Thursday, 14 October 2021

 Quilts in the Park - weather permitting

We would love to see many of you for an in person event.  Check back here by noon on the 16th to see if it has been cancelled due to rain.

Vincent Massey Park, zone QRST (ish)

Saturday Oct 22th at 1:00 pm (rescheduled from Oct 16th due to rain)

bring: Quilts, a lawn chair, a mask,  a credit card to pay for parking ($1 per half hour)

Monday, 27 September 2021

September BOM: PUMPKINS!

Welcome back to another Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild season! 

And it's Block of the Month/Block Lotto time! I'm Leslie Stobbart and I'm back as your Block of the Month coordinator again this year. I'm being joined by Theresa Cody, who has also volunteered to join me this year. I'll be setting the design for the September > October Block, and then Theresa will take reigns for the October > November design. Thank you, Theresa!

I thought I'd start our own OMQG tradition of having the first Block of the year follow a Halloween/Fall theme. Because who doesn't want to have help making their own Fall-themed quilt? Last year we did spooky houses, and this year, it's pumpkins!

I've adapted this tutorial from one I found on Craftsy. I made the dimensions slightly larger than the Craftsy instructions, and also expanded the instructions to allow for a single-fabric pumpkin, a stripey pumpkin, or a patchwork pumpkin. I think a mix of all three designs in one quilt will look very cool!


For the pumpkins, you can go with standard orange fabric, or you can mix it up with white fabric. Solids or prints, whatever speaks to you!

For the background, let's stick with black(ish) fabric choices. Feel free to choose either solids or prints for these, too.

You'll also need a bit of brown fabric for the stem, and green fabric for the leaf on each pumpkin.

Cutting Instructions:

For a Single-Fabric Pumpkin:

- 1 square of pumpkin fabric, cut to 6.5" x 6.5"

- 1 brown 1.5" x 1.5" square (this will be the stem of the pumpkin)

- 1 green strip, cut to 1.5" x 3" (this will be the leaf)

For a Stripey Pumpkin:

- 3 pumpkin strips cut to 2.5" x 6.5"

- 1 brown 1.5" x 1.5" square (this will be the stem of the pumpkin)

- 1 green strip, cut to 1.5" x 3" (this will be the leaf)

For a Patchwork Pumpkin:

- 9 squares of pumpkin fabric cut to 2.5" x 2.5"

- 1 brown 1.5" x 1.5" square (this will be the stem of the pumpkin)

- 1 green strip, cut to 1.5" x 3" (this will be the leaf)

Background Fabric: 

These pieces are the same for all three variations.

- 2 strips cut to 1.5" x 7.5"

- 2 strips cut to 1.5" x 8.5" 

- 1 strip cut to 1.5" x 3" 

- 6 squares, cut to 1.5" x 1.5"

Block Construction:

Completed blocks will measure 8.5" x 9.5", and all seam allowances are 1/4".

1. Sew either the pumpkin strips together, or the patchwork squares together into a nine-patch, as shown in the photo below. If you are making a single-fabric/non-scrappy pumpkin, you get to skip this step.

2. Mark and sew the corners. Place a background square on each corner of the 6.5" pumpkin piece, right sides together. To shape the pumpkin, mark each square with a diagonal line from corner to corner. Sew on these lines.

3. Trim the corners. Using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim the corners ¼” from the sewn line. Press the corners away from the pumpkin fabric.

4. Make the leaf. Place the remaining two background squares on top of the green strip. Mark these from corner to corner as well, then sew on the lines, trim and press the corner HSTs out.

5. Sew the stem. To make the top of the block, arrange (from left to right) the 1.5" x 3″ background strip, the brown square and the green leaf unit you just made.

Sew the pieces together, then press both seams in toward the brown square.

6. Attach the stem to the pumpkin. Sew the stem and leaf row to the top of the orange strips. Press the seams away from the pumpkin.

7. Finish the block. Sew the 1.5” x 7.5" background strips on either side of the pumpkin block. Press the seams toward the border strips.

Sew the 1.5" x 8.5" background strips to the top and bottom of the pumpkin block. Press the seams toward the background strips to finish the block.

Very excited to see the collective pumpkin patch we'll all make for the lucky winner of the Block of the Month draw at the October meeting!

Monday, 31 May 2021

May BOM: Wonky Stars

This month's block of the month is a 12.5" wonky star block. This is a fairly simple 9-patch composition that looks pretty great in a finished quilt, if I do say so myself. 

I made 12 of these blocks earlier in the month to bump my Roosting Round Robin quilt top (was that from 2019? More like 1919! Yeesh!) from a throw size to a twin size. The quilt top needed to be 24 inches longer, so a row of six of these wonky stars at the top and bottom of the quilt was just the ticket.

So let's get to it!

All seam allowances are 1/4"

Unfinished block size is 12.5" x 12.5" - this will give us 12" x 12" blocks in the finished quilt.

Colour Choices:

The overall concept is to combine any coloured fabric you like (prints or solids, whatever works) with a light/low-volume fabric (such as white, cream, light grey, light prints, light solids, etc.) for each block. Just pick two contrasting fabrics that make you happy and you're all set!

To add a bit of interest, you can choose to use your coloured fabric as the background, with a low-volume star, or to use the coloured fabric for your star and keep the lighter fabric for your background. 

It's up to you! I tried a couple of each combination, and I think a mix of the two options is going to make for a cool effect in a quilt!

Cutting Instructions:

Background Fabric:

    Cut 8 squares @ 4.5" x 4.5"

Star fabric:

    Cut 5 squares @ 4.5" x 4.5"

Sewing Instructions:

This block starts with making the star-points:

Cut 4 of your star squares diagonally from one corner to the other to create 8 half-square triangles. (The fifth star square doesn't get cut in half, as this will be the middle of your star.)

Lay one of the triangles RST on top of one of your background squares, so that the raw edge of the long side goes diagonally across the top right corner of the background square. 

As you can see below, the long edge of the triangle should span from top of the background square to the right side of the square. Ensure as well that the top point of your triangle falls somewhere left of the centre-line of your background square.

Note that the placement of your triangles may take a bit of practice/eye-balling, as you want to ensure that they aren't too wonky; once each triangle is sewn in place, you should be able to press it up and it will completely cover the corner of your background square.

Sew the first star-point triangle onto four of your background blocks.

Trim the seam allowance of the background corner and then press each point out.

Then repeat this same step for the top left corner of each of these squares.

Your four star-point pieces should now look like this (or thereabouts - it's supposed to look a bit off!): 

Use a ruler and the bottom corners of your background block as a guide and square up each piece to be 4.5" x 4.5".

With all four star-points blocks complete, you're ready to assemble the 9-patch into your star. 

Arrange all nine squares as shown below and sew together. 

Tip: Nesting your seams is going to make it very easy to line up your three rows and achieve a great finish. 

To do this, press the seams of your top and bottom rows away from each other (this is pressing out), and then press the seams of your middle row towards each other (this is pressing in). When you attach the top and bottom row to your middle section, your nested seams should make it quite easy to line everything up and get really nice corners.

Press your finished block and you're done!


You can make as many or as few blocks as you like for the June Block of the Month draw. The more the merrier!

Just send me an email or post a photo to Instagram with the hashtag #ottmqgBOM before our June meeting, and I'll enter you into our last draw of the year! Have a great month, everyone!

Monday, 26 April 2021

April BOM: Modern Appliqué Gumdrops

If you're new to guild's Block of the Month segment, you can read my description of how it all works during the pandemic here!

This month's block idea goes out by special request to guild member Brenda (@quilting.wtmf)! She said, "I hope next month is appliqué" when she shared her Confetti Block from March, and who am I to say no to such a request?

Admittedly, the Confetti Blocks from the March meeting were a bit of a mind-bender (thanks to everyone who went along with it!), so let's slow things down for April with some Modern Appliqué. Plus, I think my "celebration" theme from the March meeting was perhaps pre-emptive, given the state of life in the Ottawa region these days! Sigh. I'll stick to sewing, rather than predicting a swift end to the pandemic from now on, okay? :)

So for this month's BOM idea, I looked again to the Ottawa Public Library's collection of quilting books and came up with Sunday Morning Quilts, which was written in 2012 by Amanda Jean Nyberg (@crazymomquilts) and Cheryl Arkison (@cherylarkison). Amanda Jean and Cheryl are both early pioneers of the modern quilting movement; they each have very inspirational blogs and Instagram accounts, and they're also very prolific, superfans of scrappy quilts. Perfect fit!

The basic idea for this pattern comes from their book, although I've modified their approach a bit. First, I'm expanding the appliqué method to be maker's choice - you can choose any of the following methods: 
  • raw-edge machine appliqué (this makes for some cool frayed texture after a few washes)
  • needle-turn (this is done by hand)
  • freezer paper method
  • ironing on with heat & bond and then zig-zag stitching around the edge (I think that's actually how you're supposed to do raw-edge machine appliqué)
  • maybe a hybrid approach that combines other skills - what about big stitch raw-edge or needle turned appliqué?
So the method is totally up to you! I tried out four styles for this entry (needle-turn, two types of raw edge machine appliqué, and something I made up that I'm going to call big-stitch raw edge appliqué). Please don't feel limited by my examples! I'm not super familiar with appliqué, so this was a learning opportunity for me. Basically, pick a method that works best for you and give this a go!

This pattern is called Gumdrops and appears on p. 122-7 of Sunday Morning Quilts.

Fabric Instructions:

For the gumdrops, you'll need a mix of scraps or smallish pieces (each block requires a colourful scrap of about 5" x 5") in the following colours (solids or prints, whatever works for you):
    • yellow
    • pink
    • red
    • orange
    • purple
For the background: each gumdrop is appliquéd onto a 5" x 5" square of anything white (again, solids or prints, whatever works for you).

Sewing Instructions:

Make a template for your "gumdrop" shapes. I used the book's examples for inspiration and then drew my gumdrop shapes onto the back of a shipping envelope:


I drew each shape freehand, making sure that each one was smaller than 5" x 5". Each one needs to fit onto the 5" x 5" background block, so it can't be bigger, right? Then I cut the templates out.

NOTE: I made four different shapes to give myself some variety, but each participant could definitely just draw one gumdrop shape, since everyone is going to draw a different gumdrop, so this will give us some built-in variety. Team work makes the dream work!

I pinned the paper templates in place on my gumdrop fabrics and used fabric scissors to cut out each shape. For a bit of variety in your gumdrops, you can flip your template over to make the reverse shape.

Then I appliquéd each gumdrop onto a background block. I used a bit of glue to baste each gumdrop in place, and I made sure to align the bottom of the gumdrop with the bottom of each background block.

First, I used a zigzag stitch on my machine for some raw edge appliqué - this was very quick!

Then, I used a straight stitch on my machine and sewed just inside the edge of the gumdrop to leave a little raw edge that will provide texture after it's been washed - also very quick!

Next, I tried my hand (haha!) at needle-turn appliqué - admittedly, not my favourite technique, but I think with some practice I could be convinced.

And finally, just to be wild, I used 8 weight perle cotton thread in a contrasting colour and hand-stitched big X-stitches along the outside edges of two of my gumdrops - this was a really fun technique and I think it looks very cool!

For each block I made, I ran a quick straight stitch 1/8" from the bottom of each gumdrop to hold the bottom edge of the shape in place. I'm not sure if this is actually required, but I figured it would keep things from getting "flappy" and the little basting stitch will be hidden in the seam allowance in the finished quilt, so it can't hurt.

So, this wasn't really an instructive post, per se, but hopefully I gave you some ideas so that you can appliqué a few gumdrops in time for our May meeting! I'm excited to see all the gumdrops that our group will make.

Don't forget to post your photos to social media with the hashtag #ottmqgBOM so we can all follow along with your progress! Happy sewing!

Monday, 22 March 2021

March Block of the Month: Confetti Blocks

I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting to feel a bit of hope that there's light at the end of the tunnel? My list of people I know who have been vaccinated is growing, the weather is getting warmer, my garden is starting to emerge from the snow, I may not need to hunt for my kids' winter gear in our closet for much longer... There's a lot to be excited about! 

So let's celebrate with some Confetti Blocks.

I was looking for BOM inspiration this month, and it occurred to me that maybe my friendly Ottawa Public Library would have a book that could help. So I picked up Alissa Haight-Carlton and Kristen Lejneiks's Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee and came across the Confetti Block. I think we're going to have fun with this one! This block is designed by Megan Risse, and our instructions have been copied directly from the book (p. 92-93).

Fabric Requirements:

Background Fabric: Solid white or white with a small pattern - the background plays a large part in this block, so whatever you use should "read" as white.

Confetti Fabric: Any combination of bright, fun colours: turquoise, pink, purple, peach, yellow, green, blue, red, orange, etc. etc. It's supposed to be like party confetti, so don't be afraid to mix your solids and prints and to go for bold colours. Just get out that scrap bin and let 'er rip!


Completed blocks will measure 13.5" x 13.5" 

All seam allowances are 1/4".

1. Cut the background fabric into strips, varying from 1" to 4" wide and approximately 18" long. Cut the confetti fabric into rectangles of varying sizes, for example, 2" x 3" or 1.5" x 4".

2. Using the background strips, frame each scrap rectangle by adding strips around the centre, like a square in a square. Trim and press as you go.

3. Once all the scraps are bordered in the background fabric, lay them all out. Try to fit the framed scraps together like puzzle pieces. Join sections together by adding additional framed units and background strips if needed to make sections fit together. Square up the units as necessary and press all seams.

4. Continue sewing the units together until you have a block that measures 13.5" x 13.5" square.

And there you have it - party time!!

Please feel free to post your finished blocks on Instagram - the hashtag is #ottmqgBOM if you want to join the party!

Monday, 22 February 2021

February Block of the Month: Scrappy Bear Paws

I think we’re slowly coming out of hibernation, guys! And to celebrate the move from late winter into (very) early spring, we’re going to make scrappy bear paws! Fun fact: bears come out of hibernation in mid- to late March, which aligns nicely with our March guild meeting. Also, look how big a grizzly bear's paw is! Yikes.

I’ve heavily borrowed the instructions below from Jeni Baker, who runs the blog In Color Order (check out her instagram: @jenib320) and has written an entire book about half-square triangles. Check her out - she's lovely!

Here’s our colour plan for these blocks:


Scrappy low-volume (is there any other way?)

This can be any mix of white, cream, light grey, white with small black or colour accents, etc. Prints or solids, whatever works. The scrappier, the better!


Scrappy rainbow colours (one per block)

Our good friend Roy G. Biv is going to be our colour guide for this one. Your paw colours can be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, or violet. Each block should be a scrappy mix of one of these colours (rather than having all the rainbow in one block, for example). Solids or prints are totally welcome, do your thing!

Extra option: 

Feel free to make the 9.5" square part of the block scrappy as well! You could use whatever scrappy block method you like for this one; I tried out a 9-patch, and a couple of slab blocks for my examples. Anything goes, as long as it comes out looking like it’s a single rainbow colour. Or you can just do a single fabric for the large block (like the purple one in the photo below), whatever you prefer!

Cutting Instructions:

For each bear paw block, you will need:

Paw fabric (scrappy rainbow colours):

  • 1 x 9.5" square (this is the paw part, and it can be either a single fabric, or a scrappy single-colour block that measures 9.5” x 9.5”)

  • 3 x 4” squares

Background fabric (mixed low-volume):

  • 3 x 4” squares

  • 1 x 3.5” square

Sewing Instructions:

*Use a 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted.*

*Completed blocks should measure 12.5" x 12.5"*

1. Using a marking pen or pencil, draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of the 4” background squares. Place one 4” background square and one 4” coloured square right sides together. Stitch 1/4" on both sides of the marked line. Cut apart on the marked line to create two half-square triangles. Press seams open. Repeat with remaining 4” squares. Trim half-square triangles to 3.5” square.

2. Arrange the six half-square triangles created in step one, plus the 9.5" square and one 3.5" background square as shown in the photo above.

3. Sew together the block following the sequence in the photo above.

    • First, sew the left three "claw" blocks together
    • Next, attach the claws to the left side of the 9.5" square to make the bottom unit of your block
    • Then sew together the background square and top four "claws" to form the top unit of the block (another row of "claws")
    • Sew the top and bottom units together to complete your block
    • Press seams open

Your completed blocks should measure 12.5" x 12.5".

Go ahead and share a photo of your BOM blocks on instagram - our hashtag is #ottmqgBOM if you want to see what other guild members are making! Personally, I'm excited to see which colour of the rainbow is going to be the most popular!

Happy sewing!


Monday, 25 January 2021

February Block of the Month: Rally Blocks

Rally Blocks - designed by Melanie Tuazon for the Modern Quilt Guild

This block is taken from Melanie Tuazon’s Rally Quilt, which she designed for the Modern Quilt Guild in early 2020. Melanie's instagram is @melanie.tuazon and her website is She's also teaching at Quiltcon Together at the end of February - check her out!

The full pattern for this quilt is available here on the MQG website (Modern Quilt Guild member log-in is required to access the full pattern):

Melanie's Note: This is guided improvisation, and will result in a different and unique block each time. Exact measurements are not used. Experimentation is encouraged. I used a rotary cutter and rulers when piecing the angles, but you can opt to use scissors or omit rulers for a much more organic look and feel. I recommend using rulers to square blocks up after the angles are pieced.

Regular viewers may note that this block’s construction is somewhat similar to the modern Christmas trees we did for the October BOM - yay for transferring our skills!

For the February BOM, we’re going to do this block in all solids, as a tribute to the Modern Quilt Guild (you may have noticed that MQG quilters loooove using solids!).

For each block, you will need the following fabrics:

  • 8” x 8” blocks - any SOLID dark colours (black, dark grey, navy blue, dark purple, dark green, etc. - anything that reads "dark")
  • 1.5” strips (6” or longer) - SOLID bright colours (yellows, whites, bright blues/turquoise, bright greens, pinks, oranges, etc. - anything that reads "light")

Block Sewing Instructions (these are taken directly from Melanie’s pattern):

1. Starting 1-2 inches from the bottom right corner of your block, cut a diagonal line up and through the top of the block. (fig. 1) 

2. Repeat for the left side. Cut up through the top from left to right, but do not cut through the triangle made from your first cut. (fig. 2) 

NOTE: Keep track of your two triangles and their orientation-- you’ll need them again soon. 

3. Starting on the left side, sew a strip to the background fabric. Press toward the dark fabric. (Finger pressing will work fine.) Trim any part of the strip that hangs over the center angle, using the side that is unsewn as your guide. (fig. 3) 

4. Sew a strip to the right side of the angle. Press toward dark fabric. Trim excess. (fig. 4) 

5. Sew top left triangle, aligning the edges closest to the angle’s peak. Press.

(fig. 5)

NOTE: Do not worry about perfection! Not all edges will or should line up. 

6. Sew top right triangle. Press. (fig. 6) 

7. Trim block to 7" square. 

NOTE: So that it doesn’t get lost in the seam allowance during assembly, be sure that your angle’s point is at least ¼" from the top edge of the block.


The variety of solid colours and angles from all of our blocks should make for a really cool finished quilt!

Thanks for joining in the February Block of the Month. Feel free to share photos of your finished Rally Blocks on social media - tag your photos with #ottmqgBOM to connect to everyone else's work, too!