Saturday, June 27, 2015

See You In Three Years

This Tuesday evening, we'll hope you'll join us in saying a temporary goodbye to ECMQG's founder, Kelly S.  As most of you know, Kelly and family are heading to Germany for their next USAF adventure.

We picked one of Kelly's favorite local restaurants, Cactus Flower Cafe for her send off.  

Shops of East Hill
3425 N 12th Avenue 
Pensacola, Florida 32503

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
6:15 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Come for appetizers and a drink.  Come for dinner.  Or come for dessert.  

Kelly is the reason the greater Pensacola area (and parts of southern Alabama) is part of the vibrant, supportive, creative modern quilting community.  We are going to miss her!

See you Tuesday night.

Kira, Natalie, Cindy, Wendi, and Nona
ECMQG Board 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blooming Star Block Lottery

July is the first full month of summer.  June may herald the beginning, but it's July, in all of it's steamy glory, that brings the onslaught of 31 hot sultry days and nights.  

Late afternoon skies crackle with lightning flashes and the rumble and booms from pop-up thunderstorms.  Often, nighttime is filled with those same sounds and sights, although it could just as easily be from fireworks set off in a flurry of patriotic revelry as it could be the storms.  

July is the month of picnics, family reunions, lazy beach days, and festivals and celebrations honoring our nation's history.  All of which are perfect opportunities to spread a quilt on the ground, surround yourself with those you love and laugh with, and create memories.

Because it's summer, the block lottery for the month embraces all of those things mentioned above - intensely colored blooming stars that remind you of fireworks, or perhaps, a garden of crayon box colored zinnias, centered within a border of either red and white HSTs or blue and white HSTs that immediately make you think of the Fourth of July.

It is another block that allows you to burn up (Catch that heat and fireworks reference?) some of your modern scrappy prints which are hanging around. 

The aesthetic is modern.  Always.  Please use quilt shop quality fabrics for your blocks.  Sew with care and intention, as well as attention to detail.  Susan and I  are here to help with any questions.  You can also read about ECMQG's block lottery guidelines here.  

The free tutorial, found here on the Craftsy website, from Erin and Jeanette, aka the Piper's Girls, is so well written and easy-to-follow, I am only showing you the pictures I took during the construction of two blocks.  I'll also give you a few tips I think might be useful.  This is a fun 10.5" block.  It only looks complicated.  

1 - Start with a selection of modern red and white prints, some Kona White, and a bunch of brightly colored scraps.

2 - Follow the cutting instructions and sewing directions per the tutorial.  I did find it easier to cut and piece two blocks at once.  I was able to chain piece to save time, and I was able to add more variety to the block centers.

Here is where I depart from the instructions:  When pressing your A & B blocks, PRESS IN THE SAME DIRECTION v towards the dark fabric.  If you do it this way, your seams will nest.

Also, I found a SCANT 1/4" seam makes for an extremely accurate block.   When I used a normal 1/4" seam, my rows were a wee bit on the short side.

The last thing, which is a departure from how we've done the block lottery in the past, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR BLOCKS UNTRIMMED.  Starched and pressed is fine.  Untrimmed allows the winner(s) a little more wiggle room to play with your beautiful blocks.

Happy Sewing!  Happy Summer!  


ECMQG Block Lottery Committee 2015 

PS.  Craftsy is a free site, that MAY require registration to access the pattern.  If you are not currently a member, your screen may look like this when you click the pattern link.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Quilting With the Stars - Chautauqua Quilt Show 2016

The Emerald Coast Modern Quilt Guild has been invited to participate in the 2016 Quilt Show hosted by the Chautauqua Quilters Guild.  The show is Friday, February 12th and Saturday, February 13th, from 9am to 4pm each day at the DeFuniak Springs Community Center, 361 N. 10th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL.  

The show theme is "Quilting With the Stars."  

We hope many of our talented, creative ECMQG'rs will enter MODERN quilts!

Scary?  Maybe.

Fun?  Definitely.

Worthwhile?  Most definitely!

Here is some information to help with your planning:
  • There is no limit to the number of quilts eligible for entry.  The fee for ECMQG, as a guest guild, is $5 per item.
  • There is no individual theme, and there are no restrictions as to when the quilt was completed.
  • The maximum size of any quilt is 96" x 96".  
  • Large quilts will need a hanging sleeve.  Small quilts (less than 36") do not need a hanging sleeve.  
  • Each quilt must have a fabric label stitched to the back of the quilt that contains the quilter's name and the name of the quilt.  
  • Quilts must be delivered to the DeFuniak Springs Community Center on February 11, 2016.  Cindy will be delivering quilts to the venue for us. 
  • This is NOT a juried show.  Viewer's Choice ribbons, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, will be awarded in three areas:  Large, Medium, and Small items.  
  • Entry forms will be EMailed to ECMQG'rs.
Wouldn't it be fun to see a large collection of modern quilts at the show?  What will you make?

We are in the planning stages of our group themed effort - Wonky Stars - but whether it's in the form of a fabric challenge or a group quilt, we don't know.  
EDIT:  For a little starry-eyed inspiration, check out our Pinterest Board, A Sky Full of Stars here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

2015 Riley Blake Challenge

Riley Blake Cottage Garden by Amanda Herring - photo courtesy of the Modern Quilt Guild
As requested at our meeting Saturday, here is the information about the latest Riley Blake Fabric Challenge hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild.  (Note that you must be signed in to the MQG website to follow the link.)

Riley Blake made 1500 fabric bundles available to MQG members, and each member had to request the fabric on their own.  It took only 8 hours for all 1500 bundles (6 FEs each) to be taken.  However, if you wish to participate, you may purchase fabric to use for your challenge.

Here is the challenge: 
  • Make something fantastic that is quilted.
  • Make something you've never done before.
  • Challenge yourself to learn something new.
  • Use only Riley Blake Cottage Garden fabrics and coordinating Riley Blake basics and solids.  [You may use any Riley Blake basic solid or shade to compliment the Cottage Garden Fabrics. (Riley Blake Basic, solid or shade are generally coded as C100 or C200), suggestions were C100-1, C200-3, C100-12, C200-43, C100-40]
  • The challenge runs from March until July 2015. 
  • Tag all your photos on Facebook and Instagram with #mqgfabricchallenge

Photo courtesy of

If you didn't receive fabric directly from the MQG, you may purchase fabric in any colorway to participate in the Riley Blake Fabric Challenge.  Some prints are available locally at A&E, or you may wish to purchase your fabric online.  A quick check showed fabrics available at Hawthorne Threads,, and Missouri Star Quilts.

The deadline for your quilted creation to be uploaded to the MQG Facebook page, the MQG website or on Instagram is July 31, 2015. You must use the hashtag #mqgfabricchallenge to enter.  I recommend, however, that in addition to posting to FB or IG you upload your photo to the MQG Website here.

ECMQG will be having our own Riley Blake mini-challenge as well.  Bring your creation to the July ECMQG meeting on July 11, 2015 and share your "something fantastic that is quilted" with guild members.  One plus is that if your creation is finished by July 11, it will be done in time to enter into the MQG challenge.

Happy creating!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Introduction to Social Media: The ECMQG Blog, Facebook and the MQG Website

If you are reading this, you have obviously found our ECMQG blog.  The ECMQG Blog is our official communication tool for our membership.  While we try to send emails and update Facebook, the blog is the place where you can find in-depth information about what's happening in the guild.

Parts of the blog are still under construction, but here are some things you can find on the blog:
  • Our meeting schedule:  See the "Meeting and Sewing Schedule" tab under the blog header.
  • Instructions for the current Block Lottery Block.  And check the "Block Lottery" tab for links to past blocks
  • Information about Swaps and Challenges:  Also check the "Swaps and Challenges" tab for info about what we've done in the past.
  • Our charity and outreach work.  Charity and outreach is one of the main goals of our guild.
  • "Quilty Goodness" is where you can find photo inspiration - quilts made by our guild members.
One feature of the blog to be aware of is the blog archive.  Click on any month in the blog archive and a list of posts for that month will appear.  Just click on the post you are interested in to read that post.
Another way we communicate with our members is via the Emerald Coast MQG group page on Facebook. 

Facebook is a great place for members to share information with one another, ask questions, and interact with other members of the guild.  Our Facebook group is a closed group - in general, only members of the guild are admitted to the group.

Every member of ECMQG is automatically a member of the Modern Quilt Guild.  We would love for every ECMQG member to take advantage of the information on the MQG website.

Naturally, the first step is to accept your invitation to join.  You should have gotten an email with log-in information shortly after you joined ECMQG.  If you have lost your email or have trouble logging in, please contact Wendi Mihalik, Cindy Marvel, or Kim Godwin for assistance.

To access the member features of the MQG website, choose "Community" once you have logged in.

The next page shows current events and announcements.  You may choose to see the most recent posts from all over or only the groups you follow.  If you choose groups you follow, you should see ECMQG's information.  Now choose "Resources."

There is a wealth of information available to our membership here, including access to the Block of the Month, access to Creative Webinars, and access to Business Webinars, for those who want to make quilting a business.

Social media is a huge part of Modern Quilting.  Try it!  Explore!  I hope you will be inspired as you find new sources of inspiration and new outlets for your creativity.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Introduction to Social Media: Instagram

Instagram is an online mobile photo and video sharing social network.  Launched in October, 2010, by December, 2014 Instagram had over 300 million active users! Originally created for the IOS (iPhone and iPad) user, in 2012 Instagram launched their Instagram for Android app, making IG available to pretty much everyone. Unlike Pinterest, 51% of Instagram users are male and 56.4% of users are aged 14-17.  In fact, 51% of the high school class of 2014 reported using Instagram daily and 23% of U.S. teens consider Instagram their most important social media network. 

So, you may ask, what does Instagram have to offer us as quilters?

Instagram feed photo
Lots and lots of eye candy!  An immediate look at what is trendy and fun in the quilting world.  Pictures of my grandchildren (yes, that's often how my family connects!)  And, of course, a way to connect with our friends on social media.  The most interesting thing about IG - and at the same time, its greatest drawback - is that Instagram takes place in real time.  You see what is happening amongst those you follow as it happens.  But, on the other hand, it is easy to miss good information and photos or videos you might like to see. And text capability on IG is very limited, so some of the interactions are superficial at best.

IG Login page

Starting out on Instagram is easy.  Simply create an account using a unique user name and password or log in using your Facebook account.

IG profile page

Once you log in, be sure to set up your profile.  There is a place for a picture and a brief description.  You will want to add your email address and maybe even your phone number for password and login help (email and phone numbers are hidden from your followers and used to reset passwords, etc.)  You might even link other web addresses, such as your blog or your etsy shop, to your IG profile.

IG options page
Once you are in, you might want to visit the settings page to set things up just the way you want them.  Note that if you decide to have a private account, only people you invite can see your posts.

IG search icon is the magnifying glass - this is the people search

Use the magnifying glass icon to search for people you know.  You can search by user name if you know it...

IG search screen - this is the subject/hashtag search

Or by hashtag.  Search for or tag people using the "@" symbol.  Search for things using the "#" (hashtag) symbol. Remember that you can only search for things if you know how they are labeled. You will certainly want to search #ecmqg often.

IG Camera icon - bottom of home screen

Once you have your account set up, post your first photo.  Choose the camera icon in the center of the bottom of your home screen.  I strongly recommend that you use hashtags for your photos.  For some reason, photos without hashtags tend to attract spam and unwanted followers.  If that happens, you can tap on the person's user name and block them.  If the content is unacceptable, you can report the post to have it removed.

IG picture upload screen
 Now upload your first photo.  Instagram links directly with your photo album on your phone for instant access.  Choose the photo you want to use...

Note the word NEXT in the upper right corner.
Choose the back arrow on the left if you want to start over.  When you're ready, tap NEXT in the upper right corner...

Instagram photo tools screen
Instagram provides a number of built-in filters for you to use and a handy tool icon for cropping, straightening or other tweaks to your photo. (Note that there are also a number of free and low-cost third party apps such as Pic-Tap-Go, LiPiX, VSCOcam and Snapseed that you can use to enhance your photos right on your phone.)  Once your photo is just the way you want it, tap NEXT again.

Instagram Photo caption screen
Finally, add your caption.  You can use the @ symbol if you want to mention other IG users in your caption or TAG them if you want to see your picture.  Here is where you can simultaneously post your photo on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.  Now tap SHARE to upload your photo.

Instagram profile page

The person icon on the right is your personal profile screen.  You can see your profile, picture, and all the photos you've uploaded here.  The photos are loaded newest first, so just scroll down to see your older photos. 

IG Activity page
You can see any activity related to you and the photos you have posted by clicking on the heart icon at the bottom of the screen.  Notice at the bottom of the screen that I have a new follower.  If I want to follow her also, I can just tap the +1 icon and she will be added to my following page.

IG home screen with Inbox icon
One newer feature of Instagram that helps you connect with others is the Inbox icon located at the top of the screen on your home page.   If you tap the inbox icon, you can send a direct private message to another IG user.   Really handy for sending a quick message and photo to someone.  The information that you have a message shows up on your activity page.

Like other social media, IG has its benefits and its drawbacks, but it is a great way to see what is going on in the quilting world, and with other topics you might be interested in.  Check it out!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Introduction to Social Media: Pinterest

Pinterest is perhaps one of the most versatile social media sites on the web.  Basically an online bulletin board, Pinterest allows users to catalog and file objects from other web sites so they can be found later.  Created in 2010, by May, 2015 Pinterest boasted 72.8 million users from all over the world, 85% of whom are women.  It is estimated that 42% of American women use Pinterest.  Over 1 billion Pinterest boards have been created containing more than 50 billion Pinterest pins.  Pinterest is available from your desktop/laptop computer, and has had an app for your mobile device since early 2011.  Pinterest is truly a social media phenomenon.

Pinterest login screen

You can create your Pinterest account using your email address, or your Facebook account.  Choose a password, and you can get started "pinning" the things that interest you on the web.

Pinterest boards
Once you open your Pinterest account, you can catalog your interests by creating "Boards."  Each board holds photos related to various topics that interest you.  You give the boards their names, and you control the content you pin.  Notice that my first board is "abby-girl and baby britton."  This is my board relating to my grandchildren - things I want to make for them and things I want to do for them - even photos of them I found on the net. 

The individual pins in a Pinterest board

This is my board called "Bags and Totes."  This is the board where I pin bags and totes I might want to make one day, or bags that I might use for inspiration for my own creations. 

Individual pin with link to specific website
When you click the individual pin, it takes you to that particular photo.  The best part about the pin is that it also saves the information from the particular website so that you can find your way back to the specific post.  So, if I wanted to make this wallet, by clicking on the pin I could find my way back to the tutorial post.

Pinterest home page

 Once you have created your Pinterest account, your home page will show you random pictures posted by others....

Pinterest followers page
But as you begin creating social links with others on Pinterest - following other pinners and having others follow you - you will begin seeing things posted by the people you follow, which is bound to show you others' pins that reflect your interests....

Pinterest search - "modern quilts"

and if it doesn't, use the search feature in the upper left corner to search for things that interest you.  Here, I have searched for "modern quilts."  The search result will be objects that others have tagged as modern quilts or posted to modern quilts boards.
Individual pin with "Follow Board" link in the upper right corner

 When you click on an individual pin, in addition to the website information located at the bottom of the photo, along the side you may see one or more boards the pin has been pinned to.  Like what you see?  Click the "Follow Board" link.  Now, everything that person pins to their board will come up in your feed, and you will be able to see everything they pin on that board.

Sometimes you may want to share a board with someone else.  In this case, a few of us share a board called "Modern QOV Ideas."  This is a place to pin ideas and inspiration for Quilts of Valor.  Owners of a board may invite others to pin to the board so they can share the inspiration they find relating to a specific topic. 

Pinterest even has a handy PinIt button you can add to your task bar to make it easy to pin as you are surfing the web.  So, why not get started? 

One word of caution:  Pinterest can be habit-forming!