Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 President's Mini Quilt Challenge

Back in October I challenged our guild members to make small quilts inspired by any program or workshop our guild presented this year. Quilts made for the programs would be acceptable (we have a lot of member-led programs here—it’s a great concept) as long as they met the 24” maximum size requirement. Quilts would be on display during our December meeting.

Who doesn’t want a guild show at the end of the year?

Our Steering Committee was completely on board and got busy rounding up gift certificates from area fabric shops for prizes, just to spice things up.

When the members came into our room that Saturday morning the quilts were hanging on the wall and designated with numbers, not names. Everyone present was asked to select the three they liked most, in order*. Viewers used their own criteria and wrote down three numbers. 

In the first slideshow you can see the quilts as they appeared on the wall. For the most part, people couldn’t be sure who made what. You can look at them now and choose your own three favorites.

*I had decided to go for simple majority unless we had a tie. If that had been the case I would have weighted the votes by rank, but that wasn’t necessary.

After people had a chance to vote, I gave each artist a chance to tell us about her quilt: inspiration, colors, design—and the stories were so much fun! Some made us laugh and some made us cry.

I made some ribbons just for fun and pinned them on the quilts as I awarded the prizes. Our top three vote-getters were:

1st Place: Jean Larson 

2nd Place: Gerry Haywood 

3rd Place: Denise Ohlman

However, clearly everyone who participated was a winner. Thanks to everyone who played along with the idea and made our show a reality! I hope you enjoy viewing the galleries and I wish you a 2017 rich with quilty friends and experiences.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

December Meeting Recap

Annual Christmas Party

We were delighted to welcome six guests to our meeting where we shared fun and food and exchanged some gifts.


Sandi invited us to a nearby double stash fabric sale taking place right after the meeting.

Veronica brought in a collection bag for stockings and toys for the children of Gatlinburg families that were affected by the recent fires. Items could also be brought to Bernina Sew 'N' Quilt Studio or Sew Notions in Jasper TN by Thursday, December 15.

2016 Highlights

  • Jean reported that we've completed 8 or 9 quilts and presented them to new Habitat for Humanity families this year. 
Vanessa King (right) presents a quilt to homeowner Torri Scott.
  • We participated in the first Tennessee Modern Mini Quilt Swap, organized by MemphisMQG. Knoxville MQG and Music City MQG also joined in the fun. (See photos of some of our quilts for that in the May Meeting Recap.)

ChattMQG members show the quilts they made for the Tennessee Modern Mini Quilt Swap.

ChattMQG members and the quilts they received from their swap partners.

  • In June, Camille organized us to make heart blocks for Quilts for Pulse. She used those to make a quilt and shipped it to Orlando in September. She also collected blue heart blocks for police and shared those with guilds in Baton Rouge and Houston.
A heart block made by Kelly Spell for #quiltsforpulse.
  • We hosted a workshop with Michelle Wilkie of North Carolina's Triangle MQG in July and learned how to design modern quilts inspired by architecture, street signs, and modern art.
Michelle Wilkie workshop participants
  • Kelly accepted an invitation and we were featured in an issue of the online Make Modern Magazine published in Australia.
  • For the third and final year of AQS QuiltWeek Chattanooga, we had the most volunteer hours.

Thanks to all of you who helped our guild accomplish so much in 2016!

2017 Dues and Directory

If you have not already done so, please write your dues check for $35 payable to ChattMQG and get it to Jean Larson ASAP. Jean must receive your dues by the January 14 meeting if you want to be included in next year's directory.

2017 Workshops

Mary Keasler, our workshop liaison, updated us on our upcoming offerings.
  • Mary Kerr will be with us the weekend of April 7-8. The workshop, "Traditional Blocks to Modern," will probably be on Saturday afternoon following our monthly meeting. Mary will also offer a lecture and trunk show. We expect that to be on Friday evening (April 7). Mark your calendars now and we will share times and places when those decisions are made.
  • Sherri Lynn Wood will work with our guild August 26-27. We are choosing between one two-day or two single-day workshops. We'll share more information as our plans develop.
Mary will also be investigating options for more workshops with local or regional quilters.

2017 Programs

In January we will have a program on Accurate Cutting. Karen Downer will be leading us in this exercise where we will learn good techniques and cut fabric for Habitat blocks. Karen's had two emergency room visits for rotary cutting accidents so she's learned her safety tips the hard way! You will need to bring a mat, ruler and cutter, and we'll let you know if you'll need anything else.

For February, we've planned a Panel Discussion. Veronica Hofman-Ortega, Joan Thornbury, Carolyn Ripee and Jackie Cory will be sharing information, tips and tricks about all things quilt-making. 

We will offer five member-led programs. These are:
1.  Curves
2.  Foundation Paper Piecing
3.  Modern Applique
4.  Fussy Cutting for Modern Quilts
5.  Computer Software for Modern Quiltmakers and Designers

We hope to have five members per team, with at least one of those being experienced. Feel free to sign up for more than one. (Some of the sheets are already full! Come to the January meeting to see where we still need help.)

2017 Swap

Camille has offered to organize another swap because the first one was so much fun! Karen is in touch with former member Beth Sellers, now in Tucson, and their guild wants to swap with ours.

Show and Tell

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November Meeting Recap

2017 Guild Leaders

We are pleased to announce our enthusiastic and dynamic leadership team for next year! Looking ahead, our officers will be:

Kelly Spell, President, plus Social Media manager
Denise Ohlman, Secretary, plus keeper of the key and opener of the building
Jean Larson, Treasurer, plus Habitat Quilt organizer extraordinaire

Also on the Steering Committee will be:

Veronica Hofman-Ortega, Guild Directory Creator 
Mary Keasler, Workshop Organizer 
Sandi Suggs, Advisor and General Contributor (I can't box this one!)
Audrey Workman, Past President and writer of our Blog

If you need information, ask any of these people. 

On Our Calendar

19    Habitat Dedication Ceremony

3      Final collection of President's Challenge quilts (details will be emailed to members)
10    Next Meeting, Christmas Party, President's Challenge Quilt Show
17    Habitat Dedication Ceremony

Dues for 2017 will be $35 per member.

The National MQG assesses our fees based on our number of members and we pay them about half of what we collect from our dues. We considered several factors and asked our members for a small increase. Why? We expect to need more money in 2017. We will continue to buy some materials for the Habitat quilts plus we would like to offer our long-arm volunteers a small gift for their generous contributions. We will no longer have income from our AQS volunteer hours (until they come back someday!). We have chosen to practice good stewardship and write an annual check to the church that offers us a place to meet every month. And we hope to offer more workshops and fun things next year.

Members thereby voted to increase our annual dues from $30 to $35 for 2017. You may write your check payable to ChattMQG and get it to Jean Larson ASAP. Thank you!

Habitat for Humanity 

We have two more quilts to go for the year. Vanessa has offered to donate one that she made (thank you Vanessa!) and the last one is in the works. See the Calendar above for the dedication ceremony dates. We are hoping to put together a small band of volunteers who will sew blocks into tops next year as their Habitat contribution, if you are interested please talk to Jean.

Brainstorming Session

Veronica led us in another inspiring and informative shout-it-out round of ideas. She followed that up by asking each member which idea they ranked most desirable. Our 2017 Steering Committee will be using that information to figure out our best options for programs and workshops. Sign-up sheets will be ready at the December meeting so you can sign up for a topic and get your creative wheels turning early.

Christmas Party and President's Challenge Quilt Show

FOOD! Mark your calendars now for our December 10 meeting. Please plan to bring finger food to share. Vanessa will contribute drinks and ice; Ann will bring cups, plates, napkins and cutlery. 

FRIENDS! You are welcome to bring a guest.

FUN! We will have a gift exchange for those who want to participate. Bring something handmade and play in the Chinese auction to sort-of choose what you will take home, if your luck holds out.

PRIZES! Vote for your favorite three quilts in the show and the winners will each get a prize.

Yes, of course we will have December Show and Tell! See you there!

Show and Tell

Saturday, November 12, 2016

And the survey says... Modern Quilting Confidence Quotient increases in 2016

At the November guild meeting, the Chattanooga Modern Quilters held a brainstorming session to generate ideas for programs, workshops and activities for the upcoming 2017 year. This is the second year members participated in this group planning session.

At the commencement of the session, guild members were asked what they felt their individual level of experience or confidence was with modern quilting. "We're calling this our 'Modern Quilting Confidence Quotient,'" said Veronica, the moderator of the brainstorming session. Using data collected from last year's session, the survey revealed positive results.
2016 Chattanooga MQG "Confidence Quotient" survey results.
Data collected represents those in attendance at the 2015 and 2016 November guild meetings.
As seen in the chart, there was a shift from members feeling they were absolute newbies in the realm of modern quilting to having a better understanding of the concepts, techniques and aesthetics of modern quilting. From 2015 data, the Newbies category decreased 18 percentage points while Confident Beginners increased 2 points, Intermediate Quilters increased 4 points and members feeling they had a solid command of modern quilting—at an Advanced level—increased from 0 in 2015 to 12% in 2016.

For the members of the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild, the 2016 year was filled with a number of programs and hands-on activities that covered patchwork basics and general quiltmaking techniques as well as the core concepts of modern quilting. Judging from another robust list of suggestions and ideas that emerged from the November brainstorming session, next year will be just as promising for building quiltmaking confidence as this year was.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

President's Quilt Challenge

We will have an end-of-year quilt show at our December meeting and we need small quilts to display. Here’s the challenge:

Make a modern quilt no more than 24” in any direction.  It can be any shape you want but 24” is the maximum size. There is no minimum size.

Use the categories from our 2016 programs as you determine your size, shape, design, and quilting plan.

Quilts from Architecture
Improvisational Quilting with Strips
Improvisational Quilting with Blocks and Scraps
Modern Traditionalism
Alternate Gridwork
Modern Quilting

If you made a small quilt from our work with Michelle Wilkie I'm proud of you! Please enter that.

New work is always wonderful! 

If you want to show something that you made for one of these programs—or in response to one of them—and it meets the size criterion, we will enjoy seeing it again.

If you can’t remember what these categories are, then go find them in our 2016 blog archives on the sidebar. Make me happy I did all that writing!

How to get included in the show:

Bring your quilts to me at our November 12 meeting.

LABEL your quilt with your name, the quilt’s name, and the modern category you are entering. You can sew, fuse, or safety pin the label to the back. If you pin it, you might want to send me a photo just in case the label comes off.

Saturday, December 3rd will be your drop-dead deadline. You will have to meet me somewhere on my side of the river and put spare change in my coffee cup. That’s NORTH, y’all. I’m 45 minutes away from our meeting place. We have a Panera. We’ll work it out.

Happy creating!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Meeting Recap

Our October meeting was held on Saturday, October 8.

On Our Calendar

October 29: Last day to see Gee's Bend quilts at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center
October 30: Deadline for submitting our Financial Statement to MQG
November 12: Our next meeting

Modern Charity Quilt Challenge

Exploding Nine Patch top

Here's a preview of our MQG Modern Charity Quilt challenge top. Stephanie, Theresa, Kelly and Jean worked together on the design and put together kits for each of the nine blocks. Several of our members sewed blocks during our September sew-in meeting, then Kelly and Stephanie sewed the blocks into this top.

Next: a very modern quilting design!

Our October Program:

Alternate Gridwork | Modern Stitching 

Patricia, Camille and Carolyn shared with us a dynamic and comprehensive program on two aspects of modern quilting, each of which was mind-expanding and creativity-inspiring. And Veronica let them use some of her quilts to show us examples of modern quilting. It was a treat to see all this up close!

They began with a power-point presentation that included much of Jackie Gering's work (Jackie is current MQG chair). If you haven't been following her blog you are missing an inspirational treat. Go see for yourself!  

Next they showed us real-life examples of alternate gridwork. Simply put, that's a modern way of composing quilts with blocks NOT in rows and NOT on point in the traditional every-cell-filled-the-exact-same-way arrangement. 
Top left: Patricia's traditional gridwork example. Top center: Camille, Nyah and Patricia with alternate gridwork tops made by Veronica. Top right: Carolyn's modern top with a mixture of quilting, including feathers;
Center left: Patricia's off-the-grid top with squares in squares; Center right: Patricia's floating triangles;
Bottom left: Patricia's strip blocks; Bottom center: Veronica's modern arrangement of the hatchet block; Bottom Right: a book you might want to buy because it has WORKSHOPS to teach you more about modern quilt making.

Next they talked about MODERN QUILTING. 

Veronica teaches quilters how to do this on their regular home machines and we saw how she enhances her quilts with a wide variety of motifs to add texture and interest.

Carolyn showed us her portable design wall. She pins a quilt top to this, covers it in plastic, then with a dry-erase marker plans out her quilting design in advance.

And we were treated to fine examples of modern quilting that are amazing in person...

Top left: Veronica, Top center: Veronica, Top right: Patricia.
Center row left: ?? Center right: Veronica
Bottom left: Veronica, Bottom center: Veronica, Bottom right: the book Material Obsession, another recommended for your personal collection.

Our program team recommends that we start a quilting sketchbook to collect potential quilting designs and to practice drawing them. 

Thank you ladies for this fantastic program. We appreciate your organization and thoughtfulness!

Habitat Quilts
Thanks to a generous donation by Melissa DeLisio of Lost My Marbles fabric, we have another quilt ready for a Habitat home.

It is being held sideways because we are not that tall.

Vanessa will present this to its new owners on Saturday, October 22. Contact Vanessa if you can be there; you will find her in our directory.

Show and Tell

Top: Gerry
Center left: Vanessa; Center right: Kelly
Bottom: Camille, Camille, Camille

Our next meeting will be Saturday, November 12.
Watch your email and the next blog post for the upcoming Presidential Challenge!

PS. Some of the photo credits may need help. If you see mistakes, please email Audrey directly and she will amend them. :)

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Meeting Recap

Our September meeting was held on Saturday, September 10. 

On Our Calendar

September (12, 13) 14-17 AQS QuiltWeek Chattanooga
October 8 Program: Modern Stitching and Alternate Gridwork
November 12 Program: Up for Grabs ;)
December 10 Meeting: Let's Party!

A Quilt Top from our August Program

In August we focused on Modern Traditionalism and designed blocks during the meeting. Our project leaders took those home, sewed them together, and here's the quilt top they made:

 Our September program was a sew-in. By popular demand we did show and tell first.

Top Left: Denise's abstraction from the building that Michelle Wilkie showed us in July
Top Center: Vanessa
Mid Left: Denise's embroidery blocks
Mid Center: Theresa's baby dragon quilt
Bottom Left: Vanessa
Bottom Center: Theresa
Right: Nancy
Below: Carolyn

September Program

Some of us began working on blocks for our MQG Charity Quilt Challenge design. 

The rest of us cut fabric for making conversation blocks for a Habitat quilt. 
Here's a board that shows the steps to take when making a conversation block:

The tutorial for the blocks was written by Rossie Hutchinson and is found on her blog:

Some of us took home kits to make blocks. We will bring those back in October and see how many more we need. And we did throw a bit of $ into Rossie's tip jar!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August Meeting Recap

On Our Calendar

August 20, 27 and September 3, 10
Time: 11am - 1pm
Karen Downer's Workshop making blocks for Quilts of Valor
Chattanooga Quilts, 5711 Main Street, Ooltewah, TN
Call the store to see if spots are available. Fabric kit will be provided. Bring your equipment to sew a block for a QOV quilt.

September 8
Start date for a not-for-beginners Hand Embroidery Club
Contact Bernina Sew and Quilt Studio for information.

September 10 Program: Modern Group Quilt
This will be a sew-in. Details to come!

September (12, 13) 14-17 AQS QuiltWeek Chattanooga

October 8 Program: Modern Stitching and Alternate Gridwork

November 12 Program: Up for Grabs ;)

December 10 Meeting: Let's Party!

Charity Quilts

Habitat for Humanity
Just keep making blocks, people, and we will make it work.
Here's the latest top for a Habitat home....

The marbleized fabric was donated from Lost My Marbles fabric in Ohio, and Jean designed a pattern using solid blue and green to modernize the look. 

Quilts for Pulse
We have a volunteers for quilting and binding, and Camille will bring the finished quilt to our September 10 meeting. Thank you!

Blocks for Police
We collected a stack of blue hearts that Camille will send to the Dallas MQG for police quilts to be shared with Dallas and Baton Rouge families.

August Program: Modern Traditionalism

Jackie, Karen, Michele and Kate shared ways to make small changes to traditional blocks and come up with modern designs. 

Karen showed us how a double wedding ring can be simplified by keeping the fabrics more constant and less scrappy, and by limiting them in unexpected ways.

Kate started with a traditional pinwheel block and modified it, then she modified the modification. Twice!

Michele made a bear paw block and modified it, then she photocopied the actual block in black and white and played with it to generate several modern designs. Remember this trick! 

Jackie brought us quite a variety of examples. Here are three of them.
Birds on Wires, traditional pieced background,
crazy pieced borders
Modern circles in a scrappy background.
Note how the outer circles transition into the border.

Similar to Birds on Wires, above, but here Jackie improvised the birds and chose a more modern palette.

Next we did an exercise to compose a modern traditional block and here's what happened:

Our program leaders will sew them up and use them for another Habitat top. 

Show and Tell 

The collage app isn't working. I'll clean this up later!

These three are Catherine's. The lower photo is the back of the center quilt, a stacked coins variation.

 Ava's zigzag top, a long time in the making.
     Stephanie's quilt, front and back

Nancy's Tipi Quilt

Kelly's Timber Quilt


Robbie's Row by Row Sampler

Robbie, Back of Sampler

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July Meeting Recap

On our Calendar

July 22 - Michelle Wilkie Design WorkshopJuly 30 - Designate a contact person for the MQG Charity Quilt challenge
August 13 - Next meeting; Program is Modern Traditionalism
September 10 - Program is Modern Group Quilt Project
September (12, 13) 14-17 - AQS QuiltWeek (volunteering) 
October 8 - Program is Modern Stitching and Alternate Gridwork
November 30 - Deadline for submitting photos of your finished quilt to QuiltCon
February 3 - Charity challenge quilt must be received by the MQG

AQS QuiltWeek
Kathleen needs volunteers to sign up to take down quilts on Saturday, September 17. Most other volunteer spots have been filled.

Habitat Quilts
We have two more home dedications this year. One quilt is in the works and Jean would love to have a volunteer design a quilt and be the project leader for the other. Contact Jean if you have ideas.

Michelle Wilkie Workshop
It's on a Friday and we are full. Email Mary if you want your name on the waitlist. She has emailed supply lists to all who are attending. Kelly has a post about the workshop so be sure to read that. 

Quilts for Pulse
Camille has collected enough heart blocks to make two quilts for Orlando. She will be sewing the blocks together and has asked for a quilting volunteer. 

If you want to keep making heart blocks, we will be mailing BLUE hearts (blue only, white background) to Dallas for both Dallas and Baton Rouge officers killed by sniper attacks in those cities.

July Program: Simplification

Thank you to Ann, Toni, Vanessa, Theresa and Pam for presenting a clear and inspiring program on ways we can simplify our quilt compositions, and to Vista, Melissa, Sharon and Charise for their work behind the scenes. You showed us enlightening examples of ways to improve a quilt by editing.  
Photos from our July program on Simplification
1. Simple and versatile stars, Toni Faidley
2. Double wedding ring with a change in each ring, Theresa Kitchell
3. Modern Roman Stripe, Pam McCallie
4. Elephants in the Rain, Vanessa King
5. Playing with Grids, Melissa Klingensmith
6. Sale Creek Sunset, Melissa Klingensmith

Show and Tell

Show and Tell
1. Pillow, Jackie Cory
2. Dinosaur quilt for a child, Michele Leonard
3. Purse section, Delores Dady
4. Beach Houses, Denise Ohlman

Show and Tell
1. Sliced Churn Dashes, Jean Larson
2. Face from Melissa Averinos workshop, Veronica Hoffman Ortega
3. Modern Rectangles, Vanessa King
4. Kaffe squares, Theresa Kitchell
5. Modern Shapes, Mary Keasler
6. Modern strips, Mary Keasler

Show and Tell
1. Black and white work, Camille Miller
2. Back of #1, Camille Miller
3. Opportunity Quilt of the future, Karen Downer
4. Modern Poinsettia, Patricia Steadman
5. Improv Flag, Patricia Steadman
6. Pineapples, Denise Ohlman
7. Quilt Label, Denise Ohlman
8. Modern Dresden work, Sandi Suggs
9. Received Modern Mini, Jackie Cory

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

ChattMQG to Host Michelle Wilkie Workshop

We are pleased to announce Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts is coming to Chattanooga!


Michelle is an award-winning designer and the director of a software company. Her background in both art and STEM disciplines provides a distinct perspective that is evident in her Quilt Design a Day (QDAD) work and other creative endeavors. You may recognize Michelle from her regular contributions to Sew Mama Sew and Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine. She also designed the MQG’s August 2015 Pattern of the Month entitled “Altitudinal Ecosystem”.

Photo Courtesy of The Modern Quilt Guild via Michelle Wilkie

On Friday, July 22, ChattMQG members will learn how to create their own quilt designs during Michelle’s “Modern Quilt Design: Every Day Inspiration” workshop. Michelle will also teach how to create a block from the designs, and at the end of the workshop each participant will take home at least two designs and one block.

The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Adult Education Building at Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga. Space is limited to 20 participants and the workshop is currently full. If you are interested in joining the waitlist, please email Mary Keasler at

Participants are encouraged to arrive at 9:30 a.m. to set up their sewing machines and workspace, and they should bring their own lunch which will be enjoyed during a one-hour break. We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

June Habitat Home Dedications

We continue to make quilts for new Habitat for Humanity homeowners. Three homes were dedicated this morning.

First was Sherri Owens and her children: Cory, Corelle and Destinee.

Shirley presents the quilt to Sherri 

It matches her home!
Next was Torri Scott and her son, Antony.
Vanessa tells Torri about the quilt

The audience was excited about the back and the front!

Torri and Vanessa with the knee-socks quilt
Last was Alice Smith. Her mother is 97 and she has four grandchildren!

Karen helps hold up the quilt behind Alice

Our friend Cornelia Johnson, who received the quilt with the big pieced star on bright magenta, surprised us at the dedication and was happy to pose for a photo.

Vanessa, Pam, Cornelia, Jean and Karen

It was so uplifting to see that our quilts are appreciated. The presentation of them is an exciting part of the dedication celebratiion.

Keep sewing!