Author Archives: amydame

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!)

Simple Gift Idea Tutorials

At our November meeting, several members showed us some quick and easy gift ideas for the holiday season. Regardless of what you celebrate in December, most holidays involve gift giving!

Kristyn showed us the stocking ornaments that she’d made. They’re a great scrapbuster, and look like they’d be a great assembly-line-style gift to make for a number of people.

Stacey D showed us about the owl ornaments that she makes every year. They’re mostly made of felt, but the glitter glue is a VERY important ingredient!

Holly showed us a simple child’s apron that she had previously made for her daughters and as gifts. It’s a Montessori apron, so it’s designed to be easy for children to put on and take off by themselves. The tutorial Holly followed was from Sew Liberated, and she posted about making  them on her own blog as well. Her tip was to make sure you buy the NON ADHESIVE velcro!

child's apron

Felicity taught us how to make fabric star ornaments, which are much easier to fold up nicely at home than they are while holding them up in front of 60 people! She’s blogged the tutorial on her own blog here.

folded star ornament

Amy showed us how to make fabric bowls of various sizes, perfect for little gifts, keys by the front door, thread ends by the sewing machine, or jewelery on your dresser. The tutorial Amy uses is from A Spoonful of Sugar Designs, and there is a second post with 3 different sizes available.

xmas bowls

Amy had a couple of tips to share as well:

– if you’re making a set of stacking bowls, you might want your gathering to be consistent between the bowls. in that case, use a 11″ binding strip on a 6″ diameter circle, instead of the 12″ in the post.

– if you’d like a fourth size bowl, use a 12″ diameter circle and a 21.5″ binding strip.

– when gathering, loosen your upper tension to zero and the threads will pull much easier.

– using different colours in the spool and in the bobbin will make it easy to remember which threads to pull, and helps use up bobbins with just a teeny bit of thread left on them.

pink bowl

And Jessica showed us how to make infinity scarves. She recommends this tutorial, but it doesn’t have photos. For photos of each step, check out this tutorial as well. For a long scarf that’s looped around twice, she suggests starting with fabric from 60″-72″ in length.  For a shorter cowl scarf, try 32″-36″.  Suggested fabrics: jersey knit, cotton gauze, voile, velvet, silk–basically, anything that drapes nicely.

jessica scarf1jessica scarf2

Here are a couple of suggested variants:

1)  For a shorter scarf, after sewing the tube and turning it right side out, tie a knot in the scarf before closing the loop.  The knot can be tightened or loosened to form different looks as shown here.

jessica scarf3

2)  Moebius scarf: use two pieces of fabric in contrasting colors.  When sewing the tube, start and stop 3″ from the ends on both sides.  Turn the tube right-side out, and add a half twist before closing the loop (you will match fabric A to fabric B on both seams).  


We hope we inspired you to whip up some handmade gifts this year!

(all photos courtesy of the members who shared with us)

Temperature Check workshop with Krista Hennebury

If you’ve attended a VMQG meeting, you’ve probably met Krista Hennebury of Poppyprint Creates. Krista’s been a member since the beginning of Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, or at least pretty darn close to it, and we’re so happy to call her one of our own. Last year she taught the wonderfully successful 241 Tote Workshop, and we’re having her back again this year to teach us about the technique she used for her Cotton Couture challenge quilt.

TCfull (1)

(photo courtesy Krista Hennebury)

this is how Krista describes the class – TEMPERATURE CHECK

Do you quilt under the influence of traditional methods and rules?  Do you thrive on pointy points and perfectly square corners but secretly wish you could embrace the creative freedom of this wonky, improvisational business? If your answer is yes, then this class is for you! Starting with 5” charm squares, I’ll teach you my fun and fast Sew3Cut2 piecing method that utilizes your traditional piecing and rotary cutting skills to create wonky strip units.  There’s no pre-cutting of strips, no stack ‘n whack, just a lot of fun! 

Students will use a selection of warm- and cool-coloured solid fabrics to create improv-pieced strip units for use in a wallhanging, or if you prefer, a large pillow cover.  Every quilt will be unique and there will be a lot of freedom for students to lay out their units as they wish. We will experiment with the relationship between warm and cool colours in various layouts, however the instruction will mimic the courthouse steps layout as seen in the sample photo.   In addition to the piecing technique, students will learn how to accurately add borders to a quilt and how to piece strip sets end to end on wonky angles.  If time permits, we can workshop options for quilting the final projects together as well.


(photo courtesy Stacey Murton)

Date: Sunday November 30th, 2014

Time: 10am – 5pm

Place: Croatian Cultural Centre

Cost: $50 for VMQG members, $63 for non-members

(NOTE: while our non-member price is generally higher than the member price (benefit of supporting our guild!), in this case it’s noticeably higher. that’s because Krista’s pattern was distributed to MQG members in September, so the fee for non-members also includes a $8 pattern fee. if you’re a MQG member, but not a member of VMQG, please email Amy to chat about it)

Sign-up: This workshop is almost full, but we are creating a wait list. Please email Amy at to add your name to the list. Sign ups are open to everyone at this time, member or non-member.


Halloween Block Lotto!

Halloween just wouldn’t be Halloween without the annual VMQG Halloween Block Challenge! Can you believe this is our fifth time doing the Halloween Block Lotto? We’re getting all grown up!


(photo by Michelle McLatchy)

Size guidelines are the same as in previous years – multiples of 6″ finished. So that means unfinished blocks of, say 6½”x 6½”, or 12½” x 12½”, or 6½” x 18½”….you get the picture! The only fabric/colour guidelines are to make your block(s)Halloween themed. If you don’t have Halloween fabric in your stash, that’s okay, you probably have some great solids in Halloween colours! Or maybe some modern tone-on-tones?

block lotto examples

(photo by Stacey Murton)

There are lots of great Halloween block patterns out there, and of course, any quilt block can be made Halloween with suitable fabrics!

This blog post links to a whole bunch of Halloween patterns, and Fandom in Stitches has a number of vampire paperpiecing blocks that could be used for Halloween. Or how about these super cute ghosts? Just keep in mind that we’re going for Modern, and that you might need to adjust the cutting directions or add a border or two to bring your block up to size with a few of those.


(photo by Stacey Murton)

Every block you make will be considered an “entry” into a raffle to win packs of blocks. The more you make, the more chances you have to win some blocks!

So start digging through your stash to find the perfect fabrics to make your Halloween Challenge Block(s), then bring them to the October meeting. See you there!


(photo by Stacey Murton)



Vancouver MQG – Greater Western Sydney MQG


Having made connections with some fabulously talented quilters in Australia via Instagram, I (Berene) thought a little guild swap would be fun. And by little I mean Teeny Weeny! I contacted Lorena ( from the Greater Western Sydney MQG  and she got the Ozzie girls on board. So please sign up to join in as I think it’s going to be fun.


The concept for the swap is “Teeny Weeny” and by that we are referring to the size of the pieces in the piecing, not necessarily the finished item. Think zakka-tastic! As per the rules below, your project must be pieced. Machine appliqué is not permitted for this swap. Using modern fabric choices, your item may be patchwork pieced, paper pieced, hexies, improv pieced or needleturn hand-appliqué, but we ask that your pieces are small. It’s a great opportunity to use up your scraps and also to have fun fussy-cutting your pieces.


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.


Partner info will be sent via email sometime in September, and the finished items will be due in November.


Here is a mosaic of inspiration that the girls in Sydney put together:



You can reduce any pattern in size to make it teeny. However here is a list of patterns and tutorials that might come in handy as they are already small:



1. Teeny weeny is the theme of this swap and this refers to teeny weeny piecing, which is obligatory in this swap. It can be paper-pieced, patchwork piecing, English paper pieced, improv pieced, hexies, needle-turned hand-appliquéd, but it must be pieced in some way – machine appliqué is not permitted. The overall look and feel should be intricate, cute and “zakka-tastic.”  (See pics in the mosaic provided for inspiration.)


2. To sign-up please fill in the online questionnaire HERE  by Monday August 25, 2014

3. Participants choose an item (or a choice of items) from the list provided. Maker makes ONE of these items.

  • Pouch (Could be zipper / snap frame / flex frame etc – maker decides on closure)
  • Needle book
  • Sunglasses / Spectacle case (recommended size for most specs: 3” x 6.5”)
  • Collapse-able Thread Catcher (No pin cushions attached please)
  • Trivet/Mini Mini Quilt, max size of 8”x8” (Could be heat-proofed with something like Insul-Bright – specify if you would like yours heat-proofed)
  • Passport Cover  (Specify your passport dimensions if this is your choice.)

4. Deadline for VMQG members is November 17. Each guild will mail one box with all the submissions. If you sign up you are committing to make an item for your partner, and you must make the deadline that your guild sets.


5. Stay connected via social media:

A private Facebook Group will be set up so that you may communicate and share with the group. If you join the swap and are on Facebook, please include your Facebook details so that we can invite you to the group.

Flickr Group for this swap:

Instagram hastag: #teenyweenyswap

6. Feel free to post the button for the Facebook page on your blog if you are participating.


7. Items should be flat for shipping purposes.

8. Note there are to be no extras with this swap – in order to keep shipping costs down. A wee card or note however would be lovely. Your partner would like to know who made their gift!


 9. When you are done please wrap your “Teeny Weeny” project up, and label it with your partner’s full name and email address. Then hand it in to either Berene (VMQG) or Lorena (GWSMQG) by the deadline.

10. Most of all have fun and make something beautiful for your quilty “cousins” abroad.


Mini Quilt Tutorials

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m super excited about the mini quilt swap!

mini examples
(mini quilt examples made by several different people)

Partner info will be going out shortly, but before you get carried away brainstorming fabric and pattern combinations, I wanted to share some links to tutorials that you might find helpful.

(Sonja’s peacock feather mini from the Michael Miller Cotton Couture challenge)

All quilts in the swap need to have some sort of hanging mechanism, so a few tutorials on how to hang your mini quilt might be helpful. This link from the Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative shows you different ways to hang a quilt, especially a mini.

(Paula’s mini using circles she created in the Cheryl Arkison workshop last summer)

The simplest technique is with two or four triangles on the back. We talked about this briefly at our last meeting. VMQG member Laurraine has posted a tutorial on her blog, and there’s also a tutorial from the Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative. I especially like how both of their tutorials use 4 triangles, which is great for helping a heavily quilted quilt hang straight!

(Holly’s “Memories of QuiltCon” mini)

If you’d rather a more traditional quilt sleeve, Tall Grass Prairie Studio has a great tutorial.

(Stacey Day’s mini using the CQA challenge fabric)

If you haven’t made many mini quilts before, you might be surprised to realize how fiddly binding a smaller quilt can be. Very Kerry Berry has a tutorial on single fold binding for small quilts like mug rugs or minis that you might want to check out.

(Terry’s mini practicing her circle technique)

When you’re making a quilt with straight edges and 90 degree corners, straight grain binding will be fine, but just in case you feel like make a circular or curved quilt, here’s a great blog post about bias binding from Craftsy.

(Heather’s petal wall hanging from the Michael Miller Cotton Couture challenge)

Or if you get inspired to add a few interesting angles, i’ve found this tutorial at Trends & Traditions to be really helpful.

(Arita’s table runner/wall hanging from the Riley Blake challenge)

Another thing you might not have come across before is blocking your quilt. Blocking will be familiar to needleworkers, especially knitters and crocheters, but it’s pretty foreign to most quilters. 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, it’s a good thing to keep in mind. Bias piecing, improv, 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, you can block a finished quilt as well.

holly cathedral windows
(Holly’s cathedral windows mini for an online swap)

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.

gaye hsts
(Gaye’s HST mini for the Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels challenge)

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.

(Rebecca’s diamond mini from the Michael Miller Cotton Couture challenge)

When you’re blocking a quilt, just like when you’re blocking crochet or knitting, it’s really important to use rust-proof pins. (ask me how i know! dozens of white crocheted baskets, covered in rust marks…) 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. 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.

(Samantha’s mini for an online swap)

(photos of guild members showing their minis during Show and Tell graciously taken by Stacey M)

Mini Quilt Swap!!

We’re super excited to announce a new swap! We’ve done quite a few swaps with other guilds, but it’s been a while since we did one just within our group.We see so much amazing work within our guild (that’s why our Show and Tell rocks), it’s about time we shared that with each other!

so! a Mini Quilt Swap!

vmqg mini quilt pinterest board(Heather’s started an inspiration board on the VMQG pinterest account, be sure to check it out!)

here’s the details:

– this will NOT be a blind swap. when you sign up, you’ll fill out a questionnaire. when you’re assigned a partner, 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!

– sign ups will start today, June 16, 2014, and will go to June 30, 2014. that gives you two weeks to get your booty in gear!

– sign ups will be ONLINE. 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 July 7, 2014 at the latest

– you’ll bring your finished mini quilt back to the August guild meeting, on August 18, 2014

– that gives you 5 weeks to make something amazing!

– mini quilts will have a minimum perimeter of 50″, and a maximum perimeter of 100″. that means length + length + width + width will add up to at least 50″, but no more than 100″. you can make your mini any shape you like, as long as it fits within 50″-100″ perimeter.

– 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.

– there will be no extras in this swap. when you bring your quilt back (wrapped and labeled with your partner’s name), the only thing in the package should be the quilt.

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

– please keep your summer schedule in mind when signing up. if you’re so busy that you might not get your mini finished in time, it might be better to wait for another swap. finding swap angels or dealing with late packages is no fun for your partner or for the organizer!


interested? fabulous! sign up here!


if you have any questions, please email Amy

amy AT vancouvermodernquiltguild DOT ca

She’ll be out of town for part of the sign up period, but due to the wonders of technology, she’ll still be able to respond to you (give her a day or so though, she might be on the beach!)

June Block Lotto!

At our May meeting I showed samples of Wonky Cross blocks that will be the block lotto for June.

amy and felicity

They’re super beginner friendly, and they’re quick to whip up, but they look fantastic once you have a bunch of them together. I made 8 in just a few hours, so even though we’re late posting this (June snuck up on me!), you’ve still got time to participate!


(thanks Stacey for taking pics!)

The nitty-gritty:

– the palette for the block lotto is AQUA, GREY, YELLOW and WHITE.

colour palette

(all fabrics shown are currently available at Pink Chalk Fabrics, in case you fall in love with any of them!)

– stick with solids and tone on tone prints, or prints that use the palette colours. (ie, a yellow and white print is great; yellow and red won’t match very well!)

– blocks can be any width you like, but they must be trimmed to 10.5″ tall. this will make them all fit together nicely while still having some visual variety. did your block end up too small? just sew another strip of background fabric along the top!

– make as many blocks as you like. every block you bring to meeting is an entry to win all the blocks! (if we have more blocks than needed for one quilt, we’ll draw two winners)

How to make the blocks?

There are two different ways to make Wonky Cross blocks. One way uses two squares of fabric the same size, and in the end, you’ll have two blocks that are the reverse of each other. There’s a great tutorial for this technique HERE.


The second way to make Wonky Crosses uses one square for the background and 2 strips for the cross, making one block at a time. I seem to have a lot of strips in my scrap stash, so this works better for me. Here’s a quick tutorial on this technique. 

Step 1: Take your background square and slice it down the middle. You can angle it as much or as little as you want. I try to alternate my angle for each block so that i don’t end up with them all the same.

 wonky plus block 1

Step 2: Take a strip and sew it along one edge of the slice you made. Make sure that your strip overlaps a little on each end. The more angled you cut the background, the more length you’ll need.

wonky plus block 2

Step 3: Sew the other edge of the strip to the remaining cut edge of your background. Press your seams and lay the block back on your cutting mat. Cut a horizontal slice across your block, and insert the second strip the same way you did the first.

wonky plus block 3

step 4: Press your seams again, and trim your block to 10.5″ tall. You’re done!