Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Let's Cut It Up! (Again)

Happy New Year! To kick off 2018, we're bringing back our popular Cut It Up! Challenge  with a couple twists.

Instead of focusing our efforts on a single group quilt, we're going to work on individual projects. And we won't cut up completed quilt tops; for this reboot, we'll breathe new life into UFOs and orphan blocks.

To participate, search your sewing room for one or two incomplete projects and bring them to our January 13 guild meeting. Each participant will do a brief show-and-tell about their item(s), and then we'll draw numbers and divvy them up white-elephant style.

That's right: you'll go home with someone else's UFO or orphan blocks to cut up and use in the creation of a new, modern quilt. And a fellow participant will take yours home to rework. Everyone has five months to complete the challenge; finished quilts will be unveiled at our June meeting. I look forward to seeing the results!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December Meeting Recap

Laughter and delicious smells filled the air as we marked the end of another year with a potluck party, mini quilt show, and gift exchange. 

Curves Challenge 

Six quilts were made for the Curves Challenge

Six members submitted work for the Curves Challenge, and their work decked one wall of the meeting room. In September, members were asked to create an original design using black, white, and one color of their choice. The style and techniques used were up to each individual maker, but the end result had to fit within the curves theme.

Vista Mahan and her winning quilt

Vista Mahan took home the viewer’s choice ribbon for her “Ocean Currents” mini quilt. Vista selected Kona Cotton Pool as her third solid; the name of the fabric inspired her watery landscape, which includes a combination of hand and machine quilting. 


Kudos to Vista, Gerry Haywood, Audrey Workman, Stephanie Quesinberry, Theresa Kitchell and Jean Larson for tackling the challenge and creating stunning mini quilts!

And if you’re interested in making your own quilt show award ribbons, stay tuned for a tutorial coming in the next few weeks.

2018 Calendar and Programs

After a successful brainstorming session in November, the steering committee took your ideas for next year’s programs and used them to create the following calendar. The topics listed in red will be taught by small groups of members listed in parenthesis; if you haven’t signed up for a group, let me know which topic piques your interest and I’ll gladly add your name!
  • January 13: Cut It Up! (Again) — We’re bringing back the popular Cut It Up! Challenge but with a twist. This time we’re focusing on UFOs and orphan blocks instead of a completed quilt top. Search your sewing room and bring 1-2 incomplete projects to the January meeting; someone else will take your work home, cut it up, and make something new with it. 
  • February 10: Go-To Gadgets & Tools
  • March 10: TBD
  • April 14: TBD
  • May 12: Hand Quilting (Sara Bradshaw, Ava Moore, Catherine Price, Patricia Steadman, Audrey Workman)
  • June 9: Cut It Up! (Again) quilt show and Brown Bag Fabric Challenge launch
  • July 14: Using Common Shapes to Create Complex Designs (Ann Hurley, Camille Miller)
  • August 11: Binding and Finishing Techniques (Karen Downer, Carolyn Pugh)
  • September 8: Alternative Materials for Modern Quilts (Theresa Kitchell, Stephanie Quesinberry)
  • October 13: Scrap Buster Sew-In
  • November 10: 2019 Brainstorming
  • December 8: Holiday party and Brown Bag Fabric Challenge quilt show


2018 Officers & Bylaws 

The steering committee recently adopted revised bylaws for the guild. The biggest changes are that we increased the number of named officers, clarified the nomination process for new officers, and formalized procedures concerning guild finances. I encourage you to read the revisions and let me know if you have any questions.

Leading the guild in 2018 are the following officers:
  • President & Communications Coordinator: Kelly Spell 
  • Treasurer: Vanessa King
  • Secretary: Patricia Steadman
  • Membership Coordinators: Stephanie Quesinberry and Karen Downer

And many thanks to our 2017 officers and steering committee! Your dedication and hard work are greatly appreciated.
  • President: Kelly Spell
  • Treasurer: Jean Larson
  • Secretary: Denise Ohlman
  • Steering Committee: Veronica Hofman-Ortega, Mary Keasler, Sandi Suggs, Audrey Workman


Show and Tell


Saturday, December 2, 2017

It's Time to Party!

Are you ready to close out the year with food, fun, and quilts?

Join us Saturday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. for our annual holiday party and mini-quilt show! Please bring a food item to share, show-and-tell, and a handmade gift if you want to participate in a gift exchange.

In addition, please bring a check for your 2018 dues of $35 made payable to Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild. We have a lot of great programs in the works for 2018, I'll explain them in detail Saturday.

See you then!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Big Finish to Close Out 2017

Mosaic Garden never looked so good!” That was one of several compliments I overheard last month when we unveiled the completed quilt from our Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge.

The end result of our Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge

The quilt started its life several years ago as traditional top, sewn by guild member and fabric sales rep Veronica Hofman-Ortega to highlight a fabric line she was selling at the time. She donated it to the guild to use as a learning tool to reinforce design ideas presented by Mary Kerr during a lecture and workshop in April. (Kerr specializes in antique textiles and recently wrote a book on incorporating vintage pieces into modern quilts.)

After a design session at our June meeting, we settled on Vista Mahan’s plan to refashion Veronica’s quilt top. (Check out all of the designs we created here.) Using Affinity Photo software, I digitized Vista's paper design and added sections of solid stripes to increase the overall quilt size. Then during a July sew-in, several members took a rotary cutter to Veronica’s top and reassembled it adding strips of white, yellow, red, blue, green, and purple. You can see each stage of the process below.
Beverly Herron volunteered to tackle the quilting on her longarm machine, and she chose a lovely design that mimics the mosaic swirls printed on the fabric. I finished the quilt with a bright yellow binding that really pops.

The quilting was done by ChattMQG member Beverly Herron

Our original plan was to donate the quilt to a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, but we were very ambitious this year and ended up with more quilts than Habitat had homeowners! So stay tuned for the final plan. Thanks again to Veronica for donating the original quilt top, and to everyone who helped design and assemble the remix.

Are you interested in reviving this challenge in 2018? Let me know in the comments!

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