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February 5, 2017 meeting – Quilt photos

Here are photos of quilts shown at the February 5, 2017 meeting. Many of these quilts are mini-quilts donated for the upcoming Hands Across The Valley Quilt Guild Show on April 1st – 2nd at the Umass Amherst Campus Center.




Next NMQG Meeting Agenda: 12:00 pm, Sunday February 5, 2017

Brighten up these gray days by coming to our next meeting! It will be 12:00 – 2:00 pm on  February 5 at the Common House of the Rocky Hill Co-housing Community.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows:

1. Announcements

2. Program

The Riley Blake/Simple Simon Company is having monthly challenges in 2017. The February challenge is to make a modern interpretation of a traditional block.

Carson will give a short lecture on “How We Look at Things, Traditional vs. Modern”. Each member should identify a favorite traditional block or a traditional block that seems to move him/her. ***If you wish, please bring in a picture or photo of this traditional block to share with the group on Feb.5 2017***

The challenge will be to create your own modern interpretation of the chosen traditional block. Any size from mini-quilt to whatever size you desire; incorporate it into a pillow, a bag, a mug rug ( for Rachel??) anything goes! Please  bring in your WIP or completed creations to share at our March 5, 2017 meeting, and then again when you complete it

 3. Business
         The board’s proposals on committees for 2017
         Discussion on what it will take to get an outside speaker.
4. Sharing

Sol LeWitt exhibit gets recognition!


Aimée Allen, a writer and quilt-creative based out of Nevada, came across news of our guilds recent Sol LeWitt inspired exhibition. She has written a post on her blog – BLOCK –  which includes several images from the feature article via iBershires, regarding the exhibit inspired by the Sol LeWitt retrospective @ MOCA.

Sol Lewitt Quilt Show Entry Form

Northampton Modern Quilt Guild QUILT SHOW ENTRY FORM Show dates: September 23 – October 22, Opening reception 9/24/16 Questions? Contact: Michelle Jensen 978-870-3893, ENTRY RULES Any NMQG member may enter the show. A maximum of three (3) entry ite read more

Northampton Modern Quilting Guild April 3, 2016

Minutes by Rachel Peterson, Photo’s by Betsey Wolfson

Surface Design with Lee Thomson

Timna Tarr introduced Lee Thomson, an artist, quilter, geologist, horsewoman, set designer, and surface designer.

Lee opened with a story. In 2006, the barn where she rode was sold; the horses were sold. Lee told her husband she would trade her entire sewing room for a pony, happily, he said no, you need that — we’ll figure out the pony!

Lee decided that if she wasn’t allowed to give up her sewing room, she’d better make good use of it. So 2007 became the year of the fabric postcard. Every day of every month Lee made a 4″x6″ fabric postcard — something on the front (fabric, thread, notions, other random items), double sided — fusible interfacing in the middle to keep it firm, and plain muslin on the back (numbered and dated). She kept them, and presented them from a huge cigar box!

The beauty of fabric postcards is that they never get laundered, never see light (fade), and you can do all manner of things to them! In fact, when she started with “blue circles” as the theme, she even used hardware (a potato masher)! Each month had its own theme. March was “water” (pic), April was money, May was leaves. (And it was also a turning point, because she was at a moment when she wasn’t sure what to do next). Initially the backs were straight fabric (and just the front was embellished), but then she started thinking about the backs. June’s theme was holes (she had hole punches), July was a vacation (a break!), August was sunflowers, September explored ‘faces’ — which she didn’t enjoy, but she believed on sticking to the rules she had established. She didn’t bring any of the October, November, or December postcards, but talked about November’s theme being “brown”.

Photo 1

Photo 2


She pointed out that with some thought you can do a little bit of rework, precut interfacing, gather colors, etc. You can do so much with 4″x6″! As each month wears on, you come up with all the great ideas in the first week… The thing to do is to keep moving! The advantage to having a theme and size you have constraints so you have something to push against!

thomson lots of cards 4095

After the year was over, her pieces became bigger — as she said “it was like — autodidact art school.” And really started showing up in her exploration of leaves. (Pic of the maple leaves 1”x2.5′) After a year of free motion quilting, different weigh threads, found objects, it was just total exploring. She shared her blue piece with the orange Tang Horse (pic) — something she designed and painted after the year of postcards. It is two layers of silk to keep the paint from bleeding through.

Photo 3



Photo 5

Lee’s advice: There was a lot she learned during and after 2007, the key is to really lean in find the stuff that pleases you, tickles your fancy (leaves, shells, landscapes, etc.), know what those things are for you (Colors? Contrasts? Shapes? Words?). Lean into curiosity, keep doing it again and again and again until it comes out the way you want it. (Timna said, “Lee (Sproul) said something once I’ll never forget, “Either give up or try harder.”)

Lee said, “If you love it, do it again. And if you hate it, do it again!”

Lee handed out a number of amazing pieces, including a book of beaded pages, also six dollars she had some dollars stitched together. She also showed us a little round felted box and said that while felting can be fun it’s not for her. Lee loved indigo and showed a piece she had dyed. She had some in the backyard so she could use that. She said it was really stinky but it was fascinating to watch the dyeing. At one point she got curious about gelatin plates – she used a cookie sheet and using a strong mix of Knox gelatin, prep it and then treat it as if it was a plate, put paint or ink on the “plate” and press fabric into it. Lee said the gelatin doesn’t really absorb the paint; she uses “PBO Seta color paints”.

She showed a piece of ‘contact printing’ class… Largely natural colors — she describes how to pull pieces of nature (mushrooms, leaves, etc.), tight up to a piece of fabric, fold it, bind it, boil it. Diane W said we can do that here in our area, but it’s better not to boil it.

After 2007, Lee’s daughter said, “Mom, you know you just had a year long tantrum!” Lee subscribes to “Cloth, Paper, Scissors,” and also gets, “Fiber Art Now”, which she says she both loves and hates.

In 2012, five years after the year of fabric postcards she started the circle a day year. Using the double sided fusible (same principle) she used up stuff she had in the house (and is now officially sick of “gold leaf”). The circle pieces were not constrained by the 4″x6″ size. January was red, in February she ‘had’ to use the felting machine, March it was black and white (landscapes), April was color landscapes (and she showed one like lace) After January of 2012, she realized she would have 300+ circles in the house so she decided that part of the process would be to give them all away — people overseas, friends, dentist office, in fact Donna has a wild turkey that her son chose at an event!

2012 was also the year she went to Haystack, a summer craft school on the coast of Maine. She was asked to speak more about Haystack. She said, “You get from it almost what you put into it. If you go interested and enthused and ready to stay up late and do crazy assed stuff and push your comfort level way out there, something will happen. If you go ‘knowing’ things, it won’t. It is about stretching, reaching, going to ‘those’ places. It is insanely beautiful and they feed you amazing food. When you can’t think about the stuff that’s in front of you any more you can wander through the studios and you can be inspired, connect with others (she connected with a print maker, they inspired each other, swapped pieces, experimented working with each other’s pieces). Do it once and dream about going back.””

The year of circles was a year of marketing — a gallery owner said, “If you makes more of these I will sell them, bring me what you have.” Lee realized she would never have to do another craft fair in her life. They realized that 9×12 was a perfect size for the gallery owner, the price point is right and they sell well. Lee showed a piece designed for a challenge with a required “minimum size” — she was so focused on the smaller size, she found it easier to stitch a bunch together to make it! Her gallery friend loved landscapes and so that’s what she is doing now, and has been from 2008. She showed us, “View of the Marshes in Ipswich,” from 2015, all the others she’s done have been sold.

thomson blue dots 4084 thomson turquoise dots 4077

One of Lee’s current obsessions — she calls them “rivers” — is circles on strips of background One of the rivers was quite large, long (light blue circle River on brown background), with what Lee called, “Timna’s row of orange bubbles”. The river series are curved lines of geometric shapes on strips of colors, threaded. Often sewn/quilted on the reverse with a thicker thread on the bobbin so the stitching is denser on the front. (Perle (crochet) cotton thread or even yarn). It’s always good to use the metallic or thick threads on the bobbin because it doesn’t have to go through the needle.


Finally, Lee’s current project came to be last summer while she was visiting her brother in Maine. She had brought knitting and painting but NO sewing. She painted, and painted, and painted (straight up ‘stupid acrylics’) and when she brought back the painting, she stitched right into them. Right into the canvas.

She does have a relatively deep artistic background. That is she has a feel for perspective and layers of things. Fabric landscapes are all about layers. Showed up a piece of many layered painted landscape (done in a tantrum).


Guild Business

Robin — Philanthropy survey results: in less than a month 21 respondents out of 48 (She’ll send out a couple of more reminders to be heard on the subject), the committee wants to make sure the members are happy with “how” this philanthropic activity would take place in order to increase participation. Once the survey is closed Robin will have all the final numbers and percentages and a clearer picture of how the guild feels about the philanthropic activities..

Initial responses suggest a majority of the guild is eager to engage in philanthropic activities with the guild (rather than at home) to spur getting to know (and learn from) others, and for the camaraderie. A majority feel philanthropic activities should not be done primarily at home. At this point, most people would prefer to have a “sew in”. People seem to prefer 1 2 “off campus” all day events a year, with a mixture of tasks, 25% preferred summer events, 50% winter events.



Sherry: brought in an article about a quilt maker in Chattanooga, TN, who makes quilts for Habitat for Humanity house recipients.

From Communications (Lynne) — please remember at Guild meetings to mark the attendance sheet with information about upcoming sharing opportunities — this helps with planning.

Lee S: The Forbes Library in Northampton has a fabulous color quilt exhibit currently. (Anne Goodale is the exhibitor of, “Chakra Quilts,” from April 2 29. for more info)

Michelle J, updated dates for the Sol Lewitt exhibit 23 Sept 23 Oct (so we have an extra week to finish our quilts) — we in the guild need to man the gallery, more about that as we get closer.

Lee Sproul: Lee is having a show at the Eclipse Mill Gallery, in North Adams, June 3 26, “Art in Black and White” (with her housemate who is a photographer). Suggestion: take your Sol Lewitt submission with you when you visit Lee’s exhibit!




Diane W.: did a workshop (NYC) last fall with a friend of Jeff’s (an artist out of Buffalo), Jack Edson, who is really into color, so she did a portrait quilt. It’s the first quilt she has ever done with big stitch quilting. She used Perle cotton number 10 (crochet thickness), thick. She designed her piece from a Diane Arbus photograph. The big stitch quilting was really fun for Diane (with the wool batting). She said this is not “fine work”, no frame, she spray basted, just quilted it on her lap.

Ellen: demonstrated a “fidget quilt” for autistic kids (a philanthropy project). She’s asking us to save any textile, stuff, junk, zippers, and tactile stuff (shoelaces, spools, etc.). at the workshop she went to. They were making up kits. She’s always looking for old pillowcases — she makes dog and cat beds and takes them to Springfield Animal Shelter. Robin will also send out reminders for fabric, notions, etc… To bring to our meetings for things like this philanthropic activity.



Jeff: Brought in his 3″ blocks (completed so far) of his “365 Challenge” — a block a day challenge that a woman from Australia has posited… None of these are paper pieced, but so small! She gave the “values” and all challengers then chose their colors. He chose the green orange colors. He is up to February 10th.

Photo 7



Northampton MQG Meeting, Sunday, March 6, 2016

Guild Business:

  • Introduction, attendance sheet passed around,
  • Welcome to guests (Audrey Hyvoden)
  • Michelle Jensen (Pres.) collected and numbered all the available in-house Block Lotto from those members participating [ 10” block, square within a square, spring colors ]
  • Tables were rearranged to be more conducive to presentations
  • Committee Reports:
    • Membership (Lee Sproull) – we care for and nurture current and past members and to increase membership. We have established a procedure to send emails to those who’ve been members in the past to see if they are interested in rejoining! There are 2 good ways to get the word out. 1) all the communications (I.e., website), marketing promo cards to quilt shows, retail shops, etc. and 2) instead of our own quilt show, demos of modern quilting (like the one at HAVQG show last year) like the September “demo” of the Sol Lewitt inspired quilts.  Ongoing discussion about finding others ways to demo our work so people can see what we do and be interested in it.
    • Communications (Lynne McLandsboorugh. reported) – Committee is responsible for keeping up the website (also the Facebook page), assign someone to take notes during meetings, as well as a photographer. Lynne (or Michelle ensures the meeting notes/photos are posted on the website. Committee is also providing support to the Membership Committee in their efforts to design and publish information cards about the guild to pass out to quilt shops, other venues.
    • Philanthropy (Robin Heller-Harrison): Survey Monkey survey is coming – please respond when you get that email so that will help drive our focus on future philanthropic activities
    • Programming: Diane absent, Julie Z. reminded us, next month is Lee Thompson’s “show”
  • A reminder about the Guild’s Sol Lewitt Challenge: Back in September the guild took a trip to Mass MOCA and had a private tour of the Sol Lewitt exhibit – this inspired us to set-up a Challenge. The Challenge is to design and sew a 36”x36” (max size) quilt inspired by Sol Lewitt’s work. Members can make up to three quilts.  There is no fee to enter this challenge and all of our quilts will be on display in North Adams, MA at a gallery space there (Michelle Jensen’s building) from September 17 through October 23.  Mass MOCA will be contacted so they can assist with marketing the show. Contact Michelle for entry forms, Carson will set up a google spreadsheet form for entry as well.
  • Announcements:
    • Audrey Hyvonen applied for and received three community grants for an event on June 8th that involves drawing, drafting, etc., more information is coming from her on this.
    • Guest Cindy ? brought in a large stack of fabrics for the taking – after the meeting, take a look, take what you like.
    • Michelle Jensen shared more information about a possible guild trip (in August) to the Garment District in NYC. People expressed an interest in this; she will continue to explore how to make this happen.
    • Lee: received the Blake Reilly Challenge materials for some members – see her to pick those up.
    • Robin Heller brought up the use of a timekeeper at meeting to keep presenters on track. She will gently knock on the table when 5 minutes remain.
  • Discussion on Sharing – Sharing currently occurs at the end of the meetings – would be good to prioritize so the time doesn’t go so long that people have to leave. Top priority will be given to people who have items that will no longer be available to show: gift, selling, showing, etc.  Second priority to people with items they want feedback, advice, help with (items in progress), Third priority goes to those who are working on things they simply want to share.  People seemed to like the nature of sharing whenever they are excited to share.  IF you want to share something at a meeting – please let Robin Heller-Harrison know ahead of time so she can include it in the meeting agenda.

Program: three types of hand work

Type 1: English Paper Piecing -Lynne McLandsborough

The challenge with paper piecing is keeping it modern and interesting!

pic 4 croppic 5

Lynne does hexies when she’s traveling or sitting in scientific meetings. She added the solids to make it interesting.  Her hexie kit includes scissors, needles, clips, and paper pieces (which we can buy pre-cut).  She has put links to  tutorials on the website .

Better to buy the pre-cut papers online because they are uniform.  This is key for accuracy, if you cut them yourself and are off even a tiny bit, it can make trouble for you quickly.  L. takes the precuts out of the baggies and irons them, making sure they are flat.  (She said she loves gadgets and showed us a Fiskers extra large hex craft punch – the large makes 1″ hexies.).

She cuts squares of fabric 2.5” and travels with loads of those – they fit perfectly around a 1” hexagon. She calls what she does “lazy” paper piecing: using a glue stick, sticks the fabric to the hexagon (keeping in mind if you want the “point” up or the “flat” up), press the paper to the fabric and fold the edges of the fabric over to the back. She finger-presses the fabric and uses simple stitches.  The best is to get the fabric TIGHT around the paper, nice tight corner and she stitches to tighten the corners.  (Note: She finger presses when she’s stitching but before she removes paper she irons.)

Lynne uses Gutterman thread because it has a touch of wax, which holds the fabric and doesn’t knot as much. Aurifil not as good (she single threads).  Once she goes all around (the back will look messy) she cuts the fabric back to about .25″ then sews all the hexies together as she wishes, paper still in them.  She used to punch a hole in the paper first, but discovered that didn’t really help.  Hexies can be put together into flowers or triplets on the go and then arrange when you get a good sized pile.  She arranges her design and then sews them together into rows, and then sees the rows together with ALL WITH THE PAPERS IN.  She gave the tip that when you are joining the hexies you can fold the two hex sides and draw a running stitch through it – leave a tiny ridge, but you can’t tell.   After she is ALL done sewing her piece together, she removes the paper from all them.  Often the paper is in good shape and can be ironed and used again!  Most of her pieces are small pillows, since she doesn’t have the patience or attention span to make large items.

She quilts them by straight-line with a walking foot, often uses TWO layers of batting for the raised texture.  Showed us a hexie with a white background that looked like an appliqué. As she quilts she has found that using a ruler was maddening and that eye-balling it was better.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Handwork type 2: Suzie Day gave a brief presentation on Sashiko stitching (a running stitch).

Sashiko in a form of decorative stitching from Japan.  It is often very tiny stitches and was originally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears in garments. She explained that these tiny stitches are often made in many layers.

Suzie likes using linen or raw silk because the weave is looser. Jersey also lends itself well to this because it’s loose. She uses three kinds of thread, and she explained that Sashiko is more twisted then embroidery. She noted that the needles are longer and really pointy (lots of blood). Even though you could simply use a longer regular needle, is it best to use a needle that is specifically a Sashiko needle.

IMG_0074      IMG_0076


The typical stitching pattern is 3 to 2 with the 3 being the stitch showing. Stitch, little space, stitch, little space.  There are a few tricks for the corners, to make them crisp.  When you are doing arrows, you would go a long length, very long, with as few stops as possible.  For the most part, the sky’s the limit. She found that having a pattern is helpful.  3 to 2 is not hard. This is a little harder than the rocking stitch because the needle is longer. Julie Z is going to Japan in the Fall if people want her to bring back kits/needles.   Suzie has a tutorial that she will send to Lynne for the website.


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Elizabeth Lyman – Presentation on Hand quilting


Elizabeth loves hand-quilting for many reasons.  Some important things to know starting out: get to know the needles you like, so many sizes and types – find the ones that work for you. Threads: not as many colors available for hand quilting but she often gets Gutterman, it’s a little bit heavier weight.  She uses hand thread because machine thread can break more often.  Quilting threads can be hard to get!  JoAnns has it, but it’s not as big a thing. Pearl cotton thread is best and she uses number 8 for bigger stitches.  Someone asked about embroidery floss and she commented that it’s a little big.  She gets her pearl cotton threads from Amazon or online because it’s hard to find locally.


Silky has “blendables”, variegated threads that she really likes.  The threads she uses are not coated so she uses bees wax to coat them before stitching with them! She’ll load up 3 or 4 at a time.  The bees wax keeps the thread from fraying and knotting.

Elizabeth loves hand quilting because you can do ANY design!  It just takes a bit longer than a machine. She uses hand stencils, uses chalk.  Also noted that chalk powder can “bounce” off the fabric so that’s a bit of a pain.  She likes to make her own quilt stencils using a marker and then an Exacto knife.  Best place to find quilt stencils is the Internet, search “Quilt designs”. She does a lot of circles. IF you are doing lines, blue painters tape or medicine tape, she does NOT use the ruled tape – horrible for anyone with any OCD! Auto body paint shops have the small tapes, too, and they are cheaper at the auto shops.  She uses markers, air-eraseable (but TEST your fabric, and take care with ironing), she also has success with white soap slivers! She repeated that it is IMPORTANT to check carefully that your markers will in fact wash out; too many do not, even when the manufacturers swear they do.  She showed her beautiful, “Ancestral Journey” quilt and showed up where the marker never washed out (left yellowed lines).

Gave a warning on friction pens, they leave a residue.  She doesn’t have a “go-to” marker. On dark fabric she uses white chalk.  Still has trouble finding the right marker for use with light fabrics. She actually often uses lead pencil.  She also uses “Sulky” tear-away paper on which she draws her design, sticks it to the fabric, quilts it, then tears away the paper!.  She recommends that if you want to mark, do a test on fabric before hand.


Like the needles, get and find a thimble you love.  She uses little leather dots sticks to the end of her finger which she gets at JoAnns.  You can stick them to finger or nail – and when not in use, she sticks them to her Ott light, to keep them handy.  She uses “secretary fingers” on other fingers sometimes to grip the fabric as she hand quilts.

Elizabeth spoke of have a good light source: important, especially for dark fabrics. She has a good Ott light at home and also uses a mini Ott light with she travels (on planes, etc.).

Two types of hand quilting, rocking or stabbing. She is a stabber. Needle down in, back out, in, out. Rocking is the pinch down, up.  The third way: The Thimble Lady (online) “pinches” the fabric – goes straight-across.  Elizabeth doesn’t work with a round loop but because she wants her fabric taut she uses a square “loop” (PVC pipes that clip together all different sizes, online or JoAnns) – uses safety pins for the basting. She says she is obsessed with even quilt stitches. Showed us a framed art quilt (old man), demonstration of big stitches (and tiny!) – a gorgeous piece of art! Some people really make the stitch smaller. She uses only 100% cotton batting. Showed a gorgeous Bargello – machine pieced (she machine pieces so that goes quickly and she can get to the “fun part” the hand quilting.  Blacks, whites, purple, yellow – lot of black fabric, so she uses black batting.)


Lots of reasons she prefers hand quilting. She loves to hand quilt so she isn’t isolated in her sewing room, but can be part of family conversations, all together. Sit in a comfy chair. She said that hand quilting “travels well”.

Over time her stitching is getting progressively smaller. Showed the owl piece – the wings were spectacular, also showed a whole cloth quilted in greys, had used a pencil for marking.



Lately she’s been looking through adult coloring books for some ideas on hand quilting patterns. Also uses books.  Showed a sample of crazy quilting, showed difference between stitching.



Elizabeth showed an Arpillera she’d done, found a fascination with the stories behind these (often three-dimensional textile pictures, hand done by women in South America, political protests or to send notes to political prisoners).







YouTube and Pinterest have great tutorials on hand quilting.  She also belongs to a Facebook group on handquilting… Great hints on there.


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Block Lotto draw… 54 blocks in the lotto, Michelle used a random number generator and the winner of the blocks was Hollis (not present, but will surely be happy!)

IMG_0091 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sharing:Tamara (guest) — showed a landscape piece –









Lee – showed a “Day lily” – asked about how to quilt it….. Turned it “landscape” with the darker greens across the top. Carson also suggested transparent thread to quilt.



The Berkshire Quilters’ Guild presents

Colorful Garden Medley– Patty Sawyer


WORKSHOP: Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Place: Alford Town Hall, Alford

Time: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Come join us to make a Colorful Garden Medley Wall Hanging – no sewing machines needed!

Learn to use a basic color wheel like never before.

Every finished wall hanging garden will be unique and act as a handy reminder and inspiration for future color decisions.

Cost of workshop is $50.00 which includes the kit with everything you need.

Contact Susan Struzziero ( or Trish Ross ( to sign up. Class is limited to 20 participants.

Congratulations to Northampton Modern Quilt Guild members Carson Converse and Timna Tarr for each having two winning quilts at 2016 QuiltCon!!!

It’s a a double, double folks!!!! TWO Northampton MQG members, had TWO winning quilts at the 2016 QuiltCon Show in California this week.  Check out these gorgeous award winning quilts below.

  • Carson Converse won the FreeSpirit Excellence in Quilting award for “The Other Side” and a second place finish in the minimalist design category for “Shift”.
  • Timna Tarr won a third place finish in the improvisation category for “Colorfall” and a third place finish in the small quilt category for “Holyoke 1938”.

Congratulations to both Carson and Timna!  Your guild already knew that you both excel in craftsmanship, innovation and originality – and it’s exciting to have it confirmed at a national level!

Freespirit Quilting Excellence Award "The Other Side" Pieced & quilted by Carson Converse Northampton MQG 59” x 57”

Freespirit Quilting Excellence Award
“The Other Side”
Pieced & quilted by Carson Converse
Northampton MQG
59” x 57”


Minimalist Design –2nd "Shift" Pieced & quilted by Carson Converse Northampton MQG 37.5” x 41”

Minimalist Design –2nd
Pieced & quilted by Carson Converse
Northampton MQG
37.5” x 41”


Improvisation – 3rd "Colorfall" Pieced & quilted by Timna Tarr Northampton MQG @timnatarr 49” x 54”

Improvisation – 3rd
Pieced & quilted by Timna Tarr
Northampton MQG
49” x 54”


Small Quilts – 3rd Holyoke 1938 Pieced & quilted by Timna Tarr Northampton MQG @timnatarr 22” x 29”

Small Quilts – 3rd
Holyoke 1938
Pieced & quilted by Timna Tarr
Northampton MQG
22” x 29”

Northampton MQG meeting, Sunday February 7th, 2016

Feb 2016 Noho MQG-

Leaf Quilt based on Ruth McDowell's Method designed and assembled by the NMQG, under the leadership of Diane Wespier. Donated to our gracious hosts at the Rocky Hill Co-Housing Community, December 2015.

Leaf Quilt based on Ruth McDowell’s Method designed and assembled by the NMQG, under the leadership of Diane Wespier. Donated to our gracious hosts at the Rocky Hill Co-Housing Community, December 2015.


Guild Business

  • Introduction and Sign in Sheet
  • Handout of 2016 MQG Membership cards and pins
  • Photograph of the NMQG with the leaf quilt newly hung in the guest room of the Common House in the Rocky Hill Co-Housing Community.
  • Discussion of September Meeting date which falls on Labor Day Weekend. We voted to move the meeting to the Second weekend of the month.  (Correction – since the 2/7/16 meeting, we have scheduled our September meeting in conjunction with the Boston Modern Quilt guild.  It will be held on Saturday Sept 17th from 1-3 pm in the Fabric Place Basement in Natick MA).
  • Sol Lewitt challenge proposed by Michelle Jensen and agreed upon by the Guild: The quilts will due by September meeting. Finished quilts should be:
    1. 36 inches by 36 inches a
    2. INSPIRED By Sol Lewitt.

Finished quilts will be displayed in a gallery in Michelle’s building in North Adams MA which is around the corner from the Mass MoCA and we will connect with them around advertising.


 Elaine Huffman “Five Generations of Quilting”

Feb 2016 Noho MQG-20072

Elaine’s Bio:   Elaine started out with a career in the insurance industry, and she considered herself a “pan” craft hobbyist. She lost her job, and threw herself into quilting as a business, being one of the first people in New England to possess a longarm in 1997. She quilted other’s quilts, but she “tired of looking at Thimbleberry fabrics” and as her daughter grew into a teenager, life became more hectic, so she stopped her quilting business. Currently, she is getting back into the swing of a business, predominantly around teaching Zentangle.


Big Mama's quilt

Big Mama’s quilt

Quilting Generation 1:  Elaine began her generational story with her great-grandmother Big Mama in west Texas. Elaine showed us a patchwork quilt assembled by Big Mama circa 1920s-1930s and quilted later. She also showed us a Wedding Ring quilt created by Big Mama that was quilted with big stitch quilting.

Quilting Generation 2: Elaine spoke about Granny (paternal grandmother) and Granny Fay (maternal grandmother). Elaine showed us a children’s quilt top where Granny had drawn characters onto the fabric, colored them in with crayons, and then ironed the color into the fabric.



A quilt by Granny Fay

A traditional quilt by Granny Fay

A modern quilt by Granny Fay

A modern quilt by Granny Fay




Another quilt by Granny Fay

Another quilt by Granny Fay

There were many quilts shown that were made by Granny Fay, a renaissance woman who loved the color red. A star pattern quilt made in the 1930s-1950’s with bark fabric (the fabric has texture) backing. Also shown were a 6 pt star inside a hexagon pattern (see photo above left), a quilt with schnauzers, and a modern quilt Granny Fay created in 1973 which had some wonderful, lively colors and a pieced back (see photo above right). Elaine told us a great story about how one year for Christmas, 13 grandchildren each received a decorated, used 5 gallon ice cream drum which contained inside a rolled up quilt from Granny Fay.





Quilting Generation 3: Elaine then introduced her mother, also a renaissance woman, but her main crafts were crewel and making clothing. In 1969, the family moved to Sudbury, MA, an area rich in American Revolution history. Elaine showed us photographs of the period and battle re-enactment costumes her mother made for the entire family.

Quilting Generation 4:  Elaine herself: she received her first showing machine in 1969 for Christmas. She showed us photographs of an early bag she made, and her junior prom dress she made for herself.  Going through about a dozen quilts, Elaine described the different methods used (dense quilting, tranpunto), she pointed out which quilts were made for her daughter Emma.   Elaine showed us framed, mini wall art quilts of beach scenes, made of batik strips, one of which she said she had cut it apart and re-assembled it to give it motion. She showed us a quilted vest and jacket she had made.  She finished up by passing around some Zentangle designs done in pen and ink or quilted.

Quilts that Elaine shared:

1)      a green and white quilt hand quilted using the rocker method

Two quilts made for her daughter Emma

Two quilts made for her daughter Emma

2)      red and blue quilt-looked like a combination of drunkards path and milky way patterns

3)      birdhouses

4)      “twist and turn” flying geese pattern

5)      Emma’s first baby quilt, a star pattern

6)      Emma’s first birthday quilt, a hexie quilt, circa 2000

7)       Vest

8)      Jacket

Examples of Elaine's amazing tranpunto quilts

Examples of Elaine’s amazing tranpunto quilts

9)      The quilt on her bed-all blue, Japanese indigo

10)  Another quilt for Emma

11)  A strip quilt for Emma using batik strips

12)  A round robin quilt in oranges, purples and yellows

Quilting Generation 5:  Elaine showed a quilt Emma herself had made, quilted standing on a box and entered into the BigE.


Thank you so much to Elaine for showing us her family’s quilting legacy and your own modern quilting journey!  We have amazing members and it’s always fun to learn about


Feb 2016 Noho MQG-20104

Zentagle quilt sampler!

Zentagle quilt sampler!












Notes: Robin Heller-Harrison

Photos: Caro Sheridan

Web Page posting:  Lynne McLandsborough

  Feb 2016 Noho MQG-20110             

Charity Sew-In, Saturday November 7th

ANTQ sew in Nov 2015We gathered at A Notion to Quilt on Saturday, November 7, to sew charity quilts that will be donated to the Northampton MA police department.  Members had made close to fifty wonky stars over the past several months.  We set them into various configurations for tops, sandwiched them, and quilted them on the long arm machine.  Several people volunteered to take the quilted tops home to bind them.  All tops will be displayed at the December guild meeting, and then delivered to the police department.

design in process
IMG_2111Design in process 2

wonky stars quilt