2020 QuiltCon Charity Quilt

the finished quilt, at the Museum of Computing

The MQG Charity Quilt Challenge for 2020 presented us with a design theme of “TEXT” and a palette of grayscale.  At first glance, we weren’t overly enthusiastic with the palette.  This was a big departure from the colorful quilts of past challenges.


The design committee discussed representing newsprint, messages, greetings, and other text elements.

The committee has always chosen a design that is somehow relevant to our Silicon Valley roots. A group of members brainstormed the idea of writing a message in binary code, which represents text using a two-symbol system of “0s” and “1s” in sets of 8 numbers. Specifically, writing “Hello, World!” referring to the test message used by programmers to show understanding of a computer language or functionality of a computer. For example, the “H” is coded a “01001000.” There were concerns around whether people would understand the message and its meaning, but we resolved to make that clear in our documentation and to give them a helpful translation in the quilting.

Once the concept was explained to all, our design was launched.  We chose to use solids only with a black background and gray or white lettering to make the message clean and to more closely resemble a computer screen.  We included large top and bottom borders to allow for the quilting which included the text “Hello” above the binary code and “World” below it, to provide a handy translation of the message in the white quilting stitches.


The committee calculated the qty of each number needed and added in some buffer for spares. Each guild member was asked to create either a “1” or a “0” digit in a 6” square block, using fabric provided by the guild and a placement guide to ensure an even border around each digit.  Members were encouraged to be creative in the design of the digit, while adhering to some general guidelines, and all techniques were allowed. The variation in the color and design of each digit was intentional and part of the modern design.

block instructions

Blocks and Assembly

Blocks were collected at guild meetings and we were thrilled with the variety of the characters provided. Even with such a simple prompt, members made a wide range of different blocks. We received everything from detailed characters with a serif to simple geometric shapes, and we loved them all.

member blocks

The assembly committee carefully spelled out the binary code and put together the final layout. Since they were recreating code, this was a layout that had to be checked and double-checked for accuracy. The committee had to work within these limits to create a balanced quilt top layout.

the letter “R”
“writing” the code

One of our members quilted the top, implementing straight lines to resemble the resolution on a computer screen.

finished quilt, quilting by Cynthia Wheeler

QuiltCon 2020!

Our quilt was displayed at the 2020 QuiltCon in Austin Texas.  We were delighted that Mary Fons featured it in her walking tour of the quilt floor, even though she called us “nerdy.” 😉

Quiltcon 2020 special exhibit tour with Mary Fons, video by Karen Foster

As always, thanks to everyone who made a block to contribute to the quilt. Special thanks to member, Cynthia Williams for quilting the quilt. And many thanks to our committee members for their creative and organizational efforts.

“Hello, World!”

  • H = 01001000
  • E = 01100101
  • L = 01101100
  • L = 01101100
  • O = 01101111
  • , = 00101100
  • <sp> = 00100000
  • W = 01010111
  • O = 01101111
  • R = 01110010
  • L = 01101100
  • D = 01100100
  • ! = 00100001

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