Friday, January 26, 2018

January 2018 Recap

The new year started with a bang! ChattMQG members' work was featured in books, a magazine, and a local quilt show; plus, we launched a new quilt challenge.

It’s Time to Cut It Up! (Again)

Anticipation filled the air at our January meeting as we prepared for an opportunity to breathe new life into a fellow member’s once-prized but now-neglected project. Participants were asked to bring at least one unfinished object to be part of this year's rendition of the popular Cut It Up! Challenge: UFOs, orphan blocks, and several quilt tops adorned two tables.

Challenge participants examine the UFOs, orphan blocks, and quilt tops up for grabs.
Challenge participants examine the UFOs, orphan blocks, and quilt tops up for grabs.
Instead of focusing our efforts on a single group quilt, this go-round we’re working on individual projects. To start, each participant did a brief show-and-tell about the unfinished project she brought to the table. After we got a closer look and a chance to fondle the fabric, we drew numbers and divvied up the items White Elephant-style. There was quite a bit of stealing involved in the process! 

Everyone left the meeting with someone else’s item(s) to cut up and use to create a new, modern quilt. You can see each item in the slideshow below: the original owner is pictured on the left, and the sewing surgeon is pictured on the right.Everyone has five months to complete the challenge and there are no size requirements for the finished quilts, which will be unveiled at our June meeting. Please share your progress as you work! Use the hashtag #chattmqgcutsitup on Instagram and post your pictures in our Facebook Group.

Quilts Exhibited at Local Gallery

Also in January, eight ChattMQG members exhibited their work at Scenic City Clay Arts' Gallery f 2232°.

Modern quilts featured in local exhibition
Quilts on view at Scenic City Clay Arts
The show, titled "Face Jugs and Quilts of Modern Day Appalachia", was organized by local artists Carrie Anne Parks and Lolly Durant as part of a Hamilton County Schools in-service day for art teachers. Parks and Durant heard about ChattMQG from member Sherry Leary, and they invited the guild to feature members’ quilts alongside the work of potters Mark Issenberg and Shelby West. 
The timeline for submission was tight, and it happened at the height of the holiday season, but the result was a vibrant, colorful display that offered viewers a delightful juxtaposition of hard and soft art forms. Partnering with other artists for a local show proved to be a great success! In an article by the Times Free Press, Parks described the quilts as, “really like paintings, the way the [quilters] are working with color and forms. They are doing interesting things with their stitchery and adventurous things with their quilts.” 

Congratulations, everyone! 

Members' Work Featured in Books and a Magazine

Meanwhile, several members recently had their work shared on an even larger scale. 

Veronica Hofman-Ortega’s “Listen” quilt, which was part of the show at Scenic City Clay Arts, is featured in a new book by Melissa Averinos called Making Faces in Fabric. Check it out on page 105 in the gallery of student work.

And Mary Keasler’s award-winning quilt “Not Easy Being Green” can be seen on page 179 of The Modern Quilt Guild’s new book Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century. That piece earned Mary the ribbon for Best Machine Quilting (Frameless) at last year’s QuiltCon. 

Finally, Audrey Workman’s “Log Cabin Jamboree” is featured on page 81 in the Log Cabin issue of Curated Quilts. CQ is a new, quarterly journal that features a gallery of quilts on a specific theme. For each issue, the magazine puts out a call for entries for mini quilts; quilters must adhere to a specific color palette and strict size requirements in order to be selected for publication.

A post shared by Audrey Workman (@artandstole) on

Bravo, ladies!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How to Make Award Ribbons

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial

Are you looking for an easy way to make quilt show ribbons? Don’t want to do the math or make a special run to the store for supplies? This tutorial will show you how to make simple and customizable award ribbons using fabric and other items you probably already have in your sewing room. 

But first, a little background.

In 2016 and 2017, ChattMQG presidents Audrey Workman and Kelly Spell issued challenges to members to make quilts for two end-of-year shows that hung during the guild’s December meetings. Inspired by the gorgeous QuiltCon ribbons made by Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft, Audrey made several ribbons for her 2016 President’s Mini Quilt Challenge — you can see one here:

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial

Thankfully, Audrey kept copious notes as she went along. In 2017, Kelly made some minor edits as she made the ribbon for her Curves Challenge. The following instructions are a mashup of their processes.

What You Need

The following items will make one award ribbon measuring approximately 4.5” wide and 9.5” tall. As you select your fabrics, keep in mind that award ribbons are a great scrap-busting project! 
  • One 3” x 16” strip of fabric for the outer ruffle 
  • One 3” x 12” strip of fabric for the inner ruffle
  • Two 4” x 4” squares of white fabric for the center badge
  • Two 1 3/4” x 14” strips of fabric for the outer ribbons 
  • One 1 3/4” x 14” strip of fabric for the inner ribbon 
  • One 1” pin back
  • White stiffened felt (or ultra firm stabilizer) for the badge backing
  • Freezer paper
  • Iron-on interfacing 
  • Plain printer paper
  • Glue stick
  • Hot glue gun or craft glue

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial

Center Badge

To start, you need to design the graphic you want to print on your center badge. This can be a logo, simple text, or a combination of the two. If you’re proficient in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or a comparable software program, use that. If not, we recommend, a free graphic-design website that is very easy to use.

Create an account and then use Canva’s custom dimensions feature to create a blank 3” x 3” canvas. For the Curves Challenge ribbon, Kelly added a light gray circle to the canvas and centered the text inside it. 

Once you’re satisfied with your graphic, save it to your computer and prepare for printing. If you have a button maker, you can print your graphic on paper and use the button maker to create your center badge. If you don’t have a button maker, don't worry. Follow these steps to make your center badge out of fabric. 

Grab the freezer paper and one 4” x 4” square of white fabric. Place the shiny side of the freezer paper against the wrong side of the fabric and press with a hot iron. The freezer paper will temporarily stick to the fabric and stabilize it for printing. 

Next, lightly glue the whole thing to a piece of plain printer paper—the right side of the fabric is facing up, and the freezer paper is now stuck to the printer paper. You’re ready to print your graphic onto fabric! Check your printer settings and make sure you print your graphic at 100 percent scale.

After printing, peel the fabric off the freezer paper and apply a medium-to-heavy weight interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. Then place it on top of the second 4” x 4” square piece of white fabric (right sides together) and sew a circle, using the grey outline of the graphic as a guide. Trim the seam allowance so it is a scant 1/4” around the circle, and clip it. Use scissors to cut a slit in the plain white backing fabric, then turn the right side out through the hole. 

Voila! Set it aside.

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial

Outer Ruffle

Take your 3” x 16” strip of fabric, fold it in half along the long edge with wrong sides together, and press. Use your favorite method to gather the fabric into a ruffle (we like the machine method demonstrated here), and shape it into a circle with the raw edges on the inside.  Tie your basting threads into a knot to hold the circle in place, then set aside.

Inner Ruffle

Take your 3” x 12” strip of fabric and follow the instructions above to create the inner ruffle. Place the outer ruffle on a table with the right side facing up, and center the inner ruffle on top of it with the right side facing up. Pin the two ruffles in place and then sew a basting stitch around the inner circle to hold them together.

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial


Now it’s time to make the ribbons. Gather one 1 3/4” x 14” strip of fabric and fold it in half along the short edge with right sides together. Starting at the folded edge, sew a scant 1/4” seam down each side to create a tube; backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Turn the tube right-side out and press. Repeat for the other two ribbons, then arrange all three in the manner you want them to hang, and baste them together.

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial

Badge Backing

Grab your white stiffened felt and draw two circles approximately 2.5” in diameter. (The bottom of a large basting spray can is the perfect size for tracing!) Cut out the circles and set aside.


You’re almost finished! To assemble the ribbon, gather the following items: the outer and inner ruffles, the center badge, the felt badge backing circles, the basted ribbons, a pin back, and glue. 

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial

Position the ribbons on top of one felt circle and baste them into place. Then add several dabs of glue to the ribbon-basted circle and place the second felt circle on top of it, sandwiching the ribbons in between; use clips or a heavy book to hold the pieces in place while the glue dries.

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial

Now add several dabs of glue to the inner ruffle, right on top of the basting stitches, and place the center badge on top of it with the right side facing you. Press the pieces to bond them together, and set aside to let the glue dry.

Finally, glue the ruffle unit to the right side of the ribbon unit. Once it is dry, glue the pin back to the back side—now your ribbon is ready to hang! 

Learn how to make award ribbons with this tutorial


Once you complete one ribbon, you will likely be inspired to add your own customizations. You can add ribbons to the back of the center badge (as Audrey did in 2016), enlarge the overall size of the ruffles, and more—the possibilities are endless. 

We hope this tutorial was helpful! If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Let's Cut It Up! (Again)

Happy New Year! To kick off 2018, we're bringing back our popular Cut It Up! Challenge  with a couple twists.

Instead of focusing our efforts on a single group quilt, we're going to work on individual projects. And we won't cut up completed quilt tops; for this reboot, we'll breathe new life into UFOs and orphan blocks.

To participate, search your sewing room for one or two incomplete projects and bring them to our January 13 guild meeting. Each participant will do a brief show-and-tell about their item(s), and then we'll draw numbers and divvy them up white-elephant style.

That's right: you'll go home with someone else's UFO or orphan blocks to cut up and use in the creation of a new, modern quilt. And a fellow participant will take yours home to rework. Everyone has five months to complete the challenge; finished quilts will be unveiled at our June meeting. I look forward to seeing the results!