Tag: Quilt Guilds

Meet the Calico Needlers

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Calico Needlers Quilt Guild meets in Saint Peters, Missouri at the St. Charles Library. This day-time guild meeting starts bright and early at 9:30.

Even so, the room was filled with friendly quilters.

The Calico Needlers Quilt Guild is a fun group of quilters!

Everything about this event was smooth sailing! I am grateful for their kind welcome and hospitality and the ease of setting up everything from technology to hauling my wares!

For starters, each guild program presentation begins with selfies of the group. I am currently without my selfie stick, so disregard the mop of gray at the bottom of these pics!

image of Calico Needlers
It’s always a “Good Morning” when it starts with guild!

Likened to eating dessert first, we had the program straight away.

Image of Calico Needlers
Enthusiastic quilters!

In Our Quilting Journeys, I challenge quilters to ponder their own journeys.

Take a quiet moment, maybe over a cup of coffee or tea, to think about who has influenced your quilting journey.

First, many quilters have family quilters who either directly or indirectly expose us to the craft. In other words, “we get it honestly”!

Furthermore, our quilting journeys are influenced by many things, like shops we frequent (they choose what we see), friends, emails, sales, free shipping offers, retreats, and even Show and Tell!

There’s never a wrong reason for making a quilt!

As expected, much of the program is dedicated to sharing my quilting journey, which I often refer to as a “very curvy quilting journey”. With the newest curve in my journey being repeat pattern design, I remembered just days before the presentation a big influencer on the latest curve of my journey: Tula Pink.

Several years ago, at the Fall Paducah Quilt Show, fabric designer Tula Pink was the featured guest. We were fortunate to get tickets to “An Evening with Tula”. When Tula began her talk, she announced she was going to tell us the process of how she designs fabric. I guess I had been thinking about it back then because I took out pen and paper and made notes. She mentioned she uses Adobe Illustrator, a vector software for digitizing her designs.

Later, when I needed to update my laptop, I told the computer guys I would be getting Adobe Illustrator. I didn’t have a clue what it was or how incredibly powerful and involved this software was. But it was in my Tula notes!

Sometimes we are surprised by the memories we gain by quiet reflection.

The power point/trunk show continued with pattern quilts and what influenced me to make them.

The Calico Needlers meeting continued on, with business and pleas for volunteers – a common thread amongst guilds. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stick around for Show and Tell, my favorite part of any guild meeting! But I must say these quilters were most helpful and gracious to me as a speaker. Aren’t quilters the best?

While in the area, I made a stop to Batiks Plus and, eureka, I found a gem!

Hidden away, under another bolt of fabric was this bolt of Crystalia, the Hoffman digital spectrum fabric used in my original Phoebee pattern! Phoebee is the gal that started it all and helped me discover how to use BOTH beautiful sides!

See more about Designing for Hoffman Fabrics HERE.

Read more about Phoebee HERE.

A special note of gratitude to the quilt holder gals! You did a great job!

Finally, a big thanks to my new friends in Saint Peters!

Remember to enjoy YOUR quilting journey, Karla

More Quilt Guild Fun

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Two quilt guilds in one week makes for a lot of quilting fun!

I believe quilt guilds are a natural breeding ground for fun and creative people. Last week, I was the fortunate gal that got to visit two quilt guild meetings!

To start, let’s head to DeSoto, Missouri. The delightful and clever, Merle Deneke, accompanied me on this trip. (More about Merle in a bit.)

We arrived on Main Street of this quaint town about and hour and a half before my program was to start. Delightfully, the meeting of the Grace Way Quilters Guild meeting is held in a quilt shop!

Cottage Grove Quilt Company is a treasure inside this adorable town. Visit their website HERE. Better yet, take a trip to DeSoto, Missouri and meet the owner, Christy Zawodniak!

Check out Christy’s Facebook Live each Thursday night at 7 p.m. Central Time!

Image of Quilt Guilds
Grace Way Quilters Guild (See Merle’s vintage watering can?)

After setting up (and a bit of shopping), the program began. Now if any of you know Merle, you know she can read an audience and she can be, well, I don’t know, a ham? (Love you, Merle!) In addition to sporting her vintage watering can as a purse, she modeled merchandise like a pro! See Merle’s Bouquet below (see her watering can?).

Merle's Bouquet Quilt as shown at quilt guilds
Merle’s Bouquet is made with both beautiful sides of one focus fabric!

In all seriousness, thank you for your help, Merle!

After the presentation and a short break (so they could shop), the guild meeting continued. Meanwhile, Merle and I began the task of rolling almost 50 quilts and packing the patterns and merchandise. During this time, it’s fun to listen and observe the guild. This group was chatty and enthusiastic. They seem to have lots of activities within their guild. Also, if their Show and Tell is an indication, they are a prolific group!

A hearty thank you to the Grace Way Quilters Guild and to Patty for getting me there!

Read about the Twilight Stitchers Quilt Guild HERE!

Next stop is in Farmington, Missouri at the Threads of Friendship Quilt Guild.

Threads of Friendship is a larger guild in a larger town. Like their name, they are very friendly! My friend, Linda, invited and arranged for me to speak. Between her and the friends I’d met in Desoto (also members of this guild), I felt like I knew them from the start.

Image of quilt guilds members
image of threads of friendship

For this presentation, I had the privilege of introducing my eldest daughter, Paige, as my assistant. This was her first-ever guild meeting.

Image of Paige and Karla

Later, Paige told me she loved watching the quilters interacting with one another, all coming together with a common passion. Once again, we could hear the interaction during Show and Tell and the business meeting to know this guild is very supportive both within the guild and in their community. Many of these wonderful quilters visited with me and Paige throughout the evening.

A hearty thank you to Linda and the Threads of Friendship Quilters!

If you’ve never attended a guild meeting, I suggest you seek one out. Find the meeting the suits you and that you can embrace! Guild members have a special connection in this wonderful world of quilting!

Embrace your quilting journey!

Inspired Quilters Inspire

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to share my quilting journey with a group of women whose enthusiasm for quilting was truly inspiring to me.

Image of Inspired Quilters Guild
Inspired Quilters of Warrensburg, Missouri

The Inspired Quilters of Warrensburg, Missouri invited me to speak during their guild meeting. It was a cold, wet, and somewhat icy night. I expected a lower turnout of members due to the weather. That was my first surprise.

One of the interesting things I see when speaking to quilt guilds is the uniqueness of each group.

Image of Guild Presentation

As quilters notably are, everyone was welcoming and helpful – helping my friend and me carry in 50 quilts, bins of patterns and fabric, and set up the power point.

After the presentation, Nancy and were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic quilters who lined up, waiting to purchase patterns and kits. It’s so fun to see people excited about something you’ve designed – and it is quite humbling.

Image of Presentation with Something's Brewing quilt.

What I noticed next, while Nancy and I spent the next hour repacking quilts and patterns, was how excited and involved the quilters were in their guild meeting. I was wishing I could sit and watch, especially when it came time for Show and Tell. It seemed like each quilter did more than showed her quilt, she told the story behind her project – who or what it was for, how it came about…the details that make a quilt more than just a quilt.

These quilters truly inspire me – to tell the details, to let people know the stories behind the quilts.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Whether the quilts we make are for special people in our lives, for hurting people we don’t even know, for veterans and service members to be honored, or even for learning something new alongside friends – it’s the people in the story that make quilting worthwhile.

A heartfelt thanks to the quilters in Warrensburg for sharing their quilting journey with me!

The Quilting Forecast

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

An interesting quilting forecast abounds when raindrops on Rose, quilted umbrellas,  and Mary Poppins connect.

This quilting forecast is looking good. Fortunately, rain doesn’t usually dampen a quilter’s spirits. In fact, a little forced inside time can do wonders for sewing production, right?

Traveling to my home town to introduce my patterns to the local guild, I am careful to keep the raindrops off of Rose! I’ll be teaching a large workshop for the Memory Makers Quilt Guild soon. This is their first look at what’s ahead!

The Quilting Class Forecast

Six or more quilt designs are the choices for the large workshop.

The quilters get to choose from a number of designs, including Phoebee, Belle, Lilly, Rose, Kate, and Emily. The quilting forecast for this group is creativity!

The Memory Makers may have a small membership, but they are large on participation and creativity.

A memory maker for me.

Born and raised in this small town, I have fond memories of simpler times. We rode bikes all over town (sans highway 61- not allowed). I worked summers at the swimming pool, start as “bag girl”, becoming a life guard, and even managing the pool one summer. As teenagers we “rode around”. There were homecoming snake dances around the square in route to the big bonfires. The cracked sidewalks and uneven pavement I rode over and over seem etched in my mind.

Moreover, I am honored and fortunate I can go back to my home town to share my quilts with friends.

However, with the wet weather forecast for this week, I’ll be doing my best to keep the raindrops off of Rose and all her friends!

Umbrella Table Runner

It seems fitting to break out the umbrella table runner today with the forecast of a rainy week ahead. This quilting forecast is CUTE!

Image of Quilted Table Runer

Undoubtedly, this is a fast, fun project. We are talking about a single background fabric, just a few cuts of scrap Kaffe Fasset fabric, and the Accuquilt umbrella die! Coupled with pebbled quilting and you’ve got a perfect table runner for a wet forecast. See Raindrops on Roses to see a few of my favorite things from the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah.

Furthermore, umbrellas always remind me of a favorite book, movie, and musical:

Mary Poppins, of course! Like shifts in the wind, the music, the magic, and the meaning of this beloved story is a favorite. The umbrellas in the runner above seem like they could be pulled right out of Mary’s carpet bag!

Quits and Musicals

Our youngest daughter, Jacquelyn, played the role of Mrs. Banks in her final college show. Apart from the Mary Poppins show, I’ve made a number of quilts to commemorate her various roles in musical theatre. One such quilt was for her role as Laurey in OKLAHOMA!, shown below.

Click HERE to see  “Sweet Dreams…of You” and the quilt commemorating Jacq’s role as the legendary Patsy Cline and  Click HERE to see “One…Singular Sensation” which features a fantastic quilt binding tip and Jacq’s role as Cassie in A Chorus Line.

SHOP more than 50 quilt patterns that use BOTH beautiful sides of fabric!

Trial by Combat – Quilt Competitions

Entering quilting competitions can be scary.

I’m guessing people who aren’t quilters might find that funny. Quilts are quilts – how can they be scary? I bet you’d agree though, if you quilt for family and friends or for your personal enjoyment, putting your heart and soul on display for a judge, strangers, and peers to see, pick apart, and make written comments on,  just might take the fun right out of those stitches and turn them into perfectionism and a bit of anxiety!

Mostly, I enter my local guild’s show which is held every other year. Easy enough. It’s a great show to be in because it’s fun to see what your quilting friends are up to and it’s always interesting to see how each show’s judging preferences change from year to year. I’m especially looking forward to our next show’s new category: Modern. Look here to see my study on defining modern quilting.

I did enter a quilt in a big show (AQS Chattanooga) a couple of years ago and the stress of entering that first time was high! I was terrified I’d do something wrong and miss getting in on a technicality of the process. I had chosen Chattanooga because it was a new location and I thought that would give me the best chances of getting in (I call that my Super Strategy). I guess it worked! I was super excited when I got the email that Bella Vista was accepted. My quilt was gonna be in a book (I thought)! When we got to Chattanooga, I found out they only make the pictorial books for Paducah shows (argh). I knew the quilt wasn’t “going anywhere” at that show because, well…I’ve been to these shows! The work is indescribable and well beyond my skills, knowledge, patience, and determination! But that was fine with me! Getting in was an honor and I had a great time wearing my contestant ribbon! If you’ve never been to a large regional show, GO! Every year I look at many of the quilts at AQS Paducah — no,  make that MOST of the quilts at AQS Paducah and just stand there and say, “How.” They are THAT good.

Image of Italian Landscape Quilt

Bella Vista was a semi-finalist in the AQS Chattanooga Quilt Show

So skip ahead to May of year 2017 and some emails I got saying, “Last chance to enter the NEW Fall Paducah quilt show… and, well, you know my Super Strategy is to enter into a new show, so I’m all in! Apparently, the strategy worked ’cause, GUESS WHAT?

Yep, guess who’s wearin’ a contestant ribbon at the Fall Paducah Quilt Show?   Moi! And here she is:Image of Quilt Depicting HeavenSee Sometimes You  Gotta Look Up.

Again, I say, if you haven’t been to a big quilt show, you should go because you will see amazing works of art which will make you stand there with your mouth wide open while you think, “HOW”.

If you haven’t entered quilts in a show, give it a shot! You just never know!

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Tell me what quilt shows you like and what your favorite thing is to see!

Please share, pin, and tweet away! Thanks, Karla

It’ll Be Fun, They Said

Find out what happens when I join a quilt guild Round Robin challenge:

Let’s do a Round Robin! It’ll be fun…wait, that was ME saying that!

Now here I sit with the dreaded pizza box–which, by the way, makes me hungry for pizza every time I see it–and I have a feeling of dread.

What’s inside and why did I think this would be a good idea?

I’ve participated in a Round Robin before. You know how it goes, everyone starts with a certain size block and each block has borders added by a different quilter and at the next guild meeting the blocks with borders get passed on to the next quilter until you get a completed wall hanging quilt top made with your original block. It was lots of fun in 2008! So what’s the difference? Why am I so afraid of ruining each of my four other friend’s quilts?

Round Robin 2008 with Cindy Spaeth and Mary Lou Rutherford

Well, let’s see what’s different here? Nine years ago there were only three of us in our group. I didn’t know the other ladies too well, so maybe there was some safety in that.

I was fairly new in the guild. There it is…I was a newbie! I had no fear! I didn’t realize what could go wrong- I didn’t know all the “rules” and I certainly didn’t concern myself with design knowledge. If I liked it, I did it. That was it.  And even though I say I like to fight the establishment and throw the rules out the window, I do respect other people’s need for rules and order.

THAT’S what scares me! Can I do creative, yet disciplined work that will pass muster with these awesome quilters?

I guess that why they call it a challenge! Time will tell and you will know in about four months!

My block and fabric offerings for the Round Robin Challenge.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, I think I’ll call Dominoes.

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To Be or Not to Be Modern…

Defining modern quilting–that is the question!


My local quilt guild is adding a NEW CATEGORY for our quilt show: Modern!

First response: Yay! Exciting!

Second response: Hmmmm, what EXACTLY is that?

Frankly, this has my Lutheran roots saying,

“What Does This Mean?”

 (Martin Luther, Small Catechism)

This really is big news! We are, as a whole, fairly traditional quilters in this area, I think. That’s not to say that we don’t like new things or venture out into new techniques and fabrics…but now that it is an Official Category, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only quilter wondering, “What EXACTLY is Modern Quilting?”

The River Heritage Quilters’ Guild hosts a regional quilt show biennially (every two years). We take entries from residents in five-state area including Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. Our next show is September 29 & 30, 2018. Click here to see the entry

information our next show.

So while researching the modern quilt world for my own information, I decided to make this information available to my guild members as well so that we can all learn more about this new-ish era (it’s actually been around a while) in quilting.

FAIR WARNING: while I will do my best to present my findings about “Defining Modern” as unbiased as I can, I feel I must remind everyone that:

  1. a) As in every quilt show, the judge is the ultimate decision-maker about who gets ribbons and what comments go on your entry sheet,
  2. b) Each judge has his or her own likes and dislikes, biases and prejudices against certain colors, styles, quilting methods–you name it, judges are people and, being people, no two are alike!
  3. c) You should take a judge’s decision with a grain of salt because even if one judge passes your quilt by at one show, it could be the next judge who awards one of your quilts BEST OF SHOW! …and

*You should ENTER, ENTER, ENTER! While you are deciding what quilts to make (or finish) and enter in the next two years, maybe one of those will fit BEST into the MODERN category!

Note: It is my understanding that if you have a quilt which can qualify in more than one category based on all criteria, you can still choose which category in which you enter it. (For example, if it could qualify as modern but you choose to put it in the wall hanging category because you think it will compete better there, you can. No quilt will be prejudged as too modern or too traditional and moved from a category–provided the entry meets size and all other requirements for that entry.)


Many modern quilt guilds have popped up all over the country—and the world! I was amazed at the numbers! Modern Quilt Guild  has over 170 member guilds worldwide. The MQG began in Los Angeles in 2009. Let’s start with their mission:

Our mission is to support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community.

That’s easy enough. The MQG definition:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

The Modern Quilt Guild has two regional member guilds in our area, one in Saint Louis (stlmqg@gmail.com, Saint Louis MQG Blog, and Saint Louis MQG Facebook), and one in Southern Illinois (seaaggi@gmail.com)

Modern Quilting defines quilting as follows:

  • Fresh colors and fresh fun prints
  • Focus is more on fabric than on block design
  • There is infrequent use of borders
  • Not so concerned with “matching” fabrics
  • Frequent use of solids
  • Sometimes asymmetrical and minimal
  • Using traditional blocks with a modern flair

Basically, there are no rules!

Hmmm, I’m liking THAT!

Do you use Pinterest? There’s a community board (which means when you’ve been accepted, you can pin to that board and you will see other member’s pins as well) called “Fresh Modern Quilts” which has almost 8,000 members so you’re sure to see a variety of quilts just following that one board! Here’s what they say:

A community board for modern quilting projects, tutorials and patterns to inspire. Any patchwork or quilted projects including quilts, bags, pillows and techniques are welcome . . . join us!

Here are a few modern quilt pictures from their board:

by Jenelle Clark of Echinops & Aster:

by Jenelle Clark of Echinops & Aster

Pie, Sweet or Savory by Modern Quilt Relish, Sweet Throw:

Pie, Sweet or Savory by Modern Quilt Relish, Sweet Throw

Other modern quilt guilds say this about modern quilting:

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild

The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, a Chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild, is a non-profit organization formed to:

inspire and support our members in their enjoyment of and growth in quilt making;

promote an interest in and appreciation of the art of quilt making, especially in a no rules modern approach to fabric arts;

assist our community by creating quilts and other fabric projects for those in need.

 The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild

  • The mission of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild is to provide an atmosphere of fellowship for persons interested in the art and craft of modern quilt making by sharing of skills and knowledge.
  • There are other quilt guilds and creative groups in the city; our guild focuses exclusively on modern quilting. That’s where we focus our education segments and that’s what we share at show and tell.
  • What is modern quilting? The Modern Quilt Guild site says, “Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. ‘Modern traditionalism’ or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”
  • How do I know if my work is modern? If you made your piece with the intention of it being modern—using modern fabrics and/or the principles above—then we’d love to see it at one of our Guild meetings. If you’re interested in learning how to make a piece more modern, just ask! Our members will have a variety of opinions to share.

 My good friend, Deborah, who lives in Maryland, has belonged to a NOVA MQG and before that the Philadelphia MQG. I asked her to give me her thoughts on the subject:

My description of a “modern quilt” is broader than some of the definitions I’ve seen on various websites. Much of the time a quilted piece strikes me as modern because of something unexpected in its design. For instance, a basic 9-patch can easily take on a modern feel if the pieces are varied in size, allowing some to be rectangles rather than keeping perfect symmetry. Similarly, if one allows some negative space to shine through in a design a more modern arrangement can be achieved. I’m sure most of have seen blocks made with “wonky” stars—the choice to allow some whimsy in a design contributes to a more modern aesthetic. Other times, for me, simply using bold, geometric prints in an otherwise traditional layout does it for me. As soon as you think you’ve defined what a “modern quilt” is, someone manages to produce one you couldn’t possibly have expected and that’s part of the fun.

Blogger Leslie at The Seasoned Homemaker  tried to determine if one of her quilts is modern by asking the questions formed by the MQG’s definition:

  • Use of bold colors and prints – nope
  • High contrast – nope
  • Graphic areas of solid color – nope
  • Improvisational piecing – nope
  • Minimalism and negative space – nope
  • Modern traditionalism (would my modified Flying Geese count?)
  • Alternate grid work – Bingo!

In the world of quilting, modern quilts are the new kid on the block. Do you know what defines a modern quilt? It's not really that cut and dry. Find out a few ways to define modern quilts.

The Seasoned Homemaker

Leslie decided that her quilt DID qualify as modern because of the different grid-quilting she did on it.


In my quest to define modern quilting, I have learned that there are some very strong opinions about it and MOST (though, not all) of the opinions are (and I paraphrase),


MY THOUGHTS on modern are that anything that is a traditional pattern with traditional fabrics isn’t modern, but a traditional pattern with Kaffe fabrics…might BE?  Traditional blocks, off-centered? Landscapes certainly aren’t traditional in my mind.

While I tend to think Tula Pink and Kaffe Fassett  define modern, I think even hand-embroidered quilts can be modern with the right style, fabric, and quilting.

Through the Chicken Wire

I am starting to embrace the “No Rules” idea of modern quilting—probably because I tend to break traditional rules anyway!

Also, I think many of the quilts already shown in our guild’s “Show and Tell” have a modern flair– we just haven’t defined them as such.


… the definition of modern depends somewhat on where you are living and what the norm is there.

…modern is as modern does…meaning, it’s all up to you–if YOU think it is modern, it probably is!

For me, I think the best way to decide if a quilt I make belongs in the Modern Quilting category, I will ask myself,

“Is it traditional?” If not, it must have some modern elements and can go in that category!*


I hope this short study on the definition of modern was helpful to you! I do think I have a better handle on what I define as modern.

*Remember to check for size and other category requirements for your quilt show entries.

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Sometimes You Gotta Look Up

Find a little heaven on earth with this heavenly quilt.

It’s such a human thing to do…

exhaust all other options,

do everything you can…

Storybook Challenge Quilt

Storybook Challenge Quilt

then drop to your knees and pray.

I don’t know why it is the last thing I think of. Every time it happens, I think I’m not going to wait until there is nothing left to do but pray, but every time, that’s what I do.

So today this is a simple reminder to let go of your troubles and worries, and let them float upward. Whether they are personal or even crazy-election related, remember to look up to heaven and realize these are only problems for here on earth. The battle is won, the victory is real. Like little Colton Burpo learned first-hand, Heaven is for Real

My local quilt guild, River Heritage Quilters Guild, handed out story books for each willing quilter to use as a challenge. I was expecting something like Good Night Moon or Are You My Mother?. Instead, I got this book, Heaven is for Real. I am ashamed to say, I actually complained about having to make a quilt about heaven because it was going to be so hard (what a problem to have)! I had read the adult version of this book and loved it. I was comforted by the “evidence” of promises it presented and I was able to look at the loss of my loved ones from their perspective–which is really unimaginable! I’m sure if my girls were younger, I would have known about the children’s storybook version.

Because little Colton Burpo described more about heaven than I would be able to display in 36 inches square, I chose to focus on the three most important elements: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You can see the Father’s large, gentle hands at the top of the quilt. He is reaching into heaven and presenting His one and only Son. The Holy Spirit is depicted by the rainbow colors of the city. The entire quilt is covered in a layer of organza to give it a softened and glistening look. Angel wings are quilted into the pearl pillars of the heavenly gate.

See the entire collection of challenge quilts in the community room during the month of December at the Cape Girardeau Arts Council.

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Creative Bee Studios