Friday, February 17, 2017

March 2017 Block Lottery - Letha's Electric Fan

Our block lottery for March is vintage-made-modern thanks to designer, author, fashion designer, and blogger Charise Randell of Charise Creates.  Browsing her eight year old blog you'll find tutorials, free patterns, tips for paper piecing,  fussy cutting, and much more that might interest you, especially if you're drawn to vintage items and modern traditional quilting.  

Letha's Electric Fan originally appeared in the Kansas City Star Newspaper in 1938.  Charise's tutorial enlarged the size of the original pattern and provides all of the templates needed.  The tutorial can be found here.

Laraine's block lottery presentation at February's meeting gives us a vision that is very modern because of her use of bold colorful (and color blocked arc units) graphic prints against a stark white background.

Notice the green centers of Laraine's sample blocks.  That is another element to this month's lottery.   Each of your blocks must use Pantone's Color of the Year 2017, Greenery.  Use as much or as little of the color as you want.  That is your first challenge. 

Laraine chose Kona's Sour Apple and used it sparingly in the gray block, but more so in her other block (first photo).  

During her color theory presentation, Natalie suggested another challenge, if you're up to it.  Choose one of the 12 colors of the color wheel for all of the arc pieces within a quadrant.  Stay as true as possible to that color. 

Construction wise, you'll also notice a technique or two we've sewn recently - curved piecing (Adore-la); paper-piecing (Foldstar and You've Got Mail!) - and one we haven't - appliqué.  Laraine confidently told us this "teensy dip-the-toe-in-the-water" for appliqué and is not hard.

Speaking of appliqué, please don't be intimidated.  It is simply attaching one fabric to the top of another fabric, usually as a design element.  Needle-turned appliqué results are neater and more durable over the long haul; raw edge appliqué, also known as fusible web appliqué, is quicker. 

Modern quilters finish a raw edge piece with a simple straight stitch or blanket stitch.  

We've rounded up video tutorials here, here, here, and here to help you decide.

Other things to remember:
- Use Kona White or Moda Bella White for the background
- Print your templates at 100% (unclick the print to fit box)
- Sew with a scant .25" seam allowance

Most importantly, try something new.  As always, we are more than willing to answer questions.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Swapping Carolyn

We've said before, building a modern fabric stash is key to our growth as modern quilters.

Participation in guild projects is much easier when you're confident the fabric in your stash is modern.

Let's face it, we all have fabric from the days before we became interested in modern quilting. 

Some of us have collections of novelty prints, maybe batiks, or fabrics passed on from well-meaning relatives and friends, things that are perfect for other audiences, but not so much ECMQG projects.  

Now that you've committed to being a modern quilter (You ARE a participating member of ECMQG!) your stash might need an adjustment.  

We can help you do that. 

Scheduled for the February 11th meeting, the first fabric swap of 2017 is all about designer Carolyn Friedlander.  
Her architectural background gives her collections an understated linear aesthetic.  It is easy to incorporate pieces from any of the six collections she's designed for Robert Kaufman into projects that appeal to both women and men. 

Rules for the swap:  
ALL of Carolyn's quilting cottons are allowed.  Please DO NOT purchase other substrates - knit, canvas, or lawn.
You MAY swap UP TO three (3) yards of fabric.
Each yard MUST BE a different print.
Cut your fabric into F8s.  That measurement is roughly 11" x 18"  Cutting directions can be found here.

Pictures ARE required to avoid duplicates.  Please post them to our Facebook group.  We are more than willing to help; let us know what you need.
A big thank you to everyone who gave their input for this swap during the January meeting!  
ECMQG Board 2017
Cindy, Wendi, Roxie, Bobbi, Natalie

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Color Theory and Yoga Bag Workshop

Here are the plans Loree has put in place for our next meeting - February 11, 2017.  

As a lead-in to programs for March and April, Natalie is going to give an introduction to color theory.  

After lunch, Mary will facilitate a workshop for this yoga bag, an old tutorial from Modest Maven. 

Yoga Bag Workshop
Cost:  ECMQG'rs - FREE
          non-members $10 (payable at the door)

Over the years, Mary's made plenty of these for local craft shows and church bazaars.  She says they sell really well in addition to being terrific utilitarian gifts.    

In order to make the most of Mary's time and knowledge, please have your materials/supplies prepared BEFORE the workshop.  

You will need the following:

A PRINTED copy of the tutorial
Sewing supplies - machine, ruler, rotary cutter and cutting mat, thread, scissors, extension cord, pins or Wonder Clips
Zipper - 30" or longer
Fabric for the bag.  Please refer to the tutorial for specific sizes.

Notes:  For a quilted exterior like Mary prefers, you will need batting cut to the same sizes as the exterior and end circles.  Additionally, Mary reinforces her strap.  You will need batting cut to that size as well. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

January 2017 Meeting Minutes

The first meeting of 2017 was January 14 at First Baptist Church of Crestview, beginning at 10:05am when Cindy called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone including our guest, and requested a moment of silence for those in need.  

Cindy briefly introduced herself as our 2017 President, and our 2017 Board - Natalie as our Past-President, Roxie as Secretary, Bobbi as Treasurer.  Wendi, our Vice-President, was absent.  Additionally, she introduced Loree as our Program Captain who presented an overall vision for ECMQG programs and asked those in attendance to complete a short nine question survey to help with planning. 

Cindy explained some of the expenses we incur as a guild - insurance, door prizes, supplies for charity projects, space rental, etc. - are paid for by our support of the block lottery and through the purchase of door prize tickets. 

Starting the year off with a celebration of birthday wishes, Cindy asked all members who were not present during the course of last year to please come forward to receive their 2016 birthday fat quarter.  Cindy also explained a change to this benefit of membership.

Going forward, the Board decided to simplify the fat quarter distribution from your birthday month to distribution upon renewal of ECMQG dues.  All ECMQG members in attendance chose a FQ!  Dues are $50, payable now. 

Cindy discussed the following concerns and new procedures; changes that have come from various conversations and suggestions with you and from observations at previous meetings. 
1 - Please show respect the person who is speaking by not talking with the friend who sits next to you.  Socializing can be done before or after the meeting.  Many times, ECMQG members have said how distracting it is when they can’t hear the information being presented because of talking.
2 - Start the meeting on time.  All efforts will be made to adhere to this.  Ava volunteered to be our bell ringer beginning at 9:55am.
3 - Rearranging the meeting space.  Our set-up crew will arrange entrance tables and chairs so that late arrivals will have minimal impact on the meeting.
4 - Show and Tell sign-up that emphasizes education. Think about where your project fits on the Modern Quilting Continuum which was our focus last year.  Provide details for the person tasked with posting to social media.  Categorize your project as modern, traditional, or utilitarian for a more cohesive meeting. 
5 - Staying within our budget.  We will meet in the smaller room on the west side of the church most times because of the savings benefit.

We paused for door prizes with Cindy discussing the differences in how animals are depicted by modern fabric designers vs. traditional fabric prints.  She explained that modern animals are usually whimsical, sometimes silhouettes, often given human characteristics – emotions, clothes, or props - while traditional prints are almost photographic replicas.

Our QuiltCon East top was shown with several details to be finalized.  Thank you to Marcia who agreed to be our quilter.

Natalie is the project manager for our Q1 charity project, a memorial quilt for Emerald Coast Hospice. They are the organization we made this quilt for last year, which was extremely well received by the families it represented.  Natalie has chosen a design that will accommodate the 330 names and dates needed; the colors are taken from our logo – mulberry (purple), salmon, bright yellow, violet, turquoise, dusty blue, pistachio (light green), and white.  We plan to assemble the quilt at our February meeting with ECMQG purchasing the iron-on transfer supplies and additional white fabric.  We have backing fabric in our charity fabric stash.  All sewists who wish to contribute blocks, Natalie will do the math and provide details via the Facebook group and Instagram.   

Other charity project ideas proposed for consideration were quilts for Project Linus and local wounded service members.  This led to Cindy reviewing our 2016 group goals and charity projects, and a discussion on the need for a Charity Captain.  Sherri agreed to fill that vacancy.  Please bring ideas and suggestions to Sherri.   

Moving on to new business, suggestions were made for 2017 programs and swaps.  Possibilities are a UFO sew-in; a program for hexies, decahedrons, and hand sewing; a program on sashiko. 

Loree spoke about programs, the talent we have in our guild, and rquested volunteers who are willing to present short, informative programs on topics they are passionate about.    

Larraine and Amy encouraged ECMQG’rs to be swap participants, stating perfectionism is not the goal, but education and the willingness to try new things are.

Cindy had red, white, and blue Plus blocks from an idea she and Wendi had last year, a UFO, which fit nicely with Faye’s local wounded warrior quilt suggestion.  Blocks in these colors will be collected continuously through May, at which time quilt tops will be assembled.  Cindy will post cutting details and size requirements to Facebook and Instagram.

Cindy reminded everyone that our Facebook group is a closed group, a benefit of membership, and non-members were being deleted. 

A quick discussion and show-of-hands-vote determined the first fabric swap of the year is Carolyn Friedlander next month.  We will return to three fabric swaps this year – February, May or June, and November – because learning about modern designers and using their fabric in our projects is important to our growth as modern quilters.  Future swaps are TBD.  Suggestions included Lizzy House basics (think Pearl Bracelets), Moda’s industrial modern blender Grunge, and Kaffe Fassett’s Shot Cottons.

Natalie presided over the block lottery, stating all who participated learned a lot from Amy about 60° triangles.  The winning ticket belonged to Amy who went home with 12 colorful units! 

She also introduced February's lottery, which Wendi had sewn together, and which we had decided upon as a group (back in November).  You can read Wendi's post and find directions here for the You've Got Mail! block. 

Larraine volunteered to fill the vacant Block Lottery Captain position.  Her goal is to continue as we have, with guest presenters and their ideas for modern blocks.  She will work with you on how to make this happen.

Briefly, we touched upon the year long UFO challenge from with Bobbi stating how inspiring and easy she found it.  

February’s program, a short introduction to color theory, will be given by Natalie.  February’s hands-on-on workshop after the meeting will be facilitated by Mary who’s going to provide her tips and insights for constructing this yoga bag from Modest Maven.  Mary regularly makes these bags to sell at craft fairs and says it is good project for utilizing scraps in the quilt-as-you-go technique. 

Natalie, as back-up-to-the-Treasurer, informed us that she had verified all 2016 entries in our accounting program.  We reconciled with the bank and PayPal as of December 31, 2016.  The 2015 audit is incomplete because of scheduling difficulties.

Our January program, No Scrap Left Behind, was Cindy's presentation about sewing with scraps of all sizes.  She readily admitted being heavily influenced by Amanda Jean Nyberg, aka crazymomquilts.  

Sewing with scraps comes down to organization, whether you sort by color, size, or shape.  Cindy says "you have to know your level of crazy" because the definition of a scrap is different for each of us. 

 All of the items Cindy showed were made with scraps.  

We ended the meeting with 15 Show and Tell items made by Elaine, Natalie, Mary, Amy, Kim, Roxie, and Maureen, all who were good sports with the announced changes to our format. 

Respectfully submitted,
Roxie, ECMQG 2017 Secretary

You Showed Us!

The show and tell portion of January's meeting gave us 15 projects to ooh and aah over.

Elaine was first with a novelty mini-quilt.  Remember, she is a nurse.  This was a gift from  friends.  

The second item she showed is her mom's traditional paper-pieced quilt.  Elaine had fixed a wonky border and will quilt it.

Natalie had four items to share, although we're only showing pictures of three.  The mini-quilt she's making for the MQG MQS at QuiltCon East can not be shown.  It's a surprise!

This is Natalie's applique using a non-boring background. This is from a class quilter Pat Sloan taught last year at the Flying Needles Quilt Retreat.


Next is the floating squares score from the book by Sherri Lynn Wood, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. It is made with three different sizes of squares and a background/filler fabric.  

Natalie's third project was another mini, also a score from the same book, this time being String Squares composed of prints, and dark and light solid fabrics.

Mary showed two projects.  The first is a Stacked Squares baby quilt in grays and blues made with leftovers from a quilt she made for her daughter.

Mary's second item was a monogrammed mesh bag.  (Sorry, we don't have a good picture.)   
Apologies to Amy, who is our photographer, for not having pictures of the quilt she showed and the shark fin blanket.  We did manage to take this picture of the mermaid tail blankets (big and doll size) she made for her granddaughter.  

Kim showed two quilts that had been UFOs for too long.  Both were recently finished because she rented longarm time at a Quilter's Place.

Roxie's two projects couldn't be more different.  She's been working on two Christmas quilts - one made with traditional fabrics (darker colors; small scale florals; not much contrast) and laid out in a very traditional design that included sashing and borders, and the other made with modern fabrics (brighter colors; whimsical prints; colors that contrast). 

Maureen had the last project shown; we think she called this a "recliner quilt" because it was designed for her husband's favorite spot.  Made from scraps, old flannel shirts, and additional thrifted flannel shirts, it is long and narrow.    

The best surprise is the pocket on the back for his feet!  Everybody wants one!!  

That was January's Show and Tell.  Thank you everyone for sharing your creativity!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

You've Got Mail! - Block Lottery for February 2017

Hi!  This is Wendi and I'm this month's guest presenter for the ECMQG Block Lottery.  This month we'll be making this You've Got Mail block.  The block is a simple paper-pieced affair, and is super easy. 

It.  Is.  NOT.  Hard. 


I'm not a huge fan of paper-piecing, but I admit that it has its place - and this is one of them.  Paper piecing is great when you want to create a block with some crazy intricate shapes that don't lend themselves very well to the geometric shapes we quilters usually piece.

This version of the pattern is called You've Got Mail! (which actually made me want to fire up the old VCR and pull out the flick with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.)  Other versions of the pattern are called Envelope Block and Love Letters.  I'm sure it has other names.  Some of them may be free, but this one is not. The pattern is available here on Craftsy at a cost of $3.00. 

Prepare and print the pattern: 

The pattern is available in both 10" and 6" sizes and both come with your purchase. Having the blocks available in two sizes makes it possible for us to play with scale.  The 6" block would naturally lend itself to smaller fussy cut designs than the 10" block, right?

Oh - what is fussy cutting?  I'm glad you asked.  Fussy cutting is when you use only the graphic portion of the fabric design you choose, rather than cutting your design randomly.  That way, you can use the exact image you wish.  It's a little wasteful (says the fabric miser), but it's super fun!

So, decide which size you want to make - or make both.  The 6" size will print on one sheet of paper.  You will have to join the sections of the 10" pattern, which will print on 2 sheets of paper.  If you haven't had experience with printing your own patterns, here's a brief run-down.

Your pattern will print on two sheets of paper with about a 1/2" margin on both the right side of page one and the left side of page two.  Cut away the margin on one of the sheets.

Match up the markings on the pattern and tape the pieces together.  Since we are going to be ironing the paper as we create our block, I recommend you don't use regular tape because it will melt.  If you have some masking or painter's tape, I recommend you use that.  I used regular tape because painter's tape is ugly and I wanted you to be able to read the markings on the pattern in this tutorial, but it is not the best choice - it melted when the iron touched it and then left a sticky residue on my presser foot.  =(

Choose your fabrics:

 The photos below are of the 10" block I made, but the instructions are exactly the same regardless of which block you choose to make.

You will need four fabrics to create this design.  You may use scraps, but be sure that the pieces fully cover the entire section of the pattern they are to cover, with a bit to spare.  I am descended from a long line of fabric misers, but I have learned the hard way that the smaller the piece, the more likely it is that your fabric won't cover the area, and then you will become very friendly with your seam ripper.  Don't try to skimp on fabric when you are paper piecing - you will only cause yourself grief.

I suggest that you first choose the fabric you want to fussy cut for the center of your envelope.  I chose Mermaids from the Heather Ross Mendocino reprint for my large block. 

Next, notice that each section of your pattern is numbered.  You will construct your envelope in the order of the numbers.  First, the seamline between A1 and A2, then between A2 and A3, etc.  Now, choose coordinating fabrics for the "glue" (sections A4 and A2), and the "outside of the envelope" (sections A3, A5, A6, A7 and A8.)  Please use Kona White or Bella White (#98) for the borders (Sections A9, A10, A11, and A12.)

Make the block:

Locate the area of the pattern that says A1 (the large area in the center of the pattern).  This is the area your fussy cut fabric must cover, with a 1/4" margin all the way around. 

Now locate the area of the block that says A2 (the "glue" area on the right side of the envelope.)  The line between A1 and A2 will be your first seam line.

Make sure your fussy cut fabric fits in the area marked A1 with at least 1/4" all the way around.  Place your pattern face down on your sewing table.  Place the WRONG side of your fabric on top of Section A1.

I used pins here to help me take the picture, but unless you need them, I don't recommend using pins because they can distort your seams.  If you need pins, make sure they are on the printed side of your pattern.  Some people like to use a bit of glue stick to hold their fabrics in place, but that does have the disadvantage of making the paper harder to remove. 

Holding your pattern and fabric up to the light may help you to position your fabric more easily.

Take a strip of your second fabric (the part that would be the "glue" on a regular envelope) and position it so that the RIGHT side of fabric 2 is facing the RIGHT side of your fussy cut fabric.  The printed side of the pattern should be facing you, with the two fabrics RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER underneath.  Place the straight edge of fabric #2 along the seam line carefully so that there is at least a 1/4" SEAM ALLOWANCE inside section A2.  Also, make sure you have enough fabric toward the center of the pattern that when it is folded over, the fabric will ENTIRELY COVER Section A2.  [I can't stress this enough - this step is where I continually make headaches for myself:  if it's capitalized, I've messed it up.]

Once again, looking at the fabric and pattern through a bright light may help you see that the fabrics are in the correct position.

Move your fabric "sandwich" to your sewing machine, being careful to keep all the pieces in place.  Most people recommend reducing your stitch length to 2.00 cm or 8 stitches per inch. 

Begin sewing at the point where the line begins.  You may wish to lower your needle with the hand wheel to ensure proper placement of the needle. 

Sew to the end of the line and stop.  Remove the sandwich from your machine and make sure it is sewn correctly.

Fold the paper away from the seam.

Place your ruler with the 1/4" mark at the fold in the paper.  I use the Add-a-Quarter ruler, but honestly, any ruler with a 1/4" mark will do.

Cut along the ruler edge to remove the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.

Fold the paper back in place. 

Fold the strip of fabric back so that it covers section A2.

Press flat.

Repeat these steps for each section, following the section numbers in order:  the seam between A1 and A3, then A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8.

Please use Kona White or Bella White for the borders - Sections A9, A10, A11, and A12.   

Trim the blocks around the dotted line, but leave the paper on when you turn in your blocks.

Have fun!  

 I can't wait to see all the fun You've Got Mail Blocks everyone creates!