Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group December 2016 Newsletter
In this issue, in addition to the regular letter from ModQ Group Co-ordinator, Helen Howes (HH), I am pleased to present a report on this year's Quilt show at Hever Castle by Heather Hasthorpe as well as information about the TUTOR BOX program, Quilt Stories and next year's challenges for COTTONOPOLIS JUKEBOX - still time to enter...
A Word from the Editor...
Having recently driven home in a ferocious hail storm, with lumps of ice and bits of tree battering the car, I think we can safely say that Winter is almost upon us. Though the evenings have been drawing in for some time, Mother Nature seemed to slow the change of colours almost to a standstill.
Many of the trees in this little corner of the world stayed green well into the Autumn, making the occasional yellow, orange or red one stand out in vivid contrast.
Whether you enjoyed the glorious colours or not you can't help but be inspired by the natural world around you. The shape of leaves, the colours in the sky even the darting run of a hare can all have an impact on the design of a modern quilt. Inspiration can be found in the simplest and smallest things around you and although it is not always easy to leave the mind open to see these things as we rush through life, it is a habit well worth cultivating. That and carrying a camera, ideas are fleeting and ephemeral - capture them while you can. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, I'm back from West Country Quilt Show, and thinking about next year.. The Mod Group has been invited back to WCQS, and will show the Cottonopolis quilts there after they have been seen at Festival of Quilts.. Details here if you want to be involved - all Mod members are welcome to play.
We will also be at Hever in September, and I have been invited to a Scottish Regional day to talk about Modern (I will be up there anyway, so it's economical).. There's a lot of room for more exhibits, and the stunning collection in my care will be available to travel - if you know of anywhere that would like to have them, please ask...
It's been a busy year, and I've been working harder than I thought I might to keep this whole shebang running.. And I really need to pass some of this entertaining stuff along..
The problem will be that the Guild likes everyone to change/leave their posts within a committee every 3 years.. And, of course, we all started at once, as the MQ Group was formed in August 2014 (I think we were not "official" till April 2015), - that still leaves us with the possibility that there will be no-one here at all...
So, I would like to invite you all in to play - do you have a skill you would like to put to use? A bee in your quilted bonnet? A job you fancy? I would like everyone to have a "shadow" so that there are no abrupt transitions..
And I would like to have a Membership Secretary, a Tutorbox fairy, and a few more Regional Reps..
Talk to me? email@example.com
Quilting as a craft sort of crept up on me but from the start I was drawn to modern quilting. I was delighted to find Heather Hasthorpe and Helen Howes had set up the Modern Quilting Group and were championing this cause in the UK Quilters' Guild.
After a few months of quilting, I came across an online quilting challenge to use the Pantone colour of 2015 which that year was Marsala. This is a warm reddish-brown colour and to be frank I don't think the average modern quilter, me included, was particularly enamoured but I guess that was the challenge to use brown in a modern and different way to traditional quilts.
So having bought some Kona solids in a range of browns as well as a few complementary prints, with a splash of aqua to brighten things up, the biggest challenge was how to use them. I had recently seen the wonderful eccentric crosses that Heather Hasthorpe had made in a range of Oakshott solids. I found her tutorial on how to make these very helpful and with permission kindly given by Heather I set to. These crosses are great fun to make, quick, easy and effective - my favourite type of block! Matched with low volume fabrics these were perfect for contrast with the brown solids and darker prints.
Crosses made I can't tell you how many layouts I tried and photographed. Thank heavens for iPads, phones and digital photography! Eventually I settled on this asymmetrical layout. In respect of the quilting I'd normally have gone with straight lines but I wanted to do something different and as I had at that stage tried and failed with FMQ I needed a walking foot solution. So to ring the changes I chose to quilt a spiral.
Whilst this quilt will always be too brown to be one of my favourites I loved the challenge as I do the quilt challenges set by the Modern Quilting Group. It's a chance to play and try out some ideas inspired by quilts and techniques shared on the internet but twisted and turned to meet the theme - great for getting creative juices flowing!
My ideas spring from the visual world around me, especially the effect of light at different times of day and the subtle changes of colour during the year, and I am fascinated by the dynamic and organic patterns that occur almost incidentally in nature.
"February Catkins February Light" is my response to the patterns of hazel catkins dancing in the breeze on bare branches and the subtly changing colours on February afternoons, whilst out walking with my dogs.
Each block is slightly different in structure to give this sense of movement. About 100 fabrics were used to achieve the gradation in tone and colour although there is a repetition of a tan and a blue line of silk in every block, but never in the same position. I used a variegated thread with a long stitch for the quilting in a free-hand design based on the bare ploughed fields seen in winter and the back is made from pieces of fabric from a previous project.
60 inches x 60 inches
Commercial cotton, cotton sateen and silk.
Freezer paper foundation machine piecing. Machine quilted in five sections before joining together.
CLICK HERE to see more of Catherine's work in the MQGB Gallery
Modern Quilt was offered exhibition space at Hever Quilt Show this year and I went with Jackie Norris (who did all the driving and heavy lifting). We took the 2015 Triangle Challenge Quilts and set up a small exhibition and demonstration corner.
As everyone on the Regional Organising Committee was very busy because it was the 25th anniversary of this excellent show, I earned some extra Brownie points by making them a small wall hanging in bright Modern colours of 25 Trees. This was a commemoration gift for the ladies who work in the Castle offices and have helped to organise the show every year. The indefatigable Helen Howes wrote up my design as a pattern and produced 100 copies as our give-away for the show, which naturally proved very popular.
Our exhibit was a great talking point and our demos attracted lots of interest resulting in half a dozen new members for the Guild!
Hever Castle is a wonderful venue and Jackie and I are delighted to be invited back next year to teach, demonstrate, and show our wonderful 2016 challenge quilts. They have promised much more exhibition space and also free accommodation with organiser Deb Stock.
A week after we returned this year, Deb sent an email saying how fortunate they had been to have us; and that she had been to quilt group and a lady there had completed her little trees quilt from our pattern and was about to send it off to Canada!
I spend a lot of time travelling to teach, but not every group is big enough or rich enough to have a visiting tutor, particularly if they are in some remote corner of the world.. It seemed to us that there was a need for something more interesting and hands-on that people could use to learn and play.. And the obvious charms of little quilts arriving in the post, with instructions, and then being able to keep the instructions, make more samples, and teach the skills on, seem like the epitome of Modern Quilting's ideals.
So, Heather and I have made a lot of little square quilts, written instructions, and we like people to borrow them and have that "Look what I made" feeling of pride.
There are examples HERE
And there will be a linked page there with Results soon - I have some nice images to show
Have a Go!