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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

Timna Tarr Presented at the October 4th 2015 Meeting

On Sunday October 4th, our very own Timna Tarr gave the Northampton Modern Quilt Guild a presentation entitled “Now What? Choosing the Right Quilting Design”

Timna told us the most important thing for choosing a quilting design is how the quilt is going to be used.  All over designs are a good option for utilitarian quilts, while decorative quilts may warrant more time and energy.  Other things to consider: quilt style, batting type (influences quilting density) and thread color.  Quilting can be used to make areas recede (This was done in the George Quilt below). IMG_2348

The quilting pattern and stitch length can be based upon the geometry of the quilt and the size of the quilt.  Since heavy quilting shrinks the size of the quilt, it’s important to distribute quilting evenly.  To give linear quilts movement, curved quilting can be used (This was done in the string quilt below).  

IMG_2338The last tip from Timna was – “if you think you should stitch-in-the ditch or quilt ¼” off- do it”,  She showed us several quilts that looked beautiful to me, but Timna regretted not taking the time to stitch-in-the-ditch to emphasize a feature.





And here are more of Timna’s beautiful eye candy quilts:




Thanks for talking to us Timna!  I learned so much and it’s always wonderful seeing your beautiful work.

Dyeing in August

Our August meeting was graced with gorgeous weather which allowed us to head outside as we experimented with natural dyes.

Robin shared everything she’d learned playing on her own and we boiled up some dyes of our own. Avocado pits/skins, Beet greens and Queen Anne’s Lace. We added things like vinegar, alum and rusty nail water to create a variety of colors.   It was fun and informative!

dyeing 1

We collected Wonky Stars and decided to extend the deadline for them until the October meeting. At that meeting, we will decide how many/what size quilts we will create and where they will go.

Julie shared, via email,  a number of charitable organizations for us to consider.

Michelle shared a quilt made from blocks inherited from her mother-in-law. These leaf blocks were probably made in the 80’s?

mish leaf 1

mish leaf 2


Hollis shared a spicy table runner/wall hanging she made for her daughter.

Hollis 1

Hoping this summer weather is treating you all well. See you in September when we will meet at Mass MoCA in North Adams on 9/13/15. More info to come.

July meeting report


Our guild meeting on July 12, 2015, was a “maker meeting” focused on using new techniques in our philanthropic projects. In an earlier meeting we had made cyanotype prints on fabric, using a variety of materials from leaves to buttons to children’s toys to provide the images. Each person who made a print was then asked to make two half-triangle blocks from their print using red/white fabrics to complete the blocks. At a follow-on meeting we arranged our blocks in a modern composition, which volunteer members then sewed together and long-arm quilted. Once our quilt is bound, it will be delivered and a description of the quilt and its recipient will be added to our philanthropy pages.


IMG_0525  IMG_0523

At an earlier meeting we learned the “Ruth McDowell technique” for piecing complex shapes, in this case, leaf silhouettes, using straight seams. At this meeting, we learned how to piece these shapes into a free-form composition based on an underlying grid. We added fabric to each of the irregular block shapes and began sewing the results together. Once the sewing is complete and the quilt is quilted and bound, it will be donated to the Rocky Hill Co-housing Community to hang in their community center. At that time a description of the quilt and its recipient will be added to our philanthropy pages.


IMG_0520 IMG_0519 IMG_0516


We also began making wonky stars for our next philanthropy project. If you were unable to attend the meeting, stay tuned for instruction on how your can contribute to this project.



Western MA Quilter’s Retreat

Western MA quilter’s retreat
Where:  Fairfield Berkshire Inn, Great Barrington, MA
When:   Friday 11/13/15 (8 a.m.) through Sunday 11/15/15 (3 p.m.)

1247 Sq. Ft. sewing room will be open continuously from 8 am on 11/13 through 3 pm on 11/15
Design Walls, elevated cutting stations, Ironing stations,  (fun and games)
Hotel offers:  Breakfast daily, High speed internet access and free Wifi, 24 hour fitness center, in-door pool and whirlpool, Coffee/tea available 24 hours

How much:  $250.00 per person based on double occupancy,  $399 for single occupancy, or
$75.00 for commuters

$50.00 deposit due by June 25th

Organizers:   Denise LeDuc and Suzi Day
email notice of intent to attend to

Send Deposit to:  Denise LeDuc
P. O. Box 595
Chesterfield, MA  01012

Questions?   Call Denise  c:  413-687-5929   Home:  413-296-4312

March Meeting Photos

20150301_140850A gorgeous quilt by Elaine Huffman

20150301_140313A wedding ring top by Diane Wespiser

A Quilters Journey by Audrey Hyvonen















Sense of place exchange

The Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild and the Northampton Modern  Quilt Guild recently did a “sense of place swap”.   I was the lucky recipient of Plum Island by Amy Friend- as posted below

sense of place Plum Island


As a frequent traveler, I like to use some my travel experiences as inspiration for quilts.   My swap was based on one of my several trips to the Netherlands (a.k.a Holland) and the flower fields during the spring.   My swap was named:  Flower fields of Holland.

Flower fields of holland