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 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.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

February Meeting Recap

Treasurer's Report
We have about $2K in our account.

Outreach Report
Two quilts were presented at the Habitat for Humanity home dedication ceremony in January. The recipients were surprised and grateful.

Photo Directory
If you are a member as of January, you will have been emailed a file of the directory. You can print it at home (double sided pages) and sew it together. We will give you updates on new members as they join throughout the year.

Kelly showed us how to get signed up for Instagram. We made a list of our members who are already using it. Our Guild account is @ChattMQG so be sure to follow that! Post any photos of your own modern quilts using the hashtag #ChattMQG.

Thoroughly Modern Minis
We talked about this before. Those who wish to participate will be able to sign up on line in a few days time.

Upcoming Programs
Some of us signed up to help with suggested programs on Simplification, Alternate Gridwork, Modern Traditionalism, Abstraction, and Modern Stitching or Quilting. We also threw the 2017 MQG Charity Quilt Challenge into the program list, anticipating that it will be announced mid-summer.

Our February Program was a sew-in. We divided into two groups and pieced together enough blocks to make our next two Habitat quilts. Volunteers took them home to layer with batting and backing, quilt and bind them.

Show and Tell

Top half: Kelly's baby quilt; a Baltimore Album quilt Shirley is quilting for her friend; Kelly with her food-inspired Pho mini quilt; Gerry's modern sampler.

Bottom half: Patricia's applique; Joan's bag; Janet's quilt of more than a thousand triangles; Patricia's modern quilt inspired by architecture.

Top row from left: Gerry's apron; back of Gerry's quilt; Kim's banner; Kim's quilt from recycled jeans. Bottom row from left: Theresa with her sketch from an architectural photo; her interpretation of the sketch; another interpretation; another interpretation.
Shirley's modern quilt inspired by architecture