Category Archives: Block Lottos

Details of the monthly challenges

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

UFO Challenge

When we had our fun post-it-note exercise at the December meeting, we wrote down our answer(s) to “In 2014, I want to…” The one answer that outnumbered all the rest was a variation on “finish _____” – UFOs, specific quilts, a quilt.

Clearly, a challenge was in order, so we introduced a UFO Challenge, and here are the promised details.

  • Beginning at the February 17th, meeting, visit the UFO Challenge table where you can register the projects you plan to finish over the course of the guild year.
  • Pay $2 per project you register.
  • A finish means quilted, bound, shown at show and tell AND ticked off the master list by the UFO Challenge representative.
  • We aren’t stipulating a minimum project size or what constitutes a UFO, but please exercise reasonableness.
  • The UFO Challenge runs until the October meeting, but of course you can – and should – finish ’em and show ’em any time beginning at the March meeting.
  • We’re planning for prizes, including shares of the kitty, and other fun stuff – stay tuned!

So make your list of UFOs, collect your toonies and get ready for a fun challenge!

Riley Blake Basics Challenge

This year, the sponsor for the annual MQG fabric challenge is Riley Blake!

At the December 2013 VMQG meeting, our members received a bundle of fabric containing fat eighths of 6 Riley Blake Basics fabrics.  Your challenge is to make a quilted item with this fabric.  Taking a fabric bundle tells us you’re committed to participating in the challenge.


You may add in any solid fabric you like or any Riley Blake printed fabric. You do not need to use all the fabrics given to you.

Our VMQG deadline for a completed project is our March guild meeting.  If you bring a completed project to that meeting, you will be entered into a random drawing for a prize.

The MQG deadline for the competition to win prizes is February 17th, 2014.  You must post a photo of your completed item in the MQG forum by this date.  Ten finalists will be announced on February 19th and Riley Blake will pick three winners and announce them on February 24th.  The prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place are fabric bundles.  More details are available on the MQG website.

Hashtags for instagram and twitter are:
#mqgrileyblakechallenge and #vmqgrileyblakechallenge

Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture – VMQG’s Big Reveal!

One of the many great things about being a member of the VMQG is that we are included in many of the promotions done when a fabric company has a new line of fabric. In this day and age, companies like Michael Miller Fabrics recognizes the value of having their wares tested and shown off, on social media and in person, by those who have creativity, expertise, and passion: Our members!
Cotton Couture, like it’s name suggests, has a smooth finish and tight weave as one would look for in a quality dressmaking fabric but also handles itself nicely as a quilting cotton.
All those who opted to participate in the Michael Miller Cotton Couture Challenge had three months to complete their projects using the modest bundles of tropical-coloured solids provided and optional solids. A little goes a long way with our group. On November 18th we had the big project reveal and as expected it was wonderful and varied. Then we had the difficult task of voting for our favourites. Really, there were so many inspired interpretations of the prescribed colours that everyone deserves a gold star.  We had prizes for first and second place and want to thank Michael Miller for the Cotton Couture colour cards and Sew Sisters Quilt Shop for the gift certificate for first place. The results were:
#1 – Laurraine Yuyama & her super-sized jar of jelly beans was the crowd favourite:
#2 – Jo Ann Lee & her adorable townscape pillow:
And most everyone else that could fit into two group shots:
group 1
group 2Thanks everyone who put so much thought and time into their work, and a special thanks Michael Miller for sharing your new line with us and making this all happen. More MM eye-candy can be found here:
Next challenge? An assortment from Riley Blake being handed out at the December 16th VQMG meeting. Soon, clever members, put on your thinking caps again and rev up your machines.

(written by Niki Storr)

Membership Renewal Reminder

photo 1Our membership year runs from November 1 to October 31 annually.  That means if you haven’t renewed your membership recently, it expired on October 31, 2013.  If you haven’t renewed yet, here are a few some great reasons to do it sooner, rather than later.  (Warning – lots of advertising slogans in this post!)

Membership benefits include the following:

  • free monthly guild meetings
  • membership in The Modern Quilt Guild (this comes with an additional list of benefits including discounts on MQG events, access to the MQG online community, and opportunities to participate in MQG swaps and challenges
  • discounts at local fabric shops
  • priority registration in VMQG workshops, retreats, and sew-ins
  • voting rights
  • access to our members-only forum

But wait, there’s more!   The MQG has announced Riley Blake Designs as this year’s sponsor of the 3rd annual MQG members fabric challenge.  They are generously providing each official MQG member 6 fat eighths from their Basic category. Each member will be receiving fabrics like these colors and patterns.


And there will be prizes!   The MQG has extended the deadline for posting a photo of your finished entry to February 17, 2014, and Riley Blake has offered up some fabric prizes.

IMAG0452So what’s the catch?   We’ve received the fabric for our guild members, but it’s still on the bolts and we have to cut it up.   Only members in good standing are eligible to receive the fabric.  We’ll be cutting in December, and handing out the fabric at our December 16th meeting.   If you are a member as of midnight November 18th, you’ll receive a package of fabric.  So, if you want free fabric and the chance to win more (and honestly, who would say no to that?), now’s the time to renew your member, or join our guild if you aren’t already a member.

To register as a member at the November 18th meeting:

  • bring $50 cash or a cheque for payment,
  • print out this 2013-14 Membership Form (68KB .pdf file), fill it in, and bring it with you.  (We will also have forms available at the meeting but it will save time if you fill in your form beforehand.)

If you can’t make it to the meeting:

  • submit our online membership form
  • use PayPal to send $51.75 to (instructions to pay via
  • Paypal are here)


Your Executive is looking forward to distributing Basics fabric packages to all of our new and renewing members at the December guild meeting – don’t delay, renew today!



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.



Sponsored Challenge: Michael Miller Cotton Couture


Michael Miller has generously sponsored our next fabric challenge. Members received a package of sixth-yard cuts of seven yummy citrus-coloured fabrics from MM’s Cotton Couture line of solids.

Delicious citrus-y colours!

Delicious citrus-y colours!

The challenge is to make something quilted, and bring it to the November 18th VMQG meeting. You are welcome to add fabrics to your project, but please ensure any fabrics you add are solids (any brand) – just no patterned fabric please.

You’re going to want to bring your A game because there will once again be a Viewers’ Choice vote and prize for the winner!

If you share your progress via social media, please use the hashtag #vmqgcottoncouture.

As always, the only other rule is to have fun!

September Challenge: Tote Bag Swap

We’ve been inspired by the Tote Bag Swap happening as part of the PNW MQG meetup in Portland!

Finished tote for the #mqgmeetuppdx !

Paula B.’s tote for the PNW MQG meetup swap

So inspired, in fact, that we’re totally copying the whole idea, right down to the “brown bag” part. That means it’s an open swap – if you want to participate, just go ahead and make a tote bag, put it in a brown paper bag, bring it to the September meeting where you will get a different brown paper bag containing a tote made by a fellow VMQG member.

Other guidelines:

  • Minimum size of the bag part: 11″x 12″
  • Tote bag should be lined
  • A pieced and/or quilted bit would be nice (we’re a quilt guild after all!) but not mandatory (hint: totes are a great way to use orphan/tester blocks that you may have lying about)
  • Include your details on a note or card in the brown paper bag so whoever gets your tote knows it’s from you
  • Have fun!
Market Tote

A tote by Felicity

For inspiration and links to patterns and tutorials, check out the Pinterest board that Portland Modern Quilt Guild created. Then get busy creating your tote – we’re so looking forward to seeing what you make!


July Challenge: Just One Slab for Alberta Flood Relief

We weren’t necessarily planning to do a block challenge for July but unfortunately an opportunity has presented itself. “Unfortunately” because there is a need for relief and comfort for our neighbours to the east dealing with the effects of devastating floods.

Just One Slab

So for July, will you make Just One Slab? Read all about the details here on Cheryl Arkison‘s blog. Cheryl is coming to Vancouver for a trunk show and two workshops just after the July meeting, and we thought we could present her with the slabs that we’ve made while she’s here.

The slab technique is one Cheryl describes in her book, Sunday Morning Quilts. There are also directions in her blog post. They’re very easy and a great stash-buster!

Felicity’s Slab

If you’re interested in donating a quilt, here is Cheryl’s blog post linking to two Facebook groups with info. Also, Quilters Connection Magazine, a Canadian quilting magazine, is collecting finished quilts through the month of July for shipment to My Sewing Room in Calgary. Email if you’ve got a finished quilt to donate. Note that My Sewing Room is also accepting donations of fabric scraps (cotton, flannel and batting) in support of relief efforts – all details are here. We have a few guild quilts that were awaiting donation and this is just the ticket, we think.

Thanks in advance for your generous and enthusiastic participation!

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.