August 1, 2016

Georgian Bay Quilt Retreat, Summer 2016

This past weekend, members of our guild packed up their sewing machines and headed North to this lovely home on the shores of Georgian Bay for a weekend of quilting and relaxing.
 Its such a gorgeous spot, with picture-postcard Canadian views where we were surrounded by lake and sky and the quiet was punctuated by the call of the loon and the occasional jet-ski.
 We were generously given the use of this sunny studio space to fill with the hum of our machines, and of course, chatting and laughter. 
 We even spilled out into the living room. 
 But we didn't spend our whole time sewing. We're a very well rounded group. And there was that big beautiful sparkling lake. 
 So we went swimming. Or should I more accurately say floating. 
 We bobbed up and down in the water, and talked some more. World events, entertainment, politics, quilting, quilting politics. You name it, we covered it. 
 And when we were tired of swimming, we got out, toweled off...
 …and did some eating!
 Eating was the second most popular activity of the weekend. 
 We all took turns making the meals, and I'm telling you, we ate like queens! (That's grilled peaches, Tres leches cake, and coconut ice cream for dessert at one of the meals)
 And Doris made these AMAZING savoury pies for lunch on Sunday. I'm still drooling over the memory. 
 As the day ended, and the sun began to go down, we all waited to see the sunset. 
 And we were not disappointed. 
 It was absolutely gorgeous. 
 But of course, all good things must come to an end. After two lovely days of sewing and laughing and eating and drinking we packed away our machines, swept up a surprisingly large amount of lint and thread clippings, and headed back down the highway to our homes.
A special thanks again to our kind and generous hosts, the Van Halems. Can't wait to do it again!

July 6, 2016


Our next TMQG block lotto is all about thread!  This will make a fab sewing themed quilt when all pieced together. And you’re not tied down to one specific block so you can really have some fun with it. In fact you can use ANY spool pattern you want as long as you adjust the block size or add extra background fabric so that your blocks fit the dimensions below.

Width: multiples of 4 (plus ½” seam allowance) 
Height: multiples of 6 (plus ½” seam allowance)
Eg:       4 ½” x 6 ½” (smallest size)
            8 ½” x 12 ½”
            4 ½” x 12 ½”
           12 ½” x 12 ½”   etc
There is no limit on how big you can go as long as you keep these proportions.

SPOOL: Textures or colours that look like spools (woodgrain, sketch, Aurifil orange etc)
THREAD: Striped, thread-textured or sewing-themed modern fabrics (as shown in samples)
BACKGROUND: Kona SNOW (no alternatives, please)
COLOURS: Modern brights

3. DEADLINE: September meeting (Sept 25)

4. ONE ticket PER SPOOL. (So if you make ONE block that has FOUR spools in it, you’ll get FOUR lotto tickets for the draw.)

Other than those rules you are free to be creative.

Here are some links to a few free patterns & tutorials. (Don’t forget to adjust to the block sizes to the dimensions listed above.)

Faith of Fresh Lemon Quilts has this super cute (and free) spool pattern set:

And here are a few more options to check out:

As mentioned at the June meeting, If you are a paid up TMQG member  and would like to use my paper piecing spool patterns for this block lotto, message me (Berene) on Facebook and I’ll email you the PDF file. (Gratis!)

Look forward to seeing all your blocks. You have all summer long to get addicted to making them. :)
See you in September! 

June 23, 2016

April Meeting

April was an exciting month for our guild. We have grown and expanded our membership over the last year or so, and as a result of having more members, have decided to change our meeting practices a bit. Instead of our usual big circle, we've changed to rows of chairs, and instead of our very, very long "show and share" we've decided to tighten it up a bit and only show finished works (no more WIPs) and have a limited number of slots for show and share. That way we will have time to do more workshop/demo type things. It went pretty well our first time out. We still saw lots of great work, but had time to learn new things too.
Things like this:
 Jeannie Jenkins gave us a great demo about block accuracy. She had all sorts of tips about cutting fabric. 
She showed us two quilts she had made with tiny Half Square Triangles. 
Same basic blocks/motifs, but a very different feeling to the two quilts. Colour/value choice makes such a difference. 
Also, Jeannie has the COOLEST TOOLS, including this little Lazy Susan/Cutting Mat Board that blew my mind. I must have one of these!

 Here are the adorable blocks made by our members for April's block swap. I really love this pattern. Its Raspberry Kiss and can be found at the Wooden Spoon Quilts blog, if you are interested in making some. Lucky Rebecca won the swap, and made them into a beautiful little quilt that she is selling to raise funds to help those in Fort MacMurray.

And now on to the Show and Share portion of our meeting:
 Sheila made this simple and beautiful classic with fabrics from her Grandmother's stash. Her Grandma is going to be 89 this year, and he piecing abilities are not what they used to be, so Sheila put this together for her. It's called "Nana's Barn Raising".
 One thing I love about our Guild is how into the quilts people are. There is such a great vibe of interest an appreciation as our members share their work. And of course, in this digital age, lots of people take pictures.
Valerie made this really interesting set of small quilts based on news photos of train crashes.
She was struck by the abstraction of these arial images. I think its a really interesting visual exploration of tragic events. The series is called "Off the Rails". The one that you can see in the picture above is called "Lac Megantique". If you want to see more of Valerie's work, you can check out her blog

Gwen had a lot of amazing work to share with us. No less than THREE quilts to show. The first is this lovely double-bed sized star quilt. The central star was made with 5" x 5" charm packs. She used this particular quilt as a chance to practice her free motion quilting.

This buttery soft beauty was made for her neice's wedding.

And since Gwen is no slouch, the back is also beautifully pieced.

This last quilt was in spired by the quilts of Gees Bend.

And another beautifully pieced back. Also, I am in love with that stripy binding.

Catherine made this striking small quilt/wall hanging for the Northcott Chip Challenge. It really has a nice sense of flow to it.

Paul is a visitor to our guild. I believe that the Victoria Modern Quilt Guild is his home Guild, (or maybe it was the Vancouver MQG? Please forgive my forgetfulness!) but he's here in this part of the country to visit his relatives in Hamilton. And since he's friend with one of our members, he decided to come and join our meeting for the day and show these quilts to us before he gives them away forever. This first one is called "Big Wheel"

The back features some equally lovely improve pieced rectangles.

This stunner is called "Mom and Dad's Quilt". I'm actually jealous of the people who get to have this on their bed and I don't even know them! He cut the wedges that the hexagons are made of from striped fabric, which gives a really nice effect.

But look at the back. OH MY GOSH LOOK A THE BACK! I am gobsmacked by this quilt.

And this cute little number is called "Snips and Snails". I do love a quilt with text on it.

Also, how cute is this back? Adorable. I believe he said the little house fabric was from Ikea.

Christine had the quilt that she'd made for our mini quilt solids challenge to show. I am very, very impressed with those nice sharp points.

And look at Doris' lovely mini solids quilt! I adore those little slices, and the very dense linear quilting.

Wendy brought in this intensely ornate little piece that she calls "Effervescence". She made this piece with in an Al Cote workshop at the Etobicoke Quilt Guild, using a reverse appliqué technique that gives a lot of nice dimension to the piece.  
One of the great things about quilts is that they have the potential to be a three-dimensional artwork, because the back is can be as beautiful as the front, as is definitely the case with this work. 

June 22, 2016

Quilts for Pulse

About a week ago I posted on the TMQG Facebook page that I had a quilt vision that I hoped my fellow guild members would help me realize, and here (finally!) is the tutorial for the blocks that I'm looking for.

The idea is simple, because the way to accept one another is simple:  LOVE.  The most shocking thing to me about the hate expressed by the murderer in Orlando on June 12th is that his hate was for how people loved one another.  I hope this quilt, this small gesture in a very large world, will join with a million other small gestures to tip the balance on the side of love.

Love is Love

I am asking for LOVE and IS blocks, in bold, bright colours.  No black, white, grey, etc.  It is also important that the letters be legible, so contrast between the letters and the background is important.  You can achieve this in different ways: using a cool background and warm letters (or vice versa) OR using a light background and dark letters (or vice versa).  Generally, prints that are on the smaller side, and that don't themselves have a lot of contrast within them, will work best.  Make them as scrappy or as solid as you'd like, just keep them bright and cheerful!

Each of the letters "finish" at 3" x 6", so they should be 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" before you join them all together.  This is a good place to check your dimensions, since you can cut the 4 final border pieces a bit thicker if necessary if you tend to find your seam allowances are a bit bigger than a scant quarter inch.

I pressed all my seams open, but do what works for you.  As long as the blocks are the correct size when you're done, how you got there doesn't matter. :)

Ok, let's get on with it!

LOVE block


Main fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 5 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 2 1/2" x 5 1/2"



Main fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"



Main fabric:
2 - 2" x 2 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"
2 - 1" x 1"
2 - 2" x 2"

This is the only block that is a bit tricky.  Draw chalk lines on the diagonal on the 4 squares of background fabric.  Then put them on opposite corners of the main fabric pieces that are 2" x 2 1/2" (right sides together!), with the diagonal lines parallel to each other.  You can see this in the second step of the diagram below.  Then stitch along those lines, but ever-so-slightly shy of them, so that you end up with a scant seam.  You can them trim the excess triangles before you move on to the next step.


Main fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"
2 - 2" x 2 1/2"

Putting it together

Background fabric:
5 - 1 1/2" x 6 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 17 1/2"

The LOVE block finishes at 8" x 17", so yours will be 8 1/2" x 17 1/2".  I would suggest joining the letters together first, without the last 4 border pieces, and then checking your size.  At this point you should have a unit that is 6 1/2" x 15 1/2".  If you're a little shy, you can always cut those last four strips a bit wider to make up the difference.


IS block


Main fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Background fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"



Main fabric:
3 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
2 - 2" x 1 1/2"

Background fabric:
2 - 2" x 2 1/2"


Putting it together

Background fabric:
3 - 1 1/2" x 6 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 9 1/2"

The IS block finishes at 8" x 9", so yours will be 8 1/2" x 9 1/2".  Just as with the LOVE block, you can check your size at this point:  you should have a unit that is 6 1/2" x 7 1/2".  Again, if you're a little shy, you can cut the last four strips a bit wider to make up the difference.

And that's it!  I am really looking forward to all the fun colours that everyone chooses.  Make as many or as few as you'd like.  I'll put them all together, but I would love it if another guild member would be willing to quilt it, since that's the stage where projects stall around my house. :)

Finally, if you want to share your blocks on social media, tag it with #quiltsforpulse, #loveislovequilt and #torontomqg.

See you all on Sunday!

Love is Love