August Meeting Recap


H*art Gallery Outreach Project

Karen Downer will offer a beginner class about quilting after the Bessie Smith Hall exhibit. The H*art Gallery has offered to let us use their sewing machines for the class.

Denise took some partially made pieces to the gallery and our team worked with the artists there, showing them ways to embellish the pieces with hexies. The artists have glued the hexies to the quilted base fabrics but now we need volunteers to hand stitch the edges of the hexies to the base fabrics.

The gallery was gifted about 100 small red silky purses. Denise passed around a bag of them and encouraged those who might have ideas to take them home and embellish them so they could be sold at the gallery. They are about 3-1/2" x 3" and already assembled with gold piping, an envelope flap snap closure, and internal zipper, but the silky fabric can be gently pulled away from the lining. Bring back your purse and your ideas in September.

Do you remember the fabric-covered jars? Our team will be making kits for these so they can be sold as ready-to-assemble art projects at H*art.

The two charity quilts we donated to the Gallery (see last month’s blog post for photos) will be sold at auction for a fundraiser. The starting bid will be $150 for each quilt.

If you want to contribute items for James, the gallery artist who has obtained housing and needs furniture and other household items, please call the gallery and make arrangements to deliver your stuff.

Another H*art Gallery will be opening soon in Memphis.

Nominating Committee Needs Names

Our officers will be retiring at the end of this year and we need volunteers for one-year terms: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer. Are you interested, or do you have any suggestions? Email our nominating committee: Janet, Pam and Camille.

Our December Meeting Quilt Show and Party

We need to know what you plan to display in December by our November 8 meeting. We are looking for quilts made from our Design Series programs earlier this year. Your quilts do not need hanging sleeves. Please bring the sizes of any quilts you want to display to Pam at our November meeting. It would be helpful to do it like this so Pam can plan the layout in advance:

  • Your name
  • Quilt name / design series
  • Dimensions of quilt (width x length)

MQG Member Charity Challenge

At our July meeting Pam announced that our guild will be participating in The MQG Member Charity Challenge and asked for ideas. Audrey talked to us about Improv with Intent and shared a few examples of work in progress.

Dave Chihuly’s blown glass was the inspiration for this piece.

This is an improv version of a photo of the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

This is more carefully constructed but was improvised from a photo of the cooling towers at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant.

Mary Keasler showed us a quilt she made that was inspired by a visit to Italy. Rather than trying to replicate what she saw, she worked to capture the feeling of being in Italy surrounded by the old buildings.

After some discussion, we agreed to make a quilt that captures the essence of the Riverfront. We will start with a drawing then divide that into sections the same way we did to make our Tennessee River project. At our September meeting we will have section drawings, fabric, guidelines and directions ready to hand out to those who signed up to participate. Fifteen people signed up to help. Audrey, Jean and Mary are the steering committee for this project.


Battlefield Piecemakers will be at Grand Oak Retreat in Scottsboro, Alabama, and they have one opening. Dates are August 27 – 29 and cost is $265. Here’s a link to the facility. Get in touch with Karen Sperry if you want to go!

Our Team Jean Charity Quilt group has chosen a recipient! This one will be gifted to a family from Habitat for Humanity in October when they move into their new home.

August Program: Straight Line Quilting

Pam brought a large model of a Bernina walking foot and explained to us how she uses the marks on the foot for reference when she is quilting straight lines. Here are some of Pam’s tips:

  • Mark your quilt before basting it. You don’t need to mark every line but make some lines for reference.
  • Use a walking foot for quilting. It will help you avoid puckers. You may still need to reduce your presser foot pressure to get an even feed with no pulling.
  • If your walking foot does not have reference marks for ½”, ¼”, and 1/8”, you can add those with a Sharpie. They will help you know where you need to pivot if you are quilting right angles.
  • Start by quilting your lines one half inch apart. Begin near the middle of your quilt. Start sewing along a reference mark and either continue past the edge of the quilt top or pivot and travel along an inside edge to the next line position. Know your stitch length and count how many stitches you need to make before you pivot and begin the next line. This number will be consistent.
  • Sew one way and then the other (top to bottom, then bottom to top) to help avoid distortion. Sometimes you will still need to block a finished quilt to make your lines square.
  • Tie knots by hand and then use a self-threading needle to bury them, rather than relying on your machine’s thread-knotting capability.

For matchstick quilting, first sew your ½” interval lines. That helps anchor the fabric. Next go between these with ¼” lines, and finally sew in your 1/8” lines. Stop often to rest your eyes. For matchstick quilting with a different texture, leave some lines out.

Pam uses Aurifil 50 weight thread, stitch length 2.8 for quilting. She pieces with a stitch length of 1.9 on her Bernina. Watch the quilt in front of your needle instead of watching the needle.

Here are a few of Pam's own quilts that show examples of how straight line quilting can add a lot of interest and texture to a quilt.

Show and Tell