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Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group November 2018 Newsletter

header november 2018
Nature has been treating us to some quite spectacular sunsets this past few days

A word (or two) from the Editor

REFLECTIONS As I write this I am sittingwatching our washing go round in the tumble drier(mesmerising) and reflecting on life afloat. Four years ago - is it really that long! - my partner and I, along with our large dog, decided to move aboard our boat (well the dog didn't have much say in the matter)and then move the boat to Norfolk. People assume that because we live in a small space that we must be very tidy... We never have been and we probably never will be at all tidy. Apart from our inherent messinesswe have all had to adapt to boat-life in other ways. Domestic life is certainly different, but having got used to only having running hot water for half the year(ie. then the central heating is on).No washing machine, and at this time of year no space to hang wet washing - hence the tumble drier time. No dishwasher! But strangely enough the thing I miss most in the kitchen is thefreezer. It's hard to be sure if the dog misses anything; even at this time of year he has the run of the decks if it is sunny enough to leave ahatch open, and I can tell by the tone of his bark if the innocent passer-byisfriendor foe.

As boats go, ours isn't small, but it is much smaller than a house. I have commandeered one of the cabins as my workspace and have produced some fairly large quilts in that tiny space, but it is always a challenge. I am very lucky to have a good friend nearby with a large workshop in which there is fantastic space to layout, layer, trim, block and finish larger quilts. Otherwise I might have gone over completely to making miniatures! From a quilting point of view the thing I miss most is easy access to my stash and other supplies. Much as we are enjoying life aboard, we agreed that it was not going to be forever and we both have a lot of stuff we didn't want to get rid of, so we have a storage unit and that is where my stash lives... mostly. Itcreeps back on board slowly as I am working on various projects until I can't turn round without knocking over a pile of fabricand there are no flat surfaces left. At this point I put it all away again. The space limit has also made me concentrate on exactly which pieces of equipment areabsolutely essential and which are gimmicks. When space wasn't an issue I used to pick up all sorts of gadgets at shows and online, but sadly most of these have been relegated to the dusty obscurity of a box on the top shelf instorage. A good self-healing mat and a sharp cutter, sharp pins and sharp scissors, several rulersplus a sewing machine with lots of bobbins, various feet and a regularly changed needle; these are my essentials. Of course everyone will have a slightly different list of essentials. Perhaps if your workspace is getting crowded it might be a good time to look at what is taking up space and making a decision about what you use regularly. I am not suggesting you get rid of all your gadgets, but box them up and put them away. If you find you are always diving into the box you obviously used them more than you realised.

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

indigo qms
Mod Indigo by Helen Howes

pinkb.w qms
Black-White-Pink by Helen Howes

QUILT STORIES: Headline News

QUILTER MAGAZINE Modern Sampler Quilt
by Helen Howes

When I made the original Modern Sampler for The Quilter magazine, I was pretty pleased with it. And I have had a lot of excited and enthusiastic emails from quilters who have been having fun with these blocks, making their own versions. So, when I was approached to ask if it would be a good thing to have an exhibit of these at Quiltfest in February 2019, I was delighted. I'm assuming that the original will go, but I have also made two others - I want people to see that not every Modern Quilt is bright-colours-on-white, and my second, in Indigo hand-dyed fabrics, and third, in black-white-and-pink, are progressing nicely. Now, the entries have to be in with Gwenfai by the 24th of this month, which may be too soon, but, as you will note, mine are not exactly finished. Note the pins. I sent the images and the forms like this, and will have them done. Not that I'm any kind of a Last Minute Queen, not at all.

CLICK HERE to visit the Quiltfest website and the entry forms that are linked from the front page. Also, I note that the size restrictions are quite tight - as I suspect there may be a deal of flexibility, I suggest that if your quilt is just a little over-sized, you might want to submit anyway, with a note to that effect - if they are short of quilts this might be OK..

And I will be making a pattern from my original writing for Quiltfest to sell for funds, and this will be available online after the show - email me on if you would like to be put on a list for this.. Of course, Guild members have had the four parts in the magazine - isn't this a good reason not to part with these too fast!

fashion museum 1
photo by Janet Goddard

photo by Janet Gaoddard

A visit to London's FASHION and TEXTILES MUSEUM

by Janet Goddard

If you are in or near to London a visit to the Fashion and Textile Museum is a worthwhile experience and one that may give you some inspiration for quilt making. The museum is a short walk from London Bridge Station and is open Tuesday to Sunday. There are a variety of exhibitions on throughout the year in addition to talks and events, workshops and computer courses.

I was lucky enough to visit in September when the Orla Kiely "A Life in Pattern" exhibition was on. I love the repeated nature of her pattern work so this exhibition ticked all my boxes. There were displays of fabric, homeware, garments and handbags. It was interesting to see the development of design over the past twenty years and the range of items now produced featuring Orla's patterns. Orla herself says; "I sometimes think my brain works in repeat. I love the order and regiment of repetition and how anything and everything can be patterned in this way, as if you are looking at the world through a prism or kaleidoscope. It is something very beautiful and inspiring to me."

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.

rulers hh

Cutting Large Things with Small Rulers by Helen Howes

Cutting LARGE from Small Rulers

by Helen Howes

One of the things we discovered in four years of hanging Challenge quilts, is that 20 inches is not always quite 20 inches. While we cheat (we have a 20-1/2 inch ruler) it's perfectly possible to measure a big square in other ways. You can make a template (newspaper is cut square!) or you can use a pair of rulers to make a bigger cut. And, if in doubt, measure, mark with a pencil or pins, and double-check.. You'll make yourself popular with your Exhibitions Officer this way..

So. If you have a long ruler, cut one side straight to start with. Put your smaller ruler exactly on this line and the long ruler on one side of your quilt - if you are right-handed, on the right side. If left-handed, on the left.. Logical. If the smaller ruler (or you can use two long ones, of course) is exactly on the first cut edge, and the second butts up to it precisely, the angle will be a perfect 90 degrees.. Cut the second side, and measure and mark this and the first side for your desired size. Turn the whole thing a quarter-turn and repeat the exercise. Now, before you cut the third side, fold the quilt - if anything has diverged in angle, you will be able to see this.. Measure the third side, join up the points, and cut the last side..

And, PLEASE make the sleeve shorter than the top width of the quilt. If you cut the sleeve exactly to the finished width of the quilt, then turn a double 1/2" hem on each end before folding and attaching, there will be room to get the battens in without them showing, and without making irritating little holes in your sleeve...


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 you input, please take a moment to complete and return it. Many thanks, HB

QGBI 40th Anniversary
10-12 May 2019, Nottingham

Region 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

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 the 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 this 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, its 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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