Sunday, May 22, 2016

On the Blog: June (Sew-In!) Meeting and Charity Project Details -

Our June meeting will be on Saturday, June 18 and will be a Sew-In.  It will be from Noon – 5:00 pm, in a different location than our usual venue.  We’ll meet at Magical Mind Studio, 343 Harrison Street, in the Oak Park arts district. There should be plenty of free street parking.

We’ll be starting a charity project for Sarah’s Inn at the Sew-In for anyone wishing to participate.  More details on the specifics of that project below.

Please fill out the form below to RSVP for the Sew-In if you plan on attending.  We have capacity for 20 sewing machines, but are otherwise not limited in the total amount of people.  So bring your hand sewing; plan to cut, press and assist with our charity project; or just come to socialize.  We do want an accurate count to ensure we have enough tables and chairs for everyone attending, though, so let us know if you plan to attend!   


WHO: The recipient of our charity project will be Sarah's Inn, a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by domestic violence and to break the cycle of violence for future generations.  Click here for more information on the specific services that Sarah’s Inn provides.
WHAT:  If you’d like to participate, here are the three projects we will be making.  Feel free to make any one (or more) of these options:

1.  Pillows:  We’ll be sewing 12” finished quilt block, then adding borders to make 16” square completed pillows.  The fronts of the pillows should be quilted and the covers removable (either with a zipper or envelope closing on the back) so they can easily be machine washed and dried.  Please make one of the quilt block designs shown below, and use the color palette provided.

2.  Throw (or lap) quilts:  Using the same quilt block designs and color palette shown below, we’ll work individually or in groups to make as many small quilts as we can.  (Six quilts would be great, twenty would be phenomenal!)  These should be 40-48” wide by 48-54” long.  Feel free to make a few 12” blocks to contribute to a top, or use tricks and tips from May’s meeting to super-size blocks:  Four 24” blocks would make a great 48” x48” lap quilt, for example!

3.  Zipper pouches:  These should be small, make-up sized pouches that can easily fit in a purse.  Use ANY fabric you’d like and make as many as you wish!  If you’d like to put a nice smelling bar of soap and perhaps a fancy hand lotion inside, that would be icing on the cake.  Sarah’s Inn will give these to women who could really use a little extra pampering.

HOW:  For the pillows and quilts, please try to stick fairly closely to the following color palette.  We are using prints we received as a donation from Massdrop and have chosen some Kona solids to coordinate with them.  If you’d like to use other fabrics from your stash, that’s fine, but try to stick pretty closely to the palette we’ve chosen so that we have a cohesive group of finished pillows and quilts.
Prints: (TOP TO BOTTOM) Dimples in Purple by Gail Kessler for Andover Fabric; Wishes in the Breeze on Lilac from Lewis & Irene; Mini Pearl Bracelets in Petal from Lizzy House for Andover; Mushroom World Cheater in Lavender from Quilt Gate.

Coordinating Kona solids: (TOP ROW) Navy, Cactus, Hibiscus, Creamsicle; (SECOND ROW) Aloe, Lupine, Lemon, Teal Blue; (BOTTOM ROW - neutrals) Putty, Snow, Parchment, Essex Yarn-dyed Flax

The guild will supply
  • Each person with 3-4 fat quarter print fabrics and people can add their own coordinating solids and prints. 
  • 16-inch square pillow forms.
  • Background fabric to complete throw quilts and pillows (to incorporate negative space and make our blocks go farther) 
  • Some batting/backing /binding fabric to those who volunteer to quilt & bind throws.  Donations of extra batting or coordinating fabric that could be used for backing or binding are also welcome! 

June sew-in:  distribute fabric at sew-in and sew
July meeting:  distribute fabric to those not at sew-in
August meeting:  show completed pillows, pieced tops*, and bags
September meeting:  show completed quilts
Deliver by Oct 1, 2016.

*We need volunteers who will take blocks completed at the June sew in to piece them into throws.

Look for more information about the blocks (with cutting dimensions for 12” blocks), a tutorial from Dani for inserting a zipper in a pillow cover, and links to simple zipper pouch tutorials!

Hope to see you there!!

- written by Amy S.
- posted/edited by Erin D.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

On the Blog: May Meeting Recap

Our VP, Amy Struckmeyer, presented a walk through on how to access the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild group and forums on the Modern Quilt Guild’s Community website. It’s very important that all Chicago guild members get connected. It’s a way to share information privately and it’s also how registration will occur for our Glam Clam Workshop in July with Latifah Saafir. Which will be on a first come, first serve and online only! Refer to this (this blog postfor information.
Our Vice President, Amy Struckmeyer, striking a pose!

Guild Members Mary Fons, Charity Simpson, and Heather Kinion lead a program called “Design Beyond Patterns”. Mary talked about how you choose to set a block (or many) can widely change your design as well as the fabrics you choose. 

Charity showed us all how to super size a block into a whole quilt, including some tips on how to limit the amount of math involved - 

From Charity:

Using graph paper to design quilts
1) If the quilt only has right angles, it is easy to count squares to determine the size of each piece to be cut. 
2) Determine how many squares per inch. Graph paper comes in many forms, but is commonly found in 4, 5, and 10 squares per inch.
3) Determine the ratio or scale in which you plan to draw your quilt. Typically, a 1"=10" ratio is sufficient, as a typical 8.5"x11" piece of paper will allow for the design of quilts smaller than 85"x110". 
4) Dividing the ratio you've chosen to drawn in by the number of squares per inch will give you the dimension each square represents. If drawing in a 1":10" ratio on a 5 square per inch piece of graph paper, each square will represent 2 inches (10/5=2).

Taking measurements from your quilt sketch  
2) If you are using a ruler to measure the size of each piece to be cut, take the measurement and multiply by the ratio you drew in to determine the size of each piece. If you measure a piece on your drawing to be 1.25" long and you drew in a 1"=10" ratio, the cutting dimension is 12.5" (1.25x10). 
3) If you have used an engineering scale or architect scale in past, you can take direct-read measurements from your drawing without needing to do any math. There are YouTube videos on how to use the scales if you have any interest in learning how to use one.
Note: The dimensions you are measuring on your quilt sketch are FINISHED dimensions. You must add 0.5" to the length and width of each piece for seam allowance.

Changing the size of a traditional block or any pattern 
If you would like to increase or decrease the size of a block there is a simple formula for doing so:
(size of finished block as written in the pattern) · X = (size you want finished block to be)
If the pattern finishes as a 6" block and you want the block to finish at 20", the equation looks like this:
6X=20   ->->  X=20/6  ->->   X=3.33 
You then multiply the cutting dimensions of each piece of the block by 3.33. 
If you want to reduce the size of the block the formula is the same. If you want the 6" block to finish at 3" the formula looks like this:
6X=3  ->->  X=3/6  ->->  X=0.5 
Note: Seam allowance is never multiplied! You must subtract the seam allowance (typically 0.5), multiply the remaining dimension by 3.33, and then add back the seam allowance.

Thanks Charity!

Heather gave us an overview of some free tools that are available to help you design a quilt and calculate fabric yardage needed. She showed us how Pattern Jam (Pattern Jam) can be used to design your own quilt and how tools like (QuiltingCalc(by Robert Kaufman Fabrics) and (Block Fab(by Mary Kay Podlecki) can be used to calculate fabric yardage. She also found (Quilt Faband  (Quilt Ref(both by Mary Kay Podlecki) to be interesting as well.

CMQG Members and guest speakers Mary, Charity and Heather!
The May meeting was also the day where our members brought in their quilts for the University of Chicago’s Healing Arts exhibit. These quilts will be on display at the university’s hospital from June thru August, 2016. This exhibit will be open to the public in a busy corridor link between the Center for Care and Discovery and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. I hope everyone will take the time to see this exhibit. All the quilts were STUNNING and I can’t wait to see the show myself. More pictures and a blog post will come at a later time.

Photo courtesy of Emily Lang

We then ended the meeting with some Show and Tell.  Refer to our guilds Instagram account (@chicagomqg or click on the “On Instagram” picture in the right side bar) to see some amazing quilts made by our members.


Announcements from May's meeting:

  • Our June meeting will be on Saturday, June 18 and will be Sew-In. It will be from Noon – 5:00 pm and will be at Magical Mind Studio. It’s located at 343 Harrison St, Oak Park, IL.
  • Our Charity project will be for Sarah’s Inn located in Oak Park, IL. They provide services for families affected by domestic violence. Our plan is to make pillows and lap sized quilts. Optionally, we can also make pouches for special items like scented soaps. Amy Struckmeyer will be providing more information on colors and blocks shortly.
  • On Saturday, July 16th we will be hosting Latifah Saafir for a Glam Clam Workshop. Find details regarding the workshop and how to register can be found (here.)
  • On Sunday, July 17th we will be hosting Latifah Saafir for a Lecture.
  • Our August, 21st meeting will be a Potluck with details to follow.
  • Quilt Festival Houston 2016 is having a Modern Quilt Guild Showcase and they are looking for modern quilts!!! Deadline for submission is Friday, June 17th. More information can be found here. (
  • Quiltcon Magazine 2017 is looking for articles and quilt patterns. Deadline for submissions is Tuesday, September 30th. If interested, you can find more information here. (

- written by Dianne B. and Charity S.
- posted by Erin D.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

On the Blog: May's Meeting Program

This month's meeting will have a program called "Design Beyond Patterns" presented by Charity Simpson, Mary Fons, and Heather Kinion. They will be discussing the next steps if you have an idea and want to turn it into a quilt but haven't spent much time designing your own quilts before (or ever). Charity will show us how she super-sizes a block into a quilt, Mary will talk about how you choose to set a block or many blocks can wildly change your design, and Heather will give an overview of some free and low cost options that you can use to try out computer design and computer-aided quilt math before making the decision to purchase design software.

We will also feature a digital presentation and walk-through of how to be sure you are up and running on the Chicago Modern Quilt Guilds group and forums on the Modern Quilt Guild's Community website. This will be especially important if you wish to sign up for the Latifah Saafir workshop as the sign-ups are first come, first serve and online only! You will only be able to access the link when it goes live (on Saturday, May 21st at 10am) if you are properly registered as a member of our guild and group. If you have a device (smart phone, tablet, etc) that you use and you aren't already signed up and working, please feel free to bring it into the meeting as some of the board members will be there to help make sure you are connected! You can also review our blog post about it here:

Beyond the program, Dianne will be collecting the quilts accepted for our guild show at the University of Chicago Medical Center, so if you got an email accepting your quilt, don't forget to put on a hanging sleeve and bring it in!! 

We will also have our Medallion sew-along progress show and tell, and we encourage everyone to bring their's in whether you are all caught up or working at your own pace. 

Plus regular show and tell! And if you have a book checked out from the guild library, be sure to return it to our guild librarian Emily Handley.

Meeting details:

Sunday, May 15 @ 2:00pm
Rush Oak Park Hospital
Centennial Room
520 S. Maple Ave
Oak Park, Il 60304

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Latifah Saafir Workshop Sign-Up Details

Latifah Saafir will be teaching her Glam Clam workshop for the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild at Thimbles quilt shop in Lockport, IL from 10am-4:30pm on Saturday, July 16th (lunch will be included).

The cost of the workshop will $75 + materials (fabric for your quilt, plus her clammy ruler will be available for purchase).

Registration and payment for this workshop will be online only, and it will be first come, first serve. 

In order to reserve it for Chicago MQG members only (at least for the initial wave of registration), the link to registration will be found in a private post on the MQG forums in the Chicago MQG's group. There are 24 slots for students in the class, and you must pay online at the time of registration (via paypal or credit/debit card). A waitlist will be created for any sign-ups beyond that 24 slots, and they will be contacted if there are any cancellations. If you need to cancel up to 7 days in advance of the workshop, we will refund your whole payment as we are able to fill your slot off the waitlist. If you cancel within 7 days of the workshop, we will try to fill your slot, but we cannot guarantee a refund.

The registration page will go live at 10am, Saturday, May 21st. The page and link WILL be posted BEFORE that date, but it will not link to a live registration form UNTIL 10am. 

 Registration will be opened to the general public on June 16th IF the class has not been filled by guild members by that time.

 This is a new style of registration for our guild, but we are using it because we believe it will be a fair way for interested parties to ensure their slot in this class at the time of registration. The live registration will be programmed in advance by computer, think of the process as akin to buying tickets for a concert or event OR registering for classes at Quiltcon.

 We recognize that not everyone uses the Modern Quilt Guild Forums regularly, so we will be posting a blog post with details on how to do it. We will also be presenting a walk-through presentation of how to sign-up/join during our May 15th meeting. We strongly suggest that, if you are not fluent in getting online into our group (there is a link on the sidebar of this blog at all times directly to our group) and logging into the site, that you do a practice run before you intend to sign-up and possibly even before the May 15th meeting. At the meeting, you are encouraged to bring your smartphone, tablet or laptop and play along, there will be people at the meeting to help you troubleshoot and sign-up. There will not be tech support on call during the start of registration.

If you have not activated your Modern Quilt Guild forums registration, please be sure to do this in advance of registration. If you have activated it, but you are not sure of your password or login, etc, we strongly suggest you address this well before you try to register. If you haven't been paired to/joined the Chicago Guild's particular group and forum, please be sure to address that in advance. There will not be someone available that morning to address personal technical difficulties.

Watch for more information and the registration form in the coming weeks.


Contact us by emailing the Guild click here >  photo Email Purple_zpswvuepttw.png

- written by Heather K.
- posted/edited by Erin D. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

On the Blog: April + May Medallion Quilt Along Instructions!

We're heading into both the midpoint of the medallion borders and a very busy time of year for many of us! Keep plugging away at your own pace, and know that there's some time built into the Quilt Along in the fall for finishing up. 

To view previous month's tutorials - 

Once again there were some beautiful quilts shown at the April meeting! You can see that we're all at different stages of this creative process. 😀

This month we're introducing both the April and May instructions to help you play catch up and to balance the making of one easy border and one border that's more time consuming. 

With permission from the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild, here are the instructions for the April border:


Here are a few notes for April to help you get started:

  • Note the starting size at the top of the instructions. This may not be your quilt's size, which will be okay, but you may want to square the quilt up at this point to help with additional borders. 
  • To see quilts with the 2 color/contrasting light and dark fabrics, check out #seamqgbom on Instagram. 
  • You  may need to adjust the width of the strips depending on the starting size of your quilt. 

And the instructions from Seattle for the May border:

may bom

Some notes for May:

  • The raspberry kiss block instructions are found by following the link to
  • There are 3 alternate block versions given, and many other blocks could be substituted if you choose. Just be sure the block is 4.75" unfinished/4.25" finished. 
  • Some/many of the Seattle members did not add the spacing strips as shown in Step 2. You may need to adjust the width of the April border depending on the size of this border. 
  • You may choose to make a cornerstone block that is different from the other border blocks. Again, see #seamqgbom on Instagram for ideas. 

image courtesy of Sarah Shulman - thanks Sarah!

Please bring your medallions in progress to the May meeting for show and tell! Happy medallion-ing!

- written by Sarah S. and Holly H.
- edited/posted by Erin D.