December 17, 2016

November 2016 meeting

Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum! Well, not quite. How about some tasty homemade kombucha tea? At November’s meeting, we fêted 2016 with a splash. Great turnout, awesome eats, and loads of fun. In case you missed it, read on and just imagine being there.

Holiday Potluck

Thanks to Sabrina and our Social Committee peeps for organizing such a fabulously yummy spread and to all who contributed. It was sweet, savoury, and oh-so-good. And in case you missed them, Andrea’s scrummy Caramel Twix Cookies were sen-sa-tional. I’ve since added them to my holiday baking roster.

Mean, Bad Santa, Yankee Swap Holiday Gift Exchange

Whatever you want to call it, it was a bloodbath of an exchange this year. We were all calm and gracious like until some highly coveted items were revealed and subsequently getting yanked away at every round. For next year’s exchange, I will need to work on a David Copperfield stealth-like cloak to hide my gift. I miss you hard Toasty! <sniff>

Show & Share

Christine shared a gradiently bright HST block quilt using charm packs by Denyse Schmidt. She got her inspiration from the Triangle Madness quilt by Cari K. at There’s a Thread blogpost. The back of the quilt was just as lovely as the front.

Xandra’s Victoria’s Argyle quilt was hot-off-the-press – well, hot-off-The-Workroom’s longarm machine that is. She was quilting it minutes before the party started. The lucky recipient of this lovely quilt will be cozy under this beauty.

Becky’s version of the curvy Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt is an analogous study using sunny orange, hot pink, deep purple, and pomegranate red (just for you Laura!).

On the opposite side of intense is her subtle but engaging Something Doesn't Add Up quilt inspired by Matthew Korbel-Bowers’s Coastal 2. We can’t reveal either quilt just yet but you can get updates on both by following Becky at @duzzabear on Instagram.

Thoroughly inspired by last meeting’s colour theory talk, Gwen put that learning into good use and started cutting up some unloved green fabric in her stash. In short order, she whipped up two – yes two! – log cabin inspired quilts. Such a great study of colour!

Here’s a sneak peak of Sheila’s adorable Nine Patches baby quilt using Uppercase Fabric. She’s currently working on the pattern and will be publishing it soon. Until then, you can follow #ninepatchesquilt progress on Instagram.

HST Tournament

Ok. Let me start off by saying that I’m not proud of being knocked out at the first round of this game. You’d think this would’ve been in my wheelhouse. Not so it seems.

Karen calling on the HST gods.

With Karen as our line judge, the challenge was to replicate a block pattern using a set of tiny HSTs. First person to finish the block had to grab a chicken and run around the table three times — no, wait … they had to grab a binder clip and yell “mocha choca latta ya ya!”


Anyhoo, three rounds later, the final was between guild president Adrienne and treasurer Karen. Tough call. Both were equally measured and cool as cukes. I had my money on the chicken but in the end, Karen won the game. Winners of each round got to pick from a great selection of donated prizes. Thanks go to Steff for getting us an awesome haul of goodies!


  • Remember, there’s no December meeting so see you on January 29!
  • Our 2017 dues are due at the January meeting. Please note, they’ve gone up so don’t forget to bring your $40. We’re planning to have PayPal as a payment option in the very near future. Until then, cash or cheque please!
  • Days for Girls update: Becky collected 36 drawstring bags from our guild members. Way to go ladies! We’re just 14 bags shy of our guild goal of 50. I’m sure that’ll be a “cinch” to have at our next January meeting. Becky will let us know then what our next deliverable will be.
  • Our first ever fund-raising event will be a Garage Crafty Sale at our January meeting. Raising funds helps our guild programming by organizing events, booking locations and speakers, etc. Steff is leading the charge so head on over to our Upcoming Events page for more info.

Have a safe, quilty holiday and be kind to yourself. Stay cozy and warm and get in on some decadent sewing over the hols. I’m always game for getting together for an impromptu sew day so shoot me a line if you need a sewlmate.

Here’s to a better new year.

- Debi “Is it 2017 yet?”

November 9, 2016

October 2016 meeting

On the heels of our first successful showing at this year’s fall Creativ Festival, we gathered 'round on the eve of Hallowe'en. There’s much ground to cover so let’s get to it.

Guild Biz

The subject of increasing our guild dues this January was tabled by our president, Adrienne. We’re looking at a flat increase from $35 to $40/yr. Please note that these dues will be ‘paying forward’ the 2018 season. We’re also considering holding a crafty yard sale to raise more funds.

And in a move to encourage young makers to join our guild, we will be introducing a student rate of $20/yr for those post sec students, aged 14 and up.

As for adding a compassionate rate for members with limited means, Dia and Catherine will look into how we approach this and amend our guild bylaws.

Holiday Party

Our last meeting for 2016 will be extra long and extra fun. As we're entering the festive season, our social committee is organizing a potluck (please sign up here), some games, and a Secret Bad Santa gift exchange. Although it'll be a more casual meeting, we're still having a Show & Share. Bring your appetite, a well-honed competitive spirit, a gift to exchange ($10 value), and enjoy the fun. We'll be starting earlier than usual (1pm) on November 27 so clear your calendar!

Days for Girls Annual Charity Project

Becky made an impassioned presentation for our upcoming charity project. The TMQG will be making kits for Days for Girls (DfG) as our Annual Charity Project. DfG provides sustainable feminine hygiene kits to girls in developing countries, allowing the girls to attend school. This provides greater opportunities for the girls and helps them break out of the cycle of poverty.

Check out our Projects page with all the deets you need to get started. And if you missed the meeting, take the time to watch the TED Talk video. I dare you not to cry!

Together we can do this. Let’s empower these girls! Big thanks to Becky for making us aware of such a worthy cause.

Show & Share

Gorgeous detail of Floating Squares Score

The ever prolific Catherine presented her colourful Floating Squares Score improv quilt from Sherri Lynn Wood’s The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters book. Catherine used no-tails binding and is attempting a "stuffed" binding which produces a squishy, tight, rolled binding apparently preferred by quilt judges. Who knew?

Berene had two beauties up for show. Her lovely Mod Posy quilt has “a clean modern feel with a bit of whimsy”. Commissioned by FabricSpark, this quilt used Les Fleurs fabric collection by Rifle Paper Co. If you want to up your curved piecing skills, this is the pattern for you. The pattern is available at Berene's fabulous Etsy shop

Illusion Pillow
And if you’re in the market for a less time-consuming project (read: scrambling to start your holiday gifts), Berene’s Illusion Pillow pattern promises much satisfying cozy comfort. I also like how the colour and composition inadvertently foreshadowed Sheila’s talk on colour theory...

“She’s like a rainbow”

We were treated to a masterclass in colour theory from none other than architect and modern quilt designer, Sheila Mathies. Even though I studied this waaaaay back in college, I still discovered new things and found Sheila’s presentation so informative and fascinating. I can't wait to apply this to my next quilt! She also shared her reference books on colour. If you’re interested in learning more, hunt down these great reads:
  • Interaction of Color by Josef Albers
  • The Elements of Color by Johannes Itten
  • Colour by Victoria Finlay
Invigorated by all this colour inspiration, I propose a field trip to the McMichael to check out two great exhibits: Jack Bush and Colleen Heslin. The Debi Bus will leave post haste. Who's riding shotgun?

Block Lotto? Phhht!

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, “Alas, poor Yorick! Thoust three blocks do not a quilt make.” We’re assuming October's block might have been too complicated? Or was it time-consuming in the short amount of time we had? Please take a moment and PM our Block Lotto Leader Berene with your thoughts/wishes as to what you what you want out of block lotto challenges. In the meantime, Andrea made way with the three blocks that I know she’ll put to good use.


  • A special thanks to those who made our last-minute presence at this fall's Creativ Festival possible and who volunteered their time and donated some resources. And a big shout-out to our sponsored bundles from FabricSpark, Northcott, and The Workroom, and our lucky winners. Our guild's getting out there!
  • October meeting’s door prize winners are Kat, Andrea and Suzie. We’re always grateful for your generous donations.
  • Our last Sew-Down for 2016 will be held at the Coxwell-Danforth Toronto Public Library this Saturday, Nov. 12 from 1:30-4:30pm. We’ll continue working on our MQG Charity Quilt submission. And eat doughnuts.

Important dates to add to your calendar:

Get your quilt on!

- Debi

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