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Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group December 2018 Newsletter

header november 2018
Best wishes for the festive season and good luck to all in 2019

A word (or two) from the Editor

OBJECTIVE ACHIEVED?  Well, I think I have just about made it! Christmas, that is. Cards made and sent, gifts made and posted, distant relatives visited. Just my nearest and dearest to cater for now, and a quiet Christmas with the in-laws. Since I live some way from most of the family I always plan to get Christmas done and delivered early in the vain hope that I am not having to rush about at the last minute. This year it has finally worked (it has only taken thirty years to achieve!) and I am now able to have a few days of fun.

My friend HH and I occasionally like to spend some time working with something other than quilters cotton. Much as we love cotton, this week is all about wool and silk, and linen, and heavy cotton much of it hand dyed, and anything with texture. Giving ourselves permission to play - trying something different; it may work it may not, if it doesn't, don't agonise and fret over it, move on to something else. I am enjoying working with wool, tweed and tartan although I am not sure my machine is; bulky seams and excess fluff! I find silk a challenge but the end results are worth the extra effort; sharp cutter, new needle and very thin pins required. Perhaps I might put a wool patchwork quilt in for Festival of Quilts next year? If so I had better get that finished early - I can't image what it would be like trying to put the binding on a wool quilt in the height of summer! I really would have to resort to sitting in the garden to do it.

That reminds me, talking of the garden, I must go and put the sprouts on!

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

Pearls of Wisdom from Modern Group Co-ordinator, Marion McCrindle

When I was a child - back when the dinosaurs walked the planet - my Dad did the pools. Now for those of you for whom this means nothing, the "pools" meant that each week (or so it seemed) a man appeared and gave my Dad some paper with squares on and a list of the forthcoming football matches which he had to guess would result in a home or away win or a draw. I don't recall my father's abilities in this direction as being of any significance but what I do remember was getting my hands on those papers. Having grabbed some, I took out my coloured biros and for hours very happily created patterns and shapes.

I was reminded of this when I went to the Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern last week. I know nothing about the technical side of recording weaving patterns but was delighted to see that she had created papers with lots of squares and had coloured in patterns. Of course, her results were of greater significance than mine but for me, it underlined that sometimes it is the simplest things in life that can lead to work of great beauty.

I had expected (in my ignorance) to see lots of "flat" weaving and so was very surprised and fascinated to see some 3D techniques that were very like drawn and pulled work in embroidery ie twisted warp threads and additional weaving through the works. Also fascinating was the range of shades that can be obtained from the same three or four threads, depending on which was dominant in the weave. So many of her pieces could easily be reproduced as modern quilts so perhaps we should have a challenge to produce an A4 piece "in the style of". Even if you haven't been to the exhibition there are many images of her work in the media at present as well as on Google images (or other search engines!)

Your committee is meeting in January to plan next year's programme so if you have ideas or want to contribute to this in any way please do get in touch and let us know. I appreciate you are all busily quilting and preparing for Christmas but unless we hear from you, we cannot hope to meet your expectations.

On behalf of your committee, may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas - or a happy holiday period if you do not celebrate Christmas - and a fabulous 2019. Don't forget, 2019 is the Guild's ruby year and lots of events and activities are planned in celebration. See The Quilter for some of the information but also, keep an eye on the Guild website. For anyone reading this who is not a member of the Guild why not join us - even if just for our ruby year? See why the rest of us belong and share the benefits of membership.


Contact Marion McCrindle the Modern Group Co-ordinator on

Situations Vacant: TREASURER

Sarah and Janet have been joint Treasurers for the Modern Quilt Group since its inception four years ago. The time is approaching for them to step down from this role and the group are looking for someone to take over. The position could be held solely or as Sarah and Janet have done shared.

Janet says "Sarah and I have shared the role which has worked well. We divided the tasks so each have separate duties. Sarah maintains the spreadsheet while I process the payments and keep track of the events. It is not an onerous job and has been enjoyable."

For further information please email or contact Marion McCrindle the Modern Group Co-ordinator on

Mini to Maxi - Churn Dash by Abigail Sheridan de Graaff

Detail of Mini to Maxi - Churn Dash

QUILT STORIES: Headline News

Mini to Maxi - Churn Dash
by Abigail Sheridan deGraaff

The Churn Dash block was definitely not one of my favourite blocks when I was learning to quilt and over recent years I have tended to more modern designs and generally work with no fixed pattern. However, having seen a few re-interpretations of the Churn Dash over the last couple of years, I came to look at it quite differently. This quilt had been in my head for 6 months, along with a couple of other traditional blocks destined for the same treatment, before coming together remarkably quickly over a couple of days this July. It was not the quilt I meant to make for Festival of Quilts but it was the one that was entered and I was so happy to receive a Highly Commended from the judges.

As well as being a member of this Modern Quilt group, I am also a member of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild. This means I am eligible to enter quilts into QuiltCon which is the Modern Quilt Guild's yearly show relating to all things modern. This was the first time I had entered a quilt into a juried show and it almost didn't happen at all due to being extremely ill the week of the deadline. I managed to enter it correctly as it turns out because I have just had the wonderful news that it was accepted. To say I am excited is an understatement!! It will be sent to the States and will hang in QuiltCon which takes place 21-24 February 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Sadly I won't be able to see it there but if any of you do go then please do say hello!

qms anne mcskimming 1
Modern Sampler by Anne McSkimming

QUILTER MAGAZINE Modern Sampler Quilt

by Anne McSkimming

I had seen the instructions for the "Modern Sampler" over 4 issues of The Quilter Magazine. Due to other projects (quite a few of them) waiting to be done I hadn't initially planned on sewing this particular project. It was when I had seen the finished quilt by Linda Lyons, and, seeing the comments on the Quilters' Guild Modern Group Facebook page a couple of us were urging each other to start this quilt. I had not wanted (or needed) to buy any fabrics so, luckily as I had a 2m piece of navy Moda Grunge and plenty of bright batiks in my stash, shouting at me to be used, I decided to give it a go. Although I have some "plain" background spaces my quilt does look very busy. I have quilted using a King Tut variegated thread and vertical lines about ½" apart. Believe it or not some of the quilting lines are wonky too!!!! I did enjoy making each block and found the wonky stars particularly addictive. The pattern was very easy to follow and went together well. Thank you Helen Howes.

qms hb 1
Deatil of QUILTER Modern Sampler by Helen Butcher

Interpolated Tigers
Detail of Interpolated Tigers by Helen Howes

IMPROV for Beginners and Improvers

by Helen Howes

You may have noticed that The Quilter ran a series of improvised blocks from me to make a sampler quilt over the last year (see Anne McSkimming's lovely version elsewhere in this issue) we have now been told that the exhibit of these at Quiltfest (6th - 15th February 2019) will have a stonkingly good selection, and that they are all delightfully different. I'm really pleased, and my three pieces, including the original, plus at least 25 others, will be shown there and at the Knitting and Stitching Show, Olympia, 28th February - 3rd March 2019. CLICK HERE for more details of QuiltFest.

And I've been making a few ideas and a series for the UKQU website, starting with Tigers (CLICK HERE), and then More Tigerishness (CLICK HERE)
- there will be at least twelve parts to this, and the website has lots of interesting stuff to explore?

todays quilter

magazine offer
Fabric Bundle


Those lovely people at Immediate Media have come up with a special offer for any QGBI Modern Group members who would like to subscribe to TODAY'S QUILTER magazine: 40% off cover price, plus a fabric bundle. Read on...

"Every issue of Today's Quilter brings you exciting projects for intermediate to experienced quilters, inspiring photography, expert advice and techniques from Lynne Edwards MBE, Carolyn Foster, Pam Lintott and Mandy Shaw to name a few, plus Block of the Month and an in-depth look at quilt heritage! You will also receive a collectible supplement that goes into more depth about a specially chosen subject or handy quilty tool!"

Contact me on for a voucher code so you can subscribe today with a special offer 40% off plus a bundle of fabric (T&Cs apply.) Offer valid until 31st December 2018.

cutters hh

Caring For Your Blades

by Helen Howes

When I first met Heather, and having offered to take her to Festival of Quilts without either of us having set eyes on the other, her OH said "She might be an axe-murderer" - the reply "Quilters kill each other with rotary cutters, it's quicker and cleaner"

A new blade is one of life's little pleasures, almost on a par with good chocolate. While, if my arm was being twisted, I would always settle for scissors, so far I haven't had to choose. My early piecing, when not "over papers" was so much harder without the joys of the roller cutter and the ruler-and-mat.

However, in class, I see much mistreatment of blades, and they aren't cheap. Yes, have a new one, but do look after it, please.

Make sure your mat is clean, wholesome, and free of pins and extraneous detritus (no pins!) - a worn-out mat will ruin blades, your temper, and your work.

Always close your cutter unless the blade is actually in the fabric - yes, "only a second" with an open blade can be just soooo painful. And the phone might ring..
I personally prefer the "squeeze" Olfa cutters, which close as soon as you let go...

Cut with the blade at a good 90 degree angle to the mat, and with the edge nicely along the ruler. Resist the temptation to lean the blade, as this makes for inaccurate slicing.

And PLEASE do not scrape the offcut scraps away with the open blade. Nothing blunts the blades like this, and it always sets my teeth on edge?

If you put the cutter down and manually remove the little outer bits before you move the ruler, you will find out where the blade fails - you can extend its cutting life a little by rolling twice each time, but if you have nicked the edge, it's going to drive you crazy. Be a devil, have a new blade! And the edges will fall neatly away, leaving lovely pieces to sew together.

I had a student visit with her friend, who had gone to the quilt shop "to buy a new cutter, as the old one was not working" - she did not know that the blades are replaceable, and was delighted to find that I would not only sell her one, but also fit this, and clean and adjust the cutter while she waited..

Shown above; 60mm, 45mm and 28mm blade cutters - if you want just one, choose the 45mm size. The smaller one is really useful for cutting curves. I use the big one for multiple layers, but not nearly as often as the other sizes. All of these close when you let go, so, very safe. This type also have a button on to lock the cutter closed for safe transport - please note this is NOT for locking the blade open!

If you have the cutters with the sliding blade cover, always, always, always slide the guard before you put your cutter down, even for a few seconds. Get into this good habit because you really don't want to put your hand down on an open blade, and neither does the person working next to you in class.

Don't buy a cheap cutter, please, they wear out, break, and will annoy to pieces...

Disposal of Blades
You know, even when the blade is so blunt that it won't cut cheese, it will still cut your fingers. I use a Sharps jar (a big Hellmann's mayonnaise jar) to safely store such, and eventually, it goes to safe recycle. However, you can dispose of blades as long as you cover the edges with tape, and/or fold them into a piece of card and tape securely.. They can then go into the regular bin...

Lastly, please make sure you put the thing back together properly - I commonly find washers up-ended, spacers in the wrong places, and nuts undone!

Happy cutting!


One of the regular questions we were asked at Festival was 'Is there a Modern Quilting group local to me?' If you are thinking of starting a local group - let us know and we will pass the word around!

Region 7: Buckinghamshire
Our first meeting will be January 10th from 10am to 1pm at Bourne End library, Wakeman Rd, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5SX. There after we will be meeting monthly on the second Thursday. The cost will be £10 for annual membership with a £5 meeting charge - refreshments included in cost.
Bring along your current quilting project, share ideas, chat about modern quilts with like minded people or start a new project! All welcome
Contact Alison on 07803044298 or email for further details


Your chance to have a say In the next few weeks we will be sending out a survey to the QGBI Modern Group members asking for your opinions and ideas! We would value your input, please take a moment to complete and return it. Many thanks, HB

QGBI 40th Anniversary
10-12 May 2019, Nottingham

Reg 10, who are organising the conference, are asking for your help in making this, the 40th anniversary, a huge success.

They are going to have a book sale as part of the fund raising. If you have any sewing related books either bring them along or send to me. Address below.

The Tombola theme is covered books. Please use your talents to make colourful and attractive notebooks. A5 or A6 please. Again either bring to Conference or send to me .

We shall also need volunteers to help man some of the exhibits etc so if you can spare a couple of hours get in touch.

If you have never been to Conference before please come along and enjoy the atmosphere and friendship. Lots of talks, workshops, Traders etc. It really is a great event. I have been going for several years and always learn something new and make new friends.

Hope to see lots of you there.
Happy sewing
3 Christopher Close, Louth, Lincs. LN11 0BT

Festival of Quilts 2019

By Helen Howes

I hope you will consider making a quilt for the 2019 Exhibit based on the Bloomfield Coverlet (see below) proposed and harried-into-being by our late and much-lamented Exibitions Officer Kate Percival..

And, when writing your descriptions or naming your other quilts for the competitions - (you are entering, aren't you? No show without you...) please consider a name-drop - I intend to enter almost every category this year, and all will have a little "for Kate P" in the blurb... If we can get her name in the catalogue 100+ times... What a good game!

bloomfield coverlet
The Edwin Mary Bloomfield Coverlet, The Quilters' Guild Collection


Here's something for you to think about! Next year's challenge is a joint challenge throughout all the Specialist Groups of the Quilters' Guild and entrants will have to chance to have their work exhibited at 2019 Festival of Quilts. We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Quilters' Guild and are looking for Modern interpretations of a historical quilt from the Guild's collection (please see above).

Here at Modern we will be aiming for our 20 x 20 inch format inspired by the original coverlet, it's history, story, design or construction.

CLICK HERE to visit the 2019 challenge page where you can find links to a high-resolution image of the Bloomfield coverlet, and to the Quilters' Guild website which will gives the story behind the quilt

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