Tuesday, January 31, 2017

#QuiltsforQC - update

What we thought would just be a small local project seems to be gaining strength quickly... it is fantastic to see so many people who want to help! Our goal is to make a quilt to be given to each of the 6 families who lost a loved one, and to each of the people injured in the attack. For full details on the project and what we need to accomplish that, please see the original post.

House block by Maggie

I have had a few people ask if they could include notes of support with their blocks... absolutely! If you wish to include a card or note of support for the recipients, we will pass along any we receive with the finished quilts. If you would like to reach out to the mosque to offer support directly, you can do so through their website, Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec

For those of you who are local, you are welcome to drop completed blocks off in person at Atelier Fiber Arts during their business hours. We may also be planning a block-making session in the coming weeks; we will post details on that once we know. 

We will post updates here as things progress. If you have any questions, or would like to help out in some other way, please feel free to send us an email at: mtlmqg@gmail.com 

Whether you contribute a pile of blocks, a single block, or just help spread the word by sharing our post with your friends, we are very grateful for all of your help!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Call to action - Quilts for Québec

Updated to add: We have received all the quilt blocks we need for this project - thank you to all who contributed! If you would like information on how else you can help, please see our most recent blog post

Yesterday there was an attack made on members of our community... a gunman entered a Quebec City mosque during prayers and opened fire, killing 6 people and seriously injuring at least 5 others.

Intolerance and hate have no place in my definition of 'Québecois(e)' or 'Canadian', and as our Prime Minister recently said, "Our diversity is our strength." With that in mind, this act of terrorism simply will not stand and in the hopes of sending a little comfort and strong message of support to our neighbours in their time of need, we are doing what we do as a quilt guild - we are making quilts. 

We will be collecting house quilt blocks to make quilts that remind the recipients that this is their home, that they are an important part of this community and that we, their neighbours, are here to support and protect them. We would like to have at least enough for the families of each of the victims who lost their lives in the attack (6 so far), and ideally enough for those who were injured as well, although we do not yet know the final number. 

Image courtesy of Craftsy

If you would like to make a block (or many), here is what we need:
  • blocks should be 12.5" square
  • solid and non-figurative print fabrics are best (ie: no images of people or animals)
  • it would be nice to have the background fabric be a light neutral (white, light grey, cream, low-volume prints, etc) if possible  
  • the house can be as simple or as complex as you like, feel free to improvise and customize (examples and tutorials below)
  • bring your completed blocks to our Feb 14th meeting or to the Feb sew-in on the 18th
We would like to start constructing the quilts after our meeting later this month, and for those mailing their blocks in, please try to have them in the mail to us by March 11th.

Also, we invite you to share pictures of your blocks on social media, and please include the tag #quiltsforqc so we can see your wonderful work! :)

We are also accepting donations of backing fabric and batting for finishing the quilts, or money to be put towards the purchase of those items, if that's more your speed... please send us an email (mtlmqg@gmail.com) and we can arrange something that works for you. :) 

As for the blocks themselves, there are many different kinds of house blocks you can make ranging from simple to complex. We want our quilt villages to be beautiful and varied! Below are some house block tutorials to get you started; you can also do a search for "house quilt block" on Pinterest or Google, and if you have an idea or tutorial to share, post it in the comments!
I know quilts can't fix everything in this world (wouldn't it be wonderful if they could?), but it never hurts to remind people that they are a valued part of their community, and that their neighbours support them. We appreciate any help you can give us in sending that message! :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles

Hari-Kuyo is the Buddhist and Shinto Festival of Broken Needles which is celebrated in parts of Japan on February 8th. For the past 400 years, kimono makers, seamstresses and homemakers have gathered at shrines to thank their bent pins and broken needles for the hard work and faithful service they have provided over the past year. They express their thanks by holding a small memorial service and putting the pins and needles to rest in a block of soft tofu or jelly. It is also an opportunity to pray for improved sewing skills in the year to come.

Image courtesy of japan-experience.com

Why hold a memorial for pins and needles? In animist cultures it is believed that objects have souls, so this ceremony was a way for those whose livelihood relied on the humble needle to pay homage to that soul. After a year of rough treatment, the pins and needles are given a soft, luxurious resting place at the end of their 'lives'. It is also, on the most basic level, a way to simply acknowledge the importance of these tools that so often get overlooked.

Also central to the festival is the concept of 'Mottainai', which roughly means a sense of regret concerning waste. (The philosophical concept behind it is of course more complex, if you'd like to learn more about it, Wikipedia has an excellent entry on it) Being a quilter who tries to make use of every last scrap, and a sewist who tries to live by the "Make do and mend" motto, this strikes a particularly strong chord with me.

Lastly, there is an intensely personal layer of meaning to the festival. Historically, it was women who worked with pins and needles, and when those women carried painful secrets that they could not share with others, they would instead share them with their needles while they worked. Then at the end of the year, they would put those needles, and the secrets they carried, to rest in the hopes of being free to move forward. I think all of us have experienced that meditative connection with our work at some point; it can be a wonderfully therapeutic practise for anyone who picks up a needle.

As a sewist and quilter, I found the concept behind the festival so wonderfully reverential to one of the most necessary tools of our trade that I wanted to join in the celebration. I always try to be sensitive about cultural appropriation, so while I come from a different cultural background, my needles work as hard as anyone else's and I hope the powers that be don't mind that I celebrate Hari-Kuyo in my own little way.

At our February meeting on the 14th we will be celebrating the Festival of Broken Needles... please bring along any worn, bent or broken pins and needles that you have so we can thank them for their service, give them their well-earned rest and look forward to the next year of sewing and creating!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

January Meeting Minutes

January 2017 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes
Tuesday January 10, 2017 at 7pm at CRCS St-Zotique

The Business Section:

  • New members – Please see Claudia as she represents Welcome Wagon.
  • Saturday Jan 28th at 5-7pm at Benelux brasserie 4026 rue Wellington, Verdun (de l’Eglise metro)
  • Feb sew-in, Sat Feb 18th, 10-4 at Maplewood Presbyterian Church, 215 McLeod, in Chateauguay,
    • If needed we can arrange car pools
    • This will be inter-guild meet up with Chateauguay Valley Quilters Guild
    • Please bring your lunch and snacks
    • To celebrate Canada's 150th CQA is collecting Canada themed slab blocks for the Big Quilt Bee  https://www.canadianquilter.com/events/quilt-canada-2017-quilting-bee.php
    • We will have a demo of Cheryl Arkison's slab block technique https://www.canadianquilter.com/pdf/quilt-canada-2017/Quilting-Bee-How-to-make-a-block.pdf
    • We have the required charm square started, you just need you to bring along some scraps to finish the 12 1/2" blocks.
    • The required fabric is has the following colours. So, scraps in black, cream, grey, red or turquoise will match the charm pack.  However, any fabric will work. 
    • This is 100% voluntary and you are absolutely welcome to bring along any other projects you wish to work on.

·         Remember our declutter theme this year?  February’s swap is Ugly Fat quarter swap
o    Please bring an Ugly (or just not your taste) fat quarter in a paper (opaque) bag.  We will do a blind swap next meeting.

  • Code of conduct reminder: In short, be kind to everyone.  We are a diverse group, with different skills, interests and experiences.  We don’t have to be always “hugs and butterflies” but we do require respect.  If you have any questions please consult our code of conduct found in your New Member Packet emailed when you signed up: “Members will treat each other with respect and courtesy at all times, both at guild events and within our larger community. Members who are disrespectful of another member, whose actions reflect negatively on the guild, or whose behavior is excessively disruptive may face disciplinary action, up to and including revocation of guild membership.”  See attached copy for more info.
  • Mason jar raffle – Amanda and Francine are the winners.  More raffles in June.
Show and Tell
    • Stephanie – Plaid – The Al Borland flannel plaid quilt
    • Marie – Love Notes
    • Melanie – RB challenge Diamond shaped quilt
    • Jose – RB challenge Arbre
    • Maggie – Monkey theme baby quilt
    • Fiona – Metro teaser
    • Izzy – Word wall hanging declutter
    • Jen – Sorbet Sea – wedding quilt
·         Charity quilt
o    Completed, thanks everyone for their hard work. 
o    Josée for the original design
o    Lily and Michèle for all their organization putting it together
o    Francine for Quilting the final quilt
o    Everyone who added a square and helped contribute to the project.
o    Beautiful work.
  • Twist festival – Stacy attending.  Please see her for details and possibilities of selling quilts - http://festivaltwist.org/en/home/
  • Long-arm quilting with Francine – See notes below.

  • For next meeting remember:
    • Bring broken pins and needles we will be having a Hari-Kuyo celebration.
    • Bring your Ugly fat Quarters for the swap
    • We will have a demo of Handwork by Cinzia an email will go out with what to bring if you want to participate. 

For other updates please check
The blog        http://mtlmqg.blogspot.ca/
Facebook      https://www.facebook.com/MontrealModernQuiltGuild/

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ugly Fat Quarter (Somebody Else's Treasure) Exchange

In the spirit of a New Year’s resolution, and inspired by our own vice president, Izzy, who has taken on “declutter” as her word for 2017, we will be having an Ugly Fat Quarter exchange, or if you prefer the PC term, Somebody Else’s Treasure exchange.

(For Izzy’s blog post, go here: http://dizzyquilts.blogspot.ca/2017/01/my-word-for-2017.html)

The idea is to go through your stash, and find a fat quarter that you will never use, put it in a paper bag, and bring it to the February meeting. There you will randomly choose someone else’s paper bag, and in it you will find that someone's fat quarter! This is meant to be fun, and maybe even impetus to declutter, or at least look at parts of your stash you may not have really seen in a while. You may even end up with the inspirational fabric for an award-winning quilt!

Happy hunting, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

A few new years updates

First of all, happy new year to everyone! I wish you all a wonderful and creative 2017! :)

Our next meeting is this coming Tuesday, January 10th at 7pm at the CRCS St-Zotique. We will be raffling off a few goodies, Francine will be leading a discussion on long-arm quilting and we will be seeing the finished charity challenge quilt before it gets shipped off to QuiltCon.

Later this month we will be hosting a 5 à 7 at Benelux on Wellington in Verdun on Saturday January 28th from 5pm onwards. You can bring handwork to work on if you wish, but really it's just an excuse to get together over a few drinks and socialize! :)

Also, be advised that the February Sew-In will be taking place on Saturday February 18th at the Maplewood Presbyterian Church, 215 McLeod, in Chateauguay. We are being hosted by the Chateauguay Valley Quilters Guild for an inter-guild sew-in. We will be giving a demonstration of Cheryl Arkison's slab block technique and making up some blocks to send to the CQA's Big Quilt Bee in celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary. We will provide some charm squares to get the blocks started, we just need you to bring along some scraps to finish the 12 1/2" blocks.

Scraps in black, cream, grey, red or turquoise are preferred as that is the palette of the charm squares, but honestly any fabric is welcome to finish the blocks. This is, of course, 100% voluntary and you are absolutely welcome to bring along any other projects you wish to work on.

Hope to see you on Tuesday!