April Meeting

Tomorrow is our April meeting, where has the time gone? Amira is going to show us how she uses her portable design ‘wall’. We will be meeting at the Civic library at 7:30pm. Bring your show and tell, name tag and something to work on.

Looking forward to catching up!

Members Spotlight: Monica!

Better late then never! In the second members spotlight, I would like to introduce Monica! You might know her as Squeak Ahoy on Facebook and @monnsqueak on just about anything else. She doesn’t use her real name on facebook because she works with kids and teens, and they’re not very good at boundaries, so this makes it a little harder for them to find her!

Tell us a little bit about yourself Mon! What got you interested in quilting? When did you first find modern quilting? And, do you do any other craft besides quilting?
I’ve been making things since I was a little kid. I don’t remember learning how to thread a needle, or to make a basic stitch, so I must have been quite young. I do remember learning to knit from my nan when I was about 4 or 5, and refining the basic knit-stitch knowledge with a very old book called Fun With Wool. Since then I’ve explored lots of craftarts, including embroidery and cross stitch, knitting, crochet, handspinning, as well as painting, drawing, printmaking and calligraphy. I used to go into quilting stores just to look at the fabric, but had never owned a sewing machine. After so many years of using my hands, I started to get symptoms of damage, with shooting pains and tingling in my hands and forearms, and so I ditched the hand-work and switched to machine sewing.

new machine

The first photo is me hugging my Janome 7700 the day it was delivered by courier. Very exciting! I first started with a $100 machine that I got out of the local paper, though, and with bag making, and after almost a year of this, made my first quilt a bit over a year ago. I guess the modern style was part of the choice to try quilting – I’ve never been attracted to traditional style quilts, but I liked the bold fun style of a lot of the quilts I was seeing online.

How has your style changed over the years?
So my very first quilt was completed in January 2013 using the Bento Box pattern and some leftover fabric I’d been using for bags. I used bamboo batting, and quilted it myself on my tiny $100 machine (it was then that I decided to buy the 7700 for its larger throat space). I didn’t know anything then, so I didn’t wash it, and I think it still hasn’t been washed over a year later! oops! Here’s a picture of her holding it up. I quilted it edge to edge with a meandering stitch that I happily referred to as “drunken snail” at the time.


My first quilt which I gave to my mum :)

The most recently completed and photographed quilt is the Dark Star quilt, which is very different! It was a fully improvised quilt design of my own making, using a little fat quarter batik set in black and gold (not metallic). I made a crazy-quilted triangle and cut it into the points of a star, and whacked it all together with black to make a large lap quilt for my old supervisor. I used FMQ and straight line quilting to bring it together.

The Dark Star quilt

The Dark Star quilt

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a quilt for my brother, who asked for something in “black and white and a splash of electric blue” :) I’ve gone with a modern design based on Alissa Haight Carlton’s “Didn’t get the memo” and I’m actually not enjoying the straight-line quilting I’m doing on it much – it’ll look nice when it’s done but it takes SO LONG! And because I’m pushing it to be done in time for a quilt show, I’m not doing my usual trick of working on it for a while and alternating with other projects. :-/

Black, white and a pop of blue!

Black, white and a pop of blue!

Where do you find your inspiration? Who are your quilt idols?
I tend to pick inspiration up from everywhere. I take pictures of weird things like clouds that I like, or shadows on things, and come up with ideas from those types of things. The dark star quilt was dreamed up thinking about hope coming from the dark things in our life, and I thought a gradation of gold coming out of black would be a beautiful representation of this idea. This was a quilt that I had no idea what it would turn out looking like – I just started, and was quite surprised when it came out. Others I’ve made have been meticulously planned, every piece of them. At this point I’m still learning, so each quilt is different in process and design. I do tend to prefer making my own designs – patterns seem to waste a lot of fabric and I find them frustrating and tedious, whereas the process of making my own designs and just going for it is a purely joyful experience for me. My quilt idols are my friends and fellow guild members, I’m so impressed with the vast creativity in our lovely little Canberra MQG!

What is your favourite part about quilting? What is your least favourite?
My favourite part is the quilting itself. I adore FMQ, and I swear one day I’ll get my hands on a longarm to play with. I adore Angela Walters and her seemingly effortless fanciful work. My least favourite is the basting… but I do have a wonderful technique I’m willing to share to make this boring, backbreaking part of the job easier. :)

Is there a technique on your list to learn this year? How do you like to learn new techniques?
No particular list of techniques to learn – I am an information junkie, and I absorb knowledge as I go. Often I’ll hit a roadblock and then decide I need a certain technique to get past it, so I go on a search-n-destroy mission to find what I need at that point to move on. Sometimes I imagine something wonderful and just need to find the technique to express it (like the stars for the Riley Blake quilt, which were a variation on the porthole technique used by bag makers for set in zippers). I learn new techniques usually by photo and video tutorials online. I remember the old days of searching out books in libraries, and while I will always adore libraries, I cannot imagine being without youtube and the vast array of bloggers and their wonderful generosity in sharing their knowledge.

Show us your sewing space! What’s the best thing you ever bought into it?

My sewing space

OOOO – My sewing space!

This is my pride and joy. I get a lot done not because I’m motivated but because I have an efficient space set up permanently – so if I have ten minutes spare, I spend ten minutes sewing. Works very well. My table, which I designed and made myself, can be used sitting or standing (this helps reduce fatigue). I store my fabric folded in square baskets and in clear DVD boxes so I can see at a glance what I have available, and I’m in the process of colour sorting my scraps and cutoffs. I know not everyone has a spare room to set up as a workspace, but if you can spare a corner, it makes a huge difference. Also, if you look closely, I use MANY hooks and and cuphooks to hang things from, as well as 3M velcro, which I stick awls, needle cases and other things to, so they’re always within easy reach. No precious time spent rummaging for things.

Where else can we find you?
My blog is monnsqueak.typepad.com and monnsqueak (two n’s darlinks) is the handle I use everywhere, twitter, flickr, instagram (i really need to start using that) as well as a few other random sites.

Wanna be part of a textile festival in France?

The International Textile Festival in France this year has asked for entries from across the world.

They have asked for grandmother’s flower garden hexies – made from scraps and up-cycled materials.

They would like to receive flowers made by stitching together seven hexies. They want the hexies to be made by hand.

It’s an odd size – 5cm across (1.97 inches) so it would be best to print out the pattern. Click on this link for the PDF of the pattern and instructions.  Grandmother’s flower garden – GB

The flowers are due on 30 July. According to Australia Post’s international guidelines, the flowers would need to be sent mid July.Let’s aim to hand in our flowers at the June meeting – Thursday 26 June. The guild will pay the postage.


Entries close April 18 for modern quilt show

We’ve just received an email from the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild, who are organising the Modern Quilt Show in Berry on 3-4 May.

They have let us know that entries need to be submitted online by 18 April at www.modernquilters.com.au

Their list of prizes is on their Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild blog at wmqg.tumblr.com

They are expecting 120-150 quilts in the show and a kids section of 20-30 quilts or quilted items.

The Wollongong group will be exhibiting their challenge quilts and encourage us to do the same.

A new MQG Fabric Challenge


A while back we wrote here about the next fabric challenge being offered by the MQG. A large number of our members have signed up to participate in the Michael Miller #MQGfabricchallenge and so CanberraMQG will be hosting a challenge within the challenge for our members. Anyone can participate (even those who missed out on the challenge fabrics, guidelines below). To make this one extra super exciting Polka Dot Tea have generously donated a prize to help us celebrate! 

The winner will receive TWO METRES of their choice of Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabrics from the Polka Dot Tea range (can be one colour, or any combination of fat quarters, of the winner’s choice).


In addition to the prize, Polka Dot Tea is stocking the complementary range of Cotton Couture solids to tie in with the Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels collection, and is offering CanberraMQG members a heavily discounted rate on these fabrics. The solids are: seafoam, kryptonite, clementine, fog, dirt, and canary.

Members will be sent an email directly in the coming days about the fabric offer and how to order – keep an eye out in your inbox! We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with using this challenge as inspiration!


From the sponsor:

Polka Dot Tea was started by two quilters with a love for modern, interesting and quirky fabrics. Our aim is to bring you a collection of beautiful fabrics from our favourite designers and manufacturers, including Yuwa, Kei, Lecien, Liberty and others. We are also proud to be stocking a wide range of the gorgeous Cotton Couture solids by Michael Miller fabrics. Cotton Couture solids are quite simply a beautiful fabric to work with, they have a soft, fine hand, and rich, saturated colours. Polka Dot Tea now stocks a wide range of colours, with more arriving, and we will happily help you select a colour bundle to start your project, or a single colour to use as your background.

For all our up to date arrivals and sale information, visit our shop, follow us on Instagram (@polkadotteafabrics), sign up for our newsletter and like us on Facebook

The all important guidelines:

* The challenge runs from April 2014-June 26, 2014.
* Projects must be completed and available for show and tell at the CanberraMQG meeting of 26 June 2014. If you can’t make the meeting, that’s ok, just arrange for a friend to bring your project along for you.
* The winner will be decided by popular choice of those present at the CanberraMQG meeting of 26 June 2014.
* Members may make anything they want as long as it is quilted and features either the Michael Miller printed fabric supplied by Michael Miller or the Michael Miller solids offered in the bundle by Polka Dot Tea – if you missed out on getting challenge fabrics direct from Michael Miller, you can pick up a solids bundle at a discounted rate from Polka Dot Tea.
* Members may add in any other solid or any other Michael Miller printed fabric.
* You do not need to use all the fabrics given to you or all of the solids from the purchased bundle.
* Don’t forget to use the #canberramqgchallenge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!



Who’s inspiring Gemma right now?


Gemma used to read a lot of blogs but these days she struggles to find the time.  She does spend a lot of time on Instagram – it’s a great place to seek inspiration from other arty types. So here are five people (with their instagram names) who are inspiring Gemma right now!

Tall Grass Pairie Studio  @jacquietps

Firstly, I love a good name and she has a great one!  It makes me think of beautiful American fields, vast spaces and the wind.  Jacqui has a fantastic eye for colour and I love that she shares insights into her process on her blog.  I love the photos of her studio on her blog, but it’s her modern quilts that get me every time.  She is bold and brave and fabulous and I might just want to be her ;)

Kathleen Quilts  @kathleenriggins

I love Kathleen’s IG feed.  Serious quilt talent and inspiration!  Her quilting in negative space is just wonderful and I particularly loved her recent supernova quilt.  If you’re into quilting and you’re on IG then you need to follow Kathleen!  Check out this blogpost with lots of serious quilt candy.

Quilts of a Feather @quiltsnkids

I cannot do justice to Renee’s recent “The Pandorica Opens” quilt (above).  Full disclosure, I’m a serious Dr Who fan and have been since childhood.  But even if you’re not and even if you cannot appreciate just how freaking cool an exploading tardis quilt is, you can still appreciate the skill in this recent piece!  Go look now.  Now.  Just go do it and then follow her everywhere and have your mind blown.  Freaky, freaky, freaky fantastic Dr Who/Van Gogh quilting!  I think you get it.  She is truly inspirational!

The Quilt Engineer  @thequiltengineer

If I ever meet Latifah I’m going to struggle to string a sentence together.  When everyone else had been doing “low volume” forever and we’d all been amazed at how cool it was and we could even buy “low volume” bundles so there was no personal choice left, Latifah took it to another level.  AND she told us that it took her three years to finish that quilt!  I love a quilter who shares all, I love an honest quilter.  Latifah is a bit of a legend in my book, but I just find her crisp lines, bold colours and down-to-earth nature inspiring.  Oh, and she said I should buy a vintage Singer, so I did.

Elisabeth Woo @elisabew

This girl is a classic over sharer.  And I LOVE her for it!  Her life looks like so much fun!  Her cute haircut, her puppy, her hilarious expressions, oh and she works for Robert Kaufman, spends half her life at Disneyland and has an impeccable eye for colour.  Seriously though, I really do find Elisabeth’s work inspiration.  I love how she throws colour after colour at IG (be it macroons, minifigs, farmerswife blocks or her recent finish, night sky quilt.  She is also an awesome FMQer and a great source of inspiration.

So there you go, that’s who is inspiring me at the moment.  It was hard to single it down to five as I currently follow 685 people on Instagram and many of them inspire me.  Oh, I totally forgot, you have to check out @houseofalphonse on Instagram.  Her papercut artwork blows my mind!

Gemma @prettybobbins.