Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild

Develop and Encourage the Growth and Development of Modern Quilting through Education and Community Activities

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Fidget Quilt Tutorial

WE ARE making Fidget Quilts for the Memory Center of Richmond. Below are instructions on making these quilts. Also you can download the Fidget Quilts tutorial.

Fidget Quilt example

We have rolling deadlines for members who want to make these:

  • April 4 guild meeting
  • June 6 guild meeting
  • September 5 guild meeting
  • October 3 guild meeting


The purpose of the quilts is to keep residents’ hands busy and their minds active and calm through sensory stimulation. That said, there are some elements to avoid and things to include when making your quilts.

Things to Avoid

1. Please do not include any rough textures. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and more sensitive to rough textures, and sometimes these textures can damage hands. So avoid anything rough, sharp, scratchy, or with jagged or pointed edges.
2. Avoid mirrors or anything reflective. Often Alzheimer’s and dementia patients don’t recognize themselves and seeing a stranger staring back at them can be alarming.
3. Please avoid activities that require fine motor skills: buttoning, lacing, and similar activities. Fine motor skills deteriorate with these diseases and these activities are very frustrating for residents.
4. Make sure your mat is safe: nothing breakable, everything is secured and cannot be pulled off. No choking hazards.
5. We are trying to calm busy minds, so please avoid chaotic patterned fabric and color combinations. I know high contrast colors are an element of modern quilting, but consider this an opportunity to practice low volume color combinations, analogous and harmonious color combinations. Bright colors are fine.

Things to Include

1. Make sure it is washable. Not just the fabric but any other elements attached to it.
2. It should have 10-14 non-rough textures that provide easy sensory input. Soft, fluffy, bumpy, yarn, felt, quilting textures, buttons, bric a brac, zippers, ric rac, pockets, fake fur, felt, fleece, flannel, lace, fringe, etc.
3. Everything should be secured onto the quilt; machine sewing things on is best. If hand sewing buttons make sure they are secure.
4. Design your quilt so that it is well organized and orderly—we are avoiding chaos and bringing order and calmness.
5. Please add a blank label on the back so that the name of the recipient can be written on it. The Memory Center has asked that we include our names printed small on these labels so that families can write a thank you letter.
6. Please attach a strap that can Velcro closed or be tied closed. This will be used to secure the quilt to a chair arm, wheelchair, walker, bedrail, etc to prevent it from falling on the floor (see the instructions).
7. We are making these for men and women. Choose either gender neutral fabric/colors or you can make it highly gendered with novelty prints and gendered colors.
8. Fun! If you have fun making it they will have fun using it.

Try Some New Things

These are small quilts and we are going for texture. So this is a great opportunity to practice your free motion quilting, new quilting patterns, new blocks, new batting fibers, embroidery or machine embroidery and applique. Use the Fidget Quilts to learn something new, try something new, or to practice some skills.


You have 2 size options for these quilts:
• A 2×3’ or 2×2’ lap quilt
• A placemat size quilt, about 12×18”/13×19”


• Top: fabric
–Non-pieced top: a piece of fabric the size of the top you want to make
–Pieced top: any quilt block pattern, single large block, or a few small blocks with negative space the size of the quilt top you want to make (feel free to use your scraps)
• Batting
–Traditional binding method: a few inches bigger than the Busy quilt you will make
–Envelope method: same size as the top
• Backing
–Traditional binding method: a few inches bigger than the Busy quilt you will make
–Envelope method: same size as the top
• Embellishments
— Any soft, fuzzy, tactile fabric: fleece, flannel, fake fur, felt, minky scraps, lace, etc whatever you have in your stash or scraps. Even small pieces of batting are ok
–A variety of trims: braids, brocade, dingle balls, tassels, ric rac, ribbon, yarn, etc

— A variety of accessories: buttons, beads, pockets, etc
–Any fabric to cut into shapes and machine applique on
–If your machine does decorative stitches, consider adding these to the quilt too for an easy embellishment
–Hand embroidery is fine too
• Notions:

–sewing machine, thread for machine sewing and quilting; scissors and rotary cutter, pins, needle and thread if hand sewing buttons or beads, feet for your sewing machine (regular, quarter inch, walking foot, FMQ foot depending on what you will do)

• Strap: woven strap (webbing) about 1-1.5” wide and 15” long, square of Velcro.
• Marking tool (chalk pencil)

You can either do traditional binding or an envelope method.

Traditional Binding

1. Make your quilt top the way you normally would or according to the pattern.
2. Baste and quilt your top as you want. Do not trim or square it yet.
3. Add any machine applique or embroidery that you plan to include.
4. Once quilted, arrange your embellishments on the quilt and either pin or baste them in place.
5. Then machine stitch them onto the top. Make sure they are secured onto the top. If you are using buttons or beads, make sure they will not come off when tugged.
6. Square up your quilt and trim it.
7. Now make the strap. Sew a straight line across the 2 raw ends of the webbing so it doesn’t fray. Fold the strap in half and pin it to the back of the quilt with the fold on the edge of the quilt and the 2 ends lying across/toward the middle quilt. Pin in place.
8. Now pin your binding on going over the fold of the strap. Sew the binding on the way you normally would, making sure to sew over the strap fold.
9. Flip your binding over and machine stitch from the top to secure the back of the binding. (See below for machine sewn binding tutorials).
10. Add the Velcro to your strap ends if needed and attach your blank label to the back.
11. You are done!

Envelope Method

1. Piece your quilt top.
a. If you are going to do any machine applique or machine embroidery you can do this now. I recommend using some fusible stabilizer for the applique then machine stitching around the edge.
b. If you want to do FMQ, you can put the batting on the back and quilt it without a back (like quilt as you go method), or use a piece of muslin
2. Machine sew the label on to your back leaving enough room to do the ½” seam around the edge of the quilt.
3. Lay the back and top right sides together on a table.
4. Lay the batting on top of these 2 layers so it is facing you (skip this step if you did 1b).
5. Pin the layers together or use Clover clips.
6. Using a straight stitch at ½” seam allowance, sew the layers together, leaving an 8-10” opening at one end (do not sew the entire thing up).
7. Trim the layers so they are even, and trim the corners off to reduce bulk.
8. Turn the quilt right side out through the opening and turn the raw edges of the opening under so they are even with the edges of the quilt.
9. Get your strap and stitch across the 2 ends to prevent fraying. Now fold it in half lengthwise so the 2 raw ends are even. Insert the folded end into the opening of the quilt at least 1” leaving the 2 raw ends outside the quilt.
10. Press and pin the opening with the strap inserted; and smooth out the quilt so there aren’t any wrinkles or puckers
11. Top stitch around the edge of the quilt about 1/4” or less from the edge. Sew the opening closed with the strap inserted so it will be secure.
12. You can either straight line quilt this or do some basic FMQ like a meander or wavy lines.
13. Place your embellishments on the quilt, pinning or basting them on. Then use your sewing machine to sew them on.
14. Now add the Velcro to the end of your straps if needed. You’re done!


• Examples of the envelope or serged methods:


Fidget Quilts

• Examples of quilted versions:


• Machine Binding Tutorials

Cluck Cluck Sew http://cluckclucksew.com/2013/01/machine-binding-tutorial.html
Crazy Mom Quilts http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com/2011/11/one-way-to-machine-bind-quilt.html
Red Pepper Quilts http://www.redpepperquilts.com/2009/11/binding-tutorial.html
Man Sewing you tube video (zipper foot works on this method too) https://www.missouriquiltco.com/land/mansewing/binding-quilt-by-machine/index.html?utm_source=mscom&utm_medium=lp&utm_campaign=tms77

• Making a felt flower:


• Check Pinterest for inspiration, search Fidget Quilts


Thanks to our member, Kelly Feltault, for writing these instructions.

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Contrast and Value


We hope that you all enjoyed our first design guidance program in February. Our focus was Contrast and Value and needle turn appliqué. Were any of you inspired to work on any needle turn appliqué of your own?

We would love to see what you are working on. Use the hashtags #cvamqg and #designguideance2017 to share all of your wonderful work.

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Members to be Featured at International Modern Quilt Show

TWO OF OUR MEMBERS, Melanie Leckey and Wanda Dotson will be featured at QuiltCon 2017, an international modern quilt show that takes place Feb. 23–26, 2017, in Savannah, Georgia. QuiltCon is held each year by the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG), a nonprofit organization that supports and encourages the growth and development of modern quilting.

Melanie and Wanda’s works were one of only 350 quilts selected from a pool of over 1,500 entries for this year’s show. Their works were chosen by a jury of modern quilters.

Melanie, 30, is a quilter living in Mechanicsville, Virginia and has been quilting for about 4 years. She is currently the Vice President of the Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild and is slated to be President in 2018. She is also a professional longarm quilter with her own business she started in 2015. You can see her work at her blog, http://www.ohsewlovedquilting.com, and on Instagram @ohsewloved.

”This will be the first quilt show that I will have work displayed in and I am beyond excited,” Melanie says. “I hope that more and more young people start to love quilting as much as I do and participate in fun shows like this one. I love being part of this community that helps to grow and expand our understanding and change our way of thinking about the art of quilting. It’s no longer just for your grandma.”

Wanda, 52, lives in Colonial Heights, Virginia and has been quilting about 20 years. She is the current president of the Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild and one was of its founders in 2015. She has a blog, Wanda’s Life Sampler and can be found on Instagram @wandaslifesampler.

“I’m thrilled my quilt will be on exhibit at QuiltCon East 2017 as part of the APQ Nine-Patch Challenge.,” says Wanda. “I like challenges. It focuses my mind, and it’s fun to see what I can create within the parameters of the challenge.”


Melanie titled her quilt, Forgotten Pieces,



She described her work:

‘Forgotten Pieces’ was inspired by important ideas, events, and people in our lives that are left out or removed from our everyday thoughts, forgotten, which only leave a trace in our minds. Only whispers in time. This quilt is my interpretation of modern art with the use of a large amount of negative space, big and bold contrasting colors, chunky hand stitches, and clean lines.

The quilt measures 45″ by 47″


Wanda titled her quilt, How to Play Hopscotch



Wanda described her work:

I was at a party where two little girls were playing hopscotch. The adults had a lengthy discussion on the rules of hopscotch, and, of course, we researched that on Google. There are many ways to draw a hopscotch board but it’s a simple game — tossing and jumping.

I thought a simple nine-patch would be best for the challenge, and each block could have white lines representing chalk lines. I also used a variety of fabrics — lightweight denim, shot cotton and regular cotton.

The quilt measures 52″ by 52″


This will be QuiltCon’s East-Coast debut, coming to Savannah for the first time. This year’s show will feature the best in modern quilting design and workmanship.

“We’re thrilled to be back for our fourth QuiltCon, and even more excited to showcase these amazing quilts on the East Coast for the first time,” says Heather Grant, director of marketing and programming for the MQG. “This show truly features the best in modern quilting on an international stage, and the exhibitors’ work speaks for itself on how much talent, design knowledge and craftsmanship these quilters have. We can’t wait to see it all come together.”

About QuiltCon: Presented by the Modern Quilt Guild, QuiltCon is the largest modern quilting show of its kind. Each year, the four-day quilt show attracts thousands of attendees from around the world for workshops, lectures, panels and more. The show draws over 1,500 quilt entries, with 350 selected for the juried show. Thousands of dollars are awarded in cash prizes to the winners in 12 categories, which include piecing, quilting, handwork, appliqué, fabric challenges and more. Learn more about QuiltCon at quiltcon.com

About the MQG: The Modern Quilt Guild is made up of more than 150 guilds and 10,000members around the world. Our mission is to support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community. Learn more at themodernquiltguild.com.

About the CVA MQG: We are a group of wonderful creators around the Richmond, Virginia area who get together to celebrate creativity and showcase different quilting techniques and current trends in the quilting community.

For information about the location of our next meeting, go to our Meeting Date and Times page. You can also contact us at cvaMQG@gmail.com


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February 7, 2017 Meeting Location

We will meet on February 7, 2017, from 6 to 8 p.m. at

Bon Air Library

9103 Rattlesnake Road

North Chesterfield, Va 

We are starting a new tradition with Two Raffles to raise money for the Guild.


50/50 Raffle:

$1 for each ticket or $5 for 6 tickets. The winner splits the pot.

Brown Bag Raffle:

This month the board members will each donate an item for the raffle. Winner takes all the goodies in the bag.

$1 for each ticket or $5 for 6 tickets.


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BIG NEWS: 2017 Design Guidance and Hands-On Demonstrations

The Executive Council and Program Chair announce plans for the 2017 Design Guidance Programs with Hands-On Demonstrations.

This year we will explore the elements and principals of design, through the methods of quilting. Each month a different principal will be explored, and a method of quilting will be presented. Members are encouraged to make their own blocks based on the “lesson”. At the end of the year, everyone will present finished blocks, or a sampler quilt showing the different elements and principals of design.

Everyone who participates will be entered into a raffle; a winner will be chosen randomly, to have a free membership for the coming year.
There will be a Sew Day every other month. This will be an opportunity for members to work on their blocks for their sampler.

For our February 7, 2017 meeting we will study CONTRAST and VALUE as a design element in your quilts.

Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements such as opposites on the color wheel. Contrast usually creates a focus point.

Value means the lightness and darkness of a color.


–Scraps of fabric, a few 5″ in size and in a variety of colors and patterns

–Good, sharp needle


–Small scissors

–Two colors of contrasting thread


While Ana, our Program Chair, is demonstrating, everyone will use their scraps to find examples of contrast and value.
Everyone will find one larger piece, cut a shape out of a contrasting smaller piece of fabric, and then baste, and learn how to needle turn appliqué.

The goal will be to learn the skill, then take home the skill and design element and make a block for the larger sampler.


Throughout 2017, we will study the elements of design:

April: Color/Hue (presented by Susan Emory)

May: Line

June: Size and Scale

July: Shape

August: Emphasis

September: (Guest Speaker)

October: Direction

November: Texture

December: Show and Tell of blocks and samplers



Quilts for Refugees

Our members made three quilts for refugees in 2016. At our December meeting we donated them to Commonwealth Catholic Charities. They will give them to families who have relocated to Virginia.

We used two quilt patterns from the MQG’s Quilt of the Month series.

This is Rally by Melanie Tuazon, the February 2016 Quilt of the Month. It was made by members and quilted by Melanie Leckey of Oh Sew Loved.


Left: Guild President Wanda Dotson; Right: Abubaker Abdelrahman of Commonwealth Catholic Charities

This is Boats! Boats! Boats! By Brenda Ratliff, the July 2014 Quilt of the Month. We made two quilts. This one was made and quilted by Margaret Griffiths of MMG Fiber Designs:



This one was made  by members and quilted by Jennie Wood of The Longarm Network.


Thanks to our members who made blocks, assembled the rows, quilted or bound the quilts. We are so proud to be able to give back to our community and celebrate modern quilting at the same time.

Fantastic job!

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January 3, 2017 Meeting Reminder

Our first meeting of 2017 will be Tuesday, January 3, 2017, from 6 to 8 p.m. at

Tuckahoe Public Library

1901 Starling Drive

Henrico, VA 23229

Our first order of business will be the election of officers for the 2017 Executive Council.

We are also having a Make and Take workshop. We changed our plans as announced at the December meeting. We’re making lanyards!


We’ll also have the fabric with our logo we purchased through Spoonflower and a pattern for making an ID badge.

See you this coming Tuesday.