Flying Together by South Florida MQG

By Karla Irby and Kerrilyn O'Rourke


When the call for the 2018 QuiltCon Charity Quilt went out, Karla Irby stepped up and became the driving force behind South Florida Modern Quilt Guild’s quilt.

Upon hearing the theme of “Modern Traditionalism” Karla immediately had an idea.

She chose the Shoo Fly block because she liked the playfulness of it and had a vision of how it could work up with improvisational piecing.

The bigger challenge for her was choosing colors from a limited palette. “My first idea was a vision of pink and orange. I saw the Shoo Flys dancing around the quilt in varied groupings. But my vision got really bright!”

She added white to tame the quilt and to align with our modern guild’s aesthetics. With the colors decided, small kits of fabric were prepared and passed out at a guild meeting. The instructions included a drawing of a Shoo Fly block, but not much else! The size and
proportion for the blocks were not specified--everyone was to improvise and let their creativity flow.

Completed blocks were to be returned at our meeting in September 2017, which ended up being
canceled due to Hurricane Irma. In the spirit of our South Florida MQG make-do attitude, members started mailing their blocks to Karla so that she would have plenty of time to put them together. Little did we know that Karla was dealing with flooding in her home from the hurricane!

However, Karla says getting all the mail was a delight! “In the midst of our flooded home, getting the fun and brightly colored blocks was a real blessing! For a couple of weeks mail arrived with smiles inside.”

Guild members had delivered; over one hundred blocks were completed in a wide variety of styles and sizes.

The blocks were calling to be made whole, so Karla set up a small space to sew (her usual quilt room was still waterlogged). “The work of many made my hurricane story a celebration of the wonders we create together. Our quilt is a message of togetherness and the power of many hands working together to create something wonderful.”

Blocks sewn by SFMQG members
Quilt top designed & pieced by Karla Irby
Quilting by Deborah Krajkowski at Quiltographic
Binding & sleeve by Kerrilyn O’Rourke
Label by Diane Provost

To learn more about the South Florida MQG visit their Instagram page @southfloridamodern.

Flying Together

Flying Together

Cheyann Neades