Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thomas Knauer visits the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild

As a kid, my Dad would take me to stock car races, and I would always pick the prettiest car as the one to cheer for.  Driver stats?  Who cares?  If it was purple (and especially if it had glitter paint), it was the car for me.   And occasionally the pretty purple cars won.  But not often.

I approach the quilts I chose to make in a similar fashion.  I'm not ashamed to say that I often just pick quilt patterns based upon what is aesthetically pleasing to me.  (And thankfully, unlike a race, everyone is a winner when a quilt is finished.  I win!)

However, there is something to be said about finding deeper meaning in our craft, and that's why Thomas Knauer's visit to the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild (for our September meeting) was so refreshing.  (And inspiring.)

To say his quilts have meaning is the understatement of the year.  His quilts ooze with little details that make them special.  Aesthetically, they're beautiful, but when you hear the backstories, they really come alive.  From the buttons that attach his Reunion quilts (symbolizing eternal family bonds, even when he is physically separated from his wife and children) to the fact that you can actually scan his In Defense of Handmade quilt with a barcode reader, his quilts were downright fascinating.  The stories that they each carried were almost as important as the stitches.   One of our guild members referred to him as a "mad quilt genius" (see below) and I agree, wholeheartedly.

He starts his book with, "I think of a quilt as bringing an idea to life, making that idea pat of a home.  The concepts embedded in the making of a quilt become part of someone's life, something they literally wrap themselves in.  As such, quilts are somewhat unique objects, ones that are fundamentally interactive."  (Modern Quilt Perspectives, 2014)  To Thomas, quilts are more than just the fabric and stitches that bind them - they are alive with stories and shared memories.   After his presentation, we are all itching to do a workshop with him.  Come back soon Thomas!  (Please.  No, really, PLEASE!)

Our guild members speak about his presentation:

Sarah Bond:   "I was so fascinated by his approach because it is so connected to words and language. My process is so much more ruled by shape and color and often difficult to articulate in words. And yet I felt such an affinity to his concept of quilts connecting time and space."

Andrew Joslyn:  "Is it just me or is he kind of a genius?"

Stephanie Wood:   "I love that he was first inspired to "make" by his daughter. And... so much of his art is from the heart and the soul and then he obsesses & it takes a turn toward the philosophical/academic."

Sheila Randall:  "I loved the love he gave to his quilts...especially the 4 that connect, shows heart."

Pat Deck:  "The thought behind his quilts is astounding. I was also quite taken with Lisa Sipes' quilting. You can tell theirs is truly a collaborative relationship. My fave was the rainbow quilt quilted with a traditional double wedding ring design."  (Pat was referring to Palimpsest (Pride Flag)

Laura Moore:  "It was really awesome. He thinks about quilting in a different way. Seriously, but creatively.  Sort of a mad quilt genius."

And then we got deep....

Bobbi Penniman:  "I'll feel like a shirker when my next quilt is just a quilt without any subtext and meaning. Then I'll tell myself that's ok, not everything has to have that depth, it's ok to be pretty, serviceable, etc"

Pat (put it in perspective) Deck:  "Sometimes a song is just a song. Not everything needs to have an academic subtext to be of value and worth."

Kathy Bryson: "I thought he was awesome. I was tearing up several times. Gave me new thinking when I look at art."

The conversation that flowed in our private Facebook group was awesome!   Thomas really got us talking about what our own quilts mean to us, why we quilt, and what inspires us.

I cannot recommend his book enough.   Many of the quilts he presented are featured in the book, however seeing the quilts in person was magical.  Thomas also designs fabric and teaches regularly.

At Next Month's Meeting:
Guild Elections
First Month of our Bee Blocks Exchange
Charity Quilt - QuiltCon

Want to check out the Philly MQG and join us for a monthly meeting?  Learn more....

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jacquie Gering Visit

Hello!  We are writing today to let you know that this Saturday, August 23rd, Jacquie Gering will be presenting a lecture to the Philly MQG at the Upper Dublin Lutheran Church.
Though she has been sewing all her life, quilting is a newly found passion for Jacquie. The improvisational spirit of the quilts of Gees Bend inspired her to make her first quilt and the improvisational approach provided the freedom she craved and the opportunity to explore her creative potential. Jacquie's quilt designs fuse her Mennonite background and respect for tradition with her modern design aesthetic. Jacquie is co-author of the fantastic modern quilting book called "Quilting Modern, Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts."
Jacquie is a leader in the modern quilting movement. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Modern Quilt Guild and is one of the founding members and former president of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  Jacquie teaches and talks quilting across the country and shares her designs and quilting knowledge on her popular blog, Tallgrass Prairie Studio. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, Steve, and her black lab, Bruno.
This event is open to the public, but seating is limited.  Please send us an e-mail (see the right hand side of our website for the address) if you are interested in attending the lecture.  We will be selling tickets in advance via PayPal for $6. Tickets will also be available at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis (exact change only).  The lecture will begin at 7 PM at the Upper Dublin Lutheran Church located at 411 Susquehanna Road, Ambler, PA 19002.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 2014 Meeting

We had a great time a the May meeting this week. We started with a quick ice breaker: What is your favorite treat, chocolate or non-chocolate and moved on to sharing our favorite or newest quilt book.

There were a lot of upcoming dates and exciting events discussed, be sure to check Bigtent for the minutes for those details.

We had a huge show and tell with a lot of inspiration and color. I am going to just do a quick photo dump because there were so many wonderful things to share.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April Guild meeting

A fun time was had by all at our meeting this week! We had a spotlight on Angie.
There will be a whole post with Angie's quilts later.

The fabrics for the MQG Michael Miller Fabric Challenge were handed out.


  • The challenge runs from March 2014-June 23, 2014.
  • Winners announced July 8, 2014
  • Members may make anything they want as long as it is quilted!
  • Add in any solid or Michael Miller printed fabric.
  • You do not need to use all the fabrics given to you.
  • Upload and share your photos to the Fabric Challenge Forum on the Community site.
  • MQGs can create guild specific challenges, as long as the other guidelines are upheld.
  • Don’t forget to use the #mqgfabricchallenge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
  • See the members Community site for sign ups.
  • Fabric sign ups end Feb 28th, 2014
Andrew reminded everyone about the Quilt show happening right now at the Mount Airy Art Garage. Many of the quilts are Philly MQG member quilts. The show ends this weekend, please go see it if you haven't yet!

Andrew will be giving a talk about the Modern Quilt movement at the ArtQuilt  Elements show in Wayne on Saturday. Members are invited to come and show their quilts during the talk. Info on the show can be found here.

He also had fabric for those interested in creating blocks for Julie Herman, the founder of our guild. The information on block creation is here. You can contact Andrew for the fabric.

The charity quilt was brought from the retreat. Big thanks to Bobbi for piecing it and everyone who made a block.

Our show and tell had some great quilts! Jordan showed a quilt that her mother made at 14 and never finished. She finished it by hand quilting it!

And she had this family quilt she also hand quilted for her mother.

Sheila showed her Slice of Life quilt:

Kari finished her pillow from the class at the retreat:

Irene brought her triangles quilt top:

Michelle showed her Rock Candy placemat (pattern from Jaybird Quilts):

And she had her divided basket (pattern from Noodlehead):

Pat showed her Caddy Pad Jr:

and asked for input on her backing and binding choices for her round robin quilt:

Ruth showed her yellow and black quilt:

Next meeting will be May 20th.