Author Archives: amydame

Scrap Swap Challenge!

Rather than the holiday ornament swap that we’ve done at our December meeting for the past few years, we’re going back to the highly popular scrap swap  – and making it a challenge as well!

scrap swap

(all of the goodies swapped in 2012!)

How it works:

– Everyone who brings a bag of scraps will take a bag of scraps and use it to make a gift for their partner.

– Gifts should be something smallish, like a zippered pouch, simple tote, mug rug, potholder, notebook cover, pincushion, etc.

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

And the challenge part of it?

– The only fabric you can add to the scraps you receive is SOLIDS, and the finished item must incorporate FLYING GEESE in some way.

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 fabrics (including prints), because you’ll be getting it back, all sewn up into something just for you! When you get to the meeting, Amy 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 swap

(happy swappers from 2012!)

We Want To Know What You Think!!

The current executive has put together a survey, and we’re looking for your opinions!


The survey asks about your experiences with VMQG, with the MQG, and with quilting in general. We’ll share some of the results here on our blog, and use other results to help us plan future programming and events.

It should take you about 15-20 minutes, but they’re almost all easy multiple choice answers. All of the questions are optional, and you can answer anonymously if you’d like – but you won’t be entered to win a prize if you don’t give us your email address!

The survey will be open from now until Sept 30th and we’ll draw a winner from all of the people who participated at our October meeting.

If you have any questions about the survey, feel free to email amy AT vancouvermodernquiltguild DOT ca.




Info about Blocking Your Quilts

At our August meeting, I (Amy) talked about blocking our quilts. When you’re making a baby quilt or a lap quilt, you don’t need to worry about the quilt hanging straight on the wall, but when you’re making a wall hanging, or entering a quilt into a show, it’s a good thing to keep in mind. Bias piecing, improv piecing or heavy quilting can all alter the way a quilt lays, and blocking is pretty magical in how it can fix that! Blocking should preferably be done before the binding is applied, but if you don’t realize how wonky your quilt is until after you’ve done that, or you’re submitting an already finished quilt to a show, you can block a finished quilt as well.

2015-09-14 03.36.42

There are numerous tutorials about blocking out there, and I’m going to link to a few, since they’re all a little different. Leah Day from The Free Motion Quilting Project has several great posts about blocking, her original post here, and then a post specifically about finishing a mini wholecloth quilt where she uses elastic strips to stretch the quilt.

Kathy K Wylie shows you how she blocks large quilts on her living room floor, Quilt Me Happy uses laser levels while blocking a large quilt (which is way more than you need for a mini, but cool to learn about!) and this post by Sylvia Landman at Academy of Quilting talks about the differences between dry blocking and wet blocking, which none of the previous links bring up.

2015-09-14 03.34.39

When you’re blocking a quilt, just like when you’re blocking crochet or knitting, it’s really important to use rust-proof pins. Most good quality pins are rust-proof, but it’s worth testing the pins you use most frequently in advance. The other thing that none of these posts mention is how awesome cheap foam floor tiles are for blocking small projects like mini quilts. You know those primary coloured interlocking foam tiles they sell for kids playrooms? They’re so awesome! They’re waterproof, and thick enough to pin into, and you can buy a four pack for a couple of bucks at the dollar store.

My favourite way to wet a quilt is to wash it in the washing machine, which removes any chemicals on the fabric and gets the quilt damp all the way through without saturating it. I draw an outline of the quilt dimensions on a foam tile using masking tape, and pin through the quilt into the foam to hold it in place.

If you’re participating in the Modern Mini Showcase in October, please consider blocking your mini quilt before you bring it in. Think of blocking as an important last step in making a quilt – we put so much energy and money and time into making our quilts, why wouldn’t we want to show them off to the best of our ability?



Stick It In Your Purse Honey! workshop with Berene/Happy Sew Lucky

Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky is a long time VMQG member who we lost to Toronto last fall. Our loss is Toronto MQG‘s gain, but we still miss her! Luckily, she can’t resist the West Coast (and us!), and she’s agreed to give up a day of her summer vacation and teach a workshop for us, using her brand new paper piecing pattern  – “Stick it in your purse, Honey!”

 purses mini quilt4

Sign up for her one day workshop where you will make this cute paper-pieced purse pattern. You can make a few blocks if you’re speedy, or Berene will guide you in turning your awesome little purse into an equally awesome needlebook.

purses mini quilt3

 It’s a beginner level paper piecing pattern, with a twist as the purse has a pocket and a flap. You can store your embroidery floss or treasures in the purse pocket. 

purses mini quilt2

There are four flap options to play with so that you can create a collection of customized purses. It’s perfect for using up your scraps, and a great fussy cutting opportunity. 

purses mini quilt

Do you have some special fabrics that you’re saving for the perfect project? These little purses are a great way to showcase it!

purses mini quilt5

Major cute factor alert: The purse has a functioning pocket to keep emergency sewing supplies in it. This block is great for needlebooks, zakka projects and mini quilts.


There are two block size options to choose from in the pattern: Medium size (6″ block) good for mini quilts, pillows or kid’s quilt or Small size – 4 1/2″ block which is perfect for the included needlebook.


The 13-page pattern includes the following:

Two block sizes: 4″ and 6″ for the purse pattern.
Four design options for the purse.
And a bonus needle book pattern with a sneaky hidden scissor pocket.


Come join us for a fun day with Berene! Whether you know and miss her, or haven’t met her yet, it’s going to be a great workshop.



When: Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Where: Room C, Croatian Cultural Centre

Cost: $50 for members, $55 for non-members (price includes pattern!)

Time: 10am-4pm

Sign-up: The July VMQG meeting will be your LAST CHANCE to sign up for this workshop in person! Please email Amy at to sign up. Sign ups are open to everyone at this time, member or non-member.

Circles Circles Circles Workshop!

terrys 2 

(one of Terry’s circle quilts)

Do you love the look of circles in quilts?  But are you intimidated by sewing curves?

Terry Aske is a longtime VMQG member who makes amazing art quilts and blogs at Her work has won awards, is regularly published in magazines, and was included in a recent book. And she’s intimidated by curves too! She uses a variety of techniques to create her circle quilts that are simple, easy and effective, and she’s going to share them with us!

terrys 1 

(another of Terry’s circle quilts)

The workshop will cover:

  • an easy method to draw a circle any size
  • making and using freezer-paper templates
  • how to create accurate circles using a freezer paper pattern and flat seam sewing
  • circles with raw edges, covered with bias tape, couching or decorative stitching
  • circles with folded edges

We will make 12 inch square blocks using a variety of techniques.  The blocks could become a small wall-hanging, a pillow cover, or the start of a larger quilt.

Here are some examples of the blocks we’ll be making –

DSCN4680 DSCN4681

Terry blogged about some other examples here, you should check them out!

So come join us for a day of circles!!

Date: Sunday May 24th, 2015

Time: 10am – 5pm

Place: Art Gallery, Croatian Cultural Centre

Cost: $55 for VMQG members, $60 for non-members

Sign-up: There are several spaces left in the workshop! Please email Amy at to sign up. Sign ups are open to everyone at this time, member or non-member.

Patchwork Notebook Cover Tutorial

Are you excited about the notebook cover swap?

We’re making covers to fit a standard composition book, so everyone will be working with the same measurements, and we’ll end up with finished covers that are all the same size!


  • patchwork piece aprox 27″ x 13″
  • coordinating piece of batting
  • lining fabric 10.5″ x 10″
  • (optional) two 10.5″ binding strips, whatever width you choose
  • (optional) fabric for a pen pocket, 4.5″ x 3.25″
  • (optional) ribbon or twill tape for a bookmark, 11″-12″ long
  • (optional) elastic for closure, 10.5″ long

Step 1. To start, you’ll need to piece the patchwork for your cover, based on your partner’s likes and dislikes. Remember, it has to be at least 90% solids!

When you’re planning your patchwork, you’ll want to keep the layout in mind. At least five inches of each end will be inside the book, not visible when it’s closed, so you don’t want to centre your fussy cut in that section!

1 planning layout copy

One important tip – that i learned the hard way! – is to make your patchwork larger than you actually need. Quilting it might shrink it down quite a bit, depending on how densely you quilt it, and you want to make sure that your finished piece is still large enough to make your notebook cover. I would recommend starting with a piece of patchwork at least 27″ x 13″.

Step 2. Once you’ve finished the patchwork, you need to quilt it. You can use fusible fleece if you like, but regular cotton batting works great too. How much you quilt it is up to you!

Step 3. Press your quilted piece, and trim it to 25.5″ wide and 10.5″ tall.

2 trimming

Step 4. Finish the two short ends. You can bind them, like a regular quilt (i recommend single fold binding, to reduce bulk), or you can turn the edge over and topstitch it.

3 binding


If you want to add a pocket for a pen, this is the time to do so. I like to put the pocket on the front or the back, so that it doesn’t bend the notebook cover like it would if it was inside the flaps. If you can match fabric to the patchwork design, it doesn’t have to noticeable, but it’s definitely very handy!

3b pen pocket

To make a pocket, cut a piece of fabric 4.5″ x 3.25″. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (it should measure 4 1/2″ x 1 7/8″ at this point) and sew around the three open edges, leaving a space for turning on the long side. Turn it right side out, press the turn space neatly closed, and topstitch the pocket onto the notebook cover. Stitch close to the edges, and you’ll close the opening as you go.


If you want to add a ribbon bookmark, this is a good time to do that too. Fold your patchwork in half, and mark the centre. Cut a piece of ribbon or twill tape 11″-12″ long. If it’s synthetic, burn the edges to prevent it from unraveling later. Pin the ribbon or twill tape to the centre of the book cover and baste it in place.

3c bookmark

Step 5.  Measure your piece again. It should be 25.5″ wide, but it’ll still work if it’s a little bit longer or shorter. Whatever the measurement, subtract 15.5″ from the number, which is the measurement of the open composition book. Divide the remainder by 2. For example, 25.5″ – 15.5″ = 10″. If you divide 10″ by 2, you’ll get 5″. On each short end, measure 5″ in from the bound edge at the top and bottom. Mark the spots with pins.

4 measure flaps


If you want to put an elastic closure on the notebook cover, you must do it before the next step. You’ll need a piece of elastic the same height as the book cover, 10.5″

You have multiple options for an elastic closure. You can buy coloured lingerie elastic (the red), wider waistband elastic (the pink) and fold over elastic (the blue zebra, the purple and the burgundy) at fabric stores. In the lower mainland, Fabricana and Dressew are good sources for coloured elastic. If you can’t find elastic that coordinates with your design, try looking for elastic headbands instead. The green elastic on the left was purchased at a dollar store in a pack of 6. Fold over elastic (FOE) is quite popular right now, as it’s often used for children’s headbands, so it’s easier to find than it used to be. If you use FOE, you might want to fold the elastic in half and topstitch it before you baste it in place.

4c elastic options

(don’t forget to include your elastic in the 10% if you use a printed elastic!)

On the far left side (the back of the book cover) measure about 1″ from the pins you just placed. Line your elastic up with these new marks, and baste it in place.

4b elastic

Step 6. Fold the edges of the patchwork in along the marks that you pinned in Step 5.

5 fold in flap

6 fold both flaps

Step 7. Cut your lining fabric 10.5″ tall  and aprox 10″ wide. Mark the centre of the lining piece, and the centre of the patchwork cover. Line these up, and pin the lining fabric to the patchwork along the long ends. You don’t need to finish the edges of the lining, because it will be hidden inside the book cover.

7 centre lining

Step 8. Sew along the two raw edges from fold to fold, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

8 sew top and botton

Step 9. Trim the corners carefully. Don’t cut into your stitching, just remove a little bit to reduce the bulk.

9 trim corners

Step 10. Turn your notebook cover right side out and carefully press the edges. You’re done!

10 turn right side out and press


Applique Workshop with Matt Wheeler and Stacey Murton

Come and join us for a fun day learning applique techniques!

Learn the basics of both needle turn and raw edge applique taught by Matt Wheeler and Stacey Murton. Matt and Stacey are both long time VMQG members who have lots of experience with quilting, with applique, and with sharing that knowledge! 

Stacey and Matt will teach you about their favoured techniques, and later in the day you can work on the modern class project or a project you’ve brought from home that you always wanted to make. 

2015-03-16 19.12.53

the Modern class project!

Matt will be teaching needle-turn applique. He has made many applique quilts including several beautiful Hawaiian quilts.

Hawaiian needleturnHawaiian quiltQuilt corner

(examples of Matt’s beautiful work courtesy of Matt)

Stacey will be teaching raw edge applique. She has made several quilts and smaller projects using this technique. Her quilts have been favourites at her traditional guild shows.

Robots Love Birds cropped Little Monsters

 (examples of Stacey’s beautiful work courtesy of Stacey)

Come and join us for a day of fun!!

Date: Sunday April 26th, 2015

Time: 10am – 4pm

Place: Art Gallery, Croatian Cultural Centre

Cost: $50 for VMQG members, $55 for non-members

Sign-up: There are several spaces left in the workshop! Please email Amy at to sign up. Sign ups are open to everyone at this time, member or non-member.

Swap with MQGVictoria!

At our meeting last night, we announced our next swap, which will be with Modern Quilt Guild Victoria. We’ve swapped with Australia and England, about time we swapped with a semi-local guild, right?

We’re going to be swapping patchwork notebook covers. Amy will be posting a tutorial here on the VMQG blog, so everyone will be working with the same dimensions, making covers to fit a blank composition book.

2015-03-17 01.08.28-1    2015-03-17 01.08.05-1

(two examples Amy showed at our guild meeting last night)


The details:

– The covers need to be pieced and quilted, and should be at least 90% solid fabric. They can be entirely solids if the maker prefers, but shouldn’t have more than 10% of printed fabric. Regardless of fabric used, all notebook covers should be MODERN!

– This will be a secret partnered swap. You will receive your partner’s info and make something specifically for them. Someone will receive your info and make something specifically for you. You aren’t necessarily sewing for the person who’s sewing for you, and you’ll keep it a secret until the swap items are received. (If you have questions for the person you’re creating for, you should contact the swap coordinator, not the person themselves.)

– Sign ups will start today, March 17, 2015, and will go to March 31, 2015. That gives you two weeks to get your booty in gear! If the numbers between the two guilds aren’t equal, some people may be swapping with members of their own guild.

– Sign ups will be ONLINE only. This will let Amy email your questionnaire to your partner without having to retype it all and try to decipher your handwriting.

– Partners will be assigned by April 8, 2015 at the latest

– You’ll bring your finished mini quilt back to the May guild meeting, on May 18, 2015. Bring it unwrapped, so that we can take a group photo!

– That gives you 5 weeks to make something amazing!

– As you’re creating, post your notebook cover on social media and use the swap hashtag #VMQGandMQGV so that everyone else can see too!

– There will be no extras in this swap. Please include a note or a card with your contact info, but nothing else. The guilds will be providing notebooks, so no need to include one!

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


Are you excited?



if you have any questions, please email Amy 

amy AT vancouvermodernquiltguild DOT ca

We Need to Fill Up our Weekend Sew-In!

Come Sew With Us!

On March 14th and 15th, we’re doing our first weekend sew-in. Our full day sew-ins at the Croatian Cultural Centre are very popular, and we thought it would be great to extend the fun for a second day.

Think of it as a travel-free retreat – You’ll be able to set up your machine Saturday, sew all day and into the night with your friends, go home to sleep in your own comfy bed, and come back Sunday and just keep sewing!

Can’t take a whole weekend off from the day-to-day? Come sew for just one day, that works too!

Because the sew-in is less than a month away, signups are now open to members AND non-members! Have a sewing buddy who’s not a member of the guild? They’re welcome to join us!

The sew-in starts at 9am on Saturday March 14th, and the room will be open until midnight that night. We’ll start again at 9am on Sunday March 15th, and the room will be open until 9pm. That’s 27 hours of sewing (and socializing) time!

If you’d like to come sew, please sign up ASAP. 


Please email to sign up. Payment is due at sign up, and is non-refundable.

The cost for the sew-in if you pay in advance is $35 for both days, or $20 for a single day. To pay in advance, use the paypal button below!

Select date:

Don’t forget to email so she can add your name to the sign up list!

If you don’t pay in advance, the cost is $40 for both days, or $25 for a single day, but we can’t guarantee you a spot.

To recap, the event details:
What: Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Weekend Sew-in
When: 9:00am-12:00am Saturday, March 14th and 9:00am-9:00pm Sunday, March 15th, 2015  (come for the whole weekend or just one day!)
Where: Art Gallery (2nd floor), Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Cost: for both days  – $35 in advance, $40 the day of
per day – $20 in advance, $25 the day of


A few things you should know:

– Sew-ins are self directed – you bring your projects, and work on whatever you’d like to get accomplished. This sew-in is the same as usual, but if you’re interested, Paul has volunteered to teach a quick class on the pouches he’s been making, sized to fit a variety of electronic devices. He estimates it’ll be about 30-45 minutes, and he’ll do it around 11am on Saturday, March 14th. 
– We provide a half table of work space and a chair. There is wall space for design walls and a raised counter that’s perfect for cutting fabric.
– You’ll need to bring your machine, supplies for your projects, extension cords and power bar, tools and meals/snacks.

(photos of members and projects from our most recent all day sew-in,
February 22nd, 2015)


Contact Amy at to register or with any questions.

Cotton & Steel Mini Fabric Challenge!

If you missed our December meeting, you missed the announcement of our newest fabric challenge!

While we love and appreciate the larger fabric challenges that we’ve done through the MQG and through companies directly, it’s a busy time of the year, and larger fabric bundles often make you feel as though you should make something big enough to “properly” showcase the fabric.

We thought it would be fun to do a smaller challenge, to allow people who don’t have time for a large project to participate, and to leave the rest of us some time to get caught up after the holidays.

You can do a lot with a 10″ square! Unlike charms or strips, you have a large enough piece to make it a focus fabric, or plenty to cut up and intermingle with other fabrics. Did we mention that part? Since it’s a guild sponsored challenge, you can combine it with any other fabrics you’d like!

We chose the XOXO print from the Cotton & Steel basics. It’s a popular fabric line, it’s smaller scale, which is good for a mini challenge, and metallics are a hot trend in quilting fabrics these days.

plummy silver       toy boat gold

(XOXO in Plummy Silver and Toy Boat Gold)

At our December meeting we handed out fabric to all of the members who were able to stay until the end of the meeting, and because we had a limited amount, we ran out of Toy Boat Gold, but we still have plenty of Plummy Silver ready to be picked up at the January meeting!


Members will have until the end of the meeting break to pick up their fabric, so if you’re unable to attend the January meeting, you might want to ask a friend to pick yours up for you (you could also email the exec and we can work it out). After the break we’ll see what’s left and distribute it to members who want more to work with.

Make something fun with your fabric and bring it back to our February meeting. You can make whatever you’d like! Since it’s a mini challenge, we don’t expect a full sized quilt. Something small might be a pincushion, a zippered pouch or a mini quilt. Or go bigger! It’s entirely up to you.

As you’re working on your challenge, be sure to share it using the hashtag #vmqgcottonandsteel

Holly and I (Amy) have both started on ours, and shared them on Instagram.

holly ig

amy ig


(i know, Holly and Amy have already started? we’re not sure how we ended up being so ahead of the deadline either!)