Saturday, February 18, 2017

Square Within A Square - Block Lottery

As we approach retreat, we're jumping right into our second block lottery block, a square within a square block. Note that these blocks will be swapped at retreat, which serves as our March meeting.

The colors for these blocks are grays, white and jewel tones. For this block, alternate between a jewel tone and a white or gray fabric.

For this block, start with a square and add a strip of your next fabric all the way around. The strip should be the same width all the way around. We're not looking for wonky. The improv portion comes from varying the size of the square rounds each time and random color placement. You can either start with a jewel tone or a white/gray square. I recommend that each round be between 1" and 2.5" or so in order to get a somewhat cohesive look, yet still a little random.

Keep on adding as you go until you get a block that's 10.5" square.

Quick Overview:
March - Square within a Square (NOTE: Swap will take place at retreat, so please only make if attending retreat)
Colors: Gray/White background with Jewel Tones
Size Requirements: 10.5" block
Notes: Alternate between your gray/white background and jewel tone colors. Make your squares various sizes for a fun effect.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January's Meeting - What to Expect

Happy 2017 everyone! I can't believe it's already a new year and we're ready to jump into a new, fun-filled year of more guild fun.

Below is what we have planned for our January meeting. It sounds jam packed, but some of this will go quick. We've also posted a tentative schedule for the full year on the blog, so hop on over to the 2017 Schedule tab to see what we have planned.

January Meeting:
January 21, 2017 from 1-3pm
Where: Fabric Place Basement Back Room (There's a warehouse looking room next to the yarn where we meet. If you can't find the room, just ask a staff member of FPB)

Block Lottery Kickoff – We have examples of all of the blocks for the year. Don't know what a block lottery is? Check out the tab on our blog with all of the blocks for the year for a preview and a description. We will also talk about this at the meeting.

Mini Quilt Challenge Kickoff – We’ll briefly talk about the mini quilt challenge that we’ll showcase at the show in April. This could be a great project to work on at retreat for those attending.

Favorite Notion Show and Tell – Did you get a fun new notion for the holidays? Bring it and tell us all about it. Have a favorite oldie but goodie? Bring that too and show us. We especially love seeing your favorite notion that may not be found in a quilt/craft store that you just couldn’t live without.

UFO Block/Quilt Swap – Do you have unfinished quilt blocks or tops just lying around that you don’t think you’ll ever do anything with? Bring them to our meeting and we’ll swap. One person’s forever-unfinished project is another person’s new, exciting project. Any quilt blocks/tops that are not claimed by someone else can be donated to the quilt museum if you don’t want to take them back.

Show and Tell – Did you finish any great quilts or sewing projects over the holiday break? Bring them in and show off your amazing talent.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

First Lottery Block for 2017

Since a few of you may have some time off during the holiday week, I wanted to share the first block in the block lottery for everyone. If you want a preview of all of the blocks, check them out here. The first block is a simple improv plus block. The theme this year is improv, and we're going to start working our improv muscles and mind with this simple block.

For these blocks, use a variety of gray solids for the background and some cool colors for the plusses. The finished size of these blocks should range from 6" - 10".
Here's how to make these blocks:

To start, cut a gray square between 6" and 10".
Cut that square in half, at a slight angle, vertically and horizontally as shown above. Don't go too close to the edge though, as you may lose the plus sign as you trim.

Cut a few strips of a cool color, slightly longer than the pieces you cut. See above for a reference. Sew the two smaller sides together first, lining up the inside pieces. Don't worry if you outside edges don't line up. We'll trim the block down later.
Once sewn, trim the inside of the blocks to create a straight line and sew the long line of the plus block. Carefully line up the smaller plus pieces by eye to make sure they appear to create a visually appealing plus.
Trim your block down to size and you're good to go. This block goes quick, so I hope to see a bunch of these blocks at our February meeting, when we'll have our first lottery.

Quick overview:
Colors: Gray background (any color gray) and cool solids for the plus sign (see below for examples of cool colors)
Size Requirements: Anywhere between 6.5" square and 10.5" square.
Notes: Please make sure the ends of your plus signs are at least an inch away from the corners of the block. While you can make your plus signs any width you'd like, making them between 1.5" and 3.5" is ideal. Variety will actually be key here for a more random quilt.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The BMQG 2017 Annual Retreat Registration is OPEN!

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild annual retreat will be held from 16-19 March 2017 at the Franciscan Guest House in lovely Kennebunkport, ME. For the uninitiated, the retreat consists of 25 manic quilters for an entire weekend of non-stop sewing with a few activities thrown in for diversion from your favorite diversion! To see more about what happened at last year’s retreat, click here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must be a 2017 member of the BMQG to attend the retreat. Join the BMQG at our membership tab or click here!

The cost to attend is as follows depending on whether you choose to spend 2 or 3 nights in a single or double occupancy room. If you choose double occupancy, you must already know who your roommate will be and you must both sign up for the same number of nights. Costs are per person.

2 nights, single occupancy          $210
2 nights, double occupancy         $140
3 nights, single occupancy           $305
3 nights, double occupancy         $205

A deposit of $100 is required to reserve your spot, with the final payment due by 10 February. You also have the option to pay in full when you sign up. Cost includes your room, breakfast on all days, and lunch on Saturday. 

Annual Retreat Final Payment
BMQG Member Name

New Registration Retreat Payment (Subject to Availability After 7 February)
BMQG Member Name
Name of Roommate if Booking a Double Room

Cancellation Policy:
Your reservation may be cancelled without a fee until 9 February 2017. Cancellations received between 10 February and 2 March will forfeit the $100 deposit. No refunds are given after 2 March. These cancellation fees are imposed by the guest house.

Retreat Survey:
This is your retreat! We have put together a brief survey to help us determine what you would like to include. Please click here to go to the survey. 

Retreat Coordinator:
If you have any questions at all, please contact Susan McKinney at susan at

2016 RETREAT (with charity quilt we made from fabrics donated by Connecting Threads, The Warm Company and Gwen Marceline)

Connecting Threads
Northcott Fabrics
Robert Kaufman
The Warm Company

Friday, July 15, 2016

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Options

At our June meeting we broke out into teams and sketched out some ideas for our QuiltCon charity quilt. The theme this year is scale and the color palette is below:

Take a look at the options below and vote on your favorite in the comments. The goal is to finalize the design soon so that we can begin planning the piecing process and begin actual construction in the next couple of months.

Option 1: Make a quilt using half square triangles of varying sizes. In this example, the whole quilt would look like a half square triangle because we would use one color on one half and another on the other half to create a HST look. So maybe the white, yellow, orange and pink on one half and the gray, teal and blues on another. 

The remaining options were designed using a fractal design, where we pick one design and make it bigger and bigger or smaller and smaller.

Option 2: We start with a large square (maybe there's a design in the square) and we add smaller versions of that square design on all four sides repeatedly. 

Option 3: This is similar to option 2, but instead of radiating out from the middle of the quilt, we start large in a corner and work our way to the opposite corner as we get smaller. 

Option 4: This version uses a curved shape that spirals in as the shape gets smaller. 

Option 4: This plus shape with bars on the end leverages one large shape with a number of smaller ones surrounding it. 

Option 6: In this plan, we identify either one shape and make blocks in various sizes (the orange circle would be the largest, the red triangle would be the smallest) or use different shapes and make each shape in a different size. (Confused? Just think of this as a way for many members to make one block and assemble this quilt in a grid like fashion without seeming too grid like.)

Let us know which option is your favorite to represent the BMQG in Savannah next February.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Quilts for Pulse - Boston Effort

Hi BMQG'ers! At our last guild meeting we talked about how we could help the Orlando MQG and their Quilts for Pulse effort. As I announced at the meeting, we're going to team up with the Cambridge MQG for a sew-in during our regularly scheduled July meeting (July 16th) where we will sew together heart blocks into quilt tops at the Lexington Community Center (39 Marrett Rd, Lexington, MA). We'll be there all day, from 9am to 5pm, so come for the whole day or just for a few hours and help us out. Depending on how ambitious we are, we might even be able to get a few quilts quilted.

What to bring:

  • Heart blocks (some tutorials below) in a rainbow of colors
  • Sewing machine
  • Basic sewing supplies (rotary cutters, mats, irons, pins, thread, etc.)
We are also looking for donations of batting and fabric to help complete the quilts. Fabric Place Basement generously donated fabric for the backing of several quilts. Our biggest need at the moment is likely going to be batting, so if you have any lying around, we'd welcome the donation. 

Heart Blocks
The main block we're seeing folks make is the following 10" block (pictured above): 

There's also a paper pieced version of that pattern on Craftsy by Elizabeth Dackson if you're a paper piecer. 

I (it's me, Jen here) designed this paper pieced block for folks to use for this effort. You can download it for free on Craftsy

If you do a search on Craftsy or online, you'll find a few additional heart tutorials out there. When making your blocks, please try to make them 10" finished or 10.5" unfinished so that we can easily assemble them.

The background should be a low-volume print or a solid white or cream/light gray with the hearts being a bright color that fits in the rainbow.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us. If you are unable to attend the July meeting but would like to provide blocks that you've sewn, please let us know and we can coordinate a hand off.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

May Show and Tell

Our May meeting was the first time we had show and tell in a few months given we had our retreat and show in March and April, respectively. Fortunately, our members kept busy during those months and had some really fun quilts to share at our May show and tell.

Judy made this darling quilt using a panel and some additional fabric to create a fun quilt.

Continuing on her panel kick, Judy made this colorful quilt using a panel she bought from spoonflower. How fun!

Margaret experimented with some whole cloth quilting and wound up cutting up her whole cloth quilt and making something totally different, proving that sometimes what you start with as an idea can morph into something great. 

Karen finally put the final border on her Aviatrix Medallion quilt that she started last year. Aren't the colors just beautiful?

Alison has been busy making a bunch of fun coasters.

Courtney made this great quilt using Cotton & Steel basics and is all set up to longarm quilt it. We can't wait to see how she quilts it. 

Elena has been busy working on some quilt as you go blocks. This is going to be a fun quilt!

Elena has also been busy working on her Dear Jane quilt. Don't you love her use of color here?

If you went to Old Navy this winter looking for flannel PJ's, chances are that Karen beat you too it and bought all of them. She made this great quilt using fabric from flannel PJ's. If only you could feel this quilt online.

Amy made this great Libery quilt that we all can't wait to snuggle under and just pet that Liberty fabric.

Amanda has been busy making these great maple leaf quilt blocks. I can't wait to see the finished quilt top.

We'll see everyone at our June meeting on June 18th from 1-3pm at Fabric Place basement where we'll kick off our pillow swap. See everyone there!