January 2017 Recap

Welcome to a new year of programs, workshops and fun with the ChattMQG!

 2017 ChattMQG President Kelly Spell and her "Crop Signs" mini

2017 ChattMQG President Kelly Spell and her "Crop Signs" mini

President Kelly Spell opened our meeting by introducing our Steering Committee and sharing announcements.

Committee members working with Kelly will be Jean Larson (treasurer), Denise Ohlman (secretary), Mary Keasler (workshops), Veronica Hofman-Ortega (programs, directory), Sandi Suggs (general advisor), and Audrey Workman (past president).

If you have not paid your 2017 dues, you will not be in the 2017 directory. We decided to prorate dues for new members who join as the year progresses.

  • January - March dues are $35.00
  • April - June dues are $25.00
  • July - October dues are $20.00
  • November - December dues are $35 (applied to the upcoming year)

The MQG will have online regional meetings on January 16; ours is region 3 and Kelly plans to virtually attend.

Our next Habitat for Humanity dedication day is February 6. Five people took home kits to sew, and during the meeting we cut fabric to make two more quilts for Habitat homeowners.

Programs for 2017  

In our guild, teams of members plan and lead programs. We do this for several reasons: building community, learning through teaching, and encouraging member participation. Everyone is asked to sign up for at least one program, indicating their experience level in the topic so we end up with a variety of viewpoints. 

This year's topics include foundation paper piecing, words on quilts, applique, fussy cutting/selective cutting, curves and computer software, all with the modern quilt slant. In addition to these, we'll have a panel discussion, a sew-in, and another brainstorming session. You can keep up with what's ahead by viewing our blog sidebar.

Next month we will have a panel discussion with four of our members: Joan Thornbury, Jackie Cory, Carolyn Rippee, and Theresa Kitchell. Veronica Hofman-Ortega will moderate the discussion.

Workshops for 2017

In addition to our programs and a sew-in or two, we have two big events on our calendar: Mary Kerr in April and Sherri Lynn Wood in August! We will have separate blog posts about each event to keep all the information in one place making it easier to find. Here's our post about Mary Kerr, who will be here April 7-8.

We will share the particulars about Sherri Lynn Wood's workshop at a later date. For now, you can mark your calendars for the weekend of August 25-27.

QuiltCon and our Charity Quilt Challenge Quilt

Three of our members had quilts accepted for the 2017 QuiltCon show: Kelly Spell, Jean Larson, and Mary Keasler. Mary's quilt will be featured in a book soon to be published by the MQG! 

The charity quilt we made together for the challenge was being quilted by local longarm artist Rhonda Fulghum, and her work is fantastic! 

 Our QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge entry was quilted by longarmer Rhonda Fulghum.

Our QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge entry was quilted by longarmer Rhonda Fulghum.

Accurate Cutting and How to Avoid a Trip to the ER

Karen Downer sliced off the end of her finger, not once but twice. The second time her fingernail slowed the cutter down a bit. The first time she took the sliced off piece with her to the ER to be sewn back on but the nurse threw it away. As it heals, the remaining tissue puffs up and looks almost like the original finger! So the second time, she left the severed piece at home.

While at the ER Karen admired the super-thin monofilament thread the nurse used to stitch her wound. Karen asked the nurse if she'd like to learn quilting. The nurse declined. "Do you have any idea how many of you people I sew up?" 

Karen has learned to be careful.

Her best advice? Be mindful of what you are doing. We tend to think of other things as we get into the zone, working on autopilot, and that's when accidents happen.

"The rotary cutter is a powerful tool. It only took a boxcutter to bring down a plane on 9/11. Pay attention when you are working!" 

 Karen (left) discusses accurate cutting with Delores

Karen (left) discusses accurate cutting with Delores

Safety Tips from Karen

  • Stay focused
  • Cut away from your body
  • Keep your eyes on the blade, not the fabric or the mat
  • Don't wear gloves. They make it easier for your hand to slip.
  • Use a blade guard on your ruler or a cutter with a blade guard
  • Wear a metal thimble on the index finger of your non-cutting hand
  • Close the blade after you cut

(Catherine pointed out that wearing shoes is important in case you drop the cutter on your foot.)

The Martelli Rotary Cutter

If you have any issues like arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, you might want to try the ergonomic rotary cutter from Martelli. It has a blade guard and models are offered for right- or left-handed people. Karen brought one for us to try.

 The Martelli Rotary Cutter

The Martelli Rotary Cutter

O'lipfa markets lip-edged rulers designed to fit over the mat edge so you can cut parallel lines. They also sell safety shields that you can attach to your rulers to protect your fingers.

Accuracy in Cutting

Next we learned about how to cut accurately. Karen began by talking about cutting vs. tearing fabric and ways to see if your fabric is ready to cut, i.e. on grain. The warp threads run parallel to the selvage (think direction of yardage as the fabric is rolled off the bolt) and the weft threads run in the opposite direction, the one we think of as "width of fabric" or WOF.


"Cotton was alive. It has personality and an opinion."


Here are some things to think about as you ready your fabric for cutting...

  • Fold your fabric and shake it from the fold. Get the warp and weft happy. You can press the fold if you wish. The fold is your point of reference.
  • Trim off one edge parallel to the fold. If you are right-handed, this will be on the right.
  • Rotate your fabric so that the straight edge is on the left. Turn your mat, walk around the table, or flip the fabric to get it in the right place. 
  • Pay attention to the relationship between cutter and fabric, not fabric or cutter and mat. Don't use the mat lines. Measure with your ruler.
  • Walk your hand up the ruler as you cut. Leave the blade in the fabric as you do this. Cut your first strip. Then cut two or three more strips. 
  • After that, you need to recut the edge perpendicular to the fold to make a new true line.

Accuracy in Sewing

  • Master the 1/4" seam. It is the standard we use. 
  • An accurate 1/4" seam is a scant 1/4" seam. Fabric wrapping around the thickness of the sewing thread takes up part of it. 
  • The lines on a 3x5 index card are a scant 1/4" apart. Check one for reference.
  • Sew with 50wt thread top and bobbin, or use 60wt in the bobbin.
  • Karen likes Microtex Sharps 80/12 needles, not universal needles.
  • Match your thread weight to your needle.

Thank you Karen for an excellent, entertaining program!

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