2008 - 2009 Events

Welcome to the archives of Empire Quilters. All guild members are welcomed — and encouraged — to contribute to this page. We all have different experiences at guild activities, and we'd love to hear from you. Send information (and pictures!) to be included here to info@empirequilters.net.

For information on upcoming guild events, see the Calendar Page, and to see the projects that members shared at meetings, visit to the Show & Tell page.

June 2009

The final official event of the guild's 2008–2009 season was a shopping excursion to Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Saturday, June 20, 2009. Here's the published pre-trip information:

Hints for better shopping … Wear comfortable shoes, and bring a bottle of water • We suggest you bring a brown bag lunch • All stores accept cash and major credit cards • While there are some gadgets and paterns, fabrics are the specialties of these stores • There will be a time limit at each stop, so have your wish-list in mind • And finally — Sign up early to guarantee your space. This trip always fills up quickly.

Thank you to Aleeda Crawley for the trip planning!

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Our final meeting of the 2008–2009 guild season took place on June 13, 2009. The activities got off to a great start with a Members Flea Market. Shoppers were tempted with an everchanging mix of fabrics, notions and ready-to-use goods. Shoppers went home with some great deals, and sellers went home with some money to purchase more fabric!

Our business meeting this month covered the following items:

Our featured program of the meeting was a report on the International Quilt Study Center and Museum by Lynne Grasz.

International Quilt Studay Center New-York-based Lynne Grasz took us through a slide show of Robert and Ardis James’ quilt collecting to endowing the University with their quilts, to creating a museum and acquiring other collections from around the world and outstanding examples. The Museum now has over 3,000 quilts from more than 16 countries plus a handmade doll collection and has entertained over 35,000 visitors in little over it has been open. Incoming quilts are held in quarantine to check for mold or bugs before being added to the collection. Opening day of the Museum, two elderly ladies came from Florida to Nebraska by bus, viewed the collection, and traveled back on the bus, not even staying overnight.

If you’d like to plan a visit to the Museum, Northwest, Delta, Amtrak and Greyhound will take you there. Plan to stay over — there are plenty of places to stay. Lynne encouraged people to visit their website: quiltstudy.org to see their quilt of the month. Lynne also thanked Empire Quilters for our donation of $500.

Other activities of the day included a beautiful Show & Tell segment, the June Block of the Month drawing won by Andrea Homer-Macdonald, and raffles — including a special raffle for Quiltopoly and books that Ms Grasz had brought from the Museum.

Quilter of the Month Ann Foss gave an inspiring presentation and as a thank you for the friendship and inspiration she’s received from Empire Quilters provided a bibliography of books that have inspired her and templates for some of the quilts she showed. Don't miss Ann's Quilter of the Month page. There you'll find a link to Ann's presentation — with the bibliography on page 4.

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May 2009

Our May 9, 2009 meeting day started off early — 10:30 am sharp! — with a room full of people participating in a focus group given by award-winning quilter Lauren Dieterich. Lauren showed many of her quilts and talked about color selection. Topics covered included how to combine color and patterns to achieve balance and harmony, and what makes one color combination more pleasing than another.



It was just about standing room only for our guest speaker's presentation. Internationally acclaimed quilt artist Sue Dennis transported us to Australia via a fabulous slide show and many interesting stories of her life traveling with her geologist husband.


A Hot Land by Sue DennisWe saw beautiful views of the landscape, and pictures of Sue's quilts that were inspired by the exotic "land of extremes." During her many travels, Sue managed to continue to design and sew quilts. In those quilts, Sue portrayed the people who endured life in the inhospitable outback mining camps of the past, and she also rendered some of the historical objects that she encountered. She preserved some of the past by collecting old objects and using them to dye her fabrics.

Trees do it by Sue DenisSue's work portrays the colors and feelings of the many "harshly beautiful" areas of Australia. She finds working with natural shapes satisfying. We saw "ant hills" (which were actually huge termite mounds!), bird tracks, rocks, mud, animal fur, opals and mining tools. She talked about her method of leaf rubbing.

We all came away with a better appreciation of Sue's work, and many of us were challenged to look around us with new eyes and to include part of our surroundings into our quilting — the people, the colors, the tools, and the climate.

For more information about Sue Dennis visit her website: www.suedennis.com.

Our brief — but important — business meeting this month covered the following items:

There were many beautiful charity quilts turned in this month — thanks, everyone! Member Gail Malis de los Santos is shown here holding a quilt she made with Jamie Pittman. To see other charity quilts turned in throughout this season, visit the 2008–2009 Charity Quilts page.

Our Show & Tell segment and Mary Cargill's Quilter of the Month presentation were definitely highlights of the meeting. We saw so many styles and colors! Be sure to see those pictures.

The Library did booming business this month, and enthusiasm for purchasing raffle tickets continued well into the time when the winning tickets were to be drawn. Congratulations to all winners, and thank you to every member who donated an item (or two!) to the raffle.

A special item was raffled this month — a portable Janome sewing machine! Thank you to Naomi Shelnut for the generous donation! Guild member Fannie D'Avino was the incredibly lucky winner of that special prize.

We are always happy to welcome guest vendor Handloom Batik (www.handloombatik.com) to our meetings (pictured here, left). Proprietor/owner Usha Berlin is delightful to work with, and always has the most beautiful wares for members to purchase.

This month's Block of the Month winner was Mindy Wexler-Marks. A few of the nice Four Hearts and a Star blocks are pictured here (right), and the instructions can be found on the Block of the Month page for May 2009.

The final Share/Scrap table of the year consisted of about six tables piled HIGH with wonderful fabrics. There was enough for everyone who was searching for just the right thing to go home with plenty of fabric to keep them busy over the summer. We are looking forward to seeing these leftovers re-used and recycled into beautiful quilts. We'll be watching for them in next year's Show & Tell.

Workshop with Sue Dennis

The day following the May guild meeting, our guest speaker Sue Dennis conducted a full-day workshop on quilt design. It was a gentle class for those wishing to explore original design work — but who didn't know where or how to start. Participants were taught how to explore their artistic side. Use of color, design principles and cut and paste methods were explained before fabric was cut and fused into place. This was a fun, no stress day — a perfect way to spend the Mother's Day Holiday. Look at the beautiful results! Thank you to Mary Butler for the great photo of the workshop participants.

For more information about Sue Dennis visit her website: www.suedennis.com.


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Quilting Demonstrations

The month of May got off to a beautiful start in a lovely setting. Empire Quilters members were invited to demonstrate the various aspects of quilting at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum on Saturday, May 2, 2009. Guild members brought some hand work and some samples and chatted with museum visitors while working. The unique setting — the front porch of the museum was inviting and relaxing.

Members pictured below on the porch of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum include Lea Williams Rose, Dorothy Arkell, Tina Barth and Mary Butler.


Photos © copyright Lea Williams Rose  

For more information about the museum — which is the last remaining Dutch colonial style farmhouse in Manhattan — visit their website: www.dyckmanfarmhouse.org


April 2009

Reports from Paducah Trip

Quilt City, Here We Come!
by Aleeda Crawley
[Photos courtesy of Aleeda Crawley]

What an adventure we had in Dixie! On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 37 of us set off from NYC to attend the American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah, Kentucky. This is the second largest quilt show in the US after the International Quilt Festival in Houston. The biggest worry, the length of the bus ride, was surprisingly, not a problem. We made frequent stops throughout the night, stopping Thursday morning for a hearty breakfast, which energized us. We stopped by our hotel, which was a shuttle stop, just down the road from Hancock’s of Paducah. We headed over to the Convention Center, the site of the show, and headed our separate ways. Some hopped on the shuttle and made a beeline for Hancock’s; others made the short walk (short for a typical New Yorker) to the National Quilt Museum, and a few of us headed right into the show.

LEFT: Detail of one of the flood murals; RIGHT: view of a stretch of the murals.

Paducah really is Quilt City USA. It’s home to both the American Quilter’s Society (AQS) and the National Quilt Museum year round. Each April, the entire city blossoms into one big quilt show, from the restaurants, to the mall. It’s the largest show in the area, bringing more than $20 million to the area. Hotels from 60 miles around are filled to capacity. To my great surprise, there were people who grew up in the area and had never been to the show. The town suffered a damaging ice storm in January, and we could see evidence of the damage wrought as we traveled along the highways. I was told that a lot of the repair effort was directed at the areas around the show. Paducah has lured a number of artists to the area, including Eleanor Burns and Caryl Bryer Fallert; I learned there is some friction about this practice. The shuttle service (which left much to be desired), stopped in the downtown area, at many quilt show satellite locations (there were vendors all over town, which is a large area), and everyone’s favorite destination — Hancock's of Paducah.

Let’s start with the show. There were 384 quilts on display; one piece after another of quilter’s eye candy, one more delicious than the next. I have been to many shows over the years, large and small, and I’ve noticed the constantly increasing number of art quilts versus traditional quilts. This trend has increased to the point of seeing fewer and fewer traditional quilts at the major shows. This was not the case in Paducah. The best in show quilt was an extraordinary work of art, almost more a tapestry than a quilt. The artist, an Australian woman, spent 18,000 hours making her prize winner. Far more of the pieces were traditional quilts. There was a good selection of vendors (400!). The big show days are Thursday and Friday. In comparison, Saturday’s attendance was light.

The National Quilt Museum (NQM) holds a breathtaking collection of quilts. As part of the best in show prize, the NQM purchases the piece, and to celebrate the anniversary, they hung the 24 previous winners. As an additional commemoration, they published a book showcasing all the winners, and had most of the quilters available to sign the book. I learned that the museum was the first building in the country specifically built to house quilts. I learned that Gerald Roy (of This Old Quilt fame) served as a consultant for the building. I learned that the museum is transitioning from the American Quilt Museum to the National Quilt Museum, hoping to expand both the facility and its services.

I’ve saved the best for last. There is no way to describe Hancock's of Paducah except to imagine a store the size of Costco, BJs or Staples filled with fabrics and quilting supplies. Everything in the catalog is in the store. There are actually two buildings, one with notions, patterns, quilting and home-dec fabrics (cleverly on sale during the show period) and a second with precut fabrics, and remnants. It was overwhelming, and several travelers went back for a second visit. Amazingly, the store was well-staffed, and you were waiting very little time before your fabric was cut and paid for.

We left Paducah very happy, although considerably poorer. After stopping for dinner, we made our way home. The trip was a must see for any quilter. Member Jackquelynn Jones had an opportunity to visit Caryl Bryer Fallert’s studio and shares her adventure as well. []

Trip Participants — Group Photo

A Visit to Bryerpatch Studio in Paducah, Kentucky
by Jackquelynn Jones

There were so many highlights to the Paducah trip. I am sure the 40 participants could each write a fabulous reflection. However, I wanted to share my high spot with my fellow Empire Quilters members. I visited Caryl Bryer Fallert’s Bryerpatch Studio, which is a gallery, shop, and workshop center. Upon entering I met guild member Mary Butler, and a bit later, Wendi Higginbotham and Jacqueline Johnson. Bryerpatch is located in the Historic LowerTown Arts District of Paducah dedicated to homes, shops, and studios of hundreds of artists.

The Studio was bright, warm and welcoming — so very reflective of Caryl’s hand dyed fabrics. Caryl herself greeted patrons and eagerly offered a tour of the studio, which is also her home. Each room is a work of art from the hand painted sky ceiling to her “stash room.” Not only were Caryl’s quilts on display, but pieces by other artists gracefully decorate her home. Two impressive examples were very early quilts by Hollis Chatelain. I was impressed with the lighting through the house, as well as the organized the working space throughout the house: everything is boxed and labeled in large, black type. Two very large design walls revealed a peek at Caryl’s latest design project soon to be available in all color ways in the fall. Benartex now reproduces her hand dyed fabrics.

After falling in love with the house, I later learned that Bryerpatch Studio offers workshops throughout the year by Caryl and if you are lucky you can rent one of the guest rooms at the studio. Bryerpatch is open for individuals, as well as for retreats. There is also a separate dye studio/classroom annex on the premises. My visit to Bryerpatch was truly inspirational!

Scenes from Paducah
Photos by Rita Reid

Rita Reid sent in the following pictures from the trip. What a magical place! The cow sculptures were covered with quilts, there were fairy tale carriage rides, a beautiful riverfront, good times at the show, and scultptures in front of the Quilt Museum.

Thanks for sharing the photos, Rita!



For more information on the places and people mentioned in the articles above:

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April 2009 Monthly Guild Meeting

It's a good thing that we quilters aren't shy — and that we have good eyes! Our general guild meeting took place on April 4, 2009 — in an auditorium at F.I.T. that had no lighting and no audio system! A true technical snafu at it's best. So our speakers had to PROJECT their voices so they could be heard, and we all had to squint to see the items displayed by our fabulous Quilter of the Month Naomi Shelnut.

Keeping quiet during our guest speaker's presentation was easy — we didn't want to miss a word of what Jennifer Chiaverini had to say! She was a gracious good sport while she read several passages from her writings and then took questions from the audience. Following her talk, Jennifer stayed for a long time signing copies of her newest book The Lost Quilter. Jennifer was among many friends, and we hope she will return to New York City soon.


Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of 14 books (to date). We all know and love the characters in her Elm Creek Quilts novels. Those novels are stories of quilters, of friendship, of families, and of personal challenges and adventures. For more information about Jennifer Chiaverini and her books, be sure to visit her website: www.elmcreek.net.

We had a fairly short business meeting this month. The items covered included:

Naomi Shelnut was our Quilter of the Month — and what a presentation! We were sorry that the lighting wasn't better, but Naomi's personality truly lit up the auditorium and we were inspired by her "show must go on" attitude. Be sure to see some pictures of her work on the Quilter of the Month page.

Show & Tell this month included quilts with birds, wolves, rabbits, whales, pandas, windows, cars, shirt fabric, kaleidoscopes, and tributes to the Boy Scouts and President Obama — quite a diversity! We can always count on our membership to display interesting and inspiring items.

Many charity quilts were turned in this month. Pictures of our charity quilts can be found on the 2008—2009 Charity Quilts page. We were grateful that so many members found time to finish these quilts during the busy month of March.

We had many lucky winners of our monthly raffle — always a popular and fun activity. There was no Share Table this month, but the report was that we have a lot of items for our next meeting thanks in large part to our Donations Coordinator Diane Harris. Memberswere reminded to bring bags to stuff with fabric, and money to purchase some of the many items.

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March 2009

This month is packed with special activities. On March 7, 2009 our general meeting was our annual Charity Work Day — and it was also Judging Day for our upcoming quilt show.

Members started arriving before 8:00 a.m. to deliver their quilts to be judged. The judging committee was already hard at work getting set up for the quilt intake, and for the judging process.


The President's Challenge quilts were laid out for judging by Guild President Jennifer Bigelow (quilts below, left) while our show judges started their very long day. Our capable and pleasant judges were Sandra Dorrbecker (center picture below, left) and Mary Walter (center picture below, right). The full day was off to a great start.


Meanwhile the other side of our meeting floor was buzzing with quilt making activities for our Annual Charity Work Day. Here are just a few of the many happy workers who participated — thanks to everyone! Be sure to view the finished quilts.


›› View the finished quilts. ‹‹

Sunday, March 8, 2009 was another day with multiple activities. Everyone who had their quilts judged for the upcoming show arrived back at F.I.T. in the afternoon to pick up their quilts. Yes, we're all wondering what ribbons were awarded to what quilts! We'll just have to wait until next week …

And on the same day (March 8, 2009) a bus full of energetic members went to the Quilt Fest of New Jersey. This trip is always popular and is a great way to kick off the spring (the quilts, the fabric, the tools, the books …). We'll try to get a detailed report from one of the attendees.

Our 2009 Urban Inspirations Quilt Show took place March 21–22, 2009 at Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) in New York City. It was a great show! Visit the 2009 Show Page for links to Show Information and Pictures of the Quilts!

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February 2009

Our February 14, 2009 meeting got off to a colorful start with a focus group about Color for Quilters. A large group gathered and paid close attention to group leaders Sandra Cain and Diane Rubenstein as they discussed the color wheel, color values, color complements and color contrasts.


The guild business meeting included the following business items and announcements:

Our "sparkling" speaker "bedazzled" all of us with her incredibly detailed and beautiful beading work. Nancy Eha has a passion for obsessively beaded art quilts. She believes that art is a journey — often a series of "what if" questions. Nancy is well known as one of the foremost experts in beading. She shared her ideas, told us how she got started, and encouraged us to be adventurous.

Nancy's presentation got off to a great start when she answered all of the most-often-asked questions — right up front! That informative session was followed by a slide presentation, and she concluded with the statement "to lead a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong." We were honored to have her with our guild. If you ever get a chance to her Nancy, or see her work, don't miss it!

Nancy is the author of two must-have books for beaders: Bead Creative Art Quilts and Bead Creative Like Crazy. For more information about Nancy Eha and to see more of her incredible work, visit her website: www.beadcreative.com

Other activities of the day included a busy Guild Library and equally busy Vendor of the Month Sue's Fabric World, a small, but stimulating Show & Tell session, a terrific and colorful Quilter of the Month presentation by Jane Rosenthal, Charity Quilts turn-in, the Monthly Raffle (with some great prizes!) and last — but never least! — a scrap table heaping with treasures.

Meeting day was followed by two full days of beading workshops (Sunday and Monday, February 15–16, 2009, lead by February program speaker Nancy Eha. A large group of workshop attendees learned many of Nancy's tips and techniques, and went home with colorful and sparkly samples of many different beading stitches. This picture shows guild member Beth Pile hard at work on one of her pieces.

beaded kaleidoscope by Nancy EhaThe first day we learned sticky lollipops, beaded coils, how to attach cabochons with beads and more! The second day we explored Nancy Eha's special discovery called Elevated Beading. We created a kaleidoscope (sample pictured left) with seed beads placed not directly on the fabric, but supported above the fabric surface for a textural 3D appearance. Look for many of these techniques to appear in future guild Show & Tell segments. Nancy Eha is a wonderful teacher — don't hesitate to take a class with her if you can! We hope she will come back again soon.

Nancy is the author of two must-have books for beaders: Bead Creative Art Quilts and Bead Creative Like Crazy. For more information about Nancy Eha and to see more of her incredible work, visit her website: www.beadcreative.com

On Saturday, February 21, 2009, Empire Quilters guild members were invited to gather at the Morris-Jumel Mansion at 65 Jumel Terrace in Manhattan to demonstrate quilting during the mansion's annual George Washington Birthday Celebration. Members brought some hand work and some samples and chatted with the visitors.

For more information about the Morris-Jumel Mansion along with detailed directions to their location, visit their website: www.morrisjumel.org



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January 2009

Our first meeting of 2009 took place on January 10, 2009. We all kept a nervous eye on the weather — since they were predicting quite a lot of snow. It was a busy day filled with activities.

Several tables were set up for accepting our quilt show submission forms. We were pleased that so many members will be displaying quilts. It's going to be a great show. We had a corner of the room set up to take photos of quilts for members who didn't have the means to take their own photos — a great service!

Meanwhile in another part of the meeting space Janet Randolph (pictured here, right) was conducting a focus group on Quilter's Rulers 101. Janet really knows her stuff and she is always willing to share her tips and techniques. She is also a great teacher. We all learned how much more our rulers can do for us besides being simply a straight edge.

And there was yet another focus group taking place — the final meeting of members who were interested in selling hand-made items at the Boutique in the 2009 Urban Inspirations Show. Looks like we're going to have many splendid items for our show visitors to purchase to take home with them.

The guild business meeting covered the following announcements:

Our program this month was truly wonderful! We were entertained by the best comediennes in the City, we heard from a database expert about ways to track our inventories of books, supplies, tools and patterns, we were re-assured that pristine organizing is perhaps not for everyone, and we learned many many helpful hints about how to store things — without spending a lot! And yes, the presenters were all from our very own guild!

Program leader Anna Foss (above, left) listened as Judy Doenias and Diane Rode Schneck (right) read their Top-Ten Reasons for NOT wasting quilting time by trying to get organized.



After the laughter died down a bit, Aleeda Crawley described her fascinating (and efficient!) system of tracking her inventory on her PDA. Aleeda (pictured left) always has her list of books and tools and thread and patterns with her whenever she is shopping. Her ideas and her successes — she saves money for fabric by not buying duplicate books or tools! — inspired many of us to go home and start an inventory of our own. Aleeda uses a combination of Excel and Documents to Go by Dataviz to get the inventory to her Palm Pilot.




Janet Randolph (above, left) showed how to make a sewing kit carrying case out of placemats. And Pat Yamin (above, right) was busy much of the afternoon distributing the many prizes.


Meeting attendees received handouts with extensive notes from the meeting, a catalog from The Container Store, and many of us went home with boxes, and storage racks and clever organizing bins as prizes. Kate Iscol was awarded the prize for Best Organized guild member, and Beth Pile was the recipient of the Most Disorganized guild member. We all went home with our heads swimming with great ideas for how to get a fresh start in 2009 with our quilting — organized or not!

Hearty thanks to Anna Foss for creating this great program!

Following the program, the Block of the Month drawing was held —Rhona Triggs was the luck winner of the blocks. The instructions and template are available on the Block of the Month page if you want to make one of these Loving Hearts.

Then it was on to Show & Tell Don't miss the pictures! The pieces were great.

RaNae Merrill was our January Quilter of the Month. RaNae's work is incredible! Her spiral quilts are breathtaking in their complexity and beauty. She didn't want her quilts shown on our guild website, so we can't show them.

Other ongoing activities throughout the day included the Guild Library, the sales of Guild Collectibles and brisk business by our guest vendor: the ever popular Cultured Expressions (www.culturedexpressions.com).

The snow was falling quite steadily now, but the room was still full of members waiting anxiously for the always popular Raffle to take place and then the famous Scrap Table dash.

On Saturday, January 31, 2009 the guild sponsored a bus trip to Winthur Museum & Country Estate in Winterthur, Delaware (6 miles northwest of Wilmington, Delaware). The reports were unanimous that this trip is a definite do-again! trip. Private tours of the house and its extensive textile collection were the highlights, but just as fun was the day spent with fellow quilt and textile enthusiasts. Trip participants gave their hearty thanks to Trip Coordinator Aleeda Crawley for the efficient arrangements.

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December 2008

Our December meeting took place on December 13, 2008. It was a day of giving and celebrating. We shared food, we finished up projects for our holiday charity donations, and purchased items at an auction. There were also bargains to be had a tables labeled $1, $5 and $10. Very few of us went home empty-handed.

Dozens of these adorable and friendly toy bears were made by guild members to be distributed to needy children in shelters and hospitals throughout the metropolitan area.

Early in the day an enthusiastic and dedicated focus group met to talk about the Boutique feature of our upcoming 2009 Urban Inspirations quilt show. The boutique will be filled with unique — and beautiful! — hand made items that quilt show visitors will be able to purchase.

Our business meeting was relatively short, and covered the following items:

After the business meeting the auction got started! Guild President Jennifer Bigelow kept things moving with the help of member Michael Greenberg. There were valuable toys, beautiful hand made items, plants and quilts. As a special holiday highlight, there were several hand made Christmas stockings made by Karen Griska, Beth Pile, Pauline Hazard, Judy Isaacs, Millicent Lana, Lee Ebs, and Diane Rode Schneck.

Michael Greenberg showing a musical bear, Jennifer Bigelow, and quilts to be auctioned.

Some of our special holiday auction items:

Meeting activities continued with a 50/50 auction — congratulations to winner Karen Monath! — and a fun and colorful Show & Tell presentation.

On Sunday, December 14, 2009, the guild presented a full-day workshop led by the ever-popular, multi-award-winning Anna Faustino. At this workshop — Diamonds in the Round — Anna taught the group another of her unique and incredible fabric weaving techniques. We can't wait to see some finished pieces at future meetings!






November 2008

We were pleased to see so many members at our November meeting. The meeting took place on Sunday, November 9, 2008 at F.I.T. The day started early with many members arranging their Flea Market Tables. The shopping was great! Members were willing to part with some very nice items for terrific prices! Here are just a few of the many enthusiastic vendors:

At 1:00 pm the sales paused for our business meeting and monthly presentations. The business meeting included the following topics:

Philippa Naylor (left)
with guild member.

Our speaker Philippa Naylor took us on a delightful journey from Saudi Arabia to England with her slide show and many fascinating stories. Philippa and her family traveled 10,000 miles through 13 countries in 11 weeks! She was quick to point out all the quilting inspirations that can be found wherever we look.

Once she was back home in England, Philippa gradually geared up her quilting studio, and we were very happy to see how she works. We were also lucky to see some of her award-winning pieces at our meeting! They truly are unbelievable.

We asked many questions, bought copies of her newly-released book Quilting in the Limelight: The Life, Art & Techniques of an Award-Winning Quilter, and inspected her quilts. On Saturday November 8, 2008 — the day before our general meeting day — eighteen members took a day-long workshop with Philippa. They learned some of Philippa's special techniques for finishing quilts. Reports from the workshop were glowing! Everyone learned new things to try on their next pieces.

For more information about Philippa Naylor and her book, and to see examples of her work, visit her website: www.philippanaylor.com.

Our Guild Library was another popular corner of the meeting room. We have an extremely dedicated Library committee that oversees our extensive collection of quilting books. Guild members are encouraged to look over the list of available books (see the Library page of the website), and contact the Library Committee with any requests for books.

We don't bring all of the available books to meetings, but there is always an interesting selection at the meetings, and any special requests. If you have questions, email the library committee at library@empirequilters.net.

Mary Ferry was the winner of the small (but nice!) collection of Blocks of the Month. A few of the blocks are pictured here. This activity is an especially good opportunity for beginning quilters, and we wish we had more participation. It is an exercise in color and fabric selection, template-making or paper-piecing, measuring, and consistency in your work. All of that can be learned by making just one block! If you haven't tried to make a Block of the Month — try! There is help available, and you'll be surprised at how much you will learn. More information can be found on the Block of the Month page.

This month's Show & Tell presentation was another terrific dose of inspiration, and Lauren Dieterich's Quilter of the Month presentation was awe-inspiring! Lauren has an uncanny sense of color. Her working palette is inviting, and warm, and bright, and fun, and calming — all at once. Be sure to view her presentation. We are so fortunate to have so many talented quilters who generously share their work with fellow guild members.

Raffles!! Raffles are always a popular and fun way to wrap up the organized portion of our meetings. This meeting was no exception. Here's one of our lucky winners coming to collect her prize. The prizes are items that have been donated by guild members. Those donations are organized into packages by our raffle committee. Because they are donated, we never know what we'll be winning. But every raffle ticket that is purchased helps the guild pay for the meeting space rental, for the costs of printing of the various forms that go to the members, for the newsletter, and for the storage space that houses our quilt show supplies. We sincerely thank everyone who purchases tickets in support of the guild. No, we don't give away gold nuggets, but we do use every dollar that is collected with care and with gratitude.


This month's workshop took place the day before the monthly guild meeting. Philippa Naylor gave a workshop: Down to the Finish. Attendees at this practical workshop made a variety of samples including examples of beautiful mitered borders, contrasting fabric covered piping, the neatest double folded binding, a hanging sleeve and so much more!

For more information about Philippa Naylor, and to see examples of her work, visit her website: www.philippanaylor.com.

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October 2008

Our October guild meeting took place on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at F.I.T. We had a great turn-out for the many activities that were going on throughout the day.

In the morning Janet Randolph led a Focus Group on making paper and fabric beads. The room was packed with enthusiastic members using glue, and fingers, and fabric. No sewing machine is needed for these easy and decorative embellishments. In the picture at right, the group's co-leader Floraminda Balmaseda is showing one of the attendees some of the many varieties of beads that are possible. With this technique, imagination is truly the only requirement.

Toward the end of the focus group, we saw many people wandering around with their creations drying on toothpicks that were poked into plastic trays. What a fun focus group!


In another room another focus group was also hard at work. This group was all about preparing for our upcoming 2009 Urban Inspirations Show — specifically the Boutique portion of the show. Boutique committee co-chairs Sheila Molitz, Dorothy Arkell, and Sonia Rieber talked with people about the kinds of items to make for the Boutique, and how to price those items. We're already looking forward to seeing some beautiful hand-made creations for sale to our show visitors.

We were delighted to have two guest guilds from the area participating in our meeting this month. Both guilds have quilt shows coming up, and both have beautiful raffle quilts. We were happy to have the chance to see these quilts up close — and to buy some chances to win them! Pictured here on the left are representatives from Village Square Quilters — who also happen to be members of Empire Quilters! Carole Hoffman and Sonia Rieber were selling tickets for the queen size quilt A Tisket, A Tasket. The Village Square Quilters Show is taking place in Hartsdale, New York on November 8–9, 2008, and more information can be found on their guild's website: www.villagesquaresquilters.com.

The other guest guild was Evening Star Quilters. Their guild's show is taking place in Mineola, New York, on the same weekend: November 8–9, 2008. That weekend is shaping up to be a busy weekend for quilting. Below is a picture of their stunning grand prize raffle quilt, and their friendly guild representatives (again, also members of Empire Quilters!) Susan Acevedo and Cathy Peterson. We were happy to host these two fellow guilds, and we wish them both lots of success (and fun!) with their shows. We also hope that many of their members will plan to come to our 2009 Urban Inspirations Show.


In another corner of our big meeting room, the October Library Book Sale was taking place. Somehow the library committee managed to bring stacks and stacks of magazines and books. Three tables were full of bargains. Purchasers went home with some great sources of inspiration, the Library now has some room for new books, and the treasurer has some cash to deposit in the guild accounts. Another successful activity where everyone benefited.

Paula Kenney

Moving on to the next area of the room — Show Committee Co-Chair Paula Kenney was supervising the distribution of Show Information Packets, and the sale of guild collectibles. The Show Information packet is full of important information about our guild's upcoming 2009 Urban Inspirations Quilt Show. If you haven't done so already, members should be sure to pick up their envelope at the November meeting!

We still have a number of items available that celebrate our guild's 25th anniversary milestone — including great bags and pins and lanyards. This year we're adding color to the mix with some bright and colorful items. There are mugs with a picture of our beautiful Broadway Jane quilt, striking bright green refillable mechanical pencils, and a rainbow of colorful T-shirts in Yellow, Pumpkin, Lime, Denim Blue, Sky Blue, Bright Red, and Cream. More information about these collectibles will be posted soon. All of these items will make wonderful holiday gifts, so plan to purchase several at our November meeting.


At 1:00 pm we found chairs and settled down for the the business portion of our meeting which covered the following topics:



Sue Moats was our featured speaker of the day. Sue has been with the Sulky company since 1996. What a treat to have such an expert thread educator! Sue brought several informative handouts for us to take home and use as reference, and many samples for us to see up close. She passed around landscapes and embroidered items and vests. They all shimmered and sparkled. We were happy to see the many different effects that can be achieved with the different threads.

We heard tips on needles sizes and tension settings and bobbin threads for various fabrics. We saw many different techniques and Sue encouraged us to lay with our machines and their various settings. Sue answered questions about hand sewing, and how to wash our pieces (which soap to use, etc.) and which threads can be ironed.

At the end of the presentation, several members received some great Sulky products as door prizes. Thank you to Sue Moats and the Sulky company for this informative presentation!

For more information about Sulky products and Sue Moats, visit the Sulky website: www.sulky.com.

After the lecture it was time for the Quilter of the Month presentation and Show & Tell. Judy Isaacs was the quilter of the month. Pictures of her inspiring presentation will be posted soon.

Gail Sanders

And there was another stellar group of pieces shown at Show & Tell. If you missed the meeting, be sure to look at the pictures.

Following Show & Tell, it was time for the monthly Raffles! Raffle committee chair Gail Sanders (pictured left) and her helpers were busy most of the day wandering around the room selling tickets for the terrific prizes. Tickets are just $1.00 and if you wear your name tag at the meeting you get an extra ticket. About 25 lucky members went home with some nice prizes. Thank you to Gail and her helpers, for your part in adding to the fun of the day.

Sallie Nichols and RaNae Merrill

The final raffle prize of the day was a special one. Empire Quilters member RaNae Merrill had a copy of her new book Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts. She donated one copy to our guild library, and offered another copy to the raffle. Sallie Nichols was the very lucky (and very pleased!) winner of RaNae's new book.

The final event of the day was the traditional dash to the scrap table where members can purchase small pieces (and sometimes large pieces) of fabric for their projects. We're always happy to see these scraps used in quilts and other hand-made items that are submitted to the Service Committee for distribution to the various charities we support.

On Sunday, October 12, 2008, a small group of quilters gathered for a day-long workshop led by Sulky Educator Sue Moats. We hope to see many inventive uses of thread in some upcoming Show & Tell presentations!


This busy month started with two events for guild members on Saturday, October 4, 2008.

The American Folk Art Museum celebrated the art of quilting with a weekend of workshops, lectures and demonstrations by metropolitan-area quilt guilds. Empire Quilters took part in the event by demonstrating various aspects of quilt making. The demonstrations took place on Saturday, October 4, 2008 from 11:00 am – 4:30 pm at the Lincoln Square Gallery Branch of the museum. The branch is located at 2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Ave at 66th Street). Volunteers from the guild brought work that demonstrated all aspects of our craft — piecing, appliqué, quilting, binding, etc.

This was a unique opportunity to show our art "in progress." Plus it was fun to meet people who have never been exposed to the process of making a quilt. Their curiosity and their questions were extremely gratifying. We never know how many soon-to-be quilters we will encounter! Other area guilds also participated in the demonstrations — making the day a perfect time to say hello to our neighboring guilds.

Also on October 4, 2008, a bus full of enthusiastic Empire Quilters members journeyed upstate to the Q.U.I.L.T.S. Autumn Inspirations 2008 Quilt Show in Schenectady, New York. This was a perfect autumn day for an outing! The specifics of the trip are available on the Fall Foliage Trip Information (PDF).

Our guild historian Anna Foss was on the trip, and here's her report:

Through Manhattan and over the bridge, to Schenectady we went … and whether we had to catch the 5:52 train or the 6:15 subway, it was worth the early rising. A nap on the bus since the foliage change doesn't start in earnest until after West Point at this time of year. Then we were treated not just to trees turned gems of topaz, garnet, ruby, and citrine, but barns, cows and horses — we're in the country!

Schenectady, derived from a Mohawk word for "on that side of the pinery" (a great quilt title), not far from Albany, had near freezing temps at 6:00am, but warmed up by the time we arrived. Held in a historic section of town, home to one of Thomas Edison’s laboratories which evolved into General Electric, the area is becoming an arts and entertainment mecca. The Q.U.I.L.T.S. show was held at Procter’s movie Theatre (rows of seats retract), offered 222 quilts, with art quilts and machine quilting as popular as traditional quilts; quilt block challenge celebrating their 25th anniversary using silver in each block; two featured quilters; and a dozen vendors. Their 2010 show will have even more space when the quilts will be mounted on the theatre stage, recently enlarged for Broadway shows.

If you didn't win their raffle quilt, A Walk Through Central Park (no kidding), you could buy a kit in the members’ boutique, aka quilters’ yard sale! Heaven! Foolishly leaving my wheelie home, I was handed a box to hold my boutique finds. A dozen magazines, and 14+ yards of fabric heavier and $40 lighter, I went off to lunch with my quilt-loving-but-non-quilter cousin, who joined us there. Some guild members went back more than once I'm told. Armed with a map of the area and list of eateries, we headed for a pastry shop nearby where we could sit and catch up over lunch topped off by a quadruple-threat-chocolate dessert: chocolate frosted, chocolate custard filled chocolate cannolli with chocolate sprinkles.

The day was over too soon, leaving so much more to see in the area, including galleries and shops, and Will Moses (Grandma M’s greatgrandson, also an artist) signing the latest book he illustrated. On the return home, 19 satisfied quilters napped or inspected their treasures (and cousin's home-made preserves). Outside the sun and blue skies looked down on a placid Hudson River dotted with sailboats and a water skiier oblivious to October winds. We topped this off watching Aleeda dash to catch the 6:11 with three minutes to spare — and did, by the skin of her teeth!

— Anna M. Foss

For more information about Q.U.I.L.T.S. Schenectady, visit their website: www.quiltsschenectady.com

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September 2008

Our 2008–2009 guild season got off to a great start! The meeting was packed with enthusiastic members. Everyone was busy over the summer, and our Show & Tell segment was a show-stopper this month. Be sure to view all those beautiful items on the September 2008 Show & Tell page.

The business portion of our meeting covered the following topics:

Style – proportion – grid – scale – echo – contour – ripple – outline – miters – feathers – all this and more was covered by our special guest speaker Helen Squire. Helen entertained us while she taught us about quilting. We learned that what is "pieced together" should be "quilted together" and we learned the various ways to "lock in the fullness." Helen shared many tips about quilting styles and patterns, and illustrated her talk with beautiful quilts!

The stories that Helen told reminded us that it is the quilters, and the stories behind the quilts, that make quilting interesting and keep us hooked on the subject. One of her fascinating stories was about her recent involvement with the Zulu Sweetwaters Settlement. Fifteen quilters from America and Canada visited the new Zulu Quilt Centre when it was just being started. They donated three long arm quilting machines and several pallets of material and tools, and stayed for over a week, training quilters in advanced techniques. The quilts produced and sold by these Zulu quilters are a main source of their income. For more information about this endeavor, visit www.quiltsafaris.com and for some fascinating video documentary on the project, visit Linda Taylor's website: www.thequiltingschool.com.

What a wonderful presentation! We are so pleased that Helen shared her day with us. For more information about Helen Squire visit her website: www.helensquire.com.

The next day (Sunday, September 14, 2008) Helen gave a full-day workshop on Quilting UFOs. We're looking forward to seeing the results from that workshop.

Marian Webber was our terrific Quilter of the Month. Marian has been a faithful guild member for many years and we were happy to see several of her quilts. View pictures of Marian's presentation on her Quilter of the Month page. Guest speaker Helen Squire was delighted to see Marian's Hawaiian Sampler quilt made from a Helen Squire Pattern that appeared in Quilters Newsletter.

While you're looking at pictures, don't miss the September September Show & Tell presentation. There were many beautiful works shown!

Our Vendor of the Month was Handloom Batik (www.handloombatik.com) — always a popular participant at our meetings. Many members were loading up with beautiful purchases.

Many members took time over the summer to make a Camelot / September Star Block of the Month. Twenty-one blocks were submitted, and Rhona Triggs was the lucky winner of all the blocks. Here are some of the blocks. If you didn't get a chance to make a block, the pattern and instructions are still available on the September 2008 Block of the Month page.

Twenty-five people went home with gifts from the monthly raffle, and we had a special auction of a donated piece of oilcloth.

The final event of the day was the annual first-of-the-season dash-to-the-scrap-table! There were many tables overflowing with mountains of fabric scraps. We are looking forward to seeing many of those scraps re-appear in charity quilts in the coming months.

The week following the monthly guild meeting, a group of Empire Quilters members took part in quilting demonstrations at the Morris-Jumel Mansion at 65 Jumel Terrace in Manhattan. The occasion was the annual Battle of Harlem Heights Remembered event from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, September 20, 2008. Members brought some hand work and some samples and chatted with the visitors. Our guild's participation was ably organized by Mary Butler Thank you, Mary!

For more information about the Morris-Jumel Mansion along with detailed directions to their location, visit their website: www.morrisjumel.org

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August 2008

The 2008–2009 guild season got off to an early — and fun! — start this year with a bus trip to Lowell, Massachusetts. Here's a description of that trip from our on-the-scene reporter Rita Reid.

"We arrived at Keepsake Quilting on Saturday afternoon and a shopping frenzy ensued. We had at least two hours of shopping delight which was hardly enough for me. There were fabrics galore and lots of books, magazines and notions, so every shopper had a chance to purchase something. As a bonus, Keepsake Quilting also gave each of us a free package of fat quarters. I even managed to go to the yarn shop and at least one other area store. We retired to the Marriott Courtyard in Nashua, New Hampshire, where we rested for the day ahead at the Lowell (Massachusetts) Quilt Festival. On Sunday, we started out early and arrived at the Tsongas Arena before the 10:00 a.m. opening. My group chose to walk over to the New England Quilt Museum where we also waited for the 10:00 a.m. opening. I had been to the museum last year, so I was familiar with the layout. I went upstairs to view the quilts and the went into its vast quilt library. The library will mail books to members and will also give you a tax receipt for donations of your used books and magazines. In addition to visiting the library there is a store, which had many many books, magazines, patterns and quilt-related items for sale. I quickly perused quite a few of the offerings, and bought a couple of books."

"We walked down the block to the Lowell National Historical Park which has a museum and store. After stopping to eat at a local restaurant, we returned to the Tsongas Arena around 12:30, leaving us about two hours to view hundreds of quilts and dozens of vendors. We accepted the challenge with glee. The quilts were marvelous, of course. I got many new ideas and took lots of pictures to refresh my memory after I got home. I supported as many of the vendors as I could, and I only stopped buying fabric because I didn't know how I would get it home. By 2:30, we were on the bus, and a few minutes later, we began our trip home. The monotony of the long bus trip was broken by the very challenging games (with prizes) that trip coordinator Aleeda Crawley provided. This was more fun than my trip to Aruba last month. I can hardly wait for the trip next year, (which should be longer!)."

Rita Reid


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