Mod Squad: Why the Midwest only?

design, quilting

I wanted to respond to some of the many unhappy people about the Mod Squad call from my perspective.

I asked Quilts, Inc. for an exhibit that was open to everyone who made modern quilts. They chose to limit it to the states that border the show venue: Chicago. It’s their show and they make the calls. I have passed on the disappointment of those from other states who would like to participate and hope they change their minds about this limitation. The thing to remember is that this exhibit happened because I made a calm and reasonable argument for why it was needed. If you would like there to be more opportunities for modern quilts at the shows you frequent, contact the show organizers and explain your thoughts. If the call for Mod Squad is expanded, I’ll post it here but please remember that I’m only one voice. If you want something changed, advocate for it.

The Mod Squad Wants You!


Bill and I have been working for 16 years to increase the opportunities for modern quilters to share their work with others. The Modern Quilt Guild has done a great job promoting the work of their members but many quilters who make modern quilts also make traditional quilts and have been a part of a local guild for decades. I felt as though there should be opportunities for modern quilters of all guilds to be able to share their work. So I asked Quilts, Inc. and they agreed.

The Mod Squad show will be exhibited at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago from April 7-9, 2016. Here’s the link for the specifics to enter your quilt in the show. We’re hoping that there will be a great showing of folks from local guilds as well as Modern Quilt Guild members. Quilts, Inc. has chosen to make the exhibit regional so only quilters from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Manitoba or Ontario may participate in the exhibit. For the purposes of this exhibit, the quilts need to be modern designs (not based on 19th century designs like Log Cabin, Churn Dash etc.) and the quilts must be functional. If it can go through the washing machine and could be used for warmth even for a baby, consider it functional. Any colors, any fabrics, any techniques may be submitted. The minimum size is 36″x36″. I look forward to seeing all of your great work at the Chicago show and thank Quilts, Inc. for creating a wonderful new opportunity for modern quilters.

Crafting a Better Fire

by Bill, eco-craft, free patterns, general crafts, sewing

After all the activity around the holidays, we’re ushering in the New Year with a day of rest. And that means a family game in front of a cozy fire.

Carrying armfuls of weathered firewood from our log pile outside one too many times, I finally made a simple log tote from materials we already had on hand: some scrap canvas and an old dowel. In 30 minutes I’d made this carrier, which I should have sewn years ago. While off-white canvas will certainly get dirty over time, I had pieces left over from a project and always prefer to use up what I have. The dowel was left over from a hanging rod from a trade show (though I also eyed an old broomstick which I could have just as easily cut down.) The image below takes you through the four simple steps. You might be tempted to make the carrier a bit larger, but if you do then it gets heavier when full and more cumbersome to use.



On a related note, we keep our firewood in metal hoop.


It came with a poorly made plastic snow and rain cover. The cold weather made the cover brittle and the sharp edges of the logs tore it within a few weeks. I purchased a heavy-duty tarp at Home Depot, took a few measurements and sewed together a far better replacement. The tarp stays fairly rigid and should last years and years. Here’s a photo of Weeks lifting the cover using the handle I sewed on top:



Not all stores carry the brown tarps, but it sure looks better than the standard bright blue ones, especially against the brick wall. If you want to make one, here are a couple tips:

  • make it at least 4″ wider than you think necessary to prevent it from catching on the logs
  • use polyester, not cotton thread so the stitching won’t rot outdoors
  • sew the handle to the middle section before sewing the sides and middle together (something I didn’t think to do since the handle was an afterthought.)

For those of you in enjoying summer in the Southern Hemisphere right now, you’ve got lots of time to sew your totes and covers for the coming winter…

Happy New Year to all!