Thursday, May 6, 2010

Textile Capers

Welcome to Summer Kitchen Quilts!
We're going to have a grand time, yes we are.

I am so incredibly excited about this new adventure in life, and I hope to include you in some of the wonderful things I've got planned.  I have a rich background in sewing, quilting and any sort of textile related art.  Well, except maybe for tatting.  My paternal Grandmother Jenny did her best to teach me - and I did want to learn - but that flying tatting shuttle just couldn't register in my brain.

My mother, Marilyn, taught sewing at a Singer Sewing Center, back in the 1950's, and made just about every piece of clothing my two sisters, Martha and Sylvia, and I wore as kids.  I don't ever recall not sewing, and by the time I was in high school, I was sewing most of my own clothes.  Of course embroidery was something almost all the other girls I knew did to pass time during the long summers.  We took it as our duty to keep pillow cases and dish towels adorned with the latest new embroidery patterns.  Not one to miss out on a good time, I acquired a knitting spool and spent endless hours cranking out miles of knit tubes.  Unfortunately, there was never clear instruction for what you were supposed to do with the knit tubes and my enthusiasm quickly evaporated.

My, AHA! moment, when I clearly realized that art - particularily of the textile variety - was going to figure largely in my life, occurred in a knitting shop in Santa Fe in 1970.  It was before the truly fabulously wealthy had taken Santa Fe over, and Old Canyon Road did indeed have many counter-culture artistic businesses scattered up and down its length, as well as some great galleries.  I recall the cool of the adobe building as I walked into the knitting shop and I was absolutely mesmerized by the 4 walls of color of every shade and tint.  I wanted to fall into all that color and become part of it.  That was the start. 

And like every start - it began small.  Crochet.  Baby blankets, baby booties, winter caps, little capes, and of course afghan blanket and afghan blanket.  A great friend of mine at the time was accused by her boyfriend of wanting to crochet a cover for her VW bug.  Wouldn't that have been something?

From there I learned to knit.  I still have the first two sweaters I knit for my children.  And one of them was a Fair Isle pattern!  Just goes to show you that ignorant bliss can work out just dandy sometimes.  Then I took a class in weaving, and found yet another use for all the wool I was stocking up in giant bags tucked into the dark recesses of unused closets.

I still have a lovely four harness loom that has been sitting unused for at least 10 years now.  I'm not to sure I agree with those organizational wizards who tell us that if we haven't used something by a certain period of time that we need to get rid of it...  Exactly who do they think they are?  Anyway. 

Then along came....
Our Bicentennial
My first inclination was that you had to just plain be crazy to buy yards of very fine fabrics, chop that fabric up into little geometric shapes and then sew it all back together again.  And then I made my first quilt.  I didn't know about 1/4" seams, or keeping points pointed, and there were any quilt shops anywhere, no rotary cutting tools, just scissors and cardboard and a good sharp pencil, and you were just darned lucky to find 100% cotton fabric to make your quilt with.  But I fell in love with the process and the absolute geometric magic that happened when two different block patterns came together to make a brand new pattern you never could have imagined.  The other thing I learned to love about quilting was the wonderful companionship of other quilters.  You could be on different planets when it came to politics or religion, but if you spent time with another quilter, the hours vanished quickly with the sounds of merry laughter.

This is the primary reason I'm going to start holding classes here at my farm outside New Albin, IA.  I think it does us (women) a great deal of good to get away from our everyday busy, busy life, to refresh ourselves a bit, learn a new thing or two, meet some other gals who have that same creative itch, and get a little pampering as well!

We are surrounded by nature here.  There's an artesian spring fed pond in my front yard that hosts Bald Eagles, a Canadian goose family (7 goslings this spring) and countless other water fowl.  The cabin is nestled at the base of a wooded hill which resounds with  bird songs all day long.  Your class here at the farm will include home made baked goods for the morning coffee break, a delicious and healthy lunch, and a kit containing the necessary items and pattern to complete your project.  You'll find a special little gift waiting at your table too.  Classes will run from 9:30 until 4pm, although I'd urge you to arrive as early as 9am so you can get set up and find the "necessary" rooms.  I am limiting classes to 6 so that you have plenty of room and access to my help. 
The first class at Summer Kitchen Quilts will be my original design, the Precious Little Bag (app. 8" h x 7"w), on Saturday, June 5, 2010, 9:30 - 4pm.  This is the first time the public will have access to my handbag designs.  I drafted all the patterns, and made one of a kind handbags for a wide range of uses, selling my work at  numerous art galleries and during local studio tours.  Your class fee includes the pattern and all fabrics, linings, interlinings, trims, button and handle.   I will take you step-by-step through my construction process.  This bag features silk & rayon brocade fabrics, a variety of trims and vintage buttons, a stamped metallic paint design and is further embellished with free motion embroidery patterns, which I will demonstrate during class.  With the purchase of the class I grant permission for you to make as many of the Precious Little Bags as you wish for personal use, or to give as gifts, and you can make up to 15 of the bags to sell at craft or fund raising shows.  If you wish to make more than that, please contact me. 

The class fee is $125.00 and due at registration.  Your fee will cover:
  • Coffee, tea, bottled water
  • Home baked rolls, scones, coffee cake, etc for morning break
  • Home made lunch featuring soups, salads and/or sandwiches, dessert and beverage.  We eat healthy, tasty food at our house, and you'll find the selections delicious.
  • Afternoon snacks
  • Complete Project Kit which includes the pattern, all fabrics, trims, buttons, lining, interlinings, handle, similar to the picture above.
  • A "Welcome to the Farm" gift
Registration is by phone, 563-544-4480, or e-mail me at
If you want to sit next to friends, please let me know.  Four people will be at one large table, and two people seated at another table.  Upon payment in full, you'll be mailed a packet containing "sewing homework" to be completed prior to the day of the class.  This is usually just cutting the pattern out of muslin and ironing on fusible batting or interfacing.  Complete directions will be included in this packet for driving to the farm.  If you have a GPS in your car, our address is: 2861 Blair Road, New Albin, Ia. 52160

I hope to hear from you soon, and look forward to a delightful day of stitching!
Check Back Often for Other New Classes at the Farm!

P.S.  For those who are allergic, we do have two outdoor cats, and three dogs who run the house - or at least they have trained their humans very well..


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