Monday, August 7, 2017

Sewing Curves with Confidence

The topic for our August meeting was one of the most-requested during last year's brainstorm session: curves!

Join us Saturday, August 12 at 10 a.m. to learn several techniques for sewing curves with confidence.

The curves team will demonstrate how to create gentle, flowing curves, along with ruler-free quarter circles; they'll also introduce you to some special tools that may become must-haves for your sewing room.

See you there!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sewing for Habitat

During our July meeting, the room was full and noisy as we worked diligently to put together two quilt tops for upcoming Habitat for Humanity home dedications this fall.

Now we're looking for volunteers to quilt them! Interested? Read on to learn more.

One of two quilt tops completed during the sew-in
















Paper Pieced Stars

This group assembled blocks made by members after our foundation paper-piecing program. Between February and June, volunteers signed up for specific colorways and sewed star blocks at home using scraps from their stashes. These were pinned to a design wall by Delores at the start of the sew-in. We tried several arrangements until the color balance said "Yes!" and then came the easy part of fitting together blocks made by more than a dozen volunteers on at least that many machines with a wee bit of variation in that famous quarter inch seam. (Ha!) The end result (pictured above) features 29 twinkling stars and one improvised white block of negative space. 

New member Jessica presses a point
Carolyn P. assembles a row of stars

Cut It Up! Quilt Top

The workers on this team brought to life the winning design from last month's Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge.

Denise, Sara and Delores prepare the strips of solids














Vista Mahan's modernized remix called for the original quilt top to be cut into simple strips; we added a few strips of solids to her design to increase the overall size of the new quilt top. Check out the before and after shots!

Before: A Traditional Top
After: A Modernized Remix

Thanks to everyone's hard work, we now have six quilts on deck to donate to new Habitat for Humanity homeowners later this year.

If you want to volunteer to quilt either of the tops we completed during the sew-in, just comment on this post or send an email to Kelly at chattmqg@gmail.com. Your time and effort are greatly appreciated!

Mini Quilt Swap






















Last year we participated in a swap with Tennessee MQG guilds from Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. Camille from our guild has organized a similar swap with the Tuscon MQG in Arizona. Members received a form via email, be sure to sign up by July 22! Swaps are a great way to make new friends.

Show and Tell



Saturday, July 1, 2017

Let's Sew Together!

Grab your sewing machine, cutting mat or ironing board, and join us Saturday, July 8 at 10 a.m. for a sew-in.

We'll tackle two quilt tops: Audrey's paper-pieced star block top, and the Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge top. Both will be donated to Habitat for Humanity homeowners later this year.

Members received an email with a survey to sign up for their preferred role of sewist, cutter, presser or runner.

If you're not a member and would like to participate, comment below or send an email to chattmqg@gmail.com and we'll get you set up.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June Meeting Recap

Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge 



Scissors snipped, glue sticks swirled, and imagination ran wild at our June meeting as members fashioned new designs from an old quilt top that’s about to go under the knife. It’s all part of the Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge, an idea hatched by the steering committee to help reinforce design ideas presented by Mary Kerr in April.

The original quilt top donated by Veronica

Committee member and fabric sales rep Veronica Hofman Ortega offered to let us slice up the quilt top you see here; she made it several years ago to highlight the Mosaic Garden fabric line and had no plans to finish it herself. But like many of us, Veronica believes a finished quilt is always better than a top that languishes in a pile! So we got busy thinking of ways to make turn this traditional quilt into a modern one. 

  

Everyone at the meeting received two photocopies of the quilt top: one to cut up and redesign, and the second as a backup if their original idea didn’t pan out. Using paper, colored pencils, and glue or tape, members reimagined the quilt top during a 30-minute design session. They weren't required to use every part of the original quilt, which measures 40” x 56”, but the goal was to expand the top to roughly 60” x 72” — a generous size for a future Habitat for Humanity homeowner. 

As you can see, some designs used minimal amounts of the original quilt while others used the entire thing.

After 30 minutes of design, each member had one minute to explain her layout to the group and discuss possible construction methods. Then a blind vote was conducted, and each member placed a penny beside their favorite design. The winner? Vista Mahan’s simple strips!

Vista's design won with eight votes

Stay tuned for the next step in the process, as we construct the top during a sew-in at the July 8 guild meeting. Once quilted, it will be donated to a Habitat homeowner later this year.

Habitat for Humanity Dedications

Meanwhile, new homeowners Ashley and Fanetta each received a quilt during a dedication ceremony June 10. Several guild members made blocks for Fanetta's quilt; Joan Thornbury pieced the top and it was quilted by Sherry Meyer of Ooltewah. 

Fanetta (left) loves her colorful quilt
Ashley’s quilt was constructed by various guild members during an exercise on modern traditionalism; Jackie Cory pieced the top and it was also quilted by Sherry Meyer. You can see close-up pictures of Ashley and Fanetta's quilts in the show-and-tell section at the bottom of this blog post.

Sandi Suggs (behind podium) presents Ashley (center) with her quilt
And homeowner LaToya received a third quilt during a dedication ceremony May 13.

LaToya (left) and her bricks block quilt
 Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our Habitat quilts this year!

Modern Mini Quilt Challenge Winners!

Congratulations to Kelly Spell and Gerry Haywood on their wins in the 2017 Quilt Expo Modern Mini Quilt Challenge hosted by Quilt Expo and Nancy Zieman. Kelly took first place with her "American Alligator" mini, winning a Baby Lock sewing machine; Gerry won several spools of Madeira thread with her colorful improv mini. (You may recognize Gerry's quilt from our 2016 President's Mini Quilt Challenge.)

Bravo, ladies!

Kelly's winning mini quilt 

Gerry's winning mini quilt

Road Trip to Knoxville

Several members traveled to Knoxville last week to see Knoxville MQG’s 2017 quilt show! Kelly, Jean, Mary, Denise, Joan and Sara met up with three KnoxMQG members to see the quilts and enjoy lunch together. The show runs through the end of June; if you can't make it to see the quilts in person, there are plenty of pictures available on Facebook.

Mary, Melissa, Jean, Joan, Denise, Kelly, Sara and Michelle

Late Summer Swap with Tucson MQG

And finally, we’re going to participate in a mini quilt swap with the Tucson Modern Quilt Guild in Arizona! Signups begin July 9, and participants will have through the end of October to make and ship their quilts. More information will be sent to members early next month.


Show and Tell


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge

Are you ready for a design challenge?

Guild member Veronica Hofman Ortega has graciously offered up a quilt top that we are going to slice into and redesign.

It's the perfect opportunity to exercise the techniques we learned from Mary Kerr in April.

But before we cut into the actual quilt top, we're going to create designs on paper. Pack your creativity and your favorite quilt design tools and join us Saturday, June 10 at 10 a.m.

The design that gets the most votes from members will be constructed as a guild during a sew-in at our July meeting.

See you Saturday!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Appliqué Techniques for Modern Quilters


Our May program was presented by Patricia Steadman, Martha Griffin, Sara Bradshaw and Audrey Workman and covered a variety of ways modern quilters can use appliqué in their work.

Chattanooga riverfront quilt by Audrey Workman

Needle-turn Appliqué


Patricia is an expert in this method and has learned tips and tricks that make the process easy and accurate. Patricia works from patterns but she makes some of the templates herself. She brought several examples of her appliqué work, both modern and traditional. 

Patricia's needle-turn appliqué quilt hung in Paducah in 2016.

One way to use appliqué in a modern quilt is to oversize it, and Patricia has done to the quilt pictured below. She made this floral appliqué top using a design featured in the book Alison Glass Appliqué: The Essential Guide to Modern Appliqué; it will be quilted by Denise Ohlman and donated to a Habitat for Humanity homeowner later this year.

A future Habitat for Humanity quilt

You can also use needle-turn appliqué to add modern flair to a 3-D object. Patricia sewed floral shapes to the background before constructing this tote bag. Carolyn Friedlander was spotted carrying a similar one at QuiltCon in Savannah.


Patricia’s favorite tips:


  • Freezer paper is great for appliqué patterns but it shrinks! Prep it by pre-ironing it before adhering it to fabric.
  • Instead of pinning or thread basting, use fabric glue to anchor loose pieces to the background. Keep glue away from the places you’ll stitch.
  • Use glue on points where fabric meets fabric; heat set with your iron.
  • Cut with serrated scissors. Fabric frays less, and you can feel the scissors bite into the fabric.

Whole-cloth and Reverse Appliqué


Martha showed us how she uses the traditional Hawaiian folding method to make a modern appliqué paper pattern. Friedlander also uses this method.

Martha made this whole-cloth appliqué quilt using Friedlander’s Circle Lattice pattern.* It was fast and easy! 

Martha's whole-cloth appliqué quilt

To make Bulls-Eye*, another Friedlander pattern, Martha used both needle-turn and reverse appliqué. 


Martha’s Tips: 


  • For a large whole-cloth quilt, tape your fabric to a sliding glass door and trace your pattern onto it.
  • Don’t cut the whole thing out at once. Instead, cut about 2” at a time. Everything will remain more stable that way.


Running-stitch Reverse Appliqué on Cotton Knit


Sara is making a modern t-shirt quilt—but it’s not what you’re thinking! She’s using oh-so-soft fleece knit for the backing and cotton knit for the exposed pieces. Sara’s method is similar to one she learned from Alison Glass at QuiltCon a few years ago, but Sara has made it softer. She works with old t-shirts instead of quilting cotton. Think Alabama Chanin and you’ll get a better idea. Sara enjoyed stitching this one last winter with the fleecy side on her lap.

Sara's reverse appliqué on cotton knit

You work this method with three layers—similar to a typical quilt—but the fabrics are different. Use knit on the top, quilting cotton in the middle, and knit on the back. Or use fleece on the back. Or put t-shirts in the middle. Your choices will dictate softness, weight, and ease of stitching.

Sara has made several squares using old clothing and plans to connect them into a larger project after she’s made more.


Sara’s tips:


  • Use a sashiko needle for your running stitch. You’ll appreciate the larger eye.
  • Keep your knots exposed on the top of your quilt. They look pretty.
  • Rock your running stitch around the shape you cut out.
  • Use a larger piece of knit for the back, then pull it over to the front to create your binding.

Glued Appliqué 


Audrey made a hexie quilt and glued her shapes to the background. No stitching happened before the quilting began! She used a mashup of techniques by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft and Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies LLC.

Audrey's modern hexies


Audrey’s tips:


  • Use pre-cut Hexagon Stabilizer or Sharon Schamber’s Secret Foundation instead of paper when you make your hexies (read about it here).  
  • Baste hexies to paper using Elmer’s washable glue stick.
  • Glue hexies to foundation using Liquid Stitch glue.
  • Use a hera marker to score your foundation fabric before you lay out your hexies.

Scrappy Appliqué 


Audrey also showed us how she does “scrappy appliqué”. Modern Quilting instructor Shannon Brinkley gets credit for both name and method, and as members of the MQG you can watch her explain it on their website in Fresh Quilting, Season 1 Episode 12.

The one thing Audrey does differently from Brinkley is this: Audrey sews around the small appliqué pieces before adhering the larger shapes to her background. Brinkley adheres first then free-motion stitches around the edges. Both methods work well!



Brinkley has skyline patterns of a lot of major cities throughout the world. Unfortunately there’s no Chattanooga yet. But Audrey had already drawn the Chattanooga riverfront, sketching from her own photos and altering the landscape a bit, and used that to play with Brinkley’s scrappy appliqué method.

Audrey also fell madly in love with a cloudy sky that Angela Walters quilted on a Busy City quilt for a client. Audrey had already tackled the Tennessee River with walking-foot organic wavy lines, and then the landscape with FMQ. She couldn’t find a cloudy sky tutorial so she stared and drew and stared and drew until she worked up her nerve, then she went for broke. Audrey gives Walters full kudos for the swirly cloudy sky idea.

*Our appliqué team recommends these books and resources:

Show and Tell




Saturday, May 6, 2017

Appliqué on Modern Quilts

Some modern quilters enjoy appliqué as handwork in keeping with the slow-stitching-for-relaxation frame of mind.

Others would like the freedom of shape that appliqué brings but don’t really like projects that may take a long time.

Join us Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m. as we explore methods of appliqué, both fast and slow, that you can incorporate into your own modern quilt designs.

If you admire the work of quilters such as Carolyn Friedlander, Alison Glass, Shannon Brinkley, and Nicole Daksiewicz, don’t miss this meeting.

We’ll demonstrate methods and talk products, and hopefully inspire you to start your own appliqué project!

Below are a few examples of the types of appliqué you'll see: