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Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group July 2017 Newsletter

header july 17
Building up to Festival of Quilts, more stories from Modern Quilt members, a call to action for future committee members and a report on a interesting talk & workshop as well as information about group challenges - old and new!

A word (or two) from the Editor

Here at ModQ HQ we are gearing up for the biggest event of our year – I might have mentioned it before a couple of times? Festival of Quilts is nearly upon us again! As usual this has caused a flurry of last minute activity typical of a group of ‘deadline queens’. I am sure there are quilters out there who will have had everything finished and prepared for weeks. Not so here; finishing binding, threading in ends, endless lifting of pet hairs, specks of dust and batting fluff. (Where does it all come from? I am sure the fluff fairy scatters more as soon as my back is turned. I am never doing another dark quilt!) All quite normal. Then the joys of quilt packing, lots of tissue, bubble wrap, strong boxes, brown paper and enormous quantities of parcel tape. Have we got the right labels with the right quilts? An important question with eight quilts across four categories by three different people! Quilt packing is much easier with two, but even so the tape dispenser always seems to have migrated to the other end of the table when you both have your hands full of rapidly unravelling packaging – must be that fairy again. The best way to pack a quilt is to roll it, but the Post Office and most carriers will not accept a parcel longer than 1½ metres. So out with the cardboard boxes, but how to fold a quilt with minimal creasing? Several cups of tea, one sore finger (bitten by the tape dispenser) and a little bit of cursing later and we finally managed to pack all the quilts. It was quite a relief to get to my last one, a miniature thank goodness, no need for wrestling or folding. Time for more tea and some chocolate – carefully avoided earlier in the afternoon for fear of sticky fingerprints – we felt we had earned it.

Our work doesn’t stop there. The quilts have gone off but there is lots more still to do before the show. Now we are getting down to preparing our ever popular postcards and free patterns, demonstrations and challenge information. If you are visiting the show, we hope you will swing by and say hello. We will be manning the Modern Quilt table on the Quilters’ Guild stand as well as the Cottonopolis Gallery (thank you to everyone who has offered assistance with these). There will be interesting things happening in both locations – come and be part of it. I must admit I am looking forward to the show hugely. Although it is likely to be a tiring few days I always come back inspired by the quilts I have seen. I can’t wait to admire this year’s crop of Modern Quilts and I fully expect for socks to be knocked off! I will be taking my trusty camera and will photograph as many of them as possible – watch this space for future reports. HB

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

Helen's Ramblings

When we (Heather and I) started this Group almost three years ago (we first showed willing at Festival of Quilts in 2014, but I think I was only “official” from the following May), I was so uncertain as to whether we would succeed, could make any difference to the Guild; be able to Show How and not Show Off. All our efforts felt like waving flags into the darkness.. That first festival was just amazing, and we have gone from strength to strength ever since.. The tutor boxes are a stonking success, we have a major exhibit at Festival of Quilts this year, there is a whole bunch of Free Stuff online… But, I’m tired, and the Guild prefers there to be a constant turnover of volunteers, so I need a successor. The work is not difficult, and I do not intend to interfere or set an agenda, but will support anyone who wants to have a go.

I have made much of the starting work by myself, with sterling help from the Committee so far, but it’s time to spread that load too, so if you fancy being a Yahoo Moderator (very easy, but I would like someone who will “poke” the List frequently), a Web Officer to deal with the Guild site (not so easy from a Mac, so a PC user may be happier, and the Guild should provide training), and someone to help my Exhibitions Officer - we are making really good Challenges each year, but they don’t travel nearly enough.. See below for news about 2016s pieces, 2017, and 2018s plans… I’m also open to other ideas.. How about a Bee Organiser? We have a Flickr Group, how about Instagram. We have Facebook, ask if you want to join - Alison Mayall is a moderator… (and she’s the Membership bod, so she can look you up, too…)

I’m in need of spending more time with my Artists work, my writing, and webstuff, so I really need to pass things along before I am pressed to do so.. I plan at present to go to the AGM in 2018 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, folks) in my present role, then want a couple of years with fewer miles on the road and more miles of stitching

So CONTACT ME please, with any offers, ideas, questions, or job-share suggestions. I plan to be both honest and open about all the requirements, and I won’t mind if you say “maybe” and then say “no”


Contact me on uk

SH serendipity
Serendipity by Sarah Hibbert

QUILT STORIES: Headline News

Serendipity by Sarah Hibbert
I’m Sarah living just outside London and have been quilting for 30 years off and on due to family and work commitments. My Father was a Graphic Designer so I have lived around colour and design. I am so thankful to him for introducing me to so many varied artists. The area that has always really excited me is Bauhaus with the likes of Albers and the gorgeous Gunta Stolzl. I especially love her weaving and her approach to each design. I have been working on a piece from one of her drawings – I pieced it last year with various weaves but felt that machine quilting wouldn’t be right so I have just slowly been working large stitching in various threads. I am also enjoying just working on this piece when I want to with no real hurry involved. I would very much like to continue this on with more pieces based on her drawings. I have attached a photo of this as part completed.

sarah h detail

Along with being an active member of The QGBI and subsequent groups Modern and Contemporary I belong to The Modern Guild (MQG US). I joined 3 years ago and have enjoyed seeing their annual exhibition reviews. Late last year I decided to enter my quilt Serendipity into February’s Quiltcon to be hosted in Savannah. I was lucky to be accepted and visited there with great enthusiasm. The highlights of my trip were attending two workshops, one with Jen Carlton-Bailly where I mastered curved piecing and another with Tara Faughnan in which I learnt colour balance. I have brought those experiences home and am working on three more pieces which I hope to enter in next year’s exhibition.

Finally, with regard to Modern Quilting versus traditional I find myself leaning towards a modern fabric and piecing method. When not working on an improve piece I try to make a traditional block more quirky or adjusting the scale makes for a more interesting piece to my eye. I try to be flexible as the piece grows.

12 Joe Bennison
Joe Bennison
12 Bee Barford
Bee Barford
12 Ann Beare
Ann Beare


by Helen Howes
In 2015, we made a Challenge of 20-inch quilts on a theme of Triangles, and it was superb.. I got to help hang it (and see all the quilts for the first time), in November that year, and I was deeply impressed…

2016s Challenge - Black and White and One (Colour) was a stupendous success, but I would have been happier had it had more outings.. We need to look for venues to show these delicious quilts, and I welcome any suggestions - even small local shows are acceptable, as these are very engaging and accessible quilts.

Some of these 2016 quilts will be going to Hever Quilt Show in September, but we don’t have room for all 45.. So, if you have a quilt in this set, and would like it returned at either Festival of Quilts or West Country Quilt Show, please let me know as soon as possible, so I can bring them with me.. If you are happy to lend them for Hever, I will send them back after that, unless another opportunity to show these comes along...

This year’s - Cottonopolis, will be travelling to West Country Quilt Show, and I hope to keep the little 12x12 quilts as a suitcase collection for a couple of years, if that’s OK with the makers... (Again, if not, let me know, please, and I will send them back after WCQS) The 24 inch quilts will make a good exhibit on their own - does anyone want to take these somewhere interesting? I’m happy to arrange transport and any support required.

And, for 2018, we have a new 20-inch Challenge (see HB’s notes about this in this newsletter) Get stitching, darlings!

P.S. I still have a few quilts in the box from 2015.. If these are yours (you know who you are) I need you to reclaim them, please

KATE: You may have heard that our powerhouse, inspiration, and Exibitions Officer (yes, that’s what the Guild put on her badge) Kate Percival, is ill with oral cancer. She is facing a major operation at the end of July and a long recovery.. Good wishes, prayers, jokes, baskets of kittens, etc. can be forwarded. She has devised, arranged, pushed, pulled, and organised the Cottonopolis Exhibit at FOQ this year - if you are there you MUST come and see this (probably in the Lower Hall) and say hello, get your free postcards, see and handle the quilts, and admire her sterling work.. Helen Butcher, Heather Hasthorpe and I will be there all four days, on the Exhibit and the Guild stand, with lots of new stuff to play with.. You will be expected to make admiring noises and laughter is expected…

Lynne Edwards 1
Lynne's Butterflies Quilt

Lynne Edwards 2
Blanket Stitched Quilt


by Helen Butcher
At the beginning of July I was delighted to attend a talk and workshop given by one of my all time quilting heroes, Lynne Edwards. Lynne’s book ‘Cathedral Window Quilts’ was one of the first quilting books I bought and I have always admired her work. The quilts Lynne showed us, spanning many years, were fantastic and covered a range of patchwork and quilting techniques. Most of the quilts were prototypes for, or samples from, the various different workshops Lynne runs. Although Lynne makes her living by teaching and writing patterns she was so generous with information and tips, I think we must all have learnt something new. One of the techniques Lynne herself particularly enjoys is raw edge appliqué in blanket stitch and the quilts she showed were extremely effective. The individual pieces on each quilt were held in place with bond-a-web before hand stitching, and Lynne shared the secret of making a quilt of this nature without it becoming too stiff with several layers of bond-a-web: once she has traced the shape she wants to appliqué onto the bond-a-web she trims out the middle of the shape to within ¼ inch of the line before ironing it onto the fabric! What a revelation. And so simple, like all good solutions when you see them. At the end of the talk Lynne invited us all to come and look at the quilts close up – handle them (no white gloves needed) and look closely at them. As far as she is concerned, quilts are for using and are washable; an idea we at Modern Quilt totally agree with. A number of Lynne’s show pieces were quilt tops only, both finished and unfinished. Much easier to store, as she says, and sometimes the perfect fabric to finish a piece hasn’t been made yet, but when the right recipient for that quilt turns up, it will not take long to finish – wat a lovely idea. The evening talk was complemented by excellent cake – can’t talk about quilts without cake – and the opportunity to buy more fabric from the team at So & Sews of Bungay, who brought a far too tempting selection from their current ranges.

The next day saw some nineteen of us reconvene at the same hall at Garvestone, Norfolk for Lynne to teach us how to make reversible quilts. Having seen some examples of these the previous evening, I was even more interested to learn about this technique. Lynne’s teaching style is so relaxed, and her manner so encouraging, that we couldn’t help but have a great time. Again Lynne’s generosity of spirit shone through with more tips and tricks, as well as extremely well written notes to accompany every stage: no chance of us getting home and not being able to remember how to do anything! Although I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, there are two things I particularly thank Lynne for; some interesting tips on choosing thread – especially the information that if you don’t want a thread to show, then choose one a shade darker and duller than your fabric – inspired! I had always been taught to choose a lighter thread, but her method really works. I apologise to all those out there slapping their heads in disbelief, but I thought it was worth sharing that tip for anyone else who didn’t know. The second thing I loved, and came home raving about to anyone who would listen, was Lynne’s two sided binding. OMG! (Not a phrase I would usually employ, but fully justified in this instance.) It was marvellous, and that alone is prompting me to design a modern reversible quilt, just so I can make the two colour binding!


A new series by Helen Howes on various steps for preparing a quilt

L 1
for the tutorial on LAYERING A QUILT

L 1
for the tutorial on BLOCKING A QUILT

box section hb eternal triangle hb hexie hb


by Helen Butcher
Optical illusions and making two dimensions into three has always fascinated me, so when I was asked to set the theme for next year's group challenge, I thought it would be a great one to suggest. There are already many clever quilt designs that fool the eye, ranging from simple shadow play to fascinating perspective blocks, I think it is time for a few more! I have started gathering some images on a PINTEREST page CLICK HERE to view it. (If you don't have a Pinterest account I thoroughly recommend that you sign up for it. You will get free access to millions of images and ideas, totally invaluable!)

CLICK HERE for details of challenge quilt requirements