Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Giving


It has been my experience that quilters, as a whole, are givers.  We make things and then, naturally, we want to share them, sometimes by
giving them away.  I am still at the point in my quilting life where not everyone in my family has a quilt, but I know so many quilters who are well
past that point and now make for the love of making, but need an outlet to share or give away all those lovingly crafted items.  


Enter the charity quilts.  Pulse massacre, Oklahoma tornadoes, Texas or Florida hurricanes and quilters spring into action.   We want to help so
we make things and send them off with good wishes and hopes for grateful recipients.  We count our blessings and feel fortunate to be able to give
to those whose needs are so critical.


But what about those ongoing needs?  Babies in the NICU at the local hospital, people in hospice facing then end of a well-lived life, those battling
breast cancer, and the odd organization looking for a quilt to auction off in a raffle.  These are some of the charities that local quilters contribute to
every day, all the time, year round.


At the PhillyMQG, we have adopted many charities over the years;  During my involvement in the guild, we made quilts for the Orlando Modern Guild,
placemats for a local food kitchen, menstrual kits for girls in third world countries, and drain bags for breast cancer patients.  This year, we have
decided to create string blocks to fabricate quilts to have on hand for needs that arise suddenly.


No photo description available.
String quilts always look so warm and comforting to me.


Image may contain: 10 people, including Danielle Gallagher, Janet Perry, Kyona Nason, Sarah Bond and Deborah Woodworth, people smiling, people standing
Some of the guild members with our quild’s 2019 charity quilt hanging at quiltcon in Nashville.  The quilt will eventually be given to a local charity.


There are many charities that need sewn items and as a quilter/sewist, I feel lucky to be able to provide them. I like to create, to make, to share, to give.  


And now for the interactive portion of the blog.
Do you have a charity you sew for?  Is there some organization you are happy to contribute your time and effort to?  
Share in the comments below. Maybe you will inspire someone else!


Respectfully Posted

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Welcome to the PhillyMQG Blog!


I’m not a blogger.  I have a personal blog with two posts. The last one dated Feb 2016.  Nevertheless, I’ve saved this blog post in my Google Drive
as PMQG Blog 1, so I must be planning something...


I’ve read enough blogs to know that the best ones are written from the heart, contain lots of details and make me smile.  So, my goal is to do all of
those things for you here during my tenure as Vice President for Community Involvement. (Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?)  Feel free to let me know
if you’d like to be a “guest blogger” and try your hand at this involvement thing!


To begin at the proverbial beginning, the new executive board for the Philly Modern Quilt Guild met the first week of January to plan activities for the
guild for the up-coming year.


Here are the lovely ladies at the helm this year.  




The “boardroom” at Panera’s heard lots of serious contemplations, thought provoking questions, friendly banter, and laughter as we scheduled events
for the next 12 months and beyond!  It soon became apparent to a newbie like me that running a guild of this size is no small feat. Fortunately, things
seemed to be organized; Schedules & agendas were printed and distributed and we all scribbled copious notes on what we needed to do and when
we needed to do it in order to keep this organization running smoothly.  


Which brings me to this blog.  Part of my duties is to use this space to report what we’ve been doing, what we are going to do, and perhaps, at times,
inspire you to express your creative selves.  


What have we been doing?
Our January meeting saw a push for members to wear name tags.  We have many new members and name tags are a great way to open up to someone.  
Personally, I am terrible with names so ya'll are doing me a great service. And every time you wear your name tag to a meeting, you are entered into a
drawing for some quilty swag.  What? Free stuff? I couldn’t finish that 3 year old, half-finished name tag fast enough!


What is awesome about asking creative people to make something with their name on it, is all the creativity that was evident in the variety of name tags.  
So much fun just looking at them all. I wish I had taken a picture of every one!



We had our annual Elfster Holiday Gift Swap at the January meeting.  Members sign up and get paired anonymously with another member and give
them holiday presents.  Gifts must be handmade, but not necessarily by the giver. As I watch members open their presents, I am usually feeling an
urge to step up my game, get creative, and make something beautiful & useful. From the simple, yet elegant, to the completely-out-of-my-skill-set
complicated, the handiwork is always appreciated, admired, and loved by the recipient. Nothing beats a hand-made gift. Amiright?




Finally, we ended the meeting in our usual way, with Show & Tell.  Did you ever notice that when someone shows a quilt there is always a moment when
the audience makes a collective, appreciative sound? It usually sounds like an oh! of surprise or delight.  Sometimes, it is as loud as a gasp. Just pay
attention next time. I bet you didn’t even know you were doing it.


                



Yeah, I can't fix those photos. Anybody know how to get those %$#^% to line up neatly? Help!

And now it's time for the audience participation portion of this blog post. Personally, I dislike the idea of having a sign-up sheet for Show & Tell at meetings.
Presumably, this is so this blogger can publish the maker's name with their picture. My opinion may be in the minority here. Let me know in the comments
below, won't you? I swear I'll re-examine the need for sign-ups if most of you are enamored of the notion.


Respectfully Posted


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Member Spotlight: Kathryn Jenson White

Written by Kathryn Jenson White, PMQG Member
The ABCs of KJW! This pattern of blanket-stitched letters was simple and fun to do. I use Heat ’n’ Bond lite for all my blanket stitching. And I do a LOT of blanket stitching.

Deadlines, the goals editors set for me as a magazine and newspaper feature writer, and threadlines, the goals I set for myself as a quilter, are very different. The first result from externally imposed requirements for length and content and tone and a challenging creativity-on-demand. Meeting those requirements is fun and fulfilling, but I like threadlines much better. They result from an internal desire to develop whatever fabric project I desire and to start and finish whenever I want and to take it in whatever direction I choose. No one edits my quilts: I undo and redo and change as I want. No one writes headlines/titles for my quilts that don’t quite say what I want them to: I create my own quilt names, to say exactly what I mean them to.

Deadlines and threadlines are also alike, however. They both involve conceptualizing, gathering material (figuratively in the first case and literally in the second), planning, making, revising and finishing. I love all the steps in the process, but the one I like the most is conceptualizing. I realized early on in my quilting experience that I didn’t want just to make fiber art that was just beautiful; I wanted to make fiber art that was beautiful (at least to me!) and that said something meaningful to me or involved word play or referenced something I cared about or had messages tucked into them. I had always been an abecedarian: I collected alphabet samplers, admired all kinds of calligraphic art and enjoyed graffiti. Also, I loved the word/idea of TEXTiles, which is what I started thinking of my quilts as at that point in the mid-’90s. Among the first alphabet quilts I remember seeing, and the one that led to make my first, was on the cover of a magazine, maybe McCalls? It was red and green, as I remember it, and I loved it.

KiloJulietWhiskey: Named after my initials, this signal flag alphabet was fun to draft and make from readily available, copyright free images online.



I began quilting in 1987 when I wrote a feature story for Oklahoma Today magazine about the resurgence of interest in quilting. Titled “Blessed are the Piecemakers,” it focused on OKC’s and OK’s active quilt scene. The city had a guild with more than 200 members, the state had a large state guild and many smaller cities and towns had their own active guilds with shows popping up with increasing regularity. I decided to take a quilting class to understand before I wrote and to end up with a quilt. I had long been an avid crocheter, learned from my mom, Mary Grimm, but I didn’t know then of anyone in my family who had quilted. I found out later that my great grandmother on my father’s side did. I now have a quilt from her and a couple I made from blocks she left when she died.

YoYobet: 926 yoyos! I bought the Clover tool for yo-yos in all the sizes. I made a Braille alphabet in all red yo-yos and liked mindlessly making them. Then I found a graph of circles that formed the alphabet and decided I could do those in yo-yos. This is mostly basted. I’ll do the connecting stitches for real this winter. Maybe next.

In 1994-1995, I made my first full-sized alphabet quilt. I collected black and white/grey fabrics that represented something beginning with the letter I used each for. So the letter “I” has ivy fabric and “L “has leaf fabric, etc. Before that, I had made one full-sized sampler block quilt and many others for myself, my son, my family members and as part of an active small group with whom I did group projects repeatedly. My real passion then was hand quilting, and I got really good at that. (News Flash: Use it or lose it. I’m not nearly as good now as I was then. I still love hand quilting, but I don’t do it nearly as much.)

Amishbet: I tend to think of many of my traditional alphabet quilt names with just whatever it is and “bet” attached, in the mode of everything obsessive being “holic.” Hmmmm. Maybe THAT would be a better way to go for me? In any case, neither approach is linguistically sound, but I never let that stop me. This one has the letters that spell AMISH pieced with the leftovers from what I consider my best quilt ever, a Joseph’s Coat I hand quilted.

In the intervening 30 years of quilting and 23 years of strong focus on alphabet quilts or quilts with words on them, I have made more than 50 of varying sizes. Some are finished and gone. Some are finished and still with me. Many are tops and still with me. Hand quilting is not conducive to finishing quickly. My goal now is to become a skilled enough machine quilter to finish more of my works, both the alphabet tops and the many others I have made that aren’t alphabet focused.

Alefbet: I loved making this Hebrew alphabet within a six-pointed star. Blue and white are traditional colors in Jewish symbolism. I wanted the blue to be dominant, but I decided to use a pale blue rather than a true white. And I went with gold because I have a great backing fabric (I WILL get there eventually!) in blue and gold. My fill-ins are my initials and year of completion in Hebrew/Hebrew calendar year and embroidered symbols of Judaism.

However, the siren call of making more quilts is strong. I’m finishing a T-shirt quilt for my 32-year-old son. And I have many, many more concepts based on my focus as a quilt abecedarian: An APPliqué quilt of App icons from Apple. So many delightful apps! I also have lots of ideas for my other quilt focuses: Dia de Los Muertos quilts and quilts made from vintage blocks my sisters of quilting past have left behind for me to take to the next step in the process. (Many, but not all, of those are signature blocks. I LOVE names on quilts.) Being a member of this ghostly quilt collective has always pleased me. I’m also working away on my wool, blanket-stitched version of the Dear Jane quilt as well as on two relatively new series: Urban landscapes built around, of course, graffiti, and one I am calling I Thought Sew. The first in the latter came about when I had this thought after a frustrating 30 minutes of trying to find something I had misplaced: “I wish I ever did what I always say I will, but I never do,” referencing my constant resolving to put things down in the same place and failing miserably. I liked the wording of my frustration so much I decided to make a wall hanging of it. Then I decided I had other things to say.  Lots of other things.  I Thought Sew will showcase some of those.

So that’s my quilting autobiography. In conclusion, here’s a summary of some of the specific questions Spotlight Members are to answer:

·         When I first started quilting, I wish I had known that machine quilting could be as cool as the modern aesthetic has made it. I thought it was all cheap bedspreads from Sears and bad imitations of hand quilting, and I actively disliked it. Now, I admire it deeply and widely. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so far behind in my tops-to-quilts piles if I had understood machine quilting as I do now: Texture! Negative space!

·         I gravitate toward a colorway of grey, black, red and white, but I try to push myself to try others sometimes. I’m working on a pink and grey quilt now. I have an orange and grey alphabet planned.


I like messages in the quilting. I’ve tucked in a few as I’ve hand quilted. In my “whole cloth” quilted stencil quilt, I have quilted this in each of the four “extra” blocks necessary to make a 5x6 grid of an alphabet quilt of 26 blocks: (Top left) KJW, (Top right) 2012, (Bottom left) At $7.25 per hour, (Bottom right, shown below) About $1,087.50 Really. 

·         I LOVE naming my quilts. Sometimes I make quilts just to realize a name I’ve thought of: AlphabeTIES is one of those. I’m just finishing a group project in which my quilt is named See Something. Sew Something. I have a super quilt I made from a vintage children’s fabric I named Grammar’s Flower Garden. I have one called Now I’ve Sewn My ABCs. The list goes on.

·         I label all my quilts now. I want my initials, kjw, on the front along with the year. Because alphabet quilts on a grid require four extra blocks, I usually do one with my name and one with the year. I plan to add my name in some way on the front of all the tops I have.

·         My favorite quilting tool is a long pair of tweezers I use to nudge fabric layers and as a stiletto when needed.

·         My most challenging quilt was a challenge because of the hand quilting: a Joseph’s Coat.
Joseph’s Coat: Here’s the quilt from whose scraps AMISH is spelled. It’s all hand quilted in black, the traditional Amish method. Along the purple strips I quilted a message among a traditional Amish quilting design. The first three strips read “Kathryn Jenson White” “Started 1998 Finished 2011” “Norman, Oklahoma.” For the next three I divided my own “text” with an allusion to the biblical story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis. I am not a religious person, but I wanted the connection of where the real name came from. The three strips read, “Book of Handwork Chapter 2 Verses 9-52 Now Kathryn Loved Joseph’s Coat More Than All Her Quilts.” My birthday is 2/9/52. Here’s the beginning of the text from Genesis 37 Chapter 37 Verses 3-35: Jacob loved Joseph more than he did any of his other sons, because Joseph was born after Jacob was very old. Jacob had given Joseph a fancy coat to show that he was his favorite son….” If I’d had room in the purple strips, I would have done the whole thing up to there: Now Kathryn Loved Joseph’s Coat more than she did any of her other quilts, because Joseph was made after Kathryn was very old. Kathryn had pieced Joseph a fancy coat to show that it was her favorite quilt.” I had to summarize for space. 


·         My fabrics and scraps are organized (sort of) by color in Ikea bins in Ikea cubby shelves.

A Bewhiskered Collection: I found this weird font with letters and faces many years ago. I put the blanket stitched and embroidered faces and facial hair in frames that were a collection of what were meant to be quilt labels. Then I appliquéd them to wallpaper-looking fabric and put a fireplace and bookshelves below to create a wall room. My favorite part is a miniature silhouette of myself I “hung” over the fireplace. It was from Disneyland when I was 16. I photocopied it, reduced it to the right size and blanket stitched it.


Woolybet: This was my first wool quilt. It’s a pattern I adapted. I often change some elements of patterns to better please me. I’m not a big lover of hearts on quilts, and the tassels were those. I redrew them to be tassels. I changed some blocks, too. I’m going to hand quilt this one with Perle Cotton in large-stitch quilting, I think. Maybe this winter. Maybe next.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Philly MQG Spring Retreat

Written by Hayley Crawford, PMQG member


Twenty-five sewists from the Philly Modern Quilt Guild descended on a hotel in Warminster, PA, for a weekend of uninterrupted sewing, shopping, and communal creativity. As early as 9am on Friday morning, sewing machines were set up and humming, and pieces of fabric were appearing on the design walls. As members trickled in the room warmed up with excitement, productivity and laughter.

Nicole and Jordyn planned a great event - the hotel was wonderful (with a great breakfast), the sewing room was bright and spacious, the snacks were plentiful and the Chipotle buffet dinner on the first night was awesome. A masseuse joined us for two days, which was a well-deserved treat for our aching shoulders and backs.

Members started working on their PMQG mini challenge quilts, as well as the group quilt. We also put together fabric postcards to send a member who recently left our guild to be closer to family in Seattle. Many members visited the local quilt stores for, more, essential fabric. And late on Sunday afternoon, we disbanded.

It was a fun, inspiring, chilled weekend. Thank you to our group of wonderful women, and thanks to Nicole and Jordyn for organizing.

Here are some photos from the weekend, contributed by our PMQG members. Enjoy!

Debbie's Glam Clam quilt, pattern by Latifah Saafir
Photo by Danielle Gallagher

Kari's "assistant", Snuggle Kitty
Photo by Deirdre O'Brien

Monica's fan block, pattern by Sarah Bond
Photo by Monica Conrad

Holding up Danielle's quilt- her original pattern!
Photo by Monica Conrad

Admiring Bobbi's quilt top- from her Bee Block group!
Photo by Danielle Gallagher

Hard at work at the retreat!
Photo by Danielle Gallagher

Karen's rainbow Lone Star quilt
Photo by Danielle Gallagher

Stitchin' & Bitc*in'
Photo by Danielle Gallagher

Beautiful strips and stripes!
Photo by Danielle Gallagher

Grys's signature color palette!
Photo by Danielle Gallagher