Friday, November 10, 2017

October Meeting Recap

Happy Veteran's Day, CMQGers! Our October meeting was filled with Triangle Challenge finishes and more great show and tell. There's a lot to report - we're heading to the Watertown Public Library's Makers' Space for a sew-in on Sunday, December 3rd, from 3-6. That event is open to the public, so join us! Also, lottery blocks and charity drive contributions are due at the November meeting.

AND don't forget that CMQG membership must be renewed by November 26th when we'll open up any open spots to our sizable wait list. Our annual Retreat (Quilt Camp) registration is open too - we'll be heading to Kennebunkport for two or three nights the weekend of March 9-11, and you can opt for a single or double. Get in touch to reserve your spot.

On to the Triangle Challengers - we had some amazing and innovative entries:
Flying geese make up 100% of Jen's innovative quilt.

Jean's quilt is also 100% half-square triangles - the ombre fabric
from Hunter Design gives it some drama and depth!

This pic is not doing Julie R's monochromatic strip, destined for a much larger quilt.

Stephanie's triangle quilt will be perfect for a baby, and the striped triangles are pieced too!

Carolyn awesome design is also 100% triangles, we love the red square!

Rebecca's staggered flying geese remind us of a city on a hill.

Allison drafted these 3D triangles. She always picks
the perfect quilting to highlight a design!

Julie's flying geese were ascending into chaos!

Hildy's blue geese were in perfect formation,
the negative space filled by half-square triangles

Hildy also did this cool stripey triangle top.

Gwen's half-square triangles also perfectly capture the ombre effect.

We love the way Maritza designed her flying gees top.

We also had some show and tell beauties:

This was Rachel's first time sharing a quilt with us - this sweet animal quilt came out lovely.

Rachel made this baby quilt for another lucky Rachel
and tried out some free motion quilted flowers.

We had to include Rachel's expression while explaining this sweet 3D
bunny quilt that she started at age 13!

Felicity chose the perfect background for the bunting on this quilt
that was made exclusively from fabrics she had in her stash.

Heather's lovely leaf from a workshop she attended.

I wish I'd gotten a better shot of the detail on this
hand appliqued an quilted piece, with a faux piped binding.

Heather's adorable ugly sweater blocks

Jean made this wonderful quilt for her late aunt, and it was 2nd place ribbon in
the Rising Star Quilt Guild quilt show a few weeks back.

Jean made this crimson top for a niece at Harvard using Carolyn Friedlander's totem pole pattern.

This jelly roll top of Jean's is for another kid who is off to college.

Allison was inspired to design this cool pattern after noticing a church arch that looked like DNA. 

Sometimes a simple patchwork is the best way to show off beautiful fabrics.
The recipient of Regina's hand-quilted baby quilt sure is lucky.

Jane made the cutest Halloween cat quiltlette. The eyes were super-sparkly.

Jane also finished this beautiful quilt she started three years ago!

Love the lighting effect in this quilt by Rebecca.
It was made using only two fabrics, both ombre.
And that's a wrap! See you at the end of November.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Meet Your (quilt) Maker: Charlotte Howard

If you've been at Guild meeting/events recently then you're familiar with our amazing QuiltCon 2018 design. We almost completed the top at Sew Boston, there are just a couple of adjustments we still need to make. So while we can't show it to you quite yet, we can introduce you to the amazing graphic artist behind the design. 

Meet Charlotte Howard:



What’s your favorite podcast/music/audiobook genre to listen to when you quilt?

If I am hand-sewing a binding, I'll listen to This American Life and RadioLab, or watch a really bad movie/TV show that doesn't require much attention. Otherwise, I prefer to work in silence so I can hear my thoughts. Plus, I get vicious migraines from noise and vibration, so I have to wear ear plugs when I'm using the sewing machine.

What sewing skill are you most proud of?

I would say my hand-sewing skills are rudimentary, at best. But, I can do a mean Satin Stitch on the machine!

What skill are you itching to master?

I finally learned how to do French Knots a few weeks ago! That was a major victory, although it only took a few minutes of reading a tutorial to achieve. I am hankering to try making a bias tape quilt.

Do you sew for a living?

In the past decade, I returned to my first career as a graphic designer. These days, I mostly do freelance book cover designs for small presses. I love the work as I get to research images and art reproductions from all different historical periods, and figure out how to integrate text to tell a story about what's inside the book.



It is challenging and satisfying work, except for the part where I don't get to touch anything but the computer keyboard, and where I get eyestrain and migraines from the computer screen. Quilting is a way for me to create stuff with my hands, and to give my eyes a rest.

What kind of fabric are you most attracted to?

I prefer rich, warm, solid fabrics, like those found in Amish quilts. My parents run a furniture store, so from birth I was surrounded by passionate discussions about upholstery fabrics. One of my favorite jobs at the store was straightening up the fabric sample shelf in the back office. So many heavy binders full of gorgeous, thick, luscious fabric squares from each manufacturer...it was a tactile heaven of cut velvets, damasks, silks, & leathers.

Tell us about the quilt that means the most to you and why. This doesn’t have to be one that you made. And we’d love to see a picture! 

The first "quilt" I made was in Los Angeles in 2000. I was working 80-hour weeks editing horrible TV shows in small, dark rooms with multiple huge video screens and no windows. I was desperate to do something with my hands, so I took two sheets and cut them into triangles. It was such a relief to play around with layout and then (rather haphazardly) stitch them together. There's no actual batting, and I had no idea how to attach a backing properly, but it's still the quilt I use the most. because it makes me so happy.


How/When did you start quilting? 

See above. Before that, I had stayed away from any kind of sewing due to getting a "D" in Home Economics in the 8th Grade. I finally got up the courage to take a beginning sewing course at Brookline Adult Ed in 2011, and the teacher was much more positiveI told her I was interested in quilting, and she turned me on to a free quilt class at the Allston Public Library. People in that class mentioned Gather Here, and I've been taking quilting classes at Gather Here ever since.
From designing and picking fabrics to watching a recipient’s face when they see your quilt for the first time, what is your favorite part of the whole process?

For me, the most satisfying part is the process of designing the quilt. This Charity Quilt design is the only quilt design I've ever done on the computer, though it was simply a more complex version of a quilt I did for a Michael Miller Fabric Challenge.


Every other quilt has been about selecting/discarding colors, laying shapes out on my living room floor, staring at things for an hour/day/month/year, rearranging, sewing, ripping out seams, resewing. It's not a fast process, and sometimes it's not fun, as I tend to deconstruct the meaning of colors/symbols/life, which can lead to some angst. But once I find a solution, then I feel as though the process has been worthwhile for me.



What do you do to get over a hump when you get stuck on a quilt?

First, I go see a movie. Then I go for a drive in an area I know nothing about. Then I put the quilt away for several months/years. Whatever it takes to distance myself from the project and get a fresh perspective/new inspiration. I put this Drunkard's Path quilt away for almost a year before I knew exactly how I wanted to complete it.



What kinds of other crafts are you into besides quilting?

I'm not so into differentiating between "arts" and "crafts." The division is often a culturally imposed one that discredits the importance of work created by women and/or people from "other" socio-economic backgrounds.  I've tried all sorts of arts & crafts processes, including stained glass, handbuilt ceramic sculptures, photomontages, jewelry beading, letterpress printing, silk batik, weaving...

I miss doing ceramic work as 3D sculptural pieces are very satisfying to create. Ceramics are heavy to cart around though! Quilts are much lighter.
Where’s your fave place to eat in Cambridge?

I used to love Algiers on Brattle Street, though their ownership has changed and their hummus isn't so heavenly anymore. The Afghan restaurant, Helmand, is quite good. Anything Middle Eastern is high on my list. I am itching to try Oleanna.
Do you have any favorite blogs/insta accounts we should know about? And where can we find you on the internet?

I'm on Instagram @charlaralotte
My (very outdated) graphic design portfolio is here.

Anything else you want us to know about you? 

The first quilt guild meeting I ever attended was a revelation. I was terrified going in, as I thought the meeting would be like the harsh & bitter art critiques of college. Thankfully, that format has never been in evidence. There's such a great positivity that means so much to me. Even if I haven't been doing a lot of quilting, I am always rejuvenated and reinvigorated creatively after guild meetings. So, thank you to everyone who attends and makes the meetings these delightful afternoon escapes from the cut-throat world outside.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

September Meeting Recap

Hey CMQGers, if you made it to Sew Boston yesterday than you may have seen our so-close-to-completion QuiltCon quilt top! It was a lovely day of sewing and surprises. A big thanks to Crosscut Sewing Co, Gather Here, Moda Fabrics, Robert Kaufman, Violet Craft, and C&T Publishing for supplying the prizes, as well as CMQG members Gwen, Patrice, and Stephanie for donating to the cause of WINNING.

Quick reminders while we have you here: you may now register for more than one Anna Maria Horner workshops - head over to the events page to sign up (I promise, the buttons are working correctly now). We are looking forward to seeing what you all did for the triangle challenge in a couple of weeks - you still have time to create a top - I should know, I started mine yesterday!

I was sorry to miss the September meeting, but it sounds like it was a lovely mix of Rebecca's needle-turn applique presentation, socializing and some great show and tell:

Hildy's Nespresso capsule experiment. Ridiculously cool!
Jen started this quilt at Quilt Camp 2017. It's fabulous.

Regina chose to add the solids on the diagonal,
which settles the eye on the super-cute owls and the masterful block piecing.

Carolyn's been working on this colorful sampler this summer. Wow!

And here's Carolyn's sneak peak at her triangle challenge quilt.
We saw more of this project at Sew Boston?

Triangles for Taz's baby!

Congratulations Taz! Baby comes to his first CMQG meeting dressed in style....
Styles for those little baby burps.....
Mark your calendars for our next sew-in (Lexington Community Center, 11/11 9-4:45), and we'll see you at the meeting on October 29th.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Meet Your (quilt) Maker: Sandra Gregg

Were you surprised when you received the email about our FREE trip to the Garment District in New York in November? Well, meet Sandra (Sandy) Gregg - our treasurer who collects the taxes, pays the bills, files the tax forms, and tells us when we have extra money to spend on things like our upcoming field trip! Sandy's been quilting and guilding for years, and makes lovely art.




What’s your favorite podcast/music/audiobook genre to listen to when you quilt?

 I listen to the WBGH classical music station WCRB when I quilt.  It allows me to think my own thoughts and drowns out the sounds of the city.  Plus they pick the music and it’s a nice variety.

What sewing skill are you most proud of?

I’ve been sewing since 7th grade, which was a long time ago.  I think my sewing skills are average but sewing machines have advanced by leaps and bounds in the last 58 years.

What skill are you itching to master?

I want to be able to always have my free-motion quilting look perfect and it never has.  I have practiced a lot, and I think what I do works well enough and others probably don’t notice the things that I’m not happy with.


Do you sew for a living?

I am retired from working and my main hobby is quilting.  I do it for the love of the process.  Once in a while I make a little money but that’s not my goal.

What kind of fabric are you most attracted to?

 I usually begin with white fabric and if I am painting it, silk is my favorite because it glows.  If I am making traditional or modern quilts, then regular cotton works best for me.

Tell us about the quilt that means the most to you and why. This doesn’t have to be one that you made.

 The quilt that I’m working on at the moment is usually my favorite.  Since I love the process, once the quilt is made, I’m on to planning the next one.  Usually in a year I will make 12-15 large abstract wall quilts.


How/When did you start quilting?

I began quilting in 1976 which was the US Bicentennial.  The renewed interest in quilting began around that time.  I had just moved with two young boys to Lebanon, NH and was looking for a way to meet people.  I took a beginning quilting class at Adult Ed.  The group got along very well and we eventually went on to form the Northern Lights Quilting Guild which is still alive today.

From designing and picking fabrics to watching a recipient’s face when they see your quilt for the first time, what is your favorite part of the whole process?

I love the process of painting and dyeing fabric.  It’s also very rewarding to help beginning quilters. One of my granddaughters has learned to sew and she spent the weekend with me recently and we had a great time making quilt blocks.  All she needs is a line drawn on the fabric and she is good to go.

What do you do get over a hump when you get stuck on a quilt?

When I get stuck I go for a walk or work on other things.  Even just puttering around the room sometimes helps.  The ideas come at odd times, and I don’t obsess about it when I see that it’s not working.  I’ve even been know to throw things away or cut them up.  Sometimes even turning a quilt 90 degrees solves the problem.



What kind of other crafts are you into besides quilting?

I’m very curious about how things are done and how they are made so I’ve tried lots of crafts including crochet, macrame, embroidery, stamping, book making, screen printing.  You learn new things whenever you change up your routine and it all comes full circle eventually and shows up in what you are doing and how you solve problems.

Where’s your fave place to eat in Cambridge?

I like to cook and usually eat at home.  When I’m looking for something tasty I often go to Flour Bakery

Do you have any favorite blogs/insta accounts we should know about? And where can we find you on the internet?

 I have a web site but don’t have a FaceBook account and I am not active on social media.  I follow a few blogs but find that people seem to post less and less often as they explore other platforms.  The bottom line for me is that following social media takes a lot of time, and I’d rather spend that time making art.


Anything else you want us to know about you?

I’ve been retired since 2002 after spending many years as an administrator at Dartmouth College.  I was a quilter then, but naturally my productivity increased once I had time to take classes and follow the muse.  My advice to everyone reading this is to take as many classes as you can.  You only need to learn one new thing to make taking the class worthwhile.  There are always new things to learn.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

August Meeting Recap

Great seeing so many of you at the August meeting. We made good progress on our QuiltCon 2018 top and sent many blocks home to be sewn into rows. If you took home a row, please have it ready for the September meeting. If you can't make the meeting, please leave your finished row(s) in the CMQG closet at Gather Here before then.

We have a lot of great events planned for the coming months - check out our Meetings/Events page for updates. There is still room in the Latifah Saafir workshop (perfect your paper piecing and curve sewing!) and it's open to anyone, so bring a friend! SewBoston 2017 also has some spots left - this was a fun event last year with amazing door prizes and lots of fun folks. I'm still working my way through the pack of 30 colorful zippers I took home! ALSO - descriptions for the Anna Maria Horner workshops are up on the Meetings/Events page now. Registration will open on September 20th at 10am, so make sure you know what your first choice will be before then.

One more reminder that lottery blocks are due at the September meeting and triangle challenge tops/quilts at the October meeting.

And now, for your show and tell:

Jessica HAND SPUN this yarn for a friend's fabulous pink pussy hat!

Jane used her Tula Pinks for this sweet quilt intended for her grandkids' nap room
(I want a nap room with a Jane-made quilt!)

If you've had your eye on the constellation quilt pattern,
Stephanie made a quilt that should convince you it's worth it!

Laurie pieced this top for a friend getting married.
It will act as a guest book, where guests can sign in the white spaces!

This is the back, because there are a lot of guests!

How sweet is Rebecca's traveling jewelry case
made for the Michael Miller challenge?


Ali's busted through her (blue) scraps stash to piece this
fun quilt-as-you-go picnic blanket

Allison got creative with her circular ruler to make this cool helix pattern

Julie finished her Atlantis Wing quilt, based on
the thermal blankets that covered the first space shuttle.

Hildy's color effects, so mesmerizing I forgot to take any notes on this one!
Reva finished this block-of-the-month beauty

Kathy made this quilt for her niece who is off to college. Phenomenal color picks!

Reva made this beautiful sling bag, perfect for a new season!

Reva also finished this bright jelly roll top, using 2" strips.


Julie made this lovely pillow top for her daughter off to college.

Julie made a vibrant quilt for the daughter who is living on her own for the first time.

Rachel finished this sweet baby quilt for her baby, due in October.



Christine had the brilliant idea to make a bag out of this tester hand appliqued block
before she committed to a whole quilt (she decided she's all set!).

Christine started this wonderful quilt with skills learned in the Chawne Kimber workshop.
She's finishing it off as part of the Welcome Blanket project. 

Kim finished her awesome patchwork city quilt, after deciding
she wasn't going to show up for another quilting retreat with this top!

and finally, Lisa is highly recommending this tiny
sewing machine that she got as a gag gift from Laurie.
"Perfect for sewing in the car."

Hope you're enjoying these first days of fall, and happy quilting!