Category Archives: Challenges

Details of the monthly challenges

Madrona Road Challenge: Recap

Late last year, we were given another wonderful opportunity to participate in a fabric challenge sponsored by Michael Miller. This wonderful line of fabric was designed by Portland MQG member Violet Craft.

Participating members each received a packet of Fat Eighths with the only restrictions being that the project needed to be something quilted, and that the only additional fabrics allowed were solids (any) and more Madrona Road.

VMQG Madrona Road Challenge participants

VMQG members certainly rose to the challenge – here is just a sample of the beautiful projects we made, and more can be found in VMQG’s Flickr Group.

Elsie with her Viewers’ Choice winner – $100 gift certificate prize sponsored by Mad About Patchwork.







Colleen, with Jo-Anne’s in the background


Laurraine’s quilt told the story that is found on the text fabric

Many thanks to the Challenge sponsors!

May Challenge: Black/White + Bright Solids Hexies

Looking for To Boston With Love info? Click here.

At the April meeting, Paula and Arita demonstrated the fabulous hexie technique they learned in Jacquie Gering‘s class at QuiltCon.

Paula and Arita demonstrating hexagons

Paula and Arita demonstrating hexagons

We decided to use a black/white + bright solid colourway for this month’s challenge.

Arita and Hexagons


  • when cutting, start with 5½” strips
  • only piece the hexies in sets of three – don’t piece the sets to each other
  • colourway is two hexies in black/white plus one in a bright solid, any order is fine
  • make as many sets of three hexies as you like – there will be a block lottery at the May 20th meeting

If you missed the April meeting and didn’t get a tutorial handout explaining the cutting/piecing technique, email Arita at and she’ll email one to you. This tutorial on Jacquie’s blog shows the sewing-together technique in case you win the blocks :).

3 Hexies per block

3 Hexies per block

Have fun and see you on the 20th!

To Boston With Love – tutorials and inspiration

It’s been so exciting to see the response to the To Boston With Love project!

The flickr group is getting full of fabulous flags, and individuals and guilds alike have been spreading the word via blog posts.

Please continue to spread the word, the more flags the merrier. If you’d like to blog about the project, or add this button to your blog, here’s the code for the button.

To Boston With Love

Were you thinking about making a flag, but weren’t sure where to start? Berene has kindly has put together patterns for two flags, her LOVE flag, the very first flag made, and a fabulous strippy heart.

The LOVE tutorial/pattern can be downloaded HERE.

And the Strippy Heart tutorial/pattern can be downloaded HERE.
Please Note: You may post a link to these patterns on your website, but you may not post them as free downloads on your or any other website. Thank you.

And if you’re looking for even more inspiration, there are tons of tutorials out there to chose from! We’ve compiled a list below, but if you have any more suggestions, or you’ve made your own tutorial, let us know and we’ll add them in. Keep in mind that unlike Berene’s patterns, these tutorials aren’t specifically for the flags, so you might need to resize them.

improv hearts (super scrappy!) (strip pieced!)

Click through for paperpieced hearts, patchwork hearts, applique hearts and more.

April Challenge: Scrappy Japanese x and + Block Lottery

The April challenge is another block lottery! The more you make, the better your odds of winning a bunch of blocks!

This time, we’re making scrappy Japanese x and + blocks, (10½” unfinished or 10″ finished). Here is a photo of Amy’s sample:

not only did I basically get nothing done today, I also stayed up ridiculously late. I'd blame DST, but really, it's  nothing new! I did get this block made though! I gave up on my attempt to make it super scrappy and used all the same fabric for the X, t(Our) Amy’s diagonals are all pink, but you can totally scrap it up.

The tutorial for putting the block together can be found here at Amy (Badskirt)’s blog.  Note that her block finishes at 7½” so follow these cutting instructions:

For a 10″ finished block, you’ll need:

  • two 2½” squares and one 2½” x 6½” strip for the centre cross;
  • four 2½” squares for the ends of the cross;
  • four 4½” squares for the X
  • eight 2½” squares for the background triangles

Go ahead and make as many as you like – you probably won’t be able to stop at just one! In fact, the tutorial notes that these blocks chain-piece very nicely.

Dig in your scrap bin and have fun!

February Challenge

Our challenge for this month is for blocks that the guild will use to make a quilt to represent us and enter into shows and/or display at events and whatnot.

For February, make a block in the theme of love/hearts using neutral-coloured linen, and fabrics that predominantly feature citrusy pinks or oranges. The block’s dimensions should be a multiple(s) of 3″ finished.

Here are some examples (thank you Terry!)

 TerryAske - Heart Blocks
Paul's blocks for VMQG Feb challenge

To make things a bit extra exciting, you’re encouraged to try something that’s new to you – a new technique, skill or design, perhaps.

Amy’s examples she brought to the meeting

Bring your completed block to the February meeting on the 18th – we look forward to seeing you there!

Madrona Road Challenge

madrona road challenge instructions

The Madrona Road Challenge

At our December meeting, we announced the Madrona Road Challenge and handed out fabric bundles to 35 eager members. Violet Craft, a member of the Portland MQG, designed this beautiful fabric line. It’s great to be working with fabric designed by a fellow citizen of the Pacific Northwest! Here are the guidelines for the challenge:

Use these prints from Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller Fabrics to make a quilt! There are no size requirements, but since we are a quilt guild, we encourage you to make something quilted. You may add more fabric from the Madrona Road line in either this or the pink/orange colourway or any solid fabrics you like. Please don’t add any non-Madrona Road prints. The deadline for this challenge is March 18th, 2013. We’ll be voting on the completed projects in March and one person will have the honour of having their project named “Viewers’ Choice”. We can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with!

madrona road challenge bundles

At our January meeting, some people already had finished quilts to share! If you’re a keener, you can add your completed quilt to the MQG Madrona Road Challenge – FINISHED Projects Flickr group. If your quilt is in the group by January 31st, it will be considered for display at Michael Miller’s booth at QuiltCon. Violet Craft will also be picking her favourite quilt and sending a care package to the winner of “Violet’s Choice”.

Never fear if you haven’t started yet, you still have two months left to work on your project. If you’d like to get more Madrona Road fabric, we’ve heard that The Cloth Shop on Granville Island has several of the prints, including the donkey and truck print that wasn’t included in our bundles. Their website is currently under repair, but you can find their contact information in the Granville Island Directory. An Etsy search for Madrona Road fabric yields lots of options. If you’re planning on ordering from the US, remember that postal rates go up quite significantly on January 27th, so you might want to order in the next few days!

December Challenge: Nametags!

We’ve welcomed some new members over the year and so it’s time for a nametag challenge so that we can get to know one another.

To participate, make yourself a nametag and bring it to share at the January 2013 guild meeting. It can be quilted (or not) or embroidered (or not) or fused (or not)…you get the idea – make whatever you’d like. Easy peasy! 

Here are a few VMQG nametags to inspire you:

nametag challenge - VMQG





Have fun – we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

December Meeting Recap

Wow! What a way to close out 2012!

Right off the bat, we exchanged Scrap Bag Challenge/Swap items. This activity was very well received – several members said they’d love to do this again, and I totally get why! The variety of “makes” was incredible!

Scrap Bag Challenge goodies

There were pin cushions, thread catchers, fabric boxes, name tags, a quilt top, a finished wallhanging (!!), a sewing machine cover, pouches, notebook covers, a Christmas stocking, mini quilts and more…So fun!

Scrap Bag group

We also received our pincushions from the pincushion swap – what an incredibly fast turnaround. We delivered at the November meeting and received our pincushions in December! Special thanks to Arita for driving across the border to pick up the package!

Beautiful pincushions!

Again, the variety and creativity were off the scales.

Happy pincushion swappers

Another really exciting event was the unveiling of the quilt top made with the QuiltCon Challenge Blocks. Didn’t Paul do a wonderful job?

QuiltCon Charity Quilt top by Paul

Here are some photos from December’s Show and Tell. Do visit the Flickr Group for more.


Elke and her newfound love - paper piecing

Gaye with holiday table mats

Jo-Anne with pillow

Laurraine with pothlders

Matt with his pillow


Sonja's Gnornament

Susan and her quiet book

Yzobela's tree skirt


Stacey's Laurel Burch cats quilt

Paul with another sample

Kenzie with a quilt for her mom

Karen's pillowcases

Felicity with KitchenAid Cover

Kona Modern Quilts Challenge

Members who participated in the Kona Modern Quilts challenge brought their finished projects to show at the November meeting.

And what an incredibly inspiring array of projects our members shared! Let’s let the photos speak for themselves.


Heather’s pillow


Berene’s cutting mat carrier


Amy’s wonky log cabin


Amy’s hexies


Amy’s wedding ring


Paul’s Giant Wheel


Elsie’s mug organizers


Stacey’s stacking toy


Holly’s cutting mat carrier


Janet’s dresdens and amazing quilting


Jo-Anne’s table runner


Kathy’s pouch


Elke’s lunch tote








The Whole Group

Thank you, Robert Kaufman for sponsoring this challenge! We are thrilled to support one of “our own” – Cynthia Frenette!

Kona Solids Challenge Recap

We completed this Challenge in 2011, but it’s never too late to review all the amazing quilts made with the Charm Square packs of Kona Solids in the “darks” colour palette that Robert Kaufman generously donated to us.

Here are the finished projects in no particular order.

MQG - Kona Solids Challenge


kona pinwheels


HK Wisdom front.1


Kona Solid Challenge Darks Front


Elke's Kona challenge quilt


There are many, many more in the VMQG Flickr pool (go back to at least page 11!).

Thanks, everyone, who participated in the challenge – it was incredible to see the myriad beautiful ways our members approached the project!

VMQG Kona Challenge Quilts

The Group

And last but not least, thank you Robert Kaufman for the opportunity to be inspired!