Friday, September 26, 2014

September's GRMQG Meeting

October 6, 2014 is the regular GRMQG meeting
6:30 - 8:00
Remember your fat quarters!

Many thanks to Lynda Plowman and Caroll Drudy for taking the minutes and snapping photos of Septembers' meeting.  Here are the minutes:

 September 2, 2014

Attending for the evening: Adriene Wilson, Elizabeth (Betty) Kovacs, Jackie Bailey, Caroll Drudy, Kelly Hubbard, Becky Brink, Nancy DeMaagd, Ginger Mileski, Lisa Oneill, Kathryn Bandstra, Elizabeth Clark, Stephanie Haadsma, Lynda Plowman, Michelle Luke and Kathy Nelson

We will be appointing a board in order to make collective decisions for the group.  If you are interested in being on the board, please contact Michelle.  We will also be discussing our mission statement, so come to the October meeting with some ideas that will go towards the statement.

Two places you can check for updates on our group are: along with the MQG website.  Check the blog spot for links, pictures, tutorials, minutes, and other pertinent information.

Modern quilt guild is having quiltcom in February 2015.  Many designers have their own blogs, and will be posting new information to their sites.  Be sure to check them out.

In November 12-15 2015, there is another retreat in Ann Arbor called Glamp Stitchalot.  It is a retreat that will include some of the biggest names in modern quilting as teachers: Tula Pink, Katie Jones, Sarah Filke, Allison Glass, Jen Baker, and Violet Craft.

Look for Virginia Christenson on the Modern Quilt Guild website for a webinar.  The topic is on how to photograph your quilts and projects. is hosting a couple classes with Jackie Gehring.  You can look at her blog "Tallgrassprarie" to get ideas as to what she might be teaching.

Next month in October, Adrienne Wilson will be speaking on "Choir in the Fabric".

Also next month we will be doing a fat quarter swap.  Everyone can fill out a piece of paper that will have your most favorite color, and least favorite color.  We will draw names and bring a fat quarter of each color for the name on the card.

The next meeting is October 7.

Skill set for the evening is on batting.  Michelle walked us through the different types of batting and their uses from the company Quilters Dream Batting.

Michele's lesson involved batting types, wish I hadn't missed it!

(I hope I've matched names and projects correctly, if not I'll just have to demonstrate our vodka tasting party technique)

Kelly Hubbard's striped cheery

Becky Brink shows a modern stole for a pastor

Nancy DeMaag shows two baby quilts: above and below

A Sorority quilt from a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Lisa O"Neil's barefoot and FLipFlop quilts

Kathyrn Bandstra shows a quilt from a 2nd grader

Stephanie Haadsma's Grow Up modern quilt by Allison Harris

An April Showers jelly roll very cool!

Caroll Drudy cheering us all on with her cat.....

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From Russia With Love....

As  many of you know I've been away enjoying a fabulous trip cruising the river ways between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. While enjoying the history of Russia starting in the 1200's many obvious patterns presented themselves to this very amateur photographer.  While I have pictures of  The Kremlin and many of the beautiful buildings housed in the fortress, the discovery of patterns was easier for me to snap vignettes. While I didn't find any quilt or textile shops I did find a couple quilts.  I'll be sharing some of these pictures over time.  These traditional patterns are still relevant today.

Coincidentally, I was the guest of my friend Caroll at last night's, Tuesday, Sept 22, West Michigan Quilters Guild  meeting to hear and learn about modern quilting from Jacquie Gering.  Ms. Gering has been teaching two all day classes on her techniques of MQ.  I arrived just as yesterday's class was finishing and the slash and stitch squares were beautiful.  At her talk in the evening her start off point was that "...tradition is the touchstone for modern..."  While reading and listening to avid modernists debate "new" and "modern" I was so glad to hear this fundamental element for her.

Before I start the picture tour just a note that Stitched Studio is having an open house this Saturday, September 27th.  Michelle has many events and prizes planned for throughout the day.  Demos will be on-going. Check the store's website for more info here.

 The tile work above is in one of the subway platforms built by Stalin to honor the Ukraine.  The mural below welcomes commuters to the platform.  It too, honors the Ukraine.

 Above is the famous St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, near Red Square and the Kremlin.
 This house is where our local guide was raised.  Her parents now in their 70's live and maintain it.  All the ginger bread decorations were done by her father, by hand as he is a carpenter.  His 3 year stash of wood is also very patterned and arranged in a very precise manner.
 Ok, Quilters...more to come but get over mixing colors and patterns......I say laughingly!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quilt of Belonging - Part 2

Yep, there I am on the left and Esther on the right!. My friends Caroll and Robin and I were agog viewing this phenomenal quilt project when all of a sudden Susan from my favorite store, YT Galleria in East Hills, stands and blocks my way!  What joy!  After we get through the 'I didn't know you quilt' dialog she admits she doesn't but this project is her sister's.  Well, as with Susan, you must meet the family and come for dinner, even though she thought I was Viola (another friend, long story)!  Esther is the one of the most calming persons I have met.  After a few delays, Viola and I arrive for a feast prepared by Susan's husband, John. At the table eating the best ever twice baked potatoes, marinated steaks and the most colorful and tasty cole slaw I've seen were Chelsea, Susan's' 20 something daughter, Carol Johnson, artist, Esther, Lanelle, Alison, Susan, John and Viola and me.  While I was the only quilter, and Esther wanted to make sure we talked about the quilt, we talked, laughed, and almost cried discussing how the quilt made us feel.  Young Chelsea was giving us the new definition of feminism, and shocked at what it originally meant.  Lanelle explained the issues of being from two different American First Peoples but only considered a half by US government standards.  Alison told us all white people look alike which gave us a long laugh.  With wine flowing and great inspiration from the Quilt of Belonging all of us had a story to tell but in the end reminding us of the hexagon symbol for carbon - the essential ingredient for life.  On the way home, after Susan's amazing trifle, my reflections were how wonderful it was to have this open conversation with no ill will or fear.  All of us had something to offer, in all it was like being transported to the early 1900's and attending a 'salon'. 

At the end just before leaving I was able to squeeze in a couple quilt questions.  The most common one I heard from my friends and visitors to the show involved packaging and shipping the quilt.  The Quilt of Belonging website gives the story of the quilt blocks and all the volunteers.  However, the traveling of the quilt across Canada and now USA presents challenges.  Esther indicated that each tassel is numbered as the coloring is directly linked to the story in each block of its row.  They drop down and are removed.  The 10.5 foot panels cannot be folded because of the hexagons.  Specially designed insulated boxes holding a suspended styrofoam roller holds each panel. Voila!  Sounds so simple....

Also, if you're wondering, no Esther does not sew or quilt, she is an artist first and foremost.  Her website is being prepared and will be launched in the near future.  She had just finished a show two days before visiting Grand Rapids and her little sister.

Esther thank you so very much for making us think and remembering we're all one and there is only one race:  the human race.

Susan showing us the wonderful trifle.....

Esther is lower left and then the rest of us, except for the early departures......

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quilt of Belonging- Part One

Now that the American Quilter's Society has wrapped up and moved on another story needs to told: the Quilt of Belonging.  In case you missed it or have forgotten, this "quilt" of 120' wide and 10.5' tall is one of the most inspirational projects I have ever seen. For those readers familiar with Grand Rapids' Art Prize, you won't have to think too far back about the controversy as to whether a quilt can be art.  A beautiful fabric art quilt of the Sleeping Bear Dunes won last years big award.  Unfortunately, the Quilt of Belonging could never qualify for Art Prize as it took 6 1/2 years to complete and scores of volunteers working on its various facets. The inspiration for Esther Bryan, the originator and creative collaborator, stems from the treatment of Canada's First Peoples.  The symbolism imbued in the quilt is stunningly simple:  the hexagon is the symbol for carbon - essential for all life.  The entire base row begins the growth of Canada with all its First Peoples - even the one nation eliminated years ago. Each hexagon above the First Peoples demonstrates another culture/ethnicity living in Canada as of 2000.  These hexagons, as all the hexagons, were created by a member of its people.  Porcupine quills, very fine beads special fibers and thread, pelts, name a few of the fabrics  used to showcase the culture.

The links listed below describe just a sampling of the cultural meaning and workmanship each block offers.

Chipewyan Block, Yellowknives,

Chipewyan Block

This Slovakia Block represents Ms Bryan's first trip back to Slovakia with her dad after the fall of the Iron Curtain.  This trip for her began the inspiration of in part two, my dinner with Esther.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Modern Quilt Guild - the Mothership

The Grand Rapids Modern Quilt Guild is new and growing!  While much work is needed to be done to meet the The Modern Quilt Guild reqirements members can still enjoy benefits of the national guild.

One of the more popular benefits are the webinaars offered by The Modern Quilt Guild.  A trip to the website under the Events tab a list of all the webinaars available are shown.  Here's are partial list:
  • Discovering your Creative Process
  • Photographing your Creations
  • Improv with Intention
  • Pattern Writing
  • Awakening Your Color Genius
  • Modern Quilt Design
If you're more into the business side of matters classes are offered covering:

  • Developing a Financial Plan
  • Key to a Successful Quilt Show
  • Starting Your own Business
Perhaps we can figure a way to get an Apple TV or Roku and TV to one of our meetings and show one of these classes!

It's September and the fall feelings have been with us for a while so why not try this applique pillow from  Cluck Cluck Sew

Cheers to all......

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


New Block of the Month Announced!

If you've never done a Block of the Month here's your chance to try a modern BOM.  My neighbor Judy R and I have had this conversation many times on how much fun BOMs are!  We have met so many nice ladies (men are welcome), and have sharpened our piecing skills.  For a nominal amount we have quilts and quilt tops using a variety of fabric families.  Stitched Studio is offering a modern block of the month that you can join and if you complete your squares in time for the next meeting, the cost of the new month's blocks is free.  All in all, follow the completion schedule monthly and you'll have a $30 quilt top!  The great thing with this BOM  will build our skills sewing with CURVES!  I've challenged myself to conquer curves this year with vey limited success.  Here's the info for the Double Curve It Up Block of the Month

Here's a link that might help us when we receive our fat quarters in colors we don't like at next month's meeting:   Jaybird Quilt Park Bench Block.  I would never think to put these fabrics together!

We need to end with a picture!  I couldn't find my picture of this table runner, so here's how mine should have looked. It uses the ruler needed for the Stitched Studio BOM.  OH, sign up closes September 12th.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Bit of Modern in the late 1800's

Last week my daughter and I travelled to Fayette across US 2, along the Lake Michigan coast of the Upper Peninsula.  Our original goal was to visit Fayette, Michigan.  Fayette is a historical site dating from 1867 to about 1890.  It was a small city created to make pig iron from iron ore mined in the UP.  While it only existed less than 40 years it had a working class neighborhood, a middle class area and of course the company executive home area.  The State Parks system and the historical preservations/archeologists have done a wonderful job of recreating and show casing this "ghost town" encased by the dolomite cliffs of the Garden Peninsula.  Many buildings are open and clearly demonstrate how these families and workers lived and worked.  One of the homes' exhibits explained how the women kept busy while their husbands worked 10-12 hours per day, 6 days a week making and supporting the pig iron foundry.  Of course quilting was one of the necessities, not hobbies.  The blocks shown below are original to Fayette.  The one block at first glance looks very modern with a cut and slash pattern, but alas it was the fabric.  I thought you might enjoy seeing these blocks from 120 years ago.

                               The lower right block at first looked like a cut and slash technique.
                                                        Some of the town buildings

 Jeny is standing in front of the building where charcoal was made/used to stoke and first the foundry.
                                      The view of the bay looking in Lake Michigan

                                                      The pig iron foundry.
As you can see we had perfect weather!  Much is said by many about Michigan weather, here's an example how gorgeous it can be in the Upper Peninsula.