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
|10-20-30 Minutes to Recycle Jeans
||Kay Capps Cross—Teacher, Author, and Designer|
The process of finishing quilts has evolved over time from stretching the pieced top, batting and backing on a frame and hand stitching to the use of long arm machines and free motion quilting. Kay Capps Cross, a nationally known quilting teacher, author, and designer, shares her philosophy that finishing a quilt should be an enjoyable process while sharing two techniques to take the apprehension out of free motion quilting.
Noting that “it's not all feathers and scrolls,” Kay shows Nancy that one of the best tools quilters have for making wonderful geometric designs are their own fingers. Using a light touch, Kay and Nancy both take turns guiding the long arm machine to make simple lines for quilting. To do the more traditional feathers, Kay explains how she breaks the design into smaller elements, moving the needle as if it were a pencil to keep the process more relaxed and enjoyable. Find more information at Kay Capps Cross - Quilting Educator.
Diana Jasany—Quilter and Founder of Diana's Golden Needle
Sixteen year old Diana Jasany shows that anyone can make a life-changing difference for people in need. Diana, adopted from a Russian orphanage at 14 months old, developed Diana's Golden Needle as a Girl Scout Gold Award project. Her intent was to make 16 twin-sized quilts–one for each year she has lived in the United States since her adoption—to be given to youth aging out of the foster care system. As of June 2016, Diana has donated more than 150 quilts to a variety of organizations including an orphanage in her native Russia; Fort McMurray, Canada, and Children's Hope Alliance, North Carolina. To symbolize her family's journey to Russia to adopt her, the quilts are made using the Scrappy Trips Around the World pattern by Bonnie Hunter (used with permission).
Diana's effort goes beyond making quilts for comfort, but raises awareness about teens exiting the foster care system because of age. She explains that those who “age out” are expected to begin lives on their own, many times without family support. Diana hopes that the quilt and pillowcase storage bag they receive provides the youth with comfort and knowledge that people are thinking of them and hoping for their success.
Aside from her school work and Girl Scouts, Diana runs on the high school cross country and track teams, plays basketball, and serves on the Student Council at school. Find more information at Diana Jasany - Diana's Golden Needle.
|Trusty Triangles—A Row-by-Row Sampler Quilt
||Deon Maas—Creator and Designer of the Anti-Ouch Pouch, and Cancer Survivor|
Sewing enthusiast and cancer survivor Deon Maas had firsthand experience using an uncomfortable bed pillow to cushion her arm and chest following a mastectomy. As a result, she designed and developed the Anti-Ouch Pouch to address specific post-surgical needs of breast cancer patients. The Anti-Ouch Pouch is a lightly-filled, wedge-shaped pillow that hangs from an adjustable shoulder strap. It fits snugly under the arm to cushion and support the area after breast surgery or during radiation treatment.
Deon explained that the project lends itself to community sewing because it can be produced in an assembly line fashion. Her American Sewing Guild Chapter in Central Illinois has already made between 5,000 and 8,000 Anti-Ouch Pouches that are given free to post-surgical patients. The Anti-Ouch Pouch was named the American Sewing Guild's 2008 National Service Project and remains a favorite community service sewing project today. As mammography has gotten more sophisticated and increasing numbers of breast cancer are being detected early, the use of Anti-Ouch Pouches continues to increase. Deon noted they are also helpful for individuals recovering from a broken arm as well. Get a free pattern and instructions to make an Anti-Ouch Pouch. Find more information at Deon Maas - Anti-Ouch Pouch.
Phyllis Lawson—Author, Quilt of Souls
At 4 years old Phyllis Lawson was taken from the life she knew in Detroit and deposited in rural Alabama with her grandmother Lula Horn, whom she had never met before. In this unfamiliar environment, Phyllis discovered comfort and healing through Grandma Lula and the quilts she created. As Lula cut and stitched quilt blocks made from family members' clothing, she told Phyllis the stories associated with the life and death of those individuals. Through this time of creation and sharing, Phyllis realized how she was part of a larger family and community.
Grandma Lula lived to be 103 and passed away in the early 1980s. She inspired Phyllis' book—Quilt of Souls—which is a published record of the stories shared by Grandma Lula. Through DNA research Phyllis has discovered additional family members that trace the family lineage back to the time of slavery. She's been able to collect more fabric from family members and intends to create a quilt with Grandma Lula's fabric at the center and incorporating additional connections to the past. Find more information at Phyllis Lawson - Quilt of Souls.
||Nancy's Corner Segment
|Nancy’s Favorite Handbag Sewing Techniques
||Carol Butzke, Quilt Judging|
Ever wonder how judges choose the best of the best quilts? Carol Butzke, an AQS certified quilted textile appraiser, explains the process in an “on location” interview at the Quilt Expo in Madison, WI. The quilt called Once Upon a Time by Mary Buvia from Greenwood, Indiana, won the Best of Show award at the Quilt Expo sponsored by Wisconsin Public Television and Nancy Zieman Productions.
The whole structure of Once Upon a Time is based on an open storybook, a fantasy with unicorns, castles, and more. It is definitely an art quilt! Mary did an amazing job on the quilt in both style and design, plus her workmanship is pristine. Fabrics she chose carry through on the theme of the quilt. The needle turn appliqué is done by hand, and there is great attention to detail, including raised fabric flowers, overlays of netting for the little fairies' wings, and much more. Plus, the tiny, tiny stippling is phenomenal.
Rita Lara, Oneida Museum—United Nations Special Quilting Project
Quilting and sewing enthusiasts have a rich history of preserving memories, recording history, and teaching all ages to appreciate culture. Rita Lara, from the Oneida Museum and a member of the Oneida tribe, shares how Native Americans honor their heritage through the art of quilting. She features a quilt made by a group of boys and girls between the ages of nine and twelve in the Oneida community. The idea of making a quilt was for the children to learn more about the Oneida culture.
The quilt features the Oneida Tribal Belt plus the Tree of Peace, which has roots that reach out in all four directions. The intent of the Tree of Peace is that anyone that wanted to be part of the Iroquois Confederacy would be protected if they believed in peace for one another and had an appreciation for the earth. Rita taught the youth about their government and the history of their culture through this quilt. The clans of the Oneida are depicted in the turtle, wolf, and bear symbols used on the quilt. The children also learned raised beadwork, which is a beautiful dimensional beading technique that the Iroquois are well known for. A story quilt like this is a great way to preserve information, create memories, and foster a sense of pride. Find more information at Oneida Nation Museum.
|Quick Stitch to Wear Again
||Maggie Ball, Update on Mongolia|
Maggie Ball, a quilter from the Seattle area, was inspired by an email asking for assistance in teaching Mongolian women to quilt. 10 years later, Maggie joins Nancy via Skype to give another update on all that the women in Mongolia accomplished since 2004. Maggie taught the Mongolian women basic quilting techniques with scraps and how to piece the traditional Mongolian symbol, the ölzii,which they put on tote bags to sell. Maggie has been to Mongolia four times, and the skills these women have learned are amazing! They are making gorgeous bags, art quilts, and much more. Maggie started a capital campaign, hosted by her church in the US, and raised $82,000 to help purchase a center for the women to sell their products. Besides the store, the center also has a classroom and a small office. Over 2,000 women were helped through this center. They started with virtually nothing, and now have five part-time teachers, three seamstresses, a manager, three designers, and as many as 30 women doing piecework at home—a big economic difference for these women. To see photos and learn more about this project go to Maggie Ball, Dragonfly Quilts.
Ellie Gettinger, Stitching History from the Holocaust—Jewish Museum in Milwaukee, WI
Ellie Gettinger, an education director at the Jewish Museum in Milwaukee, WI joined Nancy via Skype to share “Stitching History from the Holocaust.” The information is about the legacy and life of a fashion designer in Prague, who along with her husband, tried to escape the onslaught of Nazi Germany in 1939. Their memory lives on in letters and fashion sketches, which became the basis for a museum exhibit that honors the designer's work.
Paul Strnad sent his wife Hedwig Strnad's designs and a letter pleading for help to his cousin Alvin, in the US, in hopes to obtain affidavits to leave Prague, but Alvin was not able to do so. Both Paul and Hedwig, or Hedy as she became known, died in the Holocaust. The letter written in 1939, eight dress designs, and a photograph sent from Czechoslovakia were donated to the Milwaukee Jewish Archives in 1997 and became a central part of the museum's permanent exhibition when it opened in 2008.
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater partnered with JMM to create patterns from Hedy's sketches and then make the garments. The detail in the clothing is amazing—a great way to honor a legacy, to honor Hedy, and to tell the story. This exhibit opened in the fall of 2014 and the plan is for the exhibit to travel. View more information about the Strnads and this historical exhibit by visiting Stitching History from the Holocaust.
|Sew the Perfect T-Shirt
||Sara Myers, The Sewcial Lounge|
Sara Myers started The Sewcial Lounge to get people together for the sheer enjoyment of sewing and socializing. Her store is a place where you can learn to sew in a small class of about 4 students, and any age group is welcome. The focus is on people having fun and getting their projects done. One of the most popular classes is a simple tote bag, and another is a zippered pouch. You can get a project done in an afternoon of class. For more information about the Sewcial Lounge visit The Sewcial Lounge.
Tatjana Hutnyak, The Makers Coalition
Years ago manufacturing jobs were outsourced, incuding jobs in industrial sewing. A group of manufacturers started a non-profit organization to train and rebuild sewing skills and create jobs—The Makers Coalition was born, and Tatjana Hutnyak is a spokesperson for this group. With the on-shoring trend, there is a shortage of local workers. An official training was started so that people interested in sewing can get industrial sewing production skills and enter the workforce. The coalition partnered with Dunwoody College of Technology in Minnesota. They created an ideal training setting with anywhere between 12 and 24 students so that everyone has enough lab time and practice time with the industrial machines. The training is 6 months part time or 2–3 months full time. The job placement has been 90% plus, within a month of graduation.
|Beginning Landscape Quilting
||Deanna Waltz, Redwork Quilts|
Deanna Waltz, whose quilts were on display at the Quilt Expo in Madison, WI, paid homage to her past with her amazing handiwork. Redwork embroidery hand stitched on white cotton fabric gets its name from the colorfast thread developed in Turkey in the 1870s. There was embroidery before that time, but the the red thread would often bleed on the project. Turkey developed the floss called Turkey red, which no longer bled, and that was the start of beautiful redwork embroidery. Many of the embroidered designs from the past are reproduced by taking patterns from purchased vintage quilts. Some of the quilts took a long time to stitch—Deanna kept track of the time on one of her redwork quilts, and it took her 487 hours to put the patterns on and do the embroidery, plus it used 57 skeins of embroidery floss. Bluework is another type of embroidery that quilters use to add a touch of nostalgia to their quilts—blue floss designs on an off-white background. An Amish friend of Deanna's does most of the hand quilting for her beautiful vintage quilt interpretations.
Catrina Sparkman, Black Threads: Family History Quilt Exhibit
Catrina Sparkman and a group women artists and writers formed a modern day quilting bee. Six women were brought together as they learned a new technique—quilting—while sharing history and the love of family. Only two of the women had quilted previously, so they learned this new art form together. As they found out, quilts not only keep us warm, but tell stories and also build friendships.
Catrina shared several of the quilts made by the women. Catrina's quilt, First Date, depicts a story she heard while growing up about her mom and dad's first date. Edith Hilliard tells a story of her family migrating to America from Africa in her quilt called “Generations from 1965 to 2015 in Wisconsin”—eight generations from slavery to the space program. Cynthia Woodland's quilt, Engrafted, tells the remarkable story of her adoption into a loving family, and about the child she and her husband adopted. The quilt Summer Memories, by Wanda Tap, features all the things that Wanda loved about summer trips back home down south. The six women in the quilting bee made six very special quilts, and each quilt will be treasured for a lifetime. To see information about some of the other quilts, which were featured at Olbrich Gardens for Black History Month go to Black Threads.
Robert Freund, Mexican Indigenous Textile Project
We all want to leave a legacy. Bob Freund joins Nancy via Skype to tell about the project he dedicated to the preservation and memories of Mexican indigenous textiles. These colorful textiles link the indigenous people with their culture, which is in danger of extinction. Bob is a historian, and he has chosen his life's work to gather textiles from Mexican villages. 700 of these villages have been documented. Documentation of the textiles includes photos of the communities, women and men wearing the traditional clothing, examples of the various textile patterns from a specific village, and a sample from the textile collection. As Bob documented his large collection of textiles in villages, he realized that the ones wearing the costumes were the grandmothers, and the young girls were wearing T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. Under pressure from the forces of modernization and globalization, this beautiful handmade clothing is being forgotten.
Bob shared hand-embroidered clothing from the Mazateca, cross-stitched wool coverlets from the Nahua Indian group, and appliquéd native gowns from the festival in Santa Teresa. He has donated these and his entire collection to the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University. The collection will be preserved for future generations to see the beautiful clothing and workmanship. To find out more about this project go to Mexican Indigenous Textiles Project.
|Sew Gifts—Make Memories
||Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh on location Dressing Downton™: Daywear Fashions|
Revisit a period in history through the fashions of Downton Abbey, a PBS exclusive drama. Nancy and Laura Fiser, curator of collections and exhibitions, showcase daywear fashions that tell great stories about the era and characters of the drama. Daywear from seasons one and three of Downton Abbey is featured in this Nancy's Corner. Costumes included many for the Crawleys from the Edwardian period in the 1910s through the Jazz period of the 1920s. All authentic recreations are made by the Cosprop costume house in London. The bustled lilac 2-piece day dress with bolero jacket worn by Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess, sets the stage. Also featured is the cream silk day dress with black frogging, large-brimmed hat and white lace gloves worn by Cora, a pre-WW1 linen suit worn by Robert, a hand embroidered silk dress coat of Lady Edith's from 1920, and lastly the flamboyant fox-trimmed silk coat worn by Martha Levinson (played by Shirley MacLaine). For more information please go to Dressing Downton or The Paine Art Center and Gardens.
Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh on location Dressing Downton™: Eveningwear Fashions
If you're smitten with the PBS drama Downton Abbey, you will be enthralled with this Nancy's Corner, on location at the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, WI, where 36 fashions from this drama were on exhibit. In this segment Nancy and Laura Fiser, curator of collections and exhibitions, take a close-up look at several eveningwear fashions worn during the PBS drama. The gorgeous gowns from the 1910s—1920s feature detailed beading, embroidered lace, opulent fabrics, and are enhanced with beautiful jewelry. Gowns worn by Lady Mary Crawley, Lady Rose, Cora Crawley, and more. All costumes were authentically reproduced and courtesy of Cosprop costume house from London. For more information please go to Dressing Downton or The Paine Art Center and Gardens.
|Solving the Pattern Fitting Puzzle
||Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh on location Dressing Downton™: Activewear Fashions|
Nancy and Laura Fiser, curator of collections and exhibitions, feature activewear from the English country estate Downton Abbey in this Nancy's Corner segment. Lady Mary Crawley sports a split-skirt riding outfit, while Lady Edith, the Land Girl, wears an outfit to ride her bicycle, as well as a tractor. Mrs. Hughes, a pivotal downstairs character and head of the female servants, wears a subtle black costume with black lace and off-white lace cuffs. Lady Sybil is shown in a nurses outfit as WW1 begins. Matthew in military attire, was missing in action, and Mary Crawley in a military style A-line skirt and floral silk chiffon blouse. Robert Crawley, aristocrat, and Richard Carlyle, engaged to Lady Mary Crawley, are the gentlemen featured in tweed for hunting parties in this segment. All costumes are courtesy of Cosprop from London. For more information please go to Dressing Downton or The Paine Art Center and Gardens.
Debbie Hall, Cecelia's quilt
Debbie Hall created a memory quilt that became a labor of love when it was customized to fit her granddaughter Cecelia's special needs. Cecelia has ONH (Optic Nerve Hypoplasia), which impairs her sight. Debbie repurposed clothes from her granddaughter's first year for pockets on the blocks. Each pocket contains a felt toy attached with ribbon, and the name for the item is added with puffy paints in Braille on the pocket. The quilt is not only an inspiration to be shared with other quilters, but it utilizes recycled clothing, is personalized, and quite an educational gift for a loved one.
||Venetta Morger, Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project|
Quilters from around the country are raising awareness and funds for the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Venetta Morger, member of the steering committee for the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Quilt Project, joins Nancy from Houston, Texas, via SKYPE to share the task of this group.
The Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project was established to educate the public about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer through the artistry of quilting. Held every two years, the Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project hosts an online quilt auction by receiving quilts from all over the country and abroad. To find out more information about this project go to MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Mallory Johnson, Erin Johnson, and Cece Jabs, Anime Costumes
Nancy's guests, Mallory and Erin Johnson design and sew costumes for anime conventions. They sew without patterns, and have learned many of their techniques by “trial and error.” The experience of designing and sewing costumes has given them challenges balancing their time, expenses, and abilities. They have learned how to express themselves in their work, and their creations have given them a boost of confidence. Many of their designs feature repurposed clothing and a variety of unique fabrics. Several of their costumes were featured in this Nancy's Corner segment. Among them are Meltdown Rin, Goddess Madoka, and Mallory's Maxie. Their friend, Cece Jabs models a satin costume that includes lights inside the cape. View Mallory's Facebook page at Lovely Pixel Crafts and Cosplay to see other costumes.
||Jill Gorski, National Button Society|
Do you have a jar or box in your sewing space filled with old buttons? Most of us hold onto these treasures, yet others make a hobby of collecting them. Button collecting was recognized as an organized hobby through the founding of the National Button Society in 1938. Jill Gorski, of the National Button Society from Colorada Springs, joins Nancy via SKYPE. She shares some of the various types of buttons, plus how to care for and preserve your precious button collection finds. She also talks about button societies in various states and national shows. If you would like more information, go to National Button Society.
Shelly Zegart, International Honor Quilt
Shelly Zegart, joins Nancy from Louisville, Kentucky, via SKYPE featuring the “International Honor Quilt,” a collaborative grassroots project, which honors hundreds of women and their achievements throughout history. Approximately six hundred small triangular quilts are assembled into this beautiful, multi-sectional quilt. The nonprofit art organization Through the Flower, founded by Judy Chicago, has gifted the “International Honor Quilt” to the University of Louisville's Hite Art Institute. For more information go to International Honor Quilt - University of Louisville or International Honor Quilt - Through the Flower.
Peggy Gelbrich, Coffee Creek Quilters
Peggy Gelbrich, of Coffee Creek Quilters joins Nancy from Oregon via SKYPE. This quilting group consists of volunteers who teach and other volunteers who support teachers by organizing fabric, making quilt kits, and long arm quilting. Teachers go into the prison to teach quilting classes to women that are incarcerated at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon. The classes are so popular that there is always a long waiting list. The students make two 40" x 60" quilts to donate. A third quilt (up to 60" x 80"), made from a pattern or design of their choosing, is theirs to keep or give as a gift. The program not only creates self-esteem and self-confidence, but also gives the students an opportunity to learn a variety of quilting techniques and to practice many other life-enhancing skills. For more information about this quilting group, or to start a group of your own, go to Coffee Creek Quilters.
|Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes
||Carolyn Ducey, International Quilt Study Center and Museum (Nebraska)|
Carolyn Ducey, the Curator of Collections at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum (IQSCM) joins Nancy via SKYPE. The center was founded in 1997 and is located within the Textile, Merchandising, and Fashion Design Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The department offers a masters degree in Textile History with an emphasis on quilt studies—the only program of its kind in the world. The museum has the world's largest publicly held quilt collection of approximately 4500 quilts from 50 different countries. The museum hosts 12–15 quilt exhibits each year, featuring about 100 quilts at any time. When quilts are not in use they are stored in temperature controlled storage. The quilts are folded and refolded periodically so they don't get fold marks. The mission of IQSCM is to inspire an understanding of the cultural and artistic significance of quilts and quiltmaking traditions from around the world. For more information go to International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
Janet Raderer & Anna Gray Slagle, STITCH
Janet Raderer & Anna Gray Slagle join Nancy from Louisville KY via SKYPE to share information about their outreach sewing program for refugees called STITCH. They teach sewing to women for the Kentucky Refugee Ministries. It all started with a donation of one sewing machine, and now they've had 75 donated; 12 are kept in the classroom and others are often donated to interested students. There are over 30 volunteers that work with Janet and Anna Gray to teach the refugees. They teach by demonstrating and giving smiles and hugs to women who speak hardly any English. In the past four years, they have had approximately 80 women go through the program. The refugees have come from Somalia, Sudan, Nepal, Cuba, Kenya, Iraq, and the Congo. The students are first taught to sew on paper, and then they learn to sew tote bags, aprons, skirts, tops, dresses, caftans, tablecloths, bedspreads, and pillowcases using fabric. To find out more information or to donate supplies go to STITCH - Highland Presbyterian Church.
|Hoop it Up—Guide to Successful Embroidery
||Elizabeth Klaus, Quilt to Give|
Elizabeth Klaus, the donations coordinator at DAIS joins Nancy at the annual Quilt Expo in Madison, WI, to accept quilts for their domestic violence shelter. DAIS is the only emergency domestic violence shelter in Dane County. DAIS also has seven other intervention, prevention, and education programs for victims of domestic violence for the Dane County community. DAIS was given quilts to use in their new shelter on Madison's north side. Their old shelter had 25 beds, and the new shelter has 56 beds, which will utilize the Quilt to Give quilts. The remaining quilts from the Quilt to Give project were given to Enchanted Makeovers—housing women and children, in addition to educating, empowering, and opening a path for their creativity and self-expression. Donate fabric, time, or quilts to the Quilt to Give project, a truly worthwhile program. The gift is truly in the giving! For more information go to Quilt to Give.
Frieda Anderson, Art quilter
Frieda Anderson, art quilter, designer, and fabric dyer, joins Nancy at the annual Quilt Expo in Madison, WI, to share information about art quilts. They discussed framing, finishing, stitching, and labeling these small artistic quilts with several quick and easy methods. Freida's secret for making an interesting small art quilt is to use craft interfacing and fusible web. Her colorful contemporary designs are fast and fun projects to sew. For more information about Frieda or to read her blog go to Frieda Anderson - Hand Dyed Fabric, Quilt Artist.
|Cuddle Buddies Hats and Scarves
||Jane Sassaman, Fabric Designer|
Jane Sassaman, an award winning quilter and fabric designer joins Nancy at the annual Quilt Expo in Madison, WI. Jane shares the process she uses to design fabrics. She starts by sketching her favorite motifs from nature such as flowers from her garden. After the sketching process she cuts the sketches apart and arranges them into a repeatable design. The designs are scanned into her computer and colorized. Artwork is sent to the fabric manufacturer, including 2" blocks of each color used. She is sent “strike-offs” of the fabric (hand screened, and not yet in the real fabrication) to review. Jane creates a project with the completed fabric using simple piecing so that the fabric remains the star of the project. For more information about Jane and her work go to Jane Sassaman - Fun Quilts, Fine Quilts.
||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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.