Thursday, November 16, 2017

Highlights from November 2017 Meeting

My Lessons Learned:  In Making Bags and Zipper Pouches

Did we not have fun this past Saturday with Michele Blake? Her passion for making bags and zipper pouches was contagious. Through her wit, transparency and wonderful teaching ability, we all had opportunity to be immersed in her presentation as she shared about successes and failures in sewing bags and pouches of all sizes and design.

For Michele, her bags and pouches need to have both form and function. So whether she makes them as gifts or keeps for herself, she wants them to look great and be utilized. To demonstrate her points, she brought for us to see: her beach bag, knitting bag, cords and earbud pouch, sewing tool bag, casual boho travel bag.... just to name a few. 

Here are several of her bags upclose:

Michele offered some invaluable tips learned from her sewing projects (which were also included in her handout to us) :

Make samples of your interfacing thickness.  In the photo on the left, Michele made fabric and interfacing samples according to instructions, then wrote the name/type of the interfacing on the fabric side.  By having samples, she builds a library of different types of interfacing to better identify what she would like to use on a particular project or to be used in a pattern.

Keep a notebook of ideas, designs and projects.  Take photos of your finished works, go online to find both free and purchased patterns and her favorite sewing tool to hold zippers in place prior to sewing or matching finicky glue. Her two most recommended glues are Fons & Porter glue stick and Roxanne Glue Baste It.

Michele Blake - Zipper Pouch Workshop

So, after visually being inspired by all of Michele's bags, for those who signed up for her afternoon workshop, we had opportunity to make one.  Michele's wonderful teaching ability had our flat pieces of fabrics transformed into zipper pouches in just a couple of hours.

Zipper Pouch Workshop in progress and then (right) several of the finished zipper pouches 

We thank Michele for her detailed preparation in both her presentation and workshop. And, for the special drawing to win a handmade bag (Congrats! Nancy deJong)

I think we would all was a "BIG" success.  Thank you, Michele.

And, a huge thank you to Leslie White at Bernina Sewing Center for providing us a great space to meet and sew.

Our 2018 GMQG Board

Congratulations to our incoming 2018 Board. Saturday was our official voting-in of our new Board members. They are:
President:  Susan Rink
Vice President:  Valorie Kasten
Secretary:  Cindy Lammon
Treasurer:  Paige Alexander
Membership:  Nancy deJong

We appreciate each of these women's talent and time in continuing forward the success of GMQG.

Beautiful response to the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild

In less than a month, this is what your generosity was able to achieve. It is amazing! Cindy and Faye extend a huge "Thank You" to each of you that participated. You came through with abundance of quilt squares.

Additional, thanks and recognition to Leslie White, Paige Alexander, Faye Jones, Valorie Kasten and Cindy Lammon for their provisions of materials, equipment and/or time towards the quilting of the quilt.

GMQG quilt donation to Las Vegas MQG Quilt Drive to provide quilts for victims & first responders in Las Vegas
Meeting Recap:
  • We thank Bernina Sewing Center for the wonderful 25% discount on fabrics this past Saturday. 
  • We appreciate each of you coming an hour earlier for the meeting. Nancy deJong reported that we had 30 in attendance with 29 members (in which 3 were new) and one guest. 
  • It's that time of year for Membership renewal or if you have been thinking about joining this is the time. The annual GMQG Membership fee is $35.00 Cash or Check. Why join you ask?
    • You will be a part of the national Modern Quilt Guild Association (MQG) which provides access to invaluable resources, webinars, and monthly newsletters
    • You can receive a once a month 20% discount at Bernina Sewing Center
    • Participation in GMQG Workshops
    • And, other opportunities volunteered by our GMQG Membership (ie. Johnnie McKenzie sewing classes, Faye Jones creative workshops and more)
  • Our new Board are planning the 2018 GMQG monthly programs. Incoming President, Susan Rink and VP, Valorie Kasten welcome your ideas and suggestions. For those who were not able to attend this past Saturday, you can email your suggestions to Susan Rink at  or Valorie Kasten at Please send before Friday, Nov. 17th.
  • Quilt Sewing Classes with Johnnie McKenzie. As Johnnie mentioned, these classes are "FREE" to members who would like to hone their sewing and quilting skills. Highlights of the class will be making a 16" Quilted Pillow Cover.  This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from one of the best.  If interested, please email Johnnie at for coordinating.
    Johnnie's sewing class project - 16" Quilted Pillow Cover
Upcoming Quilt Shows & Events:
  • Christmas is coming!!!! GMQG's Christmas Celebration will be Saturday, December 9th from 12:00pm to 3:00pm. As Cindy shared this is a time to enjoy the company of each other. We will be having a light lunch and desserts, Chinese auction and of course, Show & Share.  If you would like to donate an item(s) to the auction, it is for a worthy cause. All the proceeds raised from the auction will go towards GMQG special projects and events as needed.
  • Save the Date: GMQG Retreat 2018 at Wildacres Conference Center will be Friday, April 27th thru Sunday, April 29th. Faye Jones and Sandy Helsel are in planning mode. If you have sewing ideas for the retreat's group project, they would like to hear them.  You can email email Sandy at  The retreat weekend cost will be $195.00 which includes housing accommodations, meals and gratuity.
  • Save the Date: NC Quilt Symposium 2018 is going to be held at University of North Carolina - Asheville May 31, June 1-3.
  • MQG items to note:
    • Quilt entries and registration are now open for QuiltCon 2018 coming up February 22-25th. 
    • Two QuiltCon 2018 Challenges this year are both due by November 30, 2017:
      • Michael Miller - Our Yard Fabric Challenge, and
      • American Patchwork & Quilting Flying Geese
    • Mini Swap - Sign up begins September 20th. due in Feb 2018 
  • "Fresh Quilting", the MQG show is airing on our local PBS channel on Fridays at 6 am and noon.

Modern Skill Builder - Block of the Month (BOM):

Cheryl Brickey has selected for the BOM a fun and very do-able design that when combined with other blocks has a high visual impact.

The name of the block is Slab Blocks.

Designer: Cheryl Arkison of Dining Room Empire

Block size: 12" x 12" finished, (12 1/2" x 12 1/2" unfinished)

Skills this block builds: Improv, scrap use

Fabrics/Colors: Start with a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" solid white square, then add colored stripes (prints and/or solids) of the same-ish color around the white square until the block measures at least 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" then trim to size.

FYI - Cheryl Arkison's book Sunday Morning Quilts is available in the Greenville County Library for anyone who wants more instructions for slab making than are taught in the blog post.


How many quilts did you count that were made for the GHS and Julie Valentine Center kids? It was 13....I think this is our record number..... We needed confetti to fall from the ceiling and horns to blow in celebration!!! But instead, we can substitute paper confetti for the amazing colors in each of these quilts shown below in Show & Share.  The fabrics, colors and individuality of each quilt just make you feel celebration.  Thank you for your investment of creativity, materials and time for this worthy cause. You are applauded.

Show & Share:

Cindy Lammon - two quilts for charity (left) Pattern from Thimbleblossoms and (right) used various fabrics by Amy Butler

Bonnie Cunningham - quilt she made from a recent workshop with Pepper Cory
Elise Dunbar - her quilt for charity using GMQG's March Block of the Month - "X" Marks the Improv Block. Great job! 

Christopher Brickey - made a quilt for charity using the rainbow as his inspiration

Cheryl Brickey - new interpretation on the her "Plus Sign" design. In quilting, she used matching thread to fabric

Madeline Faner - a child's quilt she made for charity

Susan Rink - (left) a special friend and quilt mentor 70th B-day surprise (right) the back of the quilt...So pretty!
Michele Blake - three children's quilts for charity 
Dagmar Theordore - four patch posey quilt

Sandy Helsel - Information and photos from her trip to Houston for the International Quilt Show

Nancy deJong- (left) a whimsical Halloween wall hanging (right) two children's quilts for charity

Valorie Kasten - an improv quilt for charity

Faye Jones - (left/middle) two children's quilts for charity (right) a close-up of the center quilting on the middle quilt

Faye Jones - all about Christmas with quilted placemats, tree skirt and Santa wall hanging

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. We have so much to be thankful for.  

We hope you will mark your calendars for next month's Christmas celebration on Saturday, December 9th from 12:00pm to 3:00pm. Set out your mason jar to begin saving your $1 for the Chinese auction ;-). More information will come by email as the date nears.  

2310 East North Street, Suite A
Greenville, SC 29607


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