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. ——————————————————————————–
The following is a note I received from the daughter of a former member of the guild.
My mom, Gail McKenna, was a member of the Merrimack Valley Quilters for many years before she moved to Florida a year and a half ago. She passed away a couple weeks ago and I wanted to pass it along to anyone that may have known her. We are having a “celebration” of her life on Saturday, November 21 from 2pm to 6pm for anyone that would be interested. It will be held at the clubhouse at Ledgewood Hills condo complex in Nashua, NH. The address is 3 Dogwood Dr Nashua, NH 03062-4402.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Robbie McKenna via e-mail
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.
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.
Everyone 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?
In 2007, our comfort quilt project was for MA veterans. I would like to share a note I received last week:
“Thank you all for the lovely quilt my husband received while a patient at White River Junction VA hospital. he was always cold and this quilt helped keep him warm. He also loved the picture of your helpers and their smiling faces. Unfortunately he passed away 10/4/09; so now I have this beautiful quilt with me. I look and touch it every day and remember. Again thank you so much, Sherry Chilafoe, wife of Thomas Chilafoe.”
I had attached this picture on the back so the recipient could see that it was made by children in Nursery school.
I have sent Sherry a note and resolve that we must continue to comfort those who hurt by making our quilts. Pat Lucey
Leslie Muir Volpe Lecture and Workshop
Bev Valle, you were right. What a great lecture and awesome workshop. Leslie is a lively speaker and great teacher. I know I came away with an even greater appreciation for miniature quilting.
With the title of the lecture “We’re Talking Small”, Leslie spoke of the difference between little, petite, and miniature. Little quilts is a phrase used by a shop in Georgia. The Little Quilt Shop has a few books out containing patterns where the blocks are small but not miniature. Miniature quilts are quilts made with blocks measuring 1″ finished or smaller. While Leslie’s work is small, she does not consider them true “miniatures”. She refers to them as petite. I like that term. It makes them seem more do-able.
Leslie’s work in miniatures enables her to purchase many – many – many fabrics. As she explains to her painter husband, he can mix up what ever color he needs, but she must purchase her colors separately. Thus the need to purchase more fabric always exists. Sounds reasonable to me.
Leslie considers herself to be a persnickety person when it comes to her quilting. Her quilting may be persnickety but her personality is anything but. She is patient, warm and funny.
Leslie’s workshop was very informative. Whether you are a novice or an advanced quilter, you got something out of this class. The wealth of information was phenomenal, even if you just came away with how to make your own portable ironing surface.
Leslie handed out her list of 20 tips. First, she went through her tips explaining the whys behind each tip. While her tips pertain to working with petite quilts, most are useful in working with larger quilts.
We started off with a four patch block, placed in a nine patch setting. Leslie had sets of strips for everyone to choose from. I thought this was ingenious. It got us stitching right away. Through the process of making these blocks she went through her tips, from choosing fabrics, cutting, stitch length, pressing, accurate seam allowance, snipping seam allowances and so on.
Most of us finished the four-patch/nine-patch around lunch. Some chose to put borders on in class. While others took them home to find just the right fabric for their borders. Leslie demonstrated how she uses the left side of her presser foot to create an accurate 1/4″ inner border. She also discussed her reasoning behind some of her border fabric choices.
Our second project was a friendship star or churn dash block, which would be a finished size of 2 1/4″. Leslie had us choose a focus fabric from what we had brought. Then we were to choose at least 3 more coordinating fabrics. The focus would be the outer border. The others would be background, sashing and accent for the stars.
Next we moved on to half square triangle blocks. Leslie’s tip on making these was to start big and trim. Our blocks were to be 3/4″ finished. So if you do the math 3/4″ + 7/8″ = 1 5/8″ cut. Now that’s way too small to work with accurately, at least for me it is.
Leslie had us cut two 2″ blocks, mark one with a single diagonal line from one corner to another. With right sides together, stitch 1/4″ way from the drawn line on each side of the line. Then press to set the seam. Cut down the drawn line. Then press open. Now you need to cut your block down to 1 1/4″. Using a square ruler that has the 45 degree marked, place the 45 degree mark on the seam and trim your first two sides. Don’t worry about the measurement at this point just trim one corner of the block. Then turn it and trim your last two sides to 1 1/4″.
Once we had our half square triangles, we were able to choose which setting we wanted to use, friendship star or churn dash. Leslie recommended we lay out our pieces before we sew, to make sure we have the half square triangles going in correct way. I think she jinxed me. Wouldn’t you know, I did just that. But of course I noticed too late. I have one dancing friendship star.
Leslie doesn’t just work on one project at a time. She has many going at once. She will cut fabric and sort it for future projects. She will sit and sew 20 or 30 blocks at a time and put them in her possibilities basket. And when the mood strikes she will pick through her basket and make quilt tops. She piles tops up and quilts them while relaxing at night. Once she has a few done, she will bind a few of them at a time. Her reasoning is that you get in the flow of doing one thing and keep going.
I was thinking, “Yeah, I get that.” But as I was working on my friendship stars, the idea really hit home. I can see myself sitting and spitting out a bunch of stars. You do get into a groove and it’s easy to keep going. I actually made enough half square triangles in class to make 8 blocks. I couldn’t decide which color I wanted to use so I used both. Which works out for me because I goofed on that one dancing star.
I really really liked this workshop. I tried hard to keep this short, but as you can see, I did not succeed. I know Leslie teaches at the Maine quilt show, so if you missed her workshop, check next years Maine Quilt show to see if she’s teaching there.
Thanks again for a great workshop Leslie. You have another stalker. Just like Bev, I want to take more of your classes .