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Welcome to the Modern Quilt Group September 2018 Newsletter

header september 2018
The evenings start to draw in and thoughts turn to Autumn

A word (or two) from the Editor

PEACE, PERFECT PIECE: Do you know what? I think this Autumn I am actually going to get down to doing some serious (or possibly lighthearted) sewing! That may sound like an odd thing to say, but I seem to have spent the past few months doing anything but sewing. I am sure you can all sympathise with that feeling. Perhaps it is time to dust off the ideas book (the ideas haven't stopped, even if the time has vanished) and revisit the stash (I might need to go shopping!) Of course I still have other things to do; patterns to write, classes to teach and a monthly charity sewing bee commitment - as well as shopping, cooking, dog walking and perhaps, occasionally,  sleeping - but somewhere amongst all that I really want to get some sewing done. It's a good job I enjoy my busy life.

One thing I always find time for, to a greater or lesser extent, is reading. I am an inveterate reader. Put me in front of the printed word and I have to read it. This doesn't just apply to books and magazines, oh no, I'll automatically read the cereal packets at the breakfast table and the sauce bottles in the cafe! Unsurprisingly then, on a recent visit to a friend's studio a picked up an old copy of 'Selvedge' magazine during a quiet moment and spent an enjoyable half hour immersed in creativity. One of the articles which caught my attention included a five step plan for living a healthy, well-balanced life. Immediately my natural cynicism said 'oh yeah, ho ho' but since I was unable to stop reading (curse this affliction) what followed was actually rather interesting and quite enlightening. The five steps recommended all rang true for me; Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning and Give. None of these are onerous, and all improve your outlook on life, in fact we are probably doing some of them subconsciously, without thinking. 

Then it struck me that this is also exactly the way Modern Quilting works; we Connect with fellow quilters on-line and face-to-face, we are Active - we go to shows, enter challenges and form groups, by our very nature as Modern Quilters we love new things so we are always looking around us and are stimulated by what we Notice and because of this we are constantly Learning, one of the most important parts of Modern is teaching and sharing so we Give back to the quilting community and encourage the next generation. Perhaps this is why Modern Quilters tend to have smiles on our faces!

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

Co-ordinator's Letter

Dear Members,
Greetings! I trust this finds you all in good health and enjoying life. We enjoyed excellent feedback and success at the West Country Show and I thank our wonderful members Helen Howes and Helen Butcher for driving all the way from Norfolk to Bristol to run the stand, hang the quilts, take down the quilts and meet and greet all our members and those members of the public who went along to the show. What a fabulous occasion it was and how well they did in terms of rosettes. Indeed congratulations to all our members who won prizes and also to those who simply shared their lovely art. You did us all proud.

On the horizon in the South East we have the Knitting and Stitch show in October, an opportunity for those of us within travelling distance to stock up on our supplies and see what's new in the land of stitch. There are seldom lots of quilts to see - though we plan to remedy that in 2019 - but its always good to see what's happening in other branches of textile art.

I am very keen to get to know you all better and to that end I am asking those of you who are willing to write a paragraph or two about yourselves and your work - inspiration, methods, preferred fabrics etc - and send us some pictures of your work. We will then start a Meet the Maker column, hopefully in our next newsletter.

So, enough for me - on with the snippets of news you are dying to find out about...

Happy quilting, Marion.
Marion McCrindle
Interim Coordinator.

Irrepressible to the end: Kate introduces us to her new best friend!

Kate (Catherine) Percival (nee Finch) 1954 - 2018

In 2013, when I suggested in The Quilter that the Guild needed a Modern Specialist Group, I got 252 emails saying "yes!". One of the very first was from Kate Percival, who, although pretty much a traditional quilter, was enthusiastic, full of encouragement and ideas, and utterly willing to be involved. She was the first Exibitions Officer (yes, that's what the Guild wrote on her badge) and offered her own personal gallery space at West Country Quilt Show for a Modern Challenge in 2015. We have been going back there ever since, with ever more welcomed and appreciated exhibits, challenges, and demonstrations. This year we brought "Fooling The Eye" - a showing of 20-inch square quilts on a 3D-in-2D theme. She would have loved this, but was too ill even to see images.

Sadly, Kate has not been able to attend since that first year, having been taken ill in 2016, and lately having been overwhelmed with a most aggressive and unpleasant series of cancers. On Friday 30th August, at 3:30 am, we lost a great friend, a mentor, a mischief-maker, a skilled teacher, a fighter, a political agitator, a lovely cook, a maker of Nice Things, a drinker of mint tea and admirer of dogs, mother, wife, worker, teacher, stitcher. She was always cheerful and brimmed over with schemes and ideas. She masterminded last year's Cottonopolis exhibition at Festival of Quilts, although she was too ill to attend. We made Kittens For Kate all through Festival, and sent her the resulting quilt ('Kittenopolis') shortly thereafter, much to her delight.

I will miss her more than I can say, and I feel that her legacy should not be forgotten for a moment. She was instrumental in suggesting the format for next year's Guild Specialist Groups Joint Exhibit, and although I know many of you are less-than-inspired by the suggested "inspiration quilt", I think it would be a good thing, and a good memorial, and a damned good idea, to make these works in her honour.

Let's do this, because the world needs more Kates, and because we absolutely can!

In 2017, she worked with me at the Guild AGM in Torquay. We had a fantastically entertaining and laughter-full weekend, with much sly amusement at the follies of the (totally Fawlty Towers) hotel; the exhibition in the museum next door; and the excellent quality of the mint tea. I think I would not have survived the weekend without her, and she went home with yet another of my Old Sewing Machines under one arm. That was the last occasion on which I spent any length of time with her, and when I saw her next, in July this year, she was dismantled, weary, and dismayed at not having 'twenty years to make all the quilts' and yet still full of party spirit, conviviality, and great courage.. She welcomed us to her house, so recently made nice, and fed and amused us..Would that we could all make so stylish and open and honest and so perfectly judged an end, however much too soon...

Wonders of Modern Technology, Kates funeral was recorded for Youtube and is here
Recommended - it's very funny and very moving!

Obituary by Helen Howes

Rattle by Helen Butcher

The Modern Quilt desk at Festival

QUILT STORIES: Headline News

by Helen Butcher

I originally designed this block for Oakshott Fabrics, to use in a set of table mats, but I have been itching to make a larger version since I thought it would make a great Modern quilt. The Oakshott versions were rather more sedate than this in tasteful, monochrome colourways. This time I wanted it to be bold and much more in-your-face, especially since this was to appear on the wall behind the Modern Group desk at Festival of Quilts.

I was asked during the show 'What makes this a Modern quilt?' by someone who was trying to understand the whole concept of Modern, and I must admit I had to stop for a moment and think. Admittedly it doesn't encompass all the Modern aesthetics - there is no negative space, the colour palette is not particularly limited, there is definitely no change of scale between the blocks. However it is an original improvised block, made in clean, bright modern fabrics - mostly unprinted. More importantly it was made with the idea that this is a free pattern available to all who want to have a go - teach it on - share it around - make nice things for the people you love to use. To me that is just as important as how it looks.

CLICK HERE to go to the patterns page where a printable PDF is available to download.


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 1: South West London Quilters
A group of mixed ability and age that meets monthly in the William Morris House in the Broadway in Wimbledon. We would like to settle on a fixed day each month but that has not proved to be possible yet.
Contact: Sue Hart -

Region 8: Suffolk
New Modern Quilt Group starting at Moat House Farm Studio, Saxmundham. Are you interested in joining a Modern Quilt Group in Suffolk? The first meeting is on Tuesday 2nd October at 10 a.m. and on the first Tuesday of the month thereafter.
For further information please phone Sally Goodacre on 01728 602228 or email


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

bristol 1

From this (above)... To this (below)

bristol 2

Click on the pictures to see all the quilts in this year's challenge: FOOLING THE EYE!

What we have learned from making Challenge exhibits (not all, just some)

by Helen Howes

It's a good idea to keep the brief simple - probably the best so far was 'Black and White and One (Colour)' which caused no head-scratching at all

It's also a good idea to be really firm about send-in dates. Confused? not as much as we were. We were offered a couple of quilts after the first exhibit...

And sizes. We picked 20 inches square to begin with, on the basis that this was both a) undaunting, and b) useful for a cushion, if nothing else, later. Still seems to work, and they do look good in groups

Also, that not everyone seems to be able to measure... The last Challenge quilts varied from 18-1/2 to 22-1/2 inches.. Hmmm. So, I made a tutorial on measuring, which will included in the next newsletter.

And, then, sleeves. Need to be 4 inches deep, folded double, attached to the top of the quilt firmly, with a bit of a bulge on the outer part, so they hang nicely on a stick. And Narrower Than The Quilt! Or they get pinched by screws, and messy.. Tutorial here! (make a link).

And, that the best parts, like getting all those parcels in the post, and hanging the quilts up and watching the pleasure they give, and sending them out to see the world, makes it all worth while..

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

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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