Tune into Nancy's Corner, the last segment of each Sewing With Nancy program, for inspiration, ideas, and insight! Nancy interviews guests who make a difference in the world of sewing, quilting, and embroidery. Artists, volunteers, teachers, and writers are just a few of the interesting people you'll meet at Nancy's Corner.
||Nancy's Corner Segment
|Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares
||Lola Jenkins, Art Quilts
Lola Jenkins, fiber artist, joins Nancy via Skype to explain her free spirit approach to fabric art with raw-edge appliqué. Lola says, “I did not know the rules, so I could not break the rules of quilting.” Her quilts show the joy of pursuing her artistic passion. Lola started sewing ten years ago and she doesn't have a background in art or drawing. Yet, she found her niche and has evolved to the “Master Quilter” status.
Lola starts her artist project with an enlarged photograph or sketch, which has been manipulated in a photo editing software program. She cuts out the small fabric pieces and creates the image, many of which are realistic portraits. She loves doing the portraits without using realistic skin tones for the fabrics. She adds some free-motion, thread painting, or random quilting to the fabric portrait to make it come to life. Her fabrics are her paints, and she fuses abstract and folk art into creatively crafted portrait quilts.
For more information about Lola and her quilting techniques go to Lola's Designer Quilts.
Henry Drewal, Siddi Women's Quilting Cooperative of India
African communities are rich with artistic traditions. We may be familiar with the history and artistry of African people in the Americas, but we may know little or nothing about Africans in other parts of the world. We share the fascinating story of Siddi Women's Quilting Cooperative of India with Evjue-Bascom Professor Henry Drewal, who did research in several African communities in India.
The people in the African communities in India are relatively poor. They use clothing that can no longer be worn, as fabric for their quilts, and they may purchase a sari for the backing. They begin quilting in a corner of the quilt, and go all the way around with a continuous running stitch until they reach the center. Then, they stitch a unique center motif.
The quilt shown in the interview was made by Khatumbi Musawar from the village of Mainalli, where the quilting cooperative began. Phulas (flowers) made of folded fabric pieces are sewn to the corners of the quilt for color and interest, and a sense of completion. As one quilter explained to Drewal, “If we didn't add the phulas/flowers at the corners, the quilt would be naked!”
Professor Drewal has put on several exhibitions of the Siddi quilts in New York, San Francisco, and at the Quilt Expo in Madison, WI. These quilts are brought to the United States and sold to help support the people who make them—Women from the Siddi Women's Quilting Cooperative and their families.
For more information about Professor Drewal and the Siddi Women's Quilting Cooperative of India (or to purchase one of these beautiful works of art) go to Henry John Drewal. Click on “Sales” or “Exhibitions” to see some of the quilts that these women make.
Laura Nigbur, Cage Comforters
Laura Nigbur joins Nancy via Skype to encourage people to make Cage Comforters for dogs and cats that are currently living in animal shelters. Laura is from the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission, where the project got started. They want the pets that come to them to have a comfortable stay.
Cage Comforters are needed for both cats and dogs for extra warmth in the winter months and the extra padding is needed for a comfortable rest. The specifications are as follows: For cats make the comforters 10-3/4" x 15" x 3-1/2" thick, and for dogs, 24" x 34" x 3-1/2" thick. It's a great project for beginners—the pets aren't critical about how it looks, they just want it to be comfortable. Fabrics shouldn't have loops—pet's nails may get caught.
Make comforters for your local shelter. There are shelters all across America—call your local shelter to see what they are in need of, as the sizes may be different, depending on the size of the cages.
Milwaukee County takes in about 13,000 animals per year—that's 1,000 comforters a month! They send the comforters with the pets when they move to a permanent home. Your help is needed if you are from this area.
To learn more about Cage Comforters or to meet a new pet go to Cage Comforter Program - MADACC.
|Quick Column Quilts
||Nathan Winkler, The Steel Quilt Company
Traditional patchwork designs from steel? Nathan Winkler from Fort Payne, Alabama joins Nancy via Skype to tell about his quilts made from steel, barn boards, and tacks. He recycles wood and metal from dilapidated barns to use in his art quilts at The Steel Quilt Company. Nathan is particularly fond of the quilt patterns from the Underground Railroad series by Eleanor Burns, especially the Drunkards Path. He uses tacks instead of stitches to hold the metal onto the barn board backgrounds. The metal is left in its natural rust color state, and the backgrounds are usually painted.
Nathan is promoting a quilt trail on Lookout Mountain in Mentone, Alabama. He has given away much of his work in that area to get the momentum started. To see some of Nathan's work go to The Steel Quilt Company.
Maryanne Arthur, Pretty Pockets
Maryanne Arthur joins Nancy to share her story of Pretty Pockets. The story started when Maryanne had cancer and was trying to find a comfortable means of holding drain tubes and bulbs after her surgery. Another patient she saw used a paper bag stapled to the waistband of her clothing. Maryanne came up with the idea of a soft flannel pocket, and she had her friend Ann Marie sew them. Over 500 people have contacted Maryanne in the last few months for information about sewing the Pretty Pockets, not only for breast cancer survivors, but people with all kinds of surgeries—Everyone that receives them, loves them! You too can “spread joy through creative giving.” Go to Creative Blossoms.
Kim Lapacek, Project Quilting
Take a quilting challenge online with Kim Lapacek. Kim is the brainchild of Project Quilting. Her mother-in-law Diane sets up the challenges and Kim runs them on her blog; that way Kim can be involved in the challenges without any advantage. Each challenge runs one week, and there are no boundaries on who can participate—it's worldwide! The quilts can be any size, they just need to be physically quilted and finished. The challenges go up Sundays at noon CST, and you have until noon the next week Sunday to finish the challenge. To find out more about Project Quilting or to take the challenge go to Persimon Dreams.
||Susan Parr and Laura Mendoza, 4-H
This destination Nancy's Corner was filmed on the road at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington. The scene is a fashion show where young girls and boys in 4-H have made the clothing they are modeling. The style show is an encore performance of the kids' competition they had at the State Fair. They were judged on the outfits they are wearing—how well it was sewn, how well they could talk about the outfit, accessorize it, and model it.
Susan Parr and Laura Mendoza, both volunteer 4-H leaders, tell about their experience with 4-H and what they teach their 4-H clothing participants. They both concentrate on teaching sewing skills.
Several of the 4-H style show participants were interviewed by Nancy. The first young lady was wearing a beautiful dress that she made, which obviously was fit to perfection. She wants to continue to learn to sew, but she also wants to be a veterinarian. The second young lady has been sewing for four years. She made a lined wool jacket, top, and skirt. Her favorite part was learning to make buttonholes.
Contact your county extension office to inquire about 4-H groups in your area at Find 4-H.
Jennifer Keltner, One Million Pillowcase Challenge
Learn about the One Million Pillowcase Challenge at this destination Nancy's Corner, which was filmed at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington. The challenge was started by the “American Patchwork and Quilting” magazine to make a difference to charities in local communities. The 1,303 pillowcases made at this show were given to kids locally, at the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.
The pillowcases are made using a “burrito method” that has a 100% success rate. We use precut fabric kits, and the fabric is rolled up, pinned, stitched, and turned right side out. It is a good project to make on a serger—so easy!
The pattern is available free online, and you can add the amount of pillowcases you have donated to the One Million Pillowcase Challenge counter. Thus far they have passed the half million point. Show how much you care by making and donating pillowcases to foster children, National Guardsmen, homeless shelters, hospitals and others in need. Go to All People Quilt for more information and free pattern downloads.
|No-Hassle Triangles Quilt Blocks
||Patricia Holmes, Lil' Bits
Nancy's guest Patricia Holmes created a simple sewing project to help at-risk children who are neglected or abused. These small Lil' Bits are made from printed fabric, and have soft cotton flannel backs. The toy is soft, quiet, and nonthreatening. Simply sew them right sides together, trim, turn, stuff, and close up the end. Patricia has made approximately 3,200 of these little toys, and also makes pouches for them. She takes them to Dane County Child Protective Services, plus several other places. Patricia has also started making pillows to help comfort these small children. Make your own version of these soft cuddly toys for your favorite charity and find joy for yourself as you help little children.
Sabra Bateman, Patient Pouch
Sabra Bateman, cofounder of Patient Pouches and the T & B Foundation joins Nancy via Skype from South Carolina. Sabra makes Patient Pouches for kids who need a distraction while waiting for treatment at the hospital. Many of these children have to wait for a long time on surgery days, going without food or drink. The patient pouches, filled with age appropriate small toys, craft activities, and games, are a perfect distraction for these children. Sabra learned first hand what type of games and toys are the best distractions, as she has a son that was diagnosed with eye cancer at the age of two weeks, and he has had multiple surgeries. A free pattern is offered online, and the children may take the pouches home.
At this point Sabra's group has donated 400 Patient Pouches, and their goal is to expand and to reach out to other children's hospitals throughout the United States. Consider donating your talent today—Help Sabra's group reach their goal of 100 Patient Pouches to the Willis Eye Institute in Philadelphia in fall of 2014. To find out more information go to their Blog Patient Pouch T&B Foundation or Facebook Patient Pouch T&B Foundation.
|Doll Costume Dress Up
||Marcia Engquist, Alzheimer's Activity Mats
Marcia Engquist joined Nancy via Skype to share her Activity Mats for people with Alzheimer's or similar conditions. These activity mats help sooth the restless fidgeting of people with dementia and children with autism, and they help focus their attention. The mats also stimulate senses, exercise hand muscles and entertain users. They open topics of communication and facilitate conversation with visitors and caregivers.
These bright and cheery Activity Mats are the size of a placemat and include pockets, zippers, buttons, strings of beads, bells, etc. They may also include a texture pocket with a soft toy or vinyl pocket for photos. Making activity mats is a great volunteer opportunity and gift from the heart. See Alzheimer's Activity Aids Blog for more information. Download Alzheimer's Activity Mat instructions.
Sam Hunter, We are $ew Worth It!
Value your sewing and quilting skills and the beautiful things that you create. Sewing and quilting are every bit as important as any other job. Sam Hunter, Nancy's Skype guest, talks about pricing your projects to include not only the hours of labor, but also the materials, and the value of the expertise you possess. Sam explains the benefits of a project sheet to keep track of your time and materials, plus an invoice that you are able to use when selling your projects. She offers printouts of several documents on her website that are useful for anyone selling sewing and quilting projects. Go to Hunter's Design Studio and look for these documents:
For additional information, read Sam's inspiring blog posts What's it Worth? and What's it Worth? Part 2—A Bigger Picture.
- “Project Sheet” — use it to write down the hours that you spend on a project. This information may also be used if someone asks you how much it would cost for a particular item—if you bid on a project, it's a good estimator.
- Invoice—to sell or know the worth. Can also use this as a commission bid.
|All Occasion Fabric Wraps
||Suzi Parron, author of Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement
Suzi Parron joins Nancy to express her interest in barn quilts, and how the quilt trail movement got its start. While on a camping trip Suzi spotted her first barn quilt. As her interest piqued, she met with Donna Sue Groves, who conceived the idea of the quilt trail in 2001 to honor her mother, who's a quilter. Donna Sue got her community involved by doing 20 painted quilts, and then she created the trail for others to view them. The barn quilt paintings have brought neighbors together, expanded tourism, and created a celebration of local heritage and culture.
Suzi's book is a story of the American quilt trails featuring large quilt squares painted on barns across North America, a grass roots public arts movement. She documents barn quilts in 25 states, and Canada with photos and stories behind them. Suzi is aware of at least 7,000 barn quilts, but knows that there are many more. Most of the barn quilts are 8' by 8', starting with two sheets of 4' x 8' plywood. Many barn quilts are now being created by art students, as a learning tool, and they have incorporated dimension—some look as if they were draped on the barn. One of the positive effects of barn quilts is that it brings people back to their roots. Plus, many of the people make friends with their painting groups. To find out more about barn quilts and Suzi Parron's book go to Barn Quilt Info. Check out Suzi's blog at Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail.
Thomas Knauer, author of Modern Quilt Perspectives
Thomas Knauer, a modern quilter from England, joins Nancy via Skype. Thomas believes that a modern quilt has little to do with style, rather it speaks to the issues of the day. He features 12 symbolic quilts that reflect current values and ideas in his book, Modern Quilt Perspectives. An example is “Cinderblocks”—a modern version of the Log Cabin: Thomas wanted to update the metaphor of the home as the basis for a quilt. He chose to use cinder blocks as the foundation—the foundation used for most of the homes we live in, and instead of a red center he chose to use playful colors interacting. It's joyful!
Another of Thomas' quilts is “Ampersand.” It's a place where we tell stories, and if the story begins to lag it's off to the next print…and the story continues. The quilt is composed of 225 different novelty prints, and is perfect for telling stories with children.
“Mitosis” is one of Thomas' baby quilts, inspired by the fact that he and his wife used a donor in conceiving their second child. It illustrates the transformation of the first two squares of color, those first two cells, into a splendid display of color.
|The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew
||Carole Splater, Charity Sharity
Do you have an abundance of fabric? Consider sharing it with your community, following in the footsteps of this Charity Sharity group. Carole Splater, the founder of Charity Sharity in St. Louis, joins Nancy via Skype to give an overview of this project. The group collects donated fabric, sorts it, and distributes it to local charities. Fabric is given free of charge to groups such as hospital auxillaries, churches, schools, military support groups, and others in need of fabric for their projects. This Charity Sharity group has distributed fabric and notions to over 150 different organizations and individuals for heart-warming and life-saving projects. They have distributed about 15 tons of fabric in the past 14 years. These distributions have not only helped various groups obtain much needed fabric, but have also kept fabric out of landfills.
Here is the process this Charity Sharity group uses:
To find out more about Charity Sharity contact email@example.com.
- Find Charities in your area that use fabric for their community service projects.
- Designate a place for people to drop off their unwanted fabric. (This group uses Carole's front porch as both a drop off and pick up point.)
- Sort the fabric according to size, fiber, and projects that it will be used for. (Example: clothing fabric, cotton quilting fabric, and craft fabric pieces.)
- Bag sorted fabric and label. (Carole's group uses 13-gallon white trash bags to hold the treasures for pickup.
- Designate an area that a group may pick up fabric. (Bagged and labeled fabric in this case is picked up from Carole's front porch.)
Paul Fieber, kiting enthusiast and kitemaker
Paul Fieber began flying kites as a child, but his real passion was inspired by Craig Wilson, a kite aerial photographer. (Craig uses his kite to lift a camera that actually takes photos of many different subjects.) Paul began constructing, as well as flying, mostly single line kites. This enthusiasm for kites led to several awards, and to teaching others how to make them. He shares several of his kite creations with Nancy, including a della Porta Kite based on a Mound Builder's theme, and another with a Maori theme, inspired from his travels in New Zealand. Paul also creates tall and relatively narrow feather banners that are used at festivals—many are 16'-20'. He especially likes to use a Seminole patchwork technique for his feather banners.
Paul creates the kite design first, and then he makes a full size pattern of the design. He layers and tacks colorful ripstop nylon, and then sews the kite using a reverse appliqué technique with zigzag stitching from the reverse side. Much of the kite's front is covered with black fabric, and a stained glass effect is achieved by cutting away layers of the ripstop nylon to reveal the design.
Dianne Kane and Joanne MacNaughton, Cover to Cover Book Club Quilters
Members of the Cover to Cover Book Club Quilters in Portland, Oregon area, challenge themselves to read books and then create quilts inspired by the books. These quilting artists read two books per year and make unique quilted artwork with a variety of exciting techniques. A recent book, The Inviention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, is about a young boy who ends up living in a railway station in Paris after his father passes away. The clock in the train station is the focal point in the story, and the quilts created by the book club members have themes such as “Gears,” “Suspended in Time,” “The Value of Gears,” and a namesake quilt—“The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” The quilts all use masterful quilting techniques to emphasize the gears of the clock maintained by Hugo. To find out more about the Cover to Cover Book Club Quilters go to Cover to Cover Book Club Quilters.
|Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners
||Maria DeGroot, Radial Art Quilt, “Artful Names”
The sixth grade students of Central Wisconsin Christian Schools created radial art designs in class using their names or initials. When Maria DeGroot, an involved mom and quilting enthusiast, saw the designs she thought they looked like beautiful medallions, and that they would be perfect for a quilt. She volunteered to work with the students to create a quilt using their artwork.
The students wrote their names on a single slice of an eight-piece pie shape, using a charcoal pencil. The paper slice was placed right side down on a paper circle and traced, to release the mirrored charcoal image. The process was repeated around the circle, tracing upright and mirror images of their designs, so that every other 1/8 wedge of the pie was mirror imaged. The students traced each letter four times upright, and four times reversed, onto paper-backed fusible web. The paper-backed fusible web was fused to the back of a chosen fabric and the letters were cut out. Fabric medallion designs were created with the letters, using the paper pattern as a guide, and then they were fused onto background circles.
Maria took the circles and appliquéd all the letters. Then she appliquéd the medallion circles onto black squares to create a quilt. The quilt was donated to the school's fall auction to raise money for the school.
Students not only learned to take their art to a new medium—fabric—they also learned a little about the art of quilting.
View the quilts that have been created by Maria and the art students at Central Wisconsin Christian School - Visual Art.
Kate Robbins, Comfort Quilts for Songambele Hospital
Kate Robbins heads up the Comfort Quilt Project, which is part of Roads to Life Tanzania. Roads to Life Tanzania is a nonprofit organization based in the United States. This organization is building a hospital in Nkololo, Tanzania. They started this project about one year ago. The current hospital has 32 beds, and the average occupancy is 50 people per day. The goal is for the new hospital to have 100 beds, a surgical unit, and blood labs. They would like quilters to help support the effort by making 12-1/2" square quilt blocks and/or contributing a tax deductible monetary donation. The monetary donations assist with the construction and equipment for the new hospital. The quilt blocks will be made into quilts to be used in the new hospital. The Comfort Quilt Project motto is “Binding the fabric of generosity and talent to give relief and comfort to those in need.” The project is over half way to their $9,000,000 goal. To make a monetary donation or a 12-1/2" quilt block go to Roads to Life Tanzania.
|Today's Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine
||Stephanie Struckmann, Sewing Corner (In home sewing classes)
Stephanie Struckmann, an in-home sewing instructor and fashion designer, joins Nancy VIA Skype from Missouri. Stephanie taught sewing at a small sewing machine shop, and when the store closed she decided to keep teaching out of her home. She purchased several sewing machines and set up The Sewing Corner for those just learning to sew and a place to refresh sewing skills. Stephanie teaches sewing to a variety of ages including boys and girls (ages 7 and up), moms and daughters, young moms, and home decorating enthusiasts. The students find the home atmosphere comforting for learning new creative skills. Stephanie's biggest challenge is when class sizes are too large. She prefers to teach only 2-4 students at a time, especially when they're children needing extra help. Stephanie shares tips, tricks and ideas on how to start teaching sewing lessons in your home at The Sewing Corner.
Sonja Hakala, Parkinson's Comfort Project
For patients suffering from the effects of Parkinson's disease, specially made lightweight quilts provide much needed comfort. Sonja Hakala, founder of the Parkinson's Comfort Project, joins Nancy via SKYPE from W. Hartford, Vermont. When Sonja first started quilting, she had no idea that a craft she enjoyed would take on a greater purpose. The passing of Sonja's parents due to Parkinson's spurred her desire to bring comfort to other patients. Sonja made several quilts for her mom throughout her battle with Parkinson's, but the last quilt was her mother's favorite. It was a quilt about the size of a large beach towel, light enough for her mom to move with her weak muscles, and warm enough to take the chill off and provide a source of comfort. Make a monetary donation, or get the guidelines for making a quilt to donate, by going to Parkinson's Comfort Project - Comfort Quilts. If you are a Parkinson's patient or caregiver, you can browse the different quilts available and submit a request form to receive one.
|Double Wedding Ring Quilts
||Fletcher and Joan Hinds, SE Asia Project
Fletcher is a Vietnam veteran. He made a trip to Cambodia to try to heal emotional scars from the war. He helped dig wells for clean water. He and his wife Joan returned to help again, and they began teaching young girls to sew. This skill gives the girls a profession so that they can be self-sufficient and aren't sold as sex slaves. Fletcher, Joan, and friends are in the process of building a sewing studio that will be used to teach, and a place where the girls can go to sew. They are in need of sewing machines, fabric, and notions. The clothes they are making now are made from plastic type bags that they get rice in. A breathable fabric would be much appreciated. For more information please go to Minnesota Veterans for Progress to make a monetary donation or a donation of sewing supplies to help with this very worthwhile cause.
Dixie Thoyre, Update on Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas project
Several years ago Lynda Pracht was featured in a Nancy's Corner for the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners project. Lynda taught sewing skills (making 18" doll clothes, in particular) to the women in their partner Central American country with the goal of providing a skill and income to the women of Nicaragua. They work mostly on treadle machines and donated electric machines. The women do beautiful freehand embroidery on the 18" Chica Nica doll dresses.
In this Nancy's Corner, Dixie Thoyre gave an update on the Chica Nica doll dresses and one of the newest projects—sewing custom fit clothing for burn victims. Dixie is the representative who buys the needed supplies for the doll dresses. She also helps the sewing group market their dresses.
The art of sewing helps so many people in many countries. In the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners project, the sewing provides an income to help with housing expenses, and it also helps provide comfortable clothing for burn victims.
Find more information about Partners of the Americas at Wisconsin Nicaragua Partnership. Or, check out some of the gorgeous doll clothes made by the Nicaraguan women at Chica Nica Doll Dresses.
|How to Sew Art
||Marie Bostwick, New York Times Bestselling Author
Marie Bostwick is a storyteller who is drawn to themes of the modern woman and has a penchant for quilting. She is a New York Times bestselling author and noted for her Cobbled Court Quilt series. Marie shares excerpts from her newest novel, The Second Sister, an inspiring novel about family, second chances, and the connections that bring women together in hope and healing. Lucy Toomey must decide whether she will fulfill a lifelong dream to work in the White House or respect her dying sister's wish and return home to Wisconsin. In the novel, Alice Toomey passes away and leaves a trunk of quilts mysteriously labeled “To Maeve”—a name Alice has never mentioned to Lucy. As the days pass, Lucy finds friendship and support from Alice's quilting friends, and begins to understand her sister's enduring gift. To find out more about Marie and the many novels she has written go to Marie Bostwick.
Marc Revenson, Folk Singer Inspired by Quilting
Lil' Rev has a special song in his heart for those of us who sew and quilt. He is featured playing a harmonica and then a guitar in this special Nancy's Corner segment. Nancy sings along to the chorus of his quilting song. His feel good music is a joy to sewers and quilters around the U.S. and features a message of happiness to all. Lil' Rev's Scraps of Quilting Music is an ode to the American quilting tradition that proudly celebrates quilters whose stitches tell their story. His music has transpired by the countless hours quilters spend on their quilts, only to give them away. These gifts of patience touch everyone's lives, providing warmth and comfort wherever they go. To learn more about Lil' Rev, go to Lil' Rev.
||Nancy's Corner Segment
|Sew Big Quilt Blocks
||Ross Lohr, Project Repat
Ross Lohr, from Project Repat, joins Nancy via Skype to tell about his mission of turning textile waste into fair wage job opportunities. He and his business partner have turned their dream into a business that upcycles excess clothing into fun blankets and fashionable accessories as it creates jobs with dignity.
Customers send their T-shirts to Project Repat, and they turn them into something else, such as blankets, scarves, ties, bags, and more. Their production facilities are all based in Massachusetts—all in the USA. They contract the work out to people that have lost their textile based jobs, a nonprofit that employs individuals with disabilities, and more.
It is humbling to find that 5% of material waste or trash on earth is used textiles. The average American trashes 65 pounds of textiles every year. Project Repat keeps much of those textiles out of dumpsters. They've already made more than 3,000 blankets for customers, providing people with a job that pays a fair and living wage.
T-shirts, flannel shirts, dress shirts, or anything with a fabric that they can sew is accepted. When you order, you get a box with a prepaid envelope in it. That's all you need to do is put your shirts in the box, and in four to six weeks you will receive a new finished project made from your shirts.
For more information about Project Repat go to Project Repat.
Jennifer Chiaverini, The Giving Quilt
Thanksgiving may spark generosity once a year, but imagine the good that would follow if we practiced the holiday spirit all year long! Jennifer Chiaverini, author of books in the Elm Creek Quilt series, does just that in her book, The Giving Quilt.
Elm Creek Manor is the host of “Quiltsgiving,” a one-week quilt camp that takes place right after Thanksgiving. Quilters come to camp from around the world and spend time learning new quilting tricks and techniques. In exchange for the free week of learning, all the quilts they make go to Project Linus, a real life organization that provides quilts, afghans, and blankets for children in need.
The book introduces intriguing new characters, and some characters from the past resurface. They are all encouraged to contemplate their reasons for giving, especially if they are facing difficult times, because giving from the heart blesses the giver as much as the receiver. While they are thinking about giving and working on their quilts, they become good friends.
As with Jennifer's other books, there is a quilt design that goes along with the book. Each year at quilt camp they use a different pattern, but it is always simple and very striking—something that can easily be made in the week at Quiltsgiving. This year the block is called the Resolution Square. It is a dark and light block with a rectangle and some larger squares. It looks wonderful when placed on-point, and that makes it look much more complicated. To find out more about The Giving Quilt go to Jennifer Chiaverini, The Giving Quilt.
|Fearless Quilting Finishes
||Jennifer Chiaverini, Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
Prolific author Jennifer Chiaverini presents a synopsis of her first historical novel outside the Elm Creek series. The heroine of this real-life story is Elizabeth Keckley, a dressmaker for President Lincoln's wife, Mary.
Elizabeth was born a slave, but with her strong will and dressmaking talent, she was able to earn enough money to purchase her freedom and that of her son. Elizabeth was more than just a dressmaker for Mrs. Lincoln—she was her close friend and confidant. She was there to see Mary Lincoln through many tragedies she faced while she was in the White House including the death of a child, the assassination of her husband, and several scandals.
Elizabeth skillfully crafted beautiful gowns for Mary Lincoln to wear to balls, receptions, and inaugurations. Her hands were the last to touch Mrs. Lincoln before she took the president's arm to be escorted off to some grand occasion. Elizabeth not only sewed her gowns, but she fixed Mary's hair and arranged her bouquets, as well.
Elizabeth had incredible insight into the Lincoln White House that historians and scholars find fascinating even to this day. In 1868, she published a memoir telling about her life as a slave, and how she earned her freedom. She also gave away many secrets about her years living in the Lincoln White House, which marred her relationship with Mary Lincoln.
For more information about this fascinating account of the life of Mrs. Lincoln's dressmaker and living in the Lincoln White House during a most memorable time in history go to Jennifer Chiaverini, Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.
Annie, Maggie, and Natalie (Student project at UW Stout), Emergency Evacuation Harness
A remarkable five member clothing design team (Daniel Cole, Jessica Koch, Natalie Meurer, Maggie Rohs, and Annie Sorcic) from UW Stout created an evacuation harness for the safety of wheelchair bound people. The harness functions like a backpack. It allows an able-bodied person to carry a disabled person away from danger. The safety design of the evacuation harness became nationally recognized with an award from the international 2012 Safety Products Student Design Challenge.
The research this team did about 9/11 was the driving force behind this invention—they wanted to make a usable portable device to evacuate people from a building.
The team made about five prototypes before they came up with their finished product ready to test—from muslin to heavier backpack type material. The designing part of this project was challenging, but communication was the most difficult part of having a team working on a project such as this. They overcame the obstacles and came up with a product that works very well—not to mention having an amazing group learning experience. The team created the evacuation harness as part of the Functional Clothing and Design course at UW Stout. To find out more information about this student project go to UW-Stout News Story.
Maria Judy, 10 year old Award Winning Quilter
Maria Judy is an amazing 10 year old girl who has won numerous prizes at prestigious quilt shows. She joined Nancy via Skype to talk about some of her quilts. Her mentor and friend Mrs. Geissler helped Maria learn to quilt. Maria won First Place on a Log Cabin quilt at the Firehouse Quilt Show, and she went to a National Quilt Show in Kansas and won Second Place with the Sherbet Stars, plus she got the Piecer's Award.
Maria's accomplishments are a feat for any fifth grader, but Maria suffered an injury at birth, leaving her left arm and hand small and immobile. This injury makes the sewing and quilting process even more challenging. Maria takes her time and does beautiful work. She hand stitched 12 inches a day for 32 days to complete the binding on one of her quilts. Her persistence to create award winnning projects has paid off and has set an impressive example to others.
Maria recently made and donated a queen size quilt for a fundraising gala for her private Christian school in Denver. The quilt (entered in the silent auction) was sold for $3000!
|Hobo Totes—Casual to Classic
||Amy Milne, representing “The Quilt Index”
The Quilt Index has been online for about ten years, and has catalogued over 54,000 quilts from all over the United States for your browsing convenience. Amy Milne, representative of the Quilt Index joins Nancy via Skype to make people more aware of this awesome research tool. The Quilt Index is a free, open access project of Matrix, Michigan State University Museum, and the Quilt Alliance. You can browse by pattern, color, style, year, and more. The Quilt Index is a valuable online history lesson where you can view historic and contemporary quilts from several centuries. They have recently added quilts from Canada and from South Africa. For more information and to start browsing go to The Quilt Index.
|Knock Out Knits
||Kathi Olson, Quilts on Traffic Signal Boxes
Thanks to a collaboration between the City of Missoula Public Art Committee and the Missoula Electric Quilters, local traffic signal boxes, once eyesores, are now covered in designed artwork. Kathi Olson (Committee Chair, MPAC) and Chris Milodragovich (MEQ) from Missoula, Montana, joined Nancy via Skype to talk about this unique project.
Almost every city has the large gray boxes for electrical components sitting next to their traffic signals. In Missoula, Montana, city officials endorsed an idea to pay local artists to submit designs for the boxes. A small quilting group learned the Electric Quilts software, and when presented with an opportunity to design artwork for traffic signal boxes, they jumped on it.
The Missoula Electric Quilters chose to reproduce their design on a vinyl wrap. The digital images are printed on the vinyl and adhered to the traffic signal boxes. The artwork reflects imagery that is specific to Missoula—a valley with lush vegetation, surrounded by mountains and some iconic wildlife such as elk and deer.
Covering the signal boxes with art has several other benefits aside from its aesthetic pleasure. It seems to reduce the amount of graffiti on the boxes, and it has a calming aspect—it actually makes people slow down to look at the boxes.
For more information on this project go to Missoula, Montana or Missoulian.
Diane Wright, Aborginal Textiles
An assignment to Australia gave artist Diane Wright an opportunity to meet Aboriginal artists and be influenced by their wonderful stories and the continent's vast landscape. Diane is now concentrating on creating Australian-influenced art quilts. She joins Nancy via Skype to talk about her work.
Diane has fascinating stories about each of her impressive quilts created with wonderful Aboriginal fabrics. She shared the story behind “The Sisters Rode the Sparks to Heaven,” The “Devil's Marbles,” and “Spirits in the Earth.” Listen to the stories in Diane's interview with Nancy, and check out her unique quilt designs online at Diane Wright Art Quilts blog.
|Sew Amazing Scarves
||Sissy Davis, Threads of Love
Threads of Love director Sissy Davis joins Nancy via Skype to talk about her mission of love—sewing clothing for premature, ill, and stillborn babies. Threads of Love is an international organization with groups in Canada, Newfoundland, South Africa, England, Panama, and many in the United States.
Threads of Love has two copyrighted patterns on their website—one for a day gown and the other for a burial gown.
The Threads of Love Ministry provides a crocheted or knitted cap, day gown, blanket, “lovie doll” and a prayer for healing in the packet for premature or ill babies. If a baby is stillborn, they sew a packet including a bonnet, dress, blanket, and include a prayer for healing a broken heart.
The Threads of Love volunteers donate the supplies and labor, and they make all of the baby items. They show their love by using their sewing talents.
If you would like to become involved with this nonprofit sewing ministry or would like to have more information go to Threads of Love. Sewing these projects, and learning skills from the longtime members is a real blessing for you, and you're really doing a wonderful service for a family in need of love and compassion at a difficult time in their life.
Debra King, Art Quilts with Ties
Debra is an art teacher, as well as an art quilter. In this interview Deb features quilts that she made with men's ties. Deb received ties from a close friend when her friend's husband passed away, and she was inspired to create four quilts representing the trees of fall, winter, spring and summer using the ties. Instead of viewing the ties as potential yard sale items, Deb had the insite to tell a story with them. All four trees start with ties woven together, and then leaves are added using various embellishment techniques. Ties, fabrics, various beads and embellishments, threads, yarns, and more are used to create trees that are an artistic rendition of the seasons. View Debra's quilts at Art Quilts by Deb on Facebook.
Terry Grahl, Enchanted Makeovers
Enchanted Makeovers is a Taylor, MI based all volunteer national non-profit organization that renovates shelters for women and children into places that inspire behavioral and psychological change. Nancy welcomes Terry Grahl, founder of Enchanted Makeovers, back to share how the organization has grown during the past two years. Volunteers have renovated over 100 bedrooms plus sewing rooms that are set up to teach women how to sew. Enchanted Makeovers volunteers pride themselves on obtaining handmade quilts, curtains, pillows, and more, and coordinating rooms with a fresh coat of paint or a painted mural. They encourage donors and volunteers to give of their time and talent to make the rooms uplifting and inspirational. The women and children in the shelter also make things that they can give back locally, nationally and internationally. There is always someone less fortunate—a good message! To find out more about Enchanted Makeovers and how you can give of your time, talent, or a donation, please go to Enchanted Makeovers.
|Applique—Large & Small
||Kristin Keen, Founder of ReThreaded
Kristin Keen's organization helps women sew a new story. Kristin joins Mary Mulari, Nancy's guest host, via Skype from Jacksonville, Florida. “Sew a New Story” is the byline for the ReThreaded organization. This organization works with women that have been exploited by the sex trade in the form of human trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and more. ReThreaded hires these women to learn a new job skill such as recycling T-shirts that have been donated to the group. The women are sent through a training program to learn art, design, sewing, and other life skills. They take the T-shirts and sew them into new products that they can sell. The creativity involved in sewing is part of the healing process and restoration for these women. Help unravel the threads of the sex trade with your donation, or learn more about Kristin Keen and ReThreaded at ReThreaded - Sewing a New Story.
Susan Hudson, Native American Quilts
Susan joins Mary Mulari, Nancy's guest host, via Skype from the Sorrel Sky Gallery in Durango, Colorado. She shares stories about her quilts “Stars Among the Shunka Wakan,” “29 Warriors,” and another called “Honoring Ledger Quilt.” The “ledgers” referred to are the drawings of the Plains Indians when they were prisoners of war. Susan is a member of the Navajo Nation, and makes quilts to honor and pay tribute to her ancestors who endured the Navajo's Long Walk to the Bosque Redondo in 1864. “By combining symbols of her own Navajo legacy with the Plains patterns and motifs within her designs, Hudson’s quilts make a powerful statement about the shared experiences of many Native American communities. Each is a work of art that embodies history, cultural perseverance, pride, and passion.” Read more about Susan and her quilts at Indian Country.
|Quilt with Carefree Curves
||Alissa Haight Carlton, The Modern Quilt Guild
Alissa Haight Carlton joins Nancy via Skype to talk about the new buzz word in the world of fabric and thread—Modern Quilting. Alissa explains that The Modern Quilt Guild promotes modern quilting, an aesthetic which includes the use of negative space, solid fabrics, asymmetry, bold color choices, absence of borders, and even taking a traditional quilt pattern and putting a new twist on its construction. Alissa features several modern quilts sewn by very talented contemporary modern quilt artists. To find out more go to Modern Quilt Guild.
Gretchen Hudock, Reorganize Today
Gretchen Hudock, Nancy's guest, is one organized person! She shared how to clean, cull, and organize our creative areas in a previous show, and this time she discusses the process of organizing sewing/craft areas into zones. She uses the same premise as the kitchen triangle, only with a Cutting Area, Sewing Area, and Ironing Station. The triangle is likened to the color wheel with three primary colors, and then around the periphery, you have the combined colors. So if you have a serger, an embroidery unit, storage area, and other additional machines or areas, they would be placed outside of the main triangle. Organization helps you enjoy the creativity process more, and helps you get moving. To find out more go to Reorganize Today.
|Handbags 2—Designer Knockoffs
||John and Nancy Watts, Quilting in Mongolia
John and Nancy Watts were inspired by Maggie Ball on Sewing With Nancy. Maggie taught quilting in Mongolia, and she helped John and Nancy get started on their journey. Nancy followed in Maggie's footsteps by teaching women in Mongolia to quilt who were poor and had no other means of income. John took photos to capture the joy and pride that these women have when they finish a project. John and Nancy faced the challenges of not knowing the language, limited electricity, and using the metric system. Silk scraps from China were used to make beautiful quilted projects with curves and circles that gave the Mongolian women a source of income.
Nancy Watts taught quilting in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and also in far western Mongolia to the Kazakh women living there. She helped the Kazakh women use their beautiful embroidery skills in paper piecing projects. The time Nancy spent teaching these women was a phenomenal donation, and the ladies rewarded her with a handmade jacket, which she treasures.
To find information about “Mongolia—Quilters Without Borders” go to Dragonfly Quilts.
Mary Kolb, “Zipper Lady”
The volunteer organization Clothes For Kids recently acknowledged Mary Kolb, affectionately known as the “Zipper Lady,” for her dedication to keeping children warm during the winter. Mary has repaired over 1300 coat zippers for Clothes for Kids—not an easy task! This project not only keeps kids warm, but keeps many jackets out of landfills. Mary gives a brief rundown on the process she uses, and she mentions that if a zipper is broken you should save all the parts because many zippers can be repaired instead of replaced. The advice Mary gives for zipper longevity is to teach children to grasp the zipper tab and pull upward to close or push downward to open—don't pull straight out.
|Stress-Free Quilting with Machine Embroidery
||Margaret Jankowski, The Sewing Machine Project
During the past four years, we've followed Margaret Jankowski's Sewing Machine Project. The motto of this amazing nonprofit organization is “mending communities, one sewing machine at a time.”
Margaret's new local and national initiative uses a curriculum of the Sewing Machine Project's design. Aimed at low income and immigrant populations, this innovative approach teaches students basic sewing, working on donated sewing machines. Students learn simple sewing and mending, along with basic machine maintenance. Students use one class period to create something to give back to the community as a Pay it Forward project. The projects have included baby blankets, fleece hats, tote bags, and more. The Pay it Forward piece not only gives the work of The Sewing Machine Project a ripple effect but also sends the message that we all have the power to mend our own community. After six weeks of classes and Paying it Forward, students receive the machine on which they learned to sew.
The Sewing Machine Project has plenty of sewing machines right now, but they are in need of basic sewing notions. If you would like to donate a sewing machine, basic sewing notions, or cash to help this program continue to promote self worth with the sewing and quilting skills they teach go to The Sewing Machine Project.
Christine Motl, Feed Sack Quilts
Chris Motl collects feed sacks from the 30s, 40s, and 50s to make quilts, and she's made it her quest to tell the stories behind the sacks. She started collecting feed sacks to make interesting quilts that showcase a bit of history. She shared some of her stories with Nancy, such as the Hillbilly flour sacks that were used to promote a candidate for governor in an election in 1938 with the motto “Flour, Not Pork.” Chris' favorite sack design is from the World War II era called “Bad Eggs,” and in the frying pan were Hitler, Mussolini, and Emperor Hirohito. Patriotism was very important in World War II, and one particular sack has the Morse Code for victory. Walt Disney was also a great promoter, and one of the bag companies had the exclusive license for Disney designs. Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland were two of the bags that Chris has collected.
The feed sack term also encompasses flour sacks and sugar sacks. The feed sacks are softer than one might think—some were touted as a fine percale! There is about 1-1/4 yd. of 36" fabric in a feed sack to use for quilting and other sewing projects.
One final story Chris shared was that of Biddy the Cat from the Bemis Bag Company. Biddy was brought to the bag factory to control mice, and ended up being the symbol of the company. One design was Biddy sneaking out of a bag. It meant that he (the owner of the company) had nothing to hide, by “letting the cat out of the bag.”
|Sew Grand Dresden Quilts
||Leslee Nelson, Memory Cloths
Leslee Nelson was inspired to make Memory Cloths by an exhibit of embroideries from South Africa. The process of hand embroidery is used to stitch the past together with the present. Life experiences are embroidered on napkins, handkerchiefs, and tea towels. Written narrative tells their story. Leslee embroidered memories of her childhood, her life experiences, and things that she wants to embed in her mind. The South African embroideries depicted the traumas they had from Apartheid. The repetitive movement is a form of meditation that can change your attitudes. The act of putting the stories into the world is a way of releasing them. To find out more about Leslee, or the Memory Cloths from South Africa go to Leslee Nelson - Memory Cloths or Amazwi Abesifazane Voices of Women Museum.
|Sew Speedy Lone Star Quilts
||Pat Lyon, Teaching in Cambodia
A trip to teach English in Cambodia turned into a passion to provide wells, education, and life skills to the people in that country. Pat Lyon and a friend began teaching English in Cambodia and started incorporating a little sewing into their teachings. Soon the Khmer people were able to make purses to sell. The “Peace Bag” is a simple bag that the Cambodian people sew, and Pat translates the messages they add to the bags. So far they have been able to finance 88 wells, 33 toilets, 54 piglets, 30 pens, and to provide full scholarships to the University of South East Asia and the Paul De Bruille School of Culinary Arts.
|Sewing MODKID Style
||Tom Mooney, American Red Cross
Doug Price, Rocky Mountain PBS
Attendees of the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, donated fabric and spent time sewing 28 full and queen sized quilts to give away. Tom Mooney, of the American Red Cross in Madison, Wisconsin, joined Nancy in the studio; and Doug Price, of Rocky Mountain PBS, joined Nancy via Skype. Tom accepted quilts on behalf of the Madison area Red Cross, responding to over 70,000 disasters a year, local and national, and Doug accepted quilts for the many needs in Colorado due to disasters in the past couple years. These representatives are distributing the quilts to disaster victims as a warm reminder of hope and to comfort these people that have lost so much. To see the interview, watch the Nancy's Corner included in program 2722, Sewing MODKID Style at WPT - Sewing With Nancy.
Sophie Kerr and Weeks Ringle, A Kid's Guide to Sewing
Twelve year old Sophie Kerr and her mother Weeks Ringle join Nancy via Skype. Sophie has been sewing since age three. She shared a kids' perspective as she worked with her parents, who are both professional quilt makers, who put together a step-by-step instruction book to help kids learn to sew. The sewing book A Kid's Guide to Sewing includes sixteen kid-friendly projects—from clothes to bags and accessories. Her favorite projects are the minky throw and a reversible messenger bag. Her parents were very surprised by the fact that many of Sophie's friends never had an opportunity to sew before. They thought that maybe sewing had skipped a generation…An important thought that we all need to strive for is to make sewing accessible to kids again. Help kids learn by sewing little projects during social get togethers such as at “sleep-overs,” fund raisers, and other fun times. Sewing is particularly good for hand skills and creativity. To find out more about A Kid's Guide to Sewing go to Modern Quilt Studio.
|Ultimate Serger Techniques
||Brett and Kristy Moore, Teaching in Thailand
The Moore family traveled halfway around the world to teach disadvantaged children to sew. Brett and Kristy Moore from Montavilla Sewing in Portland, Oregon joined Nancy via Skype to share their story. The Moores received a trip to Thailand from one of their manufacturers. They felt compelled to try to give back and make their trip more missional. They came across an organization called Remember Nhu. They stayed at a Remember Nhu home with their kids when they returned in 2012. This organization has the ability to find girls and boys that would be sold into sex trafficking. They rescue these children and put them in one of the Remember Nhu homes where they receive clothing, food, and schooling. Kristi taught the girls to sew, while Brett taught the boys how to repair sewing machines. The Moore children did the videography and photography. As they captured photos, they also had their hearts captured in the process. It was an incredible experience! When the family returned home after several weeks, Kristy asked their family what they thought of the trip. The children said that their Grandpa and Grandma would look at them and recognize their faces, but that if they could see what was in their hearts that they would no longer know them. To find out more about the Remember Nhu organization go to Remember Nhu.
Marc Revenson, folk singer inspired by quilting
Marc Revenson, Lil' Rev, is a folk singer who has written a whole litany of quilter's music. His Scraps of Quilting music makes people happy. Marc was inspired by his grandmother Ida Revenson and Nina, a friend of his from Milwaukee. When his grandmother passed on she left him over 500 spools of thread and 10,000 buttons that he played with as a child. His music has transpired by the countless hours quilters spend on their quilts, only to give them away at raffles, auctions, and homeless shelters. Lil' Rev sang an ode to quilters called “Magic Quilt” as he strummed his banjo, and then he played a guitar as he sang “The Colors of My Quilt,” referring to an emotional connection to quilting and how it gets us through tough times. To learn more about Lil' Rev, go to Lil' Rev.
||Nancy's Corner Segment
|Innovative Bags & Totes
||Diane Haag, Pillows for Dialysis Patients
Diane Haag is a dialysis nurse who also provides personalized comfort pillows to her patients. When medical budget cuts found the dialysis department trimming patient amenities, Diane formed a creative partnership with a local sewing guild to sew cases for comfort pillows for her patients going through significant medical treatment. These patients are in dialysis chairs three days a week for up to four hours at a time. The comfort these pillows provide for the patients is very necessary. The pillow is a simple 12" x 18" travel sized pillow. Check with the National Kidney Foundation to find your local dialysis area. They may have a need for these pillows, as well. Or, contact Diane Haag or Sue Novak at the Wisconsin Dialysis Institute, 3034 Fish Hatchery Road, Fitchburg, WI, 53713-3125. Phone 608-270-5600.
Mena Trott, The Sew Weekly Blog
Nancy and her Skype guest Mena Trott, from “The Sew Weekly” blog, discuss Mena's personal challenge of sewing a dress a week. In the latter part of 2009 Mena started a blog about making her own clothes for a year—one dress per week, a most admirable challenge. She had been frustrated with her wardrobe and decided to put some effort into what she was wearing. Each week Mena had a different theme, and her fun and frugal creations included mostly vintage patterns. She found that her followers loved to be motivated and inspired to create—and she encouraged them to sew. Her next goal was to help 20 women, with no sewing experience, make their own dresses. Her excitement was contagious! In 2011 four other contributors joined her, sewing dresses based on her weekly theme. By 2012 The Sew Weekly blog group exploded to over 130 contributors sewing along with Mena each week. For more information about The Sew Weekly blog, and to see Mena's creations go to The Sew Weekly.
|Sew Techie Covers
||Karen, Stephanie, and Teri; “Quilts to Give” in Joplin, Missouri
Last season a Quilts to Give segment was taped at the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. Many attendees took time to sit and sew full sized bed quilts for families in need.
On May 22, 2011 a tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, leveling 8,000 structures including 1500 homes, 23 churches, several daycare centers, schools, and more. Baby Lock®, sponsor of the Quilt to Give project, chose a dealer in Springfield, Missouri, near Joplin to receive and distribute 25 full size quilts. Karen, Stephanie, and Teri joined Nancy via Skype from the temporary site of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, to present the quilts. Hopefully these quilts will give encouragement and love to a few of the people that lost everything in this terrible storm. Read more at Nancy Zieman's Blog - The Giving Story.
If you'd like to create a Quilt to Give, you'll find instructions at Nancy Zieman's Blog - Quilt to Give.
Wendy Butler Berns, “Out on a Limb” Quilt Exhibit
Wendy Butler Berns was given the Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship for quilting teachers. She had the opportunity to take classes to learn some new quilting techniques, and in return she was to be responsible for curating an exhibit of three works of her own and nine of her students. All quilts created were at least 50" with the theme “Out on a Limb.” Some of the quilts she mentioned were Tessellating Wings, Me and my Shadow Out on a Limb, The Tree of Life, Fashion in Motion, and Breast Therapy. Each quilt had an amazing story behind it. See all the quilts in her exhibit at Wendy Butler Berns.
And, view a vidcast of Wendy talking about the scholarship, the exhibit, and giving a brief demonstration of one of the techniques in her quilts at Bonnie McCaffery - Vidcasts.
|Fancy Footworks 2
||Major Cathy Ott, Retired—Recycled Honor Quilt made from Army Uniforms
Major Cathy Ott, a retired Army Reserve Major, made a very special quilt to honor the military service. She made it for her daughter's boyfriend, who is a specialist in the United States Army Reserve. The quilt is composed of five different uniforms, four of which Cathy wore in the military, including one from Vietnam. She incorporated several batiks in brown and black to enhance the colors in the uniform fabric. A pocket from one of her uniforms and Velcro pieces are used to hold military patches and other memorabilia. Cathy signed the quilt in a clever fashion with one of her uniform cuffs. The quilt was made for her daughter's friend to take with him if he gets deployed, so that he would have something warm and comfortable from home.
Susan Finch, Binky Patrol
Susan Finch joined Nancy via Skype to talk about Binky Patrol, an organization that Susan founded. Binky Patrol is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide homemade blankets to children who need the love and comfort provided by having their own “Binky.” A binky is a homemade blanket that is sewn, knitted, crocheted, or quilted. To date the Binky Patrol has made in excess of 600,000 blankets. There are 105+ Binky Patrol chapters at present, but they also receive help from Girl Scouts Troops and churches. Because they give the blankets to children of various ages (infant to 18 years old), they make blankets from 24" square to twin size. In the last event the Binky Patrol sponsored (Bink-A-Thon), the group of 60–75 made 135 blankets in six hours! ANY child that is hurting or needs comfort is eligible for a blanket, not just children that are ill. To donate your scraps 12" or larger, or to make a blanket, go to Binky Patrol to find out how you can best help those children in need.
Leslie Gemignani, Point Hope in Ghana, Africa
Nancy's guest, Leslie Gemignani, a teacher at Point Hope in Africa, talks about teaching students to support themselves and their children by making batik fabric and sewing. She is preparing for the second year curriculum to help these women finish what they've learned to do. The skills learned from the volunteers give these young ladies empowerment for themselves and their children—a reason for being.
There is a refugee camp in Ghana that is about to close and leave 22,000 people misplaced and homeless. Radio celebrity Delilah Rene, the founder of Point Hope, obtained 40 acres of land in Ghana and has started a village for these people to learn batik making and sewing. The women in Ghana have nothing. They need sewing machines, fabric, and more. See how you can help by going to Point Hope.
||Cindy Kerr, Conkerr Cancer
Cindy Kerr, founder of Conkerr Cancer, cordially invites you to make hospitalized children smile. Cindy joins Nancy via Skype to talk about her volunteer program and how a simple pillowcase can make an ill child smile. Cindy started the program when her son was diagnosed with bone cancer and saw how his face would light up with a smile when she made him colorful novelty print pillowcases for his hospital bed. A pillowcase with a hamburger and fries, or the child's favorite sport, is much more fun than the plain white hospital cases. In the last five years Cindy and her volunteers have delivered over 550,000 pillowcases. Not only do they deliver pillowcases that they make, but also they volunteer to take kits and sewing machines to the hospitals so that parents and siblings can sew to relieve the boredom associated with long lengths of time in the hospital. Even the ill children are involved with the project. They especially like to stick pins in the pincushions and the cases as they are being made—they finally feel “in control” of a situation!
Prisoners from Maryland Men's Maximum Security Prison have also joined the cause, sending over 3,000 pillowcases.
With 44,000 children being treated for cancer each year, the call for help seems unending. If you are able to help by sewing, teaching others to sew, or donating fabric please go to ConKerr Cancer and pledge your support.
Rachel O'Neill, Little Dresses for Africa
Rachel O'Neill returns to visit Nancy's Corner via Skype with further information regarding the Little Dresses for Africa project. Her mission to change lives one little dress at a time has grown beyond her wildest expectation. The total amount of dresses that have gone out now totals over one million, and the number continues to grow!
Rachel mentioned that while they intentionally have tried to honor the little girls because they do much of the work and always come last, the little boys are not forgotten. The Britches for Boys program was included to make shorts for the boys. Free patterns for shorts and the dresses may be downloaded from Little Dresses for Africa or Nancy's Notions.
Rachel leads a team to Africa at least once a year. They have built and are running a primary school for 450 children, The Nan Ray School of Learning, named in honor of Rachel's mother, a lifelong educator.
Another project that Rachel and other volunteers work with is called “Buckets of Hope.” They purchase the buckets in Africa to help the economy, and they fill them with needed items such as soap, rice, sugar, oil, and a mosquito net.
Find out more about how you can help by donating dresses, britches, supplies, or money (for shipping) by going to Little Dresses for Africa. Rachel's group meets needs in other places such as Honduras, Philippines, Guatemala, Haiti, and some in the United States that are in a crisis situation.
|Quilts from the House of Tula Pink
||Ken Wing, Woman's Cooperative in India
Silk sari remnants and selvages from the factory floors of India become beautiful fiber yarns. Ken Wing works with the Woman's Cooperative in India to turn these scraps of silk into gorgeous hanks of fiber. The women shred the sari scraps and handspin them into the colorful, textured yarn, transforming factory fragments and waste into something useful and beautiful. This project provides income and a purpose for about 250 women. This job gives the women who would normally only have work about two months of the year something to do all year round.
To find out about the Women's Cooperative in India or to purchase these rich exotic yarns go to Leilani Arts. These colorful fibers make beautiful scarves, pillows, purses, and more.
Julie Stephens, Storybook Quilts
In this Nancy's Corner we learn how stories and quilts are connecting many generations. Julie Stephens joins Nancy via Skype to share the accomplishments of her Quilt Guild, the Chattahoochee Evening Stars, from Alpharetta, Georgia. One of the members of the guild, Janie Stokes, challenged the guild to create “story” quilts to go along with the storybooks. The guild made 37 quilts for 37 books and presented them at a quilt show in 2010. The quilts became “Storybook Quilts: Janie's Dream.” The children are able to touch the quilts as the stories are read, and they learn about quilting in the process.
The Storybook Quilts are now featured in libraries and local schools, which has been very exciting for the children, especially those who may not have a family member that quilts. A grant from the National Quilting Association is helping to defray the costs of publicity as well as transportation of the collection. They have lesson plans for teachers to help when reading the books and showing the quilts to the students. They would eventually like to travel out of the Georgia area with the quilts so that more children are connected by the love of reading and art through the collection of books and matching quilts.
The guild has been challenged again, and they have promised to make 35–40 more quilts to make their debut at their community quilt show, in addition to the National Quilting Association's show in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about the Storybook Quilts go to The Storybook Quilt.
|Travel Gear Made Easy
||Nancy's guest, Martha Sumi, of SewSumi Quilt Designs and the Mad City Quilt Guild, is a quilting teacher for Hmong women in Madison, WI. She started teaching when she made her first donation of sewing supplies to the Hmong women and saw how enthusiastic they were about learning. She teaches the basic Log Cabin, using a foundation. Because of the language barrier, she teaches mostly by using samples to show the process for making the traditional American style quilt block.
The Hmong women incorporate their own traditional styles, colors, and techniques. They fold fabric to make corners and points in a design, and then they appliqué by hand, adding their own style to the Log Cabin block. No written patterns are used—they do it all from memory.
Martha feels that teaching the Hmong women is one of the ways to express gratitude to the Hmong people. During the Vietnam War era the Hmong were the troops on the ground in Laos on behalf of the United States. When things collapsed and the US pulled out, most of the Hmong were left behind. Now, many of them are able to immigrate to the United States.
If you are interested in learning more about the program that Martha teaches, contact her at SewSumi Quilts & Textiles.
Judy Howard, of Buckboard Quilts and author of 1905 Cookbook—Food for Body and Soul, joins Nancy via Skype to share her fascinating story. Judy found a 1905 cookbook at a flea market, researched the ladies who contributed amusing recipes, wrote their stories, and uses the proceeds to feed hungry children.
The 1905 Cookbook was originally compiled by ladies from Edmond, Oklahoma Christian Church. They made quilts and provided hot meals, clothing, and quilts for the needy. Whenever there was a tornado, flood, or fire, they tied comforters and made pies for a bake sale to help the victims.
“One in four children goes to bed hungry every night.” When Judy heard this statistic, God nudged her to help. Judy started a 22" quilt contest. The quilts tour for four years with exhibits at quilt shows, libraries, and churches. All proceeds from the rental fees and donated quilts, plus proceeds from the 1905 Cookbook help feed needy children. If you would like to help, or create a quilt for the contest go to: Heavenly Patchwork.
|Embellish Outside the Box
||Nancy welcomes prolific author Jennifer Chiaverini back to discuss her 18th Elm Creek Quilts novel, The Wedding Quilt. Sarah, the newlywed heroine of Jennifer's first novel, is now the mother of the bride. When her daughter, Caroline, confesses her wish for a wedding quilt, Sarah resolves to make one for her.
Jennifer enjoys making the quilts that her characters create in her stories, and The Wedding Quilt features two: Caroline's Wedding and Caroline's Wedding Album. Caroline's Wedding is a double wedding ring quilt, a variation of the traditional pattern embellished with beautiful floral appliqués in the center of each ring. Jennifer made the quilt in lovely rose and forest green hues. The second quilt is Caroline's Wedding Album, which uses the traditional Memory Album block. Sarah and her friends, the Elm Creek Quilters, have all the wedding guests sign pieces of fabric with good wishes and congratulations, which they piece together into a wonderful keepsake for the couple's wedding gift.
To learn more about The Wedding Quilt book and more details about the quilts featured, go to Jennifer Chiaverini - The Wedding Quilt.
Quilts do more than keep us warm—they can change hearts and teach life lessons. Judith Meeker, an elementary school teacher, joins Nancy via Skype to tell a fascinating story about how she incorporates children, quilts, and sending warmth across the country with “More Than Warmth.”
After reading about children freezing to death in Afghanistan, Judith had her class in Nashville make quilts. She gave the children muslin squares and had them draw nonviolent, nonpolitical, and nonreligious pictures on them with fabric markers—pictures that would make other children happy.
They started with 12 quilts for Afghanistan, and soon 500 other children in the school joined their efforts. They've made quilts for more than 50 countries to date. The children included letters with the quilts to follow their curriculum, and wrote their own newspaper articles about what they were doing.
The quilts were all hand carried by Judith's friends to various countries that were in need—to schools, hospitals, and orphanages around the world. To find out more about this project go to More Than Warmth.
||Michele Cuppy, of Sew Much Comfort, joins Nancy via Skype to talk about the compelling mission of her organization—to provide custom-made adaptive clothing to all wounded service members.
Sew Much Comfort began in 2004 when someone came to Michele and told her that she saw a serviceman receive a Purple Heart at Walter Reed in his hospital gown, because he didn't have any clothing that fit around the 36" fixator on his leg. The serviceman was elated and in tears when Michele sewed him a pair of fixator pants. He said that he hadn't been able to wear pants for six months. From that time, ten ladies in Burnsville, Minnesota, began to make a difference in the lives of service members to provide not only clothing, but comfort and dignity.
Sew News featured Sew Much Comfort in their March 2005 magazine, and the organization has now blossomed to 800 volunteers. Since that time the volunteer seamstresses have been able to provide 122,000 pieces of adaptive clothing to get our service members out of hospital gowns and out in the public.
With this article goes a challenge to our sewing viewers to help with this very worthwhile cause by going to Sew Much Comfort and requesting a seamstress packet to start sewing. Please return garments within 30-45 days.
Nancy Daly is the enthusiastic coordinator of the busy “Hat Ladies!” To date her group of volunteers has made over 30,000 polar fleece hats for causes and those in need. Nancy started sewing hats 15 years ago for her own children and their sports teams, and it just grew from there. An invitation to sew for a Head Start class 12 years ago got her started sewing for programs in the community. Nancy and her group now sew for every Head Start child in Dane County, 3-4 full elementary schools, homeless shelters, free clothing sites, YWCA, Neighborhood Centers, After School Programs, and the Salvation Army.
In a typical season the Hat Ladies host about 45 “Hat Gigs” where all the hats are donated to the recipients at a school or program. During several fundraising events, hats are made to order and sold, with 100% of the proceeds given to the sponsoring agency.
The children select the colors for their hat, and they sit with a Hat Lady to have it sewn to size. For many of the children this is the first piece of brand-new clothing that belongs just to them.
If you would like to know more about this organization, please contact Nancy Daly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to make fleece hats, go to Nancy Zieman's Blog.
|Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons
||Gretchen Hudock, a professional organizer, joins Nancy to discuss organizing a sewing space. She uses the acronym S P R I N G, as in spring cleaning to help her clients get started with any organizing project.
S=Sort through all of your items. Labeled boxes simplify the sorting process.
R=Reuse, repurpose, and recycle. Reuse items elsewhere, so you don't have to throw them in the dumpster.
I=Identify locations where you're going to store the items.
N=Next, find containers that will fit the storage locations.
G=Gotta put things away.
“Before” and “after” photos help clients see how organized their new space is, and help them remember to put things away.
To find out more about organizing, contact Gretchen at Reorganize Today.
Physician Michele David prescribed quilting as part of a healing process, not for a patient, but for herself. She joined Nancy via Skype from Boston. She has overcome a debilitating illness with the therapeutic process of working with color, fabric, and thread.
In 1999 Michele was very ill, and she wasn't able to read, her passion. She took a quilting class and created her first quilt, a traditional American patchwork. Because Michele grew up in Haiti where colors abound and the streets are essentially a large art gallery, she decided that she would like to incorporate more color and artistic impression in her quilts.
After the earthquake in Haiti, Michele went there on a medical mission. The devastation she saw prompted her to create a quilt in the shape of the Haitian country. The sea is red to represent the tears of blood and all the blood they were seeing in the hospital. As she listened to the stories, she felt that she needed to use the quilt to tell the story of these people.
Dr. David has done some brightly colored quilt portraits. Her first quilt in an exhibit called “I Remember Mama” was about her mother, a feminist who grew up in a patriarchal country. “The Haitian Goddess,” second in this series of quilts, portrays Erzulie Dantor, a Haitian goddess and feminist.
As a physician specializing in women's health, Michele finds that making quilts connects the many facets of her life as a scientist and an artist.
To find out more about Dr. Michele David and her art quilt therapy go to Creole-Creations.
|Doll Fashion Studio
||Kyra Hicks, Postage Stamp Quilt
Quilting sleuth and author Kyra Hicks joins Nancy via Skype to share a fascinating story about Estella Weaver Nukes, who gave a quilt to President Franklin Roosevelt during the Depression years. The quilt Estella made was a Postage Stamp Quilt, and the surprising reason behind it was that FDR the president was the number one postage stamp collector in the United States during his time in office.
After much research and talking to Estella's grandson, Kyra found that the quilt that was given to President Roosevelt was a quilt of gratitude. Estella wanted to say thanks to the president for employing women, especially herself and the women from her hometown, Marion, in Indiana with the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Sewing Project. During the time of the WPA Sewing Project (about 1935-1943), depending on the location, up to 19% of all the people employed by the WPA were women with the Sewing Project. Women across the nation worked with these sewing room project groups, sewing by hand or machine.
Learn about postage stamp quilts, and the quilt given to President Roosevelt in Kyra's book Franklin Roosevelt's Postage Stamp Quilt. Check out this true Depression-era adventure at Kyra's website, Black Threads or email her at Black.Threads@yahoo.com.
Cynthia Seyler, Sew for HOPE
In 2008, Cynthia Seyler decided to donate one quilt for every ten quilts that she made. Her tithing of quilts has sparked others to join her quest to supply children, newborns, and teens with quilts to provide warmth and love. Cynthia joins Nancy via Skype to tell about her Sew for HOPE mission, and the gratifying experience one gets from making quilts to give.
Cynthia's goal is that every child who stays at HOPE Community Homeless Shelter in Tallahassee receives a handmade blanket/quilt. When Cynthia's group has an abundance of blankets they donate to other local organizations who work with children in need. Sew for HOPE volunteers have made and donated 723 blankets at this point (395 handmade quilts, and 125 handmade afghans). There are no size restrictions for the quilts as they provide quilts for preemies up to age 18. Everyone is welcome to participate whether they sew or not, and if they are willing to learn, they are taught basic sewing, knitting, or crocheting skills.
For more information on making quilts or donating to Sew for HOPE go to Sew For Hope.
|Sew Knits with Confidence
||Gwen O'Leary, Aprons for Alzheimers
When Alzheimer's Disease affects a family member, it often holds the family captive in caregiving responsibilities. Gwen O'Leary joins Nancy via Skype to tell about how the disease that fractured her mother brought their family together through the healing process of sewing aprons.
Gwen found an apron pattern that she planned to work on as she cared for her mother. Little did she know that her mother was still able to sew and wanted to be involved in the project. Sewing aprons made her mother more calm, and she needed less medication. After making 150 aprons Gwen decided to design her own apron pattern. She also wrote a book titled When Life Hands You Alzheimers, Make Aprons. She donates the profit from the book and the aprons to Alzheimer's respite care in honor of her mother. Respite care is so important because it allows the caregiver to have a break.
Gwen encourages communities to start their own Aprons for Alzheimers movement. To find out more about this project and see how you can help, go to Aprons for Alzheimers.
Mary Balagna, Project Linus Weighted Blankets
Project Linus is not new to Sewing With Nancy. Many of Nancy's viewers have donated blankets to this national organization that has provided nearly five million blankets to children in crisis. Mary Balagna, from the national headquarters of Project Linus, joined Nancy to tell about their venture, encouraging volunteers to stitch weighted blankets. The pressure provided by a weighted blanket creates a calming effect for children with sensory disorders, similar to swaddling an infant. The channeled blankets are stuffed with twin sheets to provide weight.
Children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, ADD, and more seem to benefit from this weighted blanket. The requests are daunting, and it seems that the need is never met! A pattern is available on the project Linus website: Project Linus Blanket Pattern.
Contact your local chapter, or go to our national headquarters website for drop off and shipping information at Project Linus.
|Circles Sew Simple
||Brenda Hutchings, Comfort Doll Project
Brenda Hutchings joins Nancy via Skype to talk about how sewing small artistic dolls for women in domestic abuse shelters can be very meaningful. Comfort Dolls are created with loving hands and given with joyful hearts. These small dolls are the perfect size to be carried in a purse as a gentle reminder that someone cares.
The Comfort Doll Project was started by Pat Winters in 2007. When she closed the project in 2009, Brenda decided to continue in her footsteps. At this point, Brenda and volunteers have made and distributed almost 2,000 dolls. Patterns for these fun little dolls are on Brenda's website.
Brenda suggests that you attach a card to each doll given to a shelter with a message like this: “I am a Comfort Doll. I was made especially for you by a woman's heart and hand who cares. When you need strength or just a smile, hold me and feel the love I send. Like me, you are unique, worthy, beautiful, and deserve all good things in life. You have the strength within yourself to be extraordinary. Find that strength and shine!”
The dolls that you make may be sent to Brenda, but she suggests that you save postage and take them to a local shelter in your community. For patterns and ideas go to Comfort Doll Project.