Tuesday, May 10, 2016

April Meeting Recap

Program: Blocks for a Habitat for Humanity Quilt

Last month the local paper published an article about our guild highlighting our work making quilts for each new Habitat house built in Chattanooga and dedicated in 2016. Someone read the article and contacted our guild about donating a box of fabric. One box ended up being three, and we accepted the donation with thanks. The fabric was of different kinds, weights, conditions, and freedoms, meaning quite a bit of it was still in the form of clothing. We washed, dried, ironed and sorted as much as we could before the April meeting, put the prepared fabric into paper shopping bags, and brought it in to share. 

Members came to the meeting with big squares of batting to use as design surfaces, some pieces from their own stashes, scissors and pins. Everyone randomly (well, some of us had trouble with that concept) drew strips, squares and hunks (of fabric) out of the bags and arranged them into improvisational blocks. Our target size was 12" to 15" untrimmed. 

  One of the best parts was being able to work together without having to haul in a lot of equipment. 

We decided to place a bit of red in every block we made to give the quilt some cohesiveness. We rolled up our designed blocks in the batting to take home and sew. We will ask members to bring back their blocks in May so we can use them to form a top for a quilt that will be given to some happy new Habitat homeowners in June.

Show and Tell


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

March Meeting Recap

Habitat Quilt Update

We worked on blocks for two more Habitat for Humanity quilts at our February sew-in. Volunteers took blocks home to sew together into tops, and one of the tops has already been quilted.

For this quilt, we made blocks that are half string, half gray. A white strip was sewn down the diagonal, then skinny strips of scraps were added outward from that. Finally, a dark piece was added to the striped corner to increase contrast and drama. 

 This next one was pieced with strips from a Jelly Roll. 
"Jelly Roll" is the name for pre-cut strips of fabric, 2-1/2" wide x about 42" long, that are packaged together, usually as a coordinated fabric collection. We sewed the colorful strips together and cut them on the 45-degree bias, adding triangles of gray to each end to make blocks. These were pieced together and long thin strips of gray were added to give a bit of separation. 

Our Program: Working with Strips

Mary Keasler showed us how she uses strips of solid fabric to create her own striped fabric. She cuts her strips free-hand rather than using a straight edge. You can see how the effect is quite different from the straight-cut strips in the Habitat quilts, above.

All work above by Mary Ramsey Keasler

Show and Tell

Top Row: Vista Mahan, Bethany Barnes, Susan Monk (back), Susan Monk (front)
Second Row: Michele Leonard, Stephanie Quesinberry, Theresa Kitchell, Jackie Cory
Third Row: Stephanie Quesinberry, Stephanie Quesinberry, Ann Hurley, Michele Leonard
Fourth Row: Shirley Prince

Monday, March 14, 2016

ChattMQG is Featured in the TimesFreePress, March 14

The following is from an article posted in our local newspaper:


Chattanooga quilters give their work to owners of new Habitat for Humanity homes

Cornelia Johnson with her new quilt

When Kelly Spell was casting about for a new hobby, her mind drifted across the bizarre challenges that the reality TV show "Project Runway" poses for its aspiring fashion designer contestants.

Make a dress from flower blossoms purchased at a warehouse market. Make a gown sewn from items bought in grocery aisles: candy wrappers, garbage bags, lettuce leaves. Rip apart home decor— leather from sofas, woven throw rugs — for fabric to make a dress.

While Spell, a 35-year-old marketing specialist, had not been particularly artsy-craftsy as a child, she discovered she had a gift for cutting designs from all sorts of fabric and sewing them into something lovely. So she chose quilting as a hobby, then became an enthusiastic member of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild, where women of all ages gather to sew quilts that are works of art.

But they do much more. Last fall, they decided to give their quilts away to new owners of Habitat for Humanity houses.

The quilters wanted to create a gift that would make a new homeowner feel snug and safe and able to dream sweetly. They also wanted it to be an heirloom that could be passed on to a child.

"We wanted to make something so beautiful, the owner would be proud to pass it along to a son or daughter like a family heirloom," Spell says.

Cornelia Johnson, who works for the state health department in downtown Chattanooga, was the first Habitat homeowner to get a quilt.

"They gave me the quilt the day Habitat for Humanity handed me the keys to my new house last fall; the house and the quilt are absolutely beautiful," Johnson says. "I have two adult sons, and I'm not sure how much they know about art, but this quilt is definitely something I would want to hand down to my grandkids."

Her quilt has a deep magenta background — "my favorite color," Johnson notes — with a large eight-pointed star encircling a smaller star. The dozens of fabric swatches that form the stars are imprinted with fanciful goldfish swimming around a teddy bear wearing a diving helmet as well as musical notes, huge golden lilies, a rolling pin, cookie cutters and bright abstract designs.

"I was told each piece has a special meaning for the person who brought it to the quilt so, in a way, the women who made it are sharing their good wishes and dreams with me," Johnson says, examining a piece with a whimsical elephant adorned with pink and green gems.

"Some day I would love to attend one of the guild's meetings so I can thank the women who made this and hear the stories behind the pictures on the fabric."

Guild member Janet Larsen, who first approached Habitat about giving quilts to new owners, says she and about 10 other quilters attended the ceremony where Johnson was given her house keys.

"We've made two quilts for two new owners since then," she says.

Pictured on the guild's Facebook page, one quilt is adorned with a colorful abstract — yet instantly recognizable — portrait of the Walnut Street Bridge and the Tennessee Aquarium towers. The other quilt has white lightning zigzags dividing brightly colored blocks and stripes.

The guild is now working on a quilt for a new Habitat homeowner in April. Spell says the members sometimes design a quilt pattern; other times they modernize a pattern that might be 200 years old.

"We wanted to take all these unusual pieces of fabric that at first look helter-skelter and arrange them on the quilt to be appealing to the modern eye," says Larsen.

Contact Lynda Edwards at ledwards@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391.

This article is not reproduced with or without permission; rather, it is posted here to be included with our guild's archives. To see the original article, or to receive legal permission to reproduce it, please use the link at the top of this post.