Meetings

Beth Helfter of EvaPage Designs – Lecture and Workshop April 2010

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Beth Helfter is a local, hailing from Pepperell, Ma.  Her lecture “Perfection Is Overrated” is pretty gutsy.  How many of you would stand up in front of a bunch of quilters and parade all your quilting  mistakes?  Well, Beth does it with flair.  It just goes to show beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I, personally, might burn the Christmas Tree, but then again it shows how far she has come in her quilting skills.

Beth has a lot of creativity.  I’m not big into applique, but can appreciate that a flower placed in the right position can hide a multitude of sins.

It was great to see what different backgrounds can do for a quilt.  I’m not sure if I like the green or beige pumpkins.

Beth’s princess series is very beautiful. What little girl would not like those quilts on her wall?

The Workshop

The workshop “syncopated ribbons” was enlightening, but a challenge for those who like precision.  You start with a block and add  random strips of fabric  (e.i. ribbons) to each side at odd angles.   It’s reminiscent of a crazy block.  Once your blocks are done, they are squared up and cut into half square triangles then pieced back together.  This really give you a random looking block.

Beth also demonstrated how she assembles her scrappy borders.  They are foundation pieced from the excess trimmed off during squaring the blocks.  Unfortunately, I was so intent on making my blocks I forgot to take pictures.  I did get some of the various colors used in class.  I hope to see many at show n’ tell.

Click Here to see photos from lecture and workshop

Anne Lainhart – Lecture and Workshop

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Anne Lainhart is well known for her bargello classes.  After hearing her lecture on color families you can see why.  She has an innate sense of color.   Her color board is absolutely fabulous.  It is a wonderful way to illustrate the complexities of color families.  Yet at the same time make them so simple.

The various ways that Anne mixes and matches her color families result in stunning quilts.  She tries something just to see if it works.  And for her it generally does.  At least in my opinion it does.   For instance, her multi-color family bargello, most quilters would have never thought to mix the colors in the way she did, but it works.

Anne also works with border prints.  She created a Card Trick block using fussy cut border prints.  It is simply stunning!  It gives you a whole new perspective on border prints.

Click here for Slide Show of Anne’s Work.

Workshop

The workshop was to create a Kaleidoscopic purse.  Anne also brought kits for ornaments and note cards.  I thought it would be a fun class but I didn’t expect to learn so much.  Like when not to press.  I know we are taught to cut – sew – then press.  But there is a point in which you want to press your kaleidoscope,  that is when all 6 or 8 pieces are sewn together and not before.  That way you don’t accidentally stretch any of your pieces.   Who would have thought of that.  Not me,  that’s for sure.  I got caught going ahead of the teacher and pressing my pieces.   That’s me, miss smarty pants.  Seems I don’t know everything after all.

Anyway,  Anne’s kaleidoscopes are not your average stack and wack.  You need to make sure your print has symmetry to it.  She demonstrated a few tricks on cutting your border prints using that symmetry.  And how to match up the prints before you sew the pieces together.  She uses pins, lots of pins.  But if you really want to make sure your prints line up you need to pin – pin – pin.   She also demonstrated how to pin the final seam together while matching the print and the center seams.  This takes practice to get it right.   Mine came out ok but next time I will do better.

In the workshop we got information on cutting and folding note cards.  The best way to insert a loop to hang an ornament from.  And how best to attach purse handles.  You would think this to be all self explanatory but Anne has a few tricks that make you say “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

I am going to keep my eye out for some neat border prints.  I’m also going to keep my eye out for more classes taught by Anne.

Thanks for the great class Anne.

Your humble student,

Cathy H


Click Here for a slide show of more workshop photos.

Sarah Ann Smith Lecture and Workshop

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Sarah Ann Smith is an art quilter.  She makes postcards, journal quilts and art wall hangings.   She uses fusing, beading, painting, and any other medium that works for her.  Her work is beautiful.  View a slide show of her work.

Her lecture on beading showed the varying degree of which beading could be used on quilts, from very minimal to encrusted.  She considers herself a minimalist when it comes to beading her quilts.  She likes to add just enough beads to give a little sparkle.

Sarah has a group of art quilting friends.  Her and her friends help each other grow in their respective art forms.  They like to use various mediums withing there quilting.  This give each in the group a different way of looking at their own artwork.  This group had a showing of some of their work.  One of which, they each chose a picture. Then they each had to create a postcard/journal size quilt of all the pictures in the group.  It was interesting how different yet similar each were.

The Workshop

The workshop was titled “Postcards: An Introduction to Some New Techniques”.  The amount of information we received was incredible.  From how to assemble the postcards, to painting,  to stamping, to finishing, mailing and displaying your postcards.  There was such a wealth of information.

Sarah covered which products she preferred.  Peltex 70 is her choice for the stiff stuff used in constructing her post cards.  Peltex comes 3 ways,  no fusible, one side fusible,or  2 side fusible.  She prefers the non fusible.  That way she can assemble the design first then fuse it to the peltex.  This way you can keep fusing items to the card without over stressing the fusible on the peltex.

As far as  fusible web she prefers Misty Fuse.  It is a light weight fusible medium.  If you are going to build up layers on your project, it doesn’t make it to stiff as some other brands might.

Sarah went over the layering process of constructing your card. She showed an example of the layering process of constructing a design.  Once she completes a top she quilts it before she attaches the plain backing.  She found it easier to address the postcard when the quilting is not through to the plain back.

Embellishments

I can’t even remember how many embellishment ideas Sarah covered.  She demonstrated how to use this stuff call Angelina.  It reminds me of the grass we put in Easter baskets, but much nicer.  It has a metallic-opalescent quality to it.  She demonstrated how you can bunch it up then using an iron and a stamp, press a design into it.  Then you can trim it and use the resulting piece on you postcard.  The stuff is really cool.

The different ideas for using paints was phenomenal.  She demonstrated how to create your own stamps using carving tools and either stamping medium or a simple gum eraser.  You can also use automotive gasket making material or craft foam.  Another technique was using a surface that has a bumpy design of some kind.  Using a roller you could paint the item then use it as a stamp to add texture to a design.  She talked about creating your own stamping designs with cardboard and hot glue or twine.

You can also create a stencil from freezer paper.    By cutting a design from freezer paper, then pressing it on to your fabric, there are no limits to the designs you can create.  She showed us how tearing the paper can create a mountain/sky line effect or a natural looking branch.  The trick with using the freezer paper is when you apply the paint, you want to brush from the paper toward the fabric.  That way you will be less likely to get seepage under the stencil.

She also uses bubble wrap as a stamp.  Her message is to just look at what you have.  You never know how it will turn out.  But she did say to test it out on your fabric first.  Until you get the result you want.  Then fuse it to your postcard.  Because you never know how it will come out, there is no sense in ruining your postcard.

Finishing

Once you have completed your card, you want to finish off the edges.  You can use a satin or zig-zag stitch along the edge.  Sarah demonstrated how to apply a decorative yarn to the edge using a three step zig-zag stitch.    Sarah had various yarns to show all the possibilities.  If the yarn is not heavy/thick enough to show, you can twist it with another yarn to give you enough substance to attach it to the postcard.  That way you can use those pretty eyelash yarns.

Sarah also covered some of her ideas of framing/displaying her postcards.  She also discussed how to mail your postcards.

Everyone enjoyed the class.  There was so much information.  Sarah was willing to demonstrate anything we were interested in.  Here is a list of her product recommendations.

Click here to see more photos from the workshop.

If you were unable to take the class or wish to take more classes with her, check out her web site.  She will be teaching at The Gathering in 2011.

Cathy H

Unfinished Fabric Obsessions-UFO Auction

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Lyn Grenier writes:

One month after joining the Guild, 5 years ago, I found myself caught up in the bidding frenzy that occurs every February at the UFO auction. Lots of cool, gotta-have-it stuff!!! YES, good stuff. One particular item beckoned me….a huge box filled with solid colored, polyester and cotton, twill weight fabric; EVERY color of the rainbow, but mainly BRIGHTS! Just Gorgeous I think, no one will want them, its polyester! Being inexperienced, I failed to recognize the gusto, the fevered pitch, the determination of MVQ quilters and I quickly lost the bidding war. I suffered massive bidder remorse, depression, and then was obsessed about my loss. I approached the “winner” to ask to buy her out…..and luck was with me as she quickly said “let’s split it”. And so began the next journey of this FABULOUS fabric which has been sitting in my sewing room since that day, five years ago. Stop me if this story sounds familar.

We all know, you can never have enough fabric, so when inspiration struck this summer …I was READY! I attacked those polyester and cotton textiles with a vengeance. I made: 2 personalized “coloring book” tote bags for the great nephews birthdays, they held all of their gifts and goodies; 16 tote bags to hold personal care items for a battered woman’s shelter (a few great accent fabrics added more pizzazz); 2 larger tote bags for shopping green instead of choosing “paper or plastic”; 3 – 17″ Nancy Crow style pillows for the cabin of our sail boat, highly washable; 2 ditty bags to hold wallets, keys, cell phones and items we didn’t want to lose overboard; 2 large ditty bags for containing spare oak mast wedges and a collection of miscellaneous engine parts; and 4 “superperson” capes for the same 2 great nephews and their super friends.

Phew, I’m done, $5 well spent, and a terrific bargain among many great UFO bargains! While sharing this story I just realized, there are bits and pieces of fabric remaining…..absolutely TOO good to toss….Perhaps my chocolate labrador would like a new dog bed! So I’m back to stitching like mad and thinking maybe the rest of this FABULOUS fabric will show up at this years UFO auction on February 18th ….you know, it is possible. ——————————————————————————–

Working with Wool – Sandi Bard

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If you ever want to work with wool, Sandi Bard is the go to person.  She is a wealth of information regarding wool.  She has turned wool applique into an art form.  Her work is exquisite. To view a slide show of Sandi’s work click here.  As you view the slide show, note how even her stitches are.  She does it all freehand.  It goes to show practice makes perfect.

If you want to learn about felting wool, ask Sandi.  If you want to know where to find wool fabrics, ask Sandi.  If you can’t remember how to start a button-hole stitch, ask Sandi.  If you want to know the best way to do an outline stitch, ask Sandi.

Sandi shared her experiences with wool both good and bad, where the pitfalls were and what she  found worked best for her.

Start with a single stitchThen take a button hole stitch

Sandi had us use freezer paper as a template for our applique pieces.  We were to glue the pieces in place then button-hole stitch them down.  Using the water-soluble glue allowed us to place the pieces without pins.  That way the floss would not get caught on the pins nor would our fingers.  She found that starting on an edge as opposed to a corner would allow for more accurate points.  How to stitch an accurate point was also demonstrated.

Stem StitchEveryone in the class chose to work on a gold star pumpkin.  Sandi demonstrated the use of clear vinyl as a guide to accurately place our piece as we worked.  Unlike cotton, wool is not translucent so a light box would not work.  We started by gluing the various pumpkin pieces together first.  Then glued the stem to the pumpkin. Then glued the completed pumpkin to the background.  Once all the pieces were secured, we started stitching.  I was never a fan of applique.  I would get frustrated with turning the edges under.  This is much easier.  No edges to turn under made the stitching go quickly.

I think I’m hooked.  I had purchased a pattern for wool applique a few year back.  Now I think I’m ready to tackle it.

Thank you, Sandi. I really had a great time in your class.

Now where can I put all this wool?

Cathy