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.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


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.



Leave a Reply