Tuesday, July 21, 2020

          Welcome to hot and sticky July here in Philadelphia. This month’s member project brings you Elizabeth Hardy Jones and her absolutely amazing song quilts. Read all about her and them below and prepare yourself for a real treat!
          Eliza grew up in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, and after bouncing around for a bit, she returned to Philly after college. She’s lived in West Philadelphia for the last 16 years with her husband. She’s a professional musician and plays with Grace Potter, Iron & Wine, Martha Graham Cracker, and many other fabulous creative folks that invite her to sing along. She regularly tours which has given her the opportunity to travel all over the world, but in those in-between times she also has lots of time for quilting. 

Eliza’s nana Yolanda was an excellent garment maker, a skill she learned from her mother Antoinette who worked in a slip factory for 40 years. Eliza says she’s not the greatest garment maker, but her Nana did teach her how to sew, and to love sewing.  When Eliza settled back in Philadelphia in 2002, nana Yolanda bought her a Viking Emerald 116, and she started making quilts. She says she still uses that same machine and is very emotionally attached to it. 

          I asked Eliza what her favorite thing about quilting was, here is what she had to say:

“My favorite thing about quilting is the meditation of it. When I’m not touring, I don’t have a day job that I come home to, so I can spend all day in my studio with my quilts and get lost in the rhythm of it. I love that quilts are about marking a moment in time - a wedding, a birth, a death, a sickness, or a celebration. That feels powerful for me. I mostly machine piece and quilt, although I do the occasional appliqué or hand quilting. I’ve told myself that I have to make one garment this year. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve got time!”

          Eliza has spent the last few years working on an amazing project called the Song Quilts project. She developed the project in early 2016 as a way to explore how women’s voices and traditional “women’s work” connect us, challenge us, lift us up, and help us understand who we are. Each Song Quilt visually interprets folk songs from the American South and the Russian Arctic. She was lucky enough to travel across to Alabama, Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Moscow, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, Russia interviewing women and gathering their songs and stories. From those field recordings, she created visual transcriptions of the folk songs shared with her, using a notation method she invented that translates pitch into color and rhythm into shape. The quilt notations are direct transcriptions of each woman's song. The quilting designs are reflections of regional textile traditions. The result is a series of quilts that are a synesthetic meditation on the power of women's voices and folk traditions across diverse peoples. In addition to the “official” song quilts she created for this project, she has also been commissioned to make Song Quilts for a few people, usually asking to have a quilt made of a favorite song, or a song of particular importance using her transcription methodology. She commented that It’s fun to see how different the folk songs look from the modern songs!

You can see all of the Song Quilts, along with recordings of each woman singing her song, pictures of the women that participated, local textile designs, and a few interview excerpts on her website: www.elizahardyjones.com/songquilts The Song Quilts are currently at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska and will be on exhibit when the museum reopens in August!

With all her song quilts off on an adventure in Nebraska, Eliza has been working her way through a quilt bucket list. She’s just finished a peppermint wheel quilt and is nearing the end on a big pineapple quilt, and finally finishing a long abandoned appliquéd wreath quilt. Next up, she plans to make a leftovers quilt from all the cast-off fabrics (snowballs and such) from each of the song quilts. A wild menagerie of musical shapes!  And if that weren’t enough, she’s also hoping to finish recording a new record this year. 

          I want to encourage everyone reading this to check out Eliza’s website with all her song quilts, recordings of the songs and tons of great information. www.elizahardyjones.com/songquilts In the meantime here are a few pictures to whet your appetite:

In addition to being an amazing quilt artist, Eliza is also a professional musician.
Bury Me Beneath The Willow

A Little Stream of Honey

Cowboy Jack

Goryun Molodoy


Ne Bela Zarya

Steal Away to Jesus

Vdol Po Travke

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: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SangerStreetStudio