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Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group June 2018 Newsletter

header may 2018
Ahhh, long Summer days - enough time for quilting and gardening?

A word (or two) from the Editor

SUMMERTIME AND THE QUILTING IS EASY If only that were true, why did I leave it until the hottest week of the year to be quilting a bed quilt? Because I am well known to be a last-minute queen. The labels arrived for my entries to the Festival of Quilts this week - by email no less, much to my confusion. (I am reliably informed that you need to copy them into a WORD document in order to get them to print properly.) This has really upped the ante and made me realise just how close things are. If you, too, are getting quilts ready for Festival or, indeed, any other quilt show there are a number of useful tutorials on the MQGB website showing you how to finish a quilt. CLICK HERE to view information about layering, blocking (stretching), adding a sleeve and various methods of binding plus invaluable words on the subject of packing quilts for postage. 

In the meantime, between bouts of quilting, I have had a chance to try something I have never done before: indigo dyeing. I did a small amount of hand dyeing a couple of years ago and, although I was interested to learn how it works, I can't say I enjoyed either the process or the end product very much. I am a great believer in learning new things at every opportunity, even if all you learn about something is that you don't want to do it again! Not so with indigo. It is a much more immediate process; infinitely variable and immensely satisfying with the added thrill of never quite knowing how a piece will turn out. It is almost magical watching the dipped cloth turn from green to blue as the dye oxidises and what a fantastic week to be outside with buckets of dye and lots of rinsing water, getting a little blue round the edges. I now have a small pile of the most delicious cloth in various shades from the palest sky-blue to deep... well... indigo and plans for a Modern indigo quilt.

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

MQG Pin Badge
NEW Modern Quilt Group pin badge

Co-ordinator's Report

Where has June gone? Time seems to fly by at the moment. School is drawing to a close here in Scotland and we are off on holiday to the Isle of Mull for the first time!

The Festival of Quilts is fast approaching and preparations are well underway for your Modern Quilt group stand at the NEC. We have a little something extra for our lovely Modern Quilt group members who come along to visit us at the stand. A pin badge with our new logo! (See above) Anyone who is a member of the group can show their membership number and receive their free Modern Quilt Group pin badge. You can then pop it on your lapel, bag, jacket or wherever to show everyone that you are a member of our fun group. You might even spot someone else wearing their badge and make a new modern friend!

Those who can't attend the Festival, don't fear. We are organising getting these out to members who would like one and will let you know in due course. New members will now receive a pin badge as part of their welcome to modern and new members who join the Modern specialist group at the Festival of Quilts can show us their paperwork and receive their badge there and then too. I will be wearing my badge with pride and hope anyone who spots me with it feels free to stop me and say hello!

We have a new tutor box co-ordinator. Maria Spiller (group website editor) has kindly taken over this repsonsibility. She has everything in hand and we look forward to bringing some new ones to you soon for loan. To find out more about how to borrow a tutor box CLICK HERE

Happy quilting!
Collette x

Crosses & Plusses
Crosses and Plusses by Wanda S. Hanson


QUILT STORIES: Headline News

Crosses and Plusses
by Wanda S. Hanson

"Creativity, curiosity & passion drive Wanda S. Hanson to experiment in her favourite art medium - Quilting. Using traditional, modern and original quilt designs, she expands your thinking of how color, pattern and form can be successfully arranged." So starts Wanda's wonderful website - Exuberant Color.

Originally trained as a couture sample maker, Wanda has been an accomplished quilt artist for over fifty years. I addition to this impressive history, she is also an empowering teacher, an inspirational speaker and a pioneer blogger. Her daily blog, also called EXUBERANT COLOR, gives an insight into her creative process with views of her studio, design wall and the ever changing nature outside her window - a constant source of inspiration to her.

Take a video tour of one of Wanda's exhibitions, accompanied by the artist, where she talks about creating quilts in series - each a little different from the last - giving the opportunity to explore variations on a theme; bend rules; try alternatives and develop ideas.

Many thanks to Wanda for giving us permission to reproduce photographs from her blog and website. Please CLICK HERE to visit the EXUBERANT COLOR blog and follow the links to Wanda's website of the same name.

huddersfield 1
Half Square Triangle Challenge Quilt by Janet Bottomley
huddersfield 2
Blocks from HMQ Sampler Quilt by Janet Bottomley


Huddersfield Modern Quilters was set up by myself, Janet Bottomley and Jackie Ledger in 2014. We meet on Wednesday evenings, on the third Wednesday of the month in Kirkheaton in Huddersfield. When we started lots of the members were new to modern quilting so we decided to help them learn more about it by setting group challenges.

The first challenge was to make a modern quilt using Half Square Triangles. Then we went on to make a modern Sampler Quilt with each member designing or choosing a block for one of the months. At least a couple of these will be on display at the Harrogate quilt show this year. This year our challenge is to make a transparency quilt. Most of us are making quilts from the Transparency Quilt book by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.

At the moment this format is working for us as it is allowing us to explore different aspects of modern quilting and it has helped us gel and develop as a quilting group.

Huddersfield Modern Quilters is an independent group (not QGBI affiliated) and therefore welcomes all quilters. If you are interested in learning more, and seeing if there is space for new members in the group, please contact me ( and I will pass your details on to Janet Bottomley

10 Modern Quilts
Simply Modern Patchwork Quilts
book review 2
Simply Modern Patchwork Bags

BOOK REVIEW: Simply Modern Patchwork Quilts

Reviewed by Collette Howie

The first thing that struck me about this book is the cover. That yellow colour scheme is just heavenly and the mixture of modern designed furniture and geometric shapes makes for a very appropriate front cover for a beautiful book.

Janet introduces us to her love for patchwork and quilting and making this accessible especially for the beginner. There are no pattern pieces and all shapes can be rotary cut. There is a comprehensive technique and equipment section. Each of the 10 projects are given a skill level rating.

I really like how each project can be made either over a weekend or a few weeks. These are all achievable projects which won?t take a lifetime to make and can be enjoyed or gifted quite quickly. I also love how each quilt has been machine quilted on a domestic sewing machine. Janet explains how you don't need a fancy sewing machine, just one that does a good straight and back stitch. Again, accessible!

My favourite project aside from the yellow one is the soundwaves quilt. It is very clever and looks very modern! However you will have to buy the book to find out more about that one.

Janet has kindly donated a copy of her book to our group along with her first book called "Simply Modern Patchwork Bags: 10 bags for every occasion." Would you like to win these? If so then please join in with our giveaway. It is open to all Modern Group newsletter subscribers. To enter simply email your full name (from the address you are subscribed under), to and you will gain one entry to the giveaway. We will then count up the entries and draw a winner at random. The winner will be announced in our next newsletter! Feel free to share the giveaway on social media too using the hashtag #qgbimoderngroupgiveway to gain an extra entry, however you should be a subscriber to the newsletter.

sewing machine?

SEWING MACHINES FOR BEGINNERS (and more advanced students!)


Now, I have lost count of the number of times I have been told "My teacher told me never to adjust the tension" - this is like buying a Mercedes and attempting all journeys in third gear only. All that happens is that your sewing is less pleasing and your patchwork is weakened.
Now here's a typical tension unit

and you can see that there are two discs, like dinner-plates back to back. The thread needs to sit nicely down between these plates in order to be nicely controlled. So, if you look, when you lift the presser foot on your machine, you will see the discs move slightly, as they open up. This allows the thread to nestle. So, Thread with the foot UP - every time.

Then, when you lower the foot, the tension is applied and you are ready to sew. On modern machines the tension unit may be hidden inside, but if you peer, you will see the movement.

Ideally the threads should meet exactly in the middle of your work like so

not like this

If the tension is at all uneven, your seams will be wonky. And the current fashion for pressed-open seams in patchwork makes this even more obvious.
So, if you have little bumps on top of your work, lower the tension on top slightly (towards the lower numbers) and if underneath, make it a little tighter. In all of this, make sure the tension is not so tight that the work puckers..

Now, sometimes you will find you get HUGE loops on one side or the other. If on the bottom, it's a Top Thread Problem - take the thread out completely and redo, paying attention to the bit above about the foot. If on top, the bobbin is probably unthreaded, make sure it has some "pull" on it. If this does not fix the problem, check there is nothing caught in the thread path - sometimes a little bit of thread or fabric caught up in the path will completely discombobulate your machine. Poke it gently with a pin...
So, be patient, check every time you rethread. I once had to completely unpick a student's quilt because she had not at any point looked at the back. The top thread was so loose that the stitches pulled right out from one side to the other. easy for me, but what a waste of nice thread, time, and energy..
Happy sewing!

Helen Howes

modern at FOQ17


It is quite hard to generate enough copy to produce a newsletter every month, and I am sure you will be getting bored with seeing the same few names cropping up over and over, but the truth of it is that unless we have contributions from other readers it comes down to the sames old few!

I would welcome input from fellow group members ? photos, words, ideas or questions ? a big part of ModQ is sharing and teaching. Please send anything you would like to share to

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

2018 Alison M
by Alison Mayall
a mayall back
back of Alison's piece - love the quilting!
Ruth Case
by Ruth Case


Looking forward seeing your entries for this year's challenge for all things that fool the eye.

Please send yours to:
Helen Butcher
4, The Raveningham Centre,
Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk
NR14 6NU

NOTE: Please remember the follow challenge rules
Size: 20 x 20 inches including the finished edge (binding or facing)
Sleeve: 4 inch hanging sleeve is essential
Labelling: Please include on the back - Your name, the quilt's title, date, contact email address.

CLICK HERE to read all about it

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 go to the Guild Website and read more about the coverlet.

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