Category Archives: Block Lottos

Details of the monthly challenges

Kona Modern Quilts Challenge

The Kona Modern Quilts challenge is wrapping up with the November meeting. In August, half-yards of assorted Kona Modern Quilts prints (Cynthia Frenette‘s new line with Robert Kaufman fabrics) were distributed to VMQG members who wanted to participate in the Challenge.

And it’s a pretty simple challenge: make something, anything, with the fabric. Other fabric may be added, provided it is a Kona Solid or another print from the Kona Modern Quilts line.

Edited to add: If you’d like to know which Kona solid colours are suggested to coordinate with the various colourways of KMQ, you can check out the fat quarter bundle listings on the Fat Quarter Shop website for Pacific, Berry, and Merlot. The Kona colour codes are listed for each coordinating solid.

Bring your completed Something to the November meeting – it’s sure to be a veritable smorgasbord of beautiful and creative Somethings!

Scrap Bag Challenge and Swap

There are lots of fun activities in store for the last two meetings of the year, including the Scrap Bag Challenge and Swap.

How the Challenge will work:

bring in a sandwich-sized ziploc baggie of scraps to the November 19th VMQG meeting. There should be at least a fat quarter’s worth. Tuck a slip of paper with your name on the inside of the bag, but make sure it’s not visible – this is a blind swap.

take a bag of someone else’s scraps.

make a small item for the person whose scraps they are. A small item is something such as a pincushion, mug rug, potholder, needle book, key fob, lanyard etc.

give the small item to the recipient at the December meeting.

receive the small item that was made for you.

We hope you plan to participate – it should be lots of fun!

Halloween block challenge

Halloween just wouldn’t be Halloween without the annual VMQG Halloween Block Challenge! Can you believe this is our third time doing the Halloween Block Lotto? We’re getting all grown up!

Size guidelines are the same as in previous years – multiples of 6″ finished. So that means unfinished blocks of, say 6½”x 6½”, or 12½” x 12½”, or 6½” x 18½”….you get the picture! The only fabric/colour guidelines are to make your block(s)Halloween themed. The more you make, the more chances you have to win some blocks!

Felicity won some of the blocks last year, and stitched them up into this cute top:

halloween quiltie

So start digging through your stash to find the perfect fabrics to make your Halloween Challenge Block(s), then bring them to the October meeting. See you there!

July challenge

“New York Skyline” Quilt by Jessica Blomquist

The inspiration for this challenge is from a quilt by Jessica Blomquist called New York Skyline. It was featured in a blog post on The Modern Quilt Guild’s website during the 100 Days of Modern Quilting.

Paul’s sample block (photo by Holly Broadland)

Make a 12.5 inch block out of black and grey solids (please don’t use prints, tone-on-tones, or blenders). The blocks can be quite simple. Use any black and grey solids you have on hand. If you want a little colour, take a yellow strip to include in the block. This is optional. Edited to add: the yellow fabric Paul handed out at our July meeting was Robert Kaufman’s Kona curry.

Paul showing the yellow fabric used in the challenge blocks

Blocks will be raffled off at our September meeting with the winners dividing the blocks. Every block you make gets you an entry ticket.

June Transparency Challenge

Paul with transparency blocks (photo by Sonja Callaghan)

The challenge presented by Paul at our June meeting was to work with fabrics of different colours to create the illusion of transparency. Your challenge is to create a small finished project of your choice and carefully choose fabrics of different values to make it look like they’re overlapping. You’ll be keeping your project, so make whatever you fancy!

Paul has created a Flickr gallery of quilts that demonstrate this illusion. Many of the quilts pictured are from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr’s book Transparency Quilts.

Have fun with this challenge and we look forward to seeing your results on Thursday!

QuiltCon block challenge: Just a reminder, there’s still time to enter the QuiltCon block challenge if you’d like! Just bring in your block/s to our July 19th meeting and please attach the QuiltCon Block Challenge Entry Form to each of your QuiltCon Blocks (


QuiltCon schedule announced today!

Image from the QuiltCon facebook page

Are you as excited as I am? The QuiltCon schedule and price catalogue has been released and it’s time to pore over the amazing options and plan for February 2013.

You’ve heard about QuiltCon, right? It’s the inaugural modern quilting conference and show that’s happening in Austin, Texas from February 21st-24th, 2013. Denyse Schmidt is the keynote speaker and there will be lectures and workshops from Anna Maria Horner, Elizabeth Hartman, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, Lizzy House, Angela Walters, and many more. There will also be an amazing quilt show, a large vendor mall, and a variety of social events where you can get to know modern quilters from all over.

Despite the distance from Vancouver, BC to Austin, TX, we have an enthusiastic group of VMQG members who are planning to make the trip to QuiltCon. If you’re one of them, we have good news for you! The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is now a gold needle supporting guild and that means our members get 10% off their QuiltCon workshop/conference registration.

If you’re planning on going to QuiltCon, mark August 30th on your calendar as that’s the day registration opens as workshops are expected to fill up quickly. We’ll be passing on the discount codes to our members before that date.

If you’re not going to QuiltCon, you can still join in the fun by entering the QuiltCon block challenge. We introduced this challenge at our May guild meeting and will be accepting blocks at our July 19th meeting (please attach the entry form to each block).

2 Challenges for Turning 2

We are going to be 2 and have 2 challenges for you this month!

At our May meeting, Paul provided pieces of Kona cottons in the QuiltCon colors to make a quilt block that reflects what modern quilting means to you for challenge number one. We thought it would be neat to ALSO make blocks in the VMQG colours for challenge number 2. So go on and stretch yourself and create blocks that represents your own take on modern quilting.

Please follow these Challenge Guidelines inspired by the QuiltCon challenge:

1. Blocks should be 12½” tall (unfinished) x the width of your choice. That could mean 12½” x 5”, 12½” x 24”, or anything wider, more narrow, or in between. Be creative!

2. Blocks should be machine pieced. Any piecing style is welcome, but please avoid using hand sewing, applique, embroidery, fabric markers, or any other embellishments.

3. For the QuiltCon blocks please use only “quilt shop quality” 100% cotton or cotton/linen fabrics in colors consistent with the QuiltCon logo (tangerine, gold, citrine, lime, aqua, turquoise, white, and gray.  Please attach the QuiltCon Block Challenge Entry Form to each of your QuiltCon Blocks (

4. For the VMQG blocks please use only “quilt shop quality” 100% cotton or cotton/linen fabrics in colors consistent with the VMQG logo (medium grey, azure, parsley, spearmint, amber and coffee/chocolate plus white) We provided VMQG swatch cards at the May meeting for colour reference using Robert Kaufman Kona solids.

5. Please feel free to include as many or few of the logo colors as you like, in each block but avoid adding additional colors. Both print and solid fabrics are welcome in each block.

6. Our preference is white or light gray 100% cotton thread, but any coordinating thread of good quality will do.

7. Bring your completed blocks to our June 21, 2012 meeting and celebrate our SECOND anniversary!  We are going to take a group photo with our blocks. (QuiltCon Blocks may also be brought to the July Meeting)

We look forward to seeing what you create!

The QuiltCon blocks will go to the QuiltCon Committee to be reviewed and Elizabeth Hartman, of Oh, Fransson!, will select 20 or more of her favorite blocks to make a quilt that will be displayed at QuiltCon and awarded, by raffle, to a lucky winner. Remaining blocks will be used to make quilts for Austin Children’s Shelter.

Check out and for more info.

We are planning to make a guild quilt with the finished VMQG blocks to have at future shows like Maker Faire, since it’s in our guild colours.

April Silk Tie Challenge

It’s Earth Day this weekend and we thought a reuse challenge would be the perfect way to combine quilting and environmentalism! The guild received a donation of silk ties from a businessman who was retiring and we’re going to upcycle them into an improv quilt. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

Materials you will need:

  • Bundle of donated silk ties (if you missed picking up a bundle at our April 19th meeting, contact Amy at
  • White quilting cotton (any white will do, please avoid cream)
  • 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper

Using your sheet of paper as a foundation, alternate the ties and white cotton to create stripes that run lengthwise on the paper (11 inches long). Leave your edges a little larger than the paper to allow space for trimming. Your tie stripes can either be made from one tie, or several pieced together. Please leave the sheet of paper attached.

Tip from Amy: use lots of pins, and UHU glue to tack it in place.

All the finished blocks will be assembled into a group quilt. This quilt will eventually be a fundraiser with a portion going to the guild and a portion going to a charity that will be chosen over the next few months.

From Suzanne Gray of Portland, Oregon who made our inspiration quilt:

My piecing style was quite liberated– I alternated wonky strips of white with whole and pieced tie sections, then trimmed them down…. It was really easy!

Photos of Suzanne’s Tie Quilt:

Photos in this post by Sonja Callaghan.

February Challenge – Improv mini quilt

Amy's improv plus sign mini quilt, photo by Sonja Callaghan

At our February meeting, Amy introduced the improv mini quilt challenge. In her classic productive and creative style, she had created four samples! The goal this month is to create a small quilt using an improvisational style of piecing. Small quilts are a great starting point for improv because they’re not as scary as large projects. Improv is a fabulous excuse to play with less traditional fabrics like silks or linen blends. If this is new to you, here are some links to improv tutorials that will help you get going:

The Challenge: Make an improv-pieced mini quilt (or mug rug). You can make it any shape you like and use whatever fabrics and colours you want!

Deadline: Share it at our March 15th, 2012 meeting

Size: Larger than a coaster and smaller than a placemat (for swap), or any size up to 36″ if you’re making it to keep.

Finishing: The edges must be finished

Optional swap: If you choose, you can swap your mug rug at the VMQG-FVMQG meet up at the Creative Stitches Show (note the 2 for 1 admission coupon on their website!) in Abbotsford at 2:15pm on Saturday, March 24th. We’ll be swapping in person by random draw and depending on participation, some people will end up swapping with members of their own guild. If you’d like to participate in the swap but can’t make the meet up on the 24th, just leave your quilt (including contact info) with Amy at the guild meeting.

Modern Mini Challenge

Modern Mini Challenge: In a lovely bit of kismet, Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts is hosting a Modern Mini Challenge with a deadline of Monday, March 5th, 2012. Our very own VMQG member Felicity was part of the blog hop on February 15th! If your mini quilt is completed by next Monday, you can enter the challenge!

Amy's improv "quilt" mini quilt, photo by Sonja Callaghan

January Challenge – Stacked Books Block

Holly with her sample block (started at 4:00pm on the day of the January meeting!)

Our January challenge block is a Stacked Books block based on this tutorial by Christina aka The Sometimes Crafter. Use Robert Kaufman’s Kona snow for the background (Spool of Thread has all the Kona colours but if you can’t get your hands on any Kona snow, email and I can send you some) and a “happy scrappy” selection of bright scraps from your stash for your coloured strips. You are welcome to vary the heights of your book strips (in my sample block I cut widths that were 1.5″, 2″ and 2.5″ for finished strips that were 1″, 1.5″ and 2″ respectively). We are not aiming for a wonky look to these blocks, so do your best to keep your strips straight. Take a look at this gallery to see some great stacked books blocks and quilts.

Your completed block should measure 12.5″ square. Make a block or two and bring them to the February 16th meeting and you can exchange each block for a chance to win a set of blocks.

Have fun making this block! We look forward to seeing your completed challenges at the February meeting!

Photos by Sonja Callaghan