August 9, 2015

Our First Quilting Retreat! August 2015

Well, LAST summer during our vacation we got together outside of the city for a little eating and show and tell, but just for the afternoon. THIS year we had an actual, bona fide quilting retreat!

One of our members, Adrienne Van Halem, generously invited us to her family cottage up North. So, a handful of us who could take the time and make the drive headed up to Georgian Bay for the weekend. 

And it was GLORIOUS!
I mean, look at that! I wish I'd taken a good picture of the cottage, but basically its a gorgeous little place with hight ceilings and art filled walls, that looks right out onto the lake. Just walk down the lawn and you can hop off the dock straight into the water! But don't worry, we didn't spend all day down on the dock. 

We did a LOT of sewing! We took over the living room and set up a cutting station, an ironing station...

and a great big sewing table where we fit five sewing machines...

…and another little table for the vintage featherweights!

oooooh, Featherweights! SO pretty! Both Julie and Sue were sewing on them. They even let the rest of us try them out and now I really want one!

I was so busy taking pictures of what we were doing, that I pretty much forgot to take pictures of what we were actually making! The only thing I did was get one shot of the project pieces I brought along to work with. (All these flying geese need to turn into stars)

But what I DID take a lot of pictures of was the food! One awesome part of this retreat was that we divided up the food planning/making so each of us was only responsible for one meal or snack. Which meant that delicious food kept appearing as if out of nowhere! Like these tempting little hors d'oeuvres courtesy of Sue.

And someone had the brilliant idea of marking our glasses with little bits of selvedge strips from the group project we were working on, so you knew who's decadent little drink was who's. 

And of course, there was swimming. 

The day flew by, and before we knew it the sun was getting low and it was time for dinner. 

Gorgeous dinner. 

Sorry, so many pictures of food, but can you blame me? P.S that salad was to die for!

Eventually, the sun went down in that gorgeous way that it does over Georgian Bay. 

And we kept sewing, looooong into the night. Sewing and talking and eating junk food, and having just one more sensible little drink, and then sewing a bit more and then talking, talking, talking. We did sleep eventually, and then wake up and - you guessed it - sewed and ate and talked some more. It was amazing. 

Hey, I have a good idea: Lets do this again next year!

July 23, 2015

June 2015 Meeting - Last meeting before the Summer

Yes, its very sad, but we do take a little bit of a break in the summer. Not from quilting. Heavens no, we are all still probably quilting up a storm in our respective homes, but we of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild take a little break from meetings. The Summer is so short and there are only so many weekends to go around and people camp and travel and go to weddings and whatnot, so we decided it was easiest to just take a brief hiatus in the summertime. 

Our last meeting of the year was great though. We kicked things off with a gift. Zoriana, one of our members is going to have a baby soon (in fact, at the time of this blog, she probably already has!) and we got together to make her a little quilt for the baby. Nothin' more fun to make than a baby quilt! So small and manageable and it can be just a colour free for all! We all made quilt-as-you-go log cabin blocks in a bright fun palette and the result is perfect for a little tummy time. 

Here are some of the blocks that were made for the "Flood Texas with Love" charity quilt call. Its the Just One Slab block, which is a simple improvisational block, designed by Cheryl Arkison. It was a really fun block to make, and a lovely way to use up all the fun scraps. 

And here is the result of our first block lotto! We got one ticket for the draw for each block you entered into it, so its no wonder Adrienne won! I think she's got eight tickets there. Those are some good odds. Its the Pick Up Sticks block and if you want want to make one yourself you can find the tutorial here.

Berene brought this cool project in to show us. Its called "The Ultimate Equipment Tote". 

Its a giant portfolio case for bringing all your rulers and cutting mat and whatnot with you when you quilt away from home. This is a brilliant idea because mine are forever falling out of too small bags and getting their corners chipped. I hate that. 

If you are interested in making one of these handy bags yourself, you can get your hands on a copy of this new book "Make It, Take It" in which the pattern is included. Berene was kind enough to raffle off her copy of it.

And Cath was the lucky winner!

Marilou brought in this centre piece of the Marcelle Medallion quilt that she is working on. The pattern can be found in the Liberty Love book by Alexia Abegg. Its an intense bit of patchwork, but has quite a following as a simple google search will show you. 

Marilou also brought in her finished "Modern Bear Claw". She had brought in the top to show us previously, but its always so nice to see things all quilted down and bound together. 


Cath brought in this gorgeous little number.

 Its only her third quilt ever (!), and when I asked her what she called it she quite succinctly replied "Quilt Number Three". 

Debi showed us her completed Castle Treasury quilt. Which is Lizzy House's reinvention of the classic Granny Cross block.

 I love this quilt so much! Now all I need is to find the time to make one myself!

Lisa brought in this small piece, inspired by "Low Volume" quilting, as she really enjoys the subtlety of items that are less high contrast. She came up with the pattern herself. It has a lovely rhythm to it, doesn't it?

Valerie brought in these nice little stars. She's not quite sure what she's going to do with them, but they sure are pretty. 

Adrienne is almost done binding this punchy little baby quilt. Its called "Baby #6". She's had a bit of a baby boom amongst her friends and family of late, but she's a trooper and keeps the quilts coming. She originally bought this Riley Blake Jungle Alphabet fabric to make some sort of soft book, but ended up using it for this quilt instead. 

Catherine had planned to use this gorgeous William Morris fabric to make a table runner for her daughter, but somehow, it ended up NOT being a table runner. Instead its this fantastic small quilt. 

Lorna who was visiting our guild for the first time brought in this appliquéd block to share with us. She'd taken a hand sewing course with Jeannie Jenkins at SewSisters and really enjoys the process. She also told us about volunteer work that she participated in through Sistering, an organization that serves homeless, marginalized and low-income women in Toronto.  They have drop in sewing classes that teach women to do their own clothing repairs, and also drop in classes to teach knitting and crochet. If you're interested in volunteering there, you can fill out a volunteer application online, (click the link at the bottom of the page) and their volunteer co-ordinator will contact you. Sounds like a great opportunity to use your skills to help others. 

Jaqueline had this amazing cat themed quilt to show us. And of course, she used the Lizzy House "Cat Nap" fabric line to make it with. Very clever! Its a pattern she designed herself, based on a vintage Tumbling Cat block.

Jaqueline also made this concentric circle wall hanging. 
It was made as a gift for Katrina (who is holding it in the picture here) to hang in her new office. 

The concentric circle quilting and matchstick quilting on it are so great in close up. I love really dense quilting like this. 

Zoriana wasn't able to attend the meeting last month, and so did not get to show us her Not Really President's Challenge piece even though she did make one. Above you can see the random magazine page she got as inspiration. She decided to focus on the stack of bowls in the bottom right corner. 

And here is the piece she made. She decided to use no new fabric, and learn a new technique. Which is why she decided to appliqué the bowl shapes. She used the finished small quilt to make a tote bag. 

Rebecca showed us this notebook cover that she made as part of the Modern Quilt Guild's Riley Blake Challenge. Notebook covers are another great way to make small, cool projects that don't require the workload commitment of an entire quilt. 

Once show-and-tell was done, Julie led us in a tutorial/demo about sewing curves. She shared some great resources with us, including a very useful handout, and highly recommended this book, "A Quilter's Mixology"

She showed us how to make this block from the Sheildmaiden quilt from the sew scatterbrained blog.

And impressed me with her demonstration by sewing while standing up. I know that was not the intention of the tutorial, but it was a bonus take-away from the lesson for me! I feel much less scared about sewing curves now, and really like the tip about using a shorter stitch length. 

So that's it for meetings until next fall. Though I will be back here with a post after our quilt retreat in August. Have a great summer! 

July 2, 2015

The "Not Really President's Challenge" entries and winners.

Alright then, better late than never, here is the blog post about the "Not Really President's Challenge" A short note on the title of that. Most guilds have a President's Challenge once a year, but we are a guild that doesn't really have a president. When our last president resigned, no one wanted to step up and take the reins. But at the same time, we all loved being part of the guild and did not want to let it dissolve, so we decided to share the responsibilities around, and keep things running. Sort of like a collective. We still have a treasurer, and various people who do various things, and we keep it all running. But since there is no actual President we thought (those of us who were organizing the challenge) that we should call it the "Not Really President's Challenge". You know, since we are not really Presidents. 

So, that being explained, let me explain the challenge to you. On the day that we issued the challenge we brought in a big stack of magazines. Magazines about lots of different things, from fashion, to hunting, to food to anthropology. And then we picked a number at random (I think it was 63) and then we each grabbed a magazine and turned to the 63rd page and ripped it out. And from that randomly chosen page we had to draw our inspiration. It could be any aspect of that page that we chose as inspiration: the colours, the shapes, the words, the images - anything. Here's a good example. 

This was the page that Adrienne pulled out of her magazine:

And this is the mini quilt that she made based on the inspiration page:
Isn't that lovely? She used the colours and lines of the hair, face and eyes of the model as a jumping off point for her composition and colour palette. And came up with a really beautiful, almost sculptural mini quilt. 

Laura also looked at the colours and shapes of the picture to make her quilt. I really love this colour scheme, and would love to see this mini quilt as a full sized quilt. Wouldn't that look fantastic on a bed?

Karen chose to be inspired by the text on her page, which to be fair, was mostly text! There was a reference to the "Berry Growers Association of Ontario" on it, so she made these two small, whimsical quilts with ants carrying strawberries on their backs. 

Doris made this simple, yet elegant quilt, inspired by an add for Californian Closets (that I neglected to take a photo of. Sorry!). There is so much great texture here, and it is all hand quilted. 

Rebecca made this intensely quilted little modern beauty, though as one of the Not Really Presidents she was not able to compete. But its such a fun project that it was worth it just to participate. 

Catherine I. got this add for shampoo in her random pick...

…and used the cascading hair of the model as inspiration for her amazing assemblage of small, quilted squares. They are white on the front, and red on the back and are all suspended from nearly invisible thread from a supporting bar. I love the way they fall and hang individually - it really adds to the overall impact of the project. 

And I was just so in love with this little quilt. The colours and quilting and the great use of fabric (that grey print in the smoke is killing me) is so great. Its inspiration was a page of an article about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. I remember that because I actually had a conversation with the maker of this entry about it, but sadly, I can't remember who that maker was! I'm going to blame lack of sleep on that one. Please message me on Facebook and let me know if this is your amazing little quilt. I'll edit the post to add your name, asap! 

This was Lynda's inspiration page (a Miu Miu add, if I'm not mistaken. Or maybe something by Prada…).

And here is her gorgeous mini quilt. Look at that quilting! And I love the graphic impact it has. Amazing. 

Catherine C. had a picture of race cars on a track as her inspiration page, and came up with this high octane composition (see what I did there?). I love the energy of this one. And that little yellow zip along the binding is fabulous. 

All the quilts were laid out annonymously around the table, and the entire guild voted on who the winner should be. Then we, the Not Really Presidents voted and chose a second quilt to win the Not Really President's Choice. Both winner were awarded rosettes made by Rebecca and the guild chosen winner won a years membership to the Textile Museum of Canada. 

And so, drumroll please…..
...Doris was the grand winner of the Not Really President's Challenge.

And Lynda was the recipient of the Not Really President's Choice award. 

And there you have it, the proud winners and their outstanding entries! 

Congratulation to the winners and kudos to all the rest of those who made entries, because there was a lot of great work there. Next year we will have to get more sponsors so we can give out more prizes!