Tuesday, February 18, 2020

This month for our member story, let’s meet Lisa Long:

Lisa was born and raised in Philadelphia, Oxford Circle in the Northeast. She is happily married to Joe Hopkins; she is a stepmother to Joe’s four children, and she has eight grandchildren. She currently lives in Harleysville but has lived in and around the area including Souderton, Huntingdon Valley, Langhorne and Northeast Philadelphia. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.
Lisa and her husband Joe
Her major was metal design. She also went to school abroad for one semester in Rome, Italy and participated in a summer study workshop in Scotland. In school If she hadn't majored in metal design at college, she says she would have majored in fiber arts and she enjoyed experimented with fabric printing and even made a weaving project on a loom.

Lisa has been sewing since she was a child and has had strong guiding influences from her grandmother who taught her crochet and her mother who taught her how to sew. Interestingly, Lisa’s mom taught her how to sew on a sewing machine that she had gotten instead of an engagement ring, and Lisa has that sewing machine today. Lisa really enjoyed using patterns and making clothing, and particularly customizing clothing to match her tall frame. Early on she began sewing strips of fabric together to create her own fabric that she would then either turn into clothing or accents on clothing, this would be some foreshadowing for what would become her love of quilting.

When I asked Lisa about her favorite thing about sewing and quilting, here’s what she had to say:
            “My favorite thing about quilting/sewing is creating something out of bits of fabric into something beautiful that someone can wear to keep them warm or make them smile. Quilting/sewing is an emotional act for me. It's the connection to my Mother and a way of expressing myself thru fabric, using my hands and the talent I was blessed with. Showing someone how much I care about them and creating something is like breathing for me. It's essential to my life. It grounds me.”

When it comes to quilting Lisa appreciates traditional quilts and patterns but is more drawn to modern quilt patterns, colors, fabric patterns and Improv. She gravitates towards scrappy quilts. She likes to combine traditional fabrics with modern fabrics and enjoys paper piecing, hand sewing, and mixing embroidery with quilting. She enjoys hand sewing the binding on a quilt. She’d eventually like learn how to do her own machine quilting at some point, design her own patterns and even design her own fabric. She’s not afraid of different kinds of materials and loves a good challenge, she loves to delight and surprise people with what she can do.

Her first quilt was a NASCAR t-shirt quilt. She took the class at the local grade school thru the Souderton High School District evening classes for adults. She learned the basics, went with her own layout and had the quilt machine quilted by Missouri Star Quilt Company. She met other quilters in the class and eventually taught a few sewing/quilting classes for Souderton School District. Lisa joined a quilt guild after she had attended one of their quilt shows. It was Valley Forge Homestead quilt guild in Valley Forge, PA. She found the comradery and creative energy very stimulating and a whole new world opened for her.

One of Lisa’s recent projects is a string block quilt top. In an effort to use some of the many yards of fabric she has in her stash, she started selecting fabric and cutting it into strips. Then, she put those strips in a fabric basket from which she pulled pieces to make the blocks. In between other projects, she would make blocks and add them to the pile. As she continued to make string blocks, she thought about combining quilting and her love of making clothes. She plans to use her string block quilt top to eventually make a coat.

Below you can see some pictures of Lisa’s NASCAR quilt, her string block quilt, some string block zipper pouches and just in time for Valentine’s Day, some embroidered hearts she’s also been working on. You can find more of Lisa’s work on her Etsy page; Sanger Street Studio: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SangerStreetStudio

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

     Our member story this month features Karen. Let's learn a little bit about Karen: Karen has made things since she was a small child. Her grandmother started her knitting and embroidering when she was around 4 or 5 and she's never stopped. She has a deep history of women on both sides of her family that have made things so it seems it's in her genes. She enjoys knitting, crocheting, embroidering, modifying fabric, making clothes, patterns, and quilts.
he first quilt Karen was aware of is one her great grandmother made for her father out of his childhood clothing. She appliqued Overall Sam in classic depression-era fashion. Karen started making quilts in college in between making sweaters. She says that her favorite thing about quilting is the process. Starting with the germ of an idea through to the finished product. She says she certainly likes a finished quilt, but the making is her favorite. She really likes setting circles and three dimensional work. She finds it hard to say if she's drawn to a particular style of quilt, she likes a crisply made quilt with a thoughtful palette and leans toward modern interpretations of traditional quilts. She finds Depression-era quilts and Amish quilts inspiring.
     I asked Karen to talk a little bit about a current or recent project that she was working on.The quilt she talked about was a series of friendship blocks that she found in an antique shop in New Hampshire. She likes to buy vintage tops, blocks and quilts that need a little love to bring them back to usefulness. During that New Hampshire trip her friends and she went to Keepsake Quilting and she found some fabric to set these blocks in. Life being what it is the project matured on a shelf in her studio for a few years until she got around to finishing the embroidery signatures, backing and setting the blocks and finally, assembling the top at the guild's recent Fall retreat. She plans to send it out for quilting in the next couple of weeks then on to its final home with one of her friends who was there when she first bought the blocks. She takes great sentimental pleasure finishing old tops and blocks. She went on to say "Historically quilt making was a group effort, requiring many hands. In my particular version these quilts are created through a group effort by a number of people, but across time and region. I like being a part of that continuum. There will always be another project like the friendship quilt. I collect blocks and tops like stray pets, foster them, rehabilitate them and eventually send them on their way."
     Below take a look at some of the fantastic vintage friendship blocks that were part of Karen's project:






Saturday, January 18, 2020

Electric Quilt 8 Class with Nancy Arico

Recently several members of the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild attended a day-long class on the Electric Quilt 8 software taught by our very own Nancy Arico. This was a great class that taught students the many features and functionality of EQ8. Nancy is available to teach additional classes and can be reached via e-mail at nancy.arico@verizon.net

I'd like to start a new series here on the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild Blog; stories about projects our members are working on. We have an amazingly talented group of quilters here at the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild and I hope you find these stories both interesting and inspiring. Look for our first installment coming on Tuesday January 21st.

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