Monday, March 21, 2022

The Chicago MQG welcomes Audrey Esarey (again!) in May

We are excited to welcome Audrey Esarey (aka Cotton and Bourbon) back to our guild in May, this time for a workshop and lecture! Audrey is an amazing modern quilter and pattern designer whose work has been exhibited around the world. She lives in Kentucky, get those bourbon vibes now? Audrey identifies as a lifelong maker and sewist and began quilting in 2005. After setting a goal to exhibit her quilts in a juried show she has had quilts honored with awards at QuiltCon, and she won the Young Emerging Artist Award at Quilt National ‘21 for her piece Watercolor Study No. 7. She also recently won “Best Use of Color” at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Fest 2022. She shares her creative process online at www.cottonandbourbon.com and on her Instagram page.


INDIGO RADIAL WORKSHOP: 

When: Saturday, May 14, from 10am-4pm CDT, with a break for lunch.
Registration Fee: $75 (pattern must be purchased separately, see details below)
Location: Oakton Community College, 7701 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, IL 60077

Indigo Radial Quilt, by Audrey Esarey

Description: The Indigo Radial Quilt is a wall hanging made using paper piecing and curved piecing techniques. This workshop covers the basic concepts of paper piecing on an arc, curved piecing skinny arcs, and precision piecing. Audrey will also discuss color options, alternate layouts using templates provided in the pattern, and quilting ideas. Students will finish several blocks during class. The Indigo Radial Quilt finishes at 24 x 24 inches. Pattern (not included in workshop fee) can be purchased online before the workshop or a $10 hard copy pattern can be purchased on the day of the workshop.

The workshop will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration opens Tuesday, March 22nd at 7pm.  All current members will receive an email with the sign-up link. Masks are required per the venue rules.

Watercolor Eclipse No. 2, by Audrey Esarey

LECTURE:  On Sunday May 15, 2022, Audrey will present her lecture/demo “Foundation Paper Piecing Demo” in person as part of our regular guild meeting from 2-5pm CDT.  

Watercolor Study No. 6, by Audrey Esarey


Saturday, March 12, 2022

Virtual Block Party Challenge with Brewer Sewing: 2021 Winners Announced!

The past two years have challenged us in ways we would have never imagined. One positive thing that has stood out is the camaraderie that was created within communities. Communities of artists. Communities of neighbors. Communities of friends. And of course, communities of quilters. It has been awe-inspiring to see the friendships and connections that have been strengthened throughout this time. The blocks that our membership community submitted in response to this years #CMQGBlockParty challenge in partnership with Brewer Sewing are a beautiful example of what community means to each of them. Congratulations to all who submitted blocks and Congratulations to our three winners!

Virtual Block Party
We announced a second collaboration of the Chicago MQG & Brewer Sewing during our December meeting. Our 2021 quilt block challenge partnership with Brewer Sewing focused on being thankful for our CMQG community. We invited members to make an unfinished quilt block - any shape, any size - that depicts "what your quilting community means to you."

Blocks were submitted with a deadline of January 31, 2022. Members can do anything with their blocks after submission.

Winners were selected through a blind selection process by a jury of some of our Chicago MQG past presidents. We are grateful to them for their time and effort!

Congratulations to our winners:

First Place: Kathy DeVries - Gwen's Gifts, 20"x20" - $250 prize



From Kathy: "My first CMQG meeting was Gwen Marston's lecture and trunk show in Oak Park about nine/ten years ago. I was such a newbie to quilting and really just sat in the back of the room bowled over by the talent, warmth, and encouragement of the entire Guild. I got a quick study in to how Gwen impacted the entire Modern Quilt World. I "sat in the back" for many years with my working career taking so much of my time but still felt that encouragement to try new things and feel my way through my art. 2021 was a breakthrough year for my design voice after pivoting to enroll in Rhode Island School of Design and thus challenging my craft. I designed and created the QuiltCon 2022 Community Quilt Challenge with the love, faith, and help of this amazing Guild! Gwen's Gifts is my original 2021 Lily Flower Quilt Block with a border inspired by Marston's signature Sawtooth Triangle patterns. The block is a nod to the path from that first meeting to my own original designs thanks to the inspiration and encouragement of all the fabulous Guild members!"

Second Place: Diane Paquin-Provost - Chicago, 10-1/4" x 12-1/4" - $150 prize



From Diane: "What does the quilt community means to me: My quilt community is my therapy, my collection of dear friends of all ages & of all level of quilting experience, my resource for continued learning, my treasury of memories I will cherish for ever and much more. 

For this challenge, I was inspired by the logo of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild which is formed by the red diamond shapes in the stars, the blue half square triangles and the white background. As a new member, this is my first challenge/participation with Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. "

Third Place: Trish De Preter - Dawning of a Knew Day, 9-1/2"x10-1/2" - $100 prize



From Trish: "Dawning of a Knew Day was an improvised block. Building the block allowed me time to mull over the idea that sewing was something I "knew" I could do but I just spent 40 years of my life avoiding it. Once I found the CMQG I "knew" it was time to start pushing myself creatively through the support of the guild."

A hearty thanks to everyone else who entered our challenge. Here are the other fabulous entries:

Tanita Abrahamson - Rising Together, 8-1/2"x8-1/2"


From Tanita: "The fabric represents the diverse population of the quilting community. All the new people I have meet and all the things I have learned helps me rise like the appliqué lotus flower."

Jen Beatty - Community Stable 12-1/2" X 12-1/2"


From Jen: "Community to me is another extension of my home. This group has been a staple in my life for years. During this pandemic once a month it was encouraging to have an afternoon with my friends and do some stitching at the same time. These meetings are a stable monthly event in my life like a triangle with its three sides as the most stable structure. I chose this house block as it combines my home and the triangle of the roof is my stable group of friends."

Trish De Preter - Missing Piece, 11"x11"


From Trish: "I took a MQG seminar during lock down that focused on mini curves. Now they are one of my favorite skills. A "missing piece" of my quilting repertoire, you could say. The cotton+steel fabric with the sketchy birds is my all time favorite fabric. That piece of the pie (the birds) represents me, flying, diving, soaring, and generally being a totally crazy old bird. The colors match perfectly in the circle so it represents fitting in but still being unique in our quilting community. There is a place, a wedge, for you to fit into and still be different."

Kathy DeVries - Burst, 24"x24"


From Kathy: "Being a member of the CMQG is like a thousand star bursts of creativity surrounded with such light workers! A star burst is actually a pattern of lines or rays radiating from a central object or source of light. I choose to build upon my Large Zinnia pattern I developed for the 2022 QuiltCon Community Quilt Challenge to reflect the faith, encouragement, and engagement that the entire Guild bestowed on me creating an original design. This is one of a million examples of how this community cares for each other and has allowed me to design and create beyond my wildest dreams. I think we are all bursting with rays of life that radiate to our larger community."

Adamandia Kapsalis - Coming Together, 12" x 12-1/2"


From Adamandia: "Paths to community. Braiding of skills. Coming together."

Lauren Krause - Breadth & Depth, 12.5" x 17" (at widest point)


From Lauren: "To me our guild, diverse and inclusive with a wide range of knowledge, interests and experience, is unified in our celebration of fiber, color, and creativity. With one another we find  support, encouragement, and answers. Plus, new people are always welcome!"

Carol A Matlak - Pathways, 6-1/2" x 7"


From Carol: "I thought of what CMQG means to  me. For me it is a path for quilting and there are many roads and ways to do so - no Quilt Police. I have been making many improv quilts for the Will County Advocacy Children's Center and the CMQG has helped me to expand the way I do my quilting. I initially took the solid purple and the colorful batik and decided it need to have more paths added to it, I added more as I reviewed after each addition. I used a different batik as each path you take can be different. What you see is the final product of "Pathways"."

Rachel Rivera - Retreat Scrap Table, 7-1/2" x 10-1/2"


From Rachel: "The guild is my group of unique friends & retreat is our special bonding time. My block represents the table at retreat with all of our scraps to share!"

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

This month's meeting is on March 20, 2022.

Meeting location:

Trigger Chicago 
2810 W Addison Street, Studio B
Chicago, IL 60618 

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, January 19, 2022

June Meeting Recap

Our June 2021 meeting was really exciting for our guild. We met in-person for the first time since February 2020 for an outdoor Sew-In + Social + Swap! And, although it was classified as a sew-in, we're not sure anyone did much actual sewing because we were all so busy catching up.

The Chicago MQG, together again!

We had a huge swap table, with scraps, yardage, patterns, books, painter's canvas, coloring books, and so much more. There was a collection box for fabric which was later donated to the Social Justice Sewing Academy. We had announcements and then an amazing 'show-and-tell.' It was fantastic to see so many beautiful and creative quilts live and in person. You can see just a handful of those delightful works below.



Show-and-Tell photos by Holly Harper.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

May Meeting Recap

Our May "Tote-a-palooza" meeting* was all about constructing bags, specifically tote bags, with four guild members presenting on different aspects of bag making. We love learning from our own members - we're grateful for their time and willingness to share their knowledge and experience!

*No, you didn't read that wrong. I know May was many months prior, but we're making an effort to catch up with these meeting recaps to share useful information and tools, and as a record of our programming. More to come!


First, Amy Struckmeyer talked about the overall structure of a tote: outer shell + straps/handles (then options such as interfacing, lining, pockets, closures, and hardware). She then followed with some examples/inspiration, and instructions for making a simple bag.

For a tote that fits your needs, Amy suggested customizing a pattern or making your own. If you're a beginner, you may want to follow a pattern with slight modifications based on your preferences/needs.  

Things to consider when choosing or creating a tote pattern/design:
  • Purpose: this can help you decide which substrate (fabric type) to use, and if a stabilizer/interfacing is necessary
  • Proportion: How will you carry it? What do you want to carry in it?
  • Appearance: Look at bags you already own – what do you like, what do you hate?

Amy's basic [quilted patchwork] tote construction recommendations:
  • Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance for durability.
  • Match interfacing to substrate and intended use (ex. Pellon SF101 for quilting cotton).
  • Add pockets, zippers, snaps etc. before sewing the whole thing together.
  • Reinforce the straps if making your own, or use cotton or nylon webbing, or leather.
  • Add extra height and width to account for boxed corners.
  • Think about how the patterns of the front and back panels will match up when you join them together, and how close to the edge your focal image is – you don’t want to cut off points with that 1/2 inch seam. 
  • Make the front and back panels. Layer them on quilt batting (no need for a backing, but you can add interfacing if you want more body to your bag). Quilt as desired, then trim/square edges. Sew together to make outer bag shell.
  • Make a lining of the same size. Use the same or a slightly larger (5/8 inch) seam allowance.
  • Leave a gap (in the lining, or later at the top between outer shell and lining) for turning at the very end.
  • Baste the handles to the outer shell before sewing lining to shell.
  • Turn the lining inside out, place the shell inside (so right sides are together), then sew together along the top, reinforcing at the straps.
  • Turn right side out using the gap, then stitch gap closed.
View a pdf version of Amy's "Anatomy of a Tote Bag" slideshow for more detailed information and inspiration.

Second, Stephanie Socha presented different types of stabilizers and interfacing for bag making, as well as possible alternatives fabrics and creative substrates to use.

Stephanie's suggested stabilizer/interfacing options:
  • Fusible interfacing: medium-weight non-woven fusible, or 100% cotton woven fusible (such as Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex, or Bosal 300 Woven Fusible Interfacing) can be used on the lining or the outer shell fabric.
  • Foam stabilizer: can be used on the exterior pieces to give structure. Products include ByAnnie's Soft and Stable (100% polyester foam - better than polyurethane for durability - available in white or black); Pellon Flex-Foam F77 (polyurethane foam – make sure you get the kind that has knit fabric on the outside); and Bosal In-R-Form Sew In Foam Stabilizer.
  • Extra firm non-woven interfacing: usually used for bag bottom panels. One product is Pellon Peltex 71F, which can be used in addition to foam stabilizer for extra durability. (Tip: cut this interfacing smaller to leave room for the seam allowance – don’t sew through the firm stabilizer.)
  • Fusible fleece: gives soft structure to a bag. Thermolam Plus TP971F is a popular product.
She also discussed fun fabric alternatives for bag making: cork, faux leather, needlepoint panels, faux fur, repurposed textiles of all sorts, waxed canvas/linen/cotton, and more.

Find links to all of these resources and more in this reference document Stephanie shared with us.

Next, Emily Lang demonstrated two different methods for making boxed corners.

The square method: Start with a bag shell or lining (front and back panels) that has been sewn together and still inside out. Cut a square (typically 2” + seam allowance) from the sewn lines on both bottom corners. Then match the side seams (nesting them together) and sew that unsewn edge closed – this makes the box.

The triangle method: With the bag shell or lining inside out, nest the side seams together and, using a clear acrylic ruler, measure a determined length from the point (or some instructions say to locate a specific measurement across the triangle). Draw the line, sew along it, then trim the excess triangle off.

Other advice from Emily: 
  • YouTube is your friend! Search to find videos on how to make bags, pockets, zippers etc.   
  • Look for tutorials from the bag pattern author as well.

Finally, Sara Hockhauser showed us her method for making sturdy bag straps.

Sara's method for a bag strap with a good weight – sturdy, but not bulky, once you sew the edges down:
  • Start with a fabric piece that is four times the desired finished width of the strap.
  • Cut two lengths of fusible fleece batting to slightly less than the finished strap width
  • Fuse to both outer edges, turn to the middle and then fold again. This will create a strap with four layers of fabric, and two layers of batting.
  • Edge stitch along both sides.
For a few of our favorite pattern designers and bags, pocket-making tutorials, and more, we've compiled this list of links and resources.





Friday, September 17, 2021

New Programming for September: Audrey Esarey of Cotton and Bourbon!

The Chicago MQG is over the moon excited to welcome Audrey Esarey (aka Cotton and Bourbon) to our guild THIS SUNDAY for a virtual lecture at our September meeting!


Audrey is an amazing modern quilter and pattern designer whose work has been exhibited around the world. She lives in Kentucky (Get those bourbon vibes now?) and identifies as a lifelong maker and sewist. She began quilting in 2005. After setting a goal to exhibit her quilts in a juried show, she has had multiple quilts honored with awards at QuiltCon, and recently won the Young Emerging Artist Award at Quilt National ‘21 for her piece Watercolor Study No. 7. She shares her creative process online at www.cottonandbourbon.com and on her Instagram.


On Sunday September 19, Audrey will present her lecture “Finding My Voice in Modern Quilting” via Zoom as part of our regular guild meeting. We'll start as usual at 2pm CDT with a few guild announcements, and wrap the meeting up by 5pm with time for Show & Tell.


Lecture: Finding My Voice in Modern Quilting 

She'll focus on her path to becoming a modern quilter and how she's applied many traditional techniques in her modern quilts. She'll discuss the progression of her work and show her Radial Quilts, Watercolor Quilts, and a few others too! She'll share information on design inspiration, favorite artists, and discuss some quilting highs and lows along her journey.