Author Archives: vmqgblog

Book Review – Brave New Quilts

Review by Parm Gosselin

What a busy life! Finally I made time to complete this book review! Book reviews for quilting, or any hobby, are much more interesting than those we had to write in English class. Here’s a quick snap shot of the book:

Brave New Quilts Cover

Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson, features many informative articles related to the basics of quilting from colour theory, fabric choices, and how to design quilts using modern techniques.  The author incorporates modern art in designing the 12 modern quilts offered in this book.  A brief note on each artistic period is outlined for each pattern.   I recommend this book to all quilters, and readers alike, if you enjoy creating quilts with an out of the box flair.

brave new quilts design options

For those that have difficulty in choosing colour combinations, myself included, many colour schemes are shown in each project.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 1.10.48 PM

This Peacock Blue quilt is one that I aspire to make eventually, amongst all my other quilting projects!  I love the different shades of blues and ambers in this quilt.  There is an ample amount of negative space for quilting, yes!



Using texts in quilts — I have a special person in mind for creating a quilt with words.  The author teaches us how to design, and personalize text quilts.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 1.11.09 PM

Colour play, design play, and word play are just some of the exciting features of this book. I hope you get inspired and create with this brief book review!

 Photos reprinted from Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson.  Published by CT/Stash Books.

Book Reviews – Quilt Lab: The Creative Side of Science and Uncommonly Corduroy

Reviews by Gaye Collins

Quilt Lab: The Creative Side of Science – by Alexandra Winston

Quilt Lab Front CoverI recently had the opportunity to review this interesting book. At first glance my interest was peaked and drawn to the blending of science and sewing; one of my own special interests. Many of the visual presentations in this book show atomic structures. This form of illustration and design for quilting was a novel approach.

The introduction to the book talks about the authors connection to science and how she wanted to incorporate these structures into her modern quilts. She moves onto a chapter that defines geometry and its variety of shapes. She discusses what is a rectangle, a triangle; what are the formulas to create various sized rectangles, triangles, circles and angles?

The next chapter discusses special angles and how to make these on a grid. A few tips are included with a small list of essential tools needed for designing and sewing.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.39.33 AMThe fifth chapter has a well laid out Design Process for creating your own quilt design through to the point of sewing. This was my favourite section in the whole book. The steps in this process moved from inspiration, to design, to turning the design into a workable quilt, to picking colours, fabric and finally sewing. She also includes a chapter on a quilt finishing method.

The remainder of the book is divided into four sections: small projects, rectangles, angles and circles. Each containing three projects.

In my opinion, the projects presented are not for beginning quilters. The directions assume knowledge that many beginners lack. Some of the projects contain so many steps that even an experienced quilter might be turned away.

Overall, I find this an interesting approach to quilting. I like the Design Process. I like the look of some of the projects but I don’t like the way the directions are presented. I also find some of the projects are far too many pieces to arrive at the finished product.

Would I read this book? Yes!
Would I purchase this book? No!

Quilt Lab  photos reprinted from Quilt Lab: The Creative Side of Science by Alexandra Winston.  Published by CT/Stash Books.

Uncommonly Corduroy: Quilt Patterns, Bag Patterns and More – by Stephanie Dunphy

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.45.34 AMFrom my very first glance, I found this book to be beautiful! The cover photo immediately caught my eye and inspired me to want to look into this book. The photos inside also inspire one to want to try every project.

This book begins with a Creative Ode To Corduroy; a fun poem. It moves into a section that presents some tips for success, some terminology, some bag making tips and some quilt making tips. Very useful for the following projects.

The majority of the book is split into two sections: bags and scarves which contain seven patterns and quilts which contain nine patterns.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.45.39 AM

Each pattern has a vibrant photo of the project with clearly written instructions for completion. At the beginning of each project is an anecdotal comment which peaks the readers interest.

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The projects can be handled by both beginners and advanced quilters. I really found this a luscious book; simple and complicated at the same time, user friendly and wonderful to sit with and read just to get inspired.

Would I read this book? Yes!
Would I buy this book? Yes!


Uncommonly Corduroy photos reprinted from Uncommonly Corduroy: Quilt Patterns, Bag Patterns and More by Stephanie Dunphy.  Photos by Brent Kane; Published by Martingale.

Member Spotlight – Samantha D.


Name: Samantha
Hometown: Langley, BC
Current Home: Surrey, BC
Blog address :
Flickr name: makinglifeprettier
Instagram: makinglifeprettier

Do you have a day job? What is it?
I am at home with my girls at the moment but I do have my Early Childhood Education and worked in a daycare as a teacher prior to being a Mom.

When did you join the VMQG and why?
Back in August I met my Instagram friend Christina who happened to live 10 minutes away from me. I think we were both in search for a local sewing buddy 😉 She asks me if I would be interested to coming to the meetings with her. So we decided to come in September 2013 and then joined in November! It was so nice to meet many of you in person. I had felt the support and was inspired via blogs and Instagram but it is way better in person! It is so awesome to get out of the house and be in a room with so many creative minds who share the same love for fabrics!

When did you start quilting?
I have only been quilting for about two years but sewing since childhood. I did make my very first quilt when I was pregnant with my now three year old but I don’t really count that one. My husband had suggested that I needed a hobby and I for sure found one that I love!

Why do you quilt?
I quilt because I love to wrap those I care about in my love! I also create to make someone smile, to learn something new, and to hopefully inspire someone else. Another reason I quilt is because I love that it is something that stays I can clean my dishes, fold my clothes and sweep the floor but within moments those things are always ruined!

What is your favourite project?
I think that my favourite recent project is Mr. Fox I was totally addicted to making him! He was made for a swap but isn’t that the way it should be?! You need to love what you make no matter who it is for!


What are you working on right now?
I am finishing up a spider web quilt top with some text prints, Indian Summer and various neutral solids as the background for my first ever quilty friend, she constantly encourages me and has helped me become the quilter I am. We are exchanging quilt tops when she comes to visit from Australia.


Where do you create? Can we see a photo of your sewing space?
We moved into our house in August that we had been building for quite some time and now I am blessed with an awesome sewing room instead of using the dining room! I still need some more color and character in here though. I feel so lucky to have this space even though my daughter now thinks I need to share it with her.


Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! I love to look through Flickr, Instagram, quilting books, blogs, and of course my family and friends play a huge role in my inspiration because I want to create something for them that they will love forever!

What’s one thing we might not know about you?
I swore I would never ever sew after I moved out of my Mother’s house, lol. I grew up in a home where my Mom was a working seamstress. I learned how to hem men’s dress pants and sew on buttons at an early age when she worked at various drycleaners. I later learned how to bead wedding dresses, gather a crinoline, manipulate lace, sew a bustle, and slip stitch shoulder seam lining closed as she worked at various bridal shops. She was not a “quilter” but I did learn a great deal from her because she doesn’t think “inside the box” and taught me that there is always a way to get something right.

What do you do when you’re not creating/quilting?
I am busy being a Mom of two young girls. We bake cookies, play with play dough, paint, play with dolls and so on. I have to do all that boring stuff too like planning meals and cleaning but sometimes those get ignored to quilt, lol.


What kind of sewing machine(s) do you have?
I am a new owner of a Pfaff Expressions 4.2. We are still getting to know each other. Prior to that I was using a Pfaff Tiptronic 1171 which my five year old daughter is now learning how to sew on!

What new technique or pattern is highest on your list to learn or do?
I am planning a selfish project of making myself the Jaybird Chopsticks quilt. It is a triangle quilt and I haven’t made one of those before. I am excited to work on a quilt for me!

February Block Challenge & Lottery – Super Wonky Butterfly Blocks

The block challenge is back after a holiday hiatus and free fabric frenzies.

Wonky Butterflies - Feb 2014 Block Challenge

Wonky Butterflies – Feb 2014 Block Challenge

With spring around the corner, we thought a little butterfly action was in order. When I was a child there was a saying that if the first butterfly of the year you saw was white, then you would have a good year. Let’s not take any chances! 

This month’s challenge is to make our own butterfly blocks with low-volume* wings, colourful patterned backgrounds, and a dark solid for the bodies. I recommend following the second tutorial (scroll down) at where the author takes the fussiness out of this pattern. This is a great way to use up some charm pack fabric. 

You will need:
Wings = two 2.5″ x 5″
Background = two 3.5″ x 3.5″
Body = one 1.5″ x 5.5″

Since they work out to be cute 5″ blocks we will do a two for one ticket lottery. They are a breeze to chain-piece, so go ahead and make 2, 4, 6 or more!

*Low-volume: Our friends at Craftsy define low-volume as  a fabric which shows up as a light solid (or nearly solid) in a black and white photograph. These fabrics can vary from the lightest tone on tone fabrics, to text fabrics printed on a light background, to light floral fabrics. Fabrics classified as low-volume come in a variety of colors from white to cream to beige to grey.

Here are a couple links with examples and further explanation of low volume:
Soft Backgrounds with Style
Talk of the Town – Low Volume Quilts
Text Prints and Low Volume

Member Spotlight – Arita R.

Arita and Jacquie Gehring at QuiltCon 2013

Arita and Jacquie Gehring at QuiltCon 2013

Name: Arita R.
Flickr name: arquilters
Instagram: arquilters

When did you join the VMQG and why?
I came to the very first meeting that was held at Spool of Thread. I found the Modern Quilt Guild Ning Group through Leah Day’s website and haven’t looked back. Our first meeting was so energetic, I still remember Holly’s face as more and more people kept coming in.

Arita quilted our VMQG Banner!

Arita quilted our VMQG Banner!


When did you start quilting?
I took a night school course after graduation and when I moved to Vancouver I took a few classes at the Cloth Shop and was hooked on collecting fabric and making quilts.

Why do you quilt?
I love taking fabric and creating something out of it. I make quilts for new babies in the family, birthday and wedding gifts, for donation and I keep a few for myself.

Pearl Bracelets and baby

What is your favourite project?
Usually my current project is my favourite; however, this past year I had a co-worker who wanted to make quilts for her three girls. She did a lot of online research and asked me tons of questions. When she purchased the perfect fabric she was ready to go. Monday mornings were about question and answer session and encouraging her as much as possible. She had a lot of late nights and we even basted over a few lunch hours; she persevered finished them and were ready just in time for Christmas. I think her girls are very happy to have these handmade gifts by Mom.

Three Girls

What are you working on right now?
I just finished working on a Canadian Maple Leaf quilt; I’m planning on watching the Olympics with this around me. Four years ago I was volunteering and missed most of my TV watching.

maple leaf

Where do you create? Can we see a photo of your work space?
I am lucky enough to have a room to set up my sewing machine, I have a design wall and space for my fabric and thread stash. I have a Janome 6600p that I mostly sew on but have recently, thanks to a couple of Guild members, gotten my Featherweight 222K working. I’m planning on using that for sew-ins and retreats.

arita home studio

Where do you find inspiration?
At Guild Show and Tells, blogs, flickr, instagram and places around me. Recently I saw this lovely window display of HST’s that they had made a huge heart out of. I wanted to go home and make that right away!

arita heart hst

What is your favourite tool/notion?
I’m not much of tools person, I have a few different rulers, a couple of cutters and mats. If I had to pick something I would say my computer for inspiration and my thread stash for sewing and the seam ripper because you have to un-sew to move forward sometimes.

arita featherweight

What’s one thing we might not know about you?
I bungy jumped one time and I’m the world’s best procrastinator.

What do you do when you’re not creating/quilting?
Work keeps me busy, spending time with family, gardening and every now and then i will try other crafts like knitting and cross stitch.

arita modern tote

What new technique or pattern is highest on your list to learn or do?
I have tried most quilting techniques; I would like to improve my free motion quilting. Most quilts I make are lap size and would like to make a bed quilt this year.

Comfort Dolls

The following is a project being undertaken by VMQG member Elsie Sands.  She asked that we post it on our blog so that members who were interested could participate in this project.

Comfort Dolls

Comfort Dolls are made as small gifts to women who find themselves in shelters as a result of domestic abuse. Each doll has a tag attached with a message of hope and caring for the woman who receives it.  The idea was started in 2007 by a crafter, Pat Winters, and is now run in the US by Brenda Hutchings.   I learned about the project at the NQC retreat in October 2013.  Women who made dolls at the retreat gave them to me to send to my niece in Ontario.  She works in a shelter for victims of domestic violence and has kindly offered to distribute the dolls.

If any VMQG members would like to make dolls I’d be delighted to add them to the batch going to Ontario.  You can bring them to any guild meeting in the next few months and give them to me.  I’ll send them to Ontario in the early spring of 2014, so you have lots of time to make one.

The pattern and instructions for the dolls can be found at

When the doll body has been cut out, and before it is stitched together and stuffed, the hair needs to be attached.  There are several styles of hair to choose from, or you can make up your own.  Once the hair has been fused, the doll can be stitched up, right sides together, leaving a hole so it can be turned right side out and stuffed.   After stuffing the doll with fibrefill, a face can be drawn or embroidered on and she can be given a skirt, earrings, a hair bow, or whatever other embellishments the doll maker chooses.

Little buttons, tiny hair bows, mini-earrings, embroidered eyes and such all add to the individuality of the dolls.

There will be a printed note of comfort and support attached to each doll for the woman who receives it.  Many of the women in shelters have their children with them, so it is likely that at least some of the dolls will end up in the hands of children.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to make a doll.

-Elsie Sands

Canadian Quilters’ Association (CQA) jumping onto the Modern bandwagon

Earlier this year, we were excited to tell you that our guild was featured in an article on modern quilting in the Spring 2013 edition of the Canadian Quilters’ Association‘s newsletter, “The Canadian Quilter”.  Click here to read more and see a copy of the article.

Then at our June meeting, we announced that our guild  had recently joined the VMQG Logo Colours Group Quilt by VMQG members, photo by Terry AskeCanadian Quilters’ Association.

Later in June, CQA announced the addition of a Modern quilt category in their National Juried Show.  Check out their blog post – all their examples of modern quilts were made by our members!

In July, our guild was once again featured in “The Canadian Quilter” in the article “Follow-up on Modern Quilting” (3.1MB pdf file) by Jo Ferguson.

And now CQA has announced the theme for their annual Trend-Tex challenge – Modern Ways.  Just look at these fabulous fabrics!

IMG_1018-001If you’re interested in entering the Trend-Tex challenge, and supporting CQA’s move towards Modern quilting, you can find the kit application and guidelines here.   Note that CQA hasn’t gone completely Modern yet – they still only accept  applications by snail mail.  If you’re a CQA member, the fee is $20 and you can enter right away.  If you aren’t a member, you can enter after November 1st for $25.


You should also consider entering a modern quilt (or two or more) in CQA’s National Juried Show.  The online entry form has just opened and the deadline to enter is Feb. 1, 2014.  All the information about the show can be found here.

CQA Modern category

Modern Bed or Wall Quilts depict modern design and demonstrate personal expression and originality in the design, colour and/or techniques. Minimalism, asymmetry, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work are often a part of modern quilt compositions, as are improvisational piecing and solid fabrics.


QuiltCanada2014-logoAnd if you’re interested in attending the national show and other events at Quilt Canada 2014, it will take place on June 11 – 14, 2014 at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

More information about Quilt Canada events and registration for the conference here.



June Challenge: Modern Disappearing 9-Patch

Many of you may have made the traditional disappearing 9 patch… it’s a quick and easy block where you take 9 squares and sew them together, usually with a dark square in the middle, medium value squares on each side of the dark square and then bright or light value squares in the corners. Then you cut the block down the center horizontally and vertically to get your blocks, like so:

(images and tutorial for the traditional D9P: )

Kristy Daum of St. Louis Folk Victorian (and president of the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild) has modernized this block with a wonderful tutorial! The results are really striking. The full tutorial can be found here:

The difference between a traditional disappearing 9 patch and what we’ll be making is that instead of using 9 printed fabrics, we’ll be using only 4 and the remainder of the block will be a solid.

For our challenge, we’ll be using 5” squares, and for each block, you’ll need 4 scrappy/bright squares and 5 solid black squares.

Sew the 9 patch together in any number of layouts; the more random, the better.

Cut your block horizontally and vertically down the center, leaving you with 4 blocks:

We will be doing this challenge as a block lottery again this month…  In order to be able to maximize the amount of print mixing, we’ve changed the challenge slightly from what was presented at the meeting.  After the above 2 steps, please don’t sew your 4 blocks back together into a larger block.  This should allow for maximum randomization of the prints should you win the block lottery.  Each 4 (smaller) blocks you turn in will give you 1 ticket towards the block lottery.

First ever VMQG quilting retreat!

We’re excited to announce that the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild will be holding a full-day retreat on Saturday, February 26th, 2011! This members-only retreat is open to 23 quilters who are looking for a day full of sewing, socializing and yummy food! The retreat goes from 9:00am-10:00pm in Lions Bay, BC (past Horseshoe Bay) and will be organized by Krista Hennebury.

What: 1st VMQG quilting retreat
When: 9:00am-10:00pm, Saturday, February 26th, 2011
Where: Lions Bay, BC (past Horseshoe Bay on Sea-to-Sky Highway, on the way to Squamish)
Who: 23 spaces available to VMQG members
Cost: $65 for the day includes your own 5′ table, all of your food from morning arrival snacks to lunch, tea and dinner/dessert

How do I sign up?
Sign up will start at break time at our December 16th, 2010 VMQG meeting. Please bring your $65 payment (cash or cheque) and your registration form. Cheques, which can be postdated to January 31, 2011, should be made out to Krista Hennebury
If you can’t make it to the Dec. 16th meeting, you can mail in your payment to Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, c/o PO Box 95075, RPO Kingsgate, Vancouver, BC V5T 4T8
If we have more interest than spaces, we will take a waitlist in case someone can’t make it last-minute (person who cancels will get a full refund). If someone cancels within 7 days and Krista cannot fill their spot, she will return $40 ($25 is non-refundable).

See the info/registration form for more details including what to bring. Questions? Email
What project will you bring to work on at the retreat?

Hello world!

Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild logo Welcome to the brand new Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild blog! Our guild was founded in June 2010 and we meet on the third Thursday of each month at Spool of Thread Sewing Lounge in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Please drop by a meeting if you’re interested!

If you’re new to the modern quilt guild movement, you may want to take a look at The Modern Quilt Guild‘s site. Our guild is one of nearly one hundred modern quilt guilds that have started worldwide over the past year.

We’re just getting this blog up and running, but while you’re waiting you can check out the photos and discussions in our Flickr group. If you have any questions, contact info for our executive can be found on the Contact page of our website. You can reach me at

Holly Broadland
Founder of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild

Thanks to design wizard Cynthia Frenette of Green Couch Designs for creating our logo!