President’s Message and A Year in Review

Greetings and Happy New Year!  First I would like to thank the members for the vote of confidence in me as your new President. Once upon a time, I was just a gal sewing at my kitchen table.  In 2013 when the Boston Marathon bombing took place, I made a flag for the “To Boston With Love Project” and posted a photo on Flicker.  Next thing I knew, Diane contacted me via Flicker and asked if I would like to join her newly formed guild. I met up with her and Bonnie Bartholomew at a sew-in at Fabric Inspirations, and the rest is history.  I hate to sound cliché but this has truly been the best thing that happened to me.  I never had friends who sewed or didn’t roll their eyes when I talked about it and I never dreamed I would one day be heading up the guild, but here we are.

I would also like to thank June Mellinger for continuing in her role as Secretary and stepping up to fill the role of Treasurer as well.  Thank you to our outgoing President, Deb Hunter, good wishes to her this coming year as she faces some new challenges and to Phyllis Garnant, our outgoing Treasurer, thank you for your service to the guild.

As a guild, in term of numbers, we are small; however, we are mighty in the sense that when we put our minds and hearts (not to mention our machines) together we accomplish great things.  Last year we did some great things in the name of community and charity and when I think of quilt guilds those things go hand in hand.  In January, I personally delivered 7 quilts to the homeless camp right here in our neighborhood in Howell, Destinys Bridge, while those residents were facing eviction and were in fact evicted shortly after.  They were humbled, grateful, and perhaps a tad bit warmer because of your generosity.  In February we had a sew-in for charity where I told you all about Oceans Harbor House in Toms River, a safe haven for homeless youth.  I asked for 20 something pillowcases and in March I donated 40 something pillowcases to them.  Our March sew-in was a “jelly roll race for charity”, I now have almost 12 completed quilts ready to be donated.  In August, we donated our 2019 Quilt Con Charity Quilt to 180 Turning Lives Around, an organization that supports victims of domestic violence, to be used at one of their upcoming fundraisers.  December was no different, our members made small drawstring bags and at our holiday party in lieu of swapping gifts we purchased new socks and toiletries and stuffed those bags again to give to the youth at Oceans Harbor House.  We also presented local veteran, Scott Nokes, with our 2018 QuiltCon Charity Quilt at the dedication of his new “smart home” built for him by the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation.  Wow ladies, pat yourselves on the back because you never cease to amaze me.

I’ve said it so many times that our members have an abundance of talent in every aspect of sewing and quilting and this year we had no shortage of member lead demonstrations, tutorials and instructional sew-ins.  We made bags, pillows, learned about thread, needles, sewing notions and so much more.

We had another, bigger, successful “In Stitches” event and we are planning to expand that to twice a year with one being on a little bit less of a scale.  This is another example of using the talents’ within our own guild to demonstrate modern quilting techniques and to have quick, little make and takes.  Our own Brandy Borden and Allison Fitspatrick deserve so much credit for putting this event together; as well as, June and Pam for procuring so many fabulous prizes!

The new year comes not without challenges to our guild, but we’ve faced them in the past and persevered.  Trying out a new meeting schedule and combining it with our sew-in is a first step in figuring out what will work for us this year.  My wish for the guild is always to see it grow: however, it continues to be challenging for us.  I don’t know what the answer is but I personally am willing to try anything that will potentially  work.  I would certainly also be okay with the “status quo” in that our membership would at the very least stay the same.  As in the past I would like us to embrace modern quilting, in addition to our own particular styles.  I would also like to continue to see us glean from each other what each of us have to offer, and there is a lot.  Let’s make this a year of having fun with each other, (after all we are basically just a group of ladies who enjoy sewing), learning, stepping out of our comfort zone perhaps and volunteering for a project, continuing to serve our community, and camaraderie!!

 

JSMQG Gives to the Homeless in Howell

Charity Update from Eileen DiPietro:

I needed some time to absorb everything before I could attempt to write about my visit to the homeless encampment but here goes.

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As most of you all know, I had been in contact with “Minister Steve” Brigham, as he is so fondly referred to by his fellow residents,  about the guild donating quilts to the homeless encampment in Howell. All of you may not know that the bulk of the residents there are people who had been living in Tent City in Lakewood until they were forced to leave. At that time Howell let them use a parcel of land that belonged to the township and then without warning sold the property out from underneath them, a provision of the sale being that the new owner had to find them a place to set up camp. Well to make a long story short no one has done that or made any effort to do it and these folks are once again staring down eviction. When I first contacted Steve I was trying to get a census so to speak about the residents and that is when I found out that most of the thirty residents had relocated to different areas in the woods in anticipation of the eviction and that only six had still remained. Of those six one is the minister himself and his assistant, Cindy.

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I managed to put together six decent size quilts from our charity stash and gave them a label and last Thursday I set out to the camp to meet with Steve. (Side note I had also thrown out if anyone had warm clothing and such they wanted to donate that I would be willing to collect and deliver as well. Deb Loeb and Sherre were kind enough to pack some things up. Deb Loeb, you know those shoes and boots you weren’t sure anyone would want, fear not they were a huge hit!). I brought my husband along for the ride and followed the directions that were shown on the Facebook post of Howell Happenings that I had shared. I’ve probably driven past the dirt road that leads to the camp, right off Route 9 nestled amongst a shopping Mecca, hundreds of times but little did I know. The dirt road   doesn’t go very far before you enter the camp. There are tents, as in camping tents, makeshift tents, abandoned rvs, cars and buses all set up around a circle, these are their homes. Homes that they are proud of, homes that are well taken care of, homes with beds made,  homes that are in jeopardy now. I was so afraid that I would be emotional there but strangely I was not. I was greeted by Cindy first because Steve was on the phone. I didn’t know if she was aware of why I was there so I proceeded to tell her about the guild and the donation. She helped me unload the trunk and when I showed her the box with the quilts, it was like a child on Christmas morning! She was so excited yet somewhat spellbound that someone would give her and her neighbors a handmade quilt.  She couldn’t wait for the others to be home later so she could hand them out.  Steve was equally delighted, I don’t think he realized before that these were handmade quilts we were gifting. I stayed for quite some time there and talked with the two of them. Cindy expressed a desire to learn to sew and maybe help teach some of the struggling women a craft they could use. I would be happy to oblige. Steve invited me to a screening of a documentary made about Destinys Bridge and how he is fighting a town to save his people from eviction, that happened to be that same night. I had to juggle a few things but I went that night to the Toms River library to see the film. I was greeted by Steve and Cindy like an old friend, hugged and kissed, like we’d been friends for years. We couldn’t stay for the whole film but I bought a copy, both to support Destinys Bridge and so that I could watch it at home in its entirety. I will bring it to the next meeting. Anyone who wants to watch is welcome to borrow it.

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I have so many feelings about this donation, I can’t even begin to put them into words. What I can say is that this gift we share, it never gets old. It really doesn’t.  I would love to keep donating to these folks, I really would. Thank you all for letting me do this.

You can read more about this homeless camp here.

June 20th Show & Tell

Thanks to everyone who came to the meeting tonight!  It was a fun meeting.  We did our usual business, then show & tell, and then we discussed English Paper Piecing, and I shared a bunch of my finished and in-progress projects.  Thanks, Brandy, for being our photographer!

Sherre started us off.  She had an adorable Elizabeth Hartman fox quilt, an awesome alphabet, by Lori Holt, and a medallion of her own invention, using Allison Glass and Victoria Findlay Wolfe elements.

Eileen has been cranking away at her Village quilt – isn’t it amazing?  And her pouch of the month from Sew Lux is perfect, as always.  She’s participating in the Kingfisher Stitch Along, too, with a gorgeous pile of hexie flowers.

Amy shared a wonderful purse she crocheted, and some really nice vinyl pouches.

Deb L made two placemats for our ongoing charity project, and two baby quilts for some coming soon babies.

I showed off some blocks from the soon to be released Summer Adventure quilt by Kitty Wilkin, my Sew Lux pouch, and a purse I made.

Then it was time to talk about English Paper Piecing.  I had a few projects to show off – I like to try all different kinds of things, from the traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden, to more interesting things.

If you are having trouble getting started with EPP, or would like to borrow any of my books, just let me know.  I’m happy to help, and as you can see, I’ve tried just about everything.

The Kingfisher Stitch Along is a great one to try out, if you are tempted by EPP.  It uses 1″ hexies, and appliqués them to a diamond, so you don’t have to do a whole huge quilt with just hand piecing.  It is the perfect summer take-along project.  Plus, Eileen, Deb H and I are all doing it.  You don’t want to be left out, right?

Thanks for a great meeting, ladies, and welcome to our new members!

–Jen

 

April 18th Show & Tell

We had a great meeting this month!  Show and tell is always my favorite part.

We started out admiring Bonnie’s entry for our New Jersey QuiltFest display.  This is called “Jewels on Snow” and is so lovely.

Brandy shared two quilts.  The first is her entry for the display, and the second is a gift for a family member with a very specific request for a quilt with squares and lines.

Sherre had a slow month this month, with only 5 large quilts to share.  Let’s all hope she is back on track next month.

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Arlene finished this gorgeous appliqué top in a class at Mouse Creek Quilts.

June made some lovely pouches, and is cranking out houses for her Sewing a Village project.  She moves pretty fast and was hard to photograph.

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Eilieen finished off the project we started at the February sew-in.  Her points are fabulous!  She shared a few pouches she had completed, too, but the photographer tonight was fairly sucky.

Deb brought in denim pillows, a lovely large quilt, and some little hearts she plans to leave around to brighten people’s day.

Allison brought in her pouch, and this adorable fish quilt!

Thanks, ladies, for all of the fabulous inspiration.  I will endeavor to do a better job with my photography next month.

JSMQG is #sewingavillage

sewavillageLots of our members have jumped on the sew-along hosted by Stitch Supply Company to create a massive 132 house “Village” quilt over approximately 5 months. The official start date is February 5th – plenty of time to order your pattern, The Village by Jumble, Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company and start choosing your fabrics – this quilt is EXTREMELY scarp and charm square friendly! Fussy cutting the doors is a big part of the fun! Finished quilt is 65″ by 79.5″. There will be prizes every week, graciously provided by Stitch Supply Company , who will be hosts of this Instagram sew-along. If you are new to the IG quilting community, or interested in getting your feet wet – this is a great opportunity. Post pics of your houses each week straight from the camera roll on your phone, and add the hashtag #sewingavillage to join in! (As your loyal social media gal, I would love it if you would tag @jsmqg as well!) If the pattern is unavailable at Stich Supply, here are a few places that also have it in stock: Eleanor Burns , AZSewingWorld , EQuilter and Vintage and Vogue