Quiltcon 2018 recap

SVMQG was well represented at Quiltcon 2018 last month; 26 of us traveled to Pasadena to see the quilts, walk the vendor floor, and attend lectures and classes. Our members took over 35 different classes ranging from machine and hand quilting to piecing techniques, from surface design, to fabric dyeing and color theory. (See below for a full list of classes.)

We saw each other in classes and in passing, as we admired all of the beautiful quilts and rubbed elbows with our favorite “sew-lebrities.”

 

We watched our fearless leader and president of the guild Rochelle Rosales as she participated as a member of panel for a lecture on Secrets of High Performing Guilds.

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A handful of us found our QuiltCon Charity Quilt hanging in one of the lecture halls and couldn’t help but strike a pose with it.

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We even managed to get most of us together for a group dinner on Friday night where we had a great time sipping champagne and eating delicious food.

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It was a great show and our members had a great time attending. We’re already eager for next year’s show in Nashville, TN. The lineup is looking good too!

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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.

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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.

Quilting:

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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Improv Workshop with Sherri Lynn Wood

Last weekend the guild hosted “Improvising from a Score” with local quilt artist and teacher, Sherri Lynn Wood, where we learned improvisational piecing techniques within a defined framework or “score.”

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We started with an extended group discussion about the different aspects of improvisation, and some of the techniques used in improvisational music and theater, and in everyday life.

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After a brief meditation period, we sewed in silence, letting our creativity flow without distractions. We set specific limits and then cut and sewed patchworks… abandoning fixed patterns, templates, and even our rulers.

As a group, we reviewed our work in progress and voiced Evaluations of our experience thus far expressing a Surprise, a Discovery, a Satisfaction, or a Dissatisfaction, and discussed where we would go next. Some of the students’ evaluations included:

  • I am surprised by how the different sections are connecting and working together.
  • I discovered I can make a very straight line without a ruler!
  • I discovered I can NOT make a straight line without a ruler… and that’s ok.
  • It is satisfying to move quickly and not to worry about precision.
  • I am dissatisfied by the color I am working with, I will continue to use it and see where it goes.
  • I am surprised by how much I love it.
  • I discovered that I don’t have to love every piece of my patchwork in order to love the whole thing.
  • I am satisfied by how freeing is it to just keep moving forward, without a plan.
  • I discovered that the simple limits we set were just enough of a framework to focus my work.
  • I was surprised that the silent sewing made the decisions come quickly and easily.

Ultimately, we made a lot of progress and gained a broader understanding of the improvisational process. We learned techniques that can be used to create flexible (improv) patterns or to augment fixed patterns and that setting boundaries focuses our work and still leaves us with endless choices and flexibility.

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Concepts taught in this workshop can be found in Sherri’s book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously. You can learn more about Sherri Lynn Wood’s projects and workshops on her website

Kicking off 2018!

The guild kicked off 2018 with our monthly meeting last week. We welcomed many new members and said hello to the familiar faces that made 2017 such a great year.

This year, the guild will be focusing on “design” and education, working to grow our design skills through lectures, discussions, activities, and classes.

We started our discussion by watching excerpts from the MQG webinar “Modern Quilting: Know It When You See It” with Jacquie Gehring. In the webinar, Jacquie talks about the concept of modern quilting as a spectrum, including many elements of traditional and varying elements of new/modern design. She also shows and discusses this concept with regard to specific quilts.

Some of characteristics of modern quilting noted by The MQG are:

  • Use of bold colors and prints
  • High contrast and graphic areas of solid color
  • Improvisational piecing
  • Minimalism
  • Expansive negative space
  • Alternate grid work
  • Updating of classic quilt designs

After the webinar, members placed themselves on this spectrum and we discussed our thoughts about the definition of modern quilting and how we saw ourselves within it. Many of us were surprised with where we placed ourselves on the spectrum.

We plan to have the spectrum at future meetings and to revisit this exercise at the end of the year to see if our self-placement has moved.

Next month, we will continue our design focus with a member-led lecture about basic design elements. We’ll be exploring these concepts further in future demos, activities, and challenges.

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2018 Board Members

Happy 2018! Our board members met early this year to plan out the beginnings of a great new year at the guild.

We are very excited to present the new Board Members of the 2018 Year as follows:

Rochelle Rosales, President
Sarah Osentowski, Vice President
Renee Silva, Treasurer
Janet Livingston, Secretary
Beverly Thompson, Membership
Heidi Mackessy, Education/Programs
Rhonda Rosales, Philanthropy
Amanda Morris, Fundraising
Tricialyn Apolinar, Swaps + Challenges
Pam Holt, Sew Day Coordinator
Jan Strockis, Retreat
Sarah Osentowski, Media + Web Chair
OPEN, QuiltCon (2019) Charity Quilt Chair
OPEN, Quilt Show Participation Coordinator

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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…

Special Guest Rashida Coleman Hale

Fabric designer, artist, and author Rashida Coleman-Hale visited the guild this month. Rashida, a founding designer with Cotton & Steel Fabrics, shared her personal story and design process with the guild. She took us from inspiration, through ideation and sketching, to fabric on the shelves! Rashida patiently answered all of our questions and brought yards and yards of her new fabric collection for us to see and touch. She even brought us goodies that a few lucky members took home!

 

You can find out more about Rashida Coleman-Hale here: