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The Basics Challenge with Riley Blake Designs

Deadline extension to FEBRUARY 17, 2014.

The Modern Quilt Guild

We are so excited to announce Riley Blake Designs as this year’s sponsor of the 3rd annual MQG members fabric challenge.


Basics! We all love those wonderful basics from Riley Blake. They are generously providing each official MQG member 6 fat eighths from their Basic category. Each member will be receiving fabrics like these colors and patterns.


  • The challenge runs from September 2013-December 2013.
  • Members can make anything they want as long as it is quilted!
  • Add in any solids or Riley Blake printed fabric.
  • You do not need to use all the fabrics given to you.
  • Upload and share your photos to the Fabric Challenge Forum on the Community site.
  • MQGs can create guild specific challenges, as long as the other guidelines are upheld.
  • Don’t forget to use the #mqgrileyblakechallenge on Instagram and Twitter!
  • See the members Community site for sign ups.
  • Fabric…

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Wonky Patchwork: Nine Patch

In searching the blog world for November’s wonky block tutorial, I discovered the Nine Patch.  This classic block in its most basic form consists of nine equal squares, arranged three rows across and three rows down.  Early block designs allowed frugal quilters to use very small scraps of fabric and were often made from pieces of left over cloth or cut from old worn-out clothes.

The Nine Patch Quilt was a favorite among quilters and was often used for utilitarian purposes.  Consequently, many of the historically preserved quilts are unfortunately dilapidated from use.  But the first known and dated Nine Patch Quilts were made at the beginning of the nineteenth century and they are still a popular form of quilt making today.  In fact, because of its simplicity, my very first quilt was a hand pieced, hand quilted traditional Nine Patch.  So, it is of no surprise that the modern quilt world has created a Wonky Nine Patch Block.

Wonky Nine Patch

5″x5″ Wonky Nine Patch Blocks

Both Jen Eskridge and Elizabeth Hartman have a Wonky Nine Patch Block tutorial via their blogs that are simple, fast, and easy.  As you can see, Jen’s blocks are more traditional looking in nature while Elizabeth’s blocks have a more modern composition.  Enjoy!

Wonky 9-Patch Quilt by Jen Eskridge of Reanne Lily Designs

Crazy Nine Patch Quilt

Crazy Nine Patch Lattice Quilt by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!

Wonky Patchwork: Crosses

In the last ten years, ‘wonky patchwork’ has become a prominent genre in the modern quilt world. From wonky stars, wonky log cabins, wonky houses, wonky monkey wrenches, wonky flying geese, and wonky squares, this out of the box approach to block design is redefining tradition.  But what is wonky?

Urban Dictionary defines wonky as “weird, whacked out, messed up, askew, non-intuitive, poorly designed, not right, odd”.  And yet, cutting or trimming a traditional block at a new angle creates an eye-catching dramatic pattern and fun effect.  So to embrace the freedom of improvised piecing,  I am going to abandon my traditional restrictive roots and feature a monthly wonky block tutorial from the quilt blog world.  The end result … a wonderful Wonky Sampler Quilt.

5″ x 5” Wonky Cross Blocks

To get things started, here are my Wonky Cross Blocks from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! via the blog of Sew, Mama, Sew!  I was introduced to this wonky pattern at the Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild meeting earlier this month and was astounded by its simplicity and versatility.  Try it out!

Baby Modern Cross Quilt

Baby Modern Cross Quilt by Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons

Fall is in the Air-A Cross Quilt by FITF

Fall is in the Air-A Cross Quilt by Ashley of Film in the Fridge (FITF)

QuiltCon Block Challenge: Quilt Back

What a wonderful and unexpected surprise to have my block design selected for the QuiltCon Quilt Back! Thank you Elizabeth and MQG. The back of the quilt looks amazing!  –TaMara

The Modern Quilt Guild

This is part of a series of posts about the QuiltCon Block Challenge.  You can see more photos of blocks submitted for this challenge here, and in the Block Challenge Flickr Group.  

For the quilt back, I decided to spice things up with a few more of the challenge blocks.

The blocks were made by (left to right):

The rest of the back is Kona Jade Green and Kona White.

I’ll be posting more photos of the finished quilt tomorrow!


As a way of giving something back to QuiltCon’s host city of Austin, Texas, we’re going to use the blocks that aren’t selected for this quilt to make quilts for each of the 46 beds at the Austin Children’s Shelter…

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Modern BOM Phenomenon

Alissa Haight Carlton from Handmade by Alissa and the creators of Sew, Mama, Sew! teamed up and delivered an outstanding 2011-2012 Modern Block of the Month (BOM) series.  While I have never been a fan of “quilt alongs” and block of the month programs, having not participated in one since 1997,  the simplicity of the Modern BOM kept my enthusiasm and challenged my comfort zone from beginning to end.

BOM Quilt Top

This introduction to modern patchwork showcases improvisation, asymmetry, triangles, partial seams, english paper piecing, strip piecing and solid color theory.  Although these techniques are rooted in the traditional world of quilting, Alissa’s innovative design aesthetic modernizes the BOM series and keeps it fun.

(L-R, Top-Bottom) April, August, November, May, September, March,  October, January, July, December, February, and June.

I truly enjoyed piecing every block, and look forward to the challenge of developing the quilt design.

QuiltCon Block Challenge: Graphic Squares, Rectangles & Boxes

Thank you Elizabeth and the MQG for sharing these wonderful blocks.  –TaMara

The Modern Quilt Guild

This is part of a series of posts about the QuiltCon Block Challenge. From August 27 – September 22, I’ll be posting photos of blocks received for the challenge. On September 24, I’ll start announcing which 20 blocks will be used in the quilt. You can see more photos of challenge blocks in the Block Challenge Flickr Group.  

Today we have an eclectic mix of squares, rectangles, and boxes.

Here’s a breakdown of who made what.

Block A = Bobbi Brekke of the Austin MQG

Block B = Tamara Howard

Block C = Carolyn S. Vagts

Block D = Holly Broadland of the Vancouver MQG

Block E = Alicia Weiss

Block F = JoAnn Lee of the Vancouver MQG

Block G = Jan Myers

Block H = Eom Jae Young of the Los Angeles MQG 

There are lots of different block styles here, but I love how…

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Exciting! QuiltCon Email

To:  TaMara Howard

From:  Elizabeth Green-Hartman

Subject:  QuiltCon Block Challenge

Date:  September 3, 2012 12:53 AM

Thank you so much for submitting a block to the QuiltCon Block Challenge! I’m truly overwhelmed by the beautiful block you made.

I’m just sending you this e-mail to confirm that your block will be featured on the MQG blog on Thursday, September 6, 2012. You can follow the blog during the next few weeks to see more fabulous blocks and be sure to check the blog starting September 24th, for the announcement of the blocks that were selected to be included in the QuiltCon Raffle Quilt.

The blocks that aren’t selected for the raffle quilt will be used to make bed quilts for the Austin Children’s Shelter so, even if your block doesn’t end up in the raffle quilt, it is definitely going to a good cause! We’re currently looking for guilds interested in finishing one of the quilts for the children’s shelter so, if you think your guild might be interested, please let me know.

Thank you, again, for participating in the QuiltCon Block Challenge!


Elizabeth Hartman

The Modern Quilt Guild

My QuiltCon Block Entry

Just in time!  I submitted my QuiltCon block entry TODAY.  Measuring 12.5″ x 14.5″, I created a Rectangular Log Cabin Block that utilizes six of the QuiltCon logo colors:  White, Coal, Tangerine, Chartreuse, Lemon, and Turquoise all in Kona Cotton solids.

A traditional Log Cabin block begins with a red or yellow center square (called the “hearth”) with strips or “logs” pieced around it in varying light and dark values.  According to, the alternating values represent the sunny and shady sides of a home.  In addition, most Log Cabin quilts are composed of multiple blocks arranged to produce secondary patterns and are foundation-pieced for precision and stability.

Reflecting those traditions, my machine pieced rectangular Coal colored center, surrounded by Tangerine, emulates the warmth from the hearth of a home.  But the alternating width of the logs in light and dark values adds a modern element to a timeless block.

This is my first quilt challenge entry and the blocks that have been submitted thus far are all AMAZING!  Sneak a peak at the QuiltCon Block Challenge flickr group.

QuiltCon Block Challenge

I’ve accepted the challenge to use the colors of the QuiltCon logo to make a quilt block that reflects what modern quilting means to me.  The block has to be 12½” tall x a width of my choice, machine pieced, and made from a “quilt shop quality” 100% cotton or cotton/linen fabric in any combination of tangerine, gold, citrine, lime, aqua, turquoise, white, and/or gray.

Modern Quilt Guild Board Member, Elizabeth Hartman, will curate the submitted blocks, selecting 20 or more of her favorite to be featured on The Modern Quilt Guild’s blog and to be used to make a quilt honoring the QuiltCon inaugural conference and show in Austin TX.  But as a way of saying “thank you” to the City of Austin, the remaining blocks will be used to make quilts for the Austin Children’s Shelter.

With that said, when I think of what modern quilting means to me, I immediately think of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend.  Their quilts reflect both artistry and freedom, making quilting accessible to all sewers.


My favorite pattern within the Gee’s Bend collective is the Log Cabin Block in all it’s varied versions.  The Log Cabin quilt has a rich history and is an “ideal example of early American quilt-work, representing home, warmth, love and security”.

With only five days to meet the August 15th deadline, a Gee’s Bend Log Cabin Quilt will be the inspiration for my QuiltCon block entry.

Solstice Stars

Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts has launched a five-week series of star quilt block tutorials called Solstice Stars.  Inspired by Nancy Cabot’s 1930 Quilt Collection, the tutorials will post every Wednesday, beginning January 18th and ending on February 15th, to engage ones paper piecing, triangle, and y-seam skills.

I am joining the fun to create a whole quilt that comprises of ONLY five blocks for my new office and to work with the color … GRAY.  Gray has never been a favorite color of mine and I have never used it in a quilt.  But growth in all areas of modern quilting is important, even if it is around a single color.  So here are my print fabric selections in addition to Kona Cotton solids coal, bone, lemon and herb.  Check back to see my completed stars.

Fabric Central-Sunny Collection

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