Sunday, November 12, 2017

November Meeting Recap

Storming Brains Pummel Easy Approaches

As the third annual November brainstorming process began, we could feel a shift in the wind energized by new ideas. What do we want to learn about in 2018?

While this picture isn't very exciting, the results of our brainstorming session give us a lot to anticipate!
In years past our suggestions for program topics were dominated by techniques yet unexplored. Now that we have mined a trove of methods we can use to physically put together a quilt top, we're ready to delve deeper down the shaft and excavate some lesser-known treasures of construction and design.

We know there's more gold down there, and we aim to find it and dig it out.

Top Votes Go Here

Our membersconfident at making quilt topsare eager to reach beyond straight lines and master free-motion quilting on our domestic machines in 2018. We want to learn how to create complex designs from common shapes. We want to figure out how to design quilts with the minimum amount of seams. Another popular idea was binding and finishing art quilts (please check our Archived Post from May 2015 to find links that will get you started).

Runners-up for possible 2018 program topics included quilting with alternative materials; exploring texture, color, and repetition; and solving problems.

Who's Up for a Field Trip?

Other ideas generated during our brainstorming session included visiting an art museum, inviting an art teacher to walk us through design concepts, hosting retreats, continuing popular sew-ins, and even impromptu gatherings in restaurants. Fun!

Self-Analysis Reveals We Continue to Grow in Confidence

We also continued our annual tradition of rating ourselves on our confidence level as modern quilters. Veronica's graph says it all!

Thanks to everyone who showed up to participate and offer ideas for our upcoming programs. We appreciate you! And thanks to Veronica for leading us in another successful session.

Mini Quilts with Big Personalities

Finally, it was Christmas in November as Camille (Ms. Claus?) passed out wrapped packages from our new friends in the Tucson Modern Quilt Guild. Our #AZtoTNswap resulted in lots of lovely work, check out the minis received by some of our participants:

Camille, Samantha, Karen D., Kelly, Denise and Sara show off the mini quilts they received from their swap partners.

Show and Tell

Monday, November 6, 2017

Program Planning for 2018

2017 is winding down and it's time to start planning next year's programs.

Join us Saturday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. for our third-annual brainstorming session! This is your opportunity to pitch ideas for program topics and guide the guild's direction for the coming year.

Bring your ideas and your enthusiasm, as well as your Curves Challenge mini quilts for our December show. And get excited, because I'm going to reveal three big group-quilt finishes during show-and-tell.

I'll see you Saturday!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Meeting Recap

Computer Software for Quilt Design

Building upon Jean's September presentation on quilt design, Vanessa, Carolyn R., Catherine and Stephanie showed us ways to let computers and mobile devices do some of the brainwork behind the quilt during our October meeting.

A screenshot of a design created by Carolyn R. in Electric Quilt 7

Try an App

Stephanie has a phone with her most of the time and uses two apps, Infinite Design and Infinite Painter, to help get ideas out of her head and into a sketch before she forgets them. Both apps are made for Android devices. Draw with your finger, work from a photo, use layers--all the familiar tools are there in a convenient, free package.

These are a few of the sketch tools available in Infinite Painter.

Several design apps are also available from Adobe; Stephanie showed us how to "paint" and create shapes using Illustrator Draw and Photoshop Sketch. They work on Apple and Android devices, enabling you to sketch on the go and send your drawings to your desktop computer for further refinement.

Stephanie also showed us some of Adobe Photoshop Sketch's design capabilities.

Most mobile apps won't take you directly from idea to quilt, but they are portable and tend to be free or inexpensive. No need to carry a sketchbook! Click here to see Stephanie's entire presentation.

Use Pro Software

Next we saw a demo of Electric Quilt, a recent version of which is known as EQ7. Carolyn took the sketches we sent Jean last month and transformed them into digital designs using this popular quilting software. Her interpretation of Audrey's sketch (which was inspired by Anthony Quigley's photograph of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport) is featured below, and you can see more of Carolyn's work by clicking this link to her slideshow.

Another screenshot of Carolyn's design made with EQ7

With an extensive pattern library of fabrics and colors, you can work out your design and see a graphic image of your finished quilt before you ever pick up your rotary cutter. And your brain can go to lunch while the program calculates yardage and lists out shapes and sizes to cut.

You will still have to do the cutting unless you have something like a Cricut machine. Then all that's left to do is sew! This isn't the cheapest option when it comes to digital quilt design, but you can get in the door for a couple hundred bucks.

Go for a Classic: Photoshop

If you have already have this software, use it to design your quilts! Catherine scans swatches of her fabric and uses Adobe Photoshop magic to visualize different layouts. If you don't have Photoshop you can get similar results with Photoshop Elements. Early versions like PE3 often have free trial periods.

What's YOUR favorite computer software program for quilt design? Let us know in the comments!

Keep this on your radar...

  • Curves Challenge quilts are due at our November 11 guild meeting.
  • Mini quilts for the #AZtoTNswap will be arriving soon from the Tucson MQG! Hopefully you already mailed yours to your partner.
  • We're looking for next year's guild leaders. Will you be one of them? See Kelly.
  • Do you have any ideas for next year's guild charity/education endeavors? Let us know.

Show and Tell

Monday, October 9, 2017

Computer Software for Quilt Design

Join us Saturday, Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. as we explore computer software programs that can help bring your quilt ideas to life.

Vanessa, Carolyn R., Catherine and Stephanie will highlight the capabilities of two popular programs: Electric Quilt and Adobe Illustrator. The group will also provide tips on how to incorporate Adobe Photoshop into your quilt planning.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Curves Challenge

Are you up for a challenge? Make a quilt for our end-of-year quilt show!

This year's theme is curves. I want you to create an original design for a small, modern quilt using any techniques you see fit. (Recent programs covered several that may help you, including improv piecing, appliqué, and foundation paper piecing.)

Here are the rules:

  • Quilt tops must consist of THREE solid fabrics: black, white, and one color of your choice. You must use all three; no more, no less. No prints.
  • Finished quilts must be no larger than 36" on any side. Your quilt can be any shape you like, but the maximum size is 36".

If you're on Instagram, share pictures of your progress/process with the hashtag #ChattMQGcurves. When you're finished, label your quilt your name and the quilt's name.

Finished quilts are due at our Nov. 11 guild meeting, and they'll be on display during our Dec. 9 meeting. 

I can't wait to see what you make!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September Meeting Recap

From Paper to Fabric

Armed with a gridded flip pad and a handful of dry-erase markers--but no calculator--Jean Larson walked us through several examples, showing us her process for converting a sketch to a reproducible quilt block.

Math was involved.

Amid cries of "Have you ever heard of Wonder Under!" and "I'd just make templates!" and "Do you know how to paper piece?" Jean persisted, demonstrating a geometrical way to resize triangles and other shapes accurately.

Jean is not one to take the easy way out.

Nor should you be. A brief foray into social media reveals thousands of quilt patterns for sale. You can make your own and you do not need a fancy program to do that (although we will talk about some of those options at our October meeting).

We also learned ways to make reproducible curves using a tool from the dressmaker's arsenal.

Give your brain a workout and see how far you can get with a little push from Jean!

Habitat Quilts

Camille Miller agreed to present a quilt to the new Habitat homeowners at the September 16th dedication ceremony. Our next quilt will be presented in October. And we have two volunteers to thank: new member Beverly Herron is tackling the result of the Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge, and Karen Sperry is working magic on the paper-pieced star quilt.

Here are two finished quilts that will be presented to new homeowners later this year:

This was assembled by Martha G., quilted by Beverly, and bound by Jean.

Patricia (left) pieced this top following an Alison Glass pattern; Denise (right) quilted it.

Show and Tell

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Quilt Design: From Paper to Fabric

Have you ever drawn a modern quilt design and wondered, “Now how in the world am I going to piece that?!” It’s a familiar feeling for many quilters, and one that can bring the creative process to a standstill.

Join us Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. as Jean Larson walks us through steps to analyze and deconstruct a design and translate it into fabric. Armed with Jean’s tips and tricks, you’ll leave with confidence to tackle any project.

See ya Saturday!