quilt that she started ages ago and finished shortly after retreat.

Kali came back from retreat inspired to cut some fabric up and sew it back together and came up with this big quilt top.

Amy shared her completed selvage quilt top that she was working on at the retreat.

Amy also shared Melon Ice, her original paper pieced pattern featured in the May 2014 American Quilter Magazine.

Diane showed her Economy Block quilt that she was working on at retreat.  Do you see the retreat theme here?

She also shared one of 4 quilts she has promised to make out of these sweet butterfly blocks.

And she also finished this mini quilt with some great quilting.

Sarah visited us from the BMQG and shared a baby quilt that she pieced at retreat as well as a pillow she made as a pattern tester. (I apologize but the pillow pic was blurry.)

Stephanie shared a gender neutral baby quilt top that she made at retreat using the Littlest collection by Art Gallery Fabrics.

She also shared her massive feather quilt top, destined for the long arm.  I think she started this one last year at retreat!

Stephanie also shared this herringbone mini that she made as a class sample.

Nancy shared her paper pieced sewing machine cover and paper pieced knitting bag, as well as the hand knit sweater she is wearing.

Samantha has been spending a little time at the end of each project creating made fabric.  What a good idea!

Mary completed her economy block quilt at retreat.

She also finished this colorful scrappy trip quilt.

Always busy, she also finished this do.good.stitches charity quilt!  Check out the quilting!

After show and tell Peg mentioned her desire to create a collaborative SMQG quilt to hang at events.  She is picturing something with made fabric and will iron out the details and share them through email or at the next meeting.

See you all in May!

Monday, March 24, 2014

April meeting agenda

Our April meeting is fast approaching. It will be held on Saturday, April 5 from 10 am to 12 pm at the West Newbury Town Hall Annex on Main Street in West Newbury, MA.

On our agenda this month is our photography workshop, which was rescheduled from January. Please remember to bring your camera(s), whether DSLR, point & shoot, or, let's be real, iPhone, and any questions you may have about quilt photography.

Usual quilt guild business will take place at this meeting as well, including show and tell and the block lottery. If you need it, the lottery block tutorial is here, and the color inspiration photo is here.

Samantha and Robin are still seeking scraps for our improv piecing workshop. Please bring scraps you have to donate of any size to this meeting or the May meeting. Solids are good, Sam says!

Peg hopes that the Michael Miller challenge fabric will be available for distribution at the April meeting. The MQG deadline for photos posted at the forum is June 23. One of my favorite events at our meetings has been voting for a popular guild favorite from each challenge and awarding a small prize. (I love a friendly competition!) This challenge is no exception--we'll be choosing a guild winner at the June meeting and the prize will be the book Playful Little Paper-Pieced Projects, edited by Tacha Bruecher--which contains a project you might recognize, contributed by our own Amy.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March meeting recap

Our March meeting was held at the Fremont Public Library in Fremont NH. Fifteen of our members were able to attend. The air was crackling with cold  excitement for our upcoming retreat at the Franciscan in Kennebunk, Maine! 

Above is a photo of a few block lottery blocks (I took the picture before they were all on the table). I can tell already that the purple and blue color scheme is going to make a lovely jewel-toned quilt for Samantha, our block-lottery commissioner and the winner of this month's blocks! I can just see orchids at the beach, don't you? Next month's lottery block pick is Drop Dead Cute's Starburst block.  Please use "saturated scrappy" as a color scheme--if you need inspiration, check out Drop Dead Cute's finished Starburst quilt.

Judy has wisely suggested that one of the items on our agenda for the retreat should be trying to make and collect blocks for Margaret's Hope Chest. We sent log cabin blocks last fall, and some of them have shown up in a quilt that MHC posted on their blog! Details about the heart blocks they are collecting can be found here. Of special note is that they are always in need of boy-appropriate quilts, so a dig through your blue-green-orange-brown-black-gray scraps may be in order. Judy has graciously offered to mail the blocks we are able to make, so please consider scrap diving and spending a few minutes sewing up a simple patchwork heart.

The sign-ups for the Michael Miller MQG fabric challenge are complete. If you told Peg that you would like to participate, the fabric will be shipping to Peg in mid-March and should be available by our April meeting. The MQG deadline for finished project photos is June 23. All the details can be found here, at the MQG's blog.

Diane thanked our guild for allowing our Riley Blake Challenge pieces to be displayed at the East Kingston Public Library for the month of February. I found a blog post featuring two of our quilts at the library's blog, here!

Samantha and Robin are teaching an improv workshop at the September meeting. They are asking that we donate scraps of any shape and size so they can prep them for the class. (Solids are appreciated.) Please bring the scraps to the April and May meetings so that they have time to prep them for our use.

At Show and Tell, Laura showed a Briar Rose quilt she finished this month. The block is Boy's Nonsense by Where the Orchids Grow.

Barbara finished a project bag as a gift (I think there were inside pieces I didn't get a photo of)

is working on a birthday gift for Nancy (four gingerbread men with hearts--appropriate!)

and finished this lovely felt pillow. The pieces are hand-appliqued with beautiful fine tiny stitching. I didn't get a photo of the back but Barbara chose a print from Allison Glass's Clover Sunshine--it looks wonderful with the red flower on the front!

Kali finished a orange-and-gray commissioned baby quilt. She used Disappearing Nine Patch, which people remarked looks very different depending on the background you choose! 

Kali pieced the cute fox-y backing using a diagonal seaming technique that cuts down on backing fabric waste. The diagonal backing calculator can be found here.

Kali also finished her Dear Stella Piper quilt that she showed at a meeting last year. I love how grown-up the pattern makes this line look--the black framing is just the thing to set off some of those white-background prints.

Nancy showed a paper-pieced-and-quilted panel for a tote she is making (pay careful attention, you may have deja vu in a moment)

and Mary's Catvent quilt is finished and hanging on her wall. Her rainbow of colors would bust any winter blues.

Mary also got bitten by the Economy Block bug, only she smartly added several solids to let her scrappy blocks breathe. I hate to choose favorites but this is one of my favorite Economy Block quilts yet!

Jess made a gift for her one-year-old nephew out of a panel she picked up at our unloved-fabric auction last November. I was glad she was able to stop and show it off on her way to the party!

Jess also finished this quilt from her auction haul (I believe this is Stephanie's Castle Peeps leftovers). Beautiful!

Sue Ann tried out Victoria Findlay Wolfe's made-fabric technique and made a Dresden star of her own design. She used decorative stitches and yellow threat to do the quilting. A beautiful use of scraps! (She also recommended the Frixion pen, which I found here.)

Karin made some cute zippy pouches

a whole bunch of Chicopee throw pillows (she says there are three more at home!)

and her Riley Blake challenge project, which she wasn't able to show at our January meeting. 

Are you having deja vu? Amy showed off her paper-pieced sock knitting block, which she designed and offered for sale at her Craftsy and Etsy shops this month.

This is a navy, gray, and coral quilt that Amy made in February. The tutorial is at the Sizzix blog if you are interested in trying it out.

And Amy also got bitten by the Economy bug, but she riffed on the design a bit and used her own paper-piecing pattern that makes the blocks a bit bigger. (She's offered it as a free download on Craftsy.) I love how she used the light value prints to unify her crazy here--a different take than Mary's, but both are so smart!

Peg finished a larger EPP hexie cushion. She says she doesn't let her boys play with this one on the floor :)

Nancy taught us some bias binding magic--I'll keep her handout close at hand the next time I bind a quilt that will get a lot of washing and wear. 

Other magic tips that got shared:

--the 4-at-a-time sandwich HST method (Paula) (see a tutorial here)
--use your clear quilting ruler to measure from the side of your fabric, don't use your mat, which could be inaccurate (Samantha) (also, different brands of rulers could be calibrated differently!)
--use Bottom Line thread from Superior Threads in your bobbin when quilting (several folks mentioned this to me when I had some quilting difficulties this week)

Final quick link: retreat information can be found HERE

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

March Meeting Agenda

On Saturday, March 1, from 10 am to 12 pm, we will hold our March meeting at the Fremont Public Library in Fremont NH. If you are using Google Maps or GPS, the address is "Jackie Bernier Drive." It is a private drive so there is no street number.

Nancy will be teaching a bias binding how-to. In addition, we will be holding show and tell (remember to bring the projects you made in January too, because we skipped show and tell in February!)

Remember to bring your Converging Corners block (plus $1 per block lottery entry) in colors purple and blue, with white solid background fabric.

Nancy will also be asking for volunteers to bring snacks and drinks in the coming couple of weeks.

Hope to see everyone there!

Petal Pinwheels MQG Fabric Challenge!

The details are in...

The sponsor for the next MQG fabric challenge is Michael Miller fabrics. The collection, pictured above, is called Petal Pinwheels. Fabric is expected to ship sometime in March. Final projects are due June 23rd, 2014. 

For those who have completed past MQG fabric challenges, the rules are quite similar: you can add any solids or Michael Miller printed fabric; you don't have to use all the fabrics; you must make something quilted. 

Are you SEW in? Email Peg by February 26 to request your spot in the challenge!

For complete details at the MQG blog (and to see the source of the borrowed photo, above) click here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February meeting recap

Our February meeting was held February 1 at the Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham, NH. Seventeen people were able to attend. Seventeen of us made for plenty of colorful Economy Blocks for the block lottery! Kali was our lucky winner--what a lovely quilt she has started for her.

Peg opened the meeting with a few items of business. 
  • Riley Blake Challenge photos are due on the Modern Quilt Guild website by February 17. I'm unable to link to the page where you need to post photos because it is a members-only site. However, you will need to 1) log into your Modern Quilt Guild member account; 2) Click the "Forums" tab in the upper right hand corner (Note: if Forums isn't a choice, choose Community, then Forums); 3) Click "MQG Fabric Challenges", right now this is the third option in the list; 4) Finally, click "Sticky: FINISHED Riley Blake Challenge Photos!" You can then hit the "Quick Reply" button and add a photo in your post by clicking the little mountain icon on the far right. 
  • Our Lottery Block for next month is the Converging Corners block by Film in the Fridge. Click through to the tutorial! Please make one block per $1 entry. Our chosen color scheme is blues and purples, with white background fabric.
  • The Northampton MQG has invited us to do a mini quilt swap in the spring. We'll be looking for 10 or so members to swap a mini quilt on a given theme. More information is coming.
  • Payments for the retreat are due by 2/16. Choose your button carefully, and pay here. If you haven't signed up, don't despair, but also don't hesitate--there is one spot left. I'm looking forward to spending a few days sewing with you-all from March 13/14-16!
  • If you're looking to beat the February blues, nothing beats 'em like fabric. (Trust me I know.) On February 20-22 in Nashua, NH, there will be a huge fabric extravaganza at the Holiday Inn. Sew Fresh Fabrics will be one of the vendors! Check out the details at Amy's Facebook page.
  • Finally, one of our upcoming programs will be an improv piecing workshop, run by our own Samantha and Robin, who have taken Denyse Schmidt's improv piecing workshop. They have asked that guild members bring them scraps over the next three meetings (March, April, May). Any size, shape or color will work!
For our Show and Tell this month, we showed only Riley Blake Challenge projects.

Laura's is a quote from The Little House on the Prairie.

Judy attempted--and succeeded at!--her first paper-piecing and made this cheerful tote bag.

Nancy made a Noodlehead purse pattern, using pieced and quilted panels. I know this bag would drive away any winter blues I have!

Debbie says this piecing made her brain hurt. Maybe it hurts the brain but it is easy on the eyes! I think she said this is destined for a pillow top.

Robin made some Tula Pink City Sampler blocks and set them improv-style into a quilt. 

Stephanie's Showstopper mini was our guild's winner, by popular vote. She won a copy of Ayumi Takahashi's Patchwork Please! I'm awed by all of her perfect points, and the texture her spiral quilting creates. I also think she chose just the right pink and orange solids in that lower left block. Great work, Stephanie!

Diane made a lovely table runner playing off the saying "a line is a dot that went for a walk." She used the yellow dot and made swirls of bias tape that meandered down the length of the table runner. I think her quilting is amazing and deserved to be featured in a detailed close-up!

Jess added a lavender and made a sewing machine cover for her antique sewing machine. I admire her bravery in reducing the size of a paper piecing pattern and then readjusting the seam allowances. Wow.

Samantha's quilt isn't called "showstopper" but I think it is. I love how striking the colors are against the mid-grey background she chose. The swirl of quilting makes the pinwheels look even more like a swirl. She backed this in AMH flannel and it is a quilt for one of her sons. Beautiful work.

Kali made an improv quilt. She says the Kona orange is Tangerine (because I know you want to know--it looks incredible here!). She used up every bit of fabric in a fantastic improv back.

Mary made some improv stars into a mini, and used her walking foot to do some incredibly detailed straight-line quilting. I love how the "missing" stars pop!

Paula made elongated churn dash blocks and used her walking foot to quilt "ghost" churn dashes. I love the things she's doing with churn dashes lately. She calls this quilt "Murphy's #13" because of all the batting and quilting issues she had with it! I don't think it looks like anything went wrong :)

For our workshop, we watched the Superior Threads DVD Thread Therapy With Dr. Bob. You can see clips of the DVD here. Superior Threads was so generous to donate two $20 gift certificates to be given away as door prizes. Judy and Laura (that's me!) won them. I am paralyzed--in the best way!--by the wide variety of beautiful thread choices offered at the Superior Threads website. Some folks were asking yesterday where Superior Threads can be purchased; they have an extensive online shop here

Hope to see everyone next month at the public library in Fremont, NH. Nancy will be teaching bias binding--I'll have to get a quilt top with irregular edges ready!