Sunday, August 5, 2018

Groundhog Day

What is happening to the summer? I thought after I finished teaching in July that I could spend time creating and relaxing.  Ha! Although I have made it to two movies.  Two more than I went to all of last year! I saw The Book Club (eh!) and Mama Mia, Here We Go Again (fun!).  I was definitely surprised that you could reserve your seat and that seat was a recliner.

In between these two movies I have been working on new mosaic patterns that are larger and more complex and finishing the silk dupioni Torah Covers for Germany.  (Click on this link if you want to read about the origin of this commission.)
These are used from the start of the Jewish High Holidays through the holiday of the harvest, Sukkot.
Here's a close up of the applique panels.

 They sit on top of the torah scrolls


and they are constructed like a wrap around skirt with satin inside so they slide on and off easily


 inside is the dedication

When I think about the covers that I created finding their home in a synagogue in Germany, it gives me goose bumps.
Follow on BloglovinThe crazy thing is that now I have to do this all over again for a synagogue in Easton, Maryland.It does feel like the movie, Groundhog Day.






Wednesday, July 25, 2018

MAQ Recap

It's been almost 2 weeks since MAQ.  That doesn't mean that I've put everything away, but it has given me time to reflect and appreciate.  I just never thought that I would be in the position to do what I love as a job, to have women sign up to take classes with me, to reconnect with lots of people who have taken my classes in the past and to spend time with other professionals in the field that I am so lucky to call my friends.  So that's a summary of my time  at Mt Saint Mary's University with the Mid Appalachian Quilters.
I taught 3 classes - Silk Curvalicious Skinny Quilt, my new Medallion Mosaic and Mini Mosaic Quilts.  Sometimes I remember to take photos, but there is also Show & Tell on Saturday night to catch a view.
Day #1 Class : Silk Curvalicious Skinny Quilt

 Show & Tell


Day #2  Medallion Mosaic
This was its maiden voyage.  I was so excited to share it and more importantly to get feedback from my students.  Everyone made their own fabric choices and supplied their own fabric. I was curious to see what they chose. There was a minor problem that day. WE HAD NO AIR CONDITIONING!  But how could you be tooooo miserable when you're having so much fun?







Day #3  Mini Mosaic Quilts
Our new classroom.  I was moved to another building so that my classroom had A/C on Sunday.  Thanks to everyone who helped schlep all my stuff on Saturday night and made sure I was set up for the next day.

 Tiny Town transformed into a mountainside village!
Black eyed Susans
The dates for next year are July 12-14.  Go to www.MAQonline.org to sign up for info.

PS  The Torah covers for the synagogue in Germany are on their way.  According to tracking, they are in customs in Germany.  As soon as they receive them, I will share the rest of my process and the final photos.  Stay tuned.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Who Is Scott Fortunoff and Why Should I care?

Last year soon after the wholesale Fall Quilt Market, there was an "earthquake" in the quilt world.  What we all thought was one of the most successful fabric manufacturing company, Free Spirit, was closing their doors. How could this happen we all wondered?  They were home to some of the most popular fabric designers - Tula Pink, Kaffe Fassett, Amy Buttler and on and on.  Not only were we surprised, but so were the designers themselves.  

Social media was a buzz as we waited to see what would happen to these talented designers.  Where would they land?  Would they each negotiate new contracts with other fabric companies?  And then, in the blink of an eye, Jaftex (owner of e Studio Fabrics, Henry Glass and others) swooped in and bought Free Spirit.  There are very few details as to the why and how, but Jaftex is doing everything in their power to deliver the fabric that was ordered by shops at Market as promptly as they can.

The face of Jaftex is Scott Fortunoff.  

Why should we care?  

Scott is Co-President of Free Spirit and is front and center and trying to be transparent and to start the #sew revolution.  It's his effort to strengthen the fabric industry.   He has a blog called
 "Tales of a Fourth Generation Textile Executive" and a facebook page.  He has frequent FB live events where he shows what it looks like behind the scenes of the fabric industry and what fabric we can expect to find in our local quilt shops. 

He has been visiting quilt shops for #sewdays, for Q&A's, along with giveaways.  He has even learned a little bit about sewing. Here he is visiting Ladyfingers and Gail Kessler.

The most impressive step he has taken is to give away sewing machines!!!  He wants to engage the young and make quilting available to those in need.  You can e-mail him if you are in  need of a machine or if you know of someone who does.  Over 100 lucky people have been gifted with a  new machine from him so far. What generosity!

I am very impressed with Scott.  We need someone like him who has the energy, enthusiasm and status to help our industry grow.  He is definitely worth watching on social media.  Maybe you can win something during his FB live broadcasts  or watch to see if he is coming to a quilt shop near you.
Let's support him!


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Monday, June 25, 2018

Quilting Immersion

Summertime is always a great time to expand our quilting skills.  Life is a little slower and there are some opportunities to immerse yourself with other quilters to learn new techniques from world renown teachers.  It can be anything from fabric dyeing to modern piecing to making art quilts.  I was reminded of this when Sarah Bond visited our quilt guild the other month.  On her "Growth List" was to spend time immersed with a single instructor.  And isn't it a dream to be able to leave the cooking, cleaning and family behind.

Recently, I started thinking about the retreats that I have attended and started making a list of these 5 day retreats in the US.  I have participated in a couple of them over the years.  I want to share them because maybe you'll have the means and the time to tale advantage to grow your quilting skills.  Accommodations range from college campuses to retreat centers to visiting the artists studio and staying in a hotel.  There's a lot to choose from and the roster of artist/instructors is constantly changing.

It may be too late for this year, but it's good to start planning and saving for next year. Take a look at the websites to see the selection of workshops.

Quilt Surface Design Symposiumwww,QSDS.com
4 sessions of workshops are held at the Columbus College of Art and Design in downtown Columbus, Ohio and accommodations are in their dorms.

2 sessions of workshops take place at the Onandaga Community College in Syracuse, NYLodging and meals are on the college campus.

Hudson River Valley Art Workshops http://www.fiberartworkshops.com/
There any many sessions throughout the year at this all in one workshop environment held at historic  Greenville Arms in the Hudson River Valley/ Catskill Mountain region of New York.

Fabric Dyeing and surface design workshops are held thought the year in their Fall River location.  You are responsible for your own lodging and meals.

Empty Spools Seminar:  http://www.emptyspoolsseminars.com/
Located on the picturesque Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California.  Fee includes classes, lodging and meals.  Sewing machine rentals are available.

Crow Timber Frame Barn Art Retreatshttp://www.nancycrow.com/artretreats.html
Study with Nancy Crow or a limited selection of other artists in Central Ohio in Nancy's timber frame barn  retrofitted to accommodate quilters and or fabric/dyers.  Lunch and dinner are cooked and provided by a professional chef.

Located in the Napa Valley of California, Craft Napa offers several week-long retreats thoughout the year focusing on sewing, quilting and mixed media, organized by Pokey Bolton, past owner of Quilting Arts magazine.

Quilt Gallery: www.quiltgallery.net
Located in Kalispell, MT,not far from Glacier National Park, the Quilt Gallery offers  a variety of week long quilt retreats with internationally recognized instructors.  And if you've read this far, I am excited to share that I will be teaching Mini Mosaics there July 31-Aug4, 2019!!!! After learning the technique, you'll be able to design and  start to create your own with my help!!!

If I've missed any (and I'm sure I have), let me know and I'll add it to this list.


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Friday, June 15, 2018

My Summer Project

Last summer I had two commission requests.  They were both for High Holiday Torah Covers.  The requests were based on Torah covers I had made previously for a local synagogue.  


 I was so busy and consumed with my Mini Mosaic quilts and products that I was hesitant to accept these commission.  But one commission came from my favorite Rabbi's synagogue in Maryland.  He travelled all the way from MD to our place in the Poconos to marry my son.  How could I say no?  I couldn't. 
 The other request was from a synagogue in Germany.  They had found my Judaic work via the Internet.  We e-mailed back and forth a few times.  Frankly, I was hesitant because of my other commitments.  The woman who made the request was in the US visiting her daughter.  I tried to put her off.  I thought my fee would discourage her, but she was still interested, so I suggested we talk about what she envisioned. That phone conversation and this woman touched my heart and made me cry.  I could not control my emotions when  she recounted her journey about how she came to be involved with this synagogue that was built on the ashes of a synagogue that was burned to the ground by the Nazis.  About how she taught Russian Jews who left the Soviet Union in the late 1980's and early 1990's thanks to liberated emigration policies learn about being Jewish because they were forbidden to learn about their religion in Russia. How could I say no?
So, my summer project has begun. I will set aside my other projects, until I complete these Torah Covers, 5 of them. Every Torah that is used during the High Holidays need a special, plain(ish) cover.  The High Holidays start the evening of  September 9 th this year. 
I am starting with the covers for Germany since I need to ship them with plenty of time. 

And so I begin. I will share my process as I go.

The Torah covers are made from  white, off-white and cream colored luxurious silk dupioni.  I am a quilter, so I make them as if they were quilts. They need to last for many years.  Most Torah Covers are not made this way.  Lots of them are made from velvet or satin.

Step #1 for me is to quilt the top section with pomegranates - a very meaningful symbol.
I designed the quilting on a piece of paper that is the same size as the top section of the cover.
I placed a piece of clear Solvy over the drawing and traced it with a yellow soluble marker. Then I pin the Solvy to the silk.  Why did I use yellow? The Solvy is removed after quilting by tearing it off.  If there are any remnants left, it will disappear into the gold thread that I use for quilting.

After layering the silk with very low loft batting, muslin and the Solvy pattern, I free motion quilt with variegated rayon thread through all the layers.
 
I could never color within the lines:

 but the yellow lines were really a suggestion, so I didn't have to follow them exactly.  I could never quilt a balanced pomegranate design without it.
The next step is to remove the Solvy.  Frankly, it is my second least favorite step.  (You'll have to keep reading my blog for the summer to see what is my least favorite step in the construction!) I rip it off, trying to get off as much as possible.  This is what my discard pile looks like:

 It's nice to have a buddy cuddled up next to me while I'm doing this.  Now, I will use my very pointy tweezers to remove the last little bits and bobs that are still located in the tight quilting designs.

This is when I think that there should be a better way, but I can't think of it!
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Friday, May 25, 2018

What the Heck is GDPR?

What the heck is GDPR and how does it affect me?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation.  It is a new law that adds to the European Union's privacy laws.  Compliance goes into effect on 5/25/2018. You will see and probably have seen a lot of pop-ups as you visit different websites informing you that they will be collecting info from you.  Altho it is an EU law, many US based websites, blogs, etc have European visitors and so it affects us all.  The fines for non-compliance are hefty.

There is a lot of debate as to what we small time bloggers and businesses need to do.I am trying to comply the best that I know how.  I will send an email to my newsletter readers reminding them they can  unsubscribe.  My blog and Bloglovin' are Google products. Google has published this:

You can count on the fact that Google is committed to GDPR compliance across products, including Blogger. We are always working to stay compliant, which helps make compliance easier for your blog. We are also committed to providing robust privacy and security protections built into our services. We know security and privacy are important to you, and they are important to us, too. For Google, it’s a priority that your private information is safe. 

I will also have a privacy statement in my Etsy Shop.

Please know that I have never collected or kept any data from you.  If you have purchased anything from me via a credit card, I do not keep that information.  My website/blog does not collect information.  My privacy is as important to me as it is to you.

And to satisfy the right side of your brain:
"Primitive Seasons"


I'll be vending at The Quilter's Unlimited show in Chantilly, VA the weekend after Memorial Day (6/1-6/3).  Booth #100.  It's a great show with a ton of quilts.  Hope to see you there.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

A Day with Victoria Findlay Wolfe

In my last post I promised I would share lots of photos from my day with Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  I am on her e-mail list and when I saw she was offering workshops in her loft in NYC, I started to drool.  What a fun day that would be - to learn from her and to see a NYC loft.  I told a bunch of my friends and they thought it would be fun too!

As soon as she posted the workshops and the dates, we signed up.  There were only 8 spots.  Our workshop was from her new book, Modern Quilt Magic.  The day that worked for us, she was offering "Cascade". 

WE walked off the elevator and into this huge room.  About half of it had tables and sewing machines.  Each of our work stations included a Juki sewing machine, mat, our own table and a design wall and a box full of notions including a rotary cutter, seam ripper, pencil, etc.  The only thing we needed to bring was fabric and our lunch.

These are 2 of my good friends Helen and Denise.
(Did I tell you that Victoria's husband is a gallerist and there was art everywhere?)

 After a lengthy talk about the magic behind her quilts and her design process, she shared a few quilts that she just had "hanging around".

Believe it or not, this is a T-shirt quilt that Victoria made using her star pattern from Harley Davidson t's.
Her dogs.
Cindy, Kathy and Terry working on their quilts.

And a great group photo at the end of the day.  (Victoria has the longest arms, perfect for selfies.)

When the workshop was over, we headed to Victoria's shop in the  building next door.
I couldn't get a great picture, because we were all busy shopping!
Then she was gracious enough to show us her studio.  It was in the same building on a different floor.  There were lots of design walls with all different projects.  Since there was a soon to be released project, NO PHOTOS.


What a great way to spend the day.  We took the Bolt Bus up and back from Philly.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and for me it was an opportunity to do some sewing since I haven't touched my machine in weeks.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Bit Of Quilty Gossip

Let's face it.  Most of us enjoy a bit of gossip from time to time.  I'm not talking about malicious gossip.  I'm not a fan of that.  The quilt industry is going through a lot of changes now, so lots of interesting things are happening.  Some seem good and some seem not so good. These past 2 weeks have been full of goings on.

Keepsake Quilting - Have you been?  It used to be a destination for summer travel up in NH.  I haven't heard much about it lately, other than receiving their catalogs.  I think Missouri Star has become the quilting destination.  I guess Keepsake has been in need of a facelift and one of my favorite fabric vendors is going to be doing it.  Pineapple Fabrics has bought Keepsake!

I first saw the gang from Pineapple Fabrics when I was vending at the AQS show in Syracuse a few years ago.  It was a bunch of young guys with a decorated food type truck decked out with fabric.  I heard it was a redecorated stripper truck from Vegas.  I'm not really sure if that's true or not, but you can't miss it.

The people who own Pineapple Fabrics have a very interesting history that I didn' know about until I read the article about the takeover.  They have been in the fabric business for generations and have been in the pre-cut business and do it for lots of the big name fabric companies.  They plan on bringing Keepsake back to its former glory and then some.  You can read  more about it HERE and visit Pineapple Fabrics website HERE.

Exposure is a word that I have come to detest. We deserve to be paid for our work, just as everyone else.  It has value.  Exposure does not pay the bills or feed your family.   DMC, the premier embroidery floss company has not been receiving much popular press lately.  They have been running a design contest.  Their goal is to offer 1,000 free stitching designs on their website.  What's the problem? They are offering no compensation to the designers.  Not only is there to be no payment, DMC retains all the rights to the designs. The designs were to be posted to DMC's contest Instagram account (DMCxstitchcontest). So what are designers to do?  They revolted and posted rebellious embroidery designs.  Some of them I can't repeat  here, but one of my favorites that I can share is:"If I wanted exposure, I'd become a Nudist! Pay Artists".  There was such an uproar that DMC is now offering a pittance of compensation - one $500 prize.

If you're a Bonnie Hunter fan, you have probably hear this.  She is expanding her Quiltville empire to include a retreat center.
Bonnie has to be one of the most generous authors/designers and she deserves all good things.  She has an inordinate amount of energy and travels non-stop.  This will be a wonderful place for her to "hang her hat" when she's ready to slow down on travel.  I can't wait to watch it take place.  You can read about it HERE.  Definitely sign up for her email list if you want to follow along.


And finally, there are big changes at Cotton & Steel.  There was so much excitement at RJR Fabrics in 2013 when they formed a division with  a group of  5 designers to capture the modern quilt fabric market. Not only was the fabric innovative, but their means of marketing was too.  Sadly,  it was just announced that the original designers are moving on. There will be new designers and new concepts. Let's hope for the best.  They really had some wonderful fabric.

Now that I've been a gossip columnist for the day, it's time to get back to work! Just kidding.  I have lots of fabric to iron and cut, because.....tomorrow I am taking a busman's holiday.  I'm heading back to NYC with some friends to take a workshop with Victoria Findlay Wolfe in her loft!!!! I hope to take lots of photos to share.


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Friday, May 11, 2018

Paint By Number

My Mom would do paint by number paintings when I was a kid.  It was her creative outlet and it wasn't messy. I remember Gainsborough's Blue Boy hanging in the dining room for many years.


A few years ago there was a piece on 60 Minutes about how these vintage paint by number paintings have become collector's items.  You can read about it HERE.

Recently, I came across an article about the museum where the original Blue Boy is hanging.  It really brought back that memory - something I haven't thought about in years.  It's the Huntington Museum in California.  They are currently in the process of refurbishing and doing  it in full view of the public.  What a great road trip that would be.  You can read about it HERE.

Do you remember doing paint by numbers or a relative that did? I wonder what happened to my Mom's.
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