Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Sew-A-Thon needs your help!

Hello quilt friends!  
I need your help! 
This Saturday, Nov. 17th from 2pm-5pm I am hosting a Sew-A-Thon in the basement of the Reformed Church of Highland Park!  

We will be making hats and mittens for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy that need warm things.  The church itself has partnered with groups in hard-hit areas like Keyport and Union Beach and they are driving down twice a week to directly deliver supplies.     

I need sewers (and cutters and kid watchers)!!  But, I also need fleece and stretchy knits to make the hats.  I hosted this event once before, two weeks ago, and we made a total of 32 hats, 4 neck warmers and a blanket.  This time, I want to make EVEN MORE! And, I think we can do it.  Our neighbors need it.

But, I need your help.  Can you donate fleece or jersey?  Can you suggest  a good mitten pattern and donate it?   Can you help out???  Please email me ahappystitch[at]gmail[dot]com if you can.

Any and all assistance is welcome! It's a great time and a great cause!  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Introducing.... Us! NNJMQG Profiles

Hi there, North Jersey Guild! It's time to get to know one another. This profile feature's goal is to showcase a member, her (or his) work, quilting history and philosophy. It's also a handy way to suggest some of your favorite links and resources and contribute to the blog. To kick things off, I took the questionnaire for a test drive. I feel like I could ramble about quilting forever so I kept things brief, but feel free to use the comments to continue the conversation. And be sure to contact me to share your own answers.

Melanie Tuazon

Where do you live? 

Livingston, New Jersey

What do you do in your non-quilting life? 

I'm a stay-at-home-mom to Eli, 4, and Miles, 2 (pictured above). I sew when they are asleep, but if I have any free time, I read fiction (I just finished True Believers by Kurt Andersen), practice yoga and write essays. In other phases of my life, I have been a marketing trade journalist, a ballet teacher, a copywriter and an advice columnist.

my first quilt

When did you start quilting? 
How did you learn?
I took a sewing class in October 2011 at Rock Paper Scissors and have been quilting non stop ever since.

 I started by asking lots of questions of Beth and studying patterns and tutorials online. I jumped in and made a 36x36 mini quilt, making lots of mistakes along the way. But that's the best way for me to learn.

How would you describe your quilts?

I like to walk the line of elegant simplicity and interest. When things are too simple or perfect, they are often times not interesting (at least to me). I try to find those one or two elements that really give a quilt character. I definitely find crazy quilts interesting, but my style is naturally a little bit more understated. I don't have any signatures to my quilts yet-- I'm new enough that I'm trying new techniques with each quilt.

What inspires you?

It's very random, and I almost never see inspiration coming. Sometimes shapes and patterns just pop out of a piece of art or some bathroom tile. Right now there is a brick pattern on a wall that I see every day that I'm dying to try to replicate in a quilt.

 I've been getting a lot of inspiration from interior design lately.

Do you have a favorite quilt, or one that you are most proud of?

Definitely my skyline quilt. It was the first quilt that I designed that didn't feature just squares or rectangles. And besides loving the fabric and the results, it had a meaningful connection to the recipient. It was made for my only sister, who shares my love of New York, and her newborn daughter. 

It sounds ridiculously cheesy, but quilts take on a whole new level of magic when they're made with love.

What are your favorite fabrics to work with? (This can be designers, colors, fibers)

I really like to work with what I call "in between" colors-- shades that are hard to describe. I love deep greenish blues, brownish yellows and every shade of purple. I would have never considered yellow one of my favorite colors, but it keeps pulling me in and sneaking into a lot of my favorite quilts. I use quilting cotton almost exclusively, but I really enjoyed adding linen to one of my quilts.

Where do you sew? What is your workspace like? What kind of machine do you use?

 I just moved into a new house, and feel so lucky to have a devoted sewing space (in our old house I used the dining room and had to pack everything up after each sewing session). I use a table that was used in the kitchen of the old house for my fairly standard Kenmore machine. I use a tabletop ironing board and store my stash in plastic bins. I'm hoping to set up a design wall so that I don't have to lay things out on the floor, but that 's still just a plan in my head right now.

What is your favorite part of the quilting process? What is your least favorite?

I adore the planning process and picking out fabrics, but I can't stand cutting and piecing. When I'm cutting I always think, "why am I chopping this up just to sew it back together again?" And piecing can take so long that it's easy to get frustrated. But when a top comes together, I get motivated again, and enjoy basting, quilting and binding. I've really enjoyed free motion quilting lately, which I learned by obsessively watching videos on YouTube. For me, there's nothing like the satisfaction of hours of work coming together to make something beautiful. I've actually had trouble falling asleep after a free motion quilting session because I get such a rush of happiness and pride.

What are your favorite quilt-related websites? Books?

I have a major quilter's crush on Elizabeth Hartman. She blogs at and wrote two great books, both of which I've read cover to cover. Her work is so modern and fun. She has so many beautiful quilts on her site, but the Space Invaders one really won over my geeky side. When I was starting out, I also learned a lot from I bought her Off Track pattern and studied it to understand the basics. Her tutorials are also really helpful.

Do you have a blog or online photo album of your work?

I post pictures of all of my quilts on my Flickr account and blog about each one (though not as much since the move) at

What are you working on right now?

I'm making a quilt with only solids, which is definitely out of my comfort zone. It's one of Elizabeth Hartman's patterns from Modern Patchwork-- Glam Garlands. I'm also finishing up a patchwork chevron quilt for Miles (above) and planning a throw to give to my mom for Christmas. It feels like a lot, but it's good to have quilts in different phases so that I can bounce around depending on the mood I'm in.

Would you like to take the questionnaire? Ask some more questions of your own? Suggest questions you'd like to see answered by our members? Send Melanie an email: melintheattic AT gmail DOT com.
I don't know about all of you but I am really looking forward to this Thursday's meeting!  Between hurricanes and snow, no heat or power, no internet or cable at the store ... I am ready for some fun with great people!!!

This month, we are welcoming Linda Lum DeBono, quilt designer, textile designer, and author. Linda recently published her new book, "Sew Merry and Bright", a wonderful collection of all things festive and creative, with every project reflecting Linda's bright and colorful trademark style!

Linda will share with us all about the projects in the book (with samples), as well as chat about the publishing process, how projects were chosen, or whatever else we would like to talk about.   There will be some time to purchase her book and get it signed!

Look forward to seeing you all there to give Linda a warm welcome from the North Jersey chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild!!!

See you on Thursday at 7:00pm!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Corrected link for EQuilter Quilt Relief program

Oops - the correct address for info re quilt relief effort is:
Thanks to Diane in the Jersey Short Modern Quilt Guild for pointing out my error. Sorry, everyone.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Want to make some quilts for hurricane victims?

Hi all,

In keeping with the idea of organizing smaller groups for special projects, I was wondering if any of you would like to help make quilts for some of the hardest hit victims of Sandy. has organized major quilt drives for past disasters (911, Katrina, Japanese tsunami, etc.) and is spearheading a drive for 5,000 quilts for the Sandy victims. They have contacts and experience and have enlisted the help of RJR fabrics who will provide storage space and help with delivery.

Here is the link explaining the process:

I am definitely interested in this and suspect that many of you will be as well. I know I've been feeling that I should be DOING something to help (in addition to monetary contribution of course). So, I'm thinking we could discuss this at the next meeting, make some plans and put the project in motion....Time is of the essence!

Start thinking about ways to organize such a project - and if anyone has experience in doing something like this we'd love to have your input.

Peggy Kelleher

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Michael Miller MQG Challenge!!

 I've already put in a request for this challenge, so hopefully we will receive enough fabric for everyone who is planning to participate!  Stay tuned!


Announcing Fall 2012 Fabric Challenge Madrona Road by Michael Miller




We know how much you loved the Robert Kaufman Kona Challenge and the Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge. We are happy to announce this year's Winter challenge, Madrona Road by Portland Modern Quilt Guild Member, Violet Craft.

Once upon a time in the windy lands of the Old West a baby girl was born to a rooted father and a gypsy mother. And so begins the story of Madrona Road, a modern, sophisticated fabric collection of crisp florals, monochromatic textures and text prints.

The challenge begins December 1 and ends January 31.