Category Archives: NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase

Victoria Findlay Wolfe

The Needlechasers of Chevy Chase hosted Victoria Findlay Wolfe this past week. She drove to the DC area from NYC where she lives and talked to our guild on Wednesday and taught a 6 hour workshop on Thursday. She is amazing!

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She showed many bright and beautiful quilts which included pieced-together scraps.

Her lecture on Wednesday was about “15 Minutes of Play”. This is the title of her first book and also describes what she tries to find time for every day in her sewing studio.

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She told us about growing up on a farm with a beloved grandmother who sewed (polyester!) scraps together into quilts. Victoria ended up going to art school and eventually fell in love with quilting and used this technique of playing with sewing scraps together to incorporate them into her own quilts.

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She changed into several polyester jackets during her lecture.

Victoria encouraged our group to try anything and never to think you’ll never make a certain design because someday you might want to. Her example of this was her Cow Quilt

The quilt she thought she'd "never" make.

The quilt she thought she’d “never” make.

On Thursday we came with our sewing machine, rotary cutter/mat, and a bag of scraps and she showed us an easy method of making fabric by piecing the scraps together in a way that they could then be cut (again) into usable pieces. (Thereby making more scraps!)

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Thursday workshop

Victoria showed us many examples of mixing the “made” fabric with “unmade” fabric to get even a bigger variety of patterns in our quilts and then set us free to work on our own pieces.

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Some workshop participants cut their scraps into dresden shapes.

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Others cut into diamonds, wedges, hexagons, etc…

It was a very fun couple of days to spend time with this wonderful quilt artist and learn about her process of creating the type of quilts that she makes. It certainly has made me think more “out of the box” about cutting things up – including old tops or blocks that I never intend to finish because I no longer like them. Maybe by cutting them into other shapes and adding other fabrics that I do love, I will make these older pieces into something that I will treasure.  I can’t wait to give it a try!

On Wednesday afternoon a few of us took Victoria to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Museum in DC which currently has a special exhibit of antique quilts from Virginia and Maryland. The Needlechasers guild is booked to take a tour of this exhibit together this summer and I wanted to preview it. It was wonderful to see these old quilts.

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Don’t you love her orange shoes?

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DAR Exhibit – “Eye on Elegance”

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The details on these quilts were astounding.

To see such a variety of quilts, old and new over the course of a couple days this past week was quite a treat for me. You can see Victoria’s blog post about it here.

If you ever have a chance to meet Victoria Findlay Wolfe, hear her speak, see her quilts or take a workshop with her, make sure to do it! You won’t be sorry.  Thanks Victoria, for a great couple of days!

 

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I Would Like to Hire you to Come Speak to my Quilt Guild.

I am a program co-chair for the Needlechasers of Chevy Chase, a traditional quilt guild in Maryland. We had a successful quilt show recently and now we know we have the funds to hire lecturers for another few years. Oh Boy!

Angela Walters Nov. 2014

Angela Walters Nov. 2014

Did you notice that I said co-chair? Fortunately I do not have to do this alone. It takes two of us to seek out interesting lecturers who we think our eclectic group would like to listen to and who can teach us something we don’t already know. Some of us have been at this quilting thing for quite some time and think we know a lot! Others in our group have just begun quilting and that makes for a wonderful mix, except maybe for this hiring-a-speaker job.

I am just a home crafter who loves to sew. I am not an accomplished artist. I subscribe to very few quilt magazines – they just mess up my house because once I have them, I don’t like to throw them away. I’m sure that each one has something in it that I will want to make someday. (This also applies to knitting and beading magazines). I prefer to peruse quilts, patterns and fabric online. What I’m getting at here, is that I don’t really know who the local quilt experts and artists  are. That is what attracted me to joining a guild – I get to see and hear from people who are creating wonderful “fabricy” things and they sometimes tell me how they made them. Such inspiration!

Marilyn Wall May 2014

Marilyn Wall May 2014

I have some advice for those of you who are seeking these lecture jobs. There are a few things that would obviously help me to hire you. My first suggestion is that you must have a website! How can I find you, if you don’t? The first thing that I do when someone says to me, “I heard the best speaker a few years ago and her name was Jane Doe”, is to google Jane Doe. In this case I would google Jane Doe Quilter in order to narrow down the field. If this search does not produce a website for me to find out who Jane Doe is and how to contact her, I can go no further. Well, I suppose I could, but I am unlikely to because there are just too many other speakers I can find this way.

If you give lectures to groups like mine, please have a page on your website that lists a description of the lectures (and workshops) you give. I like to see as much information there as you can give. What is your fee? You may think that listing this will deter people, but I think the opposite is true. What other expenses do you expect to be reimbursed for if you travel to speak to my group?

Sue Brenner May 2013

Sue Benner May 2013

Where do you live? Sometimes I can not find out from a website or blog whether the quilter even lives in the same country I do. This may sound crazy, but check your website and see if this is there. It doesn’t matter how famous you are, I don’t just know where you live. I don’t want your exact address, but at least your city and state so I can figure out what it would cost to get you to our guild’s meeting.

Some lecturers have a calendar on their websites and keep a running list of where they will be traveling to speak or teach. This is not essential but is nice as I can look to see if I might coordinate your coming at a time when you will be nearby anyway.

Angela Walters Nov. 2014

Angela Walters Nov. 2014

Is there contact information on your website? Is there an email address or a “contact me” link? Obviously I need some way to invite you to speak to my group. Sometimes we contact a lot of people all at once and it is those who send us a prompt reply back that end up getting the job.

We hope to be contacting you soon. Make it as easy on us as possible. Please!

In case you want to contact me, leave a reply or use the “Contact me” link at the top of this page. I live in the Washington DC area and I’m looking for quilt guild lecturers. Do you have a recommendation?

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Angela Walters is amazing!

Angela showing one of her quilts.

Angela showing one of her quilts.

I had the extreme good fortune this past week of hosting Angela Walters in my home while she was in the DC area giving lectures and a workshop to the two quilt guilds that I belong to. She is a long arm quilter who’s work is so exquisite that many of the modern fabric and pattern designers (Tula Pink, Jacquie Gering, Cherri House to name a few) ask her to quilt the quilts they are going to display at market to sell their designs. See her quilting portfolio here.

Angela quilted this quilt that is on the cover of Tula Pink's book (and all of the quilts inside).

Angela quilted this quilt that is on the cover of Tula Pink’s book (and all of the quilts inside).

My traditional guild, The Needlechasers of Chevy Chase, brought Angela to the DC area to give a lecture and a workshop. DC Modern Quilt Guild got to take advantage of her being in town and scheduled a lecture as well. When I asked Angela which type of guild she normally speaks to, she said that she enjoys to speak to both traditional and modern guilds and considers herself “bilingual”. She also has a theory that the two groups are getting closer together and that as the younger modern quilters gain more sewing experience, there will be less and less difference between them. I found this to be very interesting and hope that I am not misspeaking what she said about this.

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This quilt highlights Angela’s fabric line “Drift”.

I think that the take away message that Angela gives when she teaches is to not let free motion quilting intimidate you. Have fun with it! She learned to quilt on a long arm machine without any preconceptions of what the quilting should look like. She had hand quilted before she got her first long arm machine. She didn’t know at the time that it was possible to quilt on a conventional sewing machine. (Lucky her!)

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There is no doubt that she loves to quilt and she wants everyone else to love it too! Her website is www.quiltingismytherapy.com. There are links there to her blog, to video tutorials, to free quilt patterns, to her shop and to where she’ll be teaching next. If you are not lucky enough to catch her in person, she currently has four Craftsy classes on free motion quilting which surely must be the next best thing – or even better because you can pause it and play it over and over while you’re practicing.

"Impracticality" Pieced and quilted by Angela Walters. Featured on the June/July 2013 issue of Quilter's newsletter. Click on photo to be taken to free pattern.

“Impracticality” Pieced and quilted by Angela Walters. Featured on the June/July 2013 issue of Quilter’s newsletter. Click on photo for free pattern.

Angela has written several books and has YouTube video tutorials. She has recently announced another book which will be available in April 2015 that she wrote with her 9 year old daughter about quilting with kids.

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I am so excited about free motion quilting now and hope to practice on some smaller projects like tote bags or pouches. The smaller size will help me feel more comfortable when I go to quilt something larger – I think! I hope!

I have always defaulted to using my walking foot but I am encouraged to try something new. As I’m working I’m going to hear Angela telling me that echoing is my friend and that there are no mistakes that can’t be made to look better with more quilting. I’ve also found that using a coordinating thread color can make even a multitude of flaws look pretty darn good.

Angela and myself.

Angela and myself.

Thank you, Angela, for being such an inspiration and for sharing your love of free motion quilting with us!


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Fabricating Faces Workshop by Marilyn Wall

My self portrait

My self portrait

NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase hosted a lecture and workshop by Fiber Artist Marilyn Wall this past week. The workshop was called Fabricating Faces. We learned how to posterize a photo using Photo Shop Elements and then build a portrait using 4 different values of a single color fabric.

Here is how mine looked as I added layers to my portrait.

Two layers

Two layers

Three layers

Three layers (incomplete)

Layer 4

Four layers

In this final picture I haven’t completely finished my portrait. She showed us how to add the “glint” in the eyes with white paint or marker at the very end. I haven’t fused all my pieces down yet and done this eye detail which will make a difference as you can see in some of the photos below.

Marilyn Wall was such a delight to have as an instructor. If you ever get a chance to take a class from her, be sure you don’t miss out. Here are some other participants projects from the NeedleChaser’s workshop.

Marge Stemble's work

Fabrication Marge Stemble

Photo

Photo of Alice’s grandson

Fabrication by Alice Giancola

Fabrication by Alice Giancola

Photo of Donna's dog

Photo of Donna’s dog

by Donna Jacobs

Fabrication by Donna Jacobs

Pam's grand neice

Pam’s grand neice

Fabrication by Pam Zurer

Fabrication by Pam Zurer

Fabrication by Debra Lamb-Mechanick

Fabrication by Debra Lamb-Mechanick

Fabrication by Jan Gavin

Fabrication by Jan Gavin

As you can see, there was quite a variety of fabric colors and prints and they all turned out a little different.

Thank you to Marilyn Wall for teaching us this fun technique!

More workshop photos added after original post:

Fabrication by Renuka Algama

Fabrication by Renuka Algama

Fabrication by Clover Kemp

Fabrication by Clover Kemp

 

Fabrication and thread work by Joan Stogis.

Fabrication and thread work by Joan Stogis.

 

 

 

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Happy Fourth of July!

Flag quilt top

My flag quilt top

The Fourth of July is a fun holiday for me. I spend it in NH on Lake Winnisquam with my brother and sister and as many of our kids as can come. My brother has 3 grandsons that live nearby and they definitely add to the fun and excitement. This year about 2 weeks prior to traveling I was on a road trip (by bus) with the Needlechasers of Chevy Chase to a quilt shop called Patches in Mt. Airy, MD.

Patches - quilt shop in Mt. Airy, MD

Patches – quilt shop in Mt. Airy, MD (Picture from their website)

There was a quilt laying near the cutting table that was essentially a flag. I really loved how it was pieced together in different shades of red and white and had a star fabric for the blue canton. I immediately wanted to make one and figured, as I often do, how easy it would be to make up fast! So despite the fact that the store staff was busy cutting fabric for our 40 or so members on the trip, I was able to ask if they had the star fabric, and luckily they did.

Needlechasers shopping at Patches

Needlechasers shopping at Patches

Patches flag quilt.

Patches flag quilt.

I took this picture of their quilt because I liked the easy wavy quilting that was done on it. (Are you catching on to what was important to me?) I chose fat quarters and took them home, washed them and cut them into 3″ squares.

On the following weekend, the DC Modern Quilt Guild had a sewing retreat for 3 days. I had a serger there for a different project and decided it might be quicker to use that to sew all these squares together. Since completing it, I’m really not sure that it made ANY difference at all in the time it took, but I did love how tidy the back was when I was done.

Serged back to the quilt

Serged back to the quilt

I got the quilt top done at the retreat but didn’t have any backing fabric so the final backing, quilting and binding was done at home.

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Working on the wavy quilting.

Quilting this way with a walking foot was very easy. I used matching thread and did a wavy line on each of the red and white stripes. I did a diagonal straight line through the star fabric.

Diagonal quilting

Diagonal quilting

Finished quilt is 60 x 32.5"

Finished quilt is 60 x 32.5″

I originally thought that this quilt would be a table topper but the size may be a little awkward for that. I think that we will display it off the deck as though it were a flag. Surely no one will get close enough to count the stars. Although the size of the stars look about right for the size of the flag, there are actually 70 stars!

Added later:

I gave the flag quilt to my brother and sister-in-law while cruising Lake Winnisquam in a pontoon (party!) boat from Winnisquam Marine which my brother owns and operates.  It turns out that it’s actually a pretty good quilt for keeping warm.

Sunset on Lake Winnisquam

Sunset on Lake Winnisquam

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Sue Benner Workshop

NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase was fortunate enough to book Sue Benner for a lecture and 2 day landscape workshop this month. She is an extremely interesting artist.  Please take a look at her website to learn more about her and see her work, you won’t be sorry. She uses a fused quilting technique using many fibers but especially a lot of silk which she has dyed. She also uses paint when layering her fused pieces. Here are a few of her landscape pieces used with her permission from her website.

March #19 - Willow Creek 2006 - 40"x 29"  dye and paint on silk and cotton, found fabrics, fused, machine quilted

Artist: Sue Benner  March #19 – Willow Creek 2006 – 40″x 29″
Dye and paint on silk and cotton, found fabrics, fused, machine quilted

Marsh #17 - River 2006- 17"x 44"  dye and paint on silk and cotton, found fabrics, fused, machine quilted

Artist: Sue Benner  Marsh #17 – River Bend  2006 – 17″ x 44″
Dye and paint on silk and cotton, found fabrics, fused, machine quilted

Aren’t these beautiful? Wouldn’t you want to try to learn how to create something like this? 15 of us got this chance last week. Let’s be clear, we didn’t do any dying or painting. We simply tried to learn how to layer fused fabric in a way to represent a landscape that was special to us.

Sue Benner with the NCCC workshop group

Sue Benner with the NCCC workshop group

I used a picture that I love of a wheat field in Iowa that I took last summer while we were traveling to the Tetons in Wyoming.  Notice that the Teton mountains are there in the background.

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Here is my attempt at the fabric landscape of this picture. I actually love the bright colors, even though the original picture is rather dull.

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Fabric – Size is about 16″ x 20″

We did a couple exercises during the first day of the workshop. Here is a great example that Debbie Lamb-Mechanick did. These are only about 6″ x 8″ in size.

Debbie's trees Photo- left Fabric - right

Debbie’s trees
Photo- left
Fabric – right

I love the abstract leaves. I just think that the color makes the picture.

My “table mate” for the workshop made this sunrise picture from her vacation home on the beach.

Donna's Sunset

Donna’s Sunrise

Wouldn’t you love to look out at that everyday that you’re on vacation?

All 15 participants in the workshop did something quite different and they all looked fabulous. Not only that, but it was a lot of fun to hear the stories behind why each person picked the photos or pictures that they used.

Thanks, Sue Benner, for such a fun and informative workshop.

Me and Sue Benner

Me and Sue Benner

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What was I thinking when I named my blog?

I finally have time? Really? Not for sewing recently!  Sometimes other things come up. Sometimes they’re good and sometimes they’re not.

On a good note – the NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase Quilt Guild had our bienniel quilt show on October 12 & 13, 2012. I was the quilt show chairman. We had 2 years (since the last show) to get this one organized and there always seemed to be plenty of time to take care of all the details – right down until the last couple of months when the reality finally sunk in that this event was actually going to happen and we had to be ready. I had so much help and it took so many people working together to make this show such a great success.  And it was a great success.  The quilts were beautiful and our boutique and silent auction items sold and people came!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of pictures of the actual show. Lot’s of pictures were taken there, but not by me. I was too busy talking to people! Here are some that I think show the range of quilters in our guild that I have on my computer from the quilt registration process (shown alphabetically by quilt maker):

Pink Dogwoods by Marina Baudoin  27″ x 26″

This whole cloth quilt began with quilting the flowers, then free-hand designing the leaves and finally painting and dyeing inside the petals and leaves. Isn’t it beautiful?  Marina is an exceptional long arm quilter and does this professionally. See her website here.  There were many, many quilts at our show that were made by our members but quilted by Marina – including our raffle quilt!  Marina also helped determine the quilt display layout for our show.

Four Flowerpots by Anne Brill  46″ x 48″

This quilt was all hand stitched – applique and quilting. Anne loves traditional designs and hand stitching but also likes to make bags, notebook covers and small holiday themed quilts. Take a look at her blog here.

Loose Threads by Coralyn Colladay  40″ X 48″

Coralyn says that this quilt was from a class at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Show by Ami Simms and is a twist on the traditional bow tie block. I just love the different colored spools of thread! What quilter wouldn’t?  Coralyn is our NCCC treasurer.

Rainy Day by Jan Gavin  13″ x 19″

Jan took a workshop in deconstructed screen printing. This print reminds her “of panes of glass and the distortion of the light through water droplets”.  It is printed, layered with organza, enhanced with fabric pencils, machine stitched and quilted, and hand embroidered. Whew! Jan is one of our NCCC program chairs and helped chair the boutique at the quilt show. See her webpage here.

Friendship Ties by Joy Graeub 31″ x 48″

Joy likes to make quilts out of silk neckties.  I loved to point this quilt out to the men at the show. They were surprised to know what it was made from and often looked closer and thought they might have the same tie or two that was used in this quilt.

DC – A City of Neighborhoods by Alice Giancola  25″ x 29″

This quilt won the viewers choice “award” for the challenge quilt category (small quilt depicting Washington, DC). Alice worked long and hard on making up this quilt.  She used the neighborhood map from the Department of Planning and ethnicity information from the Center for Urban Research based on the 2010 census to indicate the varying neighborhoods in DC.  She hand embroidered all the names of the neighborhoods on to this quilt.

Happily Ever After by Donna Jacobs  66″ x 70″

(Sorry for the “mess” in the foreground)  This is a beautiful Kaleidoscope quilt made by Donna as a wedding “Chuppah” for her son’s wedding. It is one of the prettiest kaleidoscopes I have seen and the couple chose the fabric. Donna is one of our NCCC program chairs and was in charge of the Silent Auction along with her friend Ruth at the quilt show.

Onion by Clover Kemp  14 1/2″ x 17″

I really love this onion!  Clover machined pieced, appliquéd and quilted this quilt using commercial and hand dyed fabrics.

Redbuds and Rock Creek by Deborah Lamb-Mechanick 35″x 22″

This quilt has a lot of texture to it that is hard to capture in a photo. Debbie used fabric “lace” making, shrinkable fabric and needle felting to achieve this. Our quilt show’s “challenge” to our members this show was to make a small quilt that depicts something about the Washington DC area and this is what Debbie made. She walks her dog in Rock Creek Park all the time.  Debbie is our NCCC president, helped chair the boutique at the quilt show and you can see her webpage here.

Fireball by Donna Radner 44″ x 34″

Donna is a wonderful quilter who tries all sorts of different things with fabric.  She makes a lot of “series” of quilts and exhibits all the time.  This quilt was “inspired by slot canyons and striated rock formations of the Western United States. Curvy strips are cut from hand dyed fabrics, then pleated individually and formed to make a composition.  The strips are slightly overlapped and then fused to the background of batting and backing.  Machine quilting anchors the pieces to the batting canvas.  In this case, the edges are left free to provide additional depth.” Donna was instrumental in recruiting all the volunteers for our quilt show.  Click here to go to Donna’s website.

Dance of the Jellies by Joan Stogis  17″ x 26″

Joan used batiks, silks, yarns and translucent fabrics to make these jellyfish dance. I wish you could see this and all of these really dimensional quilts up close!  Joan is our NCCC web mistress and as a retired architect, helped determine and plan the layout and set up for our show. View her webpage here.

Silk Deconstructed #2 by Dianne Miller Wolman  23″ x 33″

Dianne says that she was inspired by the sheer silk hangings of South Korea called bojagi and by the multiple colors woven into Thai silk when making this piece.  It is hand appliquéd, embroidered and beaded.  Dianne was in charge of demonstrations at the quilt show which were a lot of fun and very informative. Many people who came to the show got to try one technique or another related to quilting.

The NCCC quilt show made enough money to keep our organization going for another 2 years in great style.  Other than showing our quilts to our family and friends, this was the objective – to make some money.  We want to have enough supplies to make quilts for our community service projects and we want to have inspiring teachers come teach us to try new things and techniques. We will be able to do both.

Unfortunately for me and my family, at the very same time that the quilt show was going on, we lost my mother-in-law.  She was 87 years old and just died overnight. For the past 3 years, or so, she had been confined to a wheelchair and living in an assisted living facility in Illinois. She had not been able to travel during this time so we only got to see her when we visited there.  However, before that time, she visited us often and when we look through our photo albums we see her in the pictures of all our happy events – vacations, recitals, holidays, graduations. Here is a funny picture of her with two of my daughters years ago:

At play in Montana

One year ago we celebrated one of our happiest family events. My oldest daughter got married in Illinois and Lenore was able to be there and “danced” in her wheelchair:

Granddaughter’s wedding 10/15/11

The photographer got a picture of her in the photo booth with my three daughters:

Grandma in the photo booth with my three daughters

We have lots of good memories  (and maybe some that aren’t as good – isn’t that always the case?) but we will miss you Lenore!

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