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

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sew-In this Saturday!

Just a quick reminder... we are having our Sew-In this Saturday, December 2nd from 12pm to 5pm in Verdun.

There will be space to work on handwork as well as space to work on machine sewing (you can bring your own machine or use one of the ones on site). There is a mid-arm quilting machine you can rent time on, as well! Craft de Ville will be open and there is a sewing machine repair service on site too, if your over-worked machine needs a little bit of love.

Come for a quick visit or for the whole afternoon... enjoy a hot drink and some quilty conversation.

In preparation for our December meeting ornament swap, Stacy will be demonstrating the method for making a folded star ornament. Bring along a few fat quarters of your favorite fabric and make a few to give as gifts (or to keep for yourself). See you on Saturday!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November meeting minutes

November 2017 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes
November 14, 2017 at 7pm SouthWest Mission, Verdun, QC

Quick points of business:
  • Welcome - any new members or visitors welcomes and introduction 
  • December meeting will be holiday potluck - please bring a seasonal treat or snack to share with the group 
  • How many plan to attend sew-in on Dec 2nd about 8 people. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Skill Builder 2017-18 - Log Cabin block by Isabelle Jean

The Log Cabin quilt pattern is one of the most beloved and recognized of quilt designs. Log Cabin quilts first made their appearance in the United States in the 1860s during the Civil War.
Early Log Cabin blocks were hand-pieced using strips of fabrics around a central square. In traditional Log Cabin blocks, one half is made of dark fabrics and the other half light. A red center symbolized the hearth of home and a yellow center represented a welcoming light in the window. Some stories have also been told which suggest that during the Civil War, a Log Cabin quilt with a black center hanging on a clothesline was meant to signal a stop for the Underground Railroad.

How to sew a Log Cabin Block
To sew a traditional log cabin block, start with a square. Sew "logs" to each side of the block going clockwise (or counter clockwise) until you reach the size needed.

You can choose to make your logs any size you want and you can pre-cut each piece before you start sewing, or you can cut as you sew.

To make a 12.5" traditional log cabin block, start with a 2.5" square and sew 1.5" "logs" to each side until you have a 12.5" block. Remember to piece your block so that one half is dark and the other light.

Once your blocks are done, you can choose from a wide variety of layouts.

To modernize the log cabin block, you can:

Play with negative space
By Pasqualina at

Play with bright solids
Periwinkle Quilting and Beyond
Play with improv
By Izzy (me!)
For more log cabin inspiration, check out the Pinterest board I created.
Another one by me
If you choose to make your own version of the modern Log Cabin block, be sure to share it on Instagram with the hashtags:

#mtlmqgskills and/or #mtlmqgskillbuilder

Monday, November 13, 2017

November meeting reminder

Just a quick reminder... our next meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday November 14th at 7pm.

If you are participating in the 1-hour basket swap, please make sure to bring your finished basket in an opaque bag for the blind swap. Bring a basket, leave with a basket!

We will be having a talk by Cinzia on quilt labels, and we will be wrapping up the Square/Strip-based block section of the skillbuilder challenge with a presentation from Izzy on the Log Cabin block. If you have blocks to contribute to the charity quilts, please bring them to turn in.

Tomorrow's meeting is also the deadline to pay fees for the Memory Quilt workshop... if you have signed up for the workshop but not yet paid your fees, please make sure you do so before leaving.

Hope to see you tomorrow! :)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Member Spotlight: Fiona Nanson

Here we go with another Member Spotlight! This month, we are featuring our Guild Secretary: Fiona Nanson.

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

Fi Nanson on Instagram and Facebook. No blog or website.

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

I studied Neuroscience. I teach and research Psychology and Neuroscience specializing in autism.

How long have you been quilting?

A long time…but off and on…I made my first quilt about 16 years ago. I made a denim and flannel rag quilt (my ex still has it).  I made a whole bunch of rag quilts, while I was working on my thesis. I made a Christmas tree rag quilt, a Mickey Mouse rag quilt and a strawberry rag quilt to name a few. Then I made a quilt for my ex brother in law's wedding gift. It was a pixelated sunset. It was beautiful. I cannot for the life of me find a photo of them. Following the sunset, I didn’t make another one for a number of years. I make a lot of clothes from wedding dresses to skorts and PJs. I often have a list that has been requested that tends to push my quilt projects down the list.

What first got you interested in modern quilting?

I was looking for inspiration to get back to quilting and stumbled on to a modern quilting magazine. I liked everything in it.

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

I was looking for a quilt class in Montreal in English that wasn’t too traditional. I found the website and the rest is history.

Whose techniques/style/philosophy do you most admire in the modern quilting community?
I love bright colours. I love the idea that you don’t have to follow the rules when you are making something. I adore the creativity. The idea of taking something that has guidelines and rules and making it your own.

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

Honestly, no. I follow several but I don’t have a favorite other than the people from our guild. I know those people so those are more interesting.

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

I make quilts for other people. I have never kept one for myself. I know silly but true. So when I start, I have an idea for that person.

What is your favorite project that you have completed?

I love my Eskimo quilt. I love Inuit art. My mother has a have a collection of sculpture and Inuit art that she has bought and been given. I adore all of her pieces. I made the Eskimo quilt for her after we visited an artist in the north. It means a lot to both her and me.

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

Procrastinating…..I have so many things planned, started, but unfinished it must be a super power.

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

The planning and design, the finding the fabrics. I love drawing them out planning them but, I have a hard time finishing….I get there but it tends to take me a long time… I think I hate binding so much that that is really what holds me back.

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

I am working on a “dimensional quilt”. It is like paper origami. All the shapes are squares it is enterally created by folding and the squares into curves, triangle and rectangles. It is fun, confusing but fun. I am also going to hand quilt something I have been working on for a number of years. It is all being done by hand and I hope to have it finished this winter.

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

The binding techniques from our guild members. If I had not learned from Cinza I would never have bound the quilts. I am looking forward to adding the new ones from the last meeting to my next finishing…when I get there.

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

Mistakes are just a part of the design. It has helped me with so many projects. I am a perfectionist 99% of the time and learning to accept errors as part of the quilt.

Describe your creative process in three words:

Embrace the entropy.

Describe/share pictures of your creative space:

Nope…I moved this summer it is not set up in a way that I feel I can show to others.

Monday, October 23, 2017

FULL: Memory quilt workshop with Suzanne Paquette

On November 25th, we will be hosting a workshop by Suzanne Paquette. She will be teaching us how to turn textiles with a sentimental value into a modern heirloom quilt, using an original pattern of her own design:
Autrement/Otherwise by Suzanne Paquette

We will learn various techniques for working with difficult fabrics, such as baby clothes, vintage ties and concert t-shirts (to name just a few) and how to incorporate them into a modern quilt.

We have opened this workshop to the public, so you do not have to be an Mtl MQG member to participate. The cost is $30 for Mtl MQG members and $50 for non-members; spots are limited to 25 participants. Full details on supplies and workshop pre-work will be provided upon registration.

EDIT: This workshop is now full, we have no more spots available. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Quilt binding tips

At our last meeting, we discussed different ways to finish/bind a quilt. There about as many ways to finish a quilt as there are quilters, and everyone has a preferred method.

Some of us use a physical tool, like the Binding Tool, while others prefer just a ruler and a few calculations (see the Members Only section for both Melanie's and Cinzia tutorials on quilt binding methods and measurements).

There is also a "no math" method that Nicole shared (you can skip to 2:50 for that specific technique):

How to Bind a Quilt by Heirloom Creations

I'd never seen this one before... I will have to try it on my next finish! At the end of the tutorial, she also explains the "puffy binding" technique that Stacy was talking about during our discussion.

Do you have a binding technique that you love? Share it in the comments! 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Swap: 1-hour basket

As announced at our meeting last night, our first swap of the year will be... the 1-hour basket! Standard swap rules apply... if you wish to participate, simply sew up a basket and bring it in an opaque bag (brown paper, gift bag, etc) to the November meeting. Everyone who comes with one gets to leave with one!

These baskets are super quick and simple to whip up and are great for storing just about anything. All it takes is two fat quarters of fabric, some interfacing (or fusible fleece, or quilt batting, or canvas, etc) and about an hour of your time. If 3-dimensional objects aren't usually your thing, don't be intimidated! This pattern is totally accessible for all skill levels.

You can purchase the pattern here ($1.25 Cdn) and you can browse examples of the finished baskets on Craftsy and on Pinterest.

The variations are endless, although bear in mind once you start getting fancy with your basket, we can't promise it will still only take an hour to complete ;)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Skill Builder 2017-18 - Nine Patch block by Cinzia Allocca

The nine-patch block is one of the most recognizable patchwork blocks, the origins dating as far back as the 18th century.

In its simplest form, a nine-patch block is made using light and dark fabrics laid out in a checkerboard fashion:

The nine-patch block can either be assembled by sewing small squares together (making it conducive to working with scraps or charm squares) or, as we saw with the Rail Fence block, by using the strip-piecing method.

Let’s start with some simple quilt math:

To figure out the width of your strip or size of square you need for your block, begin with the finished size of block you want to make, divide that number by 3 and add a 1/2in. seam allowance (1/4 in. each side).


For the charity quilts, we want a finished block size of 12” x 12”:

12 divided by 3 = 4 + 1/2 = 4 -1/2” strips or squares.

Cut (3) 4-1/2” x WOF (width of fabric) strips of each color.

Sew (3) strips together in alternating colors. Make one set light-dark-light and a second set dark-light-dark, as shown below.

Cut each strip into several 4-1/2” pieces.

Sew three pieces of alternating sets together from left to right.

Alternate the order of the sets if you are going to sew the blocks side by side:

A nine-patch block however, does not need to be made up of simple squares. It can also be made up of pieced squares as we see in the following traditional blocks:

Examples of quilts that apply Modern Quilt Characteristics to the Nine-Patch block:


Modern Traditionalism (Modern variation of the Traditional Irish Chain):
By Mtl MQG member Tamara Serrao

Playing with Scale:

One giant Nine Patch block!
By Victoria van der Laan

Changing the scale of the patches:

For her “Stretched Shoo Fly Quilt”, Mtl MQG member Josee Carrier played with the scale of the patches within the block and varied the scale of each block.
By Mtl MQG Josee Carrier 

Improvisational Piecing: (by yours truly!)

I cut my strips free hand to create my improv blocks. The result is that each block in my quilt top is unique!
Finished Quilt Top: Nine-Patch Variation by Cinzia Allocca 

To see more:

I created a Nine-Patch Pinterest board:

For Quiltcon 2017, American Patchwork and Quilting sponsered Nine-Patch Challenge. Click here to see winners of the challenge:

If you choose to make your own version of the modern Nine Patch block, be sure to share it on Instagram with the hashtags:

#mtlmqgskills and/or #mtlmqgskillbuilder

Happy Sewing!!