Sunday, February 10, 2019

February 12th meeting - RESCHEDULED!

UPDATE: We have rescheduled the February meeting for the 19th at 7pm at our usual space, the SouthWest Mission in Verdun. We will follow the same agenda as planned just on a different night. Hope you can join us then! 

Living in Montreal means that sometimes the weather has the final say on what we do... and at the moment Mother Nature has decided we won't be having our Feb. 12th meeting. There is a storm forecast to hit us on Tuesday and last into Wednesday with heavy snow and strong winds, so for everyone's safety, we are cancelling the meeting.

We are checking with the Mission if it is possible to reschedule for Tuesday Feb. 19th instead and we will let you know as soon as possible if that is indeed going to happen. But in the meantime, please stay home on Tuesday, enjoy an evening at home with something hot to drink and work on your upcycle challenge projects!

Friday, February 08, 2019

Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles

This was originally posted on the blog two years ago, but I thought it was worth reposting today. Happy Hari-Kuyo, make sure you take some time today or this weekend to thank your pins and needles for their hard work and dedication over this past year! 💕

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

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.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

February meeting reminder

Just a quick reminder that our February meeting will be dedicated to working on your projects!

Photo by Michele Made Me

Now is your chance to spend some time finishing up binding, finally attaching those labels you've been neglecting or putting a dent in that new EPP project. Also, if you have a project you would like advice or input on, now is a great time to bring it and ask the group!

Looking forward to seeing you on the 12th!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Deux-Montagnes Exhibition Quilts Status

Hello all!

This is a friendly reminder that we have committed to have quilts ready for the Deux-Montagnes Quilt Guild's exhibition in May.

To help keep us (myself included) on track, I have modified the sign-up sheet to show the current status of each quilt, such as piecing, quilting, binding, etc. Please update the status of your quilt(s), and make sure the info on the size is correct. We need to know the approximate final size of the quilts for the display. The link for the sign-up sheet is below:

BTW, if someone would like to participate who isn't already on the list, there are a few spaces open, but the deadline doesn't change. All quilts need to be finished for the end of April.

Correction: All quilts must be submitted at the April meeting.

Joanna L.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Invitations for Fabricville

Hello all,

I have invitations for Fabricville's Friends and Family sale on February 11th. Since it is the night before out February meeting, I can't wait until then to pass them out.

So if you want an invitation (or two or three) I will pass by the Sew-In on Saturday (January 26), or I can meet up with people along the metro. Just respond below, or on Facebook.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

January 2019 meeting minutes

January 2018 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, January 8 at 7pm, SouthWest Mission Verdun

Quick points of business:
  • Get your raffle tickets from Izzy at the break
  • Call for exec team volunteers
    • Need a volunteer for the President and VP positions
    • A set of job descriptions will be sent 
  • Feb 12 meeting will be 0% planned, so please bring something to work on and/or a topic to discuss!

News from the MQG Ambassador (Izzy)
  • QuiltCon Feb. 21–24, 2019 
  • Webinar how to design quilts using different tools - on the 17th of January at 14:30. Will be available the day after recording.
  • Charity quilt will be ready for QuiltCon, Cinzia will show tonight.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

January Challenge: “Show Yourself Some Love” Upcycle Challenge

For our first challenge of the new year, we are encouraging you to sew something up from a formerly used and loved article of clothing or cloth.  It can be something more ambitious like a quilt made from some vintage tablecloths or something small like taking your favorite t-shirt and incorporating it into a new pillow for your bed. Or how about making a scarf out of an old flannel shirt! Get creative and have fun with it!

The project will be due in time for the March 12th meeting. As this will likely be a sentimental item, it will not be a swap project, but something you make for yourself. You are invited to bring your project to the February meeting to work on.

Remember that your project must reflect a modern aesthetic. Small projects are a great way to explore a new technique or new way of making something, so stretch your creative boundaries!

See below for some inspiring ideas!

Improv Mini Quilt made by MTLMQG Member Suzanne Paquette (@the_milliner)  using her son’s baby clothes.

Boro Bag made by MTLMQG member Cinzia Allocca (@cinzia_allocca) incorporating old jeans, a jean jacket and a zipper from an old leather purse.

Pillow made from denim labels! Source:

A great way to preserve heirloom doilies!! Source:

Pillow made form Silk Ties. Source:

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Meeting reminder

Just a quick reminder that our first meeting of 2019 is coming up on Tuesday January 8th at 7pm! We will be meeting in our usual spot, the SouthWest Mission space at the corner of Verdun and Melrose in Verdun.

Bundle up, grab something warm to drink and join us for the evening. We will be announcing a fun new challenge at the meeting, so don't miss it! See you there!

(For those who can't make it, we will of course be posting the details to the blog after the meeting)

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Applique demo by Claudia

Happy new year! Our first meeting of 2019 is coming up on the 8th and Claudia will be treating us to a hand applique demo. If you would like to participate at the meeting, please complete the following in advance:
  • Trace the applique image (downloadable PDF here) onto the right side of a piece of fabric. A window or other flat glass surface with a light source behind it is very helpful for tracing. 
  • Baste the drawn fabric onto a second piece of background fabric, keeping both pieces right side up. (Not sure how to baste fabric? Check out this tutorial.) 

Along with your traced and basted fabric from the above steps, you will also need to bring:

  • Thread the same color as the fabric you drew the picture on
  • A needle (Size 12 hand appliqué needles or size 10 Milliners needles are good. You want a thin needle that glides through the edge of a fold smoothly)
  • A thimble
  • Small pair of sharp scissors

That's it! If you have any questions, let us know... otherwise see you on the 8th!