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

Monday, October 9, 2017

Computer Software for Quilt Design

Join us Saturday, Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. as we explore computer software programs that can help bring your quilt ideas to life.

Vanessa, Carolyn R., Catherine and Stephanie will highlight the capabilities of two popular programs: Electric Quilt and Adobe Illustrator. The group will also provide tips on how to incorporate Adobe Photoshop into your quilt planning.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Curves Challenge

Are you up for a challenge? Make a quilt for our end-of-year quilt show!

This year's theme is curves. I want you to create an original design for a small, modern quilt using any techniques you see fit. (Recent programs covered several that may help you, including improv piecing, appliqué, and foundation paper piecing.)

Here are the rules:

  • Quilt tops must consist of THREE solid fabrics: black, white, and one color of your choice. You must use all three; no more, no less. No prints.
  • Finished quilts must be no larger than 36" on any side. Your quilt can be any shape you like, but the maximum size is 36".

If you're on Instagram, share pictures of your progress/process with the hashtag #ChattMQGcurves. When you're finished, label your quilt your name and the quilt's name.

Finished quilts are due at our Nov. 11 guild meeting, and they'll be on display during our Dec. 9 meeting. 

I can't wait to see what you make!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September Meeting Recap

From Paper to Fabric

Armed with a gridded flip pad and a handful of dry-erase markers--but no calculator--Jean Larson walked us through several examples, showing us her process for converting a sketch to a reproducible quilt block.

Math was involved.

Amid cries of "Have you ever heard of Wonder Under!" and "I'd just make templates!" and "Do you know how to paper piece?" Jean persisted, demonstrating a geometrical way to resize triangles and other shapes accurately.

Jean is not one to take the easy way out.

Nor should you be. A brief foray into social media reveals thousands of quilt patterns for sale. You can make your own and you do not need a fancy program to do that (although we will talk about some of those options at our October meeting).

We also learned ways to make reproducible curves using a tool from the dressmaker's arsenal.

Give your brain a workout and see how far you can get with a little push from Jean!

Habitat Quilts

Camille Miller agreed to present a quilt to the new Habitat homeowners at the September 16th dedication ceremony. Our next quilt will be presented in October. And we have two volunteers to thank: new member Beverly Herron is tackling the result of the Cut It Up! Quilt Top Challenge, and Karen Sperry is working magic on the paper-pieced star quilt.

Here are two finished quilts that will be presented to new homeowners later this year:

This was assembled by Martha G., quilted by Beverly, and bound by Jean.

Patricia (left) pieced this top following an Alison Glass pattern; Denise (right) quilted it.

Show and Tell

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Quilt Design: From Paper to Fabric

Have you ever drawn a modern quilt design and wondered, “Now how in the world am I going to piece that?!” It’s a familiar feeling for many quilters, and one that can bring the creative process to a standstill.

Join us Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. as Jean Larson walks us through steps to analyze and deconstruct a design and translate it into fabric. Armed with Jean’s tips and tricks, you’ll leave with confidence to tackle any project.

See ya Saturday!

Friday, August 25, 2017

August Meeting Recap

Program: Curved Piecing

Are you interested in slipping away from the straight and narrow? If you attended our August meeting you saw a handful of different ways to swerve in a new direction. Delores, Vista, Gerry, Julie and Kate teamed up to show us a variety of examples and methods to cut and piece curves into our quilts. We saw modern curves cut with templates or improvisationally, pieced in modern ways, combined with stripes, stretched out on the bias, recut and sewn into checks, hanging by slivers--the ideas were flowing and inspiring. Try out some of their methods and see what you can create!

Guild Survey

Members, you have a survey in your inbox. If you have not yet responded, please take some time to do so. This is your chance to let us know what you think is going well and what you might like to see changed. We want to hear your voice!

Group Quilt in Progress

We have a group quilt in the works. The blocks were improvisationally pieced and quilted individually by Kelly, Jean, Sandi, Mary, Denise, Stephanie, Toni, Theresa, Martha, Karen S., and Karen D. Check out the way the makers used scraps to create richly saturated fabric. We plan to enter the quilt into the 2018 QuiltCon show, so we're keeping the full reveal under wraps for a little while longer. Stay tuned!

Quilt Swap with Tucson

If you are participating in this cross-country swap be sure to post photos of your quilts--both in progress and finished--on the social media platforms of your choice. Be a detective and check out your partner's style. And go see what the members of Tucson MQG are making. The anticipation of wondering which mini will be yours is a huge part of the fun. The AZ guild will ship all their quilts to Chattanooga in a single package in October. When you get your swap quilt finished, bring it back to guild because we want to photo all our makers and their minis before they head west.

Welcome Back, Camille!

Camille Miller, organizer of our swap with Tucson, has returned from Navy boot camp and is now a trained Mass Communications specialist. We are all so proud of Camille, who joined the Navy last year. Guild member Karen Downer surprised Camille (and the rest of us) by presenting her with a Quilt of Valor made by area quilters. As Karen and Jackie Cory wrapped Camille in her quilt, guild members quickly rose to give Camille a standing ovation, and there were quite a few misty eyes around the room. Now that she's back and working in Chattanooga, Camille will be able to join us for most of our meetings. 

Thank you, Habitat Quilters

We have several guild members and friends working hastily to finish out our Habitat quilts to be donated this fall. Jan Webster, Cendi Adcock, Gerry Haywood, Martha Griffin, Beverly Herron and Karen Sperry all deserve our grateful thanks.

The next Habitat dedication is scheduled for 10:00AM on September 16, the day of our next guild meeting. Jean Larson always covers Habitat when she can't find a volunteer, but Jean will be busy presenting our program next month. If you know of someone who could do this for us, please contact Jean or Kelly and let them know.

Show and Tell

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 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 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