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Month: June 2019

President’s Message – June 2019

President’s Message – June 2019

Although summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, the current weather strongly suggests it’s already arrived. While much of May seemed to be chilly, drizzly, and gray (the outdoor graduation ceremony at my school was absolutely miserable!), we’re now in the midst of a string of 90+ degree days as I write this, and I’m remembering just how much I dislike the heat.

Quilting does not, at first glance, appear to be an ideal hot-weather activity – after all, bed quilts and lap quilts are largely intended to keep people warm, and during the final stages of construction they tend to end up draped over the person working on them (at least they do in my case – maybe I just need to find a better system…), which is not always fun when the temperatures are soaring. Of course, the invention of air conditioning has helped a bit – but it seems counterintuitive to crank up the A/C just so I can stay comfortable while I hand-quilt something layered with wool batting. Besides, for some people living where power cuts are being planned when the fire risk grows too high, that’s not always going to be an option. Plus, during the summer there are lots of other things that demand our attention. Plenty of quilters I know are also gardeners – I guess the creative spirit and a love of color cross over into non-fiber-art activities, too! Summer also tends to be filled with family events, travel, etc., all of which conspire to pull us away from our sewing spaces.

Still, I would argue that there are ways for quilters to cope, even on the hottest days. Summer is a good time to work on summer-weight quilts – we need pretty beds even when the weather is hot, and summer-weight quilts, with either light flannel batting or no batting at all, are just as much a part of quilting history and tradition as are their heavier-weight cousins. Working on smaller pieces is another way to avoid being smothered by heavy batting in hot weather – don’t forget, we have a boutique coming up in a few months, and the more items we have to sell then, the better! Community Outreach quilts also tend to be smaller than full-size, and can be finished without risk of heat stroke – and if you look at the numbers of Outreach quilts we’re distributing each month, you can see that we’ll need lots more of those as well. (And this seems like a good place for a shout-out to Marilyn Brisendine, who organizes our Outreach project, and to all of you who donate the quilts to keep it going!) And on those days when it’s absolutely too hot even to THINK about sitting down at the sewing machine, maybe you can still find a patch of shade to sit in with a glass of iced tea and those quilting magazines and books that you haven’t quite gotten around to reading, and re-charge your reserves of inspiration and ideas.

However you keep in touch with your quilting over the summer, I hope you manage to stay cool! See you at the meeting,

Pam

President’s Message – May 2019

President’s Message – May 2019

I still haven’t gotten the hang of gardening in southern California. I should have figured it out by now, but I seem unable to remember how much drier it is here than I’m used to, and how much more often the pots on my balcony therefore need to be watered. At this point, I’ve mostly given up, unwilling to slaughter any more defenseless plants.

Despite my horticultural failures, though, I very much admire gardening done well by others – so it was an absolute joy to take part in the Fiber Arts Day in the Huntington Botanical Gardens on May 4. The weather was mostly perfect (although the breeze picked up a bit in the late afternoon, and caused a number of our information fliers to live up to their name), and the roses (we were set up under a tree in the rose garden) were in full bloom and smelled wonderful. During a break, I took a stroll through the herb garden, where the plants used for dying were highlighted (I couldn’t get close to the yarn dying demo, though, because the crowds were thick there!), so now I know what woad and indigo actually look like. About a dozen guild members came and demonstrated various hand work techniques, from appliqué to EPP to hand piecing to sashiko to quilting. (Thank you all!) We chatted with visitors from as far away as Ireland and England, as well as some who lived close enough that we hope we’ll see them at a future guild meeting. The head gardener has already said she hopes we’ll come back next year – and I, for one, would be delighted to!

Events like the Fiber Arts day are important for the guild because, besides giving us an excuse to sit outside on a gorgeous day and stitch, they help to fulfil the education requirement that comes with our shiny new 501(c)3 status. There are now a lot more people out there who know that quilting is not a dying art and that we’re about lots more than just making cute pot holders (although we can certainly do that, too, if we want!). The next time there’s a chance to volunteer for something like this, I’d urge you all to sign up. Sharing our passion with the public is really a lot of fun – and a day spent quilting under a tree while occasionally stopping to smell the roses wasn’t half bad, either.

See you at the meeting,

Pam

President’s Message – April 2019

President’s Message – April 2019

Last month I went to Virginia for a conference geared toward people who own creative arts businesses. Most, but not all, who attended are fiber artists. It was a really great meeting filled with lot of interesting sessions and plenty of networking. (I am not one of nature’s networkers, but my roommate made me do it…) Because my brother lives in the area, I arrived a day early to do some sightseeing (great quilt exhibit at the DAR Museum!) and spend some time with family. It was a really great week. Then, on the return trip, a virus followed me home. Airports and airplanes are horribly germy places, and this is why I hate traveling.

I’m now heading into week three of feeling dreadful, and it stopped being amusing about ten days ago. The fever is finally gone, thankfully, but the cough is still annoying to me and to anyone within earshot. If I move suddenly, I am dizzy, and if I do anything really strenuous – like getting dressed – I need to sit and rest for a while. Most ironically of all, for someone who just came back from a creative arts summit, I have absolutely no creative ideas about anything right now. And that includes this column. As I write this, I’m well past deadline, and can’t think of a blessed thing to say.

Because you can find anything on the Internet, I tried searching for “how to regain creativity.” Based on the number of articles that turned up, this is apparently not an uncommon dilemma. There were several that suggested various forms of exercise. Not really an option when a walk across campus is as daunting as a marathon. And it’s a small campus. One essay suggested overcoming a fear by doing something that really scares you. Yeah, not going to happen. When you’re a viral Petri dish, skydiving, SCUBA diving, and bungee jumping are definitely not on the agenda. (Okay, you’d never get me to do any of those things even if I weren’t sick. But that’s beside the point.) Another essay suggested taking some time away from your usual creative endeavors. Again, not an option when a deadline is receding in the rearview mirror.

On second thought, maybe it is. Because anything else I try to write at this point is probably going to degenerate into gibberish. So I’m going to go drink more tea with honey, and take my cough medicine, and concentrate on vanquishing this virus before the Yard Sale. The rest of this space is intentionally left blank…

See you at the meeting,

Pam

President’s Message – March 2019

President’s Message – March 2019

Robert Browning might have preferred April, but as months go, March has a lot in its favor.

For those of us who have lived in the frozen northland, March is the month when it finally seems that winter might be loosening its grip. It’s fickle, to be sure, and I’ve definitely seen my share of March blizzards – but there are also days when the temperature rises above freezing, and the eaves start to drip, and you might even dare to crack open a window a bit without fear of hypothermia. If you’re lucky, March is when you might start to see some bare ground, or even a few patches of spring growth. (I’m not sure lifelong SoCal dwellers can truly understand the sheer exuberant joy that comes from seeing the first crocus of spring poking up through the snow!)

March is the month when two of my favorite saints are celebrated on the same day. March 17 is the saint’s day for both St. Patrick (patron saint of Ireland) and St. Gertrude (patron saint of cats). As far as I know, the record is silent on St. Patrick’s opinion of cats, although he’d probably have approved of at least one of mine, who shared his drive to rid the world of snakes. (And in case you were wondering – no, my cats and I do not celebrate the day by drinking green beer. Ick.)

March is also National Women’s History Month, and March 8th is International Women’s Day. It’s a great chance to learn about some women who have done amazing things. If you’re not already familiar with them, take a moment to look up Dr. Mary Walker, Bessie Coleman, and Rosalind Franklin, to name just a few. Also, if you haven’t yet seen it, this would be a great month to watch the movie Hidden Figures, and learn about some of the incredible unsung heroes of NASA.

But perhaps most importantly to everyone reading this, March is National Quilting Month! Okay, to be honest, I looked at several “official designation” lists and couldn’t find this on them – but it DID appear on some quilt-related websites, so that’s good enough for me. Plus – and this one is official – March 16 is National Quilting Day! It was created by a resolution at the 22nd annual show of the National Quilting Association in June 1991; the NQA is, alas, no more, but National Quilting Day continues to be observed every year on the third Saturday of March.

In honor of this momentous occasion, WFQG has reserved the small classroom at The Sew N Sew in Glendora on the 16th, and will be holding a special all-day sew-in! (I mean, what better way to celebrate, right?) The hours are the same as the shop hours that day, 9:00-4:00, and we have room for up to 16 to be sewing at a time. Even if you didn’t sign up at the February meeting, do stop by – we still have room. There will probably be some boutique item kits for people to stitch, or feel free to bring your own project. If there’s not space for everyone to sew at once, you can always have a snack (it’s illegal to hold a quilting event without snacks) and maybe do some fabric shopping. Hey, we’ll be in the right place for that, and it seems a shame not to take advantage (don’t forget, the shop has a guild-member discount).

Hope to see you there,

Pam

President’s Message – February 2019

President’s Message – February 2019

T.S. Eliot said that April is the cruelest month, but for my money, February has it beat. I lived most of my life in the north where, by February, winter has already held sway for 2 or 3 months, and spring is still a long way off. Even though February is the shortest month of the year, it always felt like it dragged on forever. And here in *sunny* California, a large chunk of the month so far has been grey and rainy. I’m grateful for the rain, of course, and glad there have been a few sunny days mixed in—but still, day after day of gloomy, chilly weather can certainly dampen anyone’s mood.

So it’s a good thing we’re quilters. Because we know that on the darkest of days, all we have to do is visit our stashes or our local quilt shops and immediately we can find ourselves immersed in COLOR! (Okay, to be fair, there are quilters out there who create amazing works of art with taupe and grey and other neutrals. I admire these quilts, and their makers, immensely. But there is a time and a place for taupe, and February is not it.) No matter how dreary the day, spending some time arranging and rearranging colors will always brighten it up.

Speaking of color, have you seen the “Color of the Year”? Every year since 2000, Pantone has selected a “color of the year” based on color trends their “Pantone Color Institute” has observed (in branding, design, pop culture, etc.); in turn, their selection drives color decisions for many, many products (including fashion and fabric design) for the coming year. This year, they’ve chosen “Living Coral,” which they describe as “an animated, life-affirming shade of orange, with golden undertones.” (I think it looks more pink than orange—but I’m not the color expert.) They also describe it as a color of carefree happiness, which “symbolizes our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits.” And who couldn’t use more carefree happiness and optimism in their life? Keep an eye out for it, because you’ll be seeing it pop up more and more throughout the year!

Kona (from Robert Kaufman Fabrics) also selects a color of the year, although I haven’t been able to find any information on how they make their selection. It doesn’t seem to be related to the Pantone selection (last year’s Pantone color was dark purple, and Kona’s was bright orange), so it’s probably just a happy coincidence that this year’s Kona color is “Splash,” a clear light aqua that seems to work beautifully with Pantone’s coral! (If you like it, you might not want to wait—one shop’s website says that this Kona solid will be retired at the end of the year.)

If these colors make your heart sing, I bet you’ll be able to find plenty of fabrics that include them when you come to The SewNSew for National Quilting Day in March (more on that elsewhere in this issue). And if they don’t—no worries! One of the great things about color is that there’s always plenty to choose from. If you pick fabric colors that make you happy, even the greyest of February days can’t bring you down.

See you at the meeting,

Pam