October 14, 2016

The TMQG at the Creativ Festival

The TMQG is going to be showing at the Creativ Festival at the International Centre, October 27-29th.

We're putting together a display and volunteers on short notice as we were invited just recently. We need your help!

How you can help:

  1. Volunteer to help staff the booth during the show. All volunteers get Exhibitor free entrance to the show and our eternal gratitude! Please sign up here. Feel free to volunteer for more than one slot if you can.
  2. Lend us your quilts. If you have finished quilts that are ready to show, we would love to hang them in our booth. Please fill in this survey for each quilt you're going to show. There will be 3 drop off points as indicated in the survey. Pick up can happen at the drop off points or at the October meeting at The Workroom.
Thank you so much for your help!

September 28, 2016

September 2016 meeting

With the change of seasons, September also brought us our first official meeting with the new TMQG Crew. The training wheels are off and we’re fuuuhh-lying!

Block lotto biz

Berene shared an interesting story about being contacted by Bill Kerr, one half of the pioneering Modern Quilt Studio (the other half being the lovely Weeks Ringle). Unbeknownst to Berene, her tutorial on a previous block lotto, Pick Up Sticks, was an infringement of a pattern Bill & Weeks had in an out-of-print book of quilt designs. As the pattern was never digitized for the interwebs, it kinda propagated on its own and has been used by many not knowing where it came from. You can read more about it here. It just goes to show how nebulous our creative world can be. At least our community is kind and understanding, so no hard feelings all around. 

And to make up for this innocent transgression, Berene (and Georgia!) won our Spools block lotto. Nice work, karma.

"You mean they're ours?! We get to keep them?!"

Just in time for Hallowe’en, Andrea proxy-presented Julie’s block lotto, the scrappy Spider Web Block. You’ll find several tutorials online for this classic block including this one or this one. Kona Black was used as the starting foundation piece and the finished block measures 12” square. (BTW, the bottom black triangle in the image below hadn't been string-pieced yet.)

These spidey, tingly blocks will be raffled off at our October 30th meeting so get your string quilting game on. The more you make, the more chances you have at winning the whole Jack-o’lantern pot of blocks. Muahahahaha!!

Let bylaws be bylaws

Catherine & Dia took us through the ratification of our guild’s new bylaws and a vote was taken. And like the US election campaign, it was too close to call. JK! It passed and you can review them at your leisure here.

With glowing hearts

Valerie of Quilts at the Creek fame dropped off a box of some sharp red and white fabric generously donated by Northcott. In celebration of Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday, this year’s QATC goal will be to display as many red and white quilts at Black Creek Village. Imagine a sea of gorgeous red and white quilts proudly flapping in the wind. The next QATC takes place on July 29-30 so you’ve got T minus 10 months to work on some true patriot love.

Just a click away

Stephanie pulled out a pocket-sized projector (no acetate overlays for this member) and walked us through a comprehensively compiled list of online quilting resources. It was thorough and I liked that members collaboratively shared their faves. I know our new-to-quilting members and visitors will be checking them pronto. Heck, I already bookmarked a few new-to-me links. Wait … do people bookmark anymore? Do people still say heck?

Show & Share

September's S&S was very lean and I have to say, I took it personally. So prove me wrong and bring your masterpieces at our next meeting on October 30.

In the meantime, Lisa shared her Rainbow Rows quilt. I believe everyone should have a go at making a sharp, spectral quilt.

Rainbow Rows

Catherine teased us with the promise of three quilts to show but unfortunately for us, she had to give away two. The ‘towel-sized’ Blue Sun is an original quilt pattern and was meant for taking to the park or the beach but alas, summer is officially over so it’s destined for a nap on the couch.

Blue Sun

Jeannie gave us a sneak peak of a gorgeous quilt top made up of the TMQG’s very own Samarra Khaja’s awesome Geogram fabric collection for Lecien Fabrics. Launching at the upcoming Quilt Market, this stunningly graphic collection (and the quilt pattern!) will be available to the masses this January. I’ll be tucking my allowance into my mattress in anticipation.


  • The QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge started off with a bang at our last Sew-Down. Becky’s winning pattern on this year’s theme of playing with scale is coming along beautifully. And like two dueling grand pianos, some of the quilt was pieced on two tiny Featherweights. Old meets new. Watch this space for more updates.
  • Our Instagram account now has over 500 followers. Yay us! And although our sudden surge in popularity is all well and good, we’d love more followers. So click here or on our newly added Instagram button above, follow @torontoMQG and enter to win a 1-year membership to our guild. Contest closes on October 2.
  • There were lots of lovely visitors this month: Christine, Georgia, Gillian, Jenna, Linda, Marian, Sandy, Susan, and Suzi – welcome and hope you’ll join our awesome guild.
  • This month’s door-prize winner was Valerie. Thanks to Catherine for donating that adorable pink zippered pouch.

And finally, one month into my role as Secretary and I’ve already failed you on the bribe promise of a home baked treat. Believe me, with season 7 of the Great British Bake Off in full swing, I had all the intention of serving up a sweet confection for our meeting. Unfortunately, I was waylaid by blunt force on my right shoulder and couldn’t stir some dry ingredients together, let alone unscrew a bottle of vanilla. I’m not making any promises but I’m hoping a batch of Dampfnudel or a Bakewell tart is in order for October’s meeting.

Yours in quilting,

— Debi

September 15, 2016

August 2016 meeting: Passing the baton

August’s meeting at the TMQG was all about the transitioning of the Not-Really-Presidents leadership to our recently elected guild board and leaders. A chorus of heartfelt thanks and appreciation went to Becky, Andrea and Sheila for their tireless work running our rudderless guild these past few years. That was soon followed by a hearty “Good luck with that!” slap on the back to the new crew. Becky took us through her last guild housekeeping items <sniff> and we moved onto our newly-formatted meeting.

Tips & Tricks

Catherine endorsed two quilting aids: the No Math Quilt Chart & Formulas and a binding tool aptly named, The Binding Tool from TQM Products. Here's a great demo of the tool. I attest to being directionally challenged and am constantly buggering up the dreaded join and so I think I will add this tool to my arsenal and attempt the other binding tips that were offered up by some members.

Still on binding, prolific quilter Elaine shared some great machine binding tips which then got the ball rolling as other members piped in with their tricks. To say it became a one-upping sesh sounds barbaric. We’re too genteel for that.

New member Ludgera demo’d her ingenious use of freezer paper for when there’s no ruler big enough for the job. A great use would be squaring up blocks, something I rarely do. This might explain the quality of my piecing. Note to self: listen to Ludgera.

Karen displayed some adorable pincushions and specifically talked about the stuff you don’t see, the actual stuffing. One of her preferred fillings is wool roving. The inherent lanolin in wool is like a spa treatment for those sharpie sharps. So the next time you need to whip up a pincushion for a guild swap, stuff it with wool. Show some love and gratitude to the lowly implements that get the job done.

Masterclass quilter Becky shared an oldie but goodie tip for our new-to-quilting members: pressing seams to one side to enable seam nesting and therefore accurate matched-up seams. A contentious issue in the modern quilting movement (PC vs Apple springs to mind), an open-seamer practitioner (uh, that would be me) challenged the one-siders and expressed frustration at seams inevitably folding the wrong way once you started piecing your blocks. It got ugly. We took it outside. Police were called. Thankfully, no one got hurt. That aside, I promise to give it a go and piece my rows in a mindful, alternating fashion. Thanks Becky!

All said, whether you’re a novice or a pro, it’s a good time to be a member of a modern quilt guild when great stuff is shared.

Game Time!

Becky’s parting gift was an innocent looking, quilt-themed Jumble that sure kept us quiet for a while. And I thought quilting math was hard. ‘Nine Patch’ was the winning word Jumble and both Andrea and Sheila were claimed winners. 

Hmmm … I’m just sayin’ … I’m not saying anything … did I say anything?

Show & Tell

Lisa showed two adorable baby quilts. Phi’s Little Birds was chirpy cheerful and lovingly made for her grandkids. Rory’s Quilt, which she made a few years back, was tonally gorgeous.

Kat’s first attempt at a ‘big’ quilt was Under Another Cover, her take on Heather Givans Letters from Home. Kat works at the post office museum so those envelopes are in her DNA. Awestruck, we all imagined what we would stuff in those envelopes. One could easily hide a snack or two in there. Return to sender!

Elisa shared a few goodies including a sewing machine cover and a mini-quilt inspired by the colours of the Brazilian flag and of the recent summer Olympics in Rio. She’s one proud menina! She also shared a mysterious yet magical reversible quilt-to-pouch-to-pillow called a Quillow. Quilt… pillow… quillow. Get it? <nudge nudge> Always striving for the latest in napping technology, I will be adding a quillow to my quilty queue.

Elaine’s Tree Lines quilt showcased a machine quilting pattern that made me think I should give FMQ another go. The recti-linear motif shows up so beautifully in the negative spaces I like to live in.

Dia’s philosophical Meadow Quilt by Lizzie House is one for the textbooks. Not only does she get an A+ for the use of nerdy-science fabric, the quilting is extra-curricular. Longarm’d by Irene of Brayne Waves Quilting, she picked up on those science cues and mimicked a DNA strand. Makes me wish I studied harder.

A Meadow upon Meadow

Catherine’s April at Elmhust charm pack quilt was a reprieve from making too many pinwheels at this year’s SWO Mod retreat. Love the serpentine stitch quilting. She hopes to gift this to her imaginary grandchild.

Laura came in just under the wire with a freshly bound quilt for a highschool friend’s baby. Made up of kitten-y goodness HSTs, Scrappy Geese will be loved and cherished for years to come. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of quilt labeling in the actual binding. So discrete. And I’m all about discretion.

Lisa’s mini quilt of HSTs in jewel-toned solids made me think I will attempt this one day. But like BIG. And NO prints. Wish me luck.

New member Sakina’s Bargello-inspired crimson beauty was, if I’m not mistaken, her first attempt at free-motion quilting. What the what?!


  • A warm shout-out to some new faces this month - Leilani, Lisa, Ludgera, Nancy, Sakina, Susan and Xandra - WELCOME! And apologies if I missed anyone.
  • Due to a conflict (ahem, that would be mine), Elisa graciously volunteered to become our new guild photographer. Yay Elisa! She’ll be shooting black & white in the po-mo pictorialism style on a medium format Hasselblad. JK, JK. I had to use up some of my art school knowledge before wifi waves zapped it all.
  • Don’t forget our upcoming Sew Down at the Danforth/Coxwell library from 1:30 to 4:30 this Saturday, September 17th. We’ll be working on the 2017 Charity Quilt Pattern. They’re forecasting rain so it couldn’t be a better time to stay indoors, indulge in some treats, and craft to your heart’s content.

See you on the 25th!
- Debi

August 29, 2016

Guild Bylaws and Election

Beginning in September we will have a new executive committee. We are so appreciative of Becky and Andrea for their almost 3 years of service to the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild.

TMQG Board 2016-2017
President: Adrienne Van Halem
Vice President: Dia Sue-Wah-Sing
Treasurer: Karen Brown
Secretary: Debi De Santis

Committee Leaders
Charity: Becky Burnett
Programming: Stephanie Rose
Social: Sabrina Beans
Membership: Catherine Clarke
Guild Photographer:  Elisa Galery

A part of this new change of leadership came the need to review and update our TMQG Bylaws. Thank you to Catherine, Becky and Dia for their extensive reviewing of the Bylaws.  In order to ratify them at the September meeting, active membership (those who have paid their dues and are in good standing) can review the draft of the bylaws and the proposed changes here.

Draft Bylaws
Proposed changes

Please send your comments to Catherine by September 12th at the latest. This site will be edited to have the final version of the bylaws will be posted after that date.

Voting will take place at the September 25th meeting. All active members will be sent a link September 18th (open till September 25th 5pm)  to vote to ratify online if they will not be able to attend that meeting. Quorum of 40% of the membership is required for ratification to be possible.

August 28, 2016

July Meeting

We started our meeting off with an uplifting and positive message in the wake of an inexplicable tragedy. 
Sheila has designed a block for us to make so we can put together a quilt to support the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Its a cause that many of us feel strongly about, so we wanted to make this quilt to raise awareness about this issue. The design comes from Lin Manuel Miranda's acceptance speech at the Tony's in the wake of the shooting, when he declared that no matter who you love, Love is Love is Love is Love. Its a beautiful rallying cry and I think the quilt we make from it will be stunning.
Berene is in charge of our Block Lottos, and has put together another adorable block selection for us.
SPOOLS! How cute are they? There's a couple of different size and design options as you can see, and whoever wins this one is going to have a really sweet quilt to put together. The tutorial can be found here. The date for finished blocks is the September meeting, so that would be September 25th I believe.
Elaine brought in a wall hanging sized quilt that she made for a Riley Blake Challenge. Its called "Its an Illusion". I believe that she fussy cut a printed fabric to make the black and white sections. Frankly, I am in awe.
Berene designed and made this gorgeous meditation on the design possibilities available using half-square triangles, and what happens when you put warm and cold colours together. It is called "The Juxtaposition Quilt".
This intricate and  beautifully detailed little stunner is called "Hundreds and Thousands". For those of you that are not from South Africa, Hundreds and Thousands are what we would call Sprinkles, like the kind you put on a birthday cake or a donut. It was made by Berene and members of the Fab Bee. She put out a call for them to use 1" strips of rainbow fabric to piece half inch squares at random angles and location to each other. As we all know, true randomness is very hard to achieve, but she said it was interesting to see how comfortable some people were with the randomness and how some still contrived to find a way to create order. When all the blocks arrived she added more of her own to fill the spaces and put it together as randomly as possible. I really love the way it turned out.
Diana is a new member of our guild, and had lots of interesting things to share with us.
Here is a detail of the lovely improvisational quilt that she made. She has a textile-artist background and loves colour and contrast.
Even the back is lovely.
And we were particularly delighted by these teeny tiny little hexies that she is putting together. She doesn't know what she's going to do with them yet, but was really enjoying the process of making them.
Karen brought in this riot of colour and pattern called "Crazy Life, Crazy Quilt". She made it at a workshop with Sue Paquette in Oakville where participants were challenged to bring in fabrics that they haven't been able to use in something else, or don't really like, because somehow, they will work together. It was a sew, slash and turn type of technique that lets all the crazy come out and play together, with a really fun result. 

July was also the deadline for our Not-Really-President's Challenge. The theme was "Self-Portrait".
…and the winner is…. Adrienne Van Halem! 
Her entry is a whole-cloth quilt made of fabric that she designed and printed on Spoonflower, and then quilted.
An excellent piece indeed!

August 1, 2016

Georgian Bay Quilt Retreat, Summer 2016

This past weekend, members of our guild packed up their sewing machines and headed North to this lovely home on the shores of Georgian Bay for a weekend of quilting and relaxing.
 Its such a gorgeous spot, with picture-postcard Canadian views where we were surrounded by lake and sky and the quiet was punctuated by the call of the loon and the occasional jet-ski.
 We were generously given the use of this sunny studio space to fill with the hum of our machines, and of course, chatting and laughter. 
 We even spilled out into the living room. 
 But we didn't spend our whole time sewing. We're a very well rounded group. And there was that big beautiful sparkling lake. 
 So we went swimming. Or should I more accurately say floating. 
 We bobbed up and down in the water, and talked some more. World events, entertainment, politics, quilting, quilting politics. You name it, we covered it. 
 And when we were tired of swimming, we got out, toweled off...
 …and did some eating!
 Eating was the second most popular activity of the weekend. 
 We all took turns making the meals, and I'm telling you, we ate like queens! (That's grilled peaches, Tres leches cake, and coconut ice cream for dessert at one of the meals)
 And Doris made these AMAZING savoury pies for lunch on Sunday. I'm still drooling over the memory. 
 As the day ended, and the sun began to go down, we all waited to see the sunset. 
 And we were not disappointed. 
 It was absolutely gorgeous. 
 But of course, all good things must come to an end. After two lovely days of sewing and laughing and eating and drinking we packed away our machines, swept up a surprisingly large amount of lint and thread clippings, and headed back down the highway to our homes.
A special thanks again to our kind and generous hosts, the Van Halems. Can't wait to do it again!

July 6, 2016


Our next TMQG block lotto is all about thread!  This will make a fab sewing themed quilt when all pieced together. And you’re not tied down to one specific block so you can really have some fun with it. In fact you can use ANY spool pattern you want as long as you adjust the block size or add extra background fabric so that your blocks fit the dimensions below.

Width: multiples of 4 (plus ½” seam allowance) 
Height: multiples of 6 (plus ½” seam allowance)
Eg:       4 ½” x 6 ½” (smallest size)
            8 ½” x 12 ½”
            4 ½” x 12 ½”
           12 ½” x 12 ½”   etc
There is no limit on how big you can go as long as you keep these proportions.

SPOOL: Textures or colours that look like spools (woodgrain, sketch, Aurifil orange etc)
THREAD: Striped, thread-textured or sewing-themed modern fabrics (as shown in samples)
BACKGROUND: Kona SNOW (no alternatives, please)
COLOURS: Modern brights

3. DEADLINE: September meeting (Sept 25)

4. ONE ticket PER SPOOL. (So if you make ONE block that has FOUR spools in it, you’ll get FOUR lotto tickets for the draw.)

Other than those rules you are free to be creative.

Here are some links to a few free patterns & tutorials. (Don’t forget to adjust to the block sizes to the dimensions listed above.)

Faith of Fresh Lemon Quilts has this super cute (and free) spool pattern set:

And here are a few more options to check out:


As mentioned at the June meeting, If you are a paid up TMQG member  and would like to use my paper piecing spool patterns for this block lotto, message me (Berene) on Facebook and I’ll email you the PDF file. (Gratis!)

Look forward to seeing all your blocks. You have all summer long to get addicted to making them. :)
See you in September!