Monday, June 22, 2020

2020 Fabric Challenge


      The Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild did a fabric challenge this year. Participants were each given some Robert Kaufman's Carolyn Friedlander fabric ("Green Wall in Garden" design #16608)

and instructions to take a classic quilting block and re-imagine it. The blocks participants could chose from were the Ohio Star, Drunkard's Path, Log Cabin, and Churn Dash.

     The final mini-quilt needed to be 18" square, 1/3 to 1/2 of the quilt needed to contain the challenge fabric and the initial block that was chosen needed to be recognizable.

     This challenge also marked a special milestone for the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild...our very first junior member participating in the fabric challenge! We were very excited to have our first junior member join the guild, Evelyn Prendergast! Evelyn's mom Kate is also a member of the guild. Not only was this PMQG's first junior member to participate in our annual fabric challenge but this was Evelyn's very first quilt and she did an awesome job:

Below see pictures of all the other challenge quilts from the members who participated.

Beth Smith                                        Cindy Barone


Cybele Perry Moffitt                        Danielle Gallagher


Evelyn Prendergast                         Janet Perry


Kate Miesnik                                    Kathryn Jenson White


Kevin Devine                                    Laurel Silver Peregrino


Lisa Long                                          Margaret Fleisher


Maryellen Grysewicz                       Michelle Kochan


Nancy Arico                                      Nancy Stevens


Nicole Godshall                                Pat Castiglione


Sandy Perry                                      Susan Rumpf Miesnik


Alexis Diallo

Monday, April 20, 2020

            Welcome to our April edition of our member projects series. Hopefully you are safely ensconced at home putting that fabric stash to good use staying happy and healthy. This month’s member is Cindy Barone!

          Cindy moved to this side of Pennsylvania in 1983. She grew up in Rockville Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC. She lived in Pittsburgh for 2 years while going to Point Park College. She has three children, two of which live nearby, and one lives in Ridgewood Queens, New York. She describes herself as always having been a maker, she started creating things from an early age. She started machine sewing in her junior high school home economics class. Her mom was a sewist, but Cindy wasn’t allowed to touch her mother’s machine, but she was inspired by her surroundings. Cindy’s mom had a huge fabric stash and worked at a local fabric shop. Cindy remembers visiting her at work. In addition to quilting Cindy also scrapbooks and makes clothing. One very fun fact about Cindy is that when she was in her teens, she learned to ride a unicycle!
          Where quilting is concerned, she started quilting right about the time that she turned 30, she was always fascinated by quilts and remembers seeing a double wedding ring quilt on the TV show The Waltons and falling in love with that pattern. She expanded her quilting knowledge by taking many classes. 

I asked Cindy what her favorite thing about quilting was and this is what she had to say:

I always have ideas about things that I want to make, techniques I want to try and of course fabric I want to buy. I love when an idea I have turns into what I thought it would be. I like the results that you can get from paper piecing, I'm still working on my technique. I have taken 4 classes from Sarah Bond and am starting to really catch on. The quilting is my least favorite part, I do it but don't really love it. I like piecing, sometimes I follow a pattern and sometimes I use parts of a pattern and add my own twist to it.” 

When asked about her quilting style she think she leans toward modern and she love prints. She’s tried a little bit of everything but says even her traditional quilts from the past have a little bit of a modern twist to them.

The current project that Cindy is working on (well, one of the current projects – Cindy says she always has several projects in the works at any given moment) and wanted to share with you all is a quilt from Christina Cameli's book "Wedge Quilt Workshop" called Diamond Chain. Cindy took a class with her at Quiltcon right before the book came out and she love making quilts with the wedge rulers. Cindy loves the fact that these quilts look complicated but really aren’t. This project is a specific gift for anyone says Cindy; she tends to make quilts and hang on to them for a while and then give them away. So this one will live with her for a while. If you are interested in wedge quilts, Cindy recommends this book and if you ever get the opportunity to take a class with Christina Cameli Cindy says to do it, it was a great class!

Some other quilt resources / eye candy that Cindy recommends:
@gnomeangel  Angie has a great newletter
@afewscraps Christina Cameli
@sewhungryhippie Natalie Santini (good source for vinyl.)
@helens__closet for garmet sewing patterns
@cottoneer (this place puts together beautiful fabric collections.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Member Projects: March

            Welcome to March and hopefully some warmer Spring weather and welcome to this month’s member story. This month we’ll meet Beth Corcoran, a lover of all things quilt-a-long related.

            Beth grew up in Levittown and then moved to the Reading-area when she was around 9 years old.  Her parents still reside in that area, but most of her PA family is still in the Bucks County area.  She moved to Philadelphia for grad school in 2014 where she met her future husband Erik, they got married in 2018 in Philadelphia.  She has two cats, Einstein (8) and Oliver (5). They are the loves of her life and her husband completely understands! Beth has her doctorate in nursing and practice as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner at a local hospital.  She and her husband enjoy going to Flyers games and recently having learned how to knit she now knits a lot at hockey games. She also enjoys yoga. over the last few years. 
 Beth's helpers

            Beth started sewing in 2014 after her parents finally gave in and bought her a sewing machine that she had been asking for. When she took home economics in junior high, she loved making a pillow so much, she kept asking her parents for a machine and her persistence paid off after about 10 years. She then enrolled in some classes at a local Jo-Ann Fabrics.  She originally took sewing and garment classes, but then found the quilting classes.  She would go on to find and build a relationship with a wonderful teacher who really took the time to teach her the basics. She also met two of her quilty best friends there!  she would eventually move away from them when she moved permanently to Philadelphia, but they still go on retreats together and text each other what they're up to. She has several talented quilters/sewers in my family but now several are at an age where they do not do much crafting, but she sincerely enjoys talking with them about the craft.

Beth really enjoys the process of picking out a pattern and fabric.  She told me she tends to have a lot of piles of things that she is going to make but hasn't gotten to yet and often has multiple projects going at a time. Beth tends to gravitate to Modern traditional styles. She enjoys clean lines and colors and tells me she is obsessed with Rifle Paper Co fabrics.  She sees her style changing and evolving over time and is eager to see where it goes in the future.

One very interesting thing about Beth is her love of quilt-a-longs. Quilt-a-longs are generally run by the pattern developers on Instagram.  Usually there is a weekly email that participants will get to keep "on track," with the quilt along. The designers may have weekly goals or drawings for prizes as well. There is typically a specific hashtag for that specific quilt-a-long but there's also a general hashtag to follow #quiltalongs2020 to see when other ones are starting. It’s a way for quilters to get word out about their patterns while creating a larger following than just finding patterns at their local quilt shop. Beth went on to describe her interest to me:

“Being a younger quilter, there are many nights that I spent on Instagram drooling over other quilter's projects and inspiration.  I used to be able to identify any fabric and tell you the designer or production company (not so much now).  And then when I was on Instagram in the last year or so, I noticed these quilt-a-longs happening.  Analyzing myself a little too much, I think I was really drawn to them after I finished my doctorate and was craving a bit of structure.  I hadn't been able to do much quilting.  And if I did, it was for gifts.  So the quilt-a-longs allowed me a little bit of selfish sewing.  I love picking out fabric and using other quilter's pulls as inspirations.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to stay on track.  Ultimately, I love the engagement and encouragement from other quilters from around the country and world.  I think it's an awesome way to interact within this community.  When I tell people I quilt, I usually get a puzzled look, but Instagram has been a place for me to cultivate a community of like-minded individuals.  And secretly, I love the idea of being able to win a small prize for something I love to do”.

     Beth went on to tell me that she’s fallen a little behind and hopes to play catch-up a bit but she’s having a hard time choosing which to work on! One other added benefit of participating in the quilt-a-longs, Beth now feels that she has the confidence to start considering her own patterns and ideas.

You can find more of Beths post on her Instagram @phillygator. Check out some of Beth’s projects below:

This quilt “Meadowland” by ‘Then Came Jane’ (IG @thencamejune) and it was the first quilt-along Beth finished

She won a prize for this quilt “Mountainpeaks” by ‘Cotton and Joy’ (IG @cottonandjoy)

One of her current projects is a scrappy Trip Around the World by @woodberryway

Here’s an example of some Instagram posts Beth made for the Evergreen quilt-a-long Evergreen by Alderwood Studios. 

Her fabric pull:

Quilt in progress, half-square triangles:

The finished quilt:

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:

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: