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.

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.