PIQF recap

SVMQG Showed Up and Showed Off!

Author: Dianne Gates-Anderson, 2021 Senior Vice President

In 2021, the SVMQG President’s goals were to focus on Modern Quilting and to celebrate our members’ efforts and creativity.  Fortunately, the state of the pandemic allowed the in-person Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) to proceed this year (Oct 14-17, 2021) and our members were prepared to take  advantage of the opportunity.

Earlier in the year, NACQJ certified quilt judge, Kathi Eubank, spoke at our July meeting.  Kathi went into great detail on what quilt judges look for (they really want to help improve your work) and she strongly encouraged our members to submit quilts to as many shows as possible. Armed with our new knowledge, and gentle nudging from our leadership, 10 members submitted a total of 15 quilts to PIQF. 

At our July meeting, we discussed 9 reasons why members should submit quilts to shows. Enjoy this photo gallery of our members quilts on display at PIQF along with these reasons, and be sure to scroll all the way through to the end of the list to see why the list has been expanded to 10

Why you should enter your work in quilt shows: 

Reason #1: It’s an accomplishment to get accepted, so take a bow 

Rhonda Rosales with her quilt “Tamalpais” 

Reason #2: It’s a chance to share the beauty of your work with others and let them shine

“Kinship Expanded” by Erika Williams

Reason #3: Nice way to get pictures of full size quilts

“Love All Around” by Therese May
“Entropy” by Rhonda Rosales

Reason #4: People get to know you as a quilter and creator

“Somewhere Out There” by Dianne Gates-Anderson
“Sway” by Rhonda Rosales

Reason #5: You get to see your work from a different perspective

“For Lee” by Darla Gallentine

Reason #6: Your work can inspire and encourage others

“Love from Coast to Coast” by Anne Muller
“Operatic” by Rhonda Rosales

Reason #7: Entering shows motivates you to complete projects

 “If Only We’re Brave Enough”  by Mandy Fleig
“My Favorite Anderson” by Dianne Gates-Anderson
  • Mandy and Dianne had to hustle to expand their works to meet minimum size requirements for PIQF and pre-finished hanging sleeves came in handy for last minute finishing up before delivering the quilts to the show.

Reason #8: Entering shows makes you take your work/craft/quilting seriously

“Happy Little Trees” by Jenny Wagner
  • This is one of several quilts that she has had accepted in the Cherrywood Challenge.  The Cherrywood Challenge quilts travel from show to show around the country and this little quilt is a perfect example of Jenny’s creativity and attention to detail.

Reason #9: Feedback from judges helps you grow as a quilter

“Happy Houses” by Dianne Gates-Anderson
  • While the judges liked the composition and the colors they also pointed out a couple of areas for improvement such as careful trimming to avoid shadowing and suggesting more uniform quilting throughout the piece.  These suggestions will definitely be kept in mind for future quilts.

Reason #10 (newly experienced)Winning ribbons is awesome!

“Stairway to Heaven” by Pam Holt
“Modern Bullseye” by Kathrin Brown
  • Pam received lots of suggestions for completing her quilt at the UFO Rescue Digital Thursday last year and continuing support and encouragement to enter her quilt in PIQF during our Saturday Sew Days.

Guild members also performed white glove services for the show, and staffed a table where we shared information about the guild’s many activities and offerings.

In addition to welcoming prospective members, we continued sales of our Quilt Journal, encouraging quilters to document their quilting process and record their finished quilts.

Charity Quilt Donation (Bill Wilson Center)

Author: Lisbeth Polavarapu, 2021 VP of Philanthropy

Our second group of donated quilts this year went to Bill Wilson Center in San Jose. Our guild has donated quilts to Bill Wilson Center for many years, and we were happy to continue supporting them this year. 

Bill Wilson Center provides a variety of services to children, youth and families in Santa Clara county. They focus on providing counseling, housing, education, and advocacy, and have been working with youth in our community since 1973. 

Sorting quilts by size for donation
Stacks of quilts for Bill Wilson Center

This time our guild donated 34 quilts in total, 22 baby quilts and 12 lap size and larger.

Heather at Bill Wilson Center with our donated quilts

BWC is very appreciative of all the quilts they have received from us. The timing was great, and they were excited to be able to include our quilts in their Adopt-A-Family Holiday program. The quilts will be given to needy children in the Santa Clara county foster care system to bring some extra joy and warmth during the holiday season.

For more information on Bill Wilson Center and all the services they provide, visit their website.

SVMQG Member Spotlight | Lisa Bourgeault

Author: Lisa Bourgeault, 2021 VP of Membership

A divorce can change your life in many ways, but in my case, it turned me into a quilter. 

I learned to embroider at the age of 5, and that led naturally to a bit of hand sewing. 

One of my first embroideries.
Hand-sewn bag circa 1971. I still keep my embroidery stuff in this bag.

Once my mom taught me to use a sewing machine, I got excited about choosing fabrics for simple garments – my first effort was a very ‘70s pair of wrap pants made out of wild fabric, with ball fringe – I wish I had a photo of those!  My whole adult life, I thought that if I ever had the time, I’d love to do some type of fiber art and just surround myself with beautiful fabrics. This was kind of a crazy dream seeing as I’ve never considered myself to be artistic. 

This is not your typical bridesmaid dress.

My sewing for many years was very utilitarian – curtains, pillows, a bridesmaid dress and a huge project making fleece ponchos for a charity sale – and every trip to the fabric store made me long to spend a lot of time shopping for and petting beautiful fabrics.

In 2014, when I got divorced, I decided to take the room my ex-husband had been using as his office and turn it into a sewing and game room for me and my two kids.  By the next year, my old clunky sewing machine gave way to a new very nifty one, and the games (and the kids) were banished to a different room.  

Did I want to sew garments? Make quilts?  I didn’t know at first, until a pattern drafting class just overwhelmed me and made me realize that I didn’t really want to pour my time into learning how to sew clothes when I could jump in and enjoy quilting at a beginner level very quickly.

I learned to free motion when I made my first quilt, in a class at Eddie’s Quilting Bee.

My daughter already loved sewing, so she came to a quilting class with me and quilting became something that we could enjoy together.

My daughter and I made this quilt together. It was supposed to be for her freshman dorm room, but we didn’t finish until her sophomore year.

Even my son, who was 8 at the time, started a small quilt for his beloved stuffed dog (however, it is still sitting in the UFO pile).    

I have to say I am not a fast quilter, but I’m trying to be patient with myself and just enjoy going at my own pace.  Baby quilts and throws are my specialty, because they can be finished fairly quickly and they are easy to quilt on my domestic machine.

One of my all-time favorite baby quilts, given to one of my all-time favorite teachers.
I had fun with the walking foot quilting on this charity baby quilt.

I like challenging myself to do something new with every quilt, and lately I have fallen in love with improv.  The fact that I’m not proficient at 1/4 inch seams has a lot to do with that, but I also love the look of improv quilts; It’s great that they don’t get boring since I’m not making bunches of the same block.  I love free motion quilting and have taken quite a few classes; I’m also in the Self-Guided Learning Team Deep Dive into Quilting, so I’ve been practicing a lot this year.  I just bought a ruler foot and a couple of small rulers, so I’m looking forward to trying those.

This year I’m also working on a series of quilts called “Springtime in Los Altos.”  For four years I’ve been taking photos of the glorious purple and pink flowers that appear on my walks around town in the spring, and I wanted to figure out how to capture the feeling of being surrounded by this beauty.  I’m very excited that the Self-Guided Team on Working in a Series has pushed me to take this idea that has been in my head and turn it into a reality.  My first two efforts didn’t do what I wanted them to do, but the current one is working out really well and I love it.

I’ve taken some great classes with the guild, including Giucy Guice’s class on Photography and Branding and most recently a class with Carolina Oneto. 

I photographed this quilt during Giucy-Guice’s class. Not a great photo, but it certainly showed me the importance of photographing in daylight and finding interesting photo shoot locations.

When the pandemic hit, the SVMQG really saved my sanity – I always look forward to our Zoom meetings so I can see my friends.  I’ve loved our virtual retreats and working on the 2020 and 2021 BOMs, too.  

I have so much fun quilting and hanging out with quilty people at quilty events.  I’m definitely a quilter for life.

Many thanks to Lisa for sharing her story us!

Check back each month for more Member Spotlight blogs where we’ll feature one or more of our guild members who will introduce and tell us a little bit more about themselves and their quilting journey.

If you’re interested in being featured on our Member Spotlight, fill out the form on our Member Resources page and we’ll reach out with more info.

Annual Design Contest

This year we kicked off a new fundraising activity for 2021 by holding a design contest to create branded limited-availability swag that we would sell on our Zazzle website and directly to members.

We saw this as a great opportunity to promote the guild, raise funds, and take advantage of the incredible talent of our awesome members… plus, we wanted some cool swag!

Members were asked to create an original design and submit an image in any format within a given timeframe. During their design process, we asked members to think about the different application for the design (e.g., t-shirt, mug, tote bag, sticker, etc.) and about its universal appeal, beyond just appealing to guild members.

submitted designs

We were so impressed the designs received, though we knew that our members’ talents went beyond just quilting. Submitted designs were presented to the guild and a form was sent out to select the contest winner.

The winning design, At Home Together, was created by our very own president, Sarah Osentowski.


This design represents the theme of this year where we’ve spent most of our time sewing virtually with each other so I created a computer monitor with a sewing machine and sewing goodies bursting out of it, melding the real world and our online worlds together.

Sarah O.

This design will be featured on a custom order of sweatshirts for guild members, and has been added to the guild’s Zazzle store for ordering… check it out before they’re gone!

Many thanks to all of the entrants for participating in this fun new initiative… Our guild is so creative! We hope to continue this program next year, giving folks a souvenir of each unique and wonderful year with our guild.

Quilted Postcards | Making and Exchanging

At our June meeting, NASA engineer Sarah Ruiz joined us to discuss the benefits of doing a 100 day project, and to walk us through her quilted postcard process.

In anticipation of our upcoming quilted postcard swap, we welcomed guests from the Philly MQG to the meeting.

Sarah showed us her process for making the postcards, including design, materials, finishing, and mailing them.

Check out Sarah’s tutorial to learn her method for making quilted postcards.

Guild members signed up for the swap and received a kit of materials, including interfacing and a clear mailing envelope as well the name of a member of the Philly MQG who would receive their one-of-a-kind tiny quilted masterpiece. Tutorials were provided at Sew Days to help with inspiration and techniques.

We’re not sure which was more fun, making postcards, or receiving them from our friends in Philly.

Thanks to Sarah for sharing this fun activity with us, and many thanks to the members of Silicon Valley MQG and Philly MQG who made and mailed these adorable tiny quilts.

To see the collection of postcards made by SVMQG guild members, check out our gallery.

SVMQG Member Spotlight | Lisbeth Polavarapu

Author: Lisbeth Polavarapu, 2021 VP of Philanthropy

I have been crafty my entire life. I cannot remember a time when I was not making stuff.

There is a home video of me (on 8mm film reel) at around 5 years old darning a pair of socks. I look so happy and excited.

I remember knitting and crocheting doll and barbie clothes, doing cross stitch, embroidering, you name it. When I got a little older I started playing around with my mom’s sewing machine too.

My crafty inspiration mainly came from my grandma’s sister who was a seamstress by trade, and was always sewing, knitting or crocheting something. I’m lucky to have some of her sewing supplies and her button collection and love it whenever I can incorporate one of them into a project.

Quilting however, was not something I knew anything about. It was not common in Norway where I grew up, and I don’t remember ever seeing a quilt.

After graduating from college at Iowa State I moved to California in 2000. Around 2002 I bought a sewing machine, got a fat quarter pack and a learn-to-quilt booklet from Walmart. I don’t remember what inspired me to start quilting, but I remember watching Simply Quilts on PBS, learning from online quilting discussion boards, and later attending classes at PIQF.

My first ever quilt blocks, and my first (mini) quilt.

One of the first quilt blocks I made from the same booklet became a pillow.

First baby quilt I made in 2003.
First large quilt I made in 2004. It lives in our van and still gets a lot of use.
I made this quilt from a pattern in 2005 for my oldest daughter when she was born.
I made this quilt of my own design for my youngest daughter. She was born in 2010, but the quilt was finished in 2014.

I was looking for quilty friends and came across messages about SVMQG starting up at The Intrepid Thread in 2014. I joined the second or third meeting of the guild, I think, and I have been a member ever since. For two years I was treasurer, and currently I am VP of philanthropy. 

Discovering modern quilting was an eye opener for me. As an engineer and a quilter I find it freeing to do my own thing, and not always follow the rules. 

Through the guild I’ve had many opportunities to create mini quilts. I love this format for trying new things.

This is a quilt from a class by Karen Foster hosted by the guild.
Quilts I designed and made during a retreat that hang on my living room wall.

I made this quilt in 2016 for my mom’s 70th birthday. It is made to look like one of the shelves in her library. Definitely one of my favorite quilts. 

I made this quilt in 2016 for my mom’s 70th birthday. It is made to look like one of the shelves in her library. Definitely one of my favorite quilts.
My latest finished quilt. I made the top during my first quilt along on Instagram in 2019, and just finished it earlier this year in time for my oldest daughter’s 16th birthday.

I still knit, crochet, cross stitch etc. but quilting is my main creative outlet now. I love all the steps of the quilting process, but hand sewing down the binding is my absolute favorite. Possibly because it is the last step.

I’m so happy to be a member of this guild. I have learned so much, and I’m continually inspired by all the creativity, fun and friendship. 

Many thanks to Lisbeth for sharing her crafty story with us!

Check back each month for more Member Spotlight blogs where we’ll feature one or more of our guild members who will introduce and tell us a little bit more about themselves and their quilting journey.

If you’re interested in being featured on our Member Spotlight, fill out the form on our Member Resources page and we’ll reach out with more info.

SVMQG Member Spotlight | Sue Bouchard

About Sue

Sue has been sewing since she was 4 and quilting since age 12. This was before rotary cutters and self healing mats!  She loves all the steps in quilting including designing, making and teaching modern quilt designs. Sue’s passion is inspiring others on their creative journey! In the past 25 years, she has taught quilting in over 30 states and 6 countries at both quilt guilds and major quilt shows. 

Sue’s Background in the Modern Quilt Guild

Sue attended the first Quiltcon in Austin Texas, 2013. After that, she could not get enough of all the creativity resulting by not following the guidelines used in traditional quilting.  She will always love the heritage in traditional quilts and enjoys the challenge of adding a modern twist to them.

In 2015, Sue was juried into the second Quiltcon Show with her quilt, Modern Migration. She wrote the book shortly after the show and it is available for purchase through Amazon.  

Modern Migration, Quilt by Sue Bouchard
Photo by Dylan Mayer

This Martini quilt is featured in April’s 2021 MQG Journal post. It is a combination of pieced lattice with easy, appliqued ovals and circles. Complete pattern is free for members of the MQG. To download: go to –  Modernquiltguild.com –  resources>>Martini Quilt>>April 2021.

Martini Quilt by Sue Bouchard
Photo by Laura Loewen

Sue first taught a hands on ‘All About Binding’ class virtually at Quiltcon 2021. The class was filled right away after registration opened. It was a great opportunity for her and she was very excited when she was invited earlier this year to teach it again, in person, at Quiltcon 2022 in Phoenix.  To sign up for this class download the catalogue from quiltcon.com.  The class is FIN001, Thursday February 17, 2022, 6-9 pm. Registration opens for members on August 4 and non-members on August 19.  

All About Binding Class
Quiltcon 2022

Sue’s Contact information
IG sbbouchard
Email suebouchard@gmail.com

We hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to Sue!

Check back each month for more Member Spotlight blogs where we’ll feature one or more of our guild members who will introduce and tell us a little bit more about themselves and their quilting journey.

If you’re interested in being featured on our Member Spotlight, fill out the form on our Member Resources page and we’ll reach out with more info.

Charity Quilt Donation

Author: Lisbeth Polavarapu, 2021 VP of Philanthropy

This year our first group of charity quilts were donated to Family Supportive Housing in San Jose. The guild delivered 8 baby quilts and 6 lap+ size quilts for a total of 14 quilts.

Family Supportive Housing is a local organization that helps homeless families with children remain together, while addressing their immediate needs. They provide food and shelter in a center exclusively for families, while providing supportive services like healthcare, employment readiness preparation, and homework enrichment programs. They also provide an after care program to help families after they transition into permanent housing, as well as assistance to low income families impacted by COVID-19.

Visit their website to read more about Family Supportive Housing.

Our Quilt Journal

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I remembered that project I made years ago?” OR “What technique did I use on that quilt?” OR “Why did I make that design choice?” 

Ever thought about having your own personal coffee table book of quilts you’ve made with all the details of your process from early concepts and rough sketches to the final design and fished photo?  

If so, you’ll love My Quilt Journal

We created this loosely structured scrapbook for quilters who want to capture the why and the how of their projects in one place. Beyond a finished quilt photo and label, there is room for sketches, inspiration photos, doodles, and more.

You can use the journal at any point during the creative process of making your quilt. 

My Quilt Journal is a tool for planning and playing as well as reflection and archiving. Use it during your creative process for digging into your design and planning out your project. Or use it once your quilt is complete to document and archive your pattern, fabric swatches, finishing touches and the final project.

Recording your quilts allows you to recall the creative process and build on past projects, providing a physical record of your quilts that you can look through as well as share with others.

Keep a detailed archive of your quilts for yourself and others to enjoy! 

My Quilt Journal includes room for 24 projects, plus Addendum pages for additional information or reference materials. We’ve also included a Table of Contents so that you can easily find your projects.

If you would like to order your own copy of My Quilt Journal, you can go do so via our website. Sales support the guilds philanthropic, educational, and social activities. Be sure to share with us how you use the journal, post on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #SVMQGquiltjournal.

We can’t wait to see the story of your projects!

SVMQG Member Spotlight | Amanda Morris

Author: Amanda Morris, 2021 Co-VP of Programs

Like many of us, my quilting journey started with a childhood filled with arts and craft projects. My mom is an artist who was teaching college level art classes in Mississippi when she got the opportunity to move the family to the desert southwest. We moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1976, living just 45 minutes north of Santa Fe.

The constant exposure to world class art and handmade crafts helped develop my curiosity for how art is made. One of my strongest memories of my childhood is driving through Northern New Mexico collecting clay from the side of the road, taking it home in several 5 gallon buckets, and processing it into clay that my mom used to make pottery.

Out of all the crafts I was given the chance to explore: pottery, drawing, painting, batik, knitting, and sewing, the one that clicked the most for me was sewing. I was 9 years old when my mom walked me through the process of making a red wrapped skirt. I had such pride in telling my teacher, “Look at my skirt I made myself!” I continued garment sewing on and off for many years. In 1998, I discovered a store called, “The Sewing Place” in Saratoga. 

Their wonderful array of classes and terrific selection of high end garment fabrics was a game changer for me. It drastically expanded my knowledge of fit and the construction of high quality garments.

As my garment game improved, I also gained a new circle of friends with whom I spent a lot of time talking about all things sewing. Many of these new friends were also quilters, and though I was impressed by the quilts that they showed off, I was not tempted to try the traditional art that they were making. I remember asking my sister who had been quilting for years, “You cut up the fabric in really small pieces and sew it back together again!?!  That makes my brain hurt!” It took the discovery of modern quilting to engage my curiosity. One morning on my way to work I was listening to the “Modern Sewciety” podcast. Stephanie Kendron, the host, was interviewing the president of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild. I was thrilled to learn that such an organization existed! I could not wait to get to my computer to see if there was an MQG guild near me. Not only was there a Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild, but as luck would have it, there was a meeting the following night. The rest, as they say, is history. I attended the meeting and felt so welcome and encouraged that I couldn’t wait until the next one.

Joining this guild has allowed me to realize my passion for modern quilting.  I’ve learned as much through the classes we have offered as a guild as I have through the fellowship we offer each other. I am grateful to all of my fellow guild members for sharing both their art and their knowledge with me.

“BOM.com”  This was my first ever Block of the Month quilt.  I was hesitant to not know where the project was headed, but ended up loving the uncertainty.
“Tricky Trinket”This was my first ever Sewalong project.  This is the Trinket quilt by Alison Glass.  I wanted a large, busy quilt so I made 5 of each block.
“Light as a Feather” I wanted to explore the idea of quilt blocks getting up and floating off the quilt.
“Napili Time”  Maui is one of my family’s favorite vacation spots.  We have spent endless hours snorkeling around the Napili area of Maui.  I used the colors of the sea and flowers as my inspiration.
“Kurafuto” After taking a shibori class with Sandra Jordan, I could not stop dyeing.  I had so much fun and wound up with a LOT of fabric. I wanted to keep the dyed fabric as large as I could in order to highlight the different patterns developed from my folding and clamping techniques.  I used the red fabric with an intent similar to the Kintsugi method of repairing broken pottery with gold.

Many thanks to Amanda for sharing with us!

Check back each month for more Member Spotlight blogs where we’ll feature one or more of our guild members who will introduce and tell us a little bit more about themselves and their quilting journey.

If you’re interested in being featured on our Member Spotlight, fill out the form on our Member Resources page and we’ll reach out with more info.