President Message February 2020

President Message February 2020

President’s Message

Manny Caldera, President

Happy Valentines’ Family!

The Road-to-California Show is now history!  Wow, what a show.  For those that did not attend, there were changes to the layout of this year show.  All the vendors were moved out of the Ballroom and moved to the main Exhibit Hall and Tent area. We ran in to Muriel Carroll who was working at the Road-to-California booth.  It was great to see her.  There were many other guild members that we also ran into.  I visited the Missouri Star Company and purchased two ceramic thimble cups for those members who wear their name tags and walked away.  Shortly after, I was taped on the shoulder by an employee from Missouri Star and she said “Mr. Caldera, you purchased an empty box, and I have your thimble cub that you need!  The employee said “I have been looking all over for you on the floor; thank god you were wearing that “Hat”, I was able to locate you.  Wow, I was impressed.  “Missouri Star You Rule…

As I walked around the Tent area, I came to a very large crowd and to my surprise, it was “Eleanor Burns“ Wow, I approached her and asked if I could take a picture with her, and she said yes!  In addition, I noticed that there were more men walking around at this year show; there was one men walking around with a ball-cap saying “Duck-Tape Expert”, wow if I need something wrapped, I knew where to go.

Wow, wow, wow, Stop-the-Presses!  On Sunday as we walked towards to Missouri Star Booth, I stopped at another booth to speak to the vendor, my wife said “Come quickly NOW!!!, we walked to Missouri Star Booth only to see Jenny Doan in person.  She replied ‘Your Manny Caldera; my son total me about you and your hat when you came to my shop in 2017.  We spoke about her customer service and the incident that happen to me when I purchased the ceramic thimble cup.  I also asked her about the quilt that I sent to her to be quilted and Jenny replied that they do 1,000 quilts a month and they now have 20 longarm machine that function on two shifts.  I opened dialog with Jenny to come to our guild for two or three days of a workshop or a lectures, and she replied that she would be happy to come out and to please write to her.  She is currently booked out for two years.  I will approach our board members with this idea. 

Well, I must say before you attend guilt shows, make sure you call your bank and inform them that you’ll be make several purchases from vendors that are “Outside of California, so you will not get Locked-Out-of-Your Account, like I did.  I had to call my bank to un-lock my account.

For our February meeting, Linda has scheduled First Quilt, Last Quilt; a presentation from own membership and how they started there quilting journey.

We have filled all the positions in our guild as of Wednesday evening after the meeting.  I was approached by Regina Danner, and Susan Cribbs.  Regina also said to include Janet Shepard.  The three amigas, will be heading our Holiday Dinner this year.  Thank you for Stepping Up!

Closing Statement for the year: “Strong Teams, Strong Results… -Manny

President’s Message – January 2020

President’s Message – January 2020

Happy New Year’s Family!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Membership and Board Members for making 2019 an outstanding year for Wandering Foot Quilt Guild (WFQG) especially our outgoing Board Members Pam Nourse; President, Alison Dingeldein; 2 VP Workshops, Terry Simon; Treasurer, and Kim Greenfield; 3rd VP Funding Raising.  These were the members of our guild that I learned to bring guidance and excitement to our membership.

With a New Year brings new ideas and new board members to our organization and changes that will enhance over-all function by increase membership, participation, activities and stellar programs.

I remember our past President mentioning the bringing of January 2019, last year that participation was key to continue to flourish.  I notice that last year that our January meeting attendances was low.  To me, this was the most important meeting to attend because there are major announcements being made pertaining to Guest Speakers, The Challenge, UFO, coming back by popular-demand The Round-Robin, The wrap-up on the Winter Retreat, Update on the Spring Retreat and last the upcoming Yard Sale.

This year WFQG ventured to a new location for their winter retreat at Vina De Lestonnac Convent where 28 members participated in an outstanding setting with great food and accommodations.  On Thursday we had an opportunity to visit Between Stitches Quilt Shop prior to a wonderful dinner that same evening at Bailey’s; wow we had our own room and the service was off-the-chart.   I provided a list of other quilt shops in Temecula which allow our group to visit them and pickup additional items.  On Saturday evening there a major announcement made by our own Parliamentarian; Linda Emery that she completed her hand-quilt after five retreats, wow!  Great job Linda.  The rest of the weekend was going well until a group of individuals got stuck on the elevator for ten minutes!  Let’s see if I remember their names: Irma Caldera, Dora Patino, myself and another individual from another Guild.  And all because I did not listen to my wife to follow her, I decided to take the elevator.  Well after the other Guild member started to panic and pushing all the BUTTONs, I was able to open the door on the second floor.  On Saturday evening, Louise had a Show-End-Tell; with door prizes and a small statements on how we started our quilting journey.  On the way home there were several of us that stopped at two quilting shops that are open on Sundays: Bluebird Quilts & Gallery and Sew-N-Sew.

I would also like to thank Marilyn Brisendine; our Community-out-Reach Chair for their donation of blankets and to Kim Greenfield for her donation of Frozen Dolls for Operation Santa.  These items will continue to give warmth and similes to all the childrens.

Road-to-California is schedule for January 23-26, 2020 with workshops starting as early as Monday.  Please remember to register our Guild and see if we can win a prize this year.

Closing Statement for the year: “Strong Teams, Strong Results… -Manny

President’s Message – October 2019

President’s Message – October 2019

You’re probably familiar with the expression “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I have no idea whether this is literally true or not—our family had dogs when I was a kid, but it’s been a long time since I’ve lived with any. I can tell you that you can’t teach a cat of any age new tricks; they are completely unimpressed by any attempts to teach them anything. But I digress.

Metaphorically, the expression suggests that beyond a certain age we become set in our ways and unwilling to venture out of our ruts. I strenuously resist thinking of myself as “old,” but it’s true that I have been quilting for a little while (I started in 1989—you do the math!). My first quilting class was a local adult ed. offering, after which I took lots more classes at shows or in shops, trying to learn as many new techniques as I could. Sometimes when ideas didn’t stick, I’d take more classes on the same subject—please don’t ask how many color theory classes I’ve taken over the years! I’ve taken classes on curved piecing, improvisational piecing, yarn couching, beading, needle-turn applique, hand quilting, machine quilting, stippled quilt designs, feathered quilt designs… Sometimes it was the topic that interested me; sometimes it was the teacher. (Elsie Campbell! John Flynn! Gwen Marston!) Some of the techniques I used again; some I tried in class, shrugged, and moved on—but all were fun to learn.

But after a while, I wasn’t signing up for as many classes anymore. It seemed I had enough skills to do what I wanted to do, and the itch to learn new things wasn’t quite as strong as it used to be. I’d still look at the classes offered at shows, and local shops, but most often I decided to spend my show time looking at quilts and visiting vendors rather than sitting in a classroom. I was at risk of becoming an unteachable old dog.

So it was something of a surprise for me when, scrolling through a local shop’s e-newsletter last month, I found a class listing that piqued my interest. With the rise of Modern quilts, big-stitch quilting has become a popular style, and (as a dyed-in-the-wool traditional hand quilter) I had no idea how you went about doing that using the techniques I knew. But there, lo and behold, was a half-day big-stitch quilting class that promised to answer all my questions and resolve all my confusion! (It was also scheduled for one week after my birthday, so—birthday gift to myself…) I signed up, gathered my required supplies, and off I went. Sure enough, I learned what I had hoped to learn—and I also remembered how much fun it was to sit in a room with a dozen like-minded quilters and broaden our horizons and our vision together.

So here’s my challenge to you: no matter how long you’ve been at this quilting game, make a promise to learn something new this year! We have a few fun classes coming up in guild workshops, not to mention classes at our affiliate shops, and don’t forget Road to California will be here in January! There are also online classes and YouTube videos if you’re comfortable with technology, and there are still new things you can learn from books and magazines if you’re a Luddite like I am. Put an end to the lie that old dogs can’t learn new tricks. Old dogs everywhere will thank you. Now, if only we could figure out how to train the cats…

See you at the meeting,

Pam

President’s Message – September 2019

President’s Message – September 2019

Goodness, how did it get to be September already?! Despite temps for the past week having been in the high 90s – as a bred-in-the-bone New Englander, I’m STILL not used to that – the calendar definitely says “September,” and we have a new crop of students running around campus, so it must be true.

And if it’s September already, that means November will be here before we know it – and this year, November brings WFQG’s bi-annual boutique. As you all know, our dues don’t come close to covering the rent on our meeting and workshop sites, not to mention hiring speakers and teachers, and the boutique is one of the biggest fundraisers that keeps our guild running. A couple of weekends ago, I attended the “boutique sew-in” workshop where Francine Loomis and Mary Gothard had lots of examples and instructions for lots of items to make and sell, and 3rd VP Kim Greenfield (who’s spearheading the whole event) even brought cookies to keep everyone’s energy level up! If you need any ideas or suggestions about what you might donate to the boutique, these three probably have some ideas for you. In fact, Francine and Mary did such a good job, they’re in danger of being named the permanent boutique Subcommittee on Making Stuff. (No, that subcommittee doesn’t really exist. But if it did, these two would be it. They were amazing.) Don’t forget we sell baked goods at the boutique, too – and this year, we’re planning to sell coffee to go with the goodies, which I think is a great idea. (Coffee ranks very high on my list of basic food groups, along with chocolate. Hey, they both come from beans, so as far as I’m concerned, they’re vegetables.) So there are lots of ways for all of us to participate! We would like to see each member donate items worth a total of $100 – this sounds a little scary, but once you break it down a bit, it’s really not ($100 might be ten items priced at $10 each, or five items priced at $20, or so on – so not an overwhelming amount at all!). You’ll be hearing more from Kim over the next couple of months about donation forms, drop-off details, volunteer sign-ups and so on – so stay tuned.

September also means it’s time to start thinking about next year’s board elections. Some people have already volunteered to fill a few offices (many thanks!), but a couple of our offices still need candidates. Our nominating committee, under the intrepid leadership of Parliamentarian Linda R. Emery, is hard at work – if you do get a call from them about taking one of the positions, please consider it rather than reflexively screaming and running away. Descriptions of all the offices are in the membership roster, and any of the current board members would be happy to talk with you about what her position entails. Remember that the phrase “it takes a village” applies to quilt guilds, too – if no one steps up, then the guild collapses (yes, I know it sounds hyperbolic and dramatic, but it’s true!), and I, for one, have way too much fun with this group to want to see that happen. I hope you feel the same!

See you at the meeting,

Pam

President’s Message – August 2019

President’s Message – August 2019

We live in a nation and a world that seem divided across many fault lines. I don’t think anyone could deny that – all it takes is a quick look at the news headlines over the past couple of weeks (or months, or years) to confirm it. And unlike the olden days (that would be the 1950s and ’60s, when my parents were in politics), compromise is now viewed as something akin to heresy, rather than as the means of getting good governance done. These days, I read the news and look at the state of the world and come close to despair, wondering how we’re ever going to recover from the fractures that threaten our society.

And yet, a couple of weeks ago I was once again in the judging room at Maine Quilts, the state’s annual quilt show. For those of you who have never worked in a judging room, it involves a lot of moving parts – I was coordinating two judges, 16-18 volunteers, and 80 quilts which needed to be judged over the course of two half-day shifts. This year, one of the volunteers was a friend who is an amazing quilter. (She’s won the “Best Domestic Machine Quilting” ribbon at the show ever since we started awarding it, four years ago.) We’ve known each other for years, as members of the same quilt guild and running club, and a year and a half ago, she sent me a Facebook “friend request” which I accepted. I was shocked to discover then that, outside of our common interests, our social and political views were roughly 180 degrees apart. (I’m sure she was stunned too.) Some other friends advised me to “unfriend” her – cut all ties because there was no way we could be friends if we didn’t agree on how to fix the problems in the world. But I didn’t want to do that. We had been quilting and running buddies for a long time, and despite our newly-discovered differences on other topics, I really liked her.

I confess I was a little nervous about working with her for ten hours in the judging room, because we hadn’t spent much face-to-face time since our unsettling discovery – but it turned out that in this context, none of our differences mattered. After judging, we went to dinner with some other friends and talked about quilting stuff, and life stuff (it’s vaguely reassuring that someone who is so talented at both quilting and running still struggles with parenting her teenagers!). She won the Domestic Machine ribbon yet again, and we had a long talk about why she should be stretching her wings in some bigger shows (again, vaguely reassuring that someone so talented suffers from the same anxiety about her skills as I do!). We had fun together and we parted, after the show, looking forward to doing it all again next year.

And maybe that’s what it will take to heal the divisions we see now in the world. I’m certain that in our guild, there are people with whom we all disagree on any number of matters (statistically, with a group of almost 100, it’d be impossible not to!). But every month, when we come together for a couple of hours, none of that matters. We focus on what we have in common – our shared love of fabric and the beauty we can create with it – and that shared love makes it very hard to demonize each other over any other differences we might have. This seems like a pretty good metaphor and message for the world at large – a reminder that what we share in common can be a starting place for doing the hard work of discussing and resolving our differences. Of course, our 401(c)3 status means we’re not allowed to engage in any political activity, so I’ll stop short of suggesting that we stage a coup (though wouldn’t “A Quilt on Every Bed!” make for a great campaign slogan?), but – if I can push that metaphor dangerously close to its breaking point – maybe quilters are exactly the people the world needs right now to pick up the torn fabric of our society and put it back together in beautiful and unexpected ways.

See you at the meeting,

Pam

President’s Message – July 2019

President’s Message – July 2019

I recently found myself with an unexpected day off – because the Fourth of July fell on a Thursday this year, the school where I work decided to make Friday a holiday too. What better time to round up a couple of friends and make a field trip to one of our affiliate member shops? Thus it was that on the Fifth of July we piled into the car, took ourselves out for a decadent breakfast, and then headed for Quilt ’N’ Things Fiber Arts in Altadena.

I’m introverted to an extreme and usually shop alone, so I had almost forgotten how much fun it was to visit a quilt store with friends. They helped me match fabrics for a new project (I’ve taken tons of color theory classes, but still sometimes have a hard time translating that into practice), and we chatted with a visiting quilter from Michigan and took part in some impromptu fabric selection discussions with a couple of other people in the shop. I am often reminded that in the quilting world, there’s no such thing as strangers – just friends you haven’t met yet! It was a fun day, and I’m glad we decided to make this field trip.

Summer can be a great time for quilt shop travels, whether organized or off-the-cuff, to one shop or many. Coming up this month is the Southern California Quilter’s Run – Manny Caldera brought some brochures to the last guild meeting, but if you missed those, you can get the details at quiltersrun.com. This year the theme is “Main Street” and each of the participating shops (including some of our affiliates) will represent a different type of small-town store (Cotton & Chocolate Quilt Co. is the “candy store” – how appropriate is that?!). When I first moved here, I took part in the Quilters Run as a way to get to know the area – it was a terrific excuse to travel to places I might not otherwise have visited.

Lots of shops are also participating in the “Row by Row Experience” (rowbyrowexperience.com) which started in late June and continues through the summer. This year the theme is “Taste the Experience,” and is all about food! Visit participating shops to get a free pattern, or to buy a kit – and since Row by Row is now an international project, you can find a participating shop or two while you’re on vacation, too, which is a great way to pick up some unusual souvenirs. (And since some of the shops on the Run are also doing Row by Row, nothing says you can’t double-dip…)

If you don’t want to take part in someone else’s organized shop hop, you can always create your own. How many of you (other than Manny) have visited all of our affiliates? (I haven’t – yet.) Touring those might be a fun adventure (and will take a few days – there are a lot of them!) Or maybe pick a day-trip destination you’ve always wanted to visit, and stop at a few quilt shops along the way – the Quilters’ Travel Companion (quilterstravelcompanion.com) can help you map a route.

Whatever summer quilting adventure you decide on – have fun, stay cool, and be safe!

See you at the meeting,

Pam

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