Let’s Sew for Charity

At our recent charity sew day, we were thrilled that eleven guild members showed up to help us work on quilts that will be donated to local nonprofit organizations who have connections to community members who need the warmth & cheer a homemade quilt can bring them.

We’ve received quite a few finished quilts as donations to our charity quilt program from guild members or friends of guild members, and a couple of us worked to sew labels on the 8 or 9 quilts ready to be sent out into the world.  Amy Wang finished up sewing together pinwheel blocks that she and Emily Harris started working on at the previous sew day, so she gets credit for our one completed flimsy.  Other guild members worked on cutting out fabric for patterns to be stitched at future dates, sewing together blocks that we’ll complete later, and sewing blocks together that will one day be a completed quilt top ready for the next volunteer to quilt it.

At this particular sew day, highlights were also Kevin Crittendon entertaining us with stories & mock shock at Lisa Bourgeault & Keila Simos’ cheesy attempts at rotary cutter humor.  We’re grateful he could volunteer his time so we could use the location.  Sara Goodman’s chain pieced “scarf” cracked us up, and home baked chocolate chip cookies were perfect for breaks between stages of projects to keep us in good spirits.  

If you can’t make a charity sew date, you can still volunteer time and energy at home to work on these quilts – making individual blocks, quilting, binding, labeling – you name it!  This link  can get you in touch with Cristin Grothaus and help you find a task you’re interested in taking on.  We also need fabric donations with a modern aesthetic – so if you’re in a stash cleansing mode, Cristin would love to integrate some of your fabric into our future projects!

Cristin Grothaus & Keila Simos want to send our gratitude to everyone who came and helped out with the quilts on this recent date, but also to all the people who have volunteered at previous charity sew dates or are working on charity quilt dates on their own time.  The success of this program relies on the commitment of the guild members, and we want to be sure each of you know we recognize and appreciate your efforts. 

QuiltCon 2019 Charity Quilt

"Home" | Quiltcon 2019 Charity Quilt

This year’s theme from The Modern Quilt Guild was Small Piecing. We found this theme to be very open-ended, which was both difficult to nail down and completely freeing. The quilt committee considered many options, from improv two-color blocks to an intricate all-over pattern.

We always try to tie our annual charity quilt to our local area; something that reflects or refers to Silicon Valley, where we live and work. One of our committee members had the idea to make a quilt top that looked like a smartphone, a Silicon Valley invention. Making app icons in fabric would surely lend itself to small piecing, and would allow each member to provide a stand-alone block that could be integrated into the overall top.

Each block in the quilt represents a common app that can be found on any of our phones. To ensure that we didn’t get repeats, we came up with a list of some of the most common apps and members signed to interpret a specific app, into a unique 8-inch block.

It was interesting to see how members communicated the essence of a phone app, without copying a logo or image directly. Some apps were translated very literally, while others were more interpretive and subtle. It was a fun game to receive new blocks and see if we could guess which app each one represented.


Members were advised to leave space in the corners as they would be rounded in order to mirror a phone app icon. This proved tricky and we had to make some decisions about what elements might be lost if blocks were too big. We chose to reverse applique the blocks into the background to avoid having to piece curves that could interfere with the flow of the background design.


We chose bold solid fabrics in the color palette provided to better represent the graphic quality of a smartphone home screen. We held back one color from the palette to be used in the background only, to set it apart from the app blocks.

We wanted the background of the quilt to appear like the wallpaper on a phone… to sit behind the app blocks… and what better background than a quilt top?


For the quilting, we opted for simple diagonal lines using monofilament on the “apps” so that it would not stand out against the sometimes complicated block designs. On the background, we echoed the quilt design using a sashiko stitch for a handworked effect and to accentuate the look of a quilt behind the apps.

Finally we named the quilt “Home” as it represents both the home screen of a smartphone and the place where we live.

Many thanks to everyone who made a block to contribute to the quilt. And thanks to our committee members who brainstormed the theme and execution plan, appliqued the individual blocks, pieced the overall quilt, and finished it with quilting and binding.

If you’re in Nashville for Quiltcon, keep an eye out for our quilt!


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for those of you who need some help translating the blocks…

Weather Maps Messages Mail Camera
Clock Flashlight Books Music To Do
Quilting Phone Calendar Streaming Wallet
Search Pets Settings Rideshare Recycling
Contacts Calculator Podcasts Dating Travel
Fitness Compass Dining Shopping Movies
Games Notes

Our Commitment to Charity

For the 2018 year, we’ve elected to broaden our philanthropic reach by working with multiple charitable organizations to provide quilts to a range of programs helping people in our community and beyond. This has enabled us to accept any size quilt designed for babies through adults. 

Our goal this year is to donate 24 finished quilts. As of June, we are right on target with 12 completed quilts, and many more in progress! All of our finished projects can be seen on our Charity Quilts page.

All types of quilts, many projects

We are lucky to have members that are dedicated to making quilts for charitable causes, but we also always have a variety of ongoing group projects where members can make an individual charity block or take on a task, like binding, to complete a quilt. Projects have included curved block challenge, improv block challenge, arrow block challenge, and color challenge.

Labeling for legacy

We label all of our charity quilts so, no matter where our quilts travel, the new owner can know where it came from. But, we have redesigned our labels to make them easier to sew on, and they now include a QR code. Scanning the code will take you to a page that shows the quilt’s name, when it was made, and who worked on it.

Supporting our community

At a recent meeting, we had a group discussion and took names of charities, or types of charities from members. Suggestions included: foster moms/homes, battered women’s shelters, police or fire department, Shepherd’s Gate, Highland Hospital, Project Homeless Connect, ALS, Quilts for Kids, nursing homes, Alzheimer’s units, Unravel Cancer, Santa Clara Receiving and Assessment Intake Center, Quilts of Valor, SJ Quilt & Textile Museum quilts-for-guns event, Little Brothers / Friends of the Elderly (SF), Homeless Prenatal Program, My New Red Shoes, hospice agencies, Quilters Beyond Borders, Shriners Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Bill Wilson Center. We took those ideas and have actively started contacting these organizations.

Our current list of supported charities includes:

download Bill Wilson Center supports and strengthens the community by serving youth and families through counseling, housing, education, and advocacy.
logo2_20151202075347 Quilts for Kids is dedicated to brightening the lives of children who suffer from abuse or life-threatening illnesses with comforting quilts.
 images Quilt Donation Drive for victims of the Sonoma & Napa fires.
images Ventura Modern Quilt Guild and Superbuzzy fabric store  partnered to create and collect quilts for those affected by the Thomas Fire.
28468679_775227106009171_1215050385545670913_n JMQG of Broward County collected quilts to make “quillows” for the families and loved ones of  victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
projectlinus Project Linus’ mission is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets, quilts and afghans.
SJMQT San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is joining forces with The Mayor’s office, local City Council Districts, San Jose Police Department, and the Police Foundation to organize a unique gun buy-back program. In exchange for turning in a gun, each individual will receive cash AND a beautiful quilt.
QuiltforCure Quilts for Cure exists to raise awareness about childhood cancer, provide every child in the US being treated for cancer with a quilt, and honor the children who are fighting for their lives.
images-1  The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild collected quilts and blocks for the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016. Our guild made three group quilts for this cause, plus two additional finished quilts donated by individual members.

If you have any questions or suggestions for charitable projects, please contact our Philanthropy Chair, Rhonda.

Quiltcon 2018 Charity Quilt

The process of making our quilt, Orchard Through Time was collaborative from the start. We formed a committee that came up with the original concept and saw it all the way through to completion.

Our finished quilt, Orchard Through Time

Concept and Design:

We decided from the start that we wanted our quilt to be representative of our area so we chose a traditional block called “Orchard” as the Silicon Valley was once primarily orchards, and is now a modern technology center. After deciding on the block pattern, we decided the overall design would include making the blocks start off in its traditional layout in the upper left, gradually transition to modern prints and, finally, break down into solid free-form blocks in the lower right.

Fabric and Piecing:

We had our members donate traditional and modern print fabrics from their stashes along with modern solid fabrics and some metallics. The idea was to create all the traditional blocks in traditional fabrics and then have it progressively get more modern through the use of modern prints, and ultimately end up in pools of solid fabrics that would blend together to create dynamic free form shapes near the bottom of the quilt.

For easy member involvement, all of the fabric was pre-cut and and kitted into packets of one of the three block types (traditional, modern print, and solid) for members to piece. Packets were handed out at our monthly meeting for members to work on and return, or sewed communally at our open sew days. The only rules to sewing the blocks were that traditional and modern print blocks were pieced in a set layout, while solids were pieced free-form with no layout rules.


For the quilting, we decided to machine quilt simple lines that resemble the traces on a circuit board and added some big stitch quilting with metallic thread for the ultimate “tech” sparkle.


Now that it is assembled and quilted, we love how the finished quilt transitions from traditional to modern. We have been able to see the transition in fabric, tone, and movement within the overall quilt, and we truly think it speaks to the prompt of Modern Traditionalism.
Look out for our quilt at Quiltcon in Pasadena!

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Quiltcon 2018 Charity Quilt

Work is underway on the guild’s quilt for the QuiltCon 2018 Charity Quilt Challenge. The theme this year is “Modern Traditionalism” and, once again, we’ve chosen to incorporate it in a way that reflects our Silicon Valley location. After choosing a pattern, we shopped our members’ fabric stashes and supplemented with purchased fabric that we then pre-cut and sorted into block kits.

Piecing is underway! We’re looking forward to seeing all of the finished blocks and assembling the finished quilt in October.


Blanket Orlando in Love #QuiltsForPulse

Hi Everyone, Amy here.

As I’m sure many of you have seen, there has been a wonderful movement in the quilting community to blanket Orlando in love, and we would love to have our guild participate and send at least two completed quilts that are made as a group effort. Anything you want to make on your own is icing on the cake!OMQGButtonLogo

We are highly encouraged by the MQG and the Orlando MQG to send completed quilts, or at the least completed tops. I’ll be coordinating the contribution from our guild and I would prefer not to send lone blocks but to send either completed quilts or completed tops to limit the amount of work the Orlando guild has to do. If you will not be making a whole quilt top or completed quilt yourself we would love to have you contribute heart blocks to put together into the two tops. We have several sew days planned where we can work on these blocks together and get the tops pieced. If you cannot make it to sew days please send your completed blocks to the Intrepid Thread or give them to us at the July meeting. You can also arrange to drop them off at The Intrepid Thread but please arrange it with Julie first. In order to expedite getting these things pieced together please use the Cluck Cluck Sew 10″ heart block tutorial that the Orlando guild shared. If you are contributing single blocks please have them to us by the sew days noted below so that they may be incorporated into tops.

I would like to send a minimum of two completed group quilts that are a minimum of 60”x60” (which allows for the rainbow of R, O, Y, G, B, P to go in either direction) which means that we need a total of 72 heart blocks.

Sew day details
July 9th – exclusive Orlando quilt sewing day –> Please signup for the sew day here to let us know if you’ll be attending. 
July 15th – already scheduled guild sew day (work on your own project or on the Orlando project) –> Please signup for the sew day here to let us know if you’ll be attending.
July 16th – already scheduled guild sew day (work on your own project or on the Orlando project) –> Please signup for the sew day here to let us know if you’ll be attending.
TBD – One last exclusive Orlando quilt sew day to get any stray blocks sewn into tops

For any additional information please see this post on the Orlando guild’s website, and this post on the MQG website. If any dates and details change, we’ll make sure to keep you all posted.

If you have any questions, please ask me on the SVMQG Facebook Group or shoot us an email at siliconvalleymqg@gmail.com

Image credit: The Modern Quilt Guild