• March 2018 Meeting Recap

    HI all,

    We had a fantastic March meeting with lots of exciting discussion surrounding those of us who attended Quiltcon as well as the PVQA quilt show.

    We had many of our guild attend Quiltcon and talked about how we had represented our guild. We had made a fabulous improv Orange Peel quilt which was there amongst many other guilds who had designed and constructed a quiltj that would be donated to their own community in charity. Here it is:

    This gorgeous quilt will make its way to a family who was directly affected by the Napa/Sonoma wildfire. We are thrilled to be able to give directly in this way and reminds us of the importance of service to others and how what we make can truly offer comfort and warmth.

    We announced our newest swap! We are excited to host a tote bag/zipper pouch swap. It’s not too late to join – next month’s meeting there will still be an opportunity to join in on the fun. If you’ve never made a tote bag or a zipper pouch don’t fret or dispair! Next month there will be a separate blog post with LOTS of links to the many free tutorials and free patterns for making a tote. We promise – it’s fun and simple. Your desire to make something that your swap partner may enjoy is the only requirement. It’s going to be fun so please join in! We know you can do it! Wouldn’t you like to receive something like this?

    Tamlin was the winner of our “Block of the Every Other Month

    Renee designed a quilt block that is featured in the Modern Quilt Guild ‘s Block Study in February. It’s a gorgeous block and makes up into a fabulous quilt. Here is hers:

    We’re so proud of you Renee!

    And, as always, we had a great Sew ‘n Tell with lots of fabulous quilts:

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    An original quilt pattern from Alicea! #sbamqg

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    Another quilt at tonight’s meeting #sbamqg

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    And please remember, we are still taking sign-ups for our Mel Beach workshop!

    We hope to see you at our next meeting which is April 3rd at 6:30.


  • Results of our Starch Off!


    Do you press your seams open?  Do you use starch when you are piecing? I have been using starch for a few years and wanted to talk a little about why.

    Recently, our guild made blocks for me as I changed from being president to member.  Three years was plenty long and it was time for new change and energy in leadership.  I was inspired by a mini quilt by Sajuta Shah and I brought my own fabrics for the guild members to take and come up with a free-form and improv block for me based on Sajuta’s quilt.  Here are just a few of what was made


    I’m so excited to put these together soon.  But, in my directions to put the blocks together, I asked that all seams be pressed open, and to finish with starch which is my preference and practice.  Lynn, our new president, then asked me to talk about why I starch and to give a starch demo which she called “The Great Starch Off”.  She then presented me with a box of commercial starch, sizing, as well as two homemade starches.

    I went home and tried out all the starches and had surprising results which I’ll get to in a minute.  The reason I starch is really an extension of pressing open my seams when I’m piecing.  The debate goes on and likely will continue as to wether or not it’s best to press your seams to the side, or open, but I’m firmly in the open camp.  At our last guild meeting, I talked about how whatever it is you’re piecing lies very flat when you press your seams open, which means that your block will likely end up the measurement it was meant to be.  Open seams mean that there will be no dominant or recessive areas in the pieced block, and will wear evenly over time.  One of my favorite things to achieve aesthetically in a quilt is to make the blocks appear to float on a large ground, or all that negative space us modern quilters love.  I believe that pressing seams open helps achieve that look, as the seam lines seem to fade away after quilting.


    new why I press open

    Take for instance this beautifully quilted piece.  If you look closely, you can see that the seams were pressed to one side.  I think that those seam lines distract from the quilting and would have been nearly invisible had the seams been pressed open.  In the end, this is just one quilter’s opinion, and I know that there are reasons for pressing to one side that works for others.

    Pressing seams open is what led me to using starch.  I reasoned that if I was going to spend time pressing, that starch would help keep those seams open and flatten the block even further.  The way I make a block, or when I’m piecing, I sew a seam, quickly press the stitches, then run the tip of the iron up the seam which opens them.  I give a quick press along the seam, then turn it over to the right side and quickly press once again.  Weeks Ringle talks about this process in her own blog post on pressing open seams HERE.  And after all that pressing is over, I give a quick and small spritz of sizing or light starch on the back, press, and then the same treatment on the front.  Then, and only then, is my seam or block done.

    Now for the results of our Starch off – the contenders were:  Niagra brand starch, heavy starch, sizing, and starch in a non-aerosol can, Mary Ellen’s best press, and the two homemade forulas; one a cornstarch base, the other a potato vodka base.  My favorite and most often-used product, spray sizing, was one of the best at keeping the seam allowances flat against the back of the block.  For a little discussion on the differences between starch and sizing, you can find that HERE.  Most of the other spray starches gave the fabric I used a nice body, with the heavy spray starch giving a bit more body which was no surprise.  The biggest surprise of the experiment was how the homemade corn starch formula performed.  It did a fantastic job of keeping the seam allowances down and flat and gave the fabric nice body.

    The recipe Lynn used to make the cornstarch spray is:

    16 oz filtered or distilled water, 1 tablespoon
    cornstarch, optional 1-2 drops essential oil such as lavender – don’t use
    citrus as it can scorch when ironed. Mix together in spray bottle with mist
    setting. (some posts state that this blend can spoil – so either only mix as
    much as you will use right away or store in refrigerator.) Always shake the spray bottle before using.


    The other homemade starch spray Lynn made uses potato vodka:


    Drunken Starch (Potato Vodka): 8 oz filtered or distilled water, 1 oz potato
    vodka (one shot). Mix together in spray bottle with mist setting.


    So, there you have it!  I personally will most likely stick with my usual sizing spray as it has always given me very consistent results.  But, in a pinch, I would definitely make the corn starch spray.  Thanks for visiting our blog and we’ll see you at our next meeting!




  • Charity Quilt for Quiltcon 2015

    QuiltCon Charity Quilt copy
    Our collaborative quilt will be shown at Quiltcon 2015 in Austin Texas Feb. 19-22

    Back in August, the Modern Quilt Guild announced that it would sponsor a charity quilt drive that would be displayed at Quiltcon, and then returned to the community and guild it came from, and then donated to that community’s local children’s shelter.  Without hesitation, our guild knew we would enjoy putting a quilt together.

    There were a couple of parameters given for the challenge.  A palette was given; along with the directive to use alternate-grid in planning your overall design.


    Tami, Tina, Gabrielle, Heidi, Mary convened at Pam’s house and scoured Pinterest to locate a design that we could use as a jumping off point, hoping to take a kernel of an idea, and then making the quilt design our own.  This was the quilt that really  jumped out to us as something that would be great for making by a group.  Here it is in all its glory:

    Photo by: Ara Jane Olufson; a quilt made by the Do.Good.Stitches bee


    We loved the idea of different sized strips and squares and the alternating horizontal and vertical strips.  Armed with our fabrics and a design idea, many of us constructed strip sets and then brought them together at a sew day.  Pam and Tina started cutting up the strips in varying sizes and sewing them together and then sometimes cutting once again to add more white background in to balance out the negative space.  Pam took home larger pieces of what we constructed and finished the assembly of the quilt top.  Then, it was time to hand it off to Tami of The Quilted Lemon.  She selected an interlocking squares and rectangles quilting pattern for our quilt.

    quiltcon charity closeup

    It was the perfect choice for our quilt design and we’re so thankful to Tami for donating her time, thread, effort and talent which provided just the right quilting for this quilt.  Pam then did the binding and put on the sleeve.  Our quilt is now in Austin and waiting to be in the big show, Quiltcon at the Austin Convention Center Feb. 19-22.

    When the quilt is retuned to our guild, the quilt will be happily donated to a local children’s shelter and we will be honored to do just that.

    And as an aside, three of our guild members will have quilts shown at Quiltcon this year and we’re proud to announce that Anne Sullivan, Pam Rocco and Tina Michalik will have work hanging in the show.  SBAMQG represent 🙂





  • July Meeting Recap

    Apologies for the late posting!  We did cover a lot of ground at our last meeting, and so here are the highlights!


    Jo’s quilt, adapted from the Modern Mystery Quilt.  This was a pattern from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr of the Modern Quilt Studio.  Fabulous!

    We were so honored to have Susan Osorio, director of Jacob’s Heart visit and present to us a certificate of appreciation for our Pay it Forward efforts benefiting 31 young people who are battling cancer in our community.

    Before the meeting got underway, Isabel Michalik (age 6) and daughter of Tina showed us all what a little determination can do and held up the quilt she designed and made for her dad.  It took about a year from beginning to end, with feverish quilting as father’s day approached.  She was very nervous to talk in front of a group, but she made it through just fine 🙂

    Julia, our guild secretary is moving on to go do exciting things in Los Angeles and will be attending design school to learn surface and fabric design!  Way to go Julia!  Meanwhile, Emily Sardo will be our interim secreatry until we hold elections for new officers in December.  Emily hails from southern California, and was an original member of the LAMQG.  Welcome Emily!

    Tina gave the second talk about the principles of  modern quilting focusing on the subject of negative space.  A separate blog post will focus on these talks.  We hope this new part of our guild meeting is interesting and helping to inspire new quilt ideas for everyone.
    Speaking of negative space, we announced our “quickie” swap, making a small item for a secret partner using negative space.  We will return with our finished gifts to our partners at our August meeting.  How is everyone coming along with their projects??
    Pam Rocco spoke to the guild about her own ideas and approach to fabric selection.  Pam’s style is often one that uses many solids with small bits of print.  Her fabrics come from a variety of sources; flea markets, thrifting, old clothing and from other unexpected places.  She enjoys repurposing fabrics.  Pam can tell the story of where her fabrics came from and how she chose them for that particular project and her storytelling is always enjoyable.  Thanks Pam!
    Julia then spoke about Heather Ross’s most recent fabric collection, “Briar Rose”.  Heather is now designing with Wyndam Fabrics and is back with using a quilting cotton as her base goods.  This is great news for quilters!  Karen has made an incredible quilt with these very sweet prints.
    We have one, possibly two spots still open for the Weeks Ringle workshop for August 3rd.  If you are interested in attending, please email Tina.  tinam@cruzio.com

    • PIF donation quilts for the Community Bridges are due at the  August  meeting.
    • Welcome new members, Kelly and Barbara!
    • Friday Sew Day dates in Aptos at the community center are July 26, Aug 23 – final dates for 2013
    • Intrepid Thread in Milpitas hosts an open sew on the third Friday of the month.  Tina, Karen and Anne recently went and it was good fun.  (Thanks Julie!)
    • 2nd Annual Quilt Show of the SBAMQG will be held at Sue Dee’s in September.  Please consider entering a piece for the show!  Small items are welcome.  Items to be in the show should be turned in by the last week of August.
    • Fall Retreat committee is still open for volunteers and we plan to meet soon!
  • Quilts for Boston

    The community of Boston has been changed by recent acts of violence.  There are hundreds of people who are not only suffering from bodily harm and physical loss, but also invisible wounds from witnessing and hearing what occurred.  Quilters are always quick to respond in situations where comfort is needed and in this difficult time, naturally we want to respond.

    The Boston Modern Quilt Guild has put a call out for blocks.  quilts for boston

    From their blog:

    “As a guild we plan to make and distribute quilts to those who would benefit from a show of support, and we need your help.  We are asking the modern quilt community to support our efforts by sending us blocks for these quilts. Additionally, we will accept donations of fabric to be used for binding, sashing, and quilt backs. We would like to have the quilts ready to deliver to those in need as soon as possible, so we ask that you send your blocks to us within a month, by May 24th, 2013.

    Blocks sent to the Boston Modern Quilt Guild should be blue, yellow, gray, and white. All blocks should be 12½” tall x the width of your choice. That could mean 12½” x 7”, 12½” x 12½”, or anything wider, more narrow, or in between. Please machine piece your blocks in any style you would like. Please use only “quilt shop quality” 100% cotton or cotton/linen fabrics. Both print and solid fabrics are welcome. Our preference is white or light gray 100% cotton thread, but any coordinating thread of good quality will do.”


    Do you have an hour or so to make a block for our sister guild?  Show your support and dive into your scraps and your stash and send a block off to Boston!!

    From their blog:

    “Our goal is to make bright and modern quilts that will bring cheer to those who need it most! We chose this color scheme as these are the colors of the Boston Marathon, and have become the colors representing the One Fund, an organization formed to accept monetary donations for the victims, as well as the tribute tees sold to benefit the One Fund. Be creative with your blocks, and make any pattern or design that inspires you!”

    Please mail all blocks and fabric to:
    Quilts for Boston
    P. O. Box 79225
    Belmont, MA 02479