Revisiting the old days – or – On coming home again

It’s been said that you can’t go home again. Maybe that’s true. A person can’t go home again, in actuality, because everything always changes. We ourselves change when we change our surroundings. When we leave our homes, we encounter new things: a new geography, new people, new sights, new smells, new sounds; all these new things affect us, making us change our way of seeing, our way of feeling, and even our way of thinking about the world around us.

We are often told not to dwell on the past. After all, you can’t change it, can you? What’s the sense of taking that trip down memory lane, when you’re sure to come out feeling depressed and frustrated and muttering “couldah, shouldah, wouldah.” Who needs to be reminded of all of their failures, all their mistakes, all their wrong turns and bad decisions? Better to leave all that in the past, where it belongs, right?

Still, it can be a good idea to revisit the past every now and then. After all, there were good things that happened, too. Going ‘home’ again, and thinking about your past can be an excellent way to evaluate where you are in your life, and how you got there. Perhaps it can help to set a course for a new direction or a different way of thinking.

That’s sort of what I did when I moved back here to Long Island from Westchester, where I’d raised my children. My official reason for moving was that I wanted to be closer to my family, but I also wanted to be in a place where I could remember what it felt like to be a kid who believed that anything and everything was possible. My grown kids had wandered far from home to begin their adult lives, and I was left feeling adrift in a place where I no longer had a reason to be.

So here I am, in the place where I want to be, surrounded by beautiful beaches and open farmland, making new friends, feeling a part of the community, and wanting to start something new.

I’ve created this website and this blog to support my new business as a quilt instructor, but I’ve been a part of the quilting world for quite a long time. It’s true I haven’t made my living from it as my own business in the past, but I’ve got quite a bit of experience in teaching, exhibiting, pattern writing, and quilt making. So, I though that it might be a good idea to dig up my previous website journal entries from the old days (before blogging was a thing, even!) and share them here. The entries that follow span from 2002 to 2006. During those years I learned so much about the quilting industry. I learned that it truly is a community of like-minded individuals who look out for each other.  I learned about how important it is to take pride in your work.  Most importantly, I learned how great it can be to share what you’ve learned along the way.

So, here’s some info about my life from 2002  to 2006. If you’ve met me recently, then maybe there are some things here you may not know about me. If you’ve known me for a long time, then call me – I probably miss you.  And if you’re thinking about asking me to teach you about quilting, read ahead. I’ve taught a lot of people how to quilt (or how to quilt better) and I’d love to teach you! Send me an email at elizquilt@gmail.com .


JUNE, 2002

Inventing Tradition:
I’ve been working on some new patterns for the Celebrate Your Heritage line. They’re coming together nicely, and should be ready to go to the photographer very soon.

Teaching:
I’ll be teaching three different classes this summer at The Country Quilter in Somers, NY. The schedule is available at the shop now.

Traveling Quilts and Awards:
I recently completed the latest quilt in my Rock ‘n Roll Fruit series. I Heard it Through the Grapevine has been traveling all over the country lately.  It went to Indiana for the Indiana Heritage Show, and then it traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the Quilter’s Heritage Celebration.  Its next trip was a lot more local. it was shown at the Northern Star Quilters’ Guild show, A World of Quilts XXIII on May 4th and 5th in Somers, NY, where it received a third place ribbon in its category.

Another of my art quilts, Strawberry Fields Forever, traveled to Texas for the Dallas Quilt Celebration in March, where it won an Honorable Mention in the Masters Division. When it returned home, I was surprised to find a huge ribbon in the box! Wow, they give out tremendous ribbons at those Texas quilt shows!

Traveling quilts and Publications:
In October of 2001, along with almost 300 other quilters, I participated in the America: From the Heart exhibit held at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. My contribution, Reaching Up to the Sky, is a tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center disaster. It was one of approximately 100 quilts auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. You can see the quilt on page 51 of the book published by C&T Publishing. All the proceeds from the book will also go the Scholarship Fund.

Reaching Up to the Sky has continued to travel around the country, with the kind permission of its new owners, Jim and Janice Feather. It can be seen at the Hudson River Museum from September 28th through January 5th, 2003.

JANUARY, 2003

Teaching:
I’ll be teaching a class based on Welcoming the Sabbathmy new Inventing Tradition pattern. It will be held at The City Quilter on February 9th. I’m so excited about teaching there! Cathy Izzo, the owner, spoke with me about teaching at her shop when I met her at Quilt Festival in October. I’m looking forward to it!

MARCH, 2003

Publications:
What a thrill to open my copy of the Spring International Quilt Festival/Chicago class catalog and find a photo of my own quilt inside! Wow!  My February Zebra Journal is right there on page 2. This was such a fun quilt to make. Actually, the entire Journal Quilt project was a blast. I loved the idea of making a new quilt every month to serve as a reminder of what happened that month. I am so proud to have my little journal quilt chosen to represent the Journal Project’s exhibit at Quilt Festival in Chicago! Yahoo!  

APRIL, 2003

Inventing Tradition:
The newest Inventing Tradition pattern, Dove of Peace, pictured on the left, is featured on page 4 of  the current issue of American Quilt Retailer newsletter. The publication is distributed exclusively to quilt shops.

Teaching:
I’ll be teaching a class this summer at the Country Quilter based on a pattern from the book, “Garden Inspired Quilts” by Jean & Valori Wells. The quilt, Summer Celebration, depicts a beautiful dragonfly in a lush garden, and features lots of free-motion satin stitch embroidery and quilting. I’ll also be teaching Free Motion Without Fear and a new class on Threadpainting.

Publications:
I’ve just received word that my quilt Strawberry Fields Forever will be featured in an upcoming issue of Quilters’ Newsletter Magazine. I am, as they say, over the moon!

JUNE, 2003

A New Direction:
Spring is a season of change for mother nature, and it was a season of change for me, both personally and artistically, in a very good way!  

After seven years of working as a part-time staff member at my local quilt shop, The Country Quilter in Somers, New York, it was time to make more time for quilting. So, at the end of May, I sadly gave notice. I’ll miss so many things about working there . . .  but, change can be good. I’m looking forward to spending my new extra time in my studio creating art quilts! 

Also last month came an invitation to join Fiber Revolution, a group of professional fiber artists from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. I’m excited and honored to be a part of this group of thirty talented artists. 

This invitation has lit a fire under me. I feel invigorated, and I’m eager to get started creating lots and lots of fiber art! So, artistically, I feel as I’ve entered a new phase. The quilt on my website’s home page looks different. It’s brand new, though it’s based on last year’s April journal quilt. I’ve called it: Spring Rain, New Growth. It’s symbolic of the new outlook I have on my art. For now, at least, I plan to spend my creative time working on art that make me happy, that gives me joy, that is pleasing to me. I’ve decided not to worry about whether anyone else will like my work.  We’ll just have to see where this new direction takes me! 

AUGUST, 2003

Publications:
It was such a huge thrill to receive my September issue of Quilters’ Newsletter Magazine in the mail and to see my quilt, Strawberry Fields Forever right there on page 60! It was in very good company, with beautiful quilts by Ann Fahl and Katie Pasquini Masopust, among other talented artists.

Teaching:
I’ll be teaching two class this fall at the Country Quilter: Free Motion Without Fear and a Threadpainting class with a new sample featuring beautiful autumn leaves.  

Exhibits and Shows:
Speaking of places where my work is being shown, I’ve discovered that it’s practically a full-time job to organize all those entry forms, deadline dates, shipping dates and show and exhibit schedules! I wish I had a secretary! I think I’ve finally come up with a system that works for me — it involves a very, very large calendar with lots of room to note which of my art quilts will be where, when . . . yellow and bright pink highlighter lets me know when each quilts need to be shipped, and when it will return home. If only there was a dedicated computer program I could use! 

During the month of August, my quilts I Heard It Through the Grapevine and Electrical Banana (pictured at right) will be exhibited at the Mancuso Brothers World Quilt & Textile – On Tour – New England at The Center of New Hampshire Hotel, 700 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101 August 14 – 17, 2003. More exhibits are planned for the fall — my quilts will be traveling a whole lot more than I will! 

SEPTEMBER, 2003

Publications:
Spinning Dreidel, a bright, colorful and easy little quilt that I designed, appears on page 46 of the December issue of McCall’s Quilting Magazine. Beth Hayes, McCall’s editor, asked me to design a Hanukkah quilt for the magazine when I met her last fall in Houston during Quilt Market. Many thanks go to my friend, Meghan Carroll, for helping me to cut out all those little coins, allowing me to meet the deadline and get the quilt to Colorado in time for photography! The bi-monthly magazine is on newsstands now — How exciting to walk into the Barnes and Noble bookstore and see the magazine on the shelves! 

Exhibits and Shows:
My professional Art Quilt group, Fiber Revolution, will be exhibiting again this month. Three Fat Ladies, (pictured at left) along with twenty-nine other quilts by the group, will be shown at the Ellen Traut Collection Gallery, 635 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT ( 860-233-1938), Sept 3 – Oct 31, 2003. The opening reception will be held on September 5, 5:30-8:30 pm.

Elect-Trickle Banana has been accepted for the exhibit “Quilts for Art Sake II”, October 3 -26, 2003. There will be a gala Opening Reception on Friday night, October 3rd from 6-9 pm at the Makeready’s Gallery, 214 ArtSpace, 214 Glenridge Avenue, Montclaire, NJ 07042. 

Mysterious and Second Trial Mystery have been accepted into Art Quilts VIII: A Cut Above. This national exhibition at the Chandler Center for the Arts (250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, Arizona) will be on display from Sept. 24 – Nov. 8, 2003 with an opening reception on October 3, from 7-9 pm. 

I am so, so happy about this! The Fat Ladies was accepted into the Tubac Center of the Arts exhibition Wrapped in Cloth – The Human Figure in Textiles, October 11 – November 16, 2003. Two other quilts, Night Gardening and Andrew in Montauk were accepted into the online exhibition. The website sale opens on the First of September. An opening reception will be held at 3 pm on Saturday, October 11th at Tubac Center of the Arts, 9 Plaza Road, Tubac, Arizona 85646 (520) 398-2371. Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 4:30 PM, Sundays 1 PM – 4:30 PM. Closed Mondays. ** Extra special news ** — The Fat Ladies was chosen as the featured quilt pictured on the postcard, the gallery poster and the website for the on-line exhibition of Wrapped in Cloth. What a thrill! This is  the first time one of my quilts was chosen as the featured quilt, and printed on the postcard for a show! I am told that the museum will also be displaying a six-foot tall banner by its front door during the exhibit. Imagine . . . life-sized fat ladies! I am so excited! 

Teaching:
I’ll be teaching a six-hour workshop, Free Motion Without Fear for the Evening Star Quilters of Garden City, Long Island on Saturday, March 6, 2004. I’m looking forward to meeting them, and to visiting my old stomping grounds on Long Island (gotta pronounce that “g”, ya know!).

OCTOBER, 2003

Publications:
Festival of Lights, the original quilt I designed for one of my Inventing Traditions  patterns, appears on page 38 of the November/December issue of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting™ in an article entitled “Glory Quilts.” The author, Linda Hungerford, interviewed me for the article some time ago. I think she did a wonderful job of condensing our very long telephone conversation into a cohesive description of my pattern company and how it began. The article is a lovely tribute to the memory of my late father-in-law. My thanks to Linda, and to Marianne Fons, who was just great to deal with. I was so nervous when I first met her. After all, she is quilting royalty! But she was just as humble and friendly and sweet as she could be. Most of all, I owe a big, huge, gigantic thank you to my dear friend, Mary Gay Leahy, who suggested to Marianne that she visit me in my booth at Houston Quilt Market last year.

Exhibits and Shows:
I just received word that two of my quilts, Art Nouveau Tree (pictured left) and Spring Rain, New Growth (pictured right)  were accepted into the Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibition at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, New York. I’m so honored and thrilled to have two quilts in this very prestigious show! The exhibit opens on November 1st and runs through January 4th of 2004.

Teaching:
I’ll be teaching my most popular workshop, Free Motion Without Fear, at the new location of The City Quilter on April 17th of 2004. 

NOVEMBER, 2003

Sale:
The Fat Ladies was sold to Charles Shafer and Mary Fitzgibbons, of Rio Rico, Arizona, during the Wrapped in Cloth: the Human Figure in Textiles exhibit at the Tubac Center of the Arts in Tubac, AZ. I received a lovely email from Mary telling me that her husband, Charles, purchased the quilt as a gift for her on the occasion of their 30th wedding anniversary. Mary sounds like a sweet lady. I’m so glad that the first, and most special quilt in my Fat Ladies series has found a good home! 

DECEMBER, 2003

Exhibitions and Shows:
Mini Spring Rain was selected to be displayed at the Road to California Quilters’ Showcase at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California. The conference/show will be held January 15th through January 18th of 2004. The judges for the show will be Cindy Walter, Bonnie Browning and Lynn Kough. 

Publications:
The Fat Ladies will appear in Magic Patch™ magazine, a European quilt publication, along with other quilts that were a part of the the Wrapped in Cloth: The Human Figure in Textiles exhibit. I don’t know any more details yet!

JANUARY, 2004

Exhibitions and Shows:
Spring Rain, New Growth and Elect-Trickle Banana were juried into the Quilters Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, PA. The annual event will be held April 1-4, 2004. I hope I’ll be able to go and see them there!

Sale:
My quilt The Three Fat Ladies has been sold to Carolyn Lee Vehslage. It has become a part of Carolyn’s growing fiber art collection. I’m very excited to have a piece included in Carolyn’s collection, where it lives among some very illustrious company! 

FEBRUARY, 2004

Exhibitions and Shows:
The Fat Ladies After Dark was selected to be displayed at Considering Quilts 2004: Fiber Artists Explore the Quilt Form, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The show will run from April 3 to May 15, 2004, at the Atlantic Center for the Arts at Harris House. Located across from the picturesque Intracoastal Waterway, the venue provides an impressive setting for the exhibit, which is becoming known as one of the finest small fiber art quilt exhibitions in Florida. I’m honored to have had this piece accepted!

Andrew in Montauk (right) will be part of the ART QUILTS: ELEMENTS exhibition at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center in Cary, North Carolina. The exhibit runs from April 30 to May 31, 2004. An artist’ reception will be held on April 30, at 6-8 pm. I have been applying to this show for years. This is the first time a quilt as been accepted. Perseverance pays!

Awards:
The Blue Lady (left) won two ribbons at the Northern Star Quilters Guild’s annual challenge: Reflections. It was awarded first place for Best Use of Embellishment and third place for Best Use of Non-Traditional Material. The quilt will travel with the other challenge entries to the Quilters Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, PA, where it will be included in a special exhibit from April 1-4th, 2004.  It will join my other two quilts which were juried into the show.

MARCH, 2004

Teaching:
I’m looking forward to teaching my Freemotion Without Fear workshop to a group of quilters from the Evening Star quilt guild in Garden City, Long Island on Saturday, March 6th.  

UPDATE:  I had such a great time with this fabulous bunch of women! Unfortunately, I forgot to bring along my camera, but trust me, they were all beautiful, and funny and welcoming. There was some talk about having me come back to give them another workshop, and I hope that happens, because I’d LOVE to go back “home” to Long Island and spend some more time with those wonderful women! 

APRIL, 2004

Teaching:
What a good time I had teaching my Freemotion Without Fear workshop at The City Quilter earlier this month! Such a nice group of women came to class, and the new, larger space is beautiful! I’ll be teaching there again in August, giving a workshop on different methods of machine appliqué.

MAY, 2004 

Exhibitions, Shows and Awards:
Ancient Trance Dancers (right) was awarded a first place ribbon at the Northern Star Quilters’ Guild annual show, A World of Quilts XXV, held on May 1st and 2nd. And, my quilt The Pink Fat Ladies (below) was awarded a second place ribbon. I’m thrilled!  

The show was great this year, as it always is. NSQG puts on a show that I think is the very best guild show on the east coast! (It’s MY guild, so I can say that!) All the quilts in the show were quite spectacular, the speakers fabulous, the vendors were varied and had so many wonderful things to offer! Plus, it was so much fun seeing all my guild friends and meeting new ones! 

Demonstrations:
I was asked to give a thread-painting demonstration in the works-in-progress room during this year’s NSQG show, and was happy to oblige — I do love an audience! Many show visitors took the opportunity to rest their feet and learn about my favorite thing — thread! I enjoyed answering some very good questions from the knowledgeable audience. Judy Gignesi did a fantastic job of organizing the Work-in-Progress displays and all of the demonstrations.

APRIL, 2005

Teaching and Lecturing:
On April 5th I gave my lecture to the Hudson River Quilters in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. They are a small group that meets at the Croton library once a month. The library has a gorgeous meeting space. It’s a large semi-circular room with a stage set up on the straight edge, and floor-to-ceiling windows all around the circular edge. The projection screen drops down out of the ceiling with a push of a button, and the sound system is amazing, no buzzing, no wires — incredible. There are about thirty-five guild members, it’s a fairly new group made up of pretty traditional quilters, and it seemed to me as if each and every one of them came to the meeting. Among them were Barbara Lerch and Kay Fowler, two lovely ladies who gave me my very first quilting lesson almost fourteen years ago! It was such a surprise, and so very lovely to see them! They sat in right in the front row of the audience, beaming with pride, applauded every quilt, sighed, oohed and aaahh’d, laughed at every little joke, and altogether made me feel absolutely wonderful. What a thrill it was to have them be present for this latest chapter of my quilting life! 

On April 9th I went to Pearl River to present my workshop “Free Motion without Fear” to the Heritage Quilters of the Hudson Palisades. It was held at the Pearl River Public Library.

MAY, 2005

Teaching and Lecturing:
On May 10th I presented a lecture to the Village Square Quilters in Scarsdale, New York. I have a lot of friends who belong to the guild, so there were plenty of people to hang out and chat with before and after my presentation. An absolutely adorable group of young children from a local school came to the meeting to show-and-tell some of the quilts they had been making in school. Oh my goodness, they were so cute! If only I’d had my camera!

OCTOBER, 2005

Teaching and Lecturing:
I’ve presented my Flowing Line lecture a total of seven times now, and each time it’s been easier and smoother. I’ve made little changes along the way, and the response has been encouraging. Two weeks ago I presented the lecture to the Wiltwyck Guild in Kingston, NY. It was followed with a Threadpainting workshop.They were a lovely bunch who caught on quickly and created some  beautiful couched wallhangings. The latest class was just last week, with my own Northern Star Quilters Guild. I taught my Threadpainting workshop, and they all had a great time picking out leaves and then learning how to threadpaint them to create colorful autumn remembrances. 

New Work:
I had a great time at Quilting By the Lake (QBL) last summer. I spent a week in a class with Cynthia Corbin, who is a super-talented  and wonderfully supportive and encouraging teacher. I found myself excited about what I’d created in a way I hadn’t been for some time. I think it may lead to something new and exciting. We shall see.

Travels:
In the meantime, I’m in the process of packing for a much-anticipated trip to Houston for the annual Quilt Festival. I’m going with my friends and Salon Seven sisters Linda and Georgia, and we are going to have FUN!!! I can’t wait. I’m flying down tomorrow. Houston, here I come!

FEBRUARY, 2006

Teaching and Lecturing:
Last month I gave a workshop for a group from the Wiltwyck Guild in Kingston, NY. I visited their guild back in October. A group of their members asked me to come back and give them a bobbin workshop. The participants were wonderful. It was an unseasonably beautiful, sunny and warm day outside so we took a short nature walk, after which they created some gorgeous wallhangings. Also, I’m looking forward to my lecture and workshop with the Brownstone Guild of New Jersey on February 10th. 


Yes, there is more . . . but for now, I’m going to focus on TODAY, and get to work on new ideas and my new direction!

5 Replies to “Revisiting the old days – or – On coming home again”

  1. What a wonderful trip down Memory Lane! You captured the excitement of those heady days of experimentation and sharing your unique and personal quilt vision with the world. I was thrilled all over again to see your beautiful artwork and enjoy the stories. Thank you!

    1. Jeri, you are a treasure! Thank you so much. You are right, they were exciting days! And they would not have been half as exciting and fun if you hadn’t been along for the ride. Love ya!

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