Monday, September 19, 2011

Iron Quilter (or "How We Made Four Quilts in Five Hours")

One of the best things about The Modern Quilt Guild is the fact that there are so many chapters around the globe. Reading about the events online through their guild blogs is great not only for their members, but also for guilds in other areas looking for new ideas. Chicago's MQG hosted an "Iron Quilter" event this past March and once Jacquie told us about it in May, we were hooked.

It was an absolute blast! We made four quilts from start to finish... in five short hours! Here is how ours worked:

  • The event was held on a Sunday from 12-5 at a local Bernina store, where one of our officers works.
  • Members signed up to take part.
  • They were instructed to only bring a rotary cutter, a one gallon bag of scraps (any color), some scissors and a killer quilting attitude.
  • The guild supplied batting scraps (really, I should say that member Angela Walters provided batting scraps!), thread, scrap buckets from Jacquie's stash, and a Secret Ingredient fabric (a 3/4 yard cut of one of three Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush prints).

We randomly divided the 12 participants up into four teams of three. They had no idea about the team assignments or secret ingredient colors ahead of time. You know... to make them full of even more anxiety!

The finished quilts had to be at least 18" x 24", the top had to incorporate the secret ingredient and the quilt they created should reflect the MQG (in their eyes).

It didn't take long before the room was full of women working and planning and tossing fabric around!

Tammy made the official first cut of fabric!

Sewing without snacks? No way!

There was fast and furious piecing on the two sewing machines per team.

Some very clever members used the batting scraps to craft their own design wall.

And somewhere along the line, Jaime broke out a bottle of wine...that we quickly polished off.

And ever so carefully (though quickly!), the blocks started coming together.

With about an hour left until the deadline, most of the groups were assembling tops and backings.

And quilting! Jessica did some insanely fast quilting. We're talking 12 minutes, folks!

With the clock inching toward the 5pm deadline, teams were working feverishly to finish their bindings. Four different methods were used! The team above utilized every member: Robin sewing the binding to the back, Tammy supplying the pins and Claudia folding the binding to the front and pinning it down so that Robin could keep right on sewing and tack the binding in place on the front. Phew!

Jaime, our Bernina hostess, was fresh off a Denyse Schmidt workshop and used some of her free time to piece the tiniest of scraps together.

At 4:57 and 4:59, the first two teams finished!

The other two teams weren't too far behind!

It was a great way to spend a rainy day and we overheard people saying how much fun they'd had. We are so glad Chicago tried it and blogged about it and can't wait to see which MQG group will try their own Iron Quilter!

There were many more images from the day, which can be seen in the short video below. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Susan Beal comes to Kansas City


One perk of being an officer for the KCMQG is getting to have some input on potential guest and meeting programs. We have discussed and contacted many different quilters across the country and were excited to get the chance to bring Susan Beal to Kansas City! Susan came and gave a presentation on modern log cabin quilting at our September 8th meeting.

Susan resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children, and is a member of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. She is a freelance writer whose books include Bead Simple, Button It Up, Modern Log Cabin Quilting and World of Geekcraft, among many other writing projects she's involved in. In her spare time, she loves to sew vintage dress patterns, knit, embroider, and make collages, among many other interests.

Susan with her son, Everett

I have been a long time blog follower of Susan's and it was her blog that I used to plan my fantastic 30th LA b-day trip a few years ago (we won't mention exactly how many years). Susan is a life long crafter and one of the nicest people you could know. I feel like I have known her my whole life, although we just met this past July.

I picked Susan and Everett, her son, up at the airport at 11:30am, which means they were great enough to leave Portland at an insane hour of the morning. It was a great excuse for me to take a day off work and hit up some of my favorite Kansas City places. We started with a stop at Urban Arts and Crafts. I was tempted by many fabrics, but showed some restraint and walked out empty handed. Susan found some great Denyse Schmidt pieces there. Then we went for lunch at Bluebird. It was a perfect day to eat outside and little Everett enjoyed some polenta with me. He was such a good companion. After that we were on our way to Westport, via a stop at Hammerpress. Gosh, they have some great things! I picked up issue ten of Uppercase, which is quite possibly the best publication I have gotten in a while. Our intentions were to head over to Bon Bon Atelier, but our little friend needed some floor time and Susan and I were both tired. So we made our way back to my house. Susan was able to have a little down time before the meeting and I was able to finish some last minute quilt blocks before we were off again. We met Jenny and Jacquie for dinner at Eden Alley, then Everett went to my lovely friend Julia's house to play with Hannah. At last we arrived to the buzz of the KCMQG meeting! We were greeted by so many wonderful faces and I think Susan felt at home. Susan gave a fabulous presentation on log cabin quilting after a busy meeting of business matters. Thank you all for waiting and being so gracious.

The next morning Susan and I met Jenny at the Bernina Sewing Center in Overland Park. Susan and Everett were off for more adventures including: Harper's Fabrics, Bon Bon and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Here's a photo of the spoils Susan took home with her!

Photo by Susan Beal

I think Susan told me thank you no less than 100 times, but truly we are so thankful to be able to share our city and love of quilting with you! Susan, you are an inspiration to us and we hope to see you again in our quilty futures.

Susan wrote her own blog post about her trip and adventures in Kansas City. Check it out here!

The Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild and the Portland Modern Quilt Guild are participating in a guild swap! 26 members of the Portland Guild paired off with 26 lucky members of the Kansas City Guild for a log cabin potholder exchange. The KCMQG literally fought for spots, considering there's over 100 of us! Look for more info on this swap exchange in the future!

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On a different note, the KCMQG bid a fond farewell to guild-founder and long-time president, Jacquie, who is now calling Chicago home. The Guild came together in an amazing feat of block-making, to produce (in six short weeks), a large quilt comprised of 6" blocks from the members. If you'd like to read more about the making of the quilt, visit Shea's blog post.

Jacquie, wrapped in her guild-made quilt.

"I could write for days about her contributions to our guild and the Modern Quilt Guild at large, but I'll stick to this: it is extremely rare to find a kind heart, inspiring creativity, meticulous craftsmanship and a genuine desire to learn alongside others as character traits in one person. But Jacquie is that, for sure. Her influence and contributions to the KC guild will be felt for years to come. (and I am still holding out hope that she'll come back one day!)" ~ Shea

Jacquie, we sure will miss you! But we wish you the best and will always hold you close in our hearts. P.S., you better visit! ;)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Quilts on the Quad - October 1, 2011

On Saturday, October 1st, 2011, the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild is hosting a unique outdoor art installation featuring over 200 quilts made by members of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. A special display will be devoted to the Robert Kauffman "No Prints Allowed" challenge that the Guild participated in earlier this year.

Working in partnership with UMKC Women's Center, UMKC Campus Facilities and Her Art Project, the event is being held in conjunction with UMKC Women's Center's 40th Anniversary Celebration and UMKC's Homecoming festivities.

Date: Saturday, October 1
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: UMKC Quad Area, 52nd & Rockhill Road

Founded in January 2010, the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild has grown to over 100 active members who focus on creating functional quilts with a modern aesthetic. Modern quilting is a relatively new movement, but traditional quilters and those new to the art of quilting have quickly embraced it. Bold colors, solid fabrics, use of negative space, non-traditional layouts and improvisational piecing characterize modern quilting. Modern quilters enjoy putting a twist on the traditional.

Questions? Email us at

Permission approval: Feel free to use the graphic in this post to pass the word along about our quilt show!