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 – –  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  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

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.

“”  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

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.