Thursday, February 18, 2021

January Meeting Recap

Our annual Member Mini Trunk Show was the topic of our January meeting, featuring quilts and other work from Trish De Preter, Kathy DeVries, Emily Parson and Katie Cooper. The breadth of the amazing work produced by these four quilters was utterly inspiring, and so beautiful. We really enjoyed hearing the story of each maker's influences, their creative practices, and how their work has evolved.

Trish De Preter

Kathy DeVries

Emily Parson

Katie Cooper

Thanks to you all for sharing your quilting art with us and to Holly Harper for putting the program together!

To top it off, we saw even more quilty goodness in our Show and Tell. If you missed it, you can see some of what was shared in the January Show and Tell album associated with our member Facebook group.

GUILD ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Upcoming Board Elections: A reminder that elections for the guild's 2021-2022 board will be held in April. If you’ve wanted to serve on the board, now is the time! The new proposed board slate will be announced on Feb 19th via email, and we need to know your intention to run for a spot by Feb 12th. Email current Vice President, Julia, to let her know you are interested. All help is appreciated -- we will find a place for you and your talents!

Membership Renewal: As of this meeting, we already have 115 new or renewed members for the 2021 calendar year! Membership in our guild comes with all kinds of benefits beyond the monthly meetings – we have sew-alongs, charity projects, swaps, speakers and workshops. Members also have access to the national MQG website, containing webinars, patterns and so much more content – go check it out! Guests are always welcome to attend a first meeting for free (or for a $10 fee if we're hosting a paid guest speaker); the second meeting is $5.

Charity Pods: Charity pod assignments have been sent out and groups are welcome to organize the production of charity quilts any way they want. Quilts will be donated to Project Linus/McHenry. They accept all sizes of quilts. Email Ellen if you’d like more info or to be assigned to a pod -- she'll create more pods if there is more interest. Also, if you’d like to produce a charity quilt outside of a ‘pod’ please also contact Ellen – we are happy to get as many quilts to donate as possible.

Show and Tell: Please continue to upload your show and tell pictures to each month's Facebook album (especially big quilts and other items that are hard to show off on the Zoom platform), and we'll create a slide show to present during our meeting's "show and tell" time. You're also welcome to share in real time during the meeting if you wish.  If you don't use Facebook, you can email pictures to Julia. Please upload or email photos by the day before each meeting.

MQG news: If you're attending QuiltCon Together 2021 this week/weekend, you may want to join our Chicago MQG QuiltCon Together Facebook group as a way to connect with others from the guild who are also participating. This group is a place where we can talk about what we’ve seen, what’s good to make time for, what we learn. It is a group for Chicago MQG members only.

Be sure to check out the national Modern Quilt Guild site and take advantage of the many resources available to you as a member: webinars, quilt patterns, block studies and more!

QuiltCon Community Outreach Challenge: Look for our finished quilt in the virtual QuiltCon Together 2021 show right now!

Weekly Sewcials! Open to all CMQG Members: Sewcials on Zoom are every other Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon. These unstructured sew-ins are for members who want to hang out, catch up, sew a little (or do any craft, really) and meet other members. Jenni Grover will host them as we begin, but we'd love to have other volunteer hosts as well. The next Tuesday Sewcial is February 23 at 6pm, and the next Wednesday Sewcial is March 3 at 1pm. Check your monthly newsletter (the Full Bobbin) or the member Facebook page for the Zoom link.

CMQG Tenth Anniversary book: Book orders will happen very, very soon! The book looks beautiful and out of this world inspiring, and is just going through its final edits. Any books ordered will be mailed directly to you from the printer.

Guild-wide sew along: Month Five block instructions for the Big Fun Mystery Sew-Along (#BFMSAL) are up on the blog, as is the Month Six post which includes some layout ideas. You can make as many or as few blocks as you want – everyone’s quilt will be different.  Please post to Instagram and Facebook with #BFMSAL so we can see your progress.

Modern Quilt Bee: Follow along with the progress of the #chimodbee on Instagram. And please reach out if you'd like to be part of a future bee!

Spring Retreat: We won’t be doing the Spring retreat in-person, but have scheduled a sew-in day (or Virtual Retreat) instead for Sunday, April 25, 10:00am-5:00pm. We are crossing our fingers for an in-person Fall retreat!!!

Star Stitches: We hope you're enjoying this way of recognizing members for achievements and triumphs both large and small -- not just quilting related. Each month you can submit your friends' achievements (or your own) for announcement and celebration at the upcoming meeting. Look for a link in each month's member newsletter.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Sunday, February 28, 2:00-5:00, virtual meeting via Zoom: Make Do. Ideas and inspiration for substitutions, sourcing hard-to-find items, mending, shortcuts, etc.

Saturday, March 6 AND Saturday, March 20, 10:00-5:00, virtual workshop via Zoom: Color Interaction with Tara Faughnan. The workshop (which is now running twice to accommodate the demand) is limited to 20 participants each session and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Workshop fee is $75. All current members should have received an email with the sign-up link. Email Emily with questions or for more information.

Sunday, March 21, 2:00-5:00, virtual meeting via Zoom: Guest Speaker Tara Faughnan. Tara will discuss her creative design process. She'll share the ways in which she takes an idea and develops it; how the role of scale and color are integral to her process; and how she resolves issues and deals with a creative rut.

The guild’s complete list of programs and events through December 2021 is now available, so take a look at the rest of our programming and mark your calendars.

Use and follow our guild hashtags!  

#chicagomqg
#chicagomqglecture
#chicagomqgshowandtell
#chicagomqgdingdingding
#BFMSAL
#chimodbee
#chicagomqg10yearmini

 All meetings are 2-5 pm on the third Sunday of the month, unless otherwise noted.

This month's meeting is on FEBRUARY 28, via Zoom. (Look for a link in our member newsletter, the Full Bobbin.)

Meeting location: Online, via Zoom.

Rush Oak Park Hospital 
Centennial Room 
520 S. Maple Ave Oak Park, Il 60304 

A list of our meetings can be found here.

Not a member, but would like to be? Click the button below to join our Guild!

We hope to see you there!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Big Fun Mystery Sew Along: Month Six

Here we are, already at Month Six of the Big Fun Mystery Sew Along! And there's still plenty of time to join in. We'll have a few more months of blocks and techniques and design ideas, and then we'll spend some time focusing on how to turn it all into a finished quilt. 

This month is all about HSTs, or half-square triangles. Similar to Month Three, when our theme was flying geese, we're looking at a variety of methods for making HSTs instead of focusing on a specific block. And (as promised!) we're showing a couple of possible quilt layouts using the blocks and techniques we've covered so far.


If you haven't started the Big Fun Mystery Sew Along yet and want to play along, feel free to jump in now and/or check out any of the past months' instructions:


Share your work and your process on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #chicagomqgsewalong and #BFMSAL.

MONTH 6: Half-Square Triangles

HSTs are the building blocks of so many quilt and block designs. They could also make great fillers if you plan to turn your BFMSAL blocks into a sampler quilt, and they would make a lovely border for a medallion. You can make them one-at-a-time, or two-at-a-time (perhaps the classic, or most common, method). You can even make four (or eight!) at once. There's a method for making them in strips and for using special papers or specialized rulers. I recently made blocks that involved a foundation paper piecing method to make eight HSTs at once with no trimming needed. It was very satisfying, but that method doesn't lend itself to easy scaling as many other methods do.

Even if you already have a tried and true construction method, different quilts call for different methods. Sometimes you only need to make a couple of HSTs, or you want them to be scrappy instead of identical. In that case you'd want to generate less units at a time. If you're making a huge quilt, though, or blocks with lots of HSTs in repeating colorways, then it might make sense to use a method that makes many units at once.

Ready to get started? We've gathered some tutorials and resources here:

Five Easy HST Tutorials from Blossom Hearts Quilts (Includes two-, four-, and eight-at-a-time, strip piecing, and using triangle papers.)
Modern Fundamentals: Half-Square Triangles by Yvonne Fuchs for the MQG* (A downloadable PDF that includes two-, four-, eight-, and one-at-a-time methods.)

*You need to be a Modern Quilt Guild member to view this article. If you're a Chicago MQG member, then (lucky you!) you are an MQG member as well!

Use your HSTs to make an Ohio Star, a Bear Paw, this fun Modern Mountain block, or this Scrappy Sawtooth Star. Those blocks pictured above? I sewed two of them together, seams aligned, using the two-at-a-time HST method to make scrappy hour glass blocks for my BFMSAL quilt.



And, finally, here are some quilt layout ideas using blocks and techniques from Months One through Six of this sew along. 

First, a medallion possibility. This specific configuration comes out to 88"x88" and it's just using blocks from the first six months! We encourage you to come up with your own configuration using your favorite BFMSAL blocks for the borders, but you are welcome to replicate this design (in part or in whole) if you wish. One tip that many of us learned when working on the guild's Medallion Quilt Along of 2016 was to add filler strips in between each border to help square up the quilt, especially as the quilts grew bigger.



Then a sampler version -- this one is about 48"x63". Although you're probably better off using your design wall (or floor or table) to try out your own configuration using the blocks you've made. I got a little carried away in Illustrator and realize now that there would be more than a couple of y-seams to deal with in this design. But hopefully you get the idea. I like grouping the same block to make a short strip or a larger square or rectangle, and also repeating elements in one or more different areas to draw your eye across the quilt. Flying geese (improv or otherwise), HSTs, and the plus block in varying sizes make good fillers for blank spaces. Or let those areas be negative space to allow the eye to rest and make a less "busy" design. There are endless possibilities!



Please reach out to Amy or Bill with any questions about the Big Fun Mystery Sew Along. We hope you're enjoying the process!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Chicago MQG welcomes Tara Faughnan in March

We are delighted to welcome Tara Faughnan to our guild in March for a workshop and a lecture (virtually, of course)! Tara is a pattern writer, quilter, and teacher who's key inspiration is the interaction of color. She has taught at QuiltCon, exhibited her instantly recognizable quilts extensively, and is the lead designer for the Color Collective -- a subscription program that delivers fabric palettes custom-selected by Tara along with a new quilt block design each month.


WORKSHOP: Tara will be teaching a Color Interaction workshop for the Chicago MQG via Zoom on Saturday, March 20: Playing with color is one of the most rewarding aspects of quilt making. It can be fun, intuitive, challenging and, at times, frustrating. In this 6 hour class, we will explore how colors play off one another, delve into the importance of value, and learn tips for when you get stuck. Students will start with a variety of quick exercises, and move on to sewing small color studies that can be combined to make a larger quilt.


The workshop will run from 10am to 5pm with a break for lunch, and is limited to 20 participants. It will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration opens Tuesday, January 19 at 7pm CST. All current members will receive an email with the sign-up link. If spaces are still available, registration will open to non-members on February 20th.

When: Saturday, March 20, 2021, from 10am-5pm CST
Registration Fee: $75
Location: Zoom

Once the 20 spaces are filled, a waitlist will be created. (Email [email protected] to be added to the waitlist.) If spaces become available, they will be filled from the waitlist. It is up to members to notify the event coordinator (Special Events Chair Emily Bruzzini) if they have to cancel or if they do not wish to be waitlisted. Whenever possible, refunds will be made via the method of the original payment. The board reserves the right to withhold a processing fee on PayPal payments.


LECTURE: Then, on Sunday, March 21, Tara will discuss her creative Design Process as part of our regular guild meeting, from 2-5pm. She'll share the ways in which she takes an idea and develops it; how the role of scale and color are integral to her process; and how she resolves issues and deals with a creative rut.

All meetings are 2-5 pm on the third Sunday of the month, unless otherwise noted.

This month's meeting is on JANUARY 17, via Zoom. (Look for a link in our member newsletter, the Full Bobbin.)

Meeting location: Online, via Zoom.

Rush Oak Park Hospital 
Centennial Room 
520 S. Maple Ave Oak Park, Il 60304 

A list of our meetings can be found here.

Not a member, but would like to be? Click the button below to join our Guild!

We hope to see you there!

Monday, January 11, 2021

December Meeting Recap

Our December meeting was very social, even if our shared space was online. After announcements, we had a Zoom version of our annual Holiday Gift Swap by showing off the gifts that members received from their swap partners prior to the meeting. It was so lovely to see the range of handmade gifts - from bags to ornaments - that people made with their partners' specific tastes and preferences in mind. In place of our usual holiday potluck we split into breakout rooms to play "Never Have I Ever," do a quilt-y version of Mad Libs, and to take part in a convivial and casual scavenger hunt. Read the Mad Libs concocted during the meeting for some giggles.

To finish up we had a sizeable Show and Tell. You can see some of the beautiful and inspiring finished works in the December Show and Tell album associated with our Facebook group.

GUILD ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Anniversary Mini Virtual Quilt Show: Hooray! You can see all of the quilts made in celebration of the Chicago MQG's 10 year anniversary in this Virtual Quilt Show! Click on each thumbnail for larger photos and more information. And a sincere "thank you" to Jenni Grover and her husband Joe for putting together the beautiful website.

Membership Renewal: If you haven't yet renewed your membership for the 2021 calendar year, head to the Membership page on our website now. We're updating our newsletter mailing list and member Facebook group access this month. Guests are always welcome to attend a first meeting for free (or for a $10 fee if we're hosting a paid guest speaker); the second meeting is $5. 

New Charity Pods!: We’re organizing charity pods again, similar to past year's groups. This is a great way to get to know other members of the guild and produce a charity quilt at the same time. If interested, you will be put into a small 3-5 person group with the objective of planning and creating a charity quilt. Your group can plan and execute the quilt any way you’d like. We’ll be deciding on the charity and their requirements before the next meeting. Contact Ellen if you'd like to be part of a pod.

Show and Tell: Please continue to upload your show and tell pictures to each month's Facebook album (especially big quilts and other items that are hard to show off on the Zoom platform), and we'll create a slide show to present during our meeting's "show and tell" time. You're also welcome to share in real time during the meeting if you wish.  If you don't use Facebook, you can email pictures to Julia. Please upload or email photos by the day before the meeting.

MQG news: Are you attending QuiltCon Together 2021 next month? If so, you may want to join our Chicago MQG QuiltCon Together Facebook group as a way to connect with others from the guild who are participating.

The MQG is organizing a "greatest hits" exhibit of quilts to be displayed at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. Go here to enter a quilt or find out more.

Be sure to check out the national Modern Quilt Guild site and take advantage of the many resources available to you as a member: webinars, quilt patterns, block studies and more!

QuiltCon Community Outreach Challenge: Look for our finished quilt in the virtual show next month during QuiltCon Together 2021.

Weekly Sewcials! Open to all CMQG Members: Sewcials on Zoom are every other Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon. These unstructured sew-ins are for members who want to hang out, catch up, sew a little (or do any craft, really) and meet other members. Jenni Grover will host them as we begin, but we'd love to have other volunteer hosts as well. The next Tuesday Sewcial is January 12 at 6pm, and the next Wednesday Sewcial is January 20 at 1pm. Check your monthly newsletter (the Full Bobbin) or the member Facebook page for the Zoom link.

CMQG Tenth Anniversary book: Book orders coming very, very soon!

Guild-wide sew along:  If you're participating in the Big Fun Mystery Sew Along, you can find the Month Four instructions here and the Month Five instructions here. Month Four focuses on dazzling stars, while Month Five introduces versatile "X" and plus blocks. The sew along will feature ten months of new blocks and then a few months of putting them all together, each quilt unique to its maker. We'd love for you to join in. Its absolutely okay if you don’t make every block, or if you like one and make it more than once! Tag your pics on social media with #BFMSAL. We love seeing your progress!

Modern Quilt Bee: Follow along with the progress of the #chimodbee on Instagram. And please reach out if you'd like to be part of a future bee!

Using hashtags to search and share: Jenni showed how to use a hashtag to search and connect around guild projects in Facebook and Instagram. You can use this more than for the Chicago MQG. Working on a specific pattern or block? Look for a hash tag related to it. One that was mentioned during show and tell was #OrbiterQuilt which is a Libs Elliot pattern – Libs was a speaker and workshop teacher at our guild in 2019.

Star Stitches: We hope you're enjoying this way of recognizing members for achievements and triumphs both large and small -- not just quilting related. Each month you can submit your friends' achievements (or your own) for announcement and celebration at the upcoming meeting. Look for a link in each month's member newsletter.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Sunday, January 17, 2:00-5:00, virtual meeting via Zoom: Annual Member Mini Trunk Show. Join us to see the amazing and diverse works of Chicago MQG members Katie Cooper, Trish De Preter, Kathy DeVries, and Emily Parson. The Mini Trunk Show is a well loved meeting each year and is a great way to learn more about some of your fellow quilters and their paths to quilting.

Sunday, February 28, 2:00-5:00, virtual meeting via Zoom: Make Do. Ideas and inspiration for substitutions, sourcing hard-to-find items, mending, shortcuts, etc.

Saturday, March 20, 10:00-5:00 (UPDATED!), virtual workshop via Zoom: Color Interaction with Tara Faughnan. The workshop is limited to 20 participants and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration opens Tuesday, January 19 at 7pm. Workshop fee is $75. All current members will receive an email with the sign-up link.

Sunday, March 21, 2:00-5:00, virtual meeting via Zoom: Guest Speaker Tara Faughnan. Tara will discuss her creative design process. She'll share the ways in which she takes an idea and develops it; how the role of scale and color are integral to her process; and how she resolves issues and deals with a creative rut.

Use and follow our guild hashtags!  

#chicagomqg
#chicagomqglecture
#chicagomqgshowandtell
#chicagomqgdingdingding
#BFMSAL
#chimodbee
#chicagomqg10yearmini

All meetings are 2-5 pm on the third Sunday of the month, unless otherwise noted.

This month's meeting is on JANUARY 17, via Zoom. (Look for a link in our member newsletter, the Full Bobbin.)

Meeting location: Online, via Zoom.

Rush Oak Park Hospital 
Centennial Room 
520 S. Maple Ave Oak Park, Il 60304 


A list of our meetings can be found here.

Not a member, but would like to be? Click the button below to join our Guild!

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Big Fun Mystery Sew Along: Month Five

Welcome to Month Five of the Big Fun Mystery Sew Along... and to a brand new calendar year (well, almost!). We hope you enjoyed making last month's festive stars. This month we're crossing 2020 off (Done! Finally.) with "X" and plus blocks. Ok, I just made that up -- that wasn't our intended plan -- but it sounds good, right?!

{Posting this a couple of days early (usually it's the first of the month) since many of us are having a different winter holiday season than we normally experience. The upside to not traveling or hosting is, perhaps, more sewing? So, in case you have some extra time on your hands and want to get started, well, here you go. Cheers.}

What is the Big Fun Mystery Sew Along? It's a little bit "block of the month", a little bit "skill-building"... and so much more. Most importantly, it's about having fun without a firm plan in place. This might be intimidating for some. (I know I usually like to have a clear objective and a plan, so initially the idea of the BFMSAL was slightly daunting for me and I took it on as a challenge.) We hope that if you try experimenting and playing along, you'll enjoy the process (as I definitely am). Your welcome (and encouraged) to work at whatever pace you want. Make one or more of the blocks or techniques introduced each month, or let them inspire you to create variations of your own. Play with color and proportion. Share your work and be inspired by others.

If you haven't started yet and want to play along, feel free to jump in now or check out any of the past months' instructions:


Don't forget to share your progress! Show your work and your process on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #chicagomqgsewalong and #BFMSAL.


MONTH 5 BLOCKS: X's and Pluses

This month we're featuring an improv block that comes together a little like a magic trick, and a quick-to-sew, bright and scrappy block. Both of these allow for multiple variations and adaptations. We hope you'll enjoy playing with the Improv Plus Sign and Scrappy X!


Improv Plus Sign, finished size varies (left); and Scrappy X, 8" x 8" finished (right)

Notes from Bill:
The Improv Plus Sign blocks can be any size you desire. I’m showing them with a starting size of 6.5 inches square. They will finish approximately 1.5 inches smaller. This demo shows making them four at a time. I would make four to start and see if there are any lessons learned before you make the next four.

This block relies on contrast. Make sure there is contrast between the four fabrics you choose as they will come together with three fabrics to each block.

Improv Plus Sign cutting instructions (makes four):

Cut (4) equal sized squares in four different colors (See note above about selecting contrasting colors; Bill started with 6.5" squares.)


Improv Plus Sign piecing instructions:

MAKE THE BLOCKS:

    1. Change your rotary cutter blade if it’s been a while. Stack the fabrics and make two slices across the stack vertically. Make the slices roughly parallel and about 1.5” apart. The slices can be straight lines using a ruler or cut free hand. Slide the top stripe of fabric to the bottom of the pile.


    2. Starting with the top fabrics in each pile, sew each of the four blocks together. (Keep track of the order of the blocks/colors as you will need to restack them in next step.) Simply guide the edges together as you sew -- no pins are needed. Use your standard 1/4” seam. DO NOT press after the first seam. Sew both seams before pressing the seam allowances inward.


    3. Stack the squares back in the original sequence, lining up the stripes running right to left, and cut a similar stripe in the vertical direction as before. Slide the top stripe to the bottom of the stack. Like magic, you should see a “+” in each layer, with a different colored square in the middle. If not, you didn’t restack them in the proper order.


    4. Sew the blocks together as before. I try to center the middle square with the four radiating stripes. Before sewing the stripe, I finger press the stripe’s seams outward so they will nest with the previously sewn/pressed seams. I press these last two seams outward so that the small square is all flat on the back side of the block. Give the blocks a good press, and then square them up as desired. Here you can see that the blocks with strong value contrasts are the most successful.


    5. If desired, make another set of four blocks. You can use the same fabrics but shuffle the color order to create blocks with different color combinations. Or use four new fabrics.

Variations: You can also create two-colored blocks with the center square the same as the four corners by only using two fabrics. Experiment by making your cuts freehand (make sure to press only when both seams are sewn), making the stripes narrower or wider. If you want to make solid (one-colored) plus signs, you can make a single cut in your beginning square and insert a contrasting stripe, rotate 90 degrees, and then make another slice and insert the same colored fabric again.


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Notes from Amy:
The Scrappy X is quick and easy -- sort of an antithesis to last month's paper-pieced star -- and I love it's graphic, punchy look. There are a few points to match up, but not many. I used one pin at those points/seams (and at the center seam) when sewing the sections of the blocks together. While the cutting directions below make an 8" finished block, these would be adorable scaled down and repeated as a border. They could also be stunning as a giant super-sized "X". And there's no need to make them scrappy, if that's not your thing. Scroll down for a version I made with just two fabrics.

Scrappy X cutting instructions:

From X fabric:                      Cut (4) 4.5” squares
From background fabric:       Cut (8) 2.5" squares

Note: for a scrappy version like the one above, use the same fabric/color for the larger squares, and an assortment of fabrics/colors for the smaller squares.

Scrappy X piecing instructions:

MAKE THE BLOCK:

    1. Lay a small square on top of a large square with right sides facing and two edges aligned as shown. Use a straight edge (such as your quilting ruler) to draw a diagonal line with pencil or a washable fabric marker from corner to corner of the small square.




    2. Stitch along the drawn line. Trim 1/4" from the seam as shown. Then press open.


    3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to add a triangle to the opposite corner, as shown.


    4. Repeat with the remaining three large squares and remaining six small squares of fabric to make three identical sections for the block.


    5. Lay the sections out to create the X pattern. Sew the top two sections together, the bottom two sections together, and then sew the pieced top to the bottom to complete the block. Block measures 8-1/2" square unfinished.


Variations: Make a two-color block by using one fabric for the larger squares and a second for the smaller squares.  Here, I'm using smaller squares that are half the size of the larger squares, not including seam allowances: 4" for the large squares (plus 1/2" for the seam allowances); and 2" for the smaller squares (plus 1/2" for the seam allowances). You can easily scale the block up or down by using a little quilt math. For example, to make a 10" finished block, you would need your large squares to be 5" + 1/2" = 5-1/2" each, and your small squares to be 2-1/2" + 1/2" = 3" each. Or play around with making the X wider or narrower by decreasing or increasing the size of your smaller squares compared to the larger sections.


Please reach out to Amy or Bill with any questions. We hope you enjoy making either (or both) of these blocks!