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! 

June 23, 2016

April Meeting

April was an exciting month for our guild. We have grown and expanded our membership over the last year or so, and as a result of having more members, have decided to change our meeting practices a bit. Instead of our usual big circle, we've changed to rows of chairs, and instead of our very, very long "show and share" we've decided to tighten it up a bit and only show finished works (no more WIPs) and have a limited number of slots for show and share. That way we will have time to do more workshop/demo type things. It went pretty well our first time out. We still saw lots of great work, but had time to learn new things too.
Things like this:
 Jeannie Jenkins gave us a great demo about block accuracy. She had all sorts of tips about cutting fabric. 
She showed us two quilts she had made with tiny Half Square Triangles. 
Same basic blocks/motifs, but a very different feeling to the two quilts. Colour/value choice makes such a difference. 
Also, Jeannie has the COOLEST TOOLS, including this little Lazy Susan/Cutting Mat Board that blew my mind. I must have one of these!

 Here are the adorable blocks made by our members for April's block swap. I really love this pattern. Its Raspberry Kiss and can be found at the Wooden Spoon Quilts blog, if you are interested in making some. Lucky Rebecca won the swap, and made them into a beautiful little quilt that she is selling to raise funds to help those in Fort MacMurray.

And now on to the Show and Share portion of our meeting:
 Sheila made this simple and beautiful classic with fabrics from her Grandmother's stash. Her Grandma is going to be 89 this year, and he piecing abilities are not what they used to be, so Sheila put this together for her. It's called "Nana's Barn Raising".
 One thing I love about our Guild is how into the quilts people are. There is such a great vibe of interest an appreciation as our members share their work. And of course, in this digital age, lots of people take pictures.
Valerie made this really interesting set of small quilts based on news photos of train crashes.
She was struck by the abstraction of these arial images. I think its a really interesting visual exploration of tragic events. The series is called "Off the Rails". The one that you can see in the picture above is called "Lac Megantique". If you want to see more of Valerie's work, you can check out her blog https://crayonpatch.wordpress.com

Gwen had a lot of amazing work to share with us. No less than THREE quilts to show. The first is this lovely double-bed sized star quilt. The central star was made with 5" x 5" charm packs. She used this particular quilt as a chance to practice her free motion quilting.

This buttery soft beauty was made for her neice's wedding.

And since Gwen is no slouch, the back is also beautifully pieced.

This last quilt was in spired by the quilts of Gees Bend.

And another beautifully pieced back. Also, I am in love with that stripy binding.

Catherine made this striking small quilt/wall hanging for the Northcott Chip Challenge. It really has a nice sense of flow to it.

Paul is a visitor to our guild. I believe that the Victoria Modern Quilt Guild is his home Guild, (or maybe it was the Vancouver MQG? Please forgive my forgetfulness!) but he's here in this part of the country to visit his relatives in Hamilton. And since he's friend with one of our members, he decided to come and join our meeting for the day and show these quilts to us before he gives them away forever. This first one is called "Big Wheel"

The back features some equally lovely improve pieced rectangles.

This stunner is called "Mom and Dad's Quilt". I'm actually jealous of the people who get to have this on their bed and I don't even know them! He cut the wedges that the hexagons are made of from striped fabric, which gives a really nice effect.

But look at the back. OH MY GOSH LOOK A THE BACK! I am gobsmacked by this quilt.

And this cute little number is called "Snips and Snails". I do love a quilt with text on it.

Also, how cute is this back? Adorable. I believe he said the little house fabric was from Ikea.

Christine had the quilt that she'd made for our mini quilt solids challenge to show. I am very, very impressed with those nice sharp points.

And look at Doris' lovely mini solids quilt! I adore those little slices, and the very dense linear quilting.

Wendy brought in this intensely ornate little piece that she calls "Effervescence". She made this piece with in an Al Cote workshop at the Etobicoke Quilt Guild, using a reverse appliqué technique that gives a lot of nice dimension to the piece.  
One of the great things about quilts is that they have the potential to be a three-dimensional artwork, because the back is can be as beautiful as the front, as is definitely the case with this work. 

June 22, 2016

Quilts for Pulse

About a week ago I posted on the TMQG Facebook page that I had a quilt vision that I hoped my fellow guild members would help me realize, and here (finally!) is the tutorial for the blocks that I'm looking for.

The idea is simple, because the way to accept one another is simple:  LOVE.  The most shocking thing to me about the hate expressed by the murderer in Orlando on June 12th is that his hate was for how people loved one another.  I hope this quilt, this small gesture in a very large world, will join with a million other small gestures to tip the balance on the side of love.

Love is Love

I am asking for LOVE and IS blocks, in bold, bright colours.  No black, white, grey, etc.  It is also important that the letters be legible, so contrast between the letters and the background is important.  You can achieve this in different ways: using a cool background and warm letters (or vice versa) OR using a light background and dark letters (or vice versa).  Generally, prints that are on the smaller side, and that don't themselves have a lot of contrast within them, will work best.  Make them as scrappy or as solid as you'd like, just keep them bright and cheerful!

Each of the letters "finish" at 3" x 6", so they should be 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" before you join them all together.  This is a good place to check your dimensions, since you can cut the 4 final border pieces a bit thicker if necessary if you tend to find your seam allowances are a bit bigger than a scant quarter inch.

I pressed all my seams open, but do what works for you.  As long as the blocks are the correct size when you're done, how you got there doesn't matter. :)

Ok, let's get on with it!

LOVE block


Main fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 5 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 2 1/2" x 5 1/2"



Main fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"



Main fabric:
2 - 2" x 2 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"
2 - 1" x 1"
2 - 2" x 2"

This is the only block that is a bit tricky.  Draw chalk lines on the diagonal on the 4 squares of background fabric.  Then put them on opposite corners of the main fabric pieces that are 2" x 2 1/2" (right sides together!), with the diagonal lines parallel to each other.  You can see this in the second step of the diagram below.  Then stitch along those lines, but ever-so-slightly shy of them, so that you end up with a scant seam.  You can them trim the excess triangles before you move on to the next step.


Main fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"

Background fabric:
1 - 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"
2 - 2" x 2 1/2"

Putting it together

Background fabric:
5 - 1 1/2" x 6 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 17 1/2"

The LOVE block finishes at 8" x 17", so yours will be 8 1/2" x 17 1/2".  I would suggest joining the letters together first, without the last 4 border pieces, and then checking your size.  At this point you should have a unit that is 6 1/2" x 15 1/2".  If you're a little shy, you can always cut those last four strips a bit wider to make up the difference.


IS block


Main fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
1 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Background fabric:
2 - 1 1/2" x 4 1/2"



Main fabric:
3 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2"
2 - 2" x 1 1/2"

Background fabric:
2 - 2" x 2 1/2"


Putting it together

Background fabric:
3 - 1 1/2" x 6 1/2"
2 - 1 1/2" x 9 1/2"

The IS block finishes at 8" x 9", so yours will be 8 1/2" x 9 1/2".  Just as with the LOVE block, you can check your size at this point:  you should have a unit that is 6 1/2" x 7 1/2".  Again, if you're a little shy, you can cut the last four strips a bit wider to make up the difference.

And that's it!  I am really looking forward to all the fun colours that everyone chooses.  Make as many or as few as you'd like.  I'll put them all together, but I would love it if another guild member would be willing to quilt it, since that's the stage where projects stall around my house. :)

Finally, if you want to share your blocks on social media, tag it with #quiltsforpulse, #loveislovequilt and #torontomqg.

See you all on Sunday!

Love is Love

June 21, 2016

Hello TMQG'ers

If you've been watching CNN lately you'll know it's election season. And the same applies here in our quilty community. Here are all the details that you need to know about our upcoming election. (Sorry, no Wolf Blitzer poling stats or snazzy John King 3D graphics.) 

This email requires a good read, so make yourself a cup of tea and get comfy.

There have been lots of meetings, and discussions about how we would like to improve our guild, where we’d like it to go in the next few years and who the new leadership will be. Well now it’s time to put all that talk into action! The June meeting is your chance to vote on who you would like to run for president and other important roles. This is important info so PLEASE READ all the way to the bottom.

• Nominees get put in the ballot
• Deadline for nominees is 11am on Sunday, June 26, 2014.
• Paper ballots will be cast at the June TMQG meeting.
• Online voting is available only to those who can’t make the meeting. (See note below)
• Voting is for the role of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary only. Additional committee roles are based on volunteer sign-up.
• Votes will be counted as a group on Monday June 27.
• The new President and Executive will be announced by email and on the Facebook page on or by Monday June 27 at the latest.
• If you volunteer to be on the ballot, or are nominated with your approval, you are committing to take on the responsibilities of that role for one calendar year.

Any fully paid up member of the TMQG. If you have not paid your dues in full you cannot be elected.

Any fully paid up member of the TMQG. If you have not paid your dues in full you cannot vote.

• You volunteer yourself to be on the ballot, or another TMQG member can nominate you, but ONLY once you have confirmed that you are willing to take on the responsibilities they are nominating you for.
• To put your / the nominee’s name on the ballot do the following:
Email Berene@happysewlucky.com with the email subject: “TMQG election ballot” and state your name, the position you would like to run for, and your phone number in case there are any issues. If you are nominating someone else, both you and the person you are nominating need to email Berene, so that we know they understand the commitment.
• Please also add your name to the Facebook sign-up list for others to see ahead of Sunday’s vote.

Email Berene@happysewlucky.com to let her know, and she will send you a key to use as an online ballot. Deadline for online ballots is midnight Saturday, June 25.

As you will see when you read the responsibilities below, there is a LOT of work involved in making the guild run in an efficient and successful way. The more people that collaborate the better a community our guild will be. There are a variety of skills required and time involved for the different positions, so see what fits you best. Every member should get involved in some way. PLEASE SIGN UP in some capacity! Even if it means you share a role with a friend.

Note: the roles and responsibilities listed below are the abridged version for the purpose of this blog post. The full detailed version was sent out to all TMQG members by email. If you did not receive it, contact Becky.

• Runs the guild and actively participates in leadership and decisions.
Primary contact for Toronto MQG
Oversees Guild & Executive Council meetings.
Prepares meeting agendas
Prepares an annual report (year-in-review)
Arranges for, schedules and facilitates general meetings and board meetings
Attends monthly guild meetings, sew days, Executive Council meetings, and guild programs.
• Is responsible for securing location for monthly guild meetings 

• Facilitate communication with members and performs the duties of the President if needed.
Prepares monthly newsletter.
Maintains a Guild calendar.
Plans and prepares recommendations for programs and demos.
Assists in maintaining TMQG’s social media accounts. 
Attends monthly guild meetings, sew days, Executive Council meetings, and guild programs.
Actively participates in leadership and decisions.

Maintains TMQG’s bank account including preparing reports.
• Prepares budget for approval of Executive Council.
Provides annual financial report to Toronto MQG
Pays bills.
Handles membership dues collection throughout the year.
Files all required official paperwork and tax returns in a timely manner.
Attends monthly guild meetings, sew days, Executive Council meetings, and guild programs.
• Along with the other officers, actively participates in leadership and decisions.

Takes notes at monthly meetings.
Maintains all social media such as Toronto MQG’s blog, Flickr, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter accounts. (Coordinates with GUILD PHOTOGRAPHER for images)
• Posts monthly meeting re-cap to Toronto MQG’s blog
Posts announcements, guild business, etc. to the blog
• Corresponds as necessary with organizations that have dealings with Toronto MQG.
Runs monthly meetings if President and the VP are absent.
• Keeps records of minutes of meetings.
Ensures photos of Guild events are taken.
Attends monthly guild meetings, sew days, Executive Council meetings, and guild programs.
• Along with the other officers, actively participates in leadership and decisions.
• Organizes and runs annual election in June.

Committees are created for the purpose of creating and building fellowship and meeting the needs of guild members.  Committees can be suggested by any member, but only the Guild Executive Council can officially create or dissolve a committee.

Committee members are based on volunteering your name. These are not elected positions.


Maintains Guild Roster on the MQG website
Assists in collecting membership dues and guest fees and remits to Treasurer
Assist in distributing material to members
Record attendance of members and guests at monthly meetings
• Work closely with Treasurer to maintain accurate and current roster
Coordinates nametags and annual nametag prize draw
Coordinates door prizes to be given out at the end of each meeting
• Keeps list of members’ blogs on the TMQG blog updated. 

Actively recruits member and guest speakers for meeting demos and presentations on topics of interest especially as they relate to modern quilting style and techniques.
Actively recruits member or guest speakers and teachers for special Guild programs and workshops with a focus on modern quilting
Researches, suggests, and plans meeting content, including teacher and speaker visits sponsored by Toronto MQG
Coordinates at least 2 workshops/classes annually for members

Coordinates at least 3 annual internal and/or external guild swaps, round-robins, etc.
• Coordinates all aspects of any fat quarter lotteries 
• Coordinates all aspects of any MQG challenges
• Coordinates all aspects of at least 4 block lottos annually
• Coordinates pub-nights
• Coordinates sew-downs

• Coordinates all aspects of annual charity project and promote philanthropy for Toronto MQG
• Coordinates all aspects of annual MQG charity quilt production and submission

• Coordinates all aspects of at least 1 quilt show or exhibit annually. This may be in conjunction with a larger body (e.g. Quilt Canada)

• Takes photos at monthly meetings. Coordinates with SECRETARY for images on social media maintenance.

So you see there are lots of options, something for everyone. So sign up and get involved.

Please be on time for Sunday's meeting. Look forward to seeing a good turnout! 

June 20, 2016

Drum Roll Please....

The votes have been tallied for our Quilt Canada 2016 Solids Mini-quilt Challenge. Thanks to all of you who submitted a quilt and to everyone who visited our exhibit and voted. We had 1,510 votes and people had a very hard time choosing their favourites! Look how great it looked...

And now for the news you want to hear. The winners of our three beuatiful fat quarter bundles courtesy of Robert Kaufman Fabrics are....

First place goes to Rebecca for quilt #9.
(No, I didn't cheat! Julie and Laura will attest to our security measures.)

Second place goes to Doris for quilt #8.
Third place goes to Lynda for quilt #12

I would like to add an honourable mention for quilts #7 and #6 by Berene and Adrienne respectively. They were both hot on the heels of third place!

And finally, the winner of our draw from the voters' ballots was Jean Hillis, who happened to be volunteering right around the corner white-gloving on the show floor. She had a beautiful quilt called Adagietto in the NJS that was a second place guild rosette winner!

Adagietto by Jean Hillis
It was a fabulous show and a great time was had by all who attended. Congratulations to our winners and thanks again to all who participated and to Robert Kaufman Fabrics who provided our beautiful prize bundles of Kona Cotton Fat Quarters.

April 24, 2016

February Meeting 2016: Part Two

Ok, February Meeting Part II. Because 60 pictures seemed like a lot for one post!
Our member Elisa, who is originally from Brazil, was celebrating the fact that she had been in Canada for one whole year. And what better way than with this boldly patriotic block!
 Elisa also made this lovely nature themed small quilt. She has it all pinned together and ready for quilting. She's made some really nice fabric choices here, allowing it to be abstract while still clearly referencing the natural world. Really lovely work.
 Karen brought in this giNORmous quilt, the block for which were made in 2011 as part of a block of the Week club from the Sew Sisters shop. It is made with the Stonehenge fabric line from Northcott.
 She had so much of the fabric that she even pieced the back. Very impressive.
 Karen also did not mess around when it came to making quilts at the Quilts for Refugees sew down. She made, count them, ONE….
 ...FIVE! Five, cheery bright little quilts to welcome new families to our country and communities.
 Julie has been making little free motion quilting samples, in order to practice her technique.
 She has found this process to be therapeutic, and the end result of her very pretty little doodles was this small piece. It beautifully addresses her experience with depression. The dark background is punctuated with one hopeful shining star, and the words quilted into the piece whisper "the darkest nights produce the brightest stars". A beautiful and emotionally charged work.
 Lynda brought this piece in to show us. I love her simple layouts, the little scatter of mixed media...
 …and that she always manages to sneak a few birds in there somewhere!
 Sheila showed us this punchy little baby quilt top quite awhile ago, but brought in the project in its quilting stage to get our feedback on whether she needed to quilt it more densely. After we'd discussed it for awhile she said something along the lines of "basically, I'm asking for permission to stop quilting." We've all been there, had a good laugh, and permission was granted.
 She's also making some adorable baby/child clothing for her niece.
 And to further solidify her status as "best Aunt ever", also made these early little pretend tea bags to go with her niece's tea set.
 Samarra's work always impresses me, but these crazy little portraits really left me gobsmacked.
 Just so creative and so beautifully executed. Stunning work.
 Christine brought in this fun little tote bag. Which makes me think that this is what I should do with all the small, unfinished things I make. They should obviously become tote bags.
 And I'm so in love with this star quilt that Sabrina made. She made it as part of the Super Star course at the Workroom (our host store) and is a quilt that is on my to-do list for sure.
 Debbie brought in this Ribbon Quilt, also made as part of a Workroom class, this one taught by Johanna. I love the subtle colour choices she went with. Its such a strong pattern, so these quasi-neutrals are a great choice.
 Lisa is another new member. It was her first meeting with us, and she had a lot of work to show. The quilt above is called "Imperfect Heart" and is another beauty made as a part of the Quilting for Refugees sew down.
 She calls this bold quilt "Value Village Special", because believe it or not, that centre panel was actually purchased from her local Value Village Thrift Shop! Crazy. So she put some borders on it and quilted it up.
 These small pieces are a series of improv experiments. They will probably become wall hanging.
 Such a lovely, subtle feel with a Japanese influence. I feel like we're going to see a lot from Lisa in the future.
 Doris made this beautiful small piece called "Some Kind of Blue" as part of a challenge with the other quilt guild she attends. I love the dense quilting, the subtle gradation of blue in the hand-dyed fabric and that little shot of gold up in the corner.
 And here's an amazing piece by our president Rebecca, called Bump and Grind. So original. And a great example of what we're talking about when we say "Modern" Quilts.
 Rebecca also had a pattern published in Simply Moderne Quilts and Crafts magazine called Poppin' Wheelies. Its a great pattern, and a really wonderful magazine, one I had not seen before but if it has work like this in it, I'll be watching for future issues.

And there you have it, our February Meeting in two posts.