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
|Precut Fabrics for Speedy Projects
||Meg Cox—Quilt Expert and Author|
Nationally-recognized quilt expert and author, Meg Cox joined Nancy from Quilt Expo to discuss techniques that anyone can use to improve their quilt photography. Meg discussed the increasing importance of taking high quality, well-composed photos of completed projects for sharing on social media and blogging, as well as for contest entries. Through examples, she shared some tips to improve the quality and composition of images. Find more information at Meg Cox - Quilt Expert and Author.
Kelly Krause—Wisconsin Make It With Wool Winner
Kelly Krause, the Wisconsin Make It With Wool winner for garment construction, shared details of how her award-winning entry came together. Her outfit included a classically-styled cape and skirt constructed from wool fabric she won through the previous year’s contest. She restyled a men’s wool sweater to make her top. Part of her award, presented at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, included a piece of beautiful maroon wool for a future outfit and a cash prize sponsored by Sewing With Nancy.
As a state competition representative, Kelly represented Wisconsin at the National Make It With Wool competition in Denver. The event is an annual youth-centered sewing competition to promote the beauty and versatility of wool fabrics, yarns, and fibers. It is sponsored by the American Wool Council, the American Sheep Industry, and American Sheep Industry Women. Find more information at Kelly Krause - Wisconsin Make It With Wool Winner.
Karen Klemp and Jane Krogstad—Hope2Others
Infant death from hypothermia during the first 10 days of life is a serious concern in developing countries. As Hope 2 Others founder Karen Klemp explained, “People don’t think countries along the equator are cool, but when you are in the mountains with high altitudes and in the rainy season, it gets very chilly. It doesn’t take much for babies to lose their heat and become hypothermic.”
As a result, Hope 2 Others developed the Hats 4 Hope newborn care kit to help give these at-risk babies a chance at life. The kits, distributed at hospitals, include a quilt/afghan/blanket, a baby hat, and other care items for newborns, plus flip flops and a toothbrush for mothers who often do not have access to these essentials.
While blankets and hats are especially needed, other donations of time and materials are also welcomed by this Wisconsin-based 501(c)3 non-profit.
Find more information at Karen Klemp and Jane Krogstad - Hope2Others.
|Free-Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3
||Paul Léger—All Guy Quilt Retreats|
When one imagines a quilt retreat they might envision a group of women chatting and busily working on their projects. Paul Léger, an avid quilter from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, explained to Nancy that it isn’t so different when a group of guy quilters unites for a retreat, except host locations report the fellows are “a little quieter.” The semi-annual retreats started in 2008 when a Yahoo group of male quilters got together in person. Since then, retreat participants from across the U.S., and Canada, as well as Europe; gather to work on projects, visit local quilt shops, and play games of chance like “Right-Left- Centered ” to win fat quarters. Since the first retreat the group has expanded from seven to more than 20. Paul, as a regular participant at all the retreats, is hopeful that increasing numbers of new members will continue to participate. Find more information at Paul Léger - All Guy Quilt Retreats.
Tenaya Hurst—Rogue Making
Tenaya Hurst learned to sew as a child from her mother and grandparents carrying on a family tradition of creativity. Over time she blended sewing with electronic componentry and upcycling helping to establish the tech sewing movement. Known as a “maker”, Tenaya in outfits laced with colorful, flashing LED lights, leads hands-on workshops at Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (often referred to in schools as STEAM curriculum) events and maker fairs around the country encouraging youth and adults alike to embrace this creative form of innovation. She explained how students learn to design and test circuits, then transfer their design to fabric using conductive thread in place of the wire. A micro-controller within the circuit is programmed to control lights, sounds, and sensors. This emerging field of tech sewing engages students as young as five years old in a blend of scientific and artistic discovery. Find more information at Tenaya Hurst - Rogue Making.
|Strip-by-Strip Patchwork Quilts
||Tammy Roussell—Mitsy Kit Adaptive Crafting For All|
A seamstress in her younger years, Tammy Roussell’s mother Mitsy gave up sewing as an eye disease diminished her sight. Tammy observed a sense of sadness in her mother that spurred her to find a way to help her mother sew again. The tactile border placed on quilt squares to guide her mother’s sewing served as the catalyst for an innovative solution to help many individuals use their sense of touch to engage in fabric crafting activities. As a result Mitsy Kit Adaptive Crafting For All was established, providing adaptive materials and training. A variety of Mitsy Kits are in use at senior centers and nursing homes providing participants challenged by physical or cognitive barriers to reclaim their creative spark, lift their spirits, and find a renewed sense of accomplishment and purpose. Find more information at Tammy Roussell - Mitsy Kit Adaptive Crafting For All.
Betty Willems and Judith L. Jourdan—Dreams Alive Beading Circle
Delicate beads sparkle in the light as careful stitches hold them in place creating beautiful and functional items like a ceremonial eagle feather case or a sewing kit. As part of the revival of Iroquois Raised Beadwork, members of the Oneida Nation Dreams Alive Beading Circle not only practice this stunning art but help strengthen and maintain vital cultural links to the Iroquois Nation in upstate New York.
Award-winning bead circle members Betty Willems and Judith L. Jourdan traced the history of beading from shell and stone to European beads. They noted that over time beading techniques changed from producing a flat design to ones that are more dimensional. While many patterns date back to the 1700s, bead circle members researched and faithfully reproduced antique designs helping to preserve important heritage for future generations. Find more information at Betty Willems and Judith L. Jourdan - Dreams Alive Beading Circle.
|Sewing Today’s Fashion Trends—Tunics
||Jan Householder—The Giving Doll Project|
When a child is seriously ill or experiencing trauma, the gift of a handmade doll provides hope and comfort. The Giving Doll was founded in 2006 by Jan Householder when a friend’s 11 year old daughter was hospitalized with an inoperable brain tumor. Twelve dolls were presented to hospital patients during that first delivery. Since that time The Giving Doll has expanded to include volunteer groups in a number of states making and giving dolls to children in need. Jan explained that dolls incorporate a special and significant touch, for example a doll might have pink hair to recognize a child whose mother is battling breast cancer. Nearly 40,000 dolls from The Giving Doll are comforting children at locations around the globe, as close as cities in the United States and as far-flung as Haiti, China, Kenya, Romania, and Brazil.
Headquartered in Wadsworth, Ohio, this 501(c)3 organization welcomes visitors during shop hours to talk with volunteers and watch dolls being made. Aside from financial support, supplies for doll making are welcomed. The Giving Doll also has a variety of volunteer opportunities available for individuals or groups to participate in this heart-warming effort to provide comfort and care for a child. Find more information at Jan Householder - The Giving Doll Project.
|Sew Smart—A Three-Season Jacket
||Carrie O’Connor and Nicole Cerda—Operation Chemo Comfort|
While doctors often use chemotherapy to fight cancer, the treatment may result in painful and difficult side effects. Realizing this impact, a group of Milwaukee-area professionals, including Nicole Cerda and Carrie O’Connor, organize and prepare care packages for cancer patients. Called Operation Chemo Comfort, the organization was inspired by a patient diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, who prepared and delivered care packages for her fellow cancer patients.
Aside from collecting much-needed supplies (like gum, hard candy, hand sanitizer, and lip balm) for the care packages, the team at Operation Chemo Comfort organizes sewing, knitting, and crocheting events across the area. The events, hosted at public locations, serve as a visible way for the community to demonstrate their support for those battling cancer, while helping to make a cap or head scarf to be included in a care package. For those unable to attend an event but wanting to participate, Operation Chemo Comfort has a variety of hat and head scarf patterns that can be made and incorporated into the care packages. The organization seeks sewn scarves and hand-knit and –crocheted hats year-round. Find more information at Carrie O’Connor and Nicole Cerda - Operation Chemo Comfort.
|Rainbow Quilts for Scrap Lovers
||Eighth Grade Students—Belleville Middle School|
Bob Gentilli and Theresa Schultz’s eighth grade students learned lessons that extend their knowledge far outside the traditional classroom walls while participating in the Quilts of Valor project. Students conducted library research and interviewed veterans to grasp the history and sacrifice of those who serve. Using their knowledge, groups of students visited a local quilt shop in Belleville, Wis. (Patches and Petals) weekly where they collaborated to design and prepare one-of-a-kind quilts for selected veterans in their community. Fabrics, carefully selected to reflect the life and service of the recipient, were transformed into beautiful quilts. Class members also planned and staged a presentation ceremony to recognize recipients. Find more information at Eighth Grade Students - Belleville Middle School.
Deborah Michie—Stitchin’ for Kids
Since 2009 Stitchin’ for Kids has provided creative play gifts to girls and boys undergoing long-term hospitalization in the San Francisco Bay and Seattle areas. Fourteen-inch dolls with detailed handmade wardrobes and accessories provide hours of imaginative play for young girls and encourage conversation. Each gift box contains between 12 and 14 complete outfits. Special hand-crafted outfits included in the gift might be an entire beach ensemble complete with sandals and a beach towel, or a ballerina outfit with tutu and slippers. Toddlers receive a baby doll with handmade blanket, hat, bib, and more. The waterproof baby doll can even accompany her patient during bath time. For boys, fabric race car tracks with toy cars transform a boring hospital bed into an exciting road race adventure. Other huggable toys, like comfort snakes, provide snuggly companionship while instilling confidence in their young owners.
Stitchin’ for Kids delivers nearly 200 gifts annually and hopes, with the support of additional volunteers, to expand their geographic reach to serve more children. Find more information at Deborah Michie - Stitchin’ for Kids.
|Rope Sewing Reinvented
||Beth Helfter—EvaPaige Quilt Designs|
Quilt designer Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs created the Teal Mini Swap as a means to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and funds to support research, while also recognizing her mother who succumbed to the disease.
The online community for quilters began in 2010 and continues to grow each year. Quilters from the US and Canada register online, providing basic information Beth uses to pair them with a compatible partner. Participants each receive a swatch of the official teal mini swap fabric that must be incorporated into either a mug rug or an 18" or smaller mini-quilt that is sent to their assigned partner. Registration opens each July and projects are completed and exchanged in the weeks that follow, culminating during the September commemoration of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.
From the $15 registration fee, $10 is contributed to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, while the reminder covers the administrative costs for the program. Find more information at Beth Helfter - EvaPaige Quilt Designs.
Laura Murray—Textile Artist and Designer
What’s the secret to elaborate quilt designs created by Laura Murray? She shared basic techniques during a discussion with Nancy at Quilt Expo.
The basis of Laura’s elaborate designs includes stamps, Paintstiks, and fusible web. Rubbings are carefully created on solid fabric laid over design stamps with the Paintstiks to produce light, medium, and dark value elements. Fusible web is applied. A grid is marked on a solid fabric base for the rubbings to be arranged. By cutting rubbings in half or quarters and arranging them with others, complex blocks are created without the challenges of seam allowances and piecing. Once the layout is complete, Laura’s rule is to leave them until she can walk by three times without rearranging a component. The arranged rubbings are fused to the base and then appliqued in place. Find more information at Laura Murray - Textile Artist and Designer.
||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.
||Mary Kay Clark—President of Swan Creek Sewing Circle|
Sewing brings people together, and that's just what the Swan Creek Sewing Circle from rural Fitchburg and Dunn townships in Wisconsin has done for more than 100 years. Mary Kay Clark, the granddaughter of one of the founding members, shared the carefully preserved records that document the fascinating history of the group. Named for the local school district, women gathered in the home of Amanda Culp on December 1, 1915. The theme of their club would be “neighborliness”, since farm women back then were busy, and saw little of their neighbors. They would meet to chat, share stories, help one another with their mending, make quilts for warmth, and assist the hostess in any way they could. Later their activities would extend to knitting mittens and socks and scarves for men in the service of WW I afghans for the ill soldiers in WW II, and many other charitable works. For 100 years, their main goal of “neighborliness” that includes socialization, reaching out to those in need with quilts, etc., and having fun, is still at the heart of the club. Members were honored earlier this year by both local and state governments for their club's Centennial Anniversary, and for their 100 years of enduring friendship and generosity of service to their community and country. Sewing brought this lively group together 100 years ago, and it continues to do so today!
Jaana Mattson—Fiber Artist
Most fiber artists are known for incorporating thread, fiber and fabric in their finished creations, but Jaana Mattson includes wood as an item on her supply list. She explained that after working in stained glass, welding, jewelry, and more, that the wonderful combination of wood grain and the tactility of wool fiber sparked her current artistic endeavors.
With a background in hand-dyed quilts, fabrics, and fibers, Jaana uses wool roving like a painter uses a pallet of paints. She starts with a felt surface and carefully layers wisps of the roving to layer and build her images. For larger areas a multi-needle tool might be used, but typically the single needle tool provides the precision she requires to create subtle shadings inspired by landscapes around her. Jaana noted that her technique requires careful examination of the minute details—making sure clouds are complete before adding the trees. The completed artwork is carefully mounted in a recessed area within the wood, creating a sense of artistic harmony. Find more information at Jaana Mattson - Fiber Artist.
Margaret Jankowski—Founder and Director of The Sewing Machine Project
Sewing With Nancy has followed the growth and success of The Sewing Machine Project, based in Madison, Wisconsin. Founder and Director Margaret Jankowski shared how their newest program helps people maintain their clothing as well as their dignity. Inspired by Michael Swaine, the Tenderloin Tailor from San Francisco, The Sewing Machine Project started a mending project at a local community center. Since beginning the mending program volunteers have sewn on buttons, hemmed pants, repaired tears, even tried to repair the community center's ping pong net!
Two volunteers from the organization are available two hours every other Wednesday evening at a local community center, and every other Thursday morning at Madison's Central Library to help with simple clothing and textile repair, teach some basic mending skills, and perhaps—most importantly—listen. Margaret noted that the community building aspect of the project is as important as the mending itself as she recounted how visitors share stories about their own sewing as well as their life experiences.
Other groups around the country have begun mending programs based on this model. To learn about starting a mending project in your community, contact Margaret through The Sewing Machine Project website. Find more information at Margaret Jankowski - Founder and Director of The Sewing Machine Project.
|Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts
||Diane Gaudynski—Master Quilt Artist|
Diane Gaudynski took her long-time love of sewing a new direction in the 1980s when she began to sew quilts. While she loved the color, the fabric, the designs, and the threads—Diane discovered she didn't enjoy the process of hand quilting. Through intensive practice and study, Diane transitioned to machine quilting, where she has earned a reputation as one of the top 30 quilt artists in the world.
Diane's signature color, affectionately called “mud”, is brown in a variety of shades and tones that many quilters tend to overlook. She explains that not only do the browns blend well with both brights and pastels, but they tend to give quilts a certain richness.
A Log Cabin quilt, a work in progress on September 11, 2001, features somber, dark shades reflecting the sadness of that time. Diane noted that despite the depressing time, the American spirit was strong and reflected this sentiment by incorporating lighter colors—pinks, yellows, and lavender—into the quilt top. Named “Through a Glass Darkly: An American Memory”, the gold and yellow tones on the quilt top create the effect of sun shining through a stained glass window. Find more information at Diane Gaudynski - Master Quilt Artist.
Natasha Thoreson—Assistant Curator and Collections Manager at the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection
Textile treasures, like an antique wedding dress, an heirloom quilt, or precious smocked toddler dress, foster strong connections to past generations and are worthy of preservation. Natasha Thoreson shares some simple tips to help you care for your collection.
Acid-free boxes are a great way to store items, but they can be expensive. As an alternative, Natasha suggests lining sturdy cardboard boxes with aluminum foil. Natasha shows how rolls of acid-free tissue or “sausages” made of stockinette and quilt batting support stored items where they are folded.
While some textile items are best boxed, others may be successfully stored on hangers. Natasha explained that garment construction and material is an important consideration for garment storage. Items like a wedding dress with delicate lace at the shoulder seams may need a padded hanger to support the weight of the entire dress. Padded hangers can be constructed easily using quilt batting covered with muslin on a tradition hanger. Natasha cautions to make sure the padded hanger fits and supports the garment appropriately. And because textiles—like humans—need to breathe, hanging items should be stored in muslin garment bags. Find more information at Natasha Thoreson - Assistant Curator and Collections Manager at the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.
|Sew A Knit Wardrobe from Start to Finish
||Nancy Zieman—Quilt to Give|
Nancy shares guidance to help sewing groups interested in community service projects host a successful modern quilting bee. Organize a Quilt to Give community sewing project using the following steps:
Find more information at Nancy Zieman - Quilt to Give.
- Select project leaders to review and make a sample project in advance.
- Request donations of fabric, batting, and other notions.
- Request some participants bring sewing machines, while others may sort fabric or press.
- Prepare materials; print and prepare instructions, ensure there are several projects at various stages of completion.
- Set up the event in a visible location with ample space (and electrical outlets) for sorting and cutting fabric, sewing and pressing.
- Arrange to donate the completed quilts to organizations close to home or across the world.
Marion Coleman—African American Quilt Guild of Oakland
Marion Coleman of the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland shares how their members use quilts to tell stories and spark conversations. A guild project, Neighborhoods Coming Together: Quilts Around Oakland, expresses guild members' interest in and love for the city of Oakland. Quilts in the exhibit highlight the importance of black cowboys and cowgirls in the American West, celebrate the accomplishments of the members of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, commemorate the ground-breaking journalism career of Delilah Beasley, and even share a sense of humor with “graffiti art”. Find more information at Marion Coleman - African American Quilt Guild of Oakland.
|Second Chance T-Shirt Gifts
||Cherie St. Cyr—Fiber Artist|
Cherie St. Cyr transforms bolts of white and black fabric into colorful dyed textiles that over time become amazing fiber art. The New Orleans native began her career as a silk painter, and developed expertise with both direct dye and discharge dye techniques. With encouragement from her family, she began creating quilts from her one-of-a-kind textiles that have been highlighted in galleries and corporate offices, as well as featured in competitions.
Cherie explains how discharge dying removes color from black fabric—leaving a range of tones from white to copper. Dyes can then be applied, resulting in vivid colors on a dark background, similar to the shirt she is wearing. Cherie shares that “to be a fiber artist is to be a washer woman, because things take a lot of washing (before they are completed works).”
A potato dextrin paste spread on the fabric and allowed to dry is then subjected to a discharge dye process to create the intricate and irregular crackled channels of light against the darker body of the fabric. Cherie notes that she uses a variety of objects in the dying process to achieve interesting and eye-catching effects, including whiffle balls, Plexiglas shapes and clamps, spray bottles, and paint brushes. Much of her work is done in her home studio in Madison, Wisconsin or when weather permits, in her backyard. Find more information at Cherie St. Cyr - Fiber Artist.
Cherie St. Cyr—Fiber Artist
Cherie St. Cyr returns to Nancy's Corner to share the inspirations for her eye-catching quilts incorporating her own dyed fabrics. More than 120 of her quilts were purchased for display at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, and three of her creations were featured in a national print and outdoor advertising campaign.
Her inspiration for the Dots and Dextrin quilt resulted from an exhibit of tiles created by Japanese ceramic artist Jun Kaneko. A solution of potato dextrin is applied to the fabric and allowed to dry; then a thick paste of discharge dye is applied which creates the unique crackle pattern.
She applies many signature touches to her quilts, perhaps most notable are the hand-painted black and white borders. Cherie explains that the black and white fabric looks plain until it is cut and prepared into binding, when it takes on a unique quality. She also encouraged quilters and sewists to make sure to sign their work—either with a label on the back of the quilt or preferably with stitching incorporated on the front of the quilt.
Other quilts Cherie shares with Nancy include: a baby quilt featuring a sun face and a wide variety of custom created fabrics, the Face Factory Quilt incorporating whimsical painted faces as well as button and charm embellishments, and a silk painted dog framed by batiks that Cherie learned to make while on a trip to Nepal. Find more information at Cherie St. Cyr - Fiber Artist.
|Magic Inch Quilts
||Fraser Smith—Wood Carver|
Fraser Smith's exposure to wood began at an early age—his father, employed by a sawmill, maintained a supply of wood and carving tools. When the prospective architect took a college course in sculpture, he found his passion and established a career creating amazingly realistic sculptures from wood. The intricately detailed hats and coats, a surprisingly authentic briefcase, and lovingly recreated quilts draped casually across a carved wooden clothes line, cause those who view his work to pause and ponder.
He explains, “I started [in 1987-88] with things we hold dear. Things we have memories and connections with—like coats and hats. Items that no matter how threadbare they get; we keep them.” The presentation of the items—as they would be seen in real life—enhances the 3-dimensional quality of the art while also maintaining the casual feel.
Fraser uses Basswood (also known as American Linden) because of its traits as a medium-grained wood that carves easily and takes stain and paint well. Four inch thick blocks are glued to the rough size for the project, which may weigh between 170 and 180 pounds. Then Fraser begins carving, first with larger, less precise tools like an angle grinder to make the folds and waves to give the sculpture dimension. For finer details, he uses smaller rotary grinders before moving to even finer and more precise tools and sandpaper. Find more information at Fraser Smith Sculpture.
Wendy Mamattah—Quilt and Textile Artist
When Wendy Mamattah found herself unemployed during the recession a church friend taught her traditional quilting. While Wendy found traditional quilting “a struggle”, she engaged her artistic skills and immersed herself in the culture of her homeland, Ghana, to create mesmerizing art quilts.
Wendy's creations incorporate batiks to capture the intensity of the Ghanaian climate. Kente print fabrics—recreated from the very rigid woven fabric significant in African culture—represent the traditional dress. Her works show incredible perspective and dynamism. The Masai Journey depicts a long line of women journeying from their huts to the marketplace; each figure receding into the distance becomes smaller while maintaining great detail. Drummers and dancers seem to come to life in Wendy's many dance inspired quilts.
As part of her creative process, Wendy listens to traditional Highlife music while cutting the silhouettes. “The music,” Wendy explains, “transports me to a place that I can feel the riches of my culture and inspires me to be dynamic.” Find more information at Wendy Mamattah - Quilt and Textile Artist.
|Every Last Piece
||Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers—Award Winning Collaborative Quilt Designers|
Quilts by the award winning quilting team of Marilyn Badger and Claudia Clark Myers were highlighted at the 2016 Quilt Expo in Madison. The ladies share with Nancy that it is the first time that 22 of their quilts have been shown at the same location. They also talk about the “what ifs?” that they consider when designing and creating a quilt. The pair collaborates on quilts between Marilyn's Utah location and Claudia's Minnesota studio.
As a designer, Claudia notes that many award winning quilts feature feathered stars and so she designed Sparkle Plenty with that in mind. Marilyn remarks that quilting in 2003, when Sparkle Plenty was made, was simpler then. The original design for Awesome Blossoms, Claudia explains, was “sort of a ribbony, curved thing.” Marilyn quilted the border from a drawing Claudia made, and then sent the quilt back to Claudia to be painted. Marilyn shares that the quilting on the fabrics Claudia selected for Red Feathers could be difficult to see, and so fabric painting on that quilt further enhanced the visibility of the stitching.
|Fashion Sewing: Plain to Fabulous
||Roy Mitchell Jr.—Quilt Educator|
Roy Mitchell Jr.'s passion about quilting and teaching is evident as he describes the quilt course he developed and teaches for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. Young men entering the course must score at least 90 percent on 20 different exams pertaining to measurement and math, how to create a pattern, fabric knowledge (grain, bias, etc.), as well as 250 sewing and quilting vocabulary words. As a final exam, students are given dimensions for a quilt and must determine pattern and construction details.
Roy has taught more than 150 young men so far, and they all have achieved his high standards. Three students that completed the program have used their skills to develop a website to highlight their artistry. The students made a quilt that was presented to the Governor of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe on December 18, 2015 at the Governor's mansion in Richmond, Virginia. Seven students from the quilting program were in attendance to present the quilt, which commemorates the governors from the commonwealth's founding to present time. Find more information at Roy Mitchell Jr. - African American Male Quilter.
Joyce and Thomas Teng—Fabric Embellishment Educators
Nancy learns fabric embellishment techniques from Joyce and Thomas Teng on the show floor of the Quilt Expo in Madison. The Tengs demonstrate how to easily create a variety of effects by simply using shaving cream, fabric dye and simple tools to marbleize, stencil , and paint textiles. Find more information at Joyce and Thomas Teng - TSC Designs.
|Quilt with an Embroidery Machine
||Sandy Schweitzer—AQS Certified Judge, Quilt Historian, and Quilt Restoration Expert|
Sandy Schweitzer reassures viewers that it's OK to repair damaged quilts and give them new life. Sandy and Nancy examine a Crazy Quilt from the early 1900s. A worn patch can be replaced by new fabric, simply by folding a small hem, positioning the edge right next to the original embroidered stitching, and carefully hand stitching the patch in place. To preserve frayed binding, Sandy carefully encases the frayed fabric with a layer of very fine bridal illusion tulle stitched into place.
Sandy shares both a Double Wedding Ring baby quilt and a Grandmother's Garden quilt that she found as quilt tops. Finishing it—by hand or machine quilting—and documenting the work done on a quilt label ensures this multi-generational quilt can be enjoyed for many additional years.
Gina Phillips—Mixed Media, Narrative Artist
A life-long artist, Gina Phillips explains how she uses a long arm quilting machine as a “paint with thread machine” while creating art like her piece entitled Fort Dirt Hole. She prepares an under-drawing and under-painting, then appliques fabric and other materials to the canvas using the long arm quilter. For her portraiture series, including a portrait of her dog Daisy, Gina uses wigs and pieces of hair extensions purchased at the beauty supply store to provide texture. Fort Dirt Hole (at 13∏' by 24') was so large, Gina made the piece in three sections on the long arm machine and hand stitched them together.
Gina's transition to the long arm machine came quite unintentionally. She purchased a home in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans in 2004. The home flooded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. All Gina's equipment, including her domestic sewing machine was ruined, resulting in a transition to a long arm machine she uses to create her art today. Find more information at Gina Phillips - Mixed Media, Narrative Artist.
||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
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.