Happy 5th Birthday Seattle Modern Quilt Guild! Let’s Celebrate! A letter from President Chandra Wu

Editorial Note:  The following is a guest post from our President, Chandra Wu. Woo!

I am so happy for each and every quilty moment the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild has shared with me this year and hopefully in many future years, and I want to take some time to reflect on that as my term as your guild president draws to a close. However, have you heard the social media expression “tldr” before? It means “too long, didn’t read” and it applies to blog and message board posts that are too long so people stop reading them! So before you read any further into my report, please check out the link below to sign up for our holiday party Saturday, December 13, 2014 at the Greenwood Senior Center, from 12-8pm! I am especially interested in knowing if you plan to stay all the way until 8pm so we can plan clean up accordingly. Last year things quieted down a lot around 6. Melinda Blom, my fabulous roommate at the Fall retreat, has offered to coordinate and review the signups, so if you want to review the results and contact her with any questions or offers, please go for it!

December Holiday Party RSVP link!

I am especially excited to be “sewing-in” with my Seattle Modern Quilt Guild friends one last time this year because this year has been an incredibly challenging one for myself as a quilter. It has helped me develop some discipline around making time for my craft even as the time available for my craft got scarcer. Of course this also makes me want to gush happy tears that I have seen on a few other fellow guild members cheeks as well this year when we have shared just how personal, pleasant, and rewarding it is to connect with other like-minded (Modern?) quilters. I volunteered to help organize the guild into a non-profit in 2013 precisely because I felt that way about the Vancouver MQG and I wanted to share that same connections with other quilters when I moved to Seattle.

Fortunately in January 2009 Katie Pedersen began to organize the first meetings right around the time LA, Portland, Vancouver, Kansas City and other MQGs began to form. So the first in my list of thank you’s this year goes to Katie, our first president and one of the founders of the guild. She gave us a lot of her time in 2012-2013 as we sorted out structure, governance, and those pesky and particularly un-quilty activities like reviewing and writing bylaws and agendas. And yet she still managed to make quilt making her essential act and made lovely quilts while serving our guild. Katie also introduced me to several tasty joints like Joule on Stone Way and Bastille across from the old Drygoods location in Ballard that helped me re-introduce myself to Seattle and gave me an excuse to get out in the evenings.

But for me, the absolute best thing she and Sandie Holtman, our past VP of Membership gave me this year was much more than their legacy as founders, they started the 2014 SEAMQG block of the month! I was really excited to use the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the month on more than one occasion as an excuse to sew in a busy month. Sandie also did an incredible job turning us over into membership in the national MQG when they became established and she got our memberships into their system in January so we all got our 2014 cards and pins. The VP of Membership job is a lot of small jobs that can be quite frustrating as times when you would rather be sewing or even, I don’t know, paying your taxes? But it was Sandie and now Martha Petersen who was elected to replace her on the board in 2014 that help keep track of you and your national MQG membership. It is a really big job and I’m glad Sandie was able to support Martha this year and still do our block of the month as well. I knew it was going to be a challenging year for me as a quilter even before I was recruited back into employment and began teaching, but knowing the block of the month was out there helped me plan ahead for a baby quilt for my newest nephew who was just born last month! I think Grace posted a photo of me on Instagram sitting in front of that quilt top at a sew-in at Quiltworks Northwest this summer. Thanks Sandie and Katie!

Martha Peterson has been a fantastic addition to our board even though I know she and I agree Sandie did a lot for the guild and those were some big shoes to fill. Martha began serving as our VP of Membership and had to hit the ground running with our new national MQG membership and a transition to Paypal for membership payments. She has an excellent quilter’s precision for organizing data, sticking to agendas, and reeling me back in when I get lost on a tangent. It shows in her quilts, and I love how she has applied her interest in Modern quilting to explore graphic design and Bauhaus aesthetics. Martha was one of the Seattle Modern Quilt guild members whose quilt “Annie Alber’s Orange Chair” got into the fall International Quilt Festival at Houston Modern exhibit. That means it is one of three member quilts going to Quiltcon in Austin in 2015! There is one more aspect of the VP of Membership position and her Welcoming Committee that I have to mention, she also filled Sandie’s shoes very well by donating our second in-kind donation to the Greenwood Senior Center’s memory loss group where they are able to auction or raffle the quilts to pay for programs to support victims of memory loss and their families. This donation also results in a more affordable venue for our December End of the Year party! Thank you so much Martha for all that you have done for us and will continue to do as you serve again as VP of Membership in 2015, but most of all thank you for supporting me so much during a challenging year and helping us welcome so many new members in 2014!

While I am recognizing returns to service, Becca Jubie served on the original Bylaws committee, served as our first Secretary after incorporation in 2013, just before we all went to the first Quiltcon in Austin, TX. It was an exciting year and she put a lot of time in. Her notes are as well-written as her blog posts and I always enjoyed reading her “voice.” I appreciate her willingness to serve in a second year and continue to take notes even as I became chair and struggled not to jump around on my own agendas at board meetings and general meetings. She has a good sense of the bigger picture (and a healthy sense of humor, which is needed after 20+ board meetings with me!) and always paid attention to what was going on with the National Guild, had great feedback after events for how to improve them the next time around, and she also volunteered to work with Kristen Ballou to be featured in Australian Patchwork and Quilting! Kate Barnet, who shared just how modern a double wedding ring can be when she brought her first quilt to her first meeting, has agreed to be our new secretary in 2015, Kate, we look forward to reading you. Becca, I hope I served YOU well enough in 2014, I enjoyed writing about you when you were considering being a Regional Board Rep and I really do love your quilts! I’m looking forward to celebrating at our final board meeting brunch next week!

Patricia Curry also volunteered to serve a second term as our Treasurer and we really appreciate her attention to detail. She has been very reliable and trustworthy even when she couldn’t attend meetings. We appreciate that Megan Vanderburg began shadowing her in 2014 in order to fill in for her when she had to be away. Our money has been in great hands as our membership nearly doubled and we transitioned away from checks. Martha and Patricia will appreciate if I remind you to bring your membership renewal CHECK to the party next Saturday if you don’t want to pay the PayPal fee in 2015. Plus you will make it much easier to renew as we are noticing that our mother guild is starting to tighten up on their renewal dates and we want to be ready to support them promptly in 2015. On a more personal note, I am sorry to hear that Patricia is a maker of quilts that are primarily gifts, so that she didn’t enter her Estonian flag quilt into Quiltcon. We need to work as a guild to get her to enter a quilt next time! I enjoyed sewing late into the night with her at our first retreat and our chats when we carpooled to board meetings. And thanks to Patricia and her generous friend, I am now the owner of my first Singer featherweight which has gotten some use this week while my machine went in for service. Patricia, you have become a great friend and I hope that we continue to see each other and sew together even as we step away from the board in 2015.

During my transition from VP of Programs in 2013 to President in 2014, I handed off the leadership of our first Guild retreat at Camp Burton on Vashon Island to the amazing Kristen Ballou and our fabulous retreat committee. It was a beautiful weekend, lovely sun even in the last week of January, a fun trip to Island Quilter, and I had a wonderful time sitting across from Season as she hand-quilted, Charise as she paper-pieced and next to Lynne who was piecing blocks. Season, thank you for staying connected and thank you to Noelle for the orange scraps, the stories and the fantastic Manhattan you made me at Berachah! We are such a diverse group and it is fun to share and celebrate that. I totally scored a lovely Flea Market Fancy (“FMF” – quilters have some wild internet acronyms now too!) pouch from Grace and enjoyed some tender moments responding to each other’s work during our mini-improv round robin. I tell you so much about the retreat because it was an awesome feat of organization and I had very little to do with that after our first meeting in 2013. This amazing committee continued to work together to serve up a SECOND retreat at Camp Berachah in Auburn this past October and I really appreciate Kristen’s leadership in holding up so many little and not so little committees that keep this guild up to its ears in Programming with new celebrity (our guild will certainly continue to create its own celebrities in 2015) lectures and workshops in store for 2015, a new PNW meetup, and an exciting upcoming 5th Birthday celebration “My MODERN” show at Island Quilter this January! The work Kristen has done this year is too numerous to list, but she is a pro at swag and negotiating some awesome opportunities for our guild through the many Committees from Sew-Ins to Challenges to Quilt Shows and Workshops and…. You get the idea right?

Our guild participated in 5 Quilt shows in 2014: our own Island Quilter Show, our second appearance at NW Folklife, Quilt! Knit! Stitch! in Portland, the Bainbridge Island Quilt show, and our exhibit at the NW Expo show. Kristen is always problem-solving and she is full of ideas as she juggles all these opportunities and dates. She has been a great friend to chat way to long into the evening with at times which has made up for my poorer attendance at sew-ins, where it seems like we are learning is where a lot of decisions get made. Maybe the board should schedule themselves for quarterly sewing together and reduce board meetings? Kristen will probably be there making one of her distinctively Northwestern modern quilts, many reflecting the natural landscape of Puget sound either in their blended palettes of NW blues and greys if not being downright nautical. Or maybe I am just saying that so we can have another meeting on her boat someday, that was a truly memorable beautiful evening, right down to the lightning on Lake Washington! Allison volunteered again and again to support Kristen in Programming, taking the lead on organizing the submissions for NW Quilt Expo. I know she will do a great job filling Kristen’s role as VP of Programs. Kristen has always been quick to point out how healthy and thriving our guild is, we beat the national guild to non-profit incorporation and we had two successful retreats as our neighboring guilds put together their firsts….this is always good for us to remember because as we become more establish hopefully we not have to keep reinventing the wheel and some of these amazing Programs will get easier to plan and prepare for as we gain experience and experienced volunteers. Kristen implemented the “mini-workshop” portion of our meetings for our members to share their skills and practice teaching and leading and I hope this can continue in 2015 as the business-y stuff takes a backseat.

This transition was made incredibly transparent with our first balloted board election. The nomination and election was conducted and planned this year by Lynne Shandley, Michelle Honey, Grace Lainhart, and Jessie Keating. I know it was challenging to take leadership of a Committee that hadn’t existed before in order to interpret and implement the bylaws, but I really appreciate the discussion and innovation that the Nominating Committee brought to our Guild. I will offer to serve under Kristen on a Personnel or future Nominating Committee if needed in 2015 now that I am no longer a board member.

But don’t shed any tears for me! I was so well-supported I am relieved to have gotten through a challenging year for me personally that did not leave me with nearly enough free time to dedicate to the guild as I had in the past and the 2014 board conducted itself really well under my sometimes scant contributions. It is thanks to all of your presence, enthusiasm and joy that I was driven to complete 3 quilts in 2014 and I hope to finish 2 more before year’s end. Are you still trying to finish your My MODERN quilt submission for our birthday show at Island Quilter in January? Please I look forward to celebrating our work and seeing some finishes at next week’s party. Please don’t forget to scroll back up to the top of this post and RSVP if you haven’t already! I know that I will need even more members to lend a hand in 2015, in particular I know we need help planning the Seattle PNW Meetup and helping plan better presentation and even a possible raffle quilt at Folklife. Could you consider becoming a volunteer in 2015? It is a great way to make new connections in the guild and I know Kristen will make it fun to be a part of our guild in the new year.

Kristen, thank you for consenting to serve the Seattle Modern Quit Guild as President in 2015, we appreciate it.   I hope that the same thing Katie told me is true for you, it is actually a little less work (ssh, hopefully Allison thought this was tldr) than the coordination required of our VP of Programs and probably the VP of Membership role too, but you are bravely serving as the face of our guild during a big year.


Congratulations Seattle Modern Quilt Guild, now we are 5!!!


9 responses to “Happy 5th Birthday Seattle Modern Quilt Guild! Let’s Celebrate! A letter from President Chandra Wu

  1. Thank you, Chandra, for all your hard work in getting the guild formalised and taking on the presidency in 2014, and thanks to the boards, previous, current and future, for bringing this wonderful thing to us. Happy 5th, SMQG!

  2. Yes Chandra, thank you for being here to get things started and being our President this past year. You were a great help, along with Kristen, for Dionne and myself as we got the Giving Committee up and running. We are amazed at how quickly the members have joined in and participated in making blocks and assembling quilts for SMQG to give to Plymouth House. We are looking forward to another fun year and hope you can join in with us more often in 2015.

  3. Your energy and determination has been a gift to the guild Chandra, I appreciate that you kept our goals in front of you even while you were dealing with a lot of issues in your own life that needed your prompt attention. I am guessing you will quilt differently this year, having felt the void of time for your craft and the value of producing something with focus and intent. However your quilting unfolds in 2015, I look forward to seeing it.

    You will have more time and energy at the meetings to hang out with the ‘regular’ folk 😉 I’ll look for you and save a chair.


    • Thank you Kae, I tried to keep my president hat on for this post so I only addressed my own direct reports, but I am so glad that you and Dionne have taken on the beautiful Giving Committee quilt coordinations and I hope to be involved in that even though I expect to sew even less in 2015…but I have my eyes on 2016!!!

    • Thank you so much Michelle. Thank you for volunteering to be part of the Welcoming Committee and coordinating the Bainbridge Quilt Show in addition to serving on the Nominating Committee, we appreciate you too!

  4. Can’t thank you enough, Chandra, for all you’ve done to create and grow SMQG. Thanks too for your welcoming and affirming presence – it’s been a gift!

    • I appreciate your membership and online as well as in person presence in our guild Debbie. And I am finally stealing your Petal Pinwheels block design in my swap item, it is a fun one!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s