Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Modern Block Improv Workshop Recap

We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who came out this past Saturday for the Modern Block Improv Workshop, especially our fantastic teacher, Sherri Lynn Wood! Thank you, Sherri Lynn, for fitting us into your busy schedule! I think we all learned some valuable techniques, and even maybe some things about ourselves and our individual creative processes. To view all the photos from this workshop please head to guild's Flickr page, but some sneak peaks are below.

Sherri Lynn Wood explaining the process for improv piecing traditional blocks

So many color choices!
Thirty minutes of improv piecing! Woah!

Oh hey! The Beaver Valley Quilt Show is running this Thursday through Saturday. All the details can be found here. If you are heading out, keep your eyes peeled for some quilts being shown by our very own Gerry Benton (Iris, iris, iris and Batiks Everywhere) and Amanda Hancock (#nofilter). 

We hope you can join us for the QuiltCon project sew-in at The Quilt Company coming up on Saturday, Oct. 17th from Noon-4:30. If you are coming, please RSVP to the Evite that went out last week so we can get a head count for the shop by the end of this week. If you didn't get the Evite, please email the guild and let us know if you are coming. The October meeting will be held at 1:00 during the sew-in, but we will not be holding show and tell to keep it brief.

See you soon!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sherri Lynn Wood workshop

Please join the Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild in welcoming Sherri Lynn Wood to teach a one-day workshop on Modern Block Improv. Registration is now open to the public!

Note that registration is a two-step process.  First, proceed to the Eventbrite page to register.  After you have registered, please pay the workshop fee via check or with the PayPal button on this page.

The goal of improvisational patchwork is flexible patterning.  Participants will start with a favorite fixed or "traditional" block pattern and gradually transform it through a series of repetitions and variations.  Without the use of rulers, templates, or instructions, to guide them, they will gain a deeper sense of how patterns evolve, while learning ruler-free patchwork and composition techniques along the way. This workshop is appropriate for all skill levels from beginner to advanced.

The workshop fee is $75 (or $77.50 if you would like to pay via PayPal) for members of the Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild and $100 (or $103.50 if you would like to pay via PayPal) for non-members.  The workshop will be limited to 25 participants.  Registration deadline is September 18, 2015.  The workshop fee is transferable but not refundable.  Please head over to the Eventbrite page to complete registration and for additional payment information. 

Here is a useful link for paying by PayPal (please also register on Eventbrite to secure your seat and get your printable ticket)!

Please choose your membership level from this drop-down menu

Though not required for the workshop, we will have copies of Sherri Lynn Wood's book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters available for sale the day of the workshop at a discounted rate.  No other books, notions, or other supplies will be available for purchase.

Tools & Equipment

  • Sewing Machine
  • Extension Cord
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Hand sewing needles and thimble (optional - just in case)
  • Straight pins (lots of them)
  • Tailor's chalk/marking tools
  • Medium gray spool of thread


  • A well-balanced spectrum of solid and print fabrics, including neutrals and a variety of values (light to dark).  Throw in a couple of zingers.
  • There is no set amount of fabric to bring.  In determining how much material to bring, consider how fast you sew and if you want to work on something big to finish later or something mini as a sample.  Bring enough quantity for creative freedom, but probably no more than five yards is necessary.  Don't worry, whatever you bring will be enough to make do with!
  • You don't need to spend tons of money on new fabric for this (unless you want to - it's a good excuse to buy more fabric), scraps and other fabric from your stash will work.

If you have questions, please contact us at pittsburghmqg@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

September meeting recap

The beginning of Fall seemed to bring new and old members to the September meeting. Twenty people were in attendance. After introductions the meeting proceeded.

Amanda has done a great job breaking down our QuiltCon challenge project into manageable blocks for the members to complete. Packets were distributed to all who felt that they could contribute. The packets included fabric, a portion of the bridge to be represented and hints on how to do this. There are a handful of blocks left to be claimed, so please email Amanda if you would like to help out. There will be a sew-in at Quilt Company on Saturday, October 17th from Noon-4:30 to work on these blocks together. More details about this will be coming soon! The finished blocks are due at the November meeting.

Kathy delivered the PghMQG raffle quilt to Quilter’s Corner who will display it and sell tickets for the month of September. Quilt Company will do the same for the month of October, and we are still seeking a storefront to host it in November. The drawing will be held at our December meeting. Tickets are $1 each or 6 tickets for $5. This is a fundraiser for our guild, so please see Kathy about picking up tickets to sell to your family and friends. 

PghMQG 2015 Raffle Quilt

Quilter’s Corner also donated 6 yards of solid fabrics to the guild as a “Thank You” gift for the pillow cases that members donated at the August meeting.Thank you to everyone who participated in this worthy cause!

Mona and Stephanie distributed the September offering of the Fat Quarter Club. Head over the FQ Club page on this site to check out their cool selections. We are looking for a volunteer to choose fabric for the December offering.

Show & Tell:   

Gerry showed a small quilt that she had made after our paper piecing meeting. Don't you love how that white pops? So fresh!
Melissa, a brandy new member, showed a lovely quilt top using circles. So cool!
Karen showed Lauren the bag that she had made using several of the pieces of fabric that Lauren had shared with those at the July meeting.
Lauren showed us her Carolyn Friedlander Collection Quilt BOM that she is working on.  She is using distinctive fabrics that she has collected on her many trips to far and distant places.
Sally showed a table runner made using Aboriginal fabrics. This color combo is so great!

To see all the photos from show and tell please check out the guild's Flickr page.

The skillbuilder for this month was Alternate Grids, led by Sally. The discussion began by looking at the quilt that Gerri made using the blocks that she won at the May retreat.
Her approach was to use a design wall and then arrange her blocks in positions that she liked. From there she determined how to frame them with background fabric to produce the final quilt top. 

Gerry' s alternate grid placement

Sally showed a more systematic approach where a grid is in fact created and marked out using tape. The blocks are then placed within the grids in different positions. The grid can then be shifted to achieve the desired look.   

Sally's grid placement in progress

The blocks are then created using the focus block and the background fabric. Cut a piece of background at least ¾ of an inch greater than the distance measured from the focus block to the outer boundary of the grid block and the length of the focus block. Proceed in this way, almost log cabin style, until you have a block the size of the grid block made of background and focus block. 

Here is the completed piece. Neat!

Attendees then played with the block for the upcoming Pittsburgh Project charity quilt.  We looked at several possible arrangements, and Sarah will now put it together!!
Playing with layouts (Psst, the first one, amirite).

The group then headed out to the opening of the new fabric shop Spool located 816 E Warrington Ave, Pittsburgh 15210  (Allentown). The store was very active and has a very modern vibe. It's a small store, but has lots of great offerings for the modern quilter.  Our members seemed to find quite a few irresistible pieces. The cookies were to die for!


Sunday, October 4th: 
Noon-7:00pm, Sherri Lynn Wood workshop at the Pittsburgh Project. A few spots are still available.  Check the website for details.

Thurs-Sat, October 8-10th: 
The Beaver Valley Quilt Show, check out their website for all the details. Several members will be showing! 

Saturday, October 17th
Noon-4:30, Sew-in for the QuiltCon project at Quilt Company (3940 Middle  Rd, Allison Park, PA 15101). The regular October meeting will be held during the sew-in.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Spool storefront opening! September meeting time adjusted!

Local Pittsburgh fabric shop, Spool, is having the grand opening of their first brick and mortar store on Sunday, September 13th from Noon-4:00. "But wait!", you say. "The PghMQG September meeting is at the same time! Oh noes! How do I decide?". Well, now you don't have to! We are moving the time of our meeting up to Noon-2:00. After Sally has presented the skillbuider on Alternate Grids we invite you to take a field trip with us to the new Spool storefront at 816 E. Warrington Ave, Pittsburgh PA. You can check out Spool's website and look for them on Facebook for more information.

We look forward to seeing everybody at the meeting and don't forget to sign up for the Sherri Lynn Wood workshop! Registration closes on Sept. 18th! 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

September meeting announcement

Hello, friends! 

Back to school time is upon us, and the September meeting is right around the corner! Please note that we will be meeting at the Pittsburgh Project on Sunday, September 13th due to the Labor Day holiday. 

Some highlights from the upcoming meeting include:
  • The September FQ Club fabric will be available 
  • Quiltcon charity challenge quilt bundles will be up for grabs (please email Amanda before the meeting if you cannot attend and would like to participate, so she can set aside a bundle for you)
  • The skillbuilder this month is Alternate Grids with Sally. 

Sally says:

We will explore alternate grids to make a table runner or a small quilt (or larger if you want)! 
Prepare 10 or more blocks of varying sizes but no larger than 7” square. If they end up larger – which happened to me- we can make adjustments. This is a great opportunity to use up your scraps and orphaned blocks. I made improv nested squares but you may use any block.  You can check out June’s block of the month for inspiration. There is a link to 42 possibilities. 
Bring at least 1 yard of a solid fabric for sashing that will show off your blocks.  If you want something larger than a table runner then bring a larger piece of solid.  Don't forget your machine, cutting board, rotary cutter and the usual supplies.  Make sure that you bring an extension cord.

Alternate Grids with Sally

Sarah is still collecting 12x18" blocks in grey/greens/blues for the Pittsburgh Project charity quilt. Please consider donating one at the meeting!

Some of the charity quilt blocks collected so far

Our BOM for September is Flying Geese. This is a great block for using as filler when doing alternate grids. Check out this website for four different methods of piecing your geese.

Some reminders: if you have not paid your dues for this year, please bring your payment to the meeting. Dues can also be paid by PayPal now. See the "About Us" page on this website for the link to do so.

Also, space is filling up for the Sherri Lynn Wood workshop. Don't forget to register! All of the details are available here

Fyi, the Beaver Valley Quilt Show is coming up soon! Entries are due by September 7th. The theme this year is Paper Piecing. You can find all the details on their website. Let us know if you are entering so we can keep an eye out for your work!

See you in September!

Monday, August 17, 2015

You can now pay your dues via PayPal!

PghMQG has officially gone totally modern, you guys! You can now pay your annual dues via PayPal! There is a permanent button to do so on the "About Us" page and, look, there is a button right here as well (please note that there is a $1.50 processing fee):

PghMQG Membership dues

Saturday, August 8, 2015

August meeting minutes

Thank you to everyone who made the trip to Quilter’s Corner in Finleyville! Even bigger thanks are extended to our gracious hostesses, Mary Beth and her two daughters, Maureen and Lizzie. We welcomed four new members in August: Jan, Vivian, Eliza, and Cheryl. After introductions we discussed some of our on-going projects:

Our entry for the QuiltCon charity quilt challenge will be an improv pieced quilt based on one of the iconic area bridges. Bundles will be dispersed at the September meeting consisting of fabric and images to use for inspiration to improv piece your portion of the bridge. Amanda has arranged space for a sew-in at Quilt Company on Saturday, October 17th from 12:00-4:30. This is an opportunity for us to work on the blocks together and get any assistance that anyone may want. Please email Amanda if you want to participate but cannot make it to the September meeting to pick up a bundle, and she will make arrangements to get one to you. Completed blocks are due at the November 1st meeting. 

Show and tell: 

Gerri showed blocks that she has completed from Elizabeth Hartman’s “Patchwork City”. She is continuing a project that she started with her friend Pat who has since passed away. These blocks are amazing, Gerri! She is also working on blocks for her own version from the book. 

Stephanie displayed this amazing hand quilted map of Pittsburgh!

Vivian had some colorful quilts, including this one which includes a clever use of prairie points!

Jan showed us the second quilt that she had ever made.  She must be very adventurous as she even included curves, spliced in!! 

Sarah showed the blocks that she has collected for the quilt that we will be donating to the Pittsburgh Project’s annual fundraising auction. Anyone who has completed a block and has not already given it to Sarah, please get it to her at the September meeting.

To view all of the photos from this meeting please go to the guild's Flickr page.  There was a lot of good stuff! 

PgHMQG members also contributed about a dozen pillowcases to Quilter’s Corner August pillowcase drive for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital. What a great cause! Thank you to everybody who participated!

The group was then treated to a very humorous presentation by Maureen with additions from Mary Beth and technical assistance from Lizzie. There were many photographs of booths from Spring Quilt Market at Minneapolis. Quilt Market is where the shop owners go to find all the latest fabric, books, and projects being released in the upcoming year - a giant quilt shop!! Talk about stimulation overload. They showed us some of the vendor display areas, and told us many funny stories about some of the top designers. 

They said that current trends are not changing much, maybe some plaids, more solids, and more modern prints (yay!). They particularly liked the booths by Anna Maria Horner and Michael Miller. Maureen especially like Jessica Darling’s bag designs and really bonded with her! Quilter’s Corner may have a visit from her yet! 

Maureen showed some of her projects. “Plus” signs are hot right now, so she showed a quilt that she had made with a simplified “plus” sign. She also has been making blocks from “Patchwork City”. They were great!

We were then treated to cookies and pastries. Of course the biggest treat was to get some shopping in upstairs. We all managed to find more than a few fabulous fabrics to purchase. Thank you again to our generous hostesses, and hopefully we will meet again soon at their great shop and meeting space!

  • The next meeting will be September 13th at our normal location, the Pittsburgh Project. Please note that this is the second Sunday in September due to the Labor Day holiday. Sally will lead us in alternate grids. Look for more details available soon. 
  • Details will be up on the site soon regarding registration for the Sherri Lynn Wood workshop October 4th at the Pittsburgh Project. Remember, members will have the first opportunity to sign up, but act fast as space is limited.
  • October 17th Sew-in at Quilt Company to work on the QuiltCon 2016 charity quilt challenge
See you soon!