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Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group February 2017 Newsletter

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Most of this month's email newsletter was devoted to information and updates on the COTTONOPOLIS JUKEBOX Challenges. There are many ways you can join the fun, and still plenty of time to get involved. CLICK HERE to go to the Cottonopolis Page or contact Exhibitions Officer, Kate Percival direct on (remember to include the word 'cottonopolis' in your email's subject line)

A word (or two) from the Editor

DESTINATION FOQ 2017: My partner and I, with our large dog, recently spent a lovely (if somewhat cold) week in the Peak District. Now I don't know about you, but for me the anticipation of a holiday is half the fun - what should I take? Oh, I don't mean clothes, they pretty much take care of themselves, I mean sewing! Although I am a confirmed machine sewing addict, it is a bit anti-social to take a sewing machine on holiday, even if there was space in the car (we are not known for travelling light). However, a week without sewing would be unthinkable. Time to dust off the needlecase and get hand stitching.

I generally have some sort of hand sewing project on the go. Currently I am working on a bed quilt using English Paper Piecing - with a modern twist, of course. Between seeing friends and long (cold) walks in the hills it was lovely to sit in the evenings with the dog asleep at our feet, the log burner almost glowing red hot and a basket of sewing on the sofa beside me - bliss.

Although I rarely have time to hand sew at home, now I need to make time because I need to know what size this object is going to end up in order to complete the Festival of Quilts entry forms at the beginning of June. I will have a few weeks after that to finish it and send it off, phew.

It was fantastic to see so many Modern Quilts at Festival last year, and I would like to think we could have an even bigger category display this year. Even if you have never entered before, why not make 2017 your first year, and let's make it a year to remember. CLICK HERE to see the rules and dates.

If you blanch at the thought of a full sized quilt, why not enter one of the Cottonopolis Challenges: what a great way to have a piece of your very own on display at the NEC! CLICK HERE to see details of the latest exciting challenges.

As for me, I had better get sewing - perhaps I will need to take another holiday before July to get it all finished, how terrible would that be? HB

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Helen's Ramblings

Hello again.. It's been a busy couple of weeks. Heather and I went to Swavesey in Cambridgeshire, to the Textile Fair, and demoed many a Modern Cross and Cross Tiger - it was interesting to see how many of the people had actually never seen patchwork, and were completely convinced that quilting was "impossible" However, we, of course, know better..

I have also been trying extremely hard to get on top of the Membership lists and the email list.. You are getting this newsletter because you are on our email list - this is open.. There are many benefits to being a member, not least the chance to play at the Cottonopolis Challenge, of which much much more below... And there will be more treats for Members at festival of Quilts, the AGM, and at West Country Quilt Show, all of which I look forward to seeing you at.

On the other hand, I know there are some members who have not been on the list, for various reasons, and I have attempted to add you all in this time.. I have been somewhat less-than-efficient with coming to terms with the new (encrypted) system for Membership lists from York, and have struggled with this for far too long.. As soon as I am anything like up-to-date I'm passing this along to Alison Mayall, who has offered to take this one in her capable hands.

I've also found someone who wishes to take on distribution of the Tutor Boxes, whoopee!.. Great fun, but I have now lost almost my entire capacity for lifting things (back has crumbled) so anything that can be passed on will be passed on.. I have just updated the Tutor Boxes pages with lots of new samples, and most now have free downloadable worksheets which you can reproduce, use and pass around as you wish..

Would you like to represent Modern in your area? If so, I am happy to provide resources, postcards, loan of the banner, all manner of stuff. Area days and Regional days are a great opportunity to find your fellow-modernists.

If you are at the AGM I would be glad of some help, as I will be on my own…

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detail of LOVE quilt - Thomas Knauer collaboration

STOP PRESS: Cottonopolis Jukebox NEW CHALLENGE

The Transatlantic Superstar DJ Mega Mix Challenge
Group Quilt: 10.5" x 10.5" individually made blocks

I am very excited to be able to tell you all the author, fabric designer, quilt designer, quilt maker and teacher Thomas Knauer has agreed to work with us on a group quilt for the Cottonopolis Jukebox

Thomas is one of the leading figures in the Modern Quilt scene in the USA, is increasingly being asked to exhibit his quilts not only at quilt events but in Museums and Gallery shows. He is exhibiting in Houston this year and teaching at QuiltCon, in between all this he is eager to work with us on a quilt for the Festival this August. When the Modern Quilt Group was first set up some three years ago Thomas arrived at our table at the Festival of Quilts to say hello, he was signing copies of his first book "Modern Quilt Perspectives" at the show, swung by to visit and has kept in touch since. To see more of his work, google his name, Thomas Knauer and peruse the images or take a trip to his website:

Kate Percival, Exhibitions Officer.
CLICK HERE to read more

WCQS winner

QUILT STORIES - Headline News

Winner of VISITORS' CHOICE at West Country Quilt Show 2016
by Vivki Dorey

I was thrilled be told that my quilt was the Visitor's Choice winner of the MQG Challenge Black and With Plus One (Colour) when the entries were displayed at the West Country Quilt Show, in Bristol last November. I was even more thrilled with my prize of Oakshott fabrics!

I was inspired by the Festival of Quilts and talking to members of the Modern Quilt Group on the Guild Stand, about the Group's Challenges and informed that there was still time to enter the 2016 Challenge. I wanted to support the group by entering and I had the germ of an idea - using the colour as a background and the black and white elements as supporting players.

I have a number of green fabrics in my stash, but I settled on a set of green fabrics I had dyed myself in a step gradation. I also felt by using these it was more in keeping of the "brief" of one colour - all the same dye just more watered down! To be more improvisational I cut the curves of the background fabrics free hand; using the method of overlapping fabrics right sides up, cutting a curve within the overlap portion and then joining the curve seams (right sides together) using an eighth of an inch seam. If you have never used this method before you need to make an allowance to be able to trim the piece to size as it is likely that the ends will mis-match, you do not need to pin the pieces together, just sew slowly.

I love the shapes of the echinacea flowers in my garden and I thought these would make a bold statement on the quilt and be easy to replicate as applique flowers. I used free hand and quilting stencils for the flower elements. Being very pushed for time I used Steam-A-Seam 2, to attach the elements of the flowers to the background. In hindsight this made the flowers very stiff especially where there were overlaps - perhaps I should have used the Steam-A-Seam 2 Lite version!

I enjoy quilting and try to give it equal prominence in my quilts. I am practising my free motion techniques and I love the work of Angela Walters (she has lots of videos on YouTube), and so I took the opportunity to use the negative space on the quilt to try out some quilting patterns.

I completed the quilt over 4 days in order to meet the Challenge deadline. This kept me focussed to just "get on with it" but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I haven't yet got my inspiration for Cottonopolis Juke Box but I am working on it...

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Mod-Q Group membership is growing and we possibly now have enough members scattered over the country to get together informally to enjoy sewing, if you fancy seeing if anyone in your area might be interested, let me know for the next newsletter so we can start the ball rolling.

BRISTOL Two members in the Bristol area, Ruth and Michaela are keen to start up an informal group to get together and do Modern quilty stuff (I suspect cake will also be involved). If interested please email me and I will pass your details on to Ruth.

SOUTH COAST/HAMPSHIRE I am on the South Coast in Hampshire and would like to do similar - any takers out there? My email address is here, Kate Percival:

NORFOLK/SUFFOLK If you are in the Norfolk/ Suffolk area, we will be getting together for a day of fun sewing and good food to celebrate International Quilt Day on Saturday 18th March. CLICK HERE for more details. HB

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A facebook group for QGBI members

For a few years The Guild have had a public Facebook page which has provided an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of interests of our members to visitors but we've never had a closed group where members can 'talk' to one another ... until now!

With the help of our 'admins' - Hilary Hale, Carol Fieldhouse and Jan Bevan, we have launched a MEMBERS ONLY group where we can share pictures of our quilts, our experiences and our events, with a bit of problem solving along the way!

If you'd like to join us please complete BOTH these two steps

1. go to and click 'Join this group'

2. email either or with your membership number so that we can add you to the group (NB: we will not be able to add you to the group without your membership number)

Please remember that this is not an automated process but if 24 hours goes by without you being added to the group we may have missed you for some reason and wouldn't mind a gentle reminder!

Finally a couple of things to note:
The QGBI Yahoogroup will continue to function, as not everyone finds Facebook to their liking
The Facebook group works like an informal group meeting so please continue to talk to your Co-ordinators or the office for Guild business

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A facebook group for MOD:Q members

Kate has set up a facebook page exclusively for Modern Group Members, if interested in joining in, you need to be invited. if you have entered one of the Cottonopolis Challenges, you will be added automatically. Anyone else who wishes to join, drop Kate a quick email:

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Festival of Quilts 2017

Last week I got the details through of the size and position of our Gallery at the Festival of Quilts this year.

We have a 6m x 6m square gallery, on a corner, so we also have two outside walls. A very nice space, in the second Hall - for those of you familiar with the layout of the Festival from last year, the gallery is next to the VIP area, alongside where the 3D Creations and Contemporary Quilts were displayed.

This show will depend on the contributions of as many members as possible - I am deliberately giving you multiple options, hoping to get every member involved - let's face it, wouldn't we all love to say we have exhibited at the Festival of Quilts? So, go for it! Join in, lets have a blast and knock their socks off.


I know it is months away yet, but I will be needing some willing bodies to 'man' the gallery at the Festival. We will need there to be two people on duty at any time, if you are stewarding for sufficient time in any one day you can qualify for free entry to the show. As a 'freebie' steward you get to chat to lots of delightful quilters and get in early before the crowds for a good look before you start your duties. Also you get to wear The White Gloves of Power. Worth it for that alone. Interested? email me! Kate.