I have had a quilt exhibit on display at Bay Quilts during the month of March. It was so nice to have a bit of normalcy in my life and meet up with a few friends that visited the exhibit. It is amazing how a good dose of friendship can lift your mood.
Bay Quilts will also be hosting a live chat with me on Instagram this Sunday, March 28th at 1:00pm to talk about each of the quilts in the exhibit. I hope you have time to join us! Go to Bay Quilts Instagram to find the link. They will keep the recording on their website after the live chat is over. Thanks Bay Quilts!
Here are just a few photos from the show. To get a peek of each quilt individually, I have posted them on my website, PatiFried.com.
Busy Hands Grounds the Spirit
Don’t forget to hop over to my website for a closer look at the quilts, along with the Artist’s Statement and write ups about each quilt. Patifried.com
My daughter Molly is a hairstylist. A few years back, one of her clients, Amy Moore, was opening a shop for unique vintage clothing, Closet Karma. Molly picked up an extra few hours a week, helping merchandise for sale at the shop which, in her world, was heaven. Working with fashion and get paid in clothing! One day, the two were talking and Molly mentioned that her mom was a quilter. Amy said that she had an unfinished quilt that she would love to have completed. So, Molly called me and put us in contact. Within a few days, my daughter dropped off a project to add to my ever growing to-do list.
The quilt was beautiful, vintage, hand-pieced, basted and partially hand-quilted. It was a Dresden quilt in lovely 30’s and 40’s prints on a muslin background. It obviously had been made with love and was still in very good shape. But the quilting covered about two blocks and then stopped.
The backing fabric totally took me by surprise! This reminded me of a pair of bell bottom jeans that I owned as a kid in the 60’s! Wow! Judging from the fabric choices, this quilt spanned a few years! I found out later that the quilt top was done by Amy’s great grandmother. I was told that the fabric definitely reflected great grandma’s personality!
After a nice chat with Amy and set it in my pile of projects, not terribly excited to tackle this one. A few months later, I talked with a long-arm friend and we discussed just finishing the quilt on her machine, leaving the hand-quilting in place. I thought using a machine was probably the best answer. But again, I stalled out and didn’t go further.
There was a problem with the border. The quilter had spent laborious hours piecing a lovely, scalloped border. But when the backing was added, it was about an inch smaller all around the top, and the batting had completely disintegrated away another 2 inches in. This meant that either I needed to cut off the scalloped border for a clean edge, or undo the hand quilting and start over with the correct size batting and backing. And so, I procrastinated getting the project moving along for over a year.
Fast forward to the week that it was announced that all of California was to shelter in place for Covid-19 in 2020. I looked around my house at all of my unfinished projects and could not imagine working on any of them, due to the unnerving anxiety that was building inside of me. And then I saw the vintage quilt. Handquilting – that I could manage right now. Busy hands calm my nerves. Hand stitching grounds me. I picked up the quilt, grabbed some neutral thread and just began. I didn’t worry about the scalloped border problem or the tattered batting on the edges. I didn’t worry about what quilt design to use. I just looked at the quilt and followed what had already been started.
And so I stitched. And stitched, and stitched and stitched. For weeks and into the next month. At some point I was able to function again. The pandemic had become our new normal. I was able to work on other projects, so this quilt morphed into my evening project, until one day, I actually finished quilting all the Dresden blocks!
All that was left was the border, but that was a whole lot of work all on it’s own. By then I had had plenty of hours to think about how to tackle the problem. I noticed that one side of the back had a little extra fabric. I decided to trim off what I could, and add it to the other sides, so that all four sides would be just the right size. Then I very gently filled in the batting with new batting, trying to meld it into the old. This took a lot of fiddling, but it worked. Great. Now I can quilt the border!
And then, just as I thought I was on the home stretch, I realized that putting a binding on this beautiful scallop would be like a whole other project on itself. Ugh! I put an SOS out to Laura and all my other quilt expert friends to figure out how to tackle this. Everyone had great ideas, but it came as no big surprise, Laura’s made the most sense, and was the one I used.
I cut strips of muslin, which was somewhat close to the muslin background of the quilt. I made 4 strips, matching the length of all four sides of the quilt. The width of the strips was 2/3 the width of the Dresden blades from the top to the curved bottom. I carefully pinned, then stitched the muslin to the right side of the border, following the shape of the curves, and allowing 1/4″ seam allowance. This could be done on the machine, but I chose to stitch by hand. After stitching down one side, I turned the strips inside out, and gently pushed the curved shapes into place. The space between the blades was a bit tricky, but I clipped the corners and that helped tremendously. I folded under the raw edge, and blind-stitched in place.
The four corners didn’t behave so well with this technique, but I would have to write a whole other post on how I tackled that. You can see from the photo below, how the muslin strip becomes a clean finish to such a finicky border. Thanks Laura, for your infinite wisdom on how to finish this border.
Finally, the quilt was finished! I took lots of photos and then contacted the owner, Amy. She came and picked it up and we had a wonderful chat about the history of the quilt. It was made by her great grandmother, Florence Weir of Sioux City, Iowa.
As she left, I said to her, “Turn the quilt over and run your hand over the back. Do you feel the knotted stitches? Those are the stitches of your great grandmother’s hand. I bury my knots, and she didn’t. So you will always know which stitches are hers!”
If you would like to see more of my busy hand work – I have an exhibit called Busy Hands Grounds My Spirit, at Bay Quilts in Richmond CA right now. If you are local, you can reserve a time slot online here to visit the exhibit and shop in one of my favorite fabric shops. They will be hosting a Video Chat with me on March 28th about my quilts. Follow them on Instagram for upcoming details – SFBayQuilts. I have also been posting some of the quilts on my Facebook page and Instagram account. Stop by and visit me on Pati Fried on Instagram and Pati Fried on Facebook
Happy March to all of you! Chat with you soon! Hugs, Pati
2020 is coming to an end. It seems so appropriate to wrap up the last blog post for this year on the topic of Promises and Possibilities. This was the subject of the second part of last year’s exhibit, Quilting in the Garden. If you missed reading about the first part of the exhibit, scroll back one post or click here. As I mentioned in the last post, the exhibit was to celebrate the work that Laura and my quilt group had created under the instruction of one of our favorite people, Rosalie Dace. In this particular workshop, I think we pushed ourselves to a point of being a bit uncomfortable with our ideas and process. But that seemed to be where the magic happened. The final work is beautiful. Take a look!
Promises and Possibilities: Design in Action with Rosalie Dace
An in-depth study of the raw elements of design, namely line, mark, texture, shape, and color, and how to arrange and organize these elements into a successful composition or design.
PATTERNS AND RECTANGLES By Diana McClun
Quilted by Kathy August
OUTSIDE THE LINES I By Karen McArdle
Paper collage, a tool used to quickly explore design ideas and compositional relationships, was used to generate these quilt block designs. LINE, TEXTURE, NEGATIVE / POSITIVE SPACE & VALUE were the primary design elements explored in the circle-driven compositions.
OUTSIDE THE LINES II By Karen McArdle
Created initially as a small paper collage, the design was enlarged for graphic impact.
STRIPE QUILT By Tara Faughnan
IN AND OUT THE WINDOWS By Charlene Dakin
One window led to another and Rosalie was helpful in suggesting whether we were on the inside looking out or the outside looking in and encouraged me to keep making windows.
STACKED VESSELS By Pati Fried
I spent the majority of this workshop pinning chunks of fabric to the wall, focusing more on the visual in my head and not the construction. It felt as if I was somewhere between painting and sculpting, not piecing and quilting. As the piece progressed, I became more and more open to possibilities and added whatever popped into my head at the moment.
COFFINS By Alethea Ballard
The challenge was to play with design, lines and curves – No thinking, just playing and adding color to see what would happen.
I hand painted the sky and then cut it into strips and flipped the pieces.
So there you have it. Another year, another memory and hopefully another flash of inspiration for all of our readers. I want to thank you for sticking with See How We Sew for these past 2 years, we truly do appreciate your dedication. We were not terribly prolific with our blog posts, but be assured, we are still here – and continue to love quilting and our quilting community just as much as you do. There are some exciting ideas percolating here at SHWS for next year, so stay tuned for some fun changes in our blog.
In another 8 days, we will begin anew with a fresh outlook on life, quilting and all the promises and possibilities in store for us at the beginning of a new year. Laura and I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Inspiring New Year. See you in January!
I started this post a year ago, December 2019. Wow! That seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened to all of us in this past year. Some good, some bad, some just downright crazy. It is heartwarming for me to look back at these photos and remember how blessed I am to have so many wonderful friends in the quilting world.
These photos were taken at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, on a beautiful fall day in 2019. The venue – Quilting in the Garden – celebrates quilts in a beautiful nursery setting, filled with autumn splendor and showcasing quilts from local artists, whose artwork is hung from majestic, old oak trees. It’s a weekend I never miss. Keeping fingers crossed that it will be on for 2021.
Our quilt group, which we so affectionately call, Opinions are Us, but as Grateful Threads for more serious gatherings, was invited to hold a special exhibit at last year’s Quilting in the Garden. The exhibit focused on celebrating the work that we had created with the mentorship of the amazing Rosalie Dace.
Gosh, I miss all of your smiling faces in person! This was a second photo taken with Carol Van Zandt joining us – she is in the middle in the blue blouse.
In a year’s time, Sujata’s hair has grown back into beautiful curls, Laura has welcomed a new grand baby and I took the trip of a lifetime to India (more on that later!). Other than that, we have been doing what most all of you have been doing – staying home, washing our hands, and quilting like maniacs! I get a bit sentimental looking back in time. Knowing that not long after this, our weekly group meetings would transform into zoom meetings, hugs would turn to heart emojis through text, and a rare meeting outside, would consist of two and not fifteen – masked and 6 feet apart.
So let’s go back in time, to read the post that almost never happened! The exhibit, featured two workshops we had taken over the past few years with Rosalie – Branch Out and Promises and Possibilities. I wanted to focus on the Branch Out exhibit today, and will post photos from Promises and Possibilities in the next blog post.
With NATURE at the forefront of my mind everyday, I no longer behold it’s beauty and grandeur alone, as I once did. It’s BROKEN on the large scale, because of human impact. Worldwide deforestation is just one thing happening at an alarming rate, worse than we realize, especially when you dig in and look at the facts. I donate, make, educate, change habits, worry and speak up to increase awareness. “HOPE”, without “DOING”, means nothing. I am committed to action…What about you?
A Tree with Many Branches By Diana McClun. Quilted by Alethea Ballard
I MISS YOU By Denise Killingsworth
My 300 year old oak had to come down two years ago. Imagine a 1.5 inch man in the branches and that will give you an idea how big it was. I loved that tree and miss it. The sky is from a 20 year old hand dye from Dale Fleming. I finally found the right place for it. The tree is reverse appliqué.
I dream in colors, especially on a full moon night.
SHINRIN YOKU (Forest bathing) By Charlene Dakin
My second class with Rosalie, Branching Out, was slow to start but after I pinned up tall trees and again Rosalie suggesting that I look into the forest I began to enjoy the journey. The rabbits dancing were on my list of future quilts and they seemed right at home dancing in the forest by starlight.
In class I worked on samples using Rosalie’s techniques. I was pleasantly surprised and liked the design that was created using the positive/negative shape of the tree. I used scraps for the small class sample. I didn’t have enough of each fabric to make into a larger quilt. I wanted to keep the original design but rather than change fabrics, I used the leftover pieces but had to fuse the tree shapes rather than use the original reverse applique technique. The end result was the same and the bonus was the unexpected inverted heart shape formed where the branches touch.
A beautiful, old oak graces part of a long driveway before you arrive at my house, with a warm welcoming hug. The branches of the Oak are gnarled and covered in moss and lichen. The background is a forest-like canyon filled with fractures of light that change colors depending on the time of the day. I am so fortunate to have this lovely friend to greet me each day. I wanted to share the joy this Oak tree gives to me.
The exhibit was called Branch Out, but when I look at this group of women, I can’t help but think of the roots of a tree, providing a strong base to support new growth, allowing us to flourish as we continue to Branch Out.
Love these women! I will be back next week with part two of the exhibit.
If you are plan to attend the quilt show, Quilting in the Gardenthis weekend, (Sept. 28-29) in Livermore, CA – you are in for a treat!
Laura and I have quilts that will be part of a very special exhibit. The exhibit celebrates the work of a creative group of women that we are part of, Grateful Threads. We meet weekly to share, inspire and support our “quilty” habit. We chat, we sew, but mostly we embrace a passion for textiles and creativity.
The past two years we have had Rosalie Dace, quilt artist extraordinaire and inspiring teacher, visit our group for workshops. The quilts in the exhibit are from these two workshops. One of the workshops focused on trees, which seems perfectly appropriate for Quilting in the Garden, that feature beautiful, old California Oaks throughout the venue.
Here are a few snippets of the quilts that Laura and I will have in the exhibits. Just a teaser, to peak your interest. I will post the entire exhibit next week.
And… if you are in the area – be sure to save time to visit
“Time flies when you’re multitasking.” ― Bert McCoy
It has been a long time since we have posted on See How We Sew. Laura and I have definitely been multitasking, although in different aspects – Laura with her beautiful new grandchildren, and me with who knows what. Even though we have not been blogging, we still manage to meet each week or so to catch up and do a bit of stitching together with friends. We talk about the blog, and our loyal readers, and know that it is a blessing that you have all stuck with us through this lull in our writing.
It is time. It is time to get reacquainted with our wonderful See How We Sew followers. You have stayed with us through this long break, visited old posts and sent messages to us through Facebook and Instagram. Thank you for being such loyal friends! We have definitely felt your love at See How We Sew (SHWS).
The blog world has changed so much over the past two years. Laura and I have been discussing how to reshape our blog to not only stay current in this fast moving quilt and textile world, but to also give our readers what they are wanting from an online quilt source. We have ideas – new topics, guest bloggers, video tutorials and event calendars, but we would love to hear from you!
What would you like to see from SHWS?
What are topics or techniques that interest you?
Do you follow SHWS for ideas, inspiration or information? Or all?
Are you more drawn to short, eye candy posts, or in depth topics and resources?
I look forward to hearing from you and catching up!
Laura and I will be part of a special exhibit this coming weekend at Alden Lane Nursery, in Livermore, CA. If you would like to stop by to say hello, you can catch us on Saturday at Quilting in the Garden.
I will be posting a bit more about the exhibit on Thursday, so stay tuned!
Just a quick note to let you know about some of my upcoming classes. I hope you will consider joining me, or passing along to someone that may be interested.
This is a series of classes for beginning to intermediate quilters on quilt basics and exploring new block design, by understanding grid formation and improvisation. Students may sign up for one class, or take all 3.
Bring your own project to work on, and enjoy the company of other quilters. I will be there to help, inspire and cheer you on to completing your project. Every 4th Wednesday of the month at Bay Quilts.
12 women commit to creating 12 works of art in 12 months, each piece measuring 12“x12“. Multiply that by 3 different groups participating, and you have 26 amazing individuals with 26 different perspectives.
I am so excited (and proud) to be a part of this exhibit!
I spent today helping with the set up for this exhibition. It is a truly impressive collection of work. If you live in the Northern California area, this is one show you should make time to visit. The Opening Celebration will be this Sunday, Dec. 3, but the show will be up through the month of December.
So, exactly what is The Power of 12? In my case, it was an opportunity to explore a different technique or idea each month for a year. The commitment forced me to be accountable, to take it seriously, but most of all, to allow myself to “play” each month on a small, doable scale.
This year long project is sponsored by Textile Dream Studios. Sue Fox and Jo Magaraci have done an incredible job of curating this exhibit, and for that matter, sharing their creative energy and motivation over an entire year of motivational meetings! Those monthly meetings offer a great opportunity to develop a solid Art/Maker Practice. Participants have chosen to explore new materials or techniques, develop work in a series, and even delve into “uncharted territory”.
The philosophy behind the 12×12 Challenge is the belief that each of us has the inherent ability to create a vibrant and satisfying Art/Maker Life for ourselves. We believe that individuals have the power to uncover their own creative paths, and that by immersing oneself in an environment which promotes both self-reflection and personal determination, interesting results will follow.
And those interesting results are being celebrated this month. I hope you can join us. If you are not local, stay tuned to my Instagram account, patifried, and I will be sharing photos of the opening celebration and some of the amazing work on display.
The annual event, Quilting in the Garden, was held a few weeks back. Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA. hosts this wonderful quilt show. If you have followed our blog for a while, you know that we have covered many of the past shows. It is a gorgeous venue of quilts hanging in majestic oak trees at a beautiful nursery, filled with fall festivities.
Quilting in the Garden also hosts classes the week before the show, with some truly talented quilt teachers. This year, Laura and I (along with a few of our quilty friends), were fortunate enough to take a hand embroidery workshop with the very talented Debby Schnabel.
Let’s just digest that for a moment. An embroidery class, with a talented teacher, filled with classmates that were our quilty friends, doing handwork, at a quilt show venue, in a beautiful nursery, that just happens to be filled with massive old oak trees – on a gorgeous fall day.
Terri Carpenter, longarm quilter of Hello Stitch, played with some improvisational clamshells.
My table mate and good friend, Karen McArdle, took her project on a plane ride the next week, finished it up, and gave it as a gift! Lucky recipient!
Laura’s table mate, Linda Lambert worked on this whimsical little project. Here’s the cheery piece Alex Anderson was working on.
I decided to play with paisley’s and background texture. My 1st paisley was a bit lopsided, but I figured it out on the second one!
Laura made this sweet vine and berries piece. She was so inspired that she pulled out some of her favorite embroidery books. Any of these look familiar?
Some times you just need a bit of inspiration to look at an old favorite craft in a new light. Something you did 10 years ago may take on a whole new look with what you are inclined to do today. I know it really got the ideas flowing for me! I can’t wait to incorporate this in a new project!
Hope this inspires you to pick up a needle and thread and do a bit of play yourself!