January 11 1Comment

The Roanoke Modern Quilt Guild

We had our first Roanoke Modern Quilt Guild meeting of 2014 and it was (as usual) so much fun. We’re still a pretty small group, but we had FIVE new members join this week! That makes me so, so happy – we’ve come so far! We started out about year ago with only 4-6 members, all of us huddling around this tiny table in my longarm quilting studio. It was so fun back then too, but really, the more the merrier.

As a guild, we’ve completed and donated three charity quilts: one for a children’s shelter, one for the Hopes and Dreams Challenge for ALS, and our most recent one was raffled off for Alzheimer’s research. At our meeting we learned that it brought in over $720! How great is that? I couldn’t believe it! The sad truth is that many times, quilts that are raffled off don’t even bring in enough to cover the cost of materials, so we were super proud.

So far, for charity quilts, we all decide on a type of block, finished size and a color scheme. (For example, we might do 12.5″ finished wonky stars using bright fabrics and a white background.) We all make a couple of blocks and collect them over the course of a few months. Once we have enough for a quilt, we get together to lay it out and assemble the top. Someone volunteers to do the quilting and someone else does the binding. Since we all have different tastes in fabrics, the outcome of these charity quilts can seem a little iffy at first. But once we get it all put together and quilted, they always end up looking fantastic.

This year, to keep everyone inspired and to ensure we each spend at least a few minutes at the sewing machine between meetings, we decided it would be fun to do a block of the month (BOM) challenge. Each month we are required to make one 12″ block and bring it to show off at our meeting. At the end of the year, once we’ve finished our 12 blocks, we will each have enough for an entire quilt. We’re following the Summer Sampler Series that everyone was doing a while back. This month was (appropriately enough) the Star of Virginia. Seeing everyone’s unique take on a quilt block is always interesting and inspiring! I’m probably just going to go with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, sort of a controlled scrappy feel, which seems to be my norm when it comes to fabric selection. I’ll try to tie it all together by using the same background fabric, Painters Canvas in Vanilla, which is a really pretty, not-quite-solid white.

This guild means so much to me. It’s a really special thing to have the opportunity to hang out with so many fun and encouraging people, eat snacks and geek out over fabrics and quilts. I just love it.

If you’re in the Roanoke area and are interested in modern quilting, we’d love to have you join us – beginners are absolutely welcome! Check out the Roanoke Modern Quilt Guild on Facebook.


MQG Drawstring Bag Swap

Natalie from the NOVA Modern Quilt Guild set up a really fun swap between a few MQGs in our area. Everyone created a Flickr mosaic to give our secret swap person an idea of what kind of colors we liked, etc. and answered a few survey questions. Then we used Jeni Baker’s drawstring bag tutorial to make a cute little bag for our secret swap person based on their photo mosaic and survey questions.

Looking through her Flickr photo stream, I learned that my secret swap person is a sketch artist and seemed to like pink and green. I went with Amy Butler’s Sketchbook in Cream for the main fabric, which seemed like a perfect fit to me! The top white-looking fabric is actually Painters Canvas by Laura Gunn in Vanilla and the lining is a mystery pink solid I had in my stash.

While I was trying to find a ribbon to use for the drawstring, I came across some glittery gold ric-rac that I decided to add. (Hopefully it’s not too girly or blingy for my swap partner’s taste.) And then I felt like I needed something a little more natural to bring the bling-factor down a little bit, so I found this cute twill tape at JoAnn Fabrics to use as the drawstring.

Before sending our bags, we were supposed to fill our bag with a few little trinkets for our partners… Favorite notions, fat quarters, candy, etc. I threw in some Clover Wonder Clips, a Micron #01 and some Omnigrip Invisi-Grip, which is one of my favorite things ever.

This was my first time ever doing a swap like this, and it has been so much fun! I received the bag that my secret swap person made for me a few days ago. It’s really pretty with bead details and vintage buttons, and she sent the nicest card. It really made my day!

I’m really excited about the now “legit” Modern Quilt Guild and for more opportunities to participate in fun little projects like this. Thanks again Natalie for setting this all up for us! :)


“Experimental” Silver Linings Mug Rug

Here’s an example of one of those grand ideas that end up not-so-grand. Our quilt guild had a mug rug swap at our last meeting. I had this thing planned for a month but, like a dummy, decided to wait until just a few hours before the meeting to start it. Whoopsies!

The background fabric is hand printed and from a scrap pack I got from from Maze & Vale (I love everything she makes!) It’s kind of hard to tell in the pictures, but the thread is a silver metallic that I picked up from the Superior Threads booth at the MidAtlantic Quilt Festival. I was pleasantly surprised that it worked just fine in my Bernina without breaking or really giving me any trouble at all! It would be really cool looking for a big quilt but it’s kind of rough and scratchy. It feels like a thin strand of metal with tiny burrs all over it. I don’t think it would be comfortable in a quilt that’s actually used, but could work for a wall hanging or art quilt. I’ll have to test it out on Ursula.

The idea of this little mug rug is cute, but my workmanship was just sooo awful. It’s a shame that I waited until the very last minute to do this because if I had given myself more time I know I could have done a better job. This was only my third time ever free-motion quilting in my life, and only my second time ever using the BSR on my Bernina. So of course I was like “Oh, I have like 30 minutes to do this? Let me try a new technique with some extremely unforgiving metal thread.” I was laughing at myself the entire time I was quilting! It’s so hard – it’s like reverse drawing. Imagine “drawing” by moving a piece of paper around underneath a stationary pen. It basically ended up looking like a five year old scribbled silver all over it. Then I finished it off with the crappiest machine binding ever, without even switching to a thread to match because I didn’t have one! Not pretty. Instead of calling it ugly though, I’m going with “experimental.”

Oh well. It was still fun to make! I have more mini quilts in mind that I want to make… I’ll do better next time :)