2020 QuiltCon Charity Quilt

the finished quilt, at the Museum of Computing

The MQG Charity Quilt Challenge for 2020 presented us with a design theme of “TEXT” and a palette of grayscale.  At first glance, we weren’t overly enthusiastic with the palette.  This was a big departure from the colorful quilts of past challenges.


The design committee discussed representing newsprint, messages, greetings, and other text elements.

The committee has always chosen a design that is somehow relevant to our Silicon Valley roots. A group of members brainstormed the idea of writing a message in binary code, which represents text using a two-symbol system of “0s” and “1s” in sets of 8 numbers. Specifically, writing “Hello, World!” referring to the test message used by programmers to show understanding of a computer language or functionality of a computer. For example, the “H” is coded a “01001000.” There were concerns around whether people would understand the message and its meaning, but we resolved to make that clear in our documentation and to give them a helpful translation in the quilting.

Once the concept was explained to all, our design was launched.  We chose to use solids only with a black background and gray or white lettering to make the message clean and to more closely resemble a computer screen.  We included large top and bottom borders to allow for the quilting which included the text “Hello” above the binary code and “World” below it, to provide a handy translation of the message in the white quilting stitches.


The committee calculated the qty of each number needed and added in some buffer for spares. Each guild member was asked to create either a “1” or a “0” digit in a 6” square block, using fabric provided by the guild and a placement guide to ensure an even border around each digit.  Members were encouraged to be creative in the design of the digit, while adhering to some general guidelines, and all techniques were allowed. The variation in the color and design of each digit was intentional and part of the modern design.

block instructions

Blocks and Assembly

Blocks were collected at guild meetings and we were thrilled with the variety of the characters provided. Even with such a simple prompt, members made a wide range of different blocks. We received everything from detailed characters with a serif to simple geometric shapes, and we loved them all.

member blocks

The assembly committee carefully spelled out the binary code and put together the final layout. Since they were recreating code, this was a layout that had to be checked and double-checked for accuracy. The committee had to work within these limits to create a balanced quilt top layout.

the letter “R”
“writing” the code

One of our members quilted the top, implementing straight lines to resemble the resolution on a computer screen.

finished quilt, quilting by Cynthia Wheeler

QuiltCon 2020!

Our quilt was displayed at the 2020 QuiltCon in Austin Texas.  We were delighted that Mary Fons featured it in her walking tour of the quilt floor, even though she called us “nerdy.” 😉

Quiltcon 2020 special exhibit tour with Mary Fons, video by Karen Foster

As always, thanks to everyone who made a block to contribute to the quilt. Special thanks to member, Cynthia Williams for quilting the quilt. And many thanks to our committee members for their creative and organizational efforts.

“Hello, World!”

  • H = 01001000
  • E = 01100101
  • L = 01101100
  • L = 01101100
  • O = 01101111
  • , = 00101100
  • <sp> = 00100000
  • W = 01010111
  • O = 01101111
  • R = 01110010
  • L = 01101100
  • D = 01100100
  • ! = 00100001

Hosting Our First Virtual Meeting

And tips for how you can do it too!

Our first ever virtual guild meeting was a great success! On Thursday, March 12, we hosted 33 members of our guild via a Zoom meeting in place of our normal in-person guild meeting.

We maintained nearly all the same elements of our regular meeting program including: a quilty question held virtually on Instagram, our regular guild updates and reminders via slide sharing, Challenges and Charity project sharing via social media and simultaneous sharing on camera, and finally, a virtual-meeting-friendly program via presentation and mobile screen sharing.

Before the success of the meeting itself, we had a crisis of timing on our hands. Three days before our March guild meeting, we were notified that our meeting space would be cancelled for at least the next month.

Our president acted fast, asking board members to meet up via Zoom that same evening to brainstorm ideas, test out the platform, and plan our approach. We asked ourselves a few key questions to help ourselves navigate running a virtual meeting. Such as…

Is Zoom the right platform for us?

We decided Zoom was the best platform to use as it has an easy barrier of entry for all skill levels. It was nice to have members who already use the tool take the lead, but learning the tool was simple for everyone. 

One thing to note if using Zoom is that one person (ideally the person leading the meeting) needs to have a registered account to create and share a meeting link. All other participants can access the meeting for free, without an account, but will be prompted to (quickly) download the application for accessing the tool before use.

We assured our members that logging on would be simple and fast when we sent out the meeting link. We also advised them to log in early to test the tool before the meeting started.

Additionally, we wrote up some basic Conference Call Best Practices and made sure to have it shared on the screen when members first hopped on the meeting, to read through before the start of the meeting.

What do we want/need to cut from our normal meeting agenda (if anything)? 

We decided we’d leave all parts of the meeting in with the exception of Show & Tell and figured out ways to make each part successful on this platform.

Our members love the Show & Tell portion, and it was missed at this meeting, so we have already started brainstorming a few ways to incorporate it virtually, including: doing more social media posting ahead of the meeting and/or selecting a handful of members to share projects one by one with a designated time limit to keep the meeting moving. 

All other guild business and updates were easy to carry out with some thought on how to make them a little more visual and engaging.

How do we insert interactivity with members virtually throughout the meeting to keep it engaging and fun?

We pinpointed a few parts of the meeting that lent themselves to social media posting or doing simultaneous group sharing on camera. Here’s where we landed:

  • We posted anything we would normally get individual member live feedback on (like our “Quilty Question”) to our Social Media platforms (Instagram and Facebook) early on the day of the meeting to generate answers to show during the meeting. We encouraged members to post and use a unique hashtag created for this meeting (#svmqgMarchMeeting2020) so we could see all their content in one place.
  • For the parts of the meeting where people would normally stand up and show off things like Charity contributions or Challenge blocks, we stopped sharing the meeting slide deck which then defaulted to a view of all the members on camera at once. Then, we had members hold up their items in front of their cameras so we could all ooh and ahh collectively in the “Gallery View” on Zoom. It was fun to see everyone’s faces and projects, and members felt like they still had a chance to share. 
  • We also chose a program for the evening that fit well in the virtual format. We had been wanting to do a lecture and demonstration on how to use social media platforms, so this seemed like the perfect choice. Our member running the lecture/demo jumped on the Zoom meeting via their phone and shared their phone screen, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook to demo the platforms in real time. Members followed on their own phones and computers live in the meetings, something that would not have happened if the meeting had been in-person.

How do we manage logistics, like who is talking or screen sharing, and what if a member has a question?

It was essential to establish roles for our board members so they could ensure the meeting ran smoothly. This was our biggest worry. A meeting could run away from us quickly if there weren’t ground rules for behavior or people helping moderate interactions.

Our President would run the main part of the meeting as usual using a slide deck of content (we use this for in-person meetings too). 

We elected a Chat moderator but most board members ended up facilitating by answering any questions that popped up and members jumped in to help each other too. The moderator would also help cue the presenter if there was a question specifically for them.

We chose one person who already knew Zoom to be our IT official for the evening and mute all participants at the start of the meeting, assist in recording the meeting, as well as manage the “hand raising” feature if there were questions or reactions to the presentation.

As fallout of our own meeting, we’d advise to make sure and have a backup presenter ready to pick up if the main presenter has technical issues mid-meeting, including having presentation materials pre-loaded on their computer and ready to go.

If you’re a guild considering running a virtual meeting, go for it, it’s not as hard as it looks. Planning was the hardest part in running our meeting and with some of our insights, we hope you can see how easy and fun it is to run your first virtual meeting.

Big Stitch Hand Quilting with Tara Faughnan

We finished out 2019 with a 1/2 day workshop on Big Stitch Hand Quilting taught by Tara Faughnan.

Tara started out by showing us her own beautiful hand quilted work. She discussed her technique with regard to both stitch size and quilting design, and how she incorporates these to add depth and interest to her quilts.

Then, she taught us about different types of hand quilting threads in a variety of materials, sizes, even some sparkly metallics! Along with the thread, Tara shared her insights on needles, marking tools, even hoops (or the lack thereof).

Finally, we reviewed some stitching techniques and then got to stitching…

What a lovely way to spend a December afternoon… Thanks so much Tara! Tara Faughnan can be reached at tarafaughnan.com

Graphic Design & Triangles with Rebecca Bryan

Rebecca Bryan, of Bryan House Quilts, visited our guild in September to deliver a lecture on graphic design in quilts and teach a class on Design Improv with Triangles.

Rebecca is well known to MQG audiences for her beautiful and graphically striking quilts as well as her two books, Modern Rainbow and Modern Triangle Quilts.

At her lecture and trunk show, A Quilter’s Guide to Graphic Design: Modern Triangle Trunk Show & Lecture, Rebecca walked us through some basic graphic design concepts and vocabulary. She showed many of her quilts from Modern Triangle Quilts and explained the graphic design elements within them, from inspiration to design and execution.

Rebecca’s workshop, Design Improv with Triangles, we took what we had learned in the lecture and applied it to designing our own triangle blocks. Rebecca further discussed the graphic elements of line, texture, scale, and framing and showed us how to experiment with them in this simple shape.

Many thanks to Rebecca for a wonderful lecture and workshop. Rebecca can be reached at https://bryanhousequilts.com.

A Visit from Giucy-Giuce


IMG_0859This month our guild was thrilled to host Giuseppe Ribaudo (aka Giucy-Giuce) at our monthly meeting and weekend workshop.

First, Giucy-Giuce came to our monthly meeting to share about his personal creative journey from learning to sew to working at Andover Fabrics to releasing his own fabric collections! As he spoke, he went through a trunk show of his iconic quilts.


The following weekend, some of us joined Giucy-Giuce for a Workshop on Quilt Photography and Branding. The workshop started with Giuseppe’s tips for taking great photographs of our quilts and projects, followed by a discussion of personal branding. We then left the classroom and took photos of our projects in the “wild” on the Google campus. With Giucy-Giuce providing guidance and suggestions, we got some great shots!

Many thanks to Giuseppe Ribaudo for a great visit!


2019 Retreat Recap


For our 5th annual sewing retreat we gathered at the St Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista to sew, dine, socialize, and maybe even do a little dancing. The retreat center is set back in the mountains and was a peaceful and beautiful place to spend the weekend.  Members were welcomed with guild-themed goodie bags filled with treats from our generous sponsors. Some of our members also contributed to our goodie bags which was much appreciated! Amanda embroidered sewing themed patches which were a big hit! Rhonda contributed big plastic binding spools which were put to use right away by a few people on the finishing stages of their projects. Rochelle, Rhonda, Renee and Jenny made some adorable cell phone cushions and almost everyone had them set up conveniently at their stations right from the start! Thanks everyone!

This year one of our charity projects was to make a bed quilt for the St Francis Retreat Center.  Everyone was asked to bring strips of fabric in shades of blue from light to dark.  From those we each made a few foundation blocks.  By the end of the weekend we had a completed quilt top. 

st francis charity quilt

As always, we raffled off prize baskets to raise money for the guild. This year the baskets were better than ever, filled to the brim with tons of fabric, notions, patterns, books, and much much more from our amazing sponsors. The guild received a record-breaking amount of money and 7 lucky winners went home with some amazing prizes. Thank you again to our generous sponsors!

This year each member was given a charm holder with a clay pinwheel charm in our guild colors.  We completed tasks to earn sewing related charms throughout the weekend.  Everyone had fun completed tasks to earn more charms.  The competition for first person and last person in the sewing room was fierce but fun! Two members who took one of each prize met at 4am (1 person just arriving and 1 who had not left yet from the night before) so you could say there was sewing happening around the clock!

We also had fun playing BINGO throughout the weekend.  Prizes were awarded to the first BINGO of the day and a grand prize for the first black out. We saw a little competitive spirit in a few of our members who were ready to yell out BINGO at the stroke of midnight, just to be the first one to win for the day.  In the end Tricialyn won the blackout. Well done!

Rochelle and Rhonda spent time taking photos of quilts and completed projects.  They were happy to share their expertise and assist anyone in getting the perfect picture of their completed items.

In the end, we come to retreat to SEW. And our members did a lot of sewing and quilting. As a group, we got a lot done and had so much fun doing it!

MPD Appreciation Quilt


For the past 2 years, our guild has been hosted at the Milpitas Police Department Community Room for our monthly guild meetings and open sew days. Mid-2016, we lost our meeting space at a local quilt shop, and we struggled to find a venue that met our size, location, and schedule requirements, as well as being within our limited budget. So, we were thrilled when we found all of these at the Community Room connected to the Milpitas PD Station. We are very appreciative that the Police Department makes this space available to us and we wanted to show our thanks in a way that expressed our gratitude and spoke to who we are as a group.

We decided to thank the MPD with a quilt banner. After tossing around a few ideas, we settled on an American flag design using patchwork blocks for the stripes and replacing the stars with a single police badge star.

The project was a true group effort. We asked for fabric donations in a Red, White, and Blue palette, which we curated for the quilt blocks. We then asked members to make 3” finished mono-color blocks, signing out blocks to ensure we had enough of each color for the finished top. Blocks ranged from traditional to improv, which we laid out and assembled into a flag at our guild retreat.


The police department initials were machine-appliqued onto the silver star which was then hand-appliqued onto the blue field of the finished quilt top. Quilting and a faced binding finished the banner.


We presented the banner to the Police Chief late last year and were very pleased with how much the officers liked it. We expected to see it hanging on a wall in our meeting room, or in a corner of their offices. We were thrilled to see that the MPD had mounted and framed the banner with a lovely plaque acknowledging our gift. In February, a group of officers allowed us to enter the station and we were truly honored to see that it was hung in their main hallway for all to see.



Our goal was to express our gratitude to the MPD for allowing us to meet in their Community Room, based upon their response we think we got our point across. We look forward to many more years meeting at the Community Room.

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

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!


2018 Year in Review

This was a busy year for our guild. We continued to grow our membership, share and learn new skills, and give back to the community.

Founding member Tricialyn led the guild in informative lectures focusing on Design Elements, including Texture, Color, and Scale. These topics were discussed as a group and integrated into guild challenges and activities.

We exceeded our fundraising goal this year, raising money through sponsor baskets, mini quilt raffles, and boutique sales. We are excited about putting those funds back into the guild this year in the form of speakers and activities. Thank you again to all of our generous sponsors.

We also far exceeded our goal for charitable activities, donating 25 completed quilts to 9 different local and national charities. In addition to finished quilts, we donated fabric and quilting materials to local charities and we have a head-start on 2019 with some unfinished quilts. Plus, at the end of the year, the guild made over 50 tote bags for the Bill Wilson Center to be given to at-risk youth throughout the coming year.

Focusing on our commitment to ongoing education, the guild sponsored three workshops in 2018. First, Sherri Lynn Wood taught a structured improv technique in her Improvising from a Score Workshop. Continuing on the improv theme, we learned to piece and layout curves in Karen Foster’s Improv Abstraction Workshop. We wrapped the year up with a Beginning Fabric Dyeing Workshop with Lynn Koolish. Additionally, we held member-led demonstrations throughout the year that included Reverse Applique, Wefty Needles, and Surface Finish Techniques.

On top of all of this, we participated in our first quilt show, showing a collection of modern quilts at the semi-annual Piecemakers Quilt Show! This was a thrill for the guild as we were able to showcase modern quilting at a traditional quilt show. Now that we’ve got a taste for it, we definitely plan to do more shows in the future.

Overall, it was a great year and we are excited for an even better 2019!