New Program for VMQG!!

the Vancouver Improv Sampler

We’re really excited to announce a new program for VMQG, a Vancouver themed Improv Sampler.

This will be in addition to the Block Lotto and the Round Robin, and we’d love it if you’d play along. We encourage you all to try it for a month or two even if you don’t think improv is your style. We really hope that the Vancouver Improv Sampler will help us all to grow in our improv and our creativity!


Every month there will be a new image to be inspired by. The images are of different landmarks or sights in Vancouver and the general area. We’ll show you the picture at the meeting, and we’ll post it on the guild website.

You’ll look at the image and see what inspires you about it. The images are carefully selected to have a variety of shapes to play with as the year goes on, and the complication level will increase a little bit as well as we all build comfort with improv. You might pick up the large shape, or you might focus on a small detail and play with it. It’s your project, and it’s up to you!

So yes, this is your project. You’ll be making blocks each month and keeping them, but we’re going to ask you to bring them to meetings as we go along. We’re going to put up a second design wall next to the Block Lotto, and we’d like you to bring in your blocks to show them off by putting them up on the wall every month. We think that’ll be a good way to learn from each other throughout the year, and maybe to inspire others to participate too.

This is YOUR project, but we’re also intending it to be a sampler of sorts. Feel free to use whatever techniques you’d like, but keep in mind that in the end, the blocks will all go together. To aid in that, and also to make it easier to display them every month, we’re going to suggest making 12.5″ unfinished blocks. There may be some months where you aren’t inspired to make a square block, so we suggest blocks that are divisible by 6″ for those months. That means you might make two blocks that are 6.5″ x 12.5″ that month instead, or one block that is 6.5″ x 24.5″, and that’s fine.

Before you get going on the sampler, you might want to think a bit about what fabrics you use, and if you’re going to continue to use the same fabrics all year long. If you’re feeling lost about what fabrics to choose, Amy at Diary of a Quilter and Angie at GnomeAngel both have great blog posts about where to start when choosing fabrics for a long term project (a quilting bee and a sampler, respectively). It’s going to be so interesting to see what everyone’s colour and fabric choices are, and how different landmarks can be expressed through different prints and colours.

We’ve added a tab to the navigation menu at the top of the page for Vancouver Improv Sampler, just like we have for Challenges and the Round Robin. When you mouse over the title, a drop down menu will pop up with a link to each month’s post. If you want a refresher on how the Improv Sampler works, click on the title to go to the Vancouver Improv Sampler page.

Oh, and one more thing – this isn’t like the Round Robin, where other people are counting on you, so you can’t skip a month or take a break. For the Improv Sampler, you can do whatever you want. If you’re not interested one month, skip it. If you’re super inspired next month, make two blocks. If you don’t have time until your summer vacation and want to catch up then, go for it and make 6 blocks in one month. The important thing is that you have fun!

Nametag Challenge!

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

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

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

Please wear your new nametag to the January 2018 meeting!

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

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

VMQG Upcycle Challenge

Following Amanda Ward’s talk on quilting with repurposed materials, the guild’s next challenge is to “Upcycle”.

The Challenge: Make a quilted item using recycled material.

You won’t be using your own old stuff for this challenge – you’ll be getting some “new to you” old stuff.

Bring a gently used item to May’s meeting that can be upcycled. The item could be any fibre (including unknown), any colour, size, texture, etc. Think old clothes (t-shirts, ties, scarves, shirts, etc. ), linens, thrift store finds, fabric swatches, vinyl, canvas, leather, pleather, nylon – the weirder the better.

The item should be:
in good condition (i.e. worth sewing)
capable of being sewn by a regular domestic sewing machine

Before coming to the meeting fold the item it up tightly and tie it with string or a fabric strip (i.e. so that no one can see what it is). You could bring it in a paper bag if you want but we were going for zero waste with this. Then at the break we’ll swap everyone who brought an item one can take one. Could be fun to see who can bring the most bizarre stuff.

The challenge then is to create a quilt, pouch, bag, mug rug, pin cushion, place mats or any other quilted item incorporating some of the item you picked up at the May meeting.

Deadline: Bring your completed challenge to the September VMQG Meeting for a special Show & Tell.

Hash tags: What’s a challenge without special hash tags? #VMQGUpcycleChallenge

With thanks to Sheri Lynn Wood for inspiring this challenge. Here is the link to her blog post that started this challenge idea.

February Challenge Block – Paul’s Fancy Star

For the VMQG March block challenge we’re going to make these blocks with black to grey prints and a bright print for the accent colour. You can use either black or grey for the background and the other for the star points. You’ll end up with a 10 inch finished block.

It’s a traditional block, but modern fabrics give it a new look.

Traditional block gets a modern makeover.
Traditional block gets a modern makeover.

This is my (Paul’s) edit of a fancy star block. I’ve seen it at a workshop and in a magazine. Here’s my easy instructions for a 10 inch block.

Here’s the fabric you’ll need:

The four big squares will get cut into quarters diagonally, they are 5 1/4 inch squares. You need 2 for the points of the stars, one for the centre accents and one background.

The centre snowball is a 4 1/2 inch square and the corners are four 1 1/2 inch accent squares that will become the triangles of the snowball.
The four outside corner squares are 3 1/2 inch squares.

Cut your fabric.

Cut your fabric.

Here are all the steps in one picture. The orange lines are cut lines.


One step at a time instructions

First cut your fabric. I accidentally made the centre block the same colour as the points. OOPS. Make it the same colour as your background for a lighter, airier star.

Cut the four big squares corner to corner into 4 triangles.

Sew the triangles into hourglass blocks and snowball the centre square. Trim both blocks to 4 1/2 inches square.

fancy star2

Cut the bottoms off your hourglass blocks.  From the top, measure down 3 1/2 inches and cut off the extra accent colour edge.  The hourglass block will now be 3 1/2 by 4 1/2.

Lay them out like this.
Lay them out like this.

Lay them out and sew them together by rows, then sew the rows together.

The stars look airier if you use the background fabric for the centre, unlike the example in this tutorial.

Also note that the accent triangles aren’t all the same size. The more I fiddled with them, the less I was able to get them to touch each other at the points. You know, the “galloping horse” rule applies here.

The more the merrier, plus an increased chance of winning them all!
The more the merrier, plus an increased chance of winning them all!

Please visit Paul’s Block Party blog for the original post with more photos!

Quiltcon Charity Quilt block

Thank you to all our members who have volunteered to make a block for the Quiltcon Charity quilt. For our blocks we will be making Improv Stars, inspired by Gwen Marston and the history of improv quilting.


Each volunteer has been given a package of fabric in the official Quiltcon colours, a neutral and two accents. This is enough fabric to make one block, and if you add your own white, you’ll have enough to make two! Please use ONLY the fabrics given, with the sole exception of adding white. Please return your scraps in the bag provided, so that we can use them to fill in spaces in the quilt, and possibly piece parts of the backing.

If you take a packet, we ask that you make at least one block, and if you’re able to donate some of your own white fabric, please make two! Please make one block that is 12″ finished and one block that is 9″ finished.

Each block will be made using one accent colour for the star and the neutral included in your packet or your added white as the background.

2015-09-15 08.55.32

We are using the wonky star tutorial by Victoria of The Silly BooDilly for our blocks.

For the 12″ finished block, you can follow the instructions AND measurements in the Silly BooDilly tutorial.

For a 9″ finished block, cut all of your squares at 3.5″, and follow the instructions in the Silly BooDilly tutorial.

Your completed blocks should measure 12.5″ square and 9.5″ square. Blocks MUST be returned at the November meeting at the latest, to give us plenty of time to piece the quilt top. If you can bring them to the October meeting, that’s even better!

2015-09-15 08.57.57

To recap:

– block sizes are 9″ and 12″ finished, so 9.5″ and 12.5″ when you bring them back

– please make at least one block, two if you’re able

– please don’t add any other fabric except white for the background of your second block

– please use thread that coordinates with your background and press your seams to the side

– please return your blocks to the november meeting at the latest, the october meeting if you’re able

– please put all of your scraps in the bag provided and return them with your blocks


After the blocks are returned, we’re going to redistribute the 9″ finished blocks to volunteers to build them up to 12″ finished with log cabin style  strips as below.

2015-09-15 23.25.06

This block is inspired by the Converging Corners tutorial from Film In The Fridge.

Rather than using multiple prints, you’ll use all four of the solid star colours. You’ll receive a bundle with strips of each colour and a background fabric that coordinates with the star block you’re given.

The tutorial shows some blocks with three or even four strips per corner, but we’re starting with a much larger centre square than the tutorial, and are limited to only four colours, so please stick with two strips per corner. You can vary the width of the strips as much as you want!

TIP: See how the blue is on the outside of the block, because the star itself is blue? The colours are distributed a bit better if you use the star colour on the outer row, as in the photo above.

Your completed blocks should measure 12.5″ square. Blocks MUST be returned at the December meeting at the latest, to give us plenty of time to piece the quilt top. If you can bring them to the November meeting, that’s even better!

To recap:

– follow the tutorial from Film In The Fridge to add log cabin strips around the star block using all four of the star colours and the coordinating background fabric.

– block sizes are 12″ finished, so 12.5″ when you bring them back

– please use thread that coordinates with your background and press your seams to the side

– please return your blocks to the December meeting at the latest, the November meeting if you’re able

– please put all of your scraps in the bag provided and return them with your blocks. We’ll still need them for the rest of the quilt!


Have fun making your stars! We cannot wait to see everyone’s blocks in November and December!



VMQG Modern Mini Showcase: Challenge Details

VMQG has accepted an invitation to be the featured artist at the Vancouver Quilters’ Guild show happening this October 23rd and 24th at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Centre (West 14th and Ash).

We were waiting on some final details about the show before putting together this blog post but the show is going ahead in this new venue and we couldn’t be happier!

Our goal for the display is to put on a beautiful showcase of Modern Mini Quilts. Modern quilting is a new concept for lots of folks and this is a great opportunity to share our work and educate viewers about modern quilting.

In a (Solid) Pickle

Felicity’s all-solids mini quilt for a Flickr swap

VMQG members, here is your challenge:

  • Make a mini quilt that illustrates one or a few of the characteristics of Modern Quilting (per the Modern Quilt Guild’s definition here).
  • Use solid fabrics only, the choice of colours is yours.
  • Keep the size at a maximum perimter of 80″. That means length+length+width+width = 80″ or less.
  • Include a 4″ hanging sleeve on your mini, not just the corner triangles. Here’s a great tutorial on making hanging sleeves.
  • Label your quilt with (at minimum) your name and phone number.
  • Write a short statement (100 words maximum) about your mini, including the characteristic(s) your quilt illustrates (we will have a Google form or hard copy template for this).
  • Bring the finished quilt to the September 21st VMQG meeting.

A couple of notes:

Feel free to share your progress on Social Media using the hashtag #VMQGmodernminishowcase.

The show venue at St. Mary’s is smaller than the previous one so our display space may be smaller than originally anticipated. Depending upon the number of quilts that get submitted, we may need to choose a sampling that gives the widest range of examples of modern quilting, so it is possible not all of the minis will be in the display. We won’t know until the quilts get submitted.

Be aware that we are working on putting together our very own VMQG show in the near future, which will be an opportunity for ALL of the minis to be displayed.

Please direct any questions you may have to Krista Hennebury (krista DOT hennebury AT shaw DOT ca) who is coordinating this mini showcase.

New Year, New Fun!

Happy New Year to all our awesome members!

We hope you had a great time at the January meeting. If you missed it, January kicked off with a ton of new group projects, challenges, and a block lotto!


Round Robin 2015 signs up were posted and filled. 11 out of 12 spots were filled, so if you missed out and are interested in participating, please email to register. This will be a first come first serve spot for members only. *updated Jan 28*The Final spot has been filled!

IF enough people are interested who didn’t get a spot in  RR2015 or couldn’t commit for a whole year, there may be a Mini Round Robin started. The Mini Round Robin will run for 6 months and have spots for 6 members. Please email to sign up.

The Round Robin has its own page now, so the information is organized and in a one place! The link is above the VMQG banner on the blog under Round Robin 2015

January Challenges

Our first nametag challenge was way back in 2010, and with all the new members who have joined us in the past year, there are a lot of new names to learn! WHat better way to introduce yourself then with a lovely handmade nametag?

Your nametag can be any shape, size, color, ect. The only requirement is, you guessed it!-Your NAME!

We also have a block lotto running this month. Make as many Raspberry Kiss Blocks as you like to the February meeting. Each block gets you an entry into the draw for a portion (or all) of the blocks. The more you make, the more chances you have, and the more blocks you can win!

Block lottos and guild challenges also have a dedicated page, where you can find all the information and tutorials. These pages will be active all year, so if you missed a challenge or want to go back and make something again the information will be there for you. The page is found above the VMQG banner at the top of the blog under Challenges. Hover over the Challenges tab to find the month, or click to the Challenges page and then choose the month.

Stay tuned for some more awesome stuff from your Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, including some great workshops from our amazing and talented members!


2015 UFO Challenge


Paul’s “Worm” quilt, one of many UFOs finished in the 2014 Challenge

Back by popular demand: the UFO Challenge will happen again in 2015!

Same rules as last year:

  • register your projects and pay $2 apiece into the kitty;
  • when you’ve finished a registered project, show it at show & tell;
  • every completed project will be entered into a draw to win fabulous prizes including cash and other goodies;
  • challenge will conclude at the final guild meeting of the  year (October 2015), but you can begin showing finishes as soon as they’re done.

A few other details:

  • project registration will begin at the January 2015 meeting, so start thinking about what UFOs you want to complete this year;
  • you can register UFOs as you discover them;
  • minimum project size and the definition of UFO is up to you and on the honour system – please be reasonable;
  • “finished” means quilted, bound, shown at show and tell AND marked off as “shown” by the UFO Challenge representative;
  • you are responsible for verifying with the UFO Challenge representative that your project has been marked as “shown.”

Bring your twoonies, look for the UFO Challenge registration sign at the meeting and come by to fill out your registration card.


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!)

December Challenge-Ornament Swap

The December challenge is the annual Holiday Ornament Swap!

Make a handmade ornament using whatever technique you’d like. Knit a yarn ornament? Sew a fabric ornament? Craft a folded origami star?  If you bring an ornament in, you’ll take one home!

The Ornament Swap is a fun tradition, and we hope that everyone participates.

2013 ornament swap group

(last year’s ornament swappers! thanks to Stacey Murton for taking the photo!)


Amy did up a Pinterest board of ornament tutorials last year, as well as a board of  projects that might be inspiring but don’t have step by step instructions, for those of you feeling ambitious!

Stacey Day has found a few more great links with lots of tutorials and ideas –

22 Fabric Christmas ornaments from Chicken Scratch NY 

101 Handmade Ornament Tutorials from Everything Etsy

25 Christmas Ornaments To Make from The Ornament Girl

Go ahead and check them out, i am sure you’ll find something!