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.

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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.

Sol LeWitt Exhibit at the Mass MoCA


On Sunday September 13th 2015,  the Northampton Modern Quilt Guild had a private tour of the Sal LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective at MASS MoCA, in North Adams, MA.   Above we’re pictures in front of a very “quilty” later work of Sal DeWitt.

This amazing exhibit has 105 wall drawings and is displayed on three floors of a 27,000 square foot building, which was renovated especially for this work.   The first floor of the exhibit are wall drawings designed in the late 1960’s and 1970’s and were made with pencil (both lead and colored). These from far away, these wall drawings appear as soft, gradual shading of graphic shapes (below).

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Up close, these drawings were evenly spaced simple parallel pencil lines – vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines in lead gray and primary colors.

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Close up, these reminded me of straight line quilting, but from far way, the effect was similar to low density piecing.






Each image was designed as a grid, which was then translated into the wall drawing, as defined by Sal LeWitt. Often times, each wall drawing would have as many permutations or combinations of parameters as possible.  Can you get much more quilty than this wall drawing?












The first floor, also had studies in white chalk on blue walls – with defined shapes both as solid and dashed lines in grids presented in different orders.  There were twelve total shapes (larger blocks at the top of the image) that were the combined by Mr LeWitt (see small blocks below).











When assembled, these displays were appeared as continuous white lines, but when you looked up close, the pencil lines of the defined grid work was visible. Being true quilters, we were looking for the blocks in the assembly.










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The early work, also had Wall Drawing 38 – paper inserted into grey pegboard walls.  As with the pencil drawings, four colors of paper were used (white, red, blue and yellow), but the shadows made a secondary pattern that gave a similar effect to quilting.











The second floor of the exhibit, work from the 1980’s- 1990’s was displayed. Mr. Lewitt continued with grid work, but rather than using lines to shade the drawings, India ink and colored inks were mixed to color the wall grid works.The colors were mixed and provided a blending affect, similar to what is seen when we use “shot” cottons in quilting. As before, some drawings were assembled to show all combinations of parameters selected for the drawing.     The two images below are one “drawing” on a continuous wall with pure grey; then  red yellow, and blue; a darker hue of each primary, then secondary colors (orange green and purple) and finishing with the darker hue of each secondary color.                                                            IMG_2274           IMG_2273

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The third floor of the exhibit displayed LeWitt’s work from the 1990’s to 2007. The work on this floor featured saturated colors, and also used the juxtaposition of glossy and flat finishes. In addition, curves are more prominent in his later work.


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Scribble drawing were also part of LeWitt’s later work.  It was amazing the amount of depth was obtained by the shades based upon density of lines (distance below left, close up on the right).

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What I didn’t know until today, was that the artist would “design” the wall drawings, which were then installed in spaces, by other artists.  His instructions often were vague such as the placard (below right) and resulted in the drawing below left:

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After the exhibit, the group had a great lunch at the Public House in North Adams MA and discussed how the NMQG could structure a challenge that based on what we saw today.  We could make it broad (ie “inspired by Sol LeWitt”), or we could define the challenge ( ie “must contain X number of colors and only use triangles”).  What do you think?

We had a great day.  For those of you who couldn’t join us – I’d highly recommend spending an afternoon with Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings.  I think you’d be amazed and inspired by the graphic quilty-ness of his work.

Next Meeting: Sunday Aug 13th at the Mass MoCA!

Howdy Northampton Modern Quilters!

Happy September to all you!  This month, we WILL NOT BE MEETING on Sept 5th due to the Labor Day Holiday.  Instead, we’ll be visiting the Mass MoCA in North Adams MA for a private tour of the Sol Lewitt exhibit.

What: Tour of the Sol Lewitt Exhibit

When: 10:45 am Sunday, September 13th 2015

Where: Mass MoCA, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.  We’ll be meeting at the upside down trees at 10:45 am.  The tour will start promptly at 11.


Cost:  $16 adults and $14 extra special adults (who are 65 or older -chronologically, not spiritually)

Afterwards we’ll go out to lunch – Michelle will be making a reservation for us.  If you haven’t told her that you’re interested in joining us for lunch, please let us know.   Afterwards, there are lots of options.

Michelle (our honorable president) lives in an artists loft in North Adams, and has arranged for  three lofts (a pottery studio, a rare book studio, a quilter’s studio) to be open for us visit along with the Brill Gallery.

Cheers!  Lynne

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.

Fabric Donation

In fall 2014, one of our members asked our guild if we would be willing to raid our stashes, and donate some fabric for the sewing class she teaches at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club. Guild members were very generous; the donations filled six large boxes. This enabled the kids to create their own pillowcases, two lap-sized quilts for the annual club auction, and aprons for Mothers Day.




The kids were appreciative, and sent a thank you card, which they created and signed with comments.




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.


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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.


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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

Workshop: Improvisational Quilting From a Score


Sherri Lynn Wood will be teaching a workshop in Portland ME called Improvisational Quilting From a Score on Friday May 1st from 9 AM – 4 PM.

Space is limited to 10 people so there will be an enormous amount of personal attention and room to spread out. A catered lunch will also be served.

Details can be found here: A Gathering of Stitches as well as the option to register. There is also an opportunity to stay and quilt all weekend with help from A Gathering of Stitches  for any that get in the groove and want to keep going.

The night before the workshop, Sherri will be giving a lecture and signing copies of her soon-to-be-published book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, which won’t be released until 5/5, but will have copies for sale.

Date: May 1, 2015

Length: 6 hours

Location: A Gathering of Stitches, Cove St., Portland, ME

March Meeting Photos

20150301_140850A gorgeous quilt by Elaine Huffman

20150301_140313A wedding ring top by Diane Wespiser

A Quilters Journey by Audrey Hyvonen