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: 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.

Be sure to follow our blog (click on the follow button on the right-hand side in the box titled "Followers") for notifications about or new posts! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


Happy New Year and welcome to a new blog year here at Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild. My name is Kevin Devine and I'm the newly elected V.P. of community outreach. I hope to bring you some interesting quilty tidbits, inspiration, and hopefully a little something to make you smile.

The New Year is always a time for looking forward, for resolutions, and for setting goals. I'm looking to expand my quilt experience and to make at least one quilt this year in a style or using a technique I haven't done.

What are your quilt and creative goals for 2020?