Friday, August 31, 2012

What I did on my summer vacation

Well, it's the last official weekend of summer, and I can already sense a chill in the air.  I noticed it first this past week as I went out on my screen porch - usually referred to as the summer office! - for morning coffee.  At 6AM, there was still enough dark out that I had to turn on the light - not something I'm used to having to do. Sigh.

Coffee in the AM on the porch is my time - whether to read a book, a magazine or to work on handwork.  It's just not the same inside - is it OK to sigh twice in one blog?

Still it's been a good summer - full of lots of surprises (mostly good, some not so much), and time to just chill out. We were fortunate to have 4 major shows up here in the northeast, and I was fortunate enough to make it to all 4! There was a lot of inspiration and motivation out there...

On the what's on my design wall front, you might recognize some of the blocks in the picture from my design wall earlier this summer.  That's a project that Linda Lum DeBono designed for American Patchwork and Quilting (Dec 2006), called Be Merry.  You never know what you'll find in the sharing box at Guild meetings.

Here's the wall today - one last row to finish.  I hope to get to it before next week's rounds of Show and Tell begins again. 

How was your summer?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Breakfast with a Legend...

Those of you who are fans of mine on Facebook saw an entry early on Friday morning saying that I was off to have breakfast with a Legend.  I can tell you know the details of that breakfast, the Legend...and the other wonderful Legends-in-waiting that I met.

 I was priveleged to  attend a very interesting panel discussion, entitled "Quilting with a Crystal Ball: The Future of Our Craft", which was hosted by the Lowell Quit Festival in Lowell, Mass.  The panel cut across the creative spectrum and was (IMO) very well balanced.  Kudos to the Museum and Festival Staff for putting something so cutting edge. The panel was comprised of Pam Weeks, Curator of the NEQM who served as moderator; Marianne Fons, host of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting on PBS stations nationwide; Mary Fons,  co-host of this season's LOQ and the host of online website "Hey Quilty"; Martha Sielman, the Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Association;  Laurie Matthews,  the President of the Boston Modern Quilting Guild, and Rachel May, Vice-President of the Boston Modern Quilt Guild. 

The panel, which took the form of an informal conversation with the audience, started with the findings of the most recent Quilting in America survey from 2010, which indicated that the average quilter is aging slightly.  It's a sure bet that with such a cross section of quilting styles represented, there was plenty of room for debate.  The average age for the Boston Modern Quilting Guild is in their early thirties - a dramatic shift away from the official results.

The conversation covered a broad range of topics, and there were points of agreement (the role of community that quilters usually fnd with one another) as well as points of disagreement amongs the panelists and the audience.

Marianne Fons (above, with me) made the point that having come from a place where there wasn't a lot of fabric available for use, it's important that we buy it now and use it...there is the possibility that if we don't use it, we won't have it to use because the manufacturers will move onto something else.   But her best line of the morning was the point she made about the stereotypes (and haven't we all heard it - I remember my grandmother quilting!)...even Librarians are sexier than quilters.   It's up to the next generation of quilters to change that.

Speaking of Legends in waiting - pictured (L-R) here are Mary Fons, Rachel May and Laurie Matthews - responding to a point made as part of the panel discussion.

This morning's lecture was my first introduction to the Modern Quilting movement per se, and I learned a lot about where they fit into the story of the current generation of quilters.

Thank you, New England Quilt Museum for bringing this panel discussion to life.


Monday, August 6, 2012

25 Years of Gathering Magic Challenge

This past week, I was pleased to be part of the launch of a new quilt challenge, with some old friends as well as some new ones. A Quilters Gathering, which has been a mainstay of the quilting world in New England for many years, will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2013, and several of us have been brainstorming ways in which to celebrate this milestone with them.

One of the ideas that has been adopted is the first Challenge that has been held, the 25 years of Gathering Magic Challenge.  The link to the challenge page on their website is here. You can also follow the challenge on Facebook by searching for 25 Years of Gathering Magic, we've set up a community update page here.

We have several wonderful - and unique components to this challenge - which are laid out in the challenge statement: "...This challenge is designed for you to make a quilt that shows and tells us about one of your magical moments at A Quilters Gathering..."

In order to play with the challenge, we are very happy that one of our oldest and dearest vendors, Marianne Elizabeth of RJR fabrics, has been chosen as the challenge fabric - her brand new line, Arabella Rose is perfect for this theme. We've put together 3 unique colorways to play with -

Kate's Roses

Marie's Medley

Sarah's Thyme

We designed the challenge so that you can have plenty of lead time to create something magical - the quilts are due at the 2013 event next year.  We'll have the packets available for sale in November, or you can pre-order the challenge packets (6 FQ's for $25.00) through A Quilter's Gathering.

Let us know what you think by emailing me at or joining the community at 25 Years of Gathering Magic on Facebook.
There's a lot more coming...stay tuned!