Saturday Series: Holiday Gifts

Hi everyone, Tracy here to share one of my holiday gift ideas -- quilted pillows.  I've been making and giving quilted pillows as gifts for the past few years.  They're pretty quick and I find them very satisfying to complete.  I don't really use patterns; I just start sewing stuff together and then trim the block down to fit my pillow form.  There's a boatload of free tutorials on the Internet which I frequently reference when making pillows.  Amanda Jean has a great one on how to make an envelope back closure, which is the only way I've made mine so far (no zippers for me).

I've made easy patchwork pillows using up scraps:

I made this one using scraps from my Big Poppy quilt.  I didn't have a full poppy, so I just cut what I had into strips and called it "Deconstructed Poppy":

I also like to do raw edge applique -- cutting out specific fabrics, ironing them on linen using heat and bond and then sewing around the edges three times (once around is not enough, two times around looks like you're trying to hard and three times around looks just right).  I use scraps to piece the border and then only quilt the scrappy part:

I made these pillows using the book "Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts.  Again, I fussy cut some fancy fabric, filled in with scraps and then quilted everything loosely following the pattern in the book:

This pillow was made from the mini charm pack that we received for our "Take It With You Challenge" from last summer (I didn't take it with me):

This is probably my favorite pillow ever.  It was made from an old tee-shirt that my husband threw in the rag bag (seriously!?!).  I dug it out, fussy cut it up and framed it with some scraps.  This would make an awesome gift for someone in my family, but it's mine:

I buy my pillow forms from just about anywhere I see them.  Usually on sale at JoAnn's, but I'll picked up some from IKEA too.  I'm a bit picky about IKEA because some of their pillows are very under stuffed; they do, however, have some fun and different shapes and sizes.  I've also had good luck at Tuesday Morning.  They have reasonable prices on pillow forms, when they have them in stock.

Consider sewing up some pillows as holiday gifts this year.  You can use up your scraps and make somebody very happy at the same time.

New business member spotlight: Pink Castle Fabrics

Today's post is by Renee at Pink Castle Fabrics, our newest business member. Please click over to Pink Castle Fabrics and check out their fabulous selection! 

Pink Castle Fabrics resides in beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan, where we fulfill the modern fabric needs of quilters all over the world. Our diverse inventory is our pride and joy; yes, we have the modern staples you expect - like Windham, Art Gallery, and Cotton+Steel - but also one of the best selections of Japanese imports anywhere in North America, classic favorites like Liberty Tana Lawn, and a huge assortment of solids from a variety of manufacturers.

Brenda is our owner and inspiration! She first came to quilting while expecting her son, but quickly realized there wasn't anywhere in Ann Arbor to cater to her fabric tastes. Having always wanted to own a business, she decided to be her own supplier, buying fabric by the bolt and selling what she didn't need to friends and on her Etsy shop. As sales bloomed, Pink Castle moved beyond Etsy to became its own web-store, and then a year-and-a-half-ago we left behind the basement of Brenda's house and moved into our very own brick and mortar shop! We just moved into a new, even more spacious location and are loving it...we now have more room for fabric, for classes, and for pretty much everything! 

Today, Pink Castle has a staff of nine people – Brenda, Jason, Whitney, Me (Renee), Kristen, Hayley and Hayley, Josh, and Cale. And we continue to look for new ways to serve our customers, from an ever-expanding range of monthly clubs to in-store events like classes and book signings to our bi-annual Camp and Glamp Stitchalot events. The vast majority of our business remains online, where our customers can always shop for exactly what they want 24/7, but we love our role as Ann Arbor's premiere modern fabric store and look forward to many more years of continued success!

Saturday Series: Holiday Gifts

Hi everyone - Marie here and thinking about holiday gifting time...I always think there is so much time to get things ready for the season, and then it's November and time just keeps flying by. So from my archives, I've pulled my favorite quick handmade gift for a hostess or to slip into a basket of kitchen tools or home-made goodies.

Potholders are so fast and totally customizable for the receiver.

Here are some that I've made in the past:

I know that some people use the heat-proof batting inside pot-holders. I have always thought it felt thin and was too crinkle-y to the touch, so I use a sandwich of quilted top + cotton batting + two layers of canvas + backing. They are very durable and heavy, which feels great. Bind them up, either by hand or certainly machine stitching would be quick, placing a small finished strip of fabric on the back side for a loop. And done! 

MMQG Mystery Quilt-along: The end!

Hi again! It is Kristin from a little crispy and today is the reveal of the MMQG Mystery Quilt-along! If you are just joining us, check out the previous posts here.

So instead of running you through the assembly step-by-step, I put together a handy assembly diagram and cutting chart. I included a chart of the unfinished sizes of your blocks as a reminder as well. Please read the notes below the image before you start cutting your borders!

If you have any questions or trouble putting it together, don't hesitate to contact me (kristin [at] alittlecrispy [dot] com) and I can help you out.

So, without further ado, this is what you've been working on all year!

A few quick notes:

  • Feel free to rearrange, change, re-do, or redesign any part of the quilt to your liking. I will not be offended :)

  • The center block is called "Ribbon Star" from Lee at Freshly Pieced. If you want, you can swap out the plain center print with background or a fancier 8" (finished) block.

  • There are a lot of long, narrow borders to sew. To avoid wonkiness and stretching, cut your border lengths to the exact size you need (described below) and then pin in place before sewing.


I strongly suggest that you assemble your quilt from the middle outward. Measure each finished round of blocks before you cut out the border surrounding it so that you make sure you cut the size you need. The sizes listed in the PDF assume your blocks all came out the correct size. If this is not the case, you might need to make slight adjustments to the border widths, which I describe below.

If your blocks are a bit small (or big), you will need to compensate. Because each border and round of the quilt builds on the next, don't just cut your borders to the size you have or later rounds of blocks might not fit properly.
  • If your blocks are too small: make the borders surrounding the too-small round a little wider. For example, if your round is 1/2" too small, you can increase the border width around the outside of the round by 1/4" (half of the amount or the shortage). For the first two sides of the border you will need to trim 1/2" off the length, but the remaining two sides will be the length listed in the cutting chart. 
  • If your blocks are too big: make the border surrounding the too-big round a little narrower. For example, if your round is 1/2" too big, make your border 1/4" narrower (half the amount of the excess). For the first two sides of the border you will need to add 1/2" to the length, but the remaining two sides will be the length listed in the cutting chart. 
  • If your blocks are inconsistent sizes, you can also add one or more "shims" (thin strips) of fabric to the blocks, between the blocks, or to the round to make them the correct size.

You have about two and a half months to finish up your quilts! Bring them to show & tell at the meeting in January. If you don't quite make January, you can bring them anytime after that, too! I need to get going on mine... Hope you all had fun, I know I did.

Don't forget, there are a few different ways you can share:

Instagram: use #mplsmqgmysteryquiltalong and then share to Flickr--

Flickr: upload to the group pool

Embed: your photo in each month's post! Here's how:

Your photo first has to be uploaded onto the internet somewhere--that could be your blog, or somewhere other than Instagram or Flickr. Then, in the comments section of the block post, type [img]http://your_photo_url.jpg[img]

And just for variety, here's a version with a dark background.

October 2014 Meeting Minutes

October 2014 Meeting Minutes, Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild
The meeting was held on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at the Textile Center at 7 PM. Below is a summary of the meeting.
Sewing Machine History by Steve Pauling
Steve Pauling, the Bobbin Doctor, gave a fascinating and extremely informative presentation on the history of sewing machines. Steve covered a wide range of topics including the very first machine types, the mechanics of making a stitch, needle types, bobbin systems, and the rise and fall of various sewing machine companies. We all learned quite a bit from Steve's wealth of knowledge on the topic.   
1) Next Meeting--Thursday, November 20, 2014 7 PM Textile Center. Sue Heinz, of Kismet Quilting will give a demonstration on using Elmer's Glue for accurate piecing.
2) December Social-- The December 18th meeting is the annual Holiday Social. We will have a potluck and a secret santa fabric swap. Those who participate in the optional secret santa swap will fill out a form with some basic questions about fabric likes, needs, and wants that will be shared with his/her santa to help pick out just the right fabric. The amount of fabric to be gifted is approximately 1 yard of fabric in any combination of cuts. Sign-ups for the secret santa swap will be sent via email after the November meeting.
3) January Meeting-- The January meeting will feature nominations for the Board of Directors. If you are interested in serving and have questions, feel free to contact an existing board member. It's a great opportunity to get more involved with the Guild. Elections will occur at the February meeting and the new Board term starts in March. We will also have the mystery quilt to reveal for those who participated.
4) Retreat-- The fall out-of-town retreat will be held on November 21-23 (Friday-Sunday) near Amery WI $135 for members, $145 for non-members. We have the large building. Sign-up sheets were available at the meeting and an online form is available here. See the Retreats page for more information and photos of the site. The retreat is now open to other guilds, so space may fill up fast.
5) Get Inspired Challenge-- The spring challenge, "Get Inspired" was announced. The challenge is to quilt or sew an item that is inspired by something else. The reveal will be at the April meeting and participants should bring in their finished project with the original source of inspiration (or photo of). No other rules, or restrictions.
6) Blog Series-- The "show us your space" series has been popular and we are continuing it for those who still want to write about their sewing spaces. We will also start a new Saturday Series featuring holiday gift ideas. We are always looking for volunteer bloggers--no experience necessary! If you didn't sign up at the meeting for a post, you can email the board anytime to request a slot: minneapolismqg [at] gmail [dot] com.
7) 2015 Quilting Bees-- For 2015 we are going to try and set up a few Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild Bees. Each "hive" will ideally have 12 members and participants agree to make 1 or 2 blocks for each month (to be determined by each hive). Each participant will have 1 month to be "queen bee". The queen selects the blocks/pattern and collects the blocks for that month to keep for herself/himself in the end. Those who sign up for this need to be committed to participating each month and bringing their completed blocks to the meeting (or mailing them in if attendance isn't possible). In order to keep the level of difficulty appropriate for members with a range of experience levels, a sign-up list for a "beginner" and "advanced" group was sent around. The sign-up sheet will be available at the December meeting, or you can email the board if interested in participating. The bees will start in January.

 Show and Tell 





Sharon (sorry for the blur)



Karen C.

Karen C.

Karen C.

Karen C.

Karen C.





Kristin L.

Kristin L.

Kristin L.

Kristin L.

Kristin S.




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