New Activities for 2023

Author: Rochelle Rosales, VP Activities

In addition to our monthly meetings and workshops, we have a lot of ongoing activities planned for members this year! While all are welcome to participate in all of them, the hope is that the variety will ensure that everyone can find at least one thing that appeals to them.


This year we are hosting a Monthly challenge series as well as a Quarterly series. Both challenges can be started at any time through the year.

Monthly – Quilt Design Challenge

Participants will design a quilt each month utilizing modern quilt elements as described by The Modern Quilt Guild (MQG). These elements include:

    • Use of bold colors and prints
    • High contrast and graphic areas of solid color
    • Improvisational piecing
    • Minimalism
    • Expansive negative space
    • Alternate grid work
    • “Modern traditionalism”

    Each month a prompt will be introduced and discussed in a small group meeting. We’ll continue the conversation and share examples or ideas in a dedicated Slack channel as well. 

    The goal is to focus on one element each month to challenge our creativity and become more familiar with these design elements. 

    Quilts can be designed using any tool, from EQ to Illustrator to paper & pencil. Quilts can also be any size, but they should be complete and makeable.

    As this is a design exercise only, finished projects are not part of the challenge, though we also look forward to seeing some finished projects in the future.

    Quarterly – Photo Mini Quilt Challenge

    Each participant will choose a single photo at the beginning of the year (or when they start the challenge). This will be their photo for the entire year.

    Every quarter, we will provide a specific prompt that participants will use to make a mini quilt (20” max), based upon that photo. We’ll share our progress and finished quilts in a quarterly small group meeting and dedicated Slack channel.

    Every quarter, we will provide a specific prompt that participants will use to make a mini quilt (20” max), based upon that photo. We’ll share our progress and finished quilts in a quarterly small group meeting and dedicated Slack channel.

    The goal of this challenge is to explore a single subject in different ways, expressed in a specific manner as a mini quilt.  At the end of the year, we’ll have a series of four mini quilts (1/qtr) all inspired by a single photo.


    Exchanges this year will take the form of a year-long Quilting Bee.

    Members will be assigned to a HIVE and will make 2-3 blocks each month for ONE MEMBER of that group. Blocks will be based upon a design prompt (pattern, theme, etc.) and requirements (color, size, etc.).

    The Hive consists of:

    • Hive Leader – provides the prompt and receives all of the blocks for that month; changes monthly
    • Worker Bee – makes 2-3 blocks each month, following the specific prompt and guidelines, and sends them to the Hive Leader
    • Honey Bee – volunteer who can make blocks any month, but will not receive any blocks 
    • Beekeeper – forms groups, sets rules, identifies Hive Leader, fields questions, resolves issues, helps wherever possible (VP of Activities)

    Groups will be formed in early February, and the first prompt will be provided at the February small group meeting. 

    There will be an information meeting on January 25th at 7pm to provide details and answer questions.

    We will share blocks and review the next prompt at a monthly small group meeting and via a dedicated Slack channel.

    NOTE: this is a year-long commitment and sign-ups are due by the end of January. Joining mid-year is unlikely. If you can’t commit to a year and just want to make some blocks, you can volunteer to be a Honey Bee who will make blocks if anyone misses a month or has to drop out.

    In-person Events

    We’re scheduling in-person events each quarter to get people together and gauge interest in meeting in-person again. 

    These events will be held locally, in Silicon Valley, but will be tied to at-home participation via Instagram and Slack, so that no one is left out. 

    We’ll start out with quarterly events, but we could schedule more, if there is interest.

    Here is what we have planned so far…

    • Q1 – Photo field trip – February 18th, 1-3pm (Palo Alto)
    • Q2 – De-stash, Show & Tell, and Potluck
    • Q3 – Hand-Sew Day and Show & Tell

    There will be a dedicated Slack channel to share information about specific events and to suggest ideas for future events.

    Sign Up!

    If you are interested in any or all of these activities, members can sign up via the members-only Programs webpage. (This adds you to our roster for emails, invites, and the Slack channels.) 

    Not a member? Check out membership information on the Guild website.
    For more information, email Activities at

    2020 BOM Round-Up

    This year we introduced a formal guild Block of the Month program lead by BOM leader, Kathy S. The start of the program was a bit of a mystery with members picking out fabric palettes in January and then building a series of blocks from February through July.

    As part of our SVMQG Digital events on the third Thursday evening of each month, Kathy hosted a BOM Sew Lab where members would bring their latest blocks and sit and sew or ask questions and get feedback from Kathy and other participating members.

    It was nice to have some dedicated time to meet up and talk about the BOM together as a group at the Digital Thursday BOM Sew Lab.

    In August, members were encouraged to play around with design and layout.

    By the December meeting, where members were asked to bring their finished quilts, we had over 20 members show their finished BOM quilts! For a first time program, this was a huge hit.

    We think a few key factors helped in making this year’s BOM a big success.

    1. Keeping the blocks simple provided an easy barrier of entry into the project for any member.
    2. Focusing on design concepts and layout helped build discussion around Modern Quilting and encourage members to “play” and “explore.”
    3. Hosting a live BOM Lab each month provided members with help on tricky blocks and a resource for feedback and advice.
    4. Having a 2020 BOM page on the website to list block instructions, steps, and information was also a great help as we continued to navigate programs in a new strictly virtual world.

    We hope to see more BOM programming on the list for next years guild agenda!

    Challenging Ourselves in 2020

    Our Programs team did a great job of keeping our hands busy and our minds challenged while we worked through different Challenge prompts each month.

    • Challenge #1 (Jan) – Play Around with Quilting Designs
    • Challenge #2 (Feb) – Finish a 2+ year old UFO
    • Challenge #3 (Mar) – Spring Clean Your Sewing Space
    • Challenge #4 (Apr) – Front Porch Quilt Show
    • Challenge #5 (May) – Sew a Rainbow
    • Challenge #6 (June) – Make a Tabletop Sewn Item
    • Challenge #7 (July) – Show Off Your Quilt Labels
    • Challenge #8 (August) – Show Us How You Overcame Being Creatively Stuck
    • Challenge #9 (September) – Show Us Multiple BOM Layout Options
    • Challenge #10 (October) – Make a Project Using On-hand Scraps
    • Challenge #11 (November) – Make a 2020 “Mask to Remember”

    Each challenge was unique, and usually tied to a program theme running that month. All of them encouraged members to shake off those uncertain 2020 vibes we were feeling each month.

    Challenge #1 (Jan) – Play Around with Quilting Designs

    Members were given a transparency cover sheet, an image of a quilt, and a dry erase marker and were encouraged to practice drawing different quilting designs on the transparent surface. Designs for similar quilts resulted in vastly different looks.

    Challenge #2 (Feb) – Finish a 2+ year old UFO

    This one was simple. Dig out an unfinished object (UFO) and finish it up.

    Quilt by Jenny W.
    Quilt by Rachel P.

    Challenge #3 (Mar) – Spring Clean Your Sewing Space

    We know our sewing spaces deserved a little love this Spring and with more time on our hands due to the shelter in place orders, we had the time to dig in. Members loved this challenge and we watched many transformations happen in many sewing spaces.

    Rhonda’s “Before”
    Rhonda’s “After”

    Challenge #4 (Apr) – Front Porch Quilt Show

    Since we were missing going to quilt shows, and spending way too much time in our own homes, we thought we’d cheer up our neighbors (who were now all really into taking walks) with a Front Porch Quilt Show. This was another really popular challenge and members displayed their quilts in a variety of different ways.

    Quilt by Mandy F.
    Quilts by Rochelle R.
    Quilt by Sarah O.

    Challenge #5 (May) – Sew a Rainbow

    This challenge was part of a block swap we did with other members in the guild who were asked to make rainbow blocks and exchange them. If members didn’t participate in the swap, they were encouraged to make a quilt using rainbow colors to provide some brightness to our days.

    Mini Quilt by Bev T.
    Quilt by Sue S.
    Mug Rug by Kait H.

    Challenge #6 (June) – Make a Tabletop Sewn Item

    Since we’d probably made more home cooked meals than ever before in our lives, it was time to show our tabletops some quilty love. We asked members to make a table top sewn item. Extra kudos who went above and beyond to create full table scapes to match!

    Table Runner by Anne M.
    Mini Quilt, Matching Table Topper, and Table Scape by Dianne G.
    Table Top Quilt by Michele D.

    Challenge #7 (July) – Show Off Your Quilt Labels

    We held a poll and talked a little bit about how many of our members label their quilts. So, we asked our members to show off their labels to help inspire others.

    Quilt Label by Amanda M.
    Quilt Label by Lisa B.

    Challenge #8 (August) – Show Us How You Overcame Being Creatively Stuck

    Sometimes you just need to step outside of what you’ve been doing and try something new. This month, we asked members to post about a project where they might have become stuck and overcame that challenging place.

    Challenge #9 (September) – Show Us Multiple BOM Layout Options

    As our part of our 2020 Block of the Month, members were challenged to entertain different design layouts for their blocks.

    Layout Option 1 for Barbara E.
    Layout Option 2 for Barbara E.
    Layout Option 1 for Rhonda R.
    Layout Option 2 for Rhonda R.

    Challenge #10 (October) – Make a Project Using On-hand Scraps

    In an effort to use up scraps that had accumulated throughout the year, members were encouraged to use them up by making them into a project of their choosing.

    Scrap quilt made by Lisa B.

    Challenge #11 (November) – Make a 2020 “Mask to Remember”

    While I’m sure most of us had our fill at making masks throughout the year, we challenged members one last time to make one that summarized 2020 in some way.

    Masks by Veronique O.
    Masks by Mandy F.

    This year was challenging in more ways than one, and our members showed up for them each month in such creative ways. We feel inspired and excited for new guild challenges in 2021.

    A Visit from Anna Maria Horner

    What a great way to kick off the new year!

    Anna Maria Horner first led a Workshop on “Color Fluency” where we discussed the color wheel and then curated a random set of fabrics into a coherent color palette. Anna Maria discussed how to use prints and, while some combinations may seem random, the  different colors are bound together by color and value. It was a very small peek into how she achieves her beautiful quilt palettes and print combinations.

    At our monthly guild meeting, Anna Maria shared a staggering collection of gorgeous quilts, walking us through her creative journey. Her fascinating lecture included how her creative career has evolved from design school through to today, and how she learned to quilt on the way! Each quilt came with a story and many “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience.

    Perfectly pairing with the workshop and lecture, Wooden Gate Quilts set up a pop-up shop so that members could get their hands on the fabulous fabrics and patterns used in Anna Maria’s quilts. This was a treat that we very much appreciated and will definitely repeat again!


    2017 was a “challenging” year!

    We wrapped up the guild’s final monthly challenge of the year when we turned in curved quilt blocks and traded back projects made out of scraps from each other’s stash.

    Founding member Tricialyn led the guild this year in many other monthly challenges that kept everyone busy and having a great time. In addition to the ongoing unfinished-object (UFO) challenge, which inspired us to complete partially started projects, optional monthly challenges were:

    • Charity quilt blocks
    • Zippered pillows
    • Mini quilts
    • Pin cushions
    • Zippered quilted pouch swap
    • Curved quilt blocks
    • Keychains
    • Text project
    • Scrap project swap
    • Make-something-for-yourself (due in January!)

    Wonder what next year will bring…

    Molehills Class with Latifah Saafir

    This month we welcomed Latifah Saafir to our guild to teach us a thing or two about curves. On June 11th we got together and learned how to make Latifah’s Molehills quilt. She taught us all we needed to know about how to cut, iron and piece curves to make molehills of our own. Many of us worked cutting and sewing single arches into lovely molehill fans and a few of us even dared to paper piece our arches. Every molehill made in class was one of a kind and so much fun to explore with each other throughout the day. Here’s a round up of our adventures that day.

    IMG_0958Eileen showing off cutting arches using templates.

    IMG_0957Kristine pressing her purple and pink arches.

    IMG_0960Michelle-Nicholle stitching some curves on the machine.

    13385927_149128045500685_214421362_nMichelle-Nicholle’s arches laid out on the design wall with some full fans thrown in as well. (We love!)

    Liz built a plethora of lovely yellow arches during class.

    Tricialyn played around with layout of her colorful arches on the design wall.

    Sarah pieced the day away using the paper piecing templates.

    Rochelle finished a full fun pieced pink fan in class. (We love the fussy cut mermaids!)

    IMG_0970Sarah shows off one whole pieced fan at the end of class.

    IMG_0961Our design wall with a least one completed fan from every member in class. What a lovely bunch of molehills. We wanted to sew them up into a colorful quilt right then and there!

    We had so much fun sewing the day away with Latifah Saafir! She had so much knowledge to offer on how to make this beautiful quilt. Lots of tips and tricks on how to be comfortable sewing curves on a machine and creating these awesome blocks. This technique might look a little daunting but we all agreed this was a great quilt to ease into learning curves. We highly recommend Latifah to other guilds and groups alike! She’s a great teacher and an all-around awesome person. We can’t thank her enough for spending a day with us at the Silicon Valley MQG.