Author Archives: amydame

Nametag Challenge!

We’ve done name tag challenges in the past (in 2010, 2012 and 2015) but the last time was almost 3 years ago! New members have joined us since then and we’re sure some of you would like an update.

We’re inviting everyone, new and returning members alike, to start off 2018 with a brand new name tag.

Your name tag can be anything you like, but you want it to be legible and something that you’ll actually want to wear. You can use hand or machine embroidery, fmqing, applique, very tiny paper piecing, whatever will work to write out your name.

Please wear your new nametag to the January 2018 meeting!

If you’re not sure where to start, Saltwater Quilts has a basic tutorial here, or this website has a great paperpieced pineapple block that is sized perfectly for a name tag.

If you need some inspiration (and more tutorials), check out the Pinterest board that Amy created, or scroll down to see some name tags by past and current VMQG members. (all photos by former member Sonja)

Scrap Swap Round 3!!

It’s time for another round of the Scrap Swap!

(items swapped in 2012)

To participate:

Bring a sandwich sized ziplock bag full of scraps to the October meeting. Your bag should contain around 2 fat quarters worth of scraps.

How it works:

– Participants brings one sandwich sized ziplock bag of scraps to the October meeting. Your bag should contain around 2 fat quarters worth of scraps.

–  Everyone who brings a bag will take a bag and use it to make a gift for the owner of the bag.

– Gifts should be something small, like a zippered pouch, simple tote, mug rug, potholder, needlebook, notebook cover, pincushion, etc. People have gotten a bit carried away in previous swaps, but that it definitely not required!

– The only fabric you can add to the scraps you receive is SOLIDS.

– Bring the finished items back to the December meeting, along with any leftover scraps.

If you’d like to participate, please bring a scrap bag containing AT LEAST 2 fqs worth of fabric to the October meeting. Pick your favourite prints, because you’ll be getting it back, all sewn up into something just for you! When you get to the meeting, Amy and Holly will give you a very short little questionnaire to fill out and tuck inside your bag. Make sure your name isn’t visible, because this will be a secret swap!

(Scrap Swappers in 2015)

Can you help out with Maker Faire?

As many of you know, the VMQG is participating in Maker Faire again this year, June 10th and 11th. This will be our 7th year at the Faire and we’ve been there every year since it started in Vancouver!

We need help in two different ways – volunteers, and quilts to display.

If you’d like to volunteer, you can sign up RIGHT HERE. We especially need volunteers for Saturday, June 10th, but we also have a shift available Friday night (for set up) and Sunday afternoon. Volunteering in our booth is a great way to share your love of quilting with others, and don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to check out all the other amazing booths too!

If you’re not able to volunteer, you can still help us represent our guild by lending us your quilts.

We always have a nice crowd happening at our booth and what we need from our members is a selection of modern quilts to display.

(It’s important to realize that people might be touching your quilt.  If you’re not ok with this, then please don’t contribute a quilt for display at the booth.) 

Feel free to lend us quilts in varying stages of completion, so that we have examples to show people of how quilts are put together, and remember that quilts that are “geeky” in any way are always incredibly popular!

If you’d like to have some of your quilts on display in our booth, you can bring them to the Jacquie Gering lecture on Friday, May 26th at MEC Head Office, 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver.

Amy will be at the lecture to receive your quilts. If you aren’t able to attend the lecture, but have the perfect quilt for our display, feel free to email our 2017 Maker Faire coordinator Mel at to see if arrangements can be made. Quilts will be returned at our June guild meeting.

Jacquie Gering will be here soon! – CANCELLED

Jacquie is co-author (with Katie Pedersen) of Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts, author of Walk: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot, and a leading figure in the modern quilting movement known for her dynamism as a teacher and for the improvisational energy of her quilts. Jacquie is co-founder and former president of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild, and she just ended her term as chair of the Board of Directors for the worldwide Modern Quilt Guild. In 2014, the International Association for Creative Arts Professionals named Jacquie its Teacher of the Year, in recognition of her outstanding ability to nurture students’ creativity and to inspire them with the joy of modern quilting.

Her lecture on Friday, May 26th, “Quilting Modern: Honouring Tradition,” will lay out her personal journey as a quilter, from her Mennonite roots to her explorations as a modern quilter. Lecture tickets are $15 for VMQG members and non-members alike, and tickets will be available at the door.


The doors open at 6:30, and the lecture starts at 7pm. Come join us at MEC Headquarters, 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. The venue is wheelchair accessible, has free parking in the back, and is very close to the VCC-Clark skytrain station. We hope to see you there!

Stash Building Swap!

Several people have mentioned to us that they wish they had more variety in their stash, especially among low volume prints, since they look so great mixed together.

So! We’re going to try something new, and if it’s a success, maybe we’ll do it again!

At the June anniversary meeting, we’ll be swapping Fat Quarters of low volume fabrics.

What’s a low volume fabric? Low volume fabrics are often described using words or phrases like muted, low contrast, low key, and quiet. They’re light coloured fabrics that will show up as a solid or as a near solid if you were to take a black and white photo of your fabric stack. They usually have a neutral coloured background, and the prints are not super bold or loud. Low volume can be tone on tones, or it can be subtle prints. For more ideas about low volume, along with some pictures to help understand, check out this colour theory 101 and low volume post (scroll part way down for the low volume section), this post on Craftsy, or this blog post that shows some samples of quilts made with low volume prints..

Here’s how the swap works –

You bring a gallon ziplock bag clearly labelled with your name with 4 fat quarters in it. (see photo above)

Each person can bring up to TWO bags – that means 8 fat quarters, but keep them in separate bags for ease of swapping.

These need to be MODERN low volume prints. Please bring fabric of a quality that you would like to receive.*

Please limit the variety of prints per bag to two, for ease of swapping. (ie, please don’t bring 4 different fat quarters!)

Fat quarters can be either US or Canadian, either size is fine. If you bring Canadian size FQs, be aware that you might receive US size FQs back.

When you arrive at the June meeting, there will be a table set up to drop your bag(s) off. Amy will swap the fat quarters between the bags, and after the meeting, you’ll come back and pick up your bag, with 4 new FQs in it!


Easy peasy, right? We’ll do what we can to make sure you don’t get the same print back, but please feel free to swap among yourselves if you end up with something you already have.


*It’s not fun, but we reserve the right to not swap your fabric if it doesn’t fit the guidelines. We have to be fair to others who do.

A Perfect Scant ¼” Seam Allowance

The VMQG guild executive recently asked me (Krista) to give a presentation on accuracy. Whether you tend to make measured, traditional style blocks or you prefer improv quilting, maintaining a scant 1/4″ seam allowance will lead to neater work, more resilient seams, less bulk to quilt through, blocks that fit together and the satisfaction of pointy points where you want them. 

Both beginners and experienced quilters alike can benefit from a seam allowance tune-up. You’d be surprised how many people have struggled for ages, wondering why their measured blocks don’t end up the planned size.  The test doesn’t take long and once your seam allowance is established, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of blocks that fit together as your patterns intend, without distortion from stretching short edges or puckers from gathering generous ones. Refresh your accuracy by performing the simple test below and remember that you’ll need to repeat this on ALL of your machines (because, ahem, a few of us sew on more than one machine).  If you are sewing a project using bulkier fabric such as Essex linen, or fine fabric such as lawn, it would be a good idea to repeat this test with the actual fabric being used for the project!

BUT WHY “SCANT”? Quilt blocks are measured to the 1/4″ based on side-pressing of seams within the block. A scant 1/4″ seam is necessary because we need to allow room in the pressed-over fold for the piecing thread as well as the one or two threads of fabric on the edge of the fold.  A fine, 50 wt piecing thread takes up very little room in seams, which is one of the reasons the Aurifil brand is so popular with quilters. 


1. Accurately cut five 2 1/2″ squares of pressed, quilting weight cotton. Measure with your quilting rulers, not the cutting mat.

2. Using your normal piecing thread, sew the squares together along side seams, creating one long strip unit.
3. Press seams flat to set stitches, then press seams all to one side in the same direction.
1/4" test

1/4" test

4. Measure the unit by placing your quilting ruler on top of the strip. It should measure 10 1/2″.


5. If your strip is less than 10 1/2″ long, then your seam allowance is larger than a scant 1/4″. If your strip is greater than 10 1/2″ long, then your 1/4″ is too scant. 


My strip is larger than 10 1/2″ long
  • confirm pieces accurately measure 2 1/2″ square
  • confirm seams are all pressed to one side in the same direction (NOT OPEN). 
  • fold over the last square and re-press the seam flat. Place your ruler on top of the right edge, aligning the edge of the ruler with the edge of the fabric. Your stitches should be visible just to the right (or inside) of the 1/4″ ruler line. If you can see fabric between the 1/4″ line and your line of stitches, then your seam is too scant.
This seam is just a hair too scant because you can see fabric between the 1/4″ line on the ruler and the line of stitches.
My strip is smaller than 10 1/2″ long
  • confirm pieces  accurately measure 2 1/2″ square
  • confirm from the right side that the fabric of each square is fully pressed out over the seam
  • fold over the last square and re-press the seam flat. Place your ruler on top of the right edge, aligning the edge of the ruler with the edge of the fabric. Your stitches should be visible just to the right (or inside) of the 1/4″ ruler line.If your stitches are under the 1/4″ line, then you’ve sewn an exact 1/4″ seam, not a scant one; you need to decrease your seam allowance by about 2 thread widths.  If your stitches are fully to the outside, or left of the 1/4″ line, then your seam allowance is too generous (big) and adjustments to decrease it need to be made (move needle one notch to the right or adjust your seam guide closer to the presser foot).
In general, as I’ve had students perform this test in workshops, it appears that many manufacturer’s 1/4″ patchwork feet with fence guide attached on the right side of the foot are actually a bit generous. If you have one of these feet, hold it up to the light. Can you see daylight between the edge of the foot and the fence? If so, chances are that the edge of the foot is actually the scant 1/4″ and the fence it a true 1/4″.
Good luck! Let us know how you make out in the comments and leave any questions you may have there as well. I’ll try to answer questions in subsequent comments, so check back.

Swap time!!

It’s been a while since we’ve done a swap with another guild, so we’re excited to announce a mini-mini quilt swap with Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild!

swap image omqgandvmqgswap

What’s a mini-mini quilt?

It’s a small quilt with a minimum perimeter of 24″, and a maximum perimeter of 48″. That means length + length + width + width will add up to at least 24″, but no more than 48″. You can make your mini-mini quilt any shape you like, as long as it fits within 24″-48″ perimeter. A square quilt 12″ x 12″ would be the maximum perimeter.

Remember how fun our mini quilt swap back in 2014 was? This will be just as great, but with quilts half the size!

mini quilt group shot

Wanna participate this time around? Here’s the details!

– This is a SECRET swap. When you sign up, you’ll fill out a questionnaire. When you’re assigned someone to sew for, you’ll be sent their questionnaire. This means that you’ll get something made specifically for you, taking your likes and dislikes into consideration. Awesome! Most people will be assigned a partner from the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild, though if the numbers are uneven, a few VMQG members might end up swapping with each other. The person you’re sewing for will not be the same person as who’s sewing for you.

– You’ll be making a MODERN mini-mini quilt based on your partner’s likes and dislikes. Everyone has different levels of quilting experience, but we’ll all be doing our best possible work.

– Since it’s a secret swap, hints and in-progress pics are totally welcome! Please use the hashtag #omqgandvmqgswap so that we can all follow along.

– Sign ups will start today, January 16, 2017, and will go to February 1, 2017. That gives you a little over two weeks to sign up.

– Sign ups will be ONLINE only.

– Partners will be assigned by February 15, 2017, and your partner’s information will be emailed to you

– You’ll bring your finished mini quilt back to the April guild meeting, on April 17th, 2017. We’ll mail all of the quilts together to Ottawa, and they’ll mail all of theirs to us. Quilts will be distributed at the May guild meeting, on May 15th, 2017.

– Quilts should have some sort of hanger attached. this can be a sleeve, triangles in the two upper corners, whatever works best for the quilt you make.

– This is a members-only activity. supporting your guild has its perks!

Are you excited yet?

Click here to sign up! Continue reading

Pincushion Swap!

This year’s winter interguild swap is PINCUSHIONS!

(examples shown at the October meeting, pincushions made by various people, including amy, Berene and Laurraine)

We did a pincushion swap a very very long time ago, with Kansas City MQG, so it’s about time we did one within VMQG!

The guidelines are simple:
– small enough to fit inside a brown paper lunch bag
– the top must be pieced or decorated in some way, such as english paper piecing, foundation paper piecing, improv, patchwork, embroidery, etc

If you’d like to swap, no need to sign up! Just bring your finished pincushion to the December guild meeting, attach a tag to it so that the recipient knows who made it, and there will be a table where you can set it and let everyone else admire it. Later in the meeting, we’ll put the pincushions in paper bags, and have a secret swap, where everyone grabs a bag at random. Fun and simple!

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the pinterest board i made for the original swap and see if anything catches your eye.

Several people asked about the pincushion i shared at the October meeting, the shape is called a biscornu, and it’s a traditional needlework shape. i found a great tutorial on how to make a fabric one here!

(A few tips on making a biscornu – mark the centre of your squares before you stitch them together, and check out how i threaded the needle to sew the button on in this tutorial for a slick way to avoid having a visible knot. If you do that loop around one of the buttons instead of around the fabric, you won’t have to worry about it ripping the fabric or popping through when you pull it tight. Make sure you use a polyester thread though, cotton can break when you pull it snug – i learned that the hard way!)

UFO Challenge Extended!

We have a a great meeting coming up this month, with a special guest speaker Kathleen Riggins, membership renewals, and our annual executive elections.

Because the meeting is so jam-packed, and we want to leave lots of time to learn from Kathleen, our Show and Tell time will be extremely limited.

As such, we’re extending the Unfinished Objects Challenge deadline until out November guild meeting!

For a refresher of the UFO challenge, you can check out this blog post from 2015 (same rules in 2016!) The important thing is that the finished item must be shown at Show and Tell to be counted – which means we’ll need lots of show and tell time, since so many people will have finished UFOs to show, right? 😉

If you’ve already finished your UFOs in preparation for our October meeting, good for you. That just means you’ll get to start something new that much sooner!

“Soul Journeys”: Katie Stein Sather and Karen Johnson

VMQG member Terry Aske has advised us of an exciting opportunity to view “Soul Journeys: the quest for completion and connection” by arriving early to the VMQG October 17, 2016 meeting.

Access to this exuberant textile art exhibit is available from 6:00-6:30 pm in the Unitarian Church Sanctuary and in the Fireside Room (in Hewett Hall where we meet, back behind the kitchen). The spaces where the show is exhibited will be in use from 6:30 on, so you MUST arrive between 6 and 6:30 to view it. Holly Williams will be at the meeting early for this purpose.

If you can’t make it to the meeting early, the exhibit runs from October 18-November 12, 2016. You can meet the artists at a reception on October 23, 2016, from 3:00-5:00 pm, or alternately, telephone the church at 604 261-7204 to arrange a viewing time.


For more information, check out the blog of one of the artists, Katie Stein Sather, where she shares her artist statement for the show.