Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Montreal Modern Quilt Challenge 2019-2020

We are introducing this year’s Modern Quilt Guild Challenge: 

Make a modern quilt based on TWO Modern Quilt Design Elements.
MTL MQG Modern Quilt Showcase Feb. 2016

Based on the feedback we received from last year’s member survey, we are introducing a challenge that is comprised of 2 parts. Part 1 is to make a modern quilt based on TWO Modern Quilt Design elements. Whether you’ve made a modern quilt before or are new to it, this challenge is meant to encourage you to use and/or expand your knowledge of the modern quilt aesthetic.
Part 2 of the challenge to incorporate, within Part 1, a 1lb upcycle challenge with a swap partner.

We’ve compiled a list of design elements that pertain to modern quilts. They are listed below. While we realize that this is not an exhaustive list, we feel that limiting the choices will help to showcase a variety of interpretations of the design elements.
1.   All-over Design: A lack of repetition or repetition without blocks and/or sashing/A lack of visible block structure
2.   Modern Traditionalism: Features a reinterpretation of a traditional pattern or block
3.   Asymmetrical Design:  When the focal point of a quilt is off-center or does not match on both sides.
4.   Inspired by modern art and mid-century modern design/architecture.
5.   Minimalist Design: -Demonstrate simplification of content and form for maximum visual impact.
6.   Use of Negative Space: Incorporate a creative or significant use of negative space.
7.   Alternate grid work: use alternate gridwork to incorporate asymmetry, negative space and scale within a different layout other than traditional columns and rows.
8.   Fabric Choice: Use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color.
9.   Improvisation: Pieced improvisationally (without a defined pattern or template).

At the end of this post, you will find resources regarding the design elements listed above. 

Rules are as follows:
1-Make a quilt based on two of the modern quilting design elements from the list.
2. Your quilt can be any size.
3. Your quilt/quilt top must be finished by the June 2020 meeting.

One pound upcycle challenge:
Objective: To create a quilt with a modern aesthetic using 1lb of scrap fabric - a half pound of fabric from your partner, and a half pound from your own stash. The idea of this exercise is to create a modern quilt (any size!) using the same fabric as your partner. It is amazing to see how 2 different makers can envision entirely different quilts using the same fabrics and palette. 

  • November meeting: In teams of two, and with your fabric stash in mind, discuss color palette of the fabric to be shared. It can be 2 or 3 colours. Exchange email address with your partner. 
  • Before the December meeting, dive into your stash and pick out approximately 1 pound of fabric based on the agreed upon color palette. If you don’t have a scale, you can just eyeball it! Take the pile of fabric and cut it in half.
  • December meeting: Exchange half pound of fabric with your partner.
  • Make a quilt based on the modern quilt aesthetic as outlined in Part 1. 
  • June meeting: the big REVEAL! Teams will bring their creations for show and tell. 

Rules (not too many, more like general guidelines):
  • Quilts/quilt tops may be of any size
  • The finished project can be 1 quilt or multiple quilts
  • Must represent a modern quilt aesthetic
  • Since this is an upcycle challenge, we encourage you to use what is in your stash
  • We want folks to try something new without a lot of financial commitment and get to know a fellow guild member though a project. At the end of it, 2 'sister' quilts will be made and it is cool to see where people go when starting with the same resources. 
  • If participants feel the need to purchase fabric for this challenge, by all means do. But this does not oblige their partners to do the same. The output will be for yourself, so if you need to add fabrics that's no problem, as long as you stick to the chosen color palette.
  • Can include solid fabric (eg. gray, white or other neutral)
  • Feel free to post in social media #1poundchallenge, #MMQG2019challenge to keep the guild posted on your progress
 MTLMQG                                 PINTEREST BOARD
  LINK TO MTLMQG Showcase quilt gallery 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Quiltcon 2020 Charity Quilt Challenge

Again this year, the Mtl Mqg is excited to be participating in the Quiltcon Charity Quilt Challenge presented by the Modern Quilt Guild. 

The theme selected for this year is quilts incorporating “TEXT”, with a color scheme of black/white and shades of gray as you see below.

You can find more specific information on colors and about the challenge itself, by following this link:

 Here is the idea behind our guild's group quilt: 

-  Based on a suggestion by Stephanie Baldwin, I decided to play with the idea of word poetry magnets like you see below.

-       I found a free downloadable sheet and cut out the words. Using all the words would have been too much to fit within the size constraints of the quilt, so I filtered through them came up with a cohesive message (message is being kept secret until the final reveal). Members who are interested in participating are asked to contribute a "word block" for the quilt. At last week's meeting we asked interested members to pick a word or two from a the lot.  Here are the guidelines for making your word block:

-        - Printed or solid fabrics are acceptable. 
- Prints for background restricted to tone on tone black (ie: must read like a solid).  
- Prints for the letters are acceptable as long as you adhere to the gray/white color scheme (stick to whites and/or cool gray tones. Please do not use creams or beige). NO COLOR IS ALLOWED.  
- You are encouraged to use fabrics from your stash or scrap bin.
-Letters/words can be pieced, paper-pieced, improv, hand or machine applique. 
- Individual letters can be no taller than 5 inches and no wider than 3 inches. Note that this is the maximum size that your letters can be.  You can make the letters smaller as long as the finished word block is 6in. tall.  This means that if your letters are smaller, you’ll have more background fabric around the letters.   

Below are guidelines for spacing and sizing of letters. You must leave a minimum of ½ inch space around the word. Finished word block must be 6 inches tall regardless of the size of the letters/word.

 Below are 2 examples of word blocks, each made with different size letters but both finishing at 6 inches tall: 

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:  If you’ve signed up for this project, then you’ve signed up to respect this timeline!

Finished words given back by November 13th meeting.
Sew-in to assemble quilt top and baste quilt: Novemebr 23rd at Craft de Ville. 
Top / backing / done for Dec. 11th meeting
Quilt bound and ready for shipping for January meeting.

Quilt must arrive in Austin on Feb 8th

Below is a list of patterns/tutorials related to text quilts/word blocks:

You can GOOGLE “free printable alphabet template” and use the letters to create your own pattern. 

If you missed the first meeting and wish to participate in the challenge, there are still some words available!! Please contact me directly at and a word will be assigned to you and added to the sign up sheet. Please also reach out to me with questions regarding the challenge. 

We are still looking for a charity to donate the quilt to. Suggestions are welcome.
We will also need volunteers to assemble the quilt top, backing, binding and backing. We also need a volunteer to quilt it. 

Patti is working on finding donations of batting and backing. 

Thank you for your participation and I look forward to seeing your words! 


Thursday, September 05, 2019

Name Tag Swap

It was great to start a new year with the guild last night! Thanks to all of you who came out and to those of you who couldn't make it, I hope we see you at another meeting soon.

As discussed, our first challenge is a name tag swap. It's a challenge open to all who'd like to participate: newer members who don't have one, those who'd like an update from the older one, or like me, think that the more accessories to choose from, the merrier.

This is one I received, made by Stephanie the last time we did this swap.

If you were at the meeting and are taking part, you should have the name of the person you are making for as well as their preferred colour palette and geometric shape of choice as parameters for your creation. (Anyone who wasn't at the meeting and would like to take part, I will suggest it again at the next meeting and hopefully you can find a partner and make one for each other or simply create one for yourself and come show it off at the next meeting).

The shape can be incorporated in the piecing, be appliquéd on, be embroidered, used as the overall form of the piece... the choice is yours.

As our group discussion last night was about what brought us to a modern guild and many members voiced an appreciation for the modern aesthetic (but didn't necessarily think their work currently fit into that category), maybe this is an opportunity (on a very small scale) to try to push those boundaries and try something a bit outside your comfort zone. How about an asymmetrical design, a bit of improv or playing with minimalism?

And this is the one I made Melanie last time.

You can find ideas to start brainstorming your modern creation here and images of some fun name tags here. Don't forget to think about how the recipient will wear their tag (pin, lanyard...).

DEADLINE: Our October meeting (Wednesday 9th).

And have fun!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

April 2019 MQG Updates

Here are the April MQG Updates!

Region 5 Ambassadors

As you may have heard already, our very own Stephanie was selected as Canada's representative for Region 5 of the MQG. You can read Stephanie's introduction here as well as an overview of what Stephanie's new responsibilities are going to be. Congrats Steph!

Fabric Challenge

The Michael Miller Fabric Challenge is underway and the deadline for submissions is May 31, 2019. Remember that you don't have to have the fabric bundle to participate - you can purchase your own Michael Miller fabric bundle and sew something!

MQG Showcase at Quilt Festival

If you'd like to submit a quilt for the MQG Showcase at International Quilt Market and Festival, you have until June 22, 2019. The Quilt Festival will take place October 26 through November 3. Get all the details here.

Upcoming Webinars

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Hearts for Christchurch

As most of you have probably heard, there has been a deadly attack at a mosque in New Zealand. I'm afraid I don't have any comfort or hope to offer at the moment, as my words fail me.

Angels in Gumboots Hearts for Christchurch

Luckily, Angels in Gumboots have stepped up and put out a call for 6.5 inch green heart blocks to make quilts for the families of the victims. Please see the link above for instructions (size, style, restrictions, etc) as well as where to send them. If you have any questions, please contact Angels in Gumboots directly, as they are organizing this project and can get you the answers you seek.

Montreal-area quilters - we will be collecting blocks to send at our March 23rd Sew-In and at our April 9th meeting. If you would like to send your blocks with ours, you are welcome to! Just bring them by the CRCS St-Zotique on Saturday March 23rd anytime between 10am and 3pm, or drop by the SouthWest Mission in Verdun (corner of Melrose and Verdun) on Tuesday April 9th between 7 and 9pm.

Quilt your hearts out, everyone! 💚

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

March 2019 MQG Updates

Here are your March updates.

Modern Quilt Masters 2019: Jacquie Gering

We mentioned this event in our last monthly updates, but the registrations open on March 14. So if you are interested, go to the Modern Quilt Masters website.

MQG Webinars

This month, the MQG webinar will be led by Cheryl Arkison and will tackle improv. Register for the March 14 webinar "Take the Leap: Facing Your Fears of Improv" here.


Didn't get to attend Quiltcon last month? The recording of the QuiltCon 2019 Awards Ceremony is now posted at You can also see all the winning quilts here!

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Meeting reminder

The March meeting is on its way! (And I hope it's bringing spring with it) We will be meeting on Tuesday March 12th at 7pm in our usual space at the SouthWest Mission in Verdun (corner of Verdun and Melrose).

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

Remember, the "Show Yourself Some Love" Upcycle Challenge projects are due, so get those finishing touches finished up and get ready to share the love with the group!

Also, we will not be having a regular Show and Tell, but rather a themed one; by popular demand, the theme will be your favorite quilting/sewing tool or notion. Think about the things you can't live without when sewing or quilting... do you always use a particular brand of thread? Do you have a soft spot for your grandmother's pincushion? Have you discovered a particular kind of pin that works better than any other? Bring along an item that you just can't live (or sew) without, whether it is for practical or sentimental reasons, to share with the group.

See you on Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

February 2019 MQG Updates

As a new feature for the guild, we'll be posting monthly about events the Modern Quilt Guild is hosting and provide you with the details you'll need if you'd like to participate. Below are the February updates.

Modern Quilt Masters 2019: Jacquie Gering

The MQG will be hosting a retreat in the Fall of 2019 where none other than the fabulous Jacquie Gering will be leading workshops on design and walking foot quilting. The retreat will take place in Kansas City, Missouri and will last 3.5 days. 

Registration will open in March 2019. For more information, go to the Modern Quilt Masters website.

MQG Webinars

Although the webinars here have already happened, you can watch the recordings at any time by accessing the members' community site:

In March, the webinar will be led by Cheryl Arkison and will tackle improv. Register for the March 14 webinar "Take the Leap: Facing Your Fears of Improv" here.

Quilt Pattern of the Month

In January, the quilt pattern of the month was titled X-Canvas, measures 60" square and was designed by Steph Skardal. This design is very simple, and yet striking with only a few solid fabrics. 

Photo from the MQG

The February quilt pattern is called Maze. This gorgeous quilt was designed by Malka Dubrasky and you can access the pattern here.

Photo from the MQG


Quilt is happening this week from February 21 to the 24 in Nashville. For those of us who won't be attending, we can get a little bit of Quiltcon at home by watching the Awards Ceremony's live stream on February 20 at

You can also follow the #quiltconfromhome on social media.

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.