Friday, October 05, 2018

"Your Personal Approach to Quilt-Making" - A Group Discussion

Hi Members!

For our upcoming October meeting, we thought it would be fun to have a discussion about our personal quilting practice and to share our approach to quilt-making. This is meant to be a fun/light discussion and we think it will be a great way to get to know each other a little more. In preparation for the discussion, please look at the questions below and be ready to share!

Do you pick the fabric or the pattern first?
Do you pick a palette to fit a pattern or a pattern to fit a palette?
Are you inspired by a pattern, a desire to learn a new technique, or practice a new skill?
Do you choose everything in advance (palette, pattern, quilting, etc) or decide as you go?
Do you shop from your stash or do you buy just what is needed for each project?
Do you make quilts that make a statement - political or otherwise?

In addition to these questions, we will be playing a game of "Would You Rather" as it relates to quilting.

Looking forward to a fun and dynamic discussion! See you Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Building Relationships

We are looking to develop relationships with our local communities, for support and potential exhibition spaces.

Patti will be the contact when dealing with the support aspect. For ideas of companies that might be approached to help support our activities, through supplies, funding, publicity, etc., you can post your suggestions below, or give the information directly to her at a guild meeting.

I will be working on building a list of possible venues for exhibiting our work, and/or presenting the principles of Modern quilting. These could be municipal centres or libraries, private exhibition spaces, public museums, local coffee shops, restos, or any other ideas you may have. If you have ideas to pass on, again you can post below, or give the info directly to me at a meeting.

This is a long-term project, so we'd appreciate it if you keep your eyes, and mind, open to possibilities.

Thank you all!
Joanna L.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

10 foundation paper piecing tips

At the best of times, foundation paper piecing can produce beautifully crisp and accurate seams or points, and at the worst of times it can make you want to flip your sewing table over and walk away. 

For a beginner FPP can be a daunting technique, but with a few tips and tricks you can stack the odds in your favor to get fantastic results. Below are some of the tips we went over at the Sew-In on Saturday:
  1. Sit near a bright window or a bright lamp… holding your work up to the light can help you align your seams and check your coverage as you work.
  2. When first learning, use your default stitch length as you will likely have to seam rip at least once (and that’s ok!). Reducing the stitch length can help with seam stability and clean removal of the paper later on, but it can also make seam ripping very difficult, so choose wisely.
  3. Backstitching is important, especially with short seams. However, much like the stitch length, backstitching can be a pain to rip out if you make a mistake, so be careful.
  4. Trim your seam allowances after each seam sewn, this helps reduce bulk. Scant seams are good, but don't cut it too close - you don't want the seams unravelling. 
  5. Measure multiple times and cut once. Seriously. You are bound to make mistakes when first learning, but cut yourself some slack and take your time - you'll get the hang of it.
  6. Solids are a good place to start when first learning FPP. Working with patterned fabrics (especially directional patterns) can be maddening and give you results that might not live up to your expectations. Solids take the pressure off of having to figure out not only the technique but also the direction of the print. Then again, sometimes a chaotic arrangement of a pattern can create a nice secondary design!
  1. On larger, more elaborate blocks, it is helpful to have a color image of the finished block to refer to, digital or paper. When you are dealing with multiple sections or lots of tiny pieces, having a point of reference to look at can be very helpful to keep you on track.
  2. Most FPP patterns will have a code indicating what section of the pattern to start with… follow these instructions! There is usually a particular order the fabric needs to be sewn on in order to give the desired end result, so ignore the patternmaker's directions at your peril.
  3. Press often (ideally on each seam sewn) and do so with a dry iron. Steam, sprays, or moisture of any kind will cause your foundation paper to warp. 
  4. When tearing out the paper, be gentle. It is exciting to be finished, but if you have used a normal stitch length and/or if you have short seams in your block, excessive force or tugging can rip or warp the seams.
Have any FPP advice of your own? Feel free to share it in the comments below!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Andrea Tsang Jackson workshop and trunk show

In November we will be welcoming Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop to Montreal for a trunk show and day-long workshop. Attendance for both events is open to the public, see below for details:
Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

The Trunk Show will be taking place on Friday November 23rd from 7pm to 9pm at the SouthWest Mission, 631 rue Melrose in Verdun (the location of our regular monthly meetings). Entrance is free for workshop participants, and $10 for the general public (cash only please, pay at the door). Refreshments will be provided.

Andrea will spend the evening with us, presenting some of her modern quilt projects and discussing her quilting inspiration, philosophy and techniques.

On Color, Transparency and Background

The Transparency and Gemstones workshop will take place on Saturday November 24th from 10am to 4pm at the CRCS St-Zotique 75 Rue du Square Sir George Étienne Cartier, Montréal (the location for our sew-ins). Cost to attend the day-long workshop is $92 and includes a gemstone pattern with extra templates.

During the workshop, Andrea will introduce participants to advanced paper-piecing and conduct an in-depth discussion about transparency effects in modern quilting. There will also be a discussion on how to size up and down paper piecing templates. Pre-registration is required to attend, so if you would like to register or if you have any questions, please contact us at

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sew-In reminder and some FPP resources

Just a quick reminder that our first sew-in of the year is tomorrow, September 22nd from 10am to 4pm. We will be meeting at the CRCS St-Zotique, check the board at the entrance for our room number. There will be some road closures on Saturday due the construction (surprise surprise) and the Montreal Marathon, so check your route before heading out!

Quilt by Adaire Schlatter

We will begin work on the QuiltCon 2019 charity quilt, so if you were interested in helping out with the layout/design, now is your chance. We are still looking for fabric/scraps to use for the negative space in the quilt, so if you have some to donate, please bring them along. Solids and tone-on-tone prints in white or off-white are what we are looking for.

Stephanie will also be doing a Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) demo for those of you who are curious and/or want to try it before the November workshop with Andrea Tsang Jackson. If you would like to sew along, please bring an FPP pattern of your choice, your sewing machine and some fabric scraps to work with.

If you can't make it but still want to try your hand at FPP, here are a few resources for getting started in foundation paper piecing:

Angela Walters tutorial:

Beginner-friendly foundation paper piecing:

FPP for Beginners:

Monday, September 17, 2018

September 2018 Meeting Minutes

September 2018 Mtl MQG Meeting Agenda
Tuesday, September 11 at 7pm, SouthWest Mission Verdun

Quick points of business:
  • Welcome back! Exec team for the 2018-19 year are: 
    • President - Stephanie 
    • Vice-president - Izzy 
    • Treasurer - Claudia 
    • Secretary - Fiona 
    • Registrar - Josee 
    • Programming - Joanna, Stacy, Cinzia 
    • Assisting - Patti
  • Dues for 2018-19 = $40, see Josee to complete registration
  • Snack volunteers, send around sign up sheet (list complete)
  • We will continue to collect donations for the mid-year raffle (December) and end of year raffle (June) like we did last year. If you have something you would like to contribute, bring it to a meeting. To participate in the raffle, you simply need to wear your name tag during our regular meetings and see Izzy to get your raffle ticket at the break.
  • LDH ( had donated some scissors which we will be raffling off at the December meeting
  • Collect Palliacco quilts -
    • Total of 15 quilts being donated, Debby has them and will be delivering them soon. 
    • Thank you to everyone who contributed!!! This was a great turnout for a great cause.
  • Collect QuiltCon challenge blocks, we may have enough for more than one quilt
    • Next steps: design/layout will begin at the September 22 sew-in, you can bring more star blocks to the sew-in if you still wish to contribute
    • Volunteers for finishing: Patti, Shannon S., Josee, Izzy and Nicole (quilting), Michele (backing), Cinzia and Stephanie (binding).
    • Our deadline for finishing the quilt is December so it can be shipped in time for QuiltCon
  • MQG released new version of website, be sure to set up your new profile and join the Montreal MQG Circle. If you have any difficulty, there is a 'Help' section specifically for new website 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

October Mug Rug Exchange

As announced at the meeting yesterday evening, for the October meeting we will be doing a mug rug exchange with the theme of October, so your choice of Halloween, Harvest, and/or Autumn. Let your imagination run wild (appropriate to the season ;-) ), or be inspired by some of the links at the end of the post!

  • Large enough to be a coaster for a mug, but not so big that it gets in the way of whatever you are doing while drinking from your mug.

  • Quilted and bound, single block in autumn colours of any abstract pattern (rail fence, nine patch, etc.)
  • Foundation, or English, paper pieced object related to one of the themes.
  • Regular or improvisational piecing or appliqué of an object related to one of the themes.
  • Non-pieced, but quilted, themed fabric.
  • Any other quilted method I haven't yet mentioned... :-P

  • If you bring one to the October meeting, you will leave with one!
  • None
  • Paper bag, or other opaque wrapper, so that what the recipient will have a pleasant surprise.
  • The addition of candy is not discouraged... ;-)

All photos were sourced from the following links:




Here are a couple of links of resources about foundation paper piecing:

Joanna L.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September meeting reminder

Tonight is our first meeting of the 2018-19 season! The rain should be clearing up in time for our 7pm meeting at our usual spot, the SouthWest Mission in Verdun (corner of Verdun and Melrose).

A few things we will be discussing:

  • Collection of dues for the new year ($40 per member)
  • Collection of the completed Palliacco quilts
    • Guild labels will be available for application at the meeting. If you wish to use one, please bring a waterproof marker and white thread and needle. 
  • Collection of the QuiltCon 2019 charity challenge blocks
    • We will be discussing next steps in the process.
  • Andrea Tsang Jackson workshop
  • Announcement of a swap (yay!)
  • Lots and lots of Show and Tell :) 
Bring a coffee, bring some handwork and join us for a relaxed and quilty meeting. Looking forward to starting a new year with you all, see you tonight! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

September meeting

Don't freak out!!! Summer isn't over just yet... we still have weeks of lovely warm weather ahead of us. But... September is just around the corner, which means our meetings are starting back up soon!

Our first meeting of the 2018-19 year will be Tuesday, September 11th at 7pm in our usual meeting space at the SouthWest Mission, corner of rue Melrose and rue de Verdun in Verdun. We have updated the guild's Facebook Events page with all of the meetings and sew-ins for the year, and as always you can find the agendas for each meeting in the Members Only section of the blog. (The new year's password will be given out at the September meeting :)

We will be collecting the finished 2017-18 charity quilts, if you have done one please make sure you bring it. We will be arranging delivery of the quilts to Palliacco after the meeting, so September 11th is the firm deadline. Don't forget to label your work! Also, as discussed in June, we will be collecting the wonky star blocks for the upcoming QuiltCon 2019 charity quilt. If you haven't made any up yet but still want to contribute, there is still time... please see the blog post for the guidelines and bring your finished blocks to the meeting. If you are interested in contributing to the 2019 quilt in a different way (basting, quilting, binding, etc), let us know!

We will be devoting as much time as possible at the meeting to show and tell so everyone can catch up on what they did over the summer break. Bring along those projects to show off! Looking forward to seeing everyone! :)

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Reminder - Charity Sew-In August 11th

Just a quick reminder, we have our final Sew-In for the QuiltCon 2019 Charity Challenge coming up next Saturday, August 11th from 3pm to 7pm at Craft de Ville (2065 rue Parthenais, buzzer #557).

Block and photo by Diane Cote

Materials and refreshments will be provided, or you can bring something to share. This is a great scrap-buster project, so raid those scrap bins! Remember, the theme is small piecing, so no scrap is too small to be included.

It will be a fun afternoon of socializing and sewing for a good cause. You can check the Facebook event for more details, to RSVP to the event, or to ask questions. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

QuiltCon 2019 Charity Quilt Challenge

At our June meeting the other night, we had a lively discussion regarding next year's charity project and what we wanted to do for it. After much debate, we agreed we would be participating in the MQG QuiltCon Charity Challenge in 2019!

The theme this year is Small Piecing, and we thought that might suit us well as it would allow the participants to work on their contributions over the summer break, rather than having to hustle when we reconvene in September to try and complete the whole process by January for the QuiltCon deadline. So instead, we ask that those who wish to participate make one or more blocks following the guidelines listed below. The small nature of the blocks allows members to either shop from their stash or purchase fabric (please keep to the chosen color palette) without needing to use a large amount of fabric. This is a great scrap-buster project!

BLOCK: The block we will be making for this quilt is the Wonky Star block, which is an improvisational version of the Sawtooth or Eight-point Star block. It is approachable, forgiving and open to a very wide array of creative variations:  

Wonky star block by Wombat Quilts

FABRICS: The color palette for this challenge is set by the MQG and the palette they have chosen this year is as follows -  

Click to enlarge

For our block, we decided that the background of the blocks should be white or off-white with the stars being any combination of the remaining five colors. You do not have to use all of the colors in the palette! Careful choice of color can be used to make your small piecing really pop. 

Either solids or prints (or a combination of both) are perfectly acceptable. For the background fabrics, we encourage you to choose very low volume or tone-on-tone prints in white or off-white that will lend the finished product a scrappy but harmonious feel.

If you need a fabric-based point of reference, the coordinating solids would be:
  • Kona Cotton : White, Bone, Pool, Honeydew, Petunia, Violet, Purple 
  • Michael Miller Cotton Couture : Bright White, Soft White, Sea Foam, Limeade, Rose,  Lavender, Hyacinth
  • Moda Bella : White, Eggshell, Seaglass, Kiwi, Petal Pink, Amelia Purple, Purple

SIZE: You may choose from a 3 1/2", 6 1/2" or 12 1/2" block. Your block may contain a single star or multiple stars, the star can be centred or offset, it can be laid out horizontally or on point. Regardless of the layout you choose, you must incorporate fabric of less than 1" width as an integral part of your design. Yes, you read that right, less than 1"... the theme is small piecing, after all! The MQG post summarizes it nicely: "Let’s say that small piecing would incorporate fabric pieces that are smaller than 1” in either width or length. So you might picture long, skinny strips, or little tiny squares, for example. [...] Small piecing must be an integral part of the design."

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, but here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing:

Multi wonky star by the Running Thimble

Wonky 9 patch by Nido Quilters
On point wonky star by Melissa Loves Color

If you need a bit more detailed instruction, here are a few tutorials that may be helpful:
If you have a favorite wonky star tutorial or video, feel free to share it in the comments below!

CONSTRUCTION AND DEADLINE: If you wish to contribute a block (or more) to the project, we ask that you make your blocks over the summer break and bring them to the September meeting. We will be collecting the individual blocks at that time so we can move on to design and construction of the finished quilt top so that we have time to get it quilted and finished in time for QuiltCon. 

For those who would like to make use of fabric supplied by the guild for the project, or who would rather work as a group, Craft de Ville will be hosting two 'Crafternoons' specifically for this project, one on July 7th and one on August 11th. You are invited to come by and spend a bit of time socializing and sewing up some wonky star blocks. Supplies will be provided, but you are also welcome to bring along your machine and/or scraps to share with others. 

So there is your homework for the summer break! Raid the scrap bin for the colors the MQG chose and throw together a wonderfully wonky star block. If you'd like to share your blocks on Facebook or Instagram, please tag us so we can see and share your lovely work! 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

June meeting reminder

F1 is taking over downtown this week, which means summer is about to begin, which means our June meeting is upon us! Our last meeting of the 2017-18 year is next Tuesday, June 12th at 7pm at the SouthWest Mission space in Verdun. 

Mod Melons pattern by Suzy Quilts

We will be wrapping up the year by discussing the results of the annual survey and discussing some of the plans for next year. We will also be raffling off all the goodies we've been collecting all year, having a quilty swap meet and enjoying a potluck. If you plan on bringing something, please take a moment to add your dish to the sign-up sheet. Hope to see everyone next week! 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sew-In Reminder!

Just a quick reminder, our last sew-in of the 2017-18 year will be this coming Saturday, May 26th from 10am to 4pm at the CRCS St-Zotique. The forecast for Saturday shows warm but rainy, a perfect afternoon to stay inside and do some sewing! Bring your projects along and join us for the last sew-in of the season.

For those that are interested, Izzy will be giving a demonstration on free-motion quilting and sharing some of her tips and tricks. If you would like to learn how to do it, or are just looking for some tips or inspiration, join us for her demo after lunch.

Hope to see you on Saturday!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Skillbuilder 2017-18 - Wedding Ring by Fiona Nanson

The Romantic Double Wedding Ring Quilt Tradition 

(Click for a larger version)
Though the pattern was first published in the United States in the early 1920s, the quilt pattern can be found as early as the late 19th Century. The Double Wedding Ring quilt pattern has long been a symbol of love and romance with its interlocking rings symbolizing marriage. The quilt was traditionally made by mothers and grandmothers for their children and given as gifts on their wedding day or anniversaries. Due to the popularity and romantic history of the quilt, many families treasure these quilts and pass them from generation to generation.

Love and Quilting in the Depression Era

The pattern was especially popular during the Depression era, as it could be created using scraps of fabric from unused bedding or other projects. The same method can be used for your modern version if you’re looking to pair down the amount of scraps in your workplace or want to keep the pattern less formal than the more traditional colour scheme.

Regardless of the fabric it was made of, old American folklore suggests that a marriage was blessed if the couple spent their first night together under a Double Wedding Ring quilt, signifying its importance as a traditional wedding gift. It’s doubtful that you’d catch any children playing on such a quilt during this time, due to its importance.

A Modern, Creative Twist on an Old Quilt Pattern

Modern quilters have taken the traditional quilt design and added their own creative inspiration to it. While each quilt still maintains the appearance of the interlocking rings, diverse types and sizes of fabric can create a design that’s unique to the taste of the quilter. Many quilters have also bucked tradition by using a different, bolder colour than white, such as black or blue, for the background. The nontraditional colour choice gives the entire quilt a much quirkier vibe.

(Click for a larger version)
(Click for a larger version)
Due to the complexity of the pattern, the Double Wedding Ring quilt might be a hard one for beginners to attempt. It includes a lot of moving parts and can be frustrating on the first try but if you stick with it, you’ll be left with a gorgeous quilt that you can give as a gift to the loved ones in your life. Some quilters have even pulled together heirloom scraps of baby clothes and other cherished pieces of fabric add another sentimental element to the anniversary quilts made in this pattern.

(Click for a larger version)
(Click for a larger version)
If you’re getting bogged down by trying to create a fresh take on an old favourite, just stick to the original pattern and try out varied colour schemes or pull from your scrap pile. 

(Click for a larger version)
(Click for a larger version)
Regardless of your spin on the design, the circular pattern set against an open background makes for a pleasing piece of patchwork that will be an enduring staple in your home.

For some tips on making a Double Wedding Ring Quilt, check out this post:

Quilt Alliance's Modern Wedding Ring pattern

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 2018 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes

April 2018 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes

April 11, 2018 at 7pm SouthWest Mission, Verdun, QC

  • Riley Blake fabric challenge: the MQG will mail the bundles to Claudia, but they will not be in time for the deadline.
  • Humboltd Broncos: the Saskatoon MQG is organizing a quilt drive for the people affected by the bus crash. They are looking to collect 200 quilts. If you'd like to contribute or get more information, go to the website.
  • Charity Quilt: our charity quilt from 2 years ago will be donated to the Syrian family during a presentation on April 29 at 12:30 PM. Check your email for all the details.
  • Volunteers for the Executive: we are always looking for people who would be willing to become a member of the Executive Team. Not a huge time investment and lots of fun. If you are interested, please speak to any member of the current team.
Member Survey:
  • There is still time to complete the survey if you haven't done so already. Also, please include as much information as possible. For example, if you'd like to see more demos, be specific about the demos you'd like to see.
  • We will consolidate the feedback and present at the June meeting so please make sure you complete the survey by the May meeting. 
  • Based on the feedback we've seen so far, here are a few ideas to consider:
    • Workshop: Andrea Tsang Jackson from 3rd Story Workshop
    • Meeting space: we cannot go back to the CRSC - they cannot accommodate our size, but we are looking into Fablab in NDG.
    • Charity quilts: instead of making quilts, maybe we could consider making small zipper pouches or 1-hour baskets and fill them with goodies to give to shelters, etc.
    • Challenge: make something with upcycled or recycled material.
Show and Tell:
  • Izzy: baby quilt made from Shannon Fraser's pattern Spring is in the Air and Aeroplane Bag (pattern by Sew Sweetness)
  • Debby: beautiful placemats for her new kitchen (pattern from the Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters)
  • Dawn: shared 2 pretty baby quilts in pinks and soft purples
  • Melanie: made 2 pillow covers for a friend - 1 with walking foot quilting that spelled MTL and 1 improv. She also shared a gorgeous hex quilt entirely made by hand over the last 6.5 years! Her quilt will be at the CQ Salon in May.
  • Nathalie: she finished a charity quilt with the skill-builder blocks members made. She did a fabulous job with it!
  • Maggie: showed us a beautiful baby quilt in very nice spring colours.
  • Snezana: made a quilted vest in black and white.
  • Josee: shared a fabulous quilt top she is making for her sofa.
Skill-builder Block: Drunkard's Path

Shannon Fraser presented this month's block. For more info, refer to our blog post.

Next meeting:
  • Tuesday, May 8 at 7:00 PM at the Southwest Mission in Verdun
  • Bring your hexies for the lottery - please use quilting cotton and do not baste through the papers!
Photos from the meeting can be viewed here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Skillbuilder 2017-18 - Drunkard’s Path by Shannon Fraser

Hi my fellow quilters! I'm Shannon from Shannon Fraser Designs popping in to talk about all things Drunkard's Path!!

Being a history buff, the Drunkard’s path block was an interesting past to delve into!

The design is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt but was popularized in the late 19th century by quilters in the American colonies. This is where it gets a little interesting.

One story says that Drunkard’s path quilts were used to help guide slaves to freedom from the Underground Railroad. Different coloured squares would help guide their path to safety. Although this is highly debated.  Another theory is that women used the design during the Women’s Temperance Movement in the early 20th century as a way of making their opinions known and trying to bring influence when they couldn’t vote.

The block itself is even known by many names such a Solomon’s Puzzle, Rocky Road to Kansas, Oregon Trail, with the most popular being Drunkard’s Path. The latter is said to have been attributed as the design of the block looks like a drunk person stumbling home.

Whatever the history, what we can agree on is how fun this quilt block is to play with!


The traditional block design features one “hill” against a solid background. Traditionally, the colours used in this quilt design were blue or red against a white background.

Circles can be a source of stress for a lot of quilters, but piecing the block is quite easy – you just need to take your time with it!

Materials Needed for the Traditional Drunkard’s Path Block

Drunkard’s Path ruler or self-made template
Fabric (1) large square at least 7" and (1) smaller square 5 ½" 
Rotary Cutter

To keep everything aligned, the key here will be accurate cutting and piecing. Plus, pins will most definitely be your friend when piecing the traditional block!

Here’s how to do it:

Start by cutting the “L” shape of your Drunkard’s path block from the 7" block.
Lay the template so it is flush with the bottom left corner.
Carefully cut along the curved edge of the template.
Set aside.

Repeat the same process with the 5 ½" square using the “pie” template.

Fold the “L” and “pie” shapes in half finger pressing, being careful not to pull or stretch the fabric.
Lay the “L” piece on top of the “Pie” shape lining up the folds. Pin.
Now pin each of the corners, making sure to line up the square edges.

Continue pinning in between these pins.
Stitch in place using a ¼" seam allowance. Take your time!
Set your seam with a hot iron, and press towards the “L” shape.

Voilà – you’ve made a Drunkard’s Path block!!

You can add as many “hills” as you want and it’s all achieved using the above method. Once you know the technique, you can apply it to any size Drunkard’s Path block.


To make a really big version, you often won’t find a template large enough for your needs. Nothing a large plate can’t fix!

Materials Needed

Large plate
Fabric (1) 13" square and (1) 9" square
Rotary Cutter

Here’s how to do it:

Start by laying your large 13" square out on your cutting mat. Using a large plate, align the edge of the plate along the 7 3/4" horizontal line on my mat and 8 1/2" along the vertical line. With your rotary cutter, cut along the edge of the plate. This creates your “L” shape.

Use the “Pie” you cut from the “L” shape as a template to cut your “Pie” from your 9” square. Lay the square out on the cutting mat, place the “Pie” on top and carefully cut along the edge.
Stitch together using the traditional pinning method described above.

Square up to 12 ½".

The technique is the same no matter what size block you want to achieve!


What I particularly love about the Drunkard’s Path is approaching it with an improv flare.
This version abandons all use of templates and rulers to rely on your own freehand cutting style (the latter gets developed more and more with practice).

Materials Needed for the Modern Improv Drunkard’s Path Block

Rotary Cutter
Imagination 😉

Here’s how to do it:

I love that this approach doesn’t require many tools. There is no precise cutting here and I forgo any pinning as well. Here’s a video to help show you exactly how you can use this technique too!

To make more at once, I like to stack a couple of fabric squares on top of one another before I start cutting.

Next, using my rotary cutter, I haphazardly cut a semi circle from one edge of the block to the other. Don’t worry if your line is wonky or uneven – that ads to the charm, in my opinion.

Now swap the mini circles with the larger “L” shaped pieces. Always working with the “L” shaped piece on top, line it up with the edge of your mini circle. Take a few stitches and then gently ease the top fabric edge along the curved edge of the bottom piece of fabric.

Go slow here.

You don’t want to pull or stretch the fabric into place, but rather just gently place it in alignment. Take a few stitches. Stop and arrange the fabric. Keep going until you get to the end.
Make sure the top and bottom fabric are flat, so you avoid any puckers.

Since we’re working without templates, we haven’t accounted for seam allowances which is why the edges won’t align (second photo below). Nothing a little trimming can’t fix 😉

When it comes to ironing, I find it best to first set your seam and then press away from the inner circle. I find this always helps ease out any bumps you may have created while stitching.


Now that know how to piece the block, the real fun can begin!

Here is where you need to let your imagination run free and think outside the box.

This is a traditional block with an added “hill”. You can add as many “hills” as you want for a very different look.

A few additional block examples I’ve made:


Now it's your turn to create a modern take on the Drunkard's path block! Share your blocks on Facebook or Instagram, and feel free to tag the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild and/or use the hashtags: #mtlmqgskills  or  #mtlmqgskillbuilder

I've loved walking you through this tutorial. For some more inspiration please check out my Circles and Drunkard's Path board on Pinterest.

Be sure to reach out if you have any questions. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and over on my site Shannon Fraser Designs.

Happy quilting!


Thursday, April 05, 2018

EPP Hexie Lottery

Last meeting we swapped warm and cool charm sqaures!  The rainbow that we got was rather lovely.

At the May meeting (so there is still some time) we will be have a EPP hexie lottery. To participate, 4 x 1" English Paper Pieced hexies will get you 1 entry. Make more hexies and get more entries! If we get a very large quantity of hexies, we may create more than 1 lot.

You do not need to use the charms from the last swap. However charm squares can be cut into mini charms (2.5" squares) and they are the perfect size to make 1" hexagons with! You can use scraps, strips from jelly rolls or whatever fabric you would like! There is no colour or print restrictions for the lottery. However, please only submit hexies made of quilting cotton.

Another thing to ask is that the basting stitches only go through the fabric and not through the paper (makes it easier to pull out the paper without having to cut the basting threads)

The important thing to note, is that the edges of the hexagon is 1". There are a bunch of different templates out there. Everyone will agree that is the hexagons are set up in rows versus nested it makes cutting the paper templates much MUCH easier. I found a free template on Geta's Quilting Studios. The PDF have 6 different sizes, so please mach sure you are using the 1" (and that you are printing at 100%, not scaled to fit!)

Enjoy making your hexies! They are a great little project to do in a waiting room or while watching TV! The lottery will be held at the May 8th meeting.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Skillbuilder 2017-18 - Orange peel blocks by Isabelle Durpas

Orange Peel blocks


*Isabelle a eu la gentillesse de fournir son texte en anglais et en français ... si vous préférez la version française, vous pouvez la trouver ici!

Presentation of the block
The Orange peel is a block consisting of four identical blocks in which are assembled a football shape flanked by two arched shapes that form a square. This block was first described in the 1895 annual catalog of the Ladies Art Company. However, popular legend has it that the block was created much earlier in the 19th century when the Marquis Lafayette came to Philadelphia. This distinguished guest was then offered an orange, a rare delight at the time, that he peeled by cutting the peel into four parts. A maid is said to have stolen the orange skin that would have inspired the quilt block in question. This is also why this block is also known as 'Lafayette orange peel'. This block is also known by other names. The most common being 'Melon patch', 'Joseph's coat' and 'Save a piece'. For more details on the origin of these names and the existing variants of this block, I recommend that you visit the Field Guide to Quilts site.


There are two distinct approaches to making an orange peel block, first by piecing, then by appliqués. This article discusses both techniques and their variations as follows:
  1. Piecing
  2. Appliqués
    1. Raw-edge appliqués
    2. Reversible appliqués with fusible lining
    3. Needle turned appliqués and EPP

The piecing method is the original method dating from 1895. Appliqués later became more popular, in fact, it is easier nowadays to find appliqués method tutorials on the web. The piecing method gives by far the most elegant and satisfying results with sharp curves and perfect points. However, many quilters are reluctant to sew arches and curves and are more interested in the appliqué techniques.

Piecing construction
The piecing construction method requires the use of a template. Click on the link below for one that provides a block of adequate size to contribute to the charity quilt project of the Guild. When printing, make sure that the measurements are accurate with the measurement marks.

Get the Template

Each complete block requires 4 footballs and 8 contours. On each piece, be sure to mark the assembly points with a water soluble marker or any other temporary marking tool.

Before assembling, each piece should be folded in half and the centerline be marked. First you have to assemble a football with a contour, right sides facing each other. The curves require patience and many pins! Match the center marks, then the tip marks and pin.

Then, continue to add pins between each pair of pins to spread the fabric evenly and make the piece stable and easy to handle without the risk of creating unsightly tucks.

Assemble by sewing ¼ inch away from the edges. Take care to reduce the number of stitches per inch when approaching the tips to get one last point directly on the tip of each end before rotating the piece to sew the other side. Personally, I prefer to start to sew on one side of the football shape rather than on a tip, to avoid creating weakness at the tips.

Press the seam allowances to the outside of the football shape.

Repeat for the second contour of the block and press again ​​towards the outside of the football shape.

You must repeat this process for the other 3 parts of the block. Once finished, put the blocks together, first the top blocks together, then the bottom blocks together. To get a perfect orange peel block, it is very important to match the tips of the football shapes and to sew exactly on their edges. Pin more than necessary! The two blocks, once assembled, shall present two footballs whose points are fully visible, but that nearly touch at the center of the blocks. Press the seams ​​of the pair of blocks on either side of the center line: one pair to the right and the other to the left to facilitate the final assembly. As for the half-blocks, once again you must take special care to adjust the tips. Pin again! Iron by opening this last seam.

That's it, you have completed an orange peel!

Appliqués - Raw edge appliqués.
The raw edge appliqués are appliqués where the pieces of fabric are cut exactly to the final size. They are then affixed directly to a quarter of a block. To assemble a block with this technique, you need to cut 4 squares of 6 ½ inches and 4 football shapes without seam allowances.

To facilitate the application of the appliqués, I recommend using a water-soluble spray adhesive, such as 505 adhesive spray. Sewing can be done by a straight stitch very close to the edge or, for a decorative effect or additional protection against fraying, by a decorative stitch. These last ones recall the tradition of the embroidery made on the heirloom crazy quilts and can bring a quirky touch. Be careful not to exaggerate, too many patterns is certainly moving away from modern aesthetics. But you do what you like - this is the most important!

It is then easier to assemble the four parts made with this technique then those made by piecing, because there is much less seam allowance to manage. Again, for a neat finish, take care to match the ends of the footballs and sew exactly on their edges. Pin more than necessary! The two blocks, once open, must have two footballs points fully visible, but almost touching at the center of the block.

Appliqués - Reversible appliqués with fusible lining

This technique is very popular on the web and there are many videos and tutorials that demonstrate it.

To make an orange peel block with this technique, you will need 4 squares of 6 ½ inches, 4 football shapes with sewing values and 4 other football shapes with sewing values cut into a fusible interfacing.

It is first necessary to prepare the "sandwiches" by assembling the football in fabric with the one in interfacing, right side of the fabric on the sticky side of interfacing and sew a seam around the contour of the pieces. Again, it is important to take care of sewing beautiful tips to get a nice effect once the piece is reversed.

This sandwich must then be reversed. To do so, it is necessary to cut the fusible interlining in its center. It is good to cut the entire center line of the football, not to facilitate the turning, but to have more control when fusing with the iron. Turn the piece inside out, but do not iron it. The shape is then affixed to the square of fabric. Care is taken to carefully place the fusible lining underneath so that it is perfectly invisible after ironing. Be careful!

It is then recommended to sew the shape with a straight stitch over its entire outline, but some quilters might want to drop that step in order to have football shapes more similar to those obtained by assembly. This is possible only if the planned quilting is to be dense.

Here again, it is easier to assemble the four parts produced by this technique than by piecing because there are seams to manage. For a neat finish, always take care to match the tips of the footballs and sew exactly on their edges. Pin more than necessary! The two blocks, once open, must have two footballs points fully visible, but almost touching at the center of the block.

Appliqués - Needle turned appliqués and EPP

The last technique is a variant of the appliqué technique. If you are familiar with any of these techniques, it may be easy for you to use them to affix the shapes on the squares.

To prepare these appliqués, it is necessary to cut the football shapes with a seam allowance. In the case of needle-turned appliqués, the seam allowance is marked by a basting thread. In the case of English paper piecing, a rigid form allows to folding the seam allowance to the underside of the shape. You must remove the paper at the very end by removing it from the bottom of the entire block. I personally have not experimented this last variant of appliqué for the orange peel, but some people swear by this technique!

The final assembly is identical to the previous appliqués techniques and the same precautions are required.

Modernizing the orange peel
While making this tutorial, I found that the orange peel is a difficult block to modernize in its construction. I found no wonky orange peel! On the other hand, in the composition of a quilt or part of a quilt, it is possible to integrate the aesthetic principles of modern quilts. Here are some suggestions.

Asymmetry / Negative space

Scale / Minimalism / Asymmetry

Colors / Omissions

And finally, I have put together a Pinterest board with some tutorials and inspiration. You can find it here: Orange Peel 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