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

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!