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.

Inspired by Architecture with David Owen Hasting

Author: Pam Holt, SVMQG Member

The SVMQG Programs Committee arranged an intriguing art quilting class on 24, April 2021.  David Owen Hasting presented a virtual workshop entitled Inspired by Architecture for approximately 18 members of the SVMQG.  


During the 6-hour workshop, our members were guided by David through his process for creating a modern, mini fabric quilt of an architectural feature using the quilt-as-you-go method. The goal was to design and construct a mini quilt during the class.  Believe it or not, several quilters were able to design, pattern, construct and finish their wall hanging the day of class.


We prepped basic quilting, design and pattern making supplies for the class including solid and subtly textured quilting cottons in strong, bright colors, as well as neutral fabrics for backgrounds.  Black fabrics were used for the back and binding.  

We also brought in a few of our own photos of architecture that were shared with David and the class.  David kindly guided us to select photos that showcased an interesting architectural feature, whether it be large or small.  Selections ranged from the corner of a door leading to a hall, to an interesting angle of a building, or window, and an unusual lighthouse.  I personally had some trouble with this as I had brought in mostly landscapes, but David gently guided me to choose a photo that would allow me to follow his process.  The key to David’s method was to zoom in on spare, simple, geometric shapes to keep a clean and modern look to the quilt.  

After selecting our architectural element, we sketched out our designs and David helped us to simplify our designs to use straight lines that are simply pieced.  He also showed us his clever technique of sizing up the design to fill the 12×12 mini quilt and create our paper pattern. The paper pattern is then transferred to batting to allow us to quilt the composition as we sew pieces together. 

Julie’s quilt-as-you-go pattern transferred to batting

David recommended that we plan our quilt intentionally to allow both the fabrics and the quilting to showcase significant design elements.  He uses walking foot quilting to repeat significant patterns across the surface of the quilt.  Most quilting is straight lines or gentle curves.  One member commented that his method for drawing an arc was mind opening.  David used a piece of twine and a paperclip to draw an arc or a circle.  This is a great method if you don’t have a compass of an appropriate size and don’t want to grab a dinner plate for tracing.  

David also demonstrated a very quick and efficient facing technique for our binding which gave our quilts an excellent finish.


Here are some of the photos from our members.  Thanks to those who were kind enough to share the process and final result.  

Lisbeth really took David’s idea of repeating architectural elements in her quilting to heart.

I love how Darla was inspired to create two different distinctive quilts from her one photo.

Amanda M

Amanda got the prize for incorporating a Y seam into her quilt, which certainly impressed David.

Final Thoughts

Our guild strives to live up to the name “Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild”.  David’s class was an excellent way to expose members to innovative thinking in Modern Quilting.  David gently guided us to employ modern quilt principles of simplicity, minimalism, negative space and more into our compositions. 

Personally, I have always admired architecture and spent some time in high school and college thinking that I would love to become an architect.  Life meandered and other passions fueled my career, but now I am able to revisit childhood interests in my quilting.  David’s class was a great way to do this while exploring modern quilting in an innovative way.  I’m pretty sure that more architecture inspired modern quilts are in my future.  

Contributors: Kristine Tsai, Darla Gallentine, Lisbeth Polavarapu, Bev Thompson, Heidi Mackessy, Amanda Morris, Julie Sweetkind-Singer

Heading out to Camp Bearpaw!

Our 2nd Virtual Sewing Retreat starts this week and we couldn’t be more excited! This year, our retreat is summer-camp themed so we are forming cabins, prepping s’mores, and getting ready to gather around the campfire.

Getting Ready for Camp

The sewing room opens at noon on Thursday, keep an eye out for an email with the Zoom link.

Before retreat, campers should look through the website and their swag bag (if applicable) to get ready for camp. Here is an optional to-do list before retreat starts:

Morning Coffee and Evening Campfires

We are kicking off the retreat Thurdsay night with a visit from some SPECIAL GUESTS, so be sure to be in the sewing room by 6pm for fun and prizes.

That will be followed by the Opening Campfire which officially starts our long weekend together.

We’ve got lots of fun in store for our campers. Each morning, after reveille, we’ll stretch and sip coffee together, and each evening we’ll gather around the campfire for a cocktail and an activity.

We’ve built in some small group sewing each day to get out of the big sewing room and enjoy some time around a smaller table.

Throughout the weekend we have a couple of special guests stopping by to say hello. We also have our friendly cabin competition which culminates in a fun activity just before the closing ceremonies on Sunday.

Thank You!

We are coming to camp to sew and sew-cialize but, let’s be honest, we also love the swag! Our swag bags are packed with great treats from our generous sponsors.

We also have some fun prizes planned throughout retreat. You must be present to win, so check out the Activities page for the planned times, but we may pop in with some random drawings as well!

So, let’s give a giant THANK YOU to our wonderful sponsors. Their generosity makes our retreat that much more special and it wouldn’t be the same without them!

SVMQG Member Spotlight | Cristin Grothaus

Author: Cristin Grothaus, 2021 Guild Secretary

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, and creating things. One of my earliest forays into sewing involved cutting up a purple nylon nightgown (not mine) and a piece of rabbit fur (also not mine) and making a “royal” cape for my childhood cat. She was not very appreciative.

Over the years, I’ve added crafts as they’ve caught my interest. I make jewelry, knit, and have dabbled in bookbinding and even blacksmithing. I stumbled across quilting, and was hooked.

My earliest attempts were not very successful. My color combinations left a bit to be desired, and I think I attached the binding to the front and then just stopped and left it unfinished. I suspect the cat was judging my skills, although she begrudgingly slept on it anyway.

my first quilt

I read a few books about quilting and design, and learned how to do proper bindings. After a couple years of making very simple baby quilts, I ran across paper piecing. On a whim, I bought a paper piecing pattern of a little fox, designed by Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop; the green gemstone block is also from one of her books. Paper piecing is a great fit for me; I really enjoy it, and it lets me create very intricate and precise blocks.

Most of the blocks and minis pictured were made for swaps, which I started participating in around the same time. I especially enjoy making blocks with things that aren’t typically found in quilts; I have a fantastic collection of paper pieced bug / insect patterns that are going to make a really interesting sampler quilt eventually. 

Initially, I was quilting using an embroidery machine with an 8×12 inch hoop, which was fine for baby quilts, but I eventually pieced a quilt that was just too big. It was probably 56 x 64 or so, but I struggled so much with that quilt that I signed up for longarm classes at TechShop. Their closure two months after my training led to the eventual purchase of my own longarm.

I’m not very good at following quilting rules, so the first quilt that I longarmed wasn’t a practice piece; I jumped right in with paper-pieced narwhals for a friend’s nursery, and continued on with my next few baby quilts.

In addition to impulse buying new patterns instead of sewing the ones I already have, I’ve started exploring hand piecing, inspired by some of the beautiful work that I saw guild members working on during our virtual meetings last year.

Before the pandemic paused in-person classes, you all inspired (and encouraged) me to take my first actual quilting class on collage quilting, and to try a block of the month. My goal is for every quilt that I sew to make me learn something new or practice a skill that I need to improve. The guild BOM gave me the confidence to try circles, so I decided to try a quilt full of curves. Maybe next time I’ll be brave and try some appliqué!   

my guild BOM quilt

Many thanks to Cristin 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.

A Visit from Jacquie Gering

Last month the guild was lucky enough to host Jacquie Gering at our monthly meeting. We were so excited to hear about Jacquie’s design process and she did not disappoint.

Having been meeting virtually for over a year, it was especially nice to visit with Jacquie a little before the meeting, chatting about logos and sewing machines and Kansas City.

Presenting photographs of her quilts, Jacquie shared the design process behind her quilts, including how they were pieced and the quilting strategy. Not surprisingly, she illustrated how her quilting was an integral part of the design process and enhanced the overall design.

In addition to the lecture and trunk show, Jacquie talked about tools and techniques, sharing her considerable experience and advice. Plus, she answered our endless questions that ranged from thread and needles to batting and basting.

Many thanks to Jacquie for visiting and sharing her gorgeous work. This was a thrill that we won’t soon forget.

Rather than sharing screenshots of Jacquie’s quilts, which could never do them justice, please treat yourself and take a moment to enjoy Jacquie’s quilt gallery on her website.

SVMQG Member Spotlight | Rhonda Rosales

Author: Rhonda Rosales, 2021 Guild Treasurer

I have always been a crafter.  As a kid, my grandmother made us clothes to order and taught us to sew clothes, crochet, and cook. Beyond that, I think she instilled in me the idea that you can learn to do anything you want.  Since then, I’ve never met a craft I didn’t like. This includes making Barbie doll furniture and crocheting slippers as a kid,  to refinishing furniture and silkscreening sweatshirts in college. I definitely have a craft room, not a sewing room. 

I think I technically started quilting in about 2005 when I was given boxes and boxes of upholstery samples. I used these to start making throws and baby floor blankets for friends. They featured upholstery pieced fronts, flannel backs, fluffy polyester batting and satin blanket binding from the store! I was really just making it all up as I went. But they were cute and got a lot of use.

Quilting in earnest started 2015. I started mostly with baby quilts from simple patterns and liked using precuts.

In 2017, I joined SVMQG and was inspired by the range of quilts being shared by members…so many patterns, fabrics, techniques. Since joining, I have been in charge of Philanthropy, Challenges, and for the past 2 years been Treasurer. 

That same year, I did my first Quiltcon fabric challenge; this was my first experience at designing a quilt. Ripples shows my dogs swimming in the pool and remains one of my favorite projects. I’ve gone on to do a couple more of these challenges. I find the structure of the restrictions (use only these fabrics) a fun challenge to work within and I like designing unique pieces this way.

Another concept that came from my exposure within the guild, is the idea of improv quilting. This started with a couple of projects where I was given a few blocks that weren’t enough to construct a quilt. This gave me the opportunity to build around these blocks in an organic way, based on a loose plan,  that I enjoyed. I have since taken improv-based classes that have shown me how to build structure into an improv project to create a cohesive design.

2020 marked my first quilt-along with our mystery BOM. This gave me the opportunity to make my largest quilt to date, but more importantly a chance to work on my layout skills. I had fun designing about 4 different layouts from this set of blocks. I am definitely drawn to negative space and alternate grid layouts.

A class with Michelle Wilkie really opened my eyes on quilt design. I find myself thinking more and more about design, designing many quilts on my computer while only choosing a few to actually make.  I have several projects I want to finish this coming year, but quilting a series of original pieces inspired by a single photo is my big overall goal. 

Beyond quilting, my love for crafting continues. These days, my main focuses are all things paper craft, especially making shrines, splitting my time in the craft room between my sewing machine and my Cricut Maker. Currently, I’m working on a mini quilt for a guild challenge and crafting goodies for our virtual retreat.

Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing your quilting 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 | Dianne Gates-Anderson

My Quilt Story in Photos

Author: Dianne Gates-Anderson, 2021 Guild Senior Vice President & Co-VP of Programs

Hi, I’m Dianne Gates-Anderson and I am the Executive Vice-President (or whatever the title is) and Co-VP of Programs for the Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild. 

When I am not quilting (and there’s not a pandemic) my other interests include travel, writing, and being a wanna-be foodie.  When I was asked to write this blog post, I thought the easiest and quickest way to write this blog would be to dig into my tub of precious (think old) quilts in my garage and put together a photo essay of my quilt story.  So, here is my quilt story and a few of my more recent quilts that I am most pleased with. Enjoy!

My quilt story actually begins with my grandmothers.  Both of my grandmothers were quilters and had sewing machines tucked away in the corner of their bedrooms.  They hand and machine pieced their quilt tops and hand quilted their quilts. Most evenings my Grandmothers were either quilting or crocheting. This is an unfinished quilt top made by my grandmother.  

This quilt was made by my mother and grandmother and given to me when I went away to college at age 18.  It may not be fancy by today’s standards but I look at this weathered quilt and see the hand stitching and know that these stitches were made for me and filled with love.

This is actually the first quilt top I ever made.  The year was 1982 and I was a newly graduated, newly married, young mother.  I made this quilt as a wedding gift to myself. It is 110 x 90 inches and was made to fit my king-size waterbed (remember those?).  The marriage didn’t last, but I kept the quilt and I have dragged it with me everywhere I’ve moved to through the years. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I made this. I saw a picture of the quilt on the cover of a magazine that I couldn’t afford to buy.  I made a pattern out of brown bags (no strip piecing here) and used ⅝ inch seam allowances.  I sandwiched the top with that awful super puff synthetic batting of the 80s and a king-size sheet and then gave up because I had no idea how to quilt it.

In 2015, after a 33 year hiatus I began quilting in earnest.  These two quilts are the first two quilts I made.  I made these quilts for my mother who has alzheimers.  I was motivated to make them when I did because I wanted my mother to be able to know that I made her a quilt.  The first quilt I made, a “Trip Around the World” quilt, was called Zoofari because of all of the faux animal print fabric in it.  I had enough leftover fabric to make the second completely improv quilt which I called Gee-Whiz, in a nod to the quilters of Gees Bend.  If you look too closely you’ll see that the quilts are a hot mess, because, once again, I taught myself (with the help of the internet) everything I used to make these quilts.  I didn’t know anything about borders so I attempted to put a “wide” binding on Zoofari and couldn’t figure out why my mitered 2 inch corners failed (they actually curl up).

I made this quilted wall hanging in response to a guild challenge to make a mini quilt that explores scale..

I made this quilt following the murder of George Floyd.  I was juried into the We Are the Story: Gone but Never Forgotten: Remembering Those Lost to Police Brutality and Racism exhibition and it is now traveling with the exhibit.

This wall hanging is my latest finish and I am quite pleased with it. It is the class project from the Mid-Century Modern Curves class given by Carole Lyles Shaw.  After completing this quilt I realized that I can comfortably quilt a wall hanging sized quilt. I still tend to find larger quilts more challenging and tend to rely on straight line walking foot for anything larger than this piece.

Thanks Dianne for sharing your quilty 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.

QuiltCon 2021 Community Outreach Quilt

Author: Rochelle Rosales, 2020 Quiltcon Quilt Committee

“Data Drop”

This year’s QuiltCon Quilt Theme was CURVES. This fairly straightforward theme provided a lot of options for the design of our quilt. However, many of us were not very experienced with curves, and others were experienced enough with them to know that we didn’t like sewing them. But, as always, we forged ahead and established a committee to come up with a design and execution plan.

Planning and Design

The guild always tries to integrate our local area into our quilt design, whether representing our agricultural history, technology development, or the beauty of our local environment. We considered many ideas for this years quilt, keeping in mind the theme of curves and the color palette provided, some of our ideas included: integrated circuits, The Golden Gate Bridge, aerial views of orchards, California poppies, and representations of the sea, land, and ocean.

Challenge color palette

Ultimately, the winning idea was to create curve-based graphs or charts as quilt blocks. These could be circle charts, pie charts, curved linear graphs, and more. Members could choose any data set they wanted as long as it reflected our local area or state.

  • Quilt block guidelines:
    • Feature curves (any technique)
    • 11″ x 11″ finished block size
    • Use only fabric provided – Kona cotton solids in palette colors
      • Royal blue background (not to be used in chart)
    • Block must represent actual data
    • Data must be related to Silicon Valley or California


In addition to the challenge of designing and making the quilt, we had to distribute fabric, gather blocks, source quilting, and finish the quilt while sheltering in place, with no in-person meetings. We decided to host a Zoom meeting to help people who might be intimidated by either the data analysis or by piecing curves. We also distributed fabric via an online sign up form and by establishing distribution locations at member’s homes throughout the area.

Each member chose data that they wanted to show in their block. Some of the data is about the people who live in Santa Clara County, the San Francisco Bay Area, or California. Other blocks cover a wide range of data, like the growth of our guild, the rise of vote-by-mail over a number of elections, damage caused by the recent wild-fires, homelessness, and California water use. We were so impressed with the variety of both the data represented and the method of representing it.

Finishing the Quilt

We arranged the blocks in an off-grid layout with plenty of negative space. Our backing fabric was fun and colorful, we loved how it showed images of people, referring back to some of the census-type data shown in the blocks. We chose a large circular pattern using dark orange thread for the quilting, to echo the blocks and add to the graphic impact.

To bring home the theme of representing data, we even incorporated data into the binding, using fabric colors to show which counties our members live in.

CountyNo. of Members% of MembersBinding LengthBinding Color
Santa Clara6964%197Blue
San Mateo1514%43Dark Orange
Alameda1312%37Light Blue
Binding data

The quilt came out great. We love the bold colors, clean lines and overall graphic quality of the blocks and the layout. As always, many thanks to our members for making blocks, the organizing committee for the design and execution of the quilt, and to Lucky Penny Quilting for the quilting.

The Data

For those who are curious, hover over a block in the quilt below to see the data that is represented in the graph.

Quilt Block Data

Quilt Block Data

  • Acres burned in California for the past 5 years

  • Age distribution in Santa Clara County

  • Modes of transportation to work in San Francisco Bay area

  • Language spoken at home
    • US (outer)
    • Santa Clara Co. (inner)

  • Age distribution in Santa Clara County

  • Acres burned in 4 CA fires in summer 2020

  • Spoken Language in California

  • Silicon Valley age distribution
    • 24% - under 20
    • 29% - 20-39
    • 27% - 40-50
    • 16% - 60-79
    • 4% - 80+

  • Percentage of men vs women employed at Google
    • overall (outer)
    • management (middle)
    • executive (inner)

  • Applied water is used in California
    • 49% Aquatic Environment (rivers, managed wetlands, instream flows, required outflow)
    • 41% Agriculture
    • 10% Urban use.

  • Top 10 tech employers in Silicon Valley by number of employees
    • Google
    • Apple
    • Facebook
    • Cisco
    • Tesla
    • Applied Materials
    • Intel
    • Oracle
    • NVIDIA
    • Gilead/Juniper

  • Ethnic distribution of COVID-19 cases within the ethnic distribution of the population - for Santa Clara County
    • Covid-19 cases (center); population (outer)
    • Blacks/AfroAmerican = 4% Covid-19, 2% population
    • Whites/Caucasion = 30% Covid-19, 32% of population
    • Latinx = 34% Covid-19 cases, 26% population
    • Asian = 26% Covid-19 cases, 36% of population
    • Other/unknown = 6% Covid-19 cases, 4% population

  • Percent health insured for US, CA, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco

  • Education level in Santa Clara County
    • (grade school, high school, college, graduate, post grad)

  • SVMQG membership by year since inception

  • Adult education in Silicon Valley
    • 28% Bachelor's Degree
    • 25% graduate or professional
    • 22% Some college
    • 14% High School graduate
    • 11% Less than High School

  • Sources of power supplied by PG&E to Northern California
    • 33% Renewables
    • 27% Nuclear
    • 20% Natural Gas
    • 18% Hydroelectric
    • 2% Market Purchases.

  • Percentage of registered voters in Santa Clara County, who voted in person vs by mail, in presidential elections since the year 2000

  • Ethnic diversity of Cupertino
    • 67% Asian
    • 27% white
    • 3% mixed race
    • 2% other
    • 1% black

  • Race percentages of those experiencing homelessness per 2016 HMIS data.

  • Marital status in Santa Clara County
    • 55% married
    • 45% single

  • Amount spent on homeless services per category
    • Health care 53%
    • Justice system 34%
    • Social services 13%

  • Percentage of police killings in the San Francisco since January 2015
    • Asian - 10% of killings, 34% of population
    • Latin - 27% of killings, 20% of population
    • Black - 27% of killings, 7.4% of population
    • White - 32% of killings, 37% of population

  • Primary language spoken at home
    • Santa Clara County (center); United States (outer)
    • English = 46% SCC, 78% US
    • Spanish = 18% SCC, 13% US
    • Asian/Pacific Islander = 26% SCC, 4% US
    • Other IndoEuropean = 9% SCC, 4% US
    • Other = 1% both

  • Ethnicity in Santa Clara County

  • Median incomes for the cities bordering Cupertino
    • Los Altos - $216k
    • Saratoga - $173k
    • Sunnyvale - $118k
    • Santa Clara - $108k
    • San Jose - $104k

  • Age demographics for the homeless population in San Jose, including minors without adults

  • Where the homeless population in San Jose are living (Outside, car, abandon building, shelter, etc.)

Make It Modern!

Author: Amanda Morris, 2021 Programs, Co-Vice President

Welcome to another exciting year of Guild programs. This year we want to get back to our roots with a year long exploration of modern quilting elements.  We’ve designed our programs to give everyone an opportunity to show off their “go-to” modern quilting skills as well as experiment with new skills that might not have been tried before.

To get started, we feel it’s important to give everyone the same reference point. Though two people might differ on determining how “modern” a quilt is, they can certainly both recognize the common design elements that differentiate modern quilts from traditional quilts. For our work this year we’re going to consider the following elements as our foundation to Make It Modern.

Alternate Gridwork

Sarah O. | 2018

Alternative Gridwork serves to break up the predictable nature of a standard grid. It creates visual tension as the left side of the brain seeks to recognize a pattern and a rhythm to the block layout. It’s a useful tool to move the viewer’s eye around the layout of the quilt as they seek out that pattern.

Notice, in Sarah’s quilt, how your brain wants to line up the colorful ovals and the outlined ovals, with the offset grid laid down in the quilting.


Similar to alternative gridwork, our brains naturally seek out symmetry as a way to organize the information received from the eyes.  Asymmetry is a useful tool to draw the viewer’s attention throughout the quilt as it seeks balance.

Kathleen’s quilt is a great example of Asymmetry, and yet she’s also achieved a wonderful balance between the active blocks and the weight of the dark background.

Kathleen C. | 2020

Dense Quilting

Barbara E. | 2018

Dense quilting creates an overlay of both texture and pattern that is separate from those same elements derived from the piecing and fabric selection. This is a useful tool to enhance the story you are telling with the piecing. 

Barbara has used her dense quilting as a wonderful contrast to the pieced blocks.

Graphic Layout

Bold graphic shapes and high contrast palettes are the most common elements of modern quilting.

Looking at Kathy’s quilt, we see she has used bold, diagonal elements which imply a lot of movement. She’s got high contrast with her white background and the vertical columns of black to navy piecing which are crossed with more diagonal elements in bright, high-saturated colors.

Kathy S. | 2019


Beverly T. | 2018

Improvisation is a tool often used by modern quilters as a way to break the mould of traditional quilting. Improv embraces the concept of Wabi-Sabi and frees us from the expectations of perfectly straight seams and precise points.

Bev has used a creamy neutral as her main fabric while delegating the red ombre fabric as the background.  The parallel quilting combined with the organic piecing produce a wonderful sculptural effect.


Maximalism is all about aesthetic excess. It is the boldest of statements in the loudest of voices. In a maximalism quilt, even the background fabric has something to say.

Looking at Annette’s quilt we see bold gestures in each of  the rainbow ribbons. The echoed lines of the quilting imply the ribbons are moving or vibrating.

Annette B. | 2021


Amy C. | 2020

Minimalism is the act of reducing the elements of your quilt down to the purest expression of your concept. The minimalist artist is always asking, “If I remove this element, does the design stand or fall apart?”

Amy has diligently designed each of her Disney inspired blocks utilizing Minimalism.  You can see in this photo that she has pared down the colors and shapes to the point that the character’s face isn’t necessary to know immediately the reference being made.

The updated colors and graphics in modern prints also serve to reinforce the concepts of modern quilting while adding pattern and contrast.

Katie’s use of modern prints create a subtle rippling effect in the horizontal bands, while the overall color saturation of the modern prints serves to pop the bands forward from the neutral background.

Modern Prints

Katie F. | 2020

Modern Traditionalism

Modern quilting has its roots in the traditional patterns and methods that came before us. Taking a traditional block and updating it or manipulating it in a new way creates a sense of play and experimentation in a modern quilt.

Veronique’s quilt evokes a cartoon animation of a traditional block expanding and floating away.

Veronique O. | 2019

No Borders

Amanda M. | 2019

In contrast with the borders typically found on traditional quilts, modern quilters often forego a quilt border; choosing instead to let the graphic nature of their designs stand on their own over the entirety of the quilt surface.

Notice how the shibori patterns in Amanda’s quilt could continue indefinitely because they are not constrained by a border.

Play on Scale

Making the expected, unexpected through play on scale is a common tool of modern quilting.  An exaggerated scale can create a sense of play or, when combined with several sizes of the same block, can create a sense of depth of field against the negative space of the quilt, as seen in Tricialyn’s quilt.

Tricialyn A. | 2018

Solid Fabric

Rhonda R., Rochelle R. | 2018

The use of solid fabrics helps reinforce the graphic nature of modern quilt designs. Though typically seen as a flat shape, a sense of transparency can be achieved through subtle shifts of solid colors adding a sense of 3 dimensional depth. In the same way, an artist can play with the warmth and coolness of color to “push it forward” or “send it backwards.”  This effect is much more dramatic in solid fabrics than in prints due to the saturation of color inherent in solids.

The colors in Rhonda and Rochelle’s quilt are playing off each other in unexpected ways..  The background fabric is warm and therefore wants to come forward. The shaped pieces are all cool versions of navy, pink and green and would therefore be expected to visually recede.  Yet, despite their coolness, the intense saturation of the pieces pop them forward of the background.  The result is a delightful tug of war between the pieces and the backdrop.

Vast Use of Negative Space

The use of a vast field of negative space serves many purposes in a modern quilt. You can’t have a “positive” without a “negative” to contrast against.  In this way, the negative space serves as a backdrop for the more “meaty” focal point. This also gives the viewer’s eye a place to rest when the focal point of the quilt is more loud and boisterous. 

Jennifer’s quilt implies a sense of volume that holds the smaller hexagons as they float away from their fellow hexies.

Jennifer K. | 2018

I think this list gives us plenty to talk about in our year long conversation about what it takes to ‘Make It Modern!’  Now the fun part begins. 

Throughout the year, I encourage you to do some self assessment.  Periodically ask yourself:

  • Where is my comfort zone on the modern quilt spectrum?
  • What are my ‘go-to’ modern quilting skills?
  • What are my weaker skills?
  • Do I want to challenge myself to strengthen those weaker skills?

Above all, have fun playing with the elements of modern quilting.