Thursday, April 30, 2015

With a Little Help From My Friends

To borrow the lyrics from that famous song by the Beatles, this month's block lottery post would not be possible without   "... a little help from my friends."

Why?  Because like all good plans, this great life we live with it's opportunities, events, and circumstances, converge, seemingly at once, to shake things up and keep us on our toes.

Faye's practice block.    
The Plan v Opportunity 
The plan, hatched during our November meeting and election, was to have a Block Lottery Committee (Volunteers!  Thank you very much ladies!!) work together to have ideas, samples, tutorials, etc. for each meeting as well as the blog.  

They chose months.  They had a schedule.  We were off to a great start until opportunity knocked and Yvonne had to withdraw.  Exciting times for Pensacola and the modern quilting community!

A block from Laraine.
The Plan v Events
Our remaining committee members, Susan and Elaine, had a plan.  There's that word again.  Ha!  

As Susan told us during our impromptu meeting/lunch break at A&E, she had the block idea, only she needed sleep (That's what staying up sewing the EOD Silent Auction quilt the night before with Mandy will do to you - make you sleep deprived.) and requested a little grace period to make a sample and post the tutorial information.  Not a problem.  

However, when your dream house suddenly reappears on the market, after you've been looking awhile and after being outbid several times, you act quickly, hoping all of the stars align favorably.  They did.  Susan (and husband Chris) became homeowners - yay! - with a big beautiful new sewing space. 

Bobbi's block.
The Plan v Circumstances
The next part of the plan, meant Elaine would run with Susan's idea, make the sample block, write the blog post, etc.  All good and well with the exception of discovering your attic is infested with endangered honeybees, you have a good-sized tree that's ready to topple onto your fence (or worse), and horribly strong thunderstorms tear through the area leaving you without power. 

Honeybee removal at Elaine's.
The day you'd planned to work on guild stuff.  So...

With A Little Help From My Friends
Elaine made phone calls.  Cindy agreed to help sew, write, and post.  That was the new and final plan.  Once again, ha!  

Friends, fabric, & caffeine.
Before Cindy could begin, Bobbi, having a small window of time available for sewing, asked the question in our fb group, "Can anyone remember what the May block is supposed to be?"  

Cricket's April (top) and May (bottom) lottery blocks.
Many, many thanks to each of you who contributed to the conversation that made for an enjoyable, cooperative, online quilting community this past Sunday  - Cricket (research, quilty math, block testing, pictures, blog writing); Elaine, Faye, Becky, and Natalie (links for tutorials and/or pictures); and Laraine, Cricket, Bobbi, and Cindy (block testing, pictures, and/or blog writing).  Without further delay, here is the plan.  

We chose the classic Dutchman's Puzzle for the lottery block, made from flying geese, which tie in perfectly with our planned (there's that word again!) May program and Fisher House 2015 Charity Quilt. 

To participate in the block lottery, please review these guidelines

There are many, many ways to make flying geese.  Becky's round-up of methods can be found here; you can see Elaine's inspiration from Caroline of SewCanShe here; and the link Cricket used to figure the quilty math is here.  Choose a method that works for you.  Natalie decided to draft a paper pieced flying goose!

The color palette is scrappy and low volume.  Please use low volume fabrics for sky - all one print or mixed prints, again based on the method chosen - and two colors for the geese.  

One set of geese (4) should be darker; one set of geese (4) should be lighter.  Mix the color families - as in dark blue and pink - or keep them the same - as in teal and aqua.  A pinwheel pattern should emerge from the center set of geese.  
Second block from Bobbi.
Each goose unit measures 3.5" x 6.5".  Sewn with a scant quarter inch seam, your block, once all units are together, should measure 12.5".

The pictures in this post were made from the  Connecting Threads tutorial Cricket found.  Her quilty math requires two 9" x 9" sky fabrics, and two 7.5" x 7.5" geese fabrics for each Dutchman's Puzzle block.  

Thank you for your patience.   We plan (ha!) to be on track with a new block for the month of June, including samples for your viewing pleasure, at the meeting.  See you Saturday, May 9th!

Your Block Lottery Committee (and friends) -  
Elaine and Susan, Becky, Bobbi, Cindy, Cricket, Faye, Laraine, and Natalie

***All persons/guild members have approved the information in this blog post - ECMQG President Kira Bell***

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MQG 2015 Fabric Challenge

Early this year, January 20, 2015 to be exact, the MQG announced the year's first fabric challenge, once again, generously sponsored by Riley Blake Designs.

THE MODERN QUILT GUILDMembers Only Newsletter

2015 Fabric Challenge!

If you were one of the lucky MQG members to sign up (in the eight hour window before all of the spots filled), you received a fat eighth bundle of six fabrics from designer Amanda Herring's The Cottage Garden collection.

The genesis behind The Quilted Fish, Amanda is, in her own words "a mom, wife, pattern designer, fabric designer, entrepreneur and all-around fun person.  I started The Quilted Fish in 2008 and it has been an amazing creative journey for me."

So what is the challenge?
  • Make something fantastic that is quilted.
  • Make something you've never done before.
  • Challenge yourself to try something new.
  • Use only Riley Blake The Cottage Garden fabrics in the aqua and gray colorway and any coordinating Riley Blake basics for solids.
  • The challenge period is from March through July.
  • Take pictures and upload them to the community page on the MQG website.
  • Tag all of your photos on Instagram or Facebook with #mqgfabricchallenge.

If you did not receive fabric, you can still participate by purchasing these same six fabrics from your favorite local brick and mortar quilt shop or online retailer. 

We expect to see some fabulous quilted items during the guild reveal which is our August meeting.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Scrappy Needlebook Swap

Our next guild swap will be a Needlebook Swap.  

The internet is bursting with fun ideas for needlebooks.  Find one you like (or think up your own!), make it, and bring it to the May meeting in a brown paper bag.  This is a bring-one-take-one swap.  No names.  No partners.  Your book in a bag.  

Here is a link and a Pinterest page full of inspiration.  Please remember our aesthetic is ALWAYS MODERN.

And just a "HINT" - our June swap will be fabric from the incomparable modern quilter and fabric designer Tula Pink.  (Tula Pink's long out-of-print and hard-to-find Prince Charming fabric is shown above.)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March ECMQG Minutes

Meeting minutes: March 15, 2015

Kira Bell called the meeting to order at 10:06 am.  Kira welcomed members and visitors. There were 32 members present and 3 visitors.

Treasurer's Report
Nona Wainwright reported that the guild has an adequate balance after MQG dues of $850. No definitive answer was available. National dues are based on the number of paid memberships on record as of December.

Two members celebrated birthdays this month. After a rousing Happy Birthday, each received a fabric lollipop.

QuiltCon 2015
Beverly Young showing the results of a class she took at Quiltcon
A presentation was given to the Guild by those members who attended QuiltCon 2015 held from February 19-22, in Austin, Texas. Becky Biddle, Yvonne Campbell,Marcy Gallagher, Diane Holman, Melissa Jennings, Donna Lacy, Melissa Lister, Kelly Spear and Beverly Young all gave glowing reports about how awesome the convention was. Each member had a variety of different experiences to share with the membership.
Photo Credit:  Cindy Marvel

The Guild submitted a quilt of our own design made with a color palette selected by the MQG to QuiltCon for exhibit at the show. The quilt was returned to us and will now be used as a charity quilt. The name “From Here To There And Back Again” was suggested for the quilt.

Modern Minutes
Defining Modern Quilting will now be called Modern Minutes. Kira introduced us to Modern Mirage by Lee Heinrich. Alternate grid work, bold solids, and negative space help define this as a modern quilt. Visit Lee Heinrich's blog at

Block Lottery

There were 34 blocks submitted for the lottery this month. Our lucky winners are: Mandy and Sherry who divided the blocks equally.

Mandy also showed us her completed top from last month's block lottery winnings.
Next month the block will be a Log Cabin using white and Kona Ash on one half and modern prints on the other. Please check out the blog for pictures and directions.

Charity Quilts
Blocks by Melissa Jennings, Mary MacFarlane, Bobbi Millikan, Cindy Marvel, Natalie Van Randwyck, and Wendi Mihalik.   Pieced by Cindy Marvel.  Pattern is an adaptation of Reverse Rainbow Starburst Quilt by Flutter Kat.
Cindy Marvel has challenged the Guild to make some Reverse Rainbow Starburst blocks for a charity quilt to be donated to Children's Family First. Directions can be found on

Door Prizes

Fourteen members won door prizes ranging from charm packs to books. Congratulations!

Melissa Jennings presented a wonderful program on the Quilt Design Process. Melissa was well prepared and enthusiastic about the process of quilt designing and finding inspiration. The program was well received by all present.

Our program next month will be a trip to A&E. A count was taken by show of hands. A special discount will be offered by A&E to ECMQG members. Please show your membership card and wear your name tag.

Show and Tell
ECMQG members don't just make quilts.  Natalie's daughter made this cute skirt from C&S fabric

Eleven members had show and tell for the Guild today. Included along with the quilts were several tote bags, mug rugs, baby quilts and a variety of stuffed animals presented by Natalie's daughter, who was visiting.


The Cotton and Steel fat eighth swap took place at this meeting. Many members participated and everyone seemed pleased with their new fabrics. The membership was reminded to please follow the rules of the swap, as posted on the blog, so that all participants receive the same value in the swap and to make it as easy as possible for the swap mamas.

We finished up with our Sew Day!  Lots of creativity here!

Respectfully submitted,
Wendi Mihalik, Secretary
Donna Lacy, Asst. Secretary

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Little Shopping Trip

What does an ECMQG'r do when the once-a-month, only-time-I-see-my-quilting-friends meeting space is booked for another event?

a - Sleep 

b - Clean or find other pesky chores to do

c - Shop for fabric

If you chose c - shop for fabric - you're with the right group of people!

Our regular space is not available for the April meeting and Sew Day.  Instead, we're heading to Pensacola for our annual field trip/shopping extravaganza at A&E Pharmacy.

For those of you who have yet to visit, it might be a little overwhelming as there are more than 30,000 bolts of fabric inside.  Liz, the Fabrics and Crafts Manager, has a fun morning of shopping and demos planned for us. 

We'll meet at 9:00am when the store opens.  Remember to wear your name tag and bring your ECMQG membership card, because there **MAY** be a special discount!    

If you haven't done so, let Becky know you're joining us either by leaving a comment or contacting her directly - beckybiddle at gmail dot com.

Becky and Wendi are working on lunch options.  Local favorites Shrimp Basket, Cactus Flower Cafe, and the national chain Chili's, are close by, as well as, a Whataburger within walking distance.  Becky has reserved the classroom space for a brown bag lunch as an option too.

We may not be sewing, but at least we'll be indulging in our love of fabric!  See you in two weeks.

Friday, March 20, 2015

April 2015 Block Lottery - Log Cabin with a Modern Spin!

In early January, I received this book and posted the following to our facebook group:  "Look what the mail brought!  Possibilities for another block in the future.  And of course quilts I want to add to my ever growing list of things to make…. I have actually started a list.  Hahaha!"

I knew when I saw the cover quilt it would be the inspiration for this months block.  Only the instructions were for blocks bigger than what we need.  It is an easy block, but very modern when made like the quilt pictured.  

With Kelly Biscopink's and Andie Johnson's modern spin on the traditional log cabin stuck in my head, I turned to Quilters Cache for a block size that would work.

Here is my adaptation which ends up being a 12.5" unfinished block.  

April is our annual shopping trip to A&E, which means you have time to play with this fun block and shop for new fabrics.  Just in case you need them.  

Remember to read the rules!

With the exception of the final "log", this is a good block for helping de-stash your current fabric scraps.  If your scraps run to the smaller size, like mine do, you may need to cut a longer piece!

I began by pulling colors I thought would be fun, and cut them into 1.5" strips.  The “dark” side of the block will be modern colors and patterns, while the “light” side of the block will be Kona White strips alternating with Kona Ash strips.  

The center block is a 2.5" colored square (or dark as it's referred to in most patterns).  

You will be adding strips to the outside of the center block, beginning at the top, in a series of rounds that build layers.  Four additions equal one round.  Sew, starch, press, and trim as needed after each.  I press towards the center. 

Begin by sewing a 1.5" strip of color to the top of the 2.5" center.  Sew, starch, press, and trim if necessary.  

Next add a strip of color to the right side of the block, and sew, starch, press, and trim.  

The next two strips added will be the "light" strips, either Kona White or Kona Ash (your choice), also cut into 1.5" strips.  In my example, they are the bottom and left sides.  Again, sew, starch, press, and trim when necessary.

You will continue in this manner until you have five rounds or layers on each of the four sides.  

The main thing you will need to remember when sewing your block is to keep darks on one side and lights on the opposite side.  I started with Kona White, then Kona Ash, alternating between the two and ultimately, finishing with white. You can switch the order if you choose; you want to be consistent with each side.

A few tips for making this block?  Cut your strips as correctly as you can.  Be aware of where you place them before sewing.  I always checked my example (before sewing) to make sure of my color placement.
Please hold your blocks until we meet again (formally) in May.  We will draw the block winner(s) then.  

I can’t wait to see your designs!  Happy sewing!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sew Day ✂️

Greetings members!
If you plan to stay for Sew Day remember to bring a long extension cord and a power strip. This is also helpful for crockpots full of yummy soup!