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Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group August 2017 Newsletter II
The Sequal!

header august 17
What a wonderful show! More quilt stories, interesting links and free patterns - what more could you want?

A word (or two) from the Editor

Having come back from Festival fired with enthusiasm and inspiration, I am hoping the spend some creative time scribbling ideas and making test pieces. I find this method of working most beneficial and if I don't get ideas out of my head as soon as possible they get in the way of everyday life, and I get a kind of mental constipation! The test pieces are an extremely useful way of proving (or disproving) a patchwork theory, in much the same way as a scientist would formulate an experiment from a theory. An idea that seems so clear in my head - usually at about 3am - does not always work in practise, or might be too complicated to reproduce, and from there on the development begins. The other practise I have found very helpful is to have a critique session with a friend, hopefully a fellow sewist, but someone whose artistic judgement you respect. Having been trained in Graphic Design, the idea of a crit. session holds little terror for me, although I understand some could find it intimidating. But the benefit of a fresh pair of eyes on a piece of work that isn't progressing as you had hoped, and the constructive criticism of a fellow artist should not be underestimated.

However you find you work best, I hope you enjoyed Festival as much as I did. Whether you managed a visit to Birmingham or not, please have a look at the images we gathered from the show and BE INSPIRED. HB

Anything you want to share with the MOD-Q group? Contact me on

Helen's Ramblings

Well, we survived Festival of Quilts, and look below for reports, retorts, and the Cottonopolis Raging Success..

And the usual Old Sewing Machines, new ideas, and the most gratifying response to all our teaching and outreaching ideas. I spoke to several ladies from Australia who wish to use the Tutor Box ideas, make their own samples, and start a similar thing on the far side of the World. I am anticipating images returning sometime…

And, we could not have done it without all the wonderful helpers - all those who sat at the sewing machines, admired the quilts, stood on ladders, wielded drills, looked and sewed and explained, and not least, made all the lovely quilts…

So, without much ado, see below for all manner of goodies and goodness-me’s HH

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foq 2017 show


by Helen Butcher
What a show it was - I am still not sure I saw it all even after four long days there. I was blown away by the quality and variety of the quilts throughout the show. The Modern Category in particular was knockout; over 80 quilts, even more than last year, no two even remotely the same. The extent of quilters' imagination and ingenuity never ceases to amaze me. We will be featuring The work of Mod-Q Group members on the website and in the newsletter over the coming months.

In addition to the amazing competition quilts were various galleries and exhibitions by single artist or small groups. Our nearest neighbours included a pair of lovely young ladies from Russia (with very little English) showing some marvellously diverse quilts. We were flanked by a fascinating group of quilts in an exhibition called 'A Matter of Time' which were by many artists from around the world; these quilts were all exactly the same size but their techniques and materials each reflected their maker's individual reaction to the theme, in much the same way as our own challenges do.

Of course there were ample opportunities to spend money with the vast array of traders who throng the halls, but it ws also interesting to meet various 'Famous Names' in the quilting world; many teachers and writers take small stands at the show to promote books and classes. It was a bit like celebrity spotting in the quilt world.

On a more mundane but practical note, the carpeting in the halls is much improved on previous years (who remembers the lovely -?- orange carpet that clashed with all the quilts?) and the lighting was also vastly different, enabling us to see the beauties of the quilting. Also there seemed to be plenty of chairs for visitors' use - wherever there was a space chairs appeared - thank goodness for a rest!

CLICK HERE to see lots more photos!

CLICK HERE to read what magazine 'LOVE PATCHWORK & QUILTING' had to say about the show (including several quilts by MOD-Q Group members!)

Interpolations 9

QUILT STORIES: Headline News

Interpolations 9
by Helen Howes

As is my usual way, this quilt was not so much planned as thrown together, like two strangers on a jolting train.. Michael Oakshott sent me a huge batch of odd fabrics just before Christmas 2015, and in one box was a big pile of sample cards, all Longshott stripes in 2-inch strips and a delicious range of colours.. The completist in me wanted to use all of these shades in a project, so I cut a lot of 5-inch squares in black and white, put the whole lot in a basket, and made Modern Crosses squares.. And then they languished for a bit, as these things do. Now, my tendency to work with Tree Imagery is wearing off a little (not entirely) so I am playing with a New Series - Interpolations.. This is about division, addition, and multiplication; about taking things apart and putting them back together; and is largely in honour and memory of my late-and-much-missed little brother Simeon.

Fast-forward to November 2016, and I was asked (at 24 hours notice) to make an Exhibit at West Country Quilt Show, as one artist was too ill to go.. This quilt was almost done, so I hammered through the quilting, slammed the binding on, and took it with me.. Not the first time I have finished the binding in a hotel the night before a show, and, I expect, not the last. This year, at Festival of Quilts, it got a Judges Choice.. I’m utterly chuffed…

dusk 1


As seen on the Modern Quilt Groups’ stand at Festival: DUSK by Helen Howes.
Pattern available as a free download (pdf) for one month only.
CLICK HERE to get your copy

ON THE ROAD AGAIN... Mod-Q go West

by Helen Howes
So, now we are off to West Country Quilt Show 1st - 3rd September in Bristol (CLICK HERE for info)- Helen Butcher and I will be loading the van with postcards (with free patterns!), new patterns (also free), fabrics, demos, old sewing machines, lots of quilts for handling, the Cottonopolis Exhibit, and assorted chaosses.. Please email if you wish to be considered for one of our free tickets (in limited supply..) We will be visiting Oakshott Fabrics on the way, as we have been asked to make some “how to” pages for the most basic quiltmaking skills for them - this is a nice addition to our teaching..

...AND AGAIN: Destination Hever

by Helen Butcher
At the same time as the West Country Show, 1st - 3rd September, Hever Castle will be hosting their annual quilt show as part of the HANDMADE AND HOMEGROWN FESTIVAL (CLICK HERE for info). Typical of Mod-Q's plans for world domination we intend to DIVIDE AND CONQUER! Heather Hasthorpe and Jackie Norris will be taking some of the Cottonopolis exhibits and many other lovely Modern quilts to this beautiful venue in Kent. More demos, free patterns and modern quilt chat to enjoy

Cottonopolis stand 1


by Helen Butcher
Show Day Minus One:
and the 'Fantastic Four' gather at the Cottonopolis Stand to find six gleaming white walls and a pile of quilts. Armed only with electric screwdrivers, we mounted our trusty stepladders (whoa, there) and proceeded to hang 66 quilts in five hours!

Thank goodness for Kate's detailed layout, we did have some idea of how she wanted things to look. Heather kept Kate in the loop throughout the day posting photos of our progress on Facebook, and by the end of the day we were very pleased with how the stand looked. CLICK HERE for more photos and information


by Helen Howes
Now, we have the 2016 Black and White and One Colour quilts here - some are going to Hever Quilt Show on 1st-3rd September with Heather and Jackie, and then I will be wanting to get them back to their makers, with grateful thanks.. So, if you can pick yours up (or arrange collection) from West Country Quilt Show (Bristol) or Hever Quilt Show (Kent) this would be fantastic.. I do need to know NOW if this is what you would like to do, please..
And I still have a few from 2015 - if not collected they may well go under the dog.. HH

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Quilters' Guild Logo 1


We now have a new bod who has kindly offered to look after the Modern Quilt Group's section of the Quilters' Guild website. If you have any workshops, photos, or stories you would like to share with a wider Guild audience, please email Maria Spiller:



A chance for you to play with all things illusionary or 3-D

CLICK HERE to see the latest crop of pictures and read all about it