Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Big stitch quilting tutorial by Cinzia

Cinzia's tutorial on big stitch quilting is now available under the Members Only section of the blog!

Photo by Cinzia

For those of you who missed her demo, or for those of you who were bitten by the hand-quilting bug and want to give it a try, go grab your copy now. Happy stitching! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 2017 Meeting Minutes

February 2017 Mtl MQG Meeting Minutes
Tuesday February 14, 2017 at 7pm at CRCS St-Zotique

  • Welcome - reminder to be careful where you park because of snow removal
  • Feb sew-in this coming weekend: Sat Feb 18th, 10-4 at Maplewood Presbyterian Church, 215 McLeod, in Chateauguay, carpools can be arranged if needed
    • Work on any project you like, but will be demoing the slab block for the Canadian Quilt Bee if you want to participate.  We also may start some working on some of the house quilts.
    • Please bring scraps in any colour but red, turquoise, white/off-white or grey will match the required Canada pieces for the Quilt Bee blocks
    • Normal sew-in rules apply: Bring sewing machine, all tools needed to do your work, plus bring a lunch and a coffee mug (coffee will be available)
    • Lots going on. Email if you need help with transportation.
  • Metro challenge due dates is being pushed back to April meeting because there is a lot going on with the Quilts for Quebec Project.
  • Any interest in VQF submission? Need 18-20 quilts, deadline March 1st for submitting a letter of intent. Stephanie will contact to see if we can display our Molinari challenge quilts even though the size is not the sizes asked for. Bigger might be difficult to get 18-20 together quickly. Email if you are interested though.
  • Quilts for Quebec (#quiltsforqc)
    • The response has been amazing all of Canada, many states even Italy. The goal is for 12-25 quilts we think. But as many as we can. 
    • We need 12.5” house blocks, any style; no humans or animals in prints please. The ones we have received are exquisite. Amazing work.
    • We are also accepting donations of batting and backing fabrics, we have some from Fabricville.  Some people have donated money to help buy supplies.  Stacy will be able to get some things at cost. 
    • Anyone wishing to help with construction or quilting please let us know.  The Ottawa guild is interested in quilting.  Michelle B is interested in helping with her longarm.  So amazing what people are willing to do
    • There is a Sew-in on Sunday Feb 26th from 12-5pm in Verdun to start putting the blocks together.

  • Show and Tell
    • Izzy – Bed runner in black and white with a little red. 12” x 12” blocks 3 x 8 blocks.
    • Marlise - Silk men's tie star quilt – would back it maybe as the silk was difficult sometimes.
    • Snezana Quilted picture frame, challenge because of the size
    • Tamara whatever the weather the quilt along can be seen on the janome life site and some secret projects…Shhhh
    • Melanie – cars with a play mat back using green squares with black sashing so the owner can drive on the sashing. Also, a home quilt for the Quilts for Quebec project that a was quilted on a longarm solidifying the need for one. (thank you!!!)
    • Michelle B. Animal made with made Tamara Kate Fabric, elephants, giraffes and peacocks all with Tamara’s fabulous fabric
    • See the photos by Stacy on Instagram or the blog.
  • Ugly Fat Quarter swap
    • Wow some of the pieces are interesting.
  • Discussion: Hari-Kuyo celebration
    • See the history below
  • Demo: handwork by Cinzia
    • Important take away points:
      • Quilting hoop is needed.
      • Quilt towards you for ergonomic reasons.
      • Use pearl cotton, size 8 and embroidery needles size 6-8.
      • Advantages of handwork are that it is portable, you have greater control over the stitches, it creates a bright effect and it is very relaxing, almost meditative.
      • It is important to use even stitches, using an almost rocking motion.
      • Please see the members section on the blog for more specific notes and pictures.
Next meeting: March 14th 19:00, CRCS St-Zotique - walking foot demo by Debby, social meet-up in March maybe?

Monday, February 13, 2017

#QuiltsforQC at QuiltCon



It's official! The organizers of QuiltCon East have very kindly offered to help us out by having a drop-off location for #QuiltsforQC blocks at QuiltCon! The drop-off box will be at the registration area, so if you have some blocks to send us you can drop them off there from Thursday Feb 23rd through Sunday Feb 26th.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February meeting reminder

Just a quick reminder on what's coming up, as we have a lot going on in the last half of February... 


Our next monthly meeting takes place on Tuesday February 14th at 7pm at the CRCS St-Zotique. We will be having our Ugly Fat Quarter Swap, we will be celebrating Hari-Kuyo so remember to bring your worn out and broken pins and needles, and we will be starting to collect blocks for the #QuiltsforQC project. Our demonstration this month will be a handwork demo by Cinzia. If you would like to participate, please bring the following with you:
  • quilt sandwich (two fat quarters and batting) 
  • quilting/embroidery hoop 
  • Perle cotton embroidery thread (size 8) 
  • Embroidery needle: size 6, 7 or 8 
  • thimble to fit middle finger of dominant hand 
  • fabric marking tool (optional) 

Our February Sew-In will be taking place on Saturday February 18th from 10am to 4pm at the Maplewood Presbyterian Church, 215 McLeod, in Chateauguay. We will be having an inter-guild meet-up with the Chateauguay Valley Quilters Guild; we will be working on slab blocks to donate to the CQA's Big Quilt Bee, house blocks for the #QuiltsforQC project, or you can bring your own project to work on. We will be arranging carpools at Tuesday night's meeting, so if you need a ride but can't make it to the meeting, please get in touch via email. The usual sew-in rules apply, please bring anything you need to work on your project of choice (sewing machine, cutting/marking tools, etc), as well as your lunch and a coffee mug (coffee will be available there). 

And finally, on Sunday February 26th from 12 to 5pm we will be hosting a sew-in for the #QuiltsforQC project at Atelier Fiber Arts (3993 rue Wellington in Verdun). There will be snacks and drinks available, and this event is open to all. We will have sewing machines and materials on hand for anyone who wants to sew some blocks (patterns and assistance are available if you need them), and if you have completed blocks or other materials to donate, you are welcome to drop them by. 

I think that's everything... see you Tuesday evening!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

#QuiltsforQC update

I'm not usually one for quotes, but this past week I've had one going through my head repeatedly:

“Whatever you do will be insignificant,
but it is very important that you do it.” 

In the grand scheme of things, sewing a few pieces of fabric together feels very insignificant, and yet it feels very important that I do it. Based on the messages we have been getting this past week, I think a lot of others out there feel the same way.

We have begun to receive people's blocks in the mail and we are gearing up to start putting quilt tops together. For those of you still working on your blocks, don't worry you still have time... we would like to receive all blocks by March 4th. Don't forget to allow time for the post, mailing times will vary depending on where you are. 

If you're still looking for inspiration, or just want to browse, I encourage you to check out the #QuiltsforQC hashtag on Instagram or Facebook, there are some amazing blocks being posted!

For example, on Instagram Johanna made these adorable blocks: 

Photo and block by Johanna

Then she kindly posted a diagram of the block and the dimensions she used so others could make them too... if you'd like to make one, you can find her diagram here.

Fellow MMQG member Shannon of s/f Designs has created a beautiful house block that is available for free download over on Craftsy:


And if you're looking for more of a challenge, Victoria from fabricatwork.com made up this stunning mosque block:


If you have finished and mailed in/dropped off your block but still wish to do more, there is another initiative under way that is looking to make and donate quilted prayer rugs to various mosques in Canada and the States. Unfortunately, there have been a number of acts of vandalism and hatred directed at various mosques recently, and similar to us, the organizers of the prayer rug project want to reach out to those affected and offer support.

Also, the Quebec City mosque accepts donations through its website, if you would like to donate to them directly. You can find more information (in French / en francais) on their website: http://www.cciq.org/5214-2/

We will continue to post updates and pictures as things progress... thank you to each and every one of you who have contributed!!! :) 

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

#QuiltsforQC Sew-In

On Sunday February 26th from 12 noon to 5pm, Atelier Fiber Arts will be hosting us at their shop (3993 Rue Wellington, Verdun, QC H4G 1V6) for a sew-in afternoon for the #QuiltsforQC project.

Photo courtesy of Julie

We will spend the afternoon making house blocks for the project and starting construction on the quilt tops. There will be drinks, snacks and a lot of good company.

If you have completed blocks you are welcome to drop them by. If you'd like to make a block but don't know how or need a machine or fabric to work with, we've got you covered. We will have everything you need to make a block available, including help for those who are new to sewing. If you know how to make your block but just want to do it in the company of some fellow quilters, come join us! :) Also, if you have scrap fabric you'd like to donate, bring it on by and we'll put it to good use.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Responses to #QuiltsforQC

House block by Rebecca

We have been receiving some amazing emails from people all over who want to help with this project, but this morning I received one in particular that I thought it was important to share:

"I am a Muslim American in the US and am soooo touched that you have started this project. My dream is to do something like this for the Syrian refugee families coming in also. We have a couple of families in the area that barely have living arrangements.

I hope you can spread along my sincere thanks and appreciation to the organizer and all those that helped in any way. Having 5 generations of my family in the US, I often wonder how many more will I need before I am considered “American” by some. Its so disheartening the rhetoric that has been allowed since the new Presidency."

As I said in an email yesterday... we may not be able to fix the world's problems with quilts, but that doesn't mean we can't try. :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

#QuiltsforQC - update

What we thought would just be a small local project seems to be gaining strength quickly... it is fantastic to see so many people who want to help! Our goal is to make a quilt to be given to each of the 6 families who lost a loved one, and to each of the people injured in the attack. For full details on the project and what we need to accomplish that, please see the original post.

House block by Maggie

I have had a few people ask if they could include notes of support with their blocks... absolutely! If you wish to include a card or note of support for the recipients, we will pass along any we receive with the finished quilts. If you would like to reach out to the mosque to offer support directly, you can do so through their website, Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec

For those of you who are local, you are welcome to drop completed blocks off in person at Atelier Fiber Arts during their business hours. We may also be planning a block-making session in the coming weeks; we will post details on that once we know. 

For those further afield who would like to contribute blocks, you can mail them to us at:

Montreal Modern Quilt Guild
c/o Atelier Fiber Arts
3993 rue Wellington
Verdun, Quebec, H4G 1V6

We will post updates here as things progress. If you have any questions, or would like to help out in some other way, please feel free to send us an email at: mtlmqg@gmail.com 

Whether you contribute a pile of blocks, a single block, or just help spread the word by sharing our post with your friends, we are very grateful for all of your help!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Call to action - Quilts for Québec

Yesterday there was an attack made on members of our community... a gunman entered a Quebec City mosque during prayers and opened fire, killing 6 people and seriously injuring at least 5 others.

Intolerance and hate have no place in my definition of 'Québecois(e)' or 'Canadian', and as our Prime Minister recently said, "Our diversity is our strength." With that in mind, this act of terrorism simply will not stand and in the hopes of sending a little comfort and strong message of support to our neighbours in their time of need, we are doing what we do as a quilt guild - we are making quilts. 

We will be collecting house quilt blocks to make quilts that remind the recipients that this is their home, that they are an important part of this community and that we, their neighbours, are here to support and protect them. We would like to have at least enough for the families of each of the victims who lost their lives in the attack (6 so far), and ideally enough for those who were injured as well, although we do not yet know the final number. 

Image courtesy of Craftsy

If you would like to make a block (or many), here is what we need:
  • blocks should be 12.5" square
  • solid and non-figurative print fabrics are best (ie: no images of people or animals)
  • it would be nice to have the background fabric be a light neutral (white, light grey, cream, low-volume prints, etc) if possible  
  • the house can be as simple or as complex as you like, feel free to improvise and customize (examples and tutorials below)
  • bring your completed blocks to our Feb 14th meeting or to the Feb sew-in on the 18th
We would like to start constructing the quilts after our meeting later this month, and for those mailing their blocks in, please try to have them to us by March 4th. You can mail your blocks to us at:
Montreal Modern Quilt Guild
c/o Atelier Fiber Arts
3993 rue Wellington
Verdun, Quebec, H4G 1V6
Also, we invite you to share pictures of your blocks on social media, and please include the tag #quiltsforqc so we can see your wonderful work! :)

We are also accepting donations of backing fabric and batting for finishing the quilts, or money to be put towards the purchase of those items, if that's more your speed... please send us an email (mtlmqg@gmail.com) and we can arrange something that works for you. :) 

As for the blocks themselves, there are many different kinds of house blocks you can make ranging from simple to complex. We want our quilt villages to be beautiful and varied! Below are some house block tutorials to get you started; you can also do a search for "house quilt block" on Pinterest or Google, and if you have an idea or tutorial to share, post it in the comments!
I know quilts can't fix everything in this world (wouldn't it be wonderful if they could?), but it never hurts to remind people that they are a valued part of their community, and that their neighbours support them. We appreciate any help you can give us in sending that message! :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles

Hari-Kuyo is the Buddhist and Shinto Festival of Broken Needles which is celebrated in parts of Japan on February 8th. For the past 400 years, kimono makers, seamstresses and homemakers have gathered at shrines to thank their bent pins and broken needles for the hard work and faithful service they have provided over the past year. They express their thanks by holding a small memorial service and putting the pins and needles to rest in a block of soft tofu or jelly. It is also an opportunity to pray for improved sewing skills in the year to come.

Image courtesy of japan-experience.com

Why hold a memorial for pins and needles? In animist cultures it is believed that objects have souls, so this ceremony was a way for those whose livelihood relied on the humble needle to pay homage to that soul. After a year of rough treatment, the pins and needles are given a soft, luxurious resting place at the end of their 'lives'. It is also, on the most basic level, a way to simply acknowledge the importance of these tools that so often get overlooked.

Also central to the festival is the concept of 'Mottainai', which roughly means a sense of regret concerning waste. (The philosophical concept behind it is of course more complex, if you'd like to learn more about it, Wikipedia has an excellent entry on it) Being a quilter who tries to make use of every last scrap, and a sewist who tries to live by the "Make do and mend" motto, this strikes a particularly strong chord with me.
Lastly, there is an intensely personal layer of meaning to the festival. Historically, it was women who worked with pins and needles, and when those women carried painful secrets that they could not share with others, they would instead share them with their needles while they worked. Then at the end of the year, they would put those needles, and the secrets they carried, to rest in the hopes of being free to move forward. I think all of us have experienced that meditative connection with our work at some point; it can be a wonderfully therapeutic practise for anyone who picks up a needle.

As a sewist and quilter, I found the concept behind the festival so wonderfully reverential to one of the most necessary tools of our trade that I wanted to join in the celebration. I always try to be sensitive about cultural appropriation, so while I come from a different cultural background, my needles work as hard as anyone else's and I hope the powers that be don't mind that I celebrate Hari-Kuyo in my own little way.

At our February meeting on the 14th we will be celebrating the Festival of Broken Needles... please bring along any worn, bent or broken pins and needles that you have so we can thank them for their service, give them their well-earned rest and look forward to the next year of sewing and creating!