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Archive for the ‘Guild’ Category

Never underestimate the inspiration caused by a group project

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view. -Paul Klee, painter (18 Dec 1879-1940) 

So I’m part of Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild, one of two local groups. This chapter, part of the MQG (Modern Quilt Guild) is the smaller of the two and is almost completely comprised of members of Coastal Quilters (the other group) which is part of the statewide Pine Tree Quilt Guild (Maine is the Pine Tree state). For once, I decided to participate in a round robin sort of thing. This year, the group opted to have each person do a block for ONE member of the group, doing it every other month or so.

Let me tell you I was stumped. I started by pulling fabrics.

Other than the sky fabric which I purchased because I didn’t have the right color or the time to dye something to order, I used only my own hand-dyes, above.

This past month was Becca’s turn. At first her prompt had me totally baffled: Paul Klee – Swiss/German Artist 1879-1940, use solids/read as solids, and she quoted several bits about his style and inspiration:

  • Klee … greatly admired the art of children who seemed free to create free of models or previous examples. In his own work, Klee often strove to achieve a similar untutored simplicity, using the intense colors inspired by an early trip to North Africa and by line drawing in the unstudied manner of everyday craftsman.
  • Klee suggests that color, shape and the faintest suggestion of a subject are enough to powerfully recreate in the eye of the viewer the actual feeling of repose the artist experienced in the original landscape.

Once I started pulling fabrics, though, I got excited. I googled Paul Klee…well first I googled Klimt and it didn’t seem to jive, then Becca corrected my mental jump from Klee to Klimt and things made more sense. I thought this quilt looked like good imagery for improv piecing:

Paul Klee’s Castle and Sun

I started with the pointy roofed houses and made two sets, then did some strips. I made my castle wall darker and shorter than his, but opted to have two towers reminiscent of the ones here. I used a few pops of the brighter yellow and ochre and the light green and the bright blue scattered hither and yon as in the original. I really liked the odd jigs at the top so left it up to Becca to leave them or trim.

At about 24 x 27 inches, it is a rather large “block,” but only took me a couple days to put together. There may be something to this improv stuff! Anyway, I had a ton of fun and am energized to dive into dyeing fabric and new work in January once the holidays are done. Hope you’ve enjoyed!

Inspiration in the Ordinary Lecture on Saturday, January 27 in Waterville, ME

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Hi all…quickly popping in to say HI!  I’m debuting my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary, tomorrow at the Pine Tree Quilt Guild quarterly meeting in Waterville, ME.  To get directions, click here for more information.  Note, however, that the meeting has been moved down the hill to the auditorium.  Just look for where there are more cars parked!

From Sarah’s new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary. Many of you have seen my “dog walkies” photos…this is what inspires me, and a I’d like to inspire YOU.

Tomorrow I’ll have a follow up post with a PDF and links to the “visiting artists” websites, pattern links, information about apps, and the books mentioned in the lecture.   Hope to see many of you there!

And the last slide in the lecture


Birdie Bernina takes her first drive….

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Imagine that…working on a quilt, and not an art quilt! AND it’s a UFO! Here I’m trying out various design options.

We moved to Maine in 2004.   This top pre-dates that move by at least a year–I made it as a local quilt group mystery quilt (design by Debbie Caffrey but don’t remember the name).  I only made four blocks, made it into a small top, and it has sat in a basket mocking me lo these many years.

Fast forward:  I SPLURGED.  I ***seriously*** splurged.  I bought a Bernina Q20 sit down.  Yes, it costs as much as a nice used car.   And Oh. My. Yes. it is worth it…what a DREAM!  I figured you only live once, quilting is my favorite thing, so I’m gonna just go for it.   And yes, I am beyond grateful that I have been able to earn enough by writing, teaching and selling my art quilts to be able to afford this indulgence!  To each and every person who has ever read an article or my book, watched my DVD, or taken a class or bought an artwork, THANK YOU!

But that means  need to learn to use it and not be a tad intimidated.  Light Bulb Moment!!! Take those two UFO mystery quilts (yep, there’s another larger one) and use them to test-drive the new Bernina, named Birdie because of the beautiful bird’s eye maple cabinet (yes, I splurged a little more and upgraded to the cabinet…pics below).  So I got the somewhat soiled, tired, not particularly well pieced tops out, ironed them, and decided to go for it.

You can see some of my quilting design. I planned to do some straight line work with a ruler and ruler foot in the green. I wanted to do more ruler work and curved cross hatching in the white spaces. And since I’m adept at free-motion, some of that using a leaf motif from the navy print in the corners and small squares. I’m not positive yet what I’ll do in the navy floral, but may just use navy and outline the flowers.

Here I’ve completed the straight line work on the green (not perfectly, but not bad for a first attempt as I get used to using the stitch regulator with the rulers. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE curved cross hatching! And then I began on the free-motion for the leaves. I plan to go back in with a lighter weight thread–I’m using 40 wt Superior trilobal poly here–to to a background dense fill around the leaves. There is a half inch outlined space between the leaves and the cross hatching.

I have to say the included-with-the-machine video was great, although I have no clue WHY Bernina doesn’t make it able to play on a DVD player–only a PC or a Mac.  Have they not noticed that computers don’t come with disc drives any more?????  Luckily, separate disc drives are cheap (about $30 or less) and I had planned on buying one for other reasons (moving CD music to the laptop).  But still.   The disc ought to be able to be played on a DVD player!   Anyway, it is well done, as is the manual.

The Q20 comes with a bobbin tension gauge and the manual says (yes, I read manuals! you should, too) you should test every bobbin.   So for now at least, I am.  That helped me get my combination of thread–40 wt. trilobal poly in the needle and 60-wt very fine Bottom Line poly in the bobbin–adjusted with a minimum of fuss.  The stitch balance is simply fan-flipping’-tastic.  I DO match needle and bobbin thread always, though, just in case!

And here’s my beautiful Birdie Bernina on her maiden quilt. Contented SIGH.

I need to thank three people:  Barb Black and Karen Miller are friends who have the Q20 (Barb’s is a sit-down like mine, Karen’s on rails) and Jeanie Cook-Delpit of Bernina for their advice, rave reviews and, from Jeannie, help.  When I saw Barb at Quilt Festival I got a great big laugh out of her when I greeted here with “Thank you for leading me into temptation!”  It’s totally true.  And Jeanie — you helped make this possible.  THANK YOU!  You are the creme de la creme of Bernina Ambassadors.  I’ll post more pics when done.   Let’s hope the power doesn’t go out tomorrow during the incoming storm, which is supposed to be heavy, wet snow.  I wanna quilt!

NYC! with friends and fun

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

For the first time in more than 30 years, I got to visit New York City, thanks to the Northern Star Quilt Guild and my friend Deirdre Abbotts!  On Tuesday of last week I gave my Journal Quilts and Journaling for Quilters lecture to the Northern Star Quilt guild in Somers, NY.  Thanks so much to one and all for inviting me down–I hope I get to return to teach!  When the engagement was booked, Deirdre suggested I plan on staying with her and she’d take a day off work and we’d go to the City and play–So we DID!  FUN!

Cheers!  With Luana Rubin and Deirdre Abbotts

Cheers! With Luana Rubin and Deirdre Abbotts–see below for more info

The week before heading down, I found and fell in love with Gudrun Sjoden’s clothing, website here, and discovered they have just ONE store in the US:  in New York!  So we went, and I indulged.  No pics of the clothing, and I forgot to take pics of the inside of the store other than this one, but I can tell you I could have dropped four figures on clothing in there with no difficulty.  Fortunately, I restrained myself (a bit).  And I figured out what sizes I take in her clothes, so now I can order online.  <Beam>

Behind the cash register at Gudrun Sjogen's NYC store

Behind the cash register at Gudrun Sjoden’s NYC store–I <3 this line!

Deirdre lives about an hour’s commuter train ride from NYC, so after a brief stop we headed in to the city armed with our fare cards for use on the train and subway.  Because we got there in the late morning, we shopped a bit, went to Purl Soho, walked around Soho a bit (which seems a lot more skyscraper-ish and less Bohemian than I remember from 30 years ago) and went clothes shopping (where Deirdre got the deal of the week on the sale rack).  We then had a late lunch at Le Pain Quotidien at the recommendation of the shop clerk.  SCORE!  Seriously, some of the best tasting food I’ve had in years.  A simple open-faced sandwich, but every component was succulent and savory:

Two "tartines" at Le Pain Quotidien in Soho.   The drizzled sauces were incredible...I've written in hopes they'll share some of the ingredients since the place has a website with some recipes given.  YUM!

Two “tartines” at Le Pain Quotidien in Soho. The drizzled sauces were incredible…I’ve written in hopes they’ll share some of the ingredients since the place has a website with some recipes given. YUM!

Deirdre had noticed that Luana was in town, so we texted back and forth hoping to meet up for a drink or something after Luana’s business meetings and play (Denzel Washington in A Raisin in the Sun).  Luana thought they’d be out at 3:30, so Deirdre and I decided to subway up to the theatre (near Times Square–what a zoo), but turns out that was intermission time.  So we just HAD to go to City Quilter while Luana watched the second half before meeting her for wine and appetizers at her hotel, near Grand Central.  I brought home a couple of their custom prints…fun!

Cheers!  Raising a glass to friendship!

Cheers! Raising a glass to friendship!

I’ve got a couple more posts with buildings and inspiration!   Stay tuned–here’s a sneak peek:

How lucky we are that the titans of industry 150 years ago poured money into buildings that are art!

How lucky we are that the titans of industry 150 years ago poured money into buildings that are art!

Be Inspired, Part 8–A Ribbon!

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Hallelujah, the quilt was done in time to deliver to Maine Quilts last Wednesday.  When hubby and I went up on Friday to see the show (hooray!  first time ever he has gone with me…of course, given the downpour torrential rain and the crowds inside, I may never get him to another!), I got worried as we worked our way back through the judged section:  lots of third place ribbons and honorable mentions, but FEW reds and blues…. meaning tough judging.  When I saw my quilt, though, boy did I smile:


Yep, that’s a blue ribbon (one of five in the entire show, and the other four were traditional quilts!) AND a Judges’ Choice from Kathy Kansier (website here).  When I went to her classroom to thank her, I learned she is also this year’s Jewel Pearce Patterson scholarship winner for quilt teachers…way to go!  Plus, she’s going to have a special exhibit at the Quilt Festival in Houston of her doorways and archways quilts… I’ve been taking pictures of doors and gates and windows for 30 years! Can’t wait to see it…anyway, Thank you, Kathy!

Here’s a picture of me (and yes, I have lost 18 pounds!  about 12 more to go….) looking quite happy (thanks to Paul for taking the picture):


And a “neighborhood” shot of the row:


I’ll blog about the show later in the week, and also give some close-up shots of the insane quilting…..