Friday, February 16, 2018

Skillbuilder 2017-18 - HRT blocks by Josée Carrier

I love HRTs (half-rectangle triangles). I guess that is why I was asked to do a demo for our skill builder project. I have used HRTs in few projects my-self. Here are few pictures.

Facets quilt by Josée Carrier

HRT table runner by Josée Carrier

HRT table runner by Josée Carrier

 HRTs offer the same endless layout possibilities as HSTs (half-square triangles). But, the difference in width and height adds another dimension to projects. Further more, you can create curve effects by playing with the proportions of your units. This can really add movement to your designs.

Techniques for HRT units

While working on my projects and preparing for this demo, I have explored different techniques for making HRTs.

The difference with HSTs is the angle at which you need to assemble the two right-angled triangles to form a rectangle. Since it's not a 45° angle, it makes alignement of the two pieces more challenging.  You can't just put two pieces of fabric right side together (with edges aligned) and sew on each side of the diagonal to obtain two units. You need to figure out at which angle to align and sew the pieces of fabric.

The other difficulty with HRTs is that you need to plan the orientation of your unit. With HSTs, you just need to rotate your finished unit by 90° to change the orientation of the diagonal. You can't just flip a HRTs because of the difference of width and height. You need to plan ahead if your design requires a diagonal from upper left corner to lower right corner or a diagonal from upper right corner to lower left corner.

Here is a summary of techniques with some links to great references.

Paper piecing

Paper piecing is one solution. It is the most precise technique. However, it's probably not the fastest one. And you'll probably end-up with more fabric lost. If you do love paper piecing,  here is a great tutorial by Wayne Kollinger for making HRTs.

Cutting with rulers

You can also use rulers to cut your triangles at the right angle. There are a variety of rulers available. Here are a few: Split Rects ruler, Recs tool and Perfect Rectangle ruler. All rulers I have seen allows to create HRTs for which the height of the finished unit is twice the width (2 to 1 ratio). In most "traditional" blocks, the HRTs have that proportion. Here is a tutorial by Wayne Kollinger and a video by Deb Tucker (Split Rects) explaining how to use them.

Cutting without rulers

Here is another tutorial by Wayne Kollinger explaining how to cut the triangles without the rulers. Again this applies to HRTs with a finished height that is twice its width (2:1 ratio). The main disadvantage with the last two techniques is that you need to sew on bias cut edges.

Alignement using templates

One solution to this is to make your HRTs like HSTs: by sewing on the two sides of a diagonal and by cutting it in half on the diagonal. In that case you end up with two units with the same orientation.  To do so, you need to find at which angle to align the two rectangles. In previous projects,  I had prepared alignement templates for different sizes of finished HRTs. I had written a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew explaining that technique. The limitation of this technique is that you are limited to sizes (proportions) for which the templates were built for.

Alignement using marks

You can also align the rectangles using a technique proposed by Latifaah Saafir. She marks dots on both pieces at two opposite corners to form a diagonal. She marks her dots at 1/4" from each edges. This works great for finished HRTs with a 3:2 ratio (like HRTs with finished sized 4"x 6"). You can find the tutorial on The Modern Quilt Guild blog and you'll find a demo in an Episode of Fresh Quilting. I have found however that the HRT's finished size is less predictable for other proportions as the rectangle is not sewn at the right angle. 


Here is a small variation on the technique shown by Latifah Saafir to make it work with units of different proportions.


First, cut your 2 rectangles one inch wider and longer than the HRT's finished size. So for a finished HRT of 4" x 6" (unfinished: 4 1/2" x 6 1/2"), cut your 2 rectangles 5" x 7".


Mark dots for the diagonal at 1/2" from edges at opposite corners on the wrong side of each rectangle (with the same orientation).

Mark the diagonal by tracing a line passing by both dots on one of the rectangle.


To align the rectangles, place them right side together with the one with the diagonal on top. Use a needle to pass though the dots of a marked corner on both pieces.

Repeat for the second corner.

Sewing and cutting

Sew on each side of the diagonal at 1/4" from the line. Then cut on the diagonal.


Open-up your unit and press.  Then proceed with trimming, which is the key to good points. The HRT's unfinished size (or cutting size) is 1/2 inch wider and longer than the HRT's finished size. So, for a finished HRT of 4" x 6", you need to trim it to 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". 

For trimming, I find helpful to mark circles on the ruler to see the end-points of the diagonal on the finished HRT. For a HRT with a diagonal from upper right corner to lower left corner, I'll draw a first circle at 1/4" from each edges (to account for seam allowance). And I'll draw a second circle at 4 1/4" from the right edge of the ruler and at 6 1/4" from the top edge of the ruler.

Then position the ruler on your assembled unit to have the diagonal seam running through both circles and trim a first corner.

Then turn around and trim the second corner in the same manner. Just a note, the longer and narrower HRTs offer less room to trim in width.

That is it! With this technique, you end up with two units in the same direction. I invite you to try the different techniques and find the one what works best for you and the project you'll be working on.


Now I leave you with some inspiration for your future projects. Here is a Pinterest board I created with ideas on how to use HRTs in your quilts and other great resources. My favorite quilts using HRTs to date are the following:


Also, here is a few blocks I have prepared for the demo with links to instructions for each of them.

She Bear Block by Deb Tucker with instructions

Liberty Star Block by from Piece N Quilt

HRT With A Twist ~ Block by Jayne from Twiggy & Opal

A more 'improv' one playing with block proportions. I think this would make an interesting border.

I had fun playing with the layout for this one. Hope they can inspire you!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Warm and Cool Charm Swap

As mentioned at the January meeting, we will be hosting a charm (5" fabric square) swap at the March meeting. If you are participating in the swap, you will bring 2 charms (1 warm, 1 cool) for each other participant (We will have a final count at the February meeting). As participant, you will be leaving with a varied stack of charms, half warm colours and half cool colours! Sign up for the swap here!

Colour theory is something that sounds a bit scary at first. What it does is help explain and sort colours by using a colour wheel. The colour wheel can also be used to choice a colour scheme!

There are a bunch of different website and apps out there to help you choose or create different colour palettes, such as Adobe Color, Canva and Paletton Wikipedia's entry about warm versus cool colours:

The distinction between "warm" and "cool" colors has been important since at least the late 18th century.[2] The contrast, as traced by etymologies in the Oxford English Dictionary, seems related to the observed contrast in landscape light, between the "warm" colors associated with daylight or sunset, and the "cool" colors associated with a gray or overcast day. Warm colors are often said to be hues from red through yellow, browns and tans included; cool colors are often said to be the hues from blue green through blue violet, most grays included. There is historical disagreement about the colors that anchor the polarity, but 19th-century sources put the peak contrast between red orange and greenish blue.Color theory has described perceptual and psychological effects to this contrast. Warm colors are said to advance or appear more active in a painting, while cool colors tend to recede; used in interior design or fashion, warm colors are said to arouse or stimulate the viewer, while cool colors calm and relax. Most of these effects, to the extent they are real, can be attributed to the higher saturation and lighter value of warm pigments in contrast to cool pigments. Thus, brown is a dark, unsaturated warm color that few people think of as visually active or psychologically arousing.

Pinterest can be a bit misleading (saw a bunch of pins that had warm and cool a bit mixed up...) But I did create a board with a few good visual explanations and some effective uses for warm and cool fabrics.

Sign up for the swap here The deadline for signing up is February 13. We will do a "last call" at the February meeting!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sew-In reminder

Just a quick reminder... our Sew-In is this coming Saturday, January 27th from 10am to 4pm.

Image courtesy of The Spruce

Remember we are back at the CRCS St-Zotique for the sew-ins. We should be in room 215, but please check the board at the entrance to be sure. Bring along your project and whatever you need to work on it, as well as a lunch or snack. We will have coffee, tea and hot chocolate available... please bring your travel mug if you'd like to partake.

For anyone interested in helping, we will be starting to put together quilt tops for the charity project. You just need to bring your sewing machine (or hand sewing toolkit if you prefer), some thread, and everything else will be provided.

See you on Saturday. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January 2018 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes

January 2018 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes
January 9, 2018 at 7pm SouthWest Mission, Verdun, QC

Introductions and Welcome

  • Sew-ins are back at CRCS St Zotique in St. Henri 
    • Sew in Jan 27 10:00-16:00 - Debby will do a demo of walking foot attachment as a quilting tool.
  • Next meeting Feb 13th at the Verdun SouthWest Mission as usual

  • Quilting week/semaine de la courtepointe at Club Tissue January 21 – 28.
    • There should be lectures and quilt products featured but we do not have a lot of info yet, we will share it on social media when we do.

  • Twist Festival in August
    • We have been approached by the Twist Festival to see if we would be willing to display some modern quilts at the next installment of the festival in August 2018. Space is limited, they have room for approximately 6 quilts, and due to the way they would be hung, the quilts would need to be lap size (approximately 54"x54") or larger. If you think you would be interested, please let us know.

  • Charm Swap
    • This year's charm swap palette will be: Warm and Cool 
    • Due at the March meeting, participants will bring two sets of 5"x5" charm squares, one cool and one warm. Stacy will be posting details to the blog soon. 
    • If you are interested in participating, please sign up here

  • Skillbuilder presentation - Nathalie presenting Flying Geese (see blog post for details)

Skillbuilder 2017-18 - Flying Geese blocks by Nathalie Forget

The Flying Geese is an easily recognizable simple block that consist of a large triangle (the goose), flanked by two smaller contrasting triangles (the sky). The traditional blocks are usually twice as wide as they are tall.

A similar block can also be created using HST blocks. The Flying Geese block can be substituted by two HST blocks sewn together in a mirror image to form the goose.

The block is a versatile one that is often incorporated in other traditional blocks (e.g. Louisiana block) or is the foundation piece for other traditional blocks (e.g. Dutchman Puzzle block).

Block Assembly

There are many methods for assembling the block and many tutorials available online. Below is a summary of criteria I found for five methods available. This should help you select the most suitable method for your projects. I also include cutting guidelines for the two most commonly used methods and links to tutorials for all of them.

Method 1 - Single Block Construction

  • Traditional method 
  • Can use small fabric scraps with this method 
  • Suitable for directional fabric use and fussy cutting 
  • Best if small number of blocks is required i.e. less than four identical blocks 
  • Some waste of fabric 
  • Good for making improv/wonky versions
Click to enlarge

See the first method of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two methods" by Connecting Threads.

There is a tutorial for a modern wonky version of Method 1 entitled "Modern Monday - Block 18" by Jenifer Dick of 42 Quilts.

Method 2 - Four Unit No Waste Method
  • Newer and most commonly used method 
  • Yields four identical blocks 
  • Cannot make use of small fabric scraps 
  • Can only be used with non-directional fabrics. Not suitable for fussy cutting 
  • Best if a large number of blocks is required i.e. more than four or multiples of four identical blocks required 
  • No waste of fabric
Click to enlarge

Scroll down to the favorite quick method that yields 4 flying geese blocks with no waste of of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two methods" by Connecting Threads.

There are excellent simple diagrams for Method 1 and 2 available in the "Super Simple Flying Geese Quilt Tutorial" by Suzy Quilts.

Method 3 - Four Unit Some Waste Method
  • Similar to Method 2 but with less up-front cutting
  • Helpful if you're not confident in your precision with your 1/4" seams
  • Cannot make use of small fabric scraps
  • Can only be used with non-directional fabrics. Not suitable for fussy cutting
  • Best if a large number of blocks is required i.e. more than four or multiples of four identical blocks required
  • Small amount of waste but more than for Method 2
See Method Three of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two more methods" by Connecting Threads .

Method 4 - Dimensional One Seam (Folded Pocket or 3-D Method)
  • Fastest method to sew
  • Creates a dimensional effect that may be desirable for your design
  • Can use small fabric scraps for the sky
  • Most waste of fabric (double thickness of the goose)
  • The crispness of the point can be difficult to achieve with the double thickness of the goose fabric.
  • The double layer goose may also make the quilting more challenging
Scroll down to Method Four - Dimensional One Seam Flying Geese of "Flying Geese - Make 'em fast - two more methods" by Connecting Threads .

Method 5 - Paper Pieced Method

  • Used for precision for perfect points for traditional blocks
  • Used for curved or wonky setting of the geese
  • Can use small fabric scraps with this method

Flying Geese ~ Perfect Points” by Fresh Lemons Quilts (including downloadable templates)

"Drafting Your Own Paper Pieced Pattern ... Wonky Flying Geese Tutorial" by Why Not Sew

"Release the Geese" by Sarah Bond, Quilt Maker, PhillyMQG

I also include below links to a couple of interesting tutorials for HST Versions:

"Scrap Bin Geese block tutorial" by A Bright Corner.

HST Challenge - Block Two - Dutchman's Puzzle/Wild Goose Chase” by Premium Precuts.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The following design components may be used and combined to give the quilt a more modern esthetic.
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

For more examples and for inspiration, please refer to my Flying Geese Pinterest board

We would love to see what you make, so please share your blocks on Facebook or Instagram, and feel free to tag us and use the hashtags: #mtlmqgskills or #mtlmqgskillbuilder

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Meeting reminder

The holiday sugar high is wearing off and the arctic deep freeze is thankfully easing a bit, just in time to venture outside for our January meeting!

Our meeting is Tuesday January 9th at 7pm in our usual space, the SouthWest Mission Verdun at the corner of Rue Melrose and Rue de Verdun.

We will be announcing our next swap and Nathalie will be presenting the next skillbuilder block, Flying Geese. We will have lots of time for Show and Tell, so feel free to bring the project you've been working on to avoid going out in the cold, or even the awesome quilty item you got as a gift over the holidays.

We will have fresh coffee available so if you'd like to partake, please bring your reusable mug. :) See you on Tuesday!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 2017 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes

December 2017 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes
December 12, 2017 at 7pm SouthWest Mission, Verdun, QC

Quick points of business:
  • Welcome - No new members this month 
Meeting topics:
  • Snacks: The snacks provided by the Mission might not be enough for the crowd. We would need 5 volunteers to take care of bringing a snack in addition to the Guild paying for something every month. We sent a sign-up sheet and got our volunteers!
  • Sew-Ins: We are moving our sew-ins back to the Centre in St-Henri starting with the January sew-in. The hours will also go back to 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Club Tissus Modern Quilting Conference: Club Tissus would like to invite us to speak at their quilting week the weekend of January 20 and 21. If anyone is interested, contact Stephanie.
  • Twist Festival: The Festival invited us to display some of our quilts. If you have a quilt lap size or bigger you would like to display, contact Stephanie as soon as possible.
Ornament Swap:  Some really cute and creative ornaments were swapped.

Show and Tell
  • Tamara - cute small quilt in her fabric collection
  • Jennifer - Baby quilt in pinks and greys
  • Izzy - City Sampler quilt finished
Skill builder block of the month:
  • Stephanie - HST Star blocks

Friday, December 15, 2017

Skill Builder 2017-18 - HST Star blocks by Stephanie Baldwin

Moving on from the square and strip based blocks, we are now moving on to the Half-Square Triangle (or HST) based blocks! This month we will be exploring HST Star Blocks:

Summer Star quilt by Craft Paper Scissors

The HST block is incredibly simple to produce and is the basis of a huge variety of different designs. They can be used as a stand-alone block, such as Izzy's HST quilt:
HST Quilt by Izzy

Or to make up blocks that form a larger design:
Comma Comet by Janet Gannon

I really love HST star blocks... there is so much variety and flexibility in them. They can be simple or complex, imperfect or precise, and the result they give is somehow both whimsical and geometric. They lend themselves well to asymmetry, minimalism, scale, abstraction, alternative gridwork, improvisation, negative space, etc.

So! How do you make an HST block? Being such a basic component in many quilt designs, there are plenty of tutorials out there on the interwebs for you to use:

Blossom Heart Quilts - 2 and 4 HSTs at a time methods
Blossom Heart Quilts - HST strip method
Missouri Star Quilt Co - Magic 8 method (as part of an HST quilt tutorial)

Be aware that most of the methods for making HSTs involve sewing and cutting on the bias (diagonally across the grain of the fabric), which means that as you sew, cut and press the blocks they will be stretched or warped slightly out of shape. Now, if you're doing wonky stars or going for an improv/ruler-free look, then no worries! If you want straight lines and matching seams, then you will need to square up your HSTs before moving on to the next step of your pattern. In this case, I strongly recommend that you cut your squares slightly larger than you need them to be so that you have some wiggle room to trim down and square up the HSTs.

For example, to make a 12.5" block, I would cut my squares as follows:
2x2 block = four 7" squares
3x3 block = nine 5" squares
4x4 block = sixteen 4" squares

Once you have your HSTs done (squared or not), you can then move on to constructing your star block. You can follow a pattern or design it yourself... for these kinds of blocks I find a design board/wall to be especially helpful as it allows you to move blocks around and try different combinations.

Now, on to some examples to get your creative juices going. As we move along through these traditional blocks, there will be lots of opportunities to use multiple blocks at a time:

Star, Rail Fence and 9 patch block: 
Inverted Stars by crossquilt

There is a great Missouri Star Quilt Co tutorial on making Rail Fence Star blocks.

HST Star and Log Cabin: 
Log Cabin Star by Cluck Cluck Sew

Wonky stars (using improv): 
Wonky Stars by The Running Thimble

Fussy-cut Star by Freshly Pieced

Scrappy Rainbow Star by Happy Quilting

HST Stars are also great for creating secondary designs: 
Moroccan Lanterns by Freshly Pieced

HST Stars can be large scale... 
New Star Rising by Huntspatch Quilts

Or they can be small scale... 
Epic HST block by Coriander Quilts

And you can even play around with the positive and negative space: 
Positive and Negative stars by Gen X Quilters

This is, of course, just a small sample of the possibilities. If you'd like some more ideas, check out our Pinterest board:

Now it's your turn to create a modern take on the HST star block! We would love to see what you make, so please share your blocks on Facebook or Instagram, and feel free to tag us and/or use the hashtags: #mtlmqgskills  or  #mtlmqgskillbuilder

Friday, December 08, 2017

Meeting reminder

Just a quick reminder, our next meeting is Tuesday December 12th at 7pm. Time to take a break from all those holiday gifts you're working on and come relax and have some fun!

We will be raffling off some mid-year goodies, having an ornament swap and enjoying some seasonal treats. Please feel free to bring along something edible or drinkable to share!

For those of you who wish to participate in the swap, simply make a fabric ornament and bring it with you to the meeting. No need to bring it in a bag, we will put them all in one large bag to draw from. There is no required pattern to follow, but if you need some inspiration you can check out this Pinterest board for some ideas.

If you wanted to learn how to make the Scandinavian star ornament and couldn't attend Stacy's demonstration at the last sew-in, you can find the written tutorial here, or if you're a more visual learner you can check out this tutorial on YouTube:

Hope to see you on Tuesday!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Member Spotlight: Isabelle Jean

This month, we asked our Vice-President, Isabelle, to talk a little about herself and her quilty journey.

Your social media coordinates (blog/website, Facebook, Instagram, etc):

I have a blog at and I'm also on Instagram as @dizzyquiltsblog.

What did you study in school and/or what do you do for a day job?

During the day, I manage a team of instructional designers who develop online learning. I've been with the same company for 28 years and I still love it!

How long have you been quilting?

I've been sewing for a long time (I used to make clothes for my teddy bears), but I discovered quilting only about 8 years ago. I ventured in a JoAnn's in the U.S. to buy fabric for curtains and right at the door, they were selling little kits to make baby quilts. I thought they were cute so I bought one. And that was it - I was completely hooked!

Guitar Quilt I made for my hubby a few years ago

What first got you interested in modern quilting?

I was browsing the Internet looking for tutorials and landed on modern blogs. I immediately fell in love with the graphic, colourful, very bold designs.

How did you find the MMQG and why did you decide to join?

I was looking for a guild in the Montreal area and the MMQG was the first one I found. I sent an email to Cinzia to get some info and attended a presentation she led on modern quilting. The guild was rather small back then, but I knew I had found "my tribe".

Whose techniques/style/philosophy do you most admire in the modern quilting community?

I love many different styles, techniques and the work of many quilters in the modern quilting community. I'm a huge fan of Jacquie Gering, I really like the style of Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs and of Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl. 

Do you have any favorite quilting related social media accounts that you follow?

There are probably too many to list!

Where do you look for inspiration or ideas for your quilting projects?

I look at blogs, Instagram and modern art. A friend of mine just retired and she took up painting - she's amazing and her work is giving me all kinds of ideas for quilt designs!

What is your favorite project that you have completed?

I think my favourite finish is my CrossCut Quilt made during a QAL with Debbie of A Quilter's Table. I love the design, the colours I chose and I especially like my quilting on this one.

CrossCut Quilt

What would you consider to be your quilting ‘superpower’?

I'm really fast! I get very little time to quilt between my day job, the kids, the house and my grand-babies. I've learned to make the most out my time in the sewing room and use many time-saving techniques such as chain-piecing.

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process? Why?

I love the quilting part of it. Sometimes I love to spend hours stitching FMQ designs on the quilt and sometimes, I like to keep it simply and just stitch wavy lines with my walking foot. Either way, I just love it!

FMQ and walking foot quilting

More FMQ and some ruler work

What project or technique is next on your “to try” list?

I recently installed an app on my iPad which allows you to "play" with Josef Albers' colour explorations. I would love to make a series of small quilts inspired by his work.

Missing the U Quilt

What is the best quilting tip or technique you’ve discovered?

The best tip I ever learned was Cinzia's binding technique. I use it for every quilt I finish and it works perfectly every time!

What is the best bit of quilting advice you’ve ever received?

I love Angela Walters and I think the best quote from her is "A finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt top". I don't stress over how I'm going to quilt my quilts and I don't freak out when I mess up anymore - I just want a finished quilt that my family and friends will get to enjoy for years.

HST Quilt

Describe your creative process in three words:

I don't think I can describe my creative process in 3 words! I'm not even sure I would refer to my process as "creative". I make quilts!

Describe/share pictures of your creative space:

My sewing room in the basement of our apartment so I refer to it as my woman cave. I have a huge TV in it, a huge table where I can board baste quilts and of course, lots of room for everything I need. The only thing I'm not crazy about is the lack of wall space - I need to pin my design wall to the dining room wall when I design.

My Juki TL-2010Q