Author Archives: Arita

QuiltCon 2020 Charity Quilt Challenge: “Hear my words”

Hello Friends,
It’s time to start working on next year’s charity quilt challenge for Quiltcon. The theme for 2020 – “TEXT” – presents us with an exciting opportunity to create a really meaningful and impactful quilt, especially given the politics and events going on in the world today. Berene Campbell will be coordinating the VMQG entry, and has a great social justice concept for it. Since there’s a lot of talking (sometimes ranting) and opinion out there, and not a lot of listening to each other, Berene thought it would be interesting to use a simple statement repeated multiple times to make a strong point. Each block will contain a speech bubble with the same words in it: “HEAR MY WORDS” This statement is about the need we all have to be heard, and to be treated kindly, fairly and with respect. It could represent women being denied a chance to voice their feelings or experiences, those fighting for equal rights based on race, religion or sexual orientation, or the left and right sides in politics not listening to or respecting each other to work collaboratively. Perhaps to you it is relevant at work, within your community or even at home. Perhaps the missing indigenous women in Canada who had no voice have impacted you strongly. What might these words mean to you? When do you feel that your words are not heard? 

Berene is asking people to contribute blocks within the following parameters:
CONCEPT: Must contain a speech bubble with the words “HEAR MY WORDS” in it. (No quotation marks as it will be in a speech bubble) No alternative words please. The repetition is what will make this concept impactful. (You may add an exclamation mark or period if you wish.)
TECHNIQUE:The following techniques are OK:Improv* pieced(*see tips at end of post)FPP or pieced using an alphabet pattern Hand-stitched needle turn appliqué. Neatly edge-stitched bias tape appliqué (might be very fiddly within the size options though)Please no raw edge / iron-on appliqué or die cut letters.
SIZE:Blocks that are in dimensions of either 12.5”, 18.5” or 24.5”. (eg: Could be 12.5” x 24.5” or 18.5” x 12.5” etc.)Please press to the dark side when possible.
DEADLINE:October meeting please. You are welcome to hand them in earlier, or ask a friend to deliver them on your behalf if you won’t be making the meeting.Thanks!

The color palette from the MQG is shown here. Black, White and COOL greys. (Please no beige greys) 

This palette is unique and more restrictive this year to coordinate with the text theme by using shades of gray, white, and black.

You may use a limited amount of modern text or textured prints that are monochromatic or even tone-on-tone prints. Please note that these should NOT include other colours – stick to the white, black & cool grey colour palette. Note: the speech bubbledoes NOT have to be white. Mix and match within the colour palette. It could be grey or black with contrasting text and background. (Eg: black speech bubble, white text, grey background. Or grey speech bubble, black text, white background. etc) 
The MQG website has colours from various brands of solids listed here if you are interested:

ADDITIONAL OPTION: We would encourage each maker to write a short paragraph about what these words mean to you. You may sign it with your name or it can be confidential, your name does not have to be attached. Depending on how many blocks we get, if we are able to we will try to incorporate the stories onto the quilt back somehow. This is optional, but would definitely add to the emotions behind this quilt. 
These quilts are donated to charities after Quiltcon. Usually the individual guilds get to choose the charity, although apparently the MQG may be changing this next year. However, we thinking this would ba an awesome quilt to donate to a women’s shelter or some kind of equal rights advocacy organization. We’ll let you know once we have more info from the MQG.
Yes, you may share online! If posting use: #quiltconcharityquilt2020 and #hearmywordsquilt
This is going to be a very special quilt, friends. Please participate to make it AWESOME!

THANKS TO: Arita & Janice for offering to help piece the quilt top. Laura for offering to long arm the quilt and Elizabeth for offering to bind the quilt. 
*TIPS FOR IMPROV PIECING TYPE: In order to stay within the size limits start with some 3/4” and 1 “ strips of the word colour fabric. This will help you restrict the size of the words so that you don’t end up with a giant block. Do a rough sketch that breaks down the structure of the letter. Start with a section and work your way out. Don’t stress – wonky is OK. Just be sure to have nice 1/4” seam allowances to maintain the integrity of the quilt when washed. Once you have a block for your speech bubble, piece some background over the corners to turn it into a rounded shape. Then piece a pointy bit in a section of background fabric for below the speech bubble and attach.

Monday, May 20th meeting reminder

May’s program will be Beyond the Napkin: other free tools for Quilt Design by our own Marnie Burnham.  She will be reviewing some free tools, accessible from your home computer, that can be used to experiment with quilt design including graph paper generators, excel and websites such as Pattern Jam and Prequilt.  

Here’s some things to remember for the meeting!

A handmade name tag makes it easier for people to get to know you plus you need it to win door prizes. 

Bringing snacks to share or something for the door prize table is always appreciated.

If participating in the block lotto bring completed blocks.

When:Monday, May 20, 2019 at 7PM
Where:Hewitt Hall, Unitarian Church of Vancouver, on the NE corner of Oak St & West 49th Ave.
Guests:First meeting is free and then it is $10.00/meeting after that. VMQG membership is $50.00/year and includes most of the perks of belonging to the greater MQG.
Transit:The #49 bus runs along 49th Ave, and the #17 bus services Oak St.

Please refrain from wearing scented products to the meeting.

Agenda for the March meeting:
 6.30 Doors open
 7.00 Welcome 
 7.05 Business 
 7.20 Program 
 8.15 Show & Tell 
 8.45 Door prizes and block lotto draw
 9.00 Good night and get home safely!

In the meantime, if you want to reach the executive committee, please email us at

April 15th VMQG Meeting Reminder

April’s program will be Beyond the Napkin: other free tools for Quilt Design by our own Marnie Burnham.  She will be reviewing some free tools, accessible from your home computer, that can be used to experiment with quilt design including graph paper generators, excel and websites such as Pattern Jam and Prequilt.  

Here’s some things to remember for the meeting!

Krista Hennebury’s exciting new Courthouse Colourplay workshop has a few spots left. Bring cash, cheque, or credit card for the $65 fee. Spend the day learning with friends!

A handmade name tag makes it easier for people to get to know you plus you need it to win door prizes. 

Bringing snacks to share or something for the door prize table is always appreciated 🙂

Suddenly we like Mondays! See you soon. 

When:Monday, April 15, 2019 at 7PM
Where:Hewitt Hall, Unitarian Church of Vancouver, on the NE corner of Oak St & West 49th Ave.
Guests:First meeting is free and then it is $10.00/meeting after that. VMQG membership is $50.00/year and includes most of the perks of belonging to the greater MQG.
Transit:The #49 bus runs along 49th Ave, and the #17 bus services Oak St.

Please refrain from wearing scented products to the meeting.

Agenda for the March meeting:
 6.30 Doors open
 7.00 Welcome 
 7.05 Business 
 7.20 Program 
 8.15 Show & Tell 
 8.45 Door prizes and block lotto draw
 9.00 Good night and get home safely!

In the meantime, if you want to reach the executive committee, please email us at

Courthouse Colourplay with Krista Hennebury

Courthouse Colourplay.

Explore the possibilities of colour expression and free-cutting without rulers while you create this wonky, nested Courthouse Step quilt (reminiscent of paper lanterns) in your own personal colour story.

We’ll work intuitively from the center out, creating a dynamic quilt with loads of personality. There will be no squaring up with this one — instead Krista will show you how to “build out”, finding the fit between adjacent blocks and using up all of your scraps in the process.

As in all of her workshops, Krista will share loads of tips while encouraging all students to find confidence in new techniques.  Put your patchwork and rotary cutting skills to work and explore improvisational design and piecing in a fun, supportive environment.

Pieceful Courthouse

This quilt looks fantastic made with solids. There are several options for choosing your colours (you really should bring 15-20 different colours to class). 

Krista lists some helpful websites and other tips for fabric selection on the supply list. Due to the random angles and the fact that there really isn’t any background or negative space in this quilt design, patterned fabric can result in a very chaotic, confusing quilt. Really try to stick with solids, or consider tiny prints or tone on tones that read solid like grunge or grunge dots if you must.

For our one day class, we are going to work within a moderate scale and stick with wallquilt/baby to lap-size quilt tops.

Date: Sunday, April 28, 2019
Time: 10 am to 5 pm. 
Where: Croation Cultural Center, Vancouver, B.C.
Cost:$65 for membersSign-up will begin at March meeting.
Workshop fees are non-refundable.

Advanced Foundation Paper Piecing Workshop with Berene Campbell

This workshop is for those who are adept at the basic skills of Foundation Paper Piecing and would like to take it up to the next level.

You will learn the following:

  • Fussy cutting: How to place design elements exactly where you want them, even when on a weird angle. This is handy for fussy cutting an image or placing directional fabrics. 
  • Design Match-up:  How to piece fabric in multiple sections and match up the fabric design to make it look like one overall piece. 
  • Handy FPP tricks include how to join sections accurately, avoiding painful unpicking.
  •  Then apply the lessons above to piece a tattoo quilt block of your choice or this 9” finished large swallow block.

Note that you will need a Lightbox or an iPad with a Lightbox app, for this workshop. If you are coming with a friend you can share one between two of you. In addition you will need an Add-a-Quarter Plus (or an Add-a-Quarter ruler as well as a folding device such as a post card). More info on fabrics to bring will be sent by email closer to the day.

Date: Sunday, March 31, 2019
Time: 10 am to 5 pm.
Where: Croation Cultural Center, Vancouver, B.C.
Cost:$65 for members. Can register through PayPal Button below.
Additional cost of purchasing the Swallow Pattern or a Tattoo Pattern through Berene’s website and a $2 (payable workshop day) fee for handout.
Workshop fees are non-refundable.

Non-members: Can email to be placed on a waitlist.

Beginner Foundation Paper Piecing workshop with Berene Campbell

Have you always wanted to learn how to do foundation paper-piecing but been too afraid to try? Or tried, hit the wall and never tried again? Or maybe it’s just been a while and you’re feeling rusty. Well then this is the workshop for you! It’s a very clever technique that opens up a whole new world of patterns to make. Let’s piece some LOVE and learn to LOVE to paper-piece.

Berene Campbell is a pattern designer that specializes in foundation paper-piecing patterns over at She uses paper-piecing as a way to destress. (Crazy but true!) Although many people are scared of trying it, she believes that  once you nail the technique, it is amazingly calming.

In this workshop you will be working on Berene’s “Love Heart Tattoo” block.
You will learn the following:
• Picking fabrics for paper-piecing
• Materials and equipment options
• Setting up your workspace
• How to foundation paper-piece using the Add-a-Quarter ruler technique
• Pre-cutting for paper-piecing
• How to stitch sections with Y-seams like a boss!
About the pattern:
The finished size without borders is 16” wide x 10” high. It can be used for a mini quilt, as a centre block for a medallion, makes a great pillow, or if you really do fall in love with paper-piecing it could be your start of the whole tattoo quilt pattern.
Date: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Time: 10 am to 5 pm.
Where: Croation Cultural Center, Vancouver, B.C.
Cost:$65 for members.  Additional cost of purchasing the Love Heart Tattoo Pattern through Berene’s website.  Workshop fees are non-refundable.

Non-members can email to be placed on the waiting list.  Cost will be $80.

Meeting Reminder – Monday, November 19th

This is a reminder that our next meeting will be on Monday, November 19th, 2018!

Our upcoming meeting will include the renewal of your membership if you haven’t already done so.  We encourage members to bring treats for the break and quilts for show and tell.  Our program will be on photographing your quilt, just in time for QuiltCon deadline.

Upcoming Events:

November Meeting Details:
What: Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Meeting
When: Monday, November 19th, 2018 starting at 7pm
Where: Hewett Hall, Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 W 49th Ave, Vancouver (at the NE corner of W 49th Ave and Oak St).
Parking: Free parking is available in the parking lot. Street parking is also available.
Transit: The 49 and 17 buses run along 49th Ave and Oak St respectively. The Canada Line has a station at Cambie and 49th.
Guests: If you’re a guest, we’d appreciate it if you would email to RSVP so we can know to expect you. Your first meeting is free and subsequent meetings are $10 until you become a member. UNLESS there is a special guest speaker, there may be a separate entrance fee even for first time guests.

What to bring:
– Completed membership form and $50 dues for membership for 2018/19 (cheque made out to VMQG or cash or credit card/debit card, membership valid until Oct. 31, 2019) or guest fee ($10)
– calendar to record upcoming events
– cash, cheque book, debit card or credit card to pay for VMQG events
– your name tag
– Block lotto blocks
– Improv Sampler blocks to share
– Round Robin Quilts
– Show & tell items
– a mug (none will be supplied)
– Treats would be appreciated
– Door prizes: Please bring donations to the meeting and sign up at the door prize table.

VMQG Meeting Agenda for November 19th, 2018
Agenda: 6:30pm doors open, sign up for show and tell
– Membership Renewal prior to the start of the meeting and at the break
– Welcome
– Modern Quilt Guild Updates
–Executive Updates
– Workshop Update
– Next Month’s Block Lotto Block
– Program – Dianne Semark – How to Photograph your Quilt
– Break (eat treats & socialize, sign up for workshops, renew your membership).
– Show and Tell
– Door Prizes!

Fragrance-free policy: For the comfort of all of our members, all guild events are scent-free.

Please Remember that if you leave items on the “free table”, you must take any remaining items home with you at the end of the night. If your items are left behind we do not want to have to dispose of them for you.

See you there!

Link for membership for for 2018-19:

Ryan’s Case for Smiles

Ryan’s Case for Smiles is a worldwide not for profit that is dedicated to helping kids feel better to heal better through donations of comforting, handmade pillowcases. Cindy Kerr created the organization after her son Ryan was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at the age of twelve. Cindy was a quilter and wanted to brighten up her son’s room while he was in the hospital so she started sewing him bright, cheerful pillowcases. As most of us sewists know you can never ever make one of anything cute and fun so Cindy started making pillowcases for all the kids who were on the oncology unit along with Ryan. She saw what a huge impact these pillowcases had on kids and decided to see if she could help kids at other hospitals too. Eleven years later Ryan’s Case for Smiles has delivered over 1.7 million pillowcases worldwide. We donate more than 200,000 pillowcases yearly to children at over 360 hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, camps and Hospices.

Our chapter in British Columbia was started 8 years ago while I was juggling life with a houseful of busy little boys and looking for a way to help out other kids. I found out about Ryan’s Case for Smiles on an online sewing forum and had emailed the charity looking for the contact of a local coordinator I could drop off pillowcases with. I heard back from Cindy and found out there were no coordinators in Western Canada. My plan of donating a dozen pillowcases quickly turned into jumping in as a coordinator and informing my Mom we were starting a chapter in British Columbia. Our chapter now donates over 1,000 pillowcases a year to BC Childrens Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Abbotsford Hospital and Camp Goodtimes.

We are always needing help to keep up our donation numbers. The best way to help is by sewing up a pillowcase. If you have a bit of spare time one day you can get a few pillowcases done in under an hour. If you have any sewing friends and are up for organizing a sewing day you can get a big stack of pillowcases done in just a few hours. If you are a teenager who is looking to fill volunteer or community hours, sewing pillowcases is a great way to get those hours. I frequently sew with elementary school classes as well and the kids always do an amazing job and are so excited to find a way to help kids just like them. They’re also a fantastic project for Guiding and Scouting groups to earn their service badges.

If you don’t have the time to sew we can always put fabric donations to good use. As a bonus when you clear off some room on your shelves by donating fabric to us you have an excuse to go buy more fabric! We ask that pillowcases only be made of cotton wovens or flannel. Pretty much any print or solid fabric is great. The places we donate to ask for no religious themes and nothing with skulls. We donate a huge amount of Christmas/winter and Halloween pillowcases every year so holiday themed pillowcases or fabric are always needed. Other donations that are helpful are colour catchers, rotary blades, thread and large (26.8cm x 27.3cm) size Ziploc plastic bags. Monetary donations are also welcomed as it costs about $11.00 to make each pillowcase.

If you don’t have a favorite pillowcase pattern already here are a few great tutorials you can check out. You don’t have to specifically use any of these. They just give you a good idea of size and different ways they can be made. If you already have a pillowcase pattern you love to use or if you find a tutorial online that works better for you go with it! The pillowcases just need to fit over a standard size pillow. You do not have to pre wash your fabrics.

Tutorial from Happy Okapi

Tutorial from Case For Smiles (PDF)

Tutorial from Fish Stick Designs (PDF)

Each pillowcase gives a child something soft to snuggle while reminding them of the comforts of home. They help brighten up hospital rooms, spread some much needed cheer and help kids feel more at ease while undergoing treatments and surgeries. I have received stories of pillowcases having to be overnighted to the hospital after being left at home because a little one refused to go into treatment without it under their head, parents having to drive hours and hours home to retrieve a misplaced pillowcase, threadbare pillowcases that have literally been loved to pieces and pillowcases that have been a huge source of comfort for hundreds and hundreds of hard days and nights for some amazingly strong kids. One yard of fabric, 15 minutes of your time and a bit of love can make an incredible difference to people who need a little extra love during some tough days and nights.

More info can be found at If you need any extra help or have any questions you can email Kelsey at If you are part of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild and have any pillowcases made up you can bring them to any meeting and hand them off to Kelsey (me!). If I’m not at a meeting you can give pillowcases to Arita or Michelle B, they will collect them.

Level Two Tote Workshop with Krista Hennebury

Our own Krista Hennebury is back to teach her Level Two Tote.  Note the workshop will be held at the Danish Luthern Church in Burnaby.

Looking for a sturdy, functional tote for yourself or perhaps a fabulous Christmas gift for friends? Show off your favourite special fabrics in this project. With just a wee bit of pre-class cutting, you’ll leave the workshop with a completed bag! No special tools required; I will bring everything you need to punch your leather straps and install the rivets.

This design grew out of my experience making many, many purses, bags, duffels and totes. I wanted a stylish everyday bag that didn’t have a lot of complicated hardware, closures or too much structure. It is called the Level Two tote for a few reasons: it is the perfect pattern for a sewist looking to up their skills from a very basic bag, it is constructed from two outer fabrics with the bottom ‘level’ suitable for a quick clean and finally, it fits not only your everyday stuff but also a few extra items! The tote features the following:

-a waxed canvas, cork fabric, vinyl/pleather or sew-able leather bottom, 

-cotton canvas, upholstery-weight or linen blend upper,

-metal zip pocket, 

-interior slip pocket, 

-magnetic closure, and 

-riveted leather handles. 

UPCYCLE OPTION: have you got an old leather or suede skirt or jacket? The bottom level fabric piece is 17”w x 16”h. If you can cut a piece this big, then you’re in business!

Pattern & Notions Kit fee: $35/student.  Kit includes leather handles in black or veg-tanned natural, matching leather rivet tabs, 8 rivets and coordinating metal zipper and magnetic closure in nickel or brass coloured metal.  Extra hardware kits $25 ea.

Sign up is available using PayPal Button below.

Date:  Saturday, November 17
Place: Danish Lutheran Church, 6010 Kincaid Street, Burnaby, B.C.
Time: 10 am
Cost: $50 for members.  In addition to the pattern or notion kit to be purchased from Krista.

The fee is non-refundable.

Non-members can email to be placed on the waitlist.  You will be advised after October 15th if space is available.

Map Quilt Workshop with Amy Dame

Amy Dame is a modern quilter and a sometimes art quilter who used this technique to make a huge map of Vancouver that was so accurate that attendees at an art show were able to pinpoint locations on the map to mark events in their lives. Amy is a founding executive member of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild and has been quilting for more than 15 years and sewing for more than 25. You can check out Amy’s website at and follow them on Instagram @amydamemakesstuff

For this workshop, we’ll be taking the techniques used for the map above to create smaller personalized maps. A combination of raw edge applique and confetti applique will be used to create a map that showcases a special location in your life. Home can literally be where the heart is!
(Or in the case of this sample – VMQG meetings are where the heart is!)

We’ll use free motion quilting and straight line quilting to construct a wall hanging, but you don’t need to be experienced at either technique. The supply fee includes the beginning of a personalized pattern using the address of your choice – you’ll finish creating the 10” x 12” pattern during the workshop. Whether or not you complete your quilt by the end of the day depends on how complex your pattern is, but most people should start on the last step. Participants will take their quilts home to rinse and wash before assembling the wall hanging.

There will be discussion and demonstration towards the end of the workshop of ways to complete the quilt after washing, including how to mount the quilt on stretcher bars and finish the sides, if that is the technique you choose.

This is a fun workshop. We’ll get sticky (sometimes very sticky!) and play with scraps of fabric, and quilt through lots of layers and sometimes stitches might skip. You won’t end up with an award worthy quilt with a gorgeous backside, and that’s okay because you’ll be learning a new technique and making a quilt that means something to you.

The machine you bring to the workshop needs to be able to do straight walking foot quilting, free motion quilting and zigzag stitch. This workshop uses a variety of tools that are chemical based, most notably 505 adhesive and sharpie markers. Please be aware of this – it’s recommended that you wear a mask while using these tools, and if it is a rainy day, we will be using spray adhesive inside. If you are especially sensitive to 505 spray adhesive, this may not be the class for you.

In addition to the workshop fee payable to VMQG, there is also a $20 per person supply fee payable to Amy directly. The $20 supply fee covers the map base fabric, tulle, wash-away stabilizer, 12 weight thread, yarn, a schmetz 110/18 denim needle, print outs for your individualized map pattern, and the grey, green and blue fabrics used for the maps. (If your map is not of an urban area, you will need to bring your own fabric.) A supply list will also be distributed, and you will need to bring the items on the list to supplement what is provided for you.

 Date: Sunday, November 4, 2018
 Location: Room C, Croatian Cultural Centre
 Time: 10am-5pm

Cost: $50 for members, $65 for non-members with an additional $20 supply fee paid to Amy directly.

Signup will start at the September Guild Meeting.  If non-members would like to be placed on the waiting list please email