Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bedford Glen Accessory Contest

While I was attending the SAGA Retreat in Bedford Glen as a student, I did take time out to do a little work and one of the things I did was take a photo of the Accessory Contest Winners.

Congratulations to everyone who took time to enter, but a really big congratulations to the winners!

Pictured above are:

Ingrid Chan (California), Second place winner for her smocked clutch bag.
Judy Simpson (Maine), First place winner for her smocked sewing purse.
Chris Sykes (California), Third place winner for her embroidered sewing hussif.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday April 8th 2017 and New York City was awash with Tartan!

Why? Because it was the Tartan Day Parade! In fact it was the 19th Tartan Day Parade held in the City.  April 6th is actually designated Tartan Day, a day to celebrate Scottish heritage and pride and the parade is held annually on the Saturday closest to that date. Events are held all week –Tartan Week.

The parade is held on 6th Avenue between 44th and 55th streets. The road is closed and the various participating groups mass in their appointed spots before heading off down the avenue passed the famous Radio City Music Hall onto the end at 55th, where they are greeted by the organizers and the Grand Marshal of the event, before dispersing again.

So, why would I blog about this event? Because this was the fourth year I have taken part along with other members of another organization I belong to, the Daughters of the British Empire (DBE). Our little band of marchers  from chapters in New York and Connecticut includes husbands and family and, Sherlock, a Basset hound who draws much attention wearing his tartan coat!

And because it leads me into a blog about Tartan and its history!  More about that next time!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

SAGA Bedford Glen Retreat

I know, it has been a couple of weeks since the first SAGA Retreat of 2017 held in Bedford Glen, Massachusetts, ended but as I said in my previous Blog post, I have been a little busy with another important project-the next issue of SAGANews! Anyway, that is all in hand and so I have time to get back to the Blog.

Wes working hard in his class-Fitting for Boys
The Bedford Glen Retreat was wonderful, not least because I got to take classes all weekend, but also because it was a fun, relaxed event. The hotel hosting the event was very nice and the food was great. The rooms and lighting were all excellent and being a smaller event, the attendees got to mix and mingle a lot.

I chose to take classes with the same teacher for the whole weekend and Cindy Foose was the lady who put up with me! Being in the same classroom meant I could leave some of my heavier items there overnight (the classrooms are always locked during breaks and after class).

The classes I took were really well presented with lots of good information, some of it basic (that sometimes gets forgotten) and a lot of it new. Cindy provided very comprehensive notes and there was little need to add to them. As our classes were small in number, we got to do a few extra things, like make samples of techniques for our notebook, which helps imprint a technique in my brain!

The first class I took was on constructing for boys, something that doesn't always get covered in the heirloom sewing world. The techniques learned in the class will help me not only with boys, but also items for girls. ( We got to make samples, and the completed shorts fit Wes, my SAGA bear mascot!).

A pair of shorts in the making for Wes (with teacher Cindy Foose in the background)
The other class I took was to construct a dress from a new pattern Cindy has designed. Again the class handout was very informative and added a lot to the general construction sheet that came with the dress pattern (which, along with everything to make the dress, was included in the kit). Could you make the dress just using the pattern instruction sheet? Yes, you could as it covers everything very concisely. Taking the class added a lot more detailed construction and the chance to make changes to the basics. It also gave us the benefit of the designers hands-on knowledge and to view several garment made using the same pattern.

Wes wearing his new shorts and modeling a collar made from a man's hankie borrowed from Cindy Foose.
Again, the smaller class size gave us time to not only work on samples for our notebook, but also on our actual garment and I came home with an almost completed dress. Many of the other students did complete their dresses. I was just a little tired on Sunday morning to want to work directly on my garment, so I made some samples of techniques instead. (That will teach me to spend Saturday night drinking champagne and eating chocolate with my friends until all hours!).

Wes, worn out from all the fun at the Bedford Glen Retreat
As well as taking the classes, there were the lunches and dinners together with everyone attending and Saturday night, the banquet and raffle baskets! The Hospitality room was open all day and this is where the baskets could be viewed, along with the donations to Wee Care. The Accessory contest entries were also displayed in Hospitality and nearly all attendees took the time to view them and vote. Congratulations to the winners!

And to round the event off, Mother Nature decided to play an April Fool on us and snow! Of course, this is nothing to those of us that live in New England, but for some of the attendees and teachers this was treat!

Snow on April 1
So, with the registration date (May 1 at 10 am Central time) for the next SAGA Retreat in St. Louis fast approaching, if you are on the fence about attending my advise to you is get off the fence and register! You will be glad you did.

Wes with his girlfriends at the banquet

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Break Time Over!

Sorry that there hasn't been a SAGANews blog up-date for a while but I have been busy with one thing and another.

The 'one thing' I have been busy with is the next issue of SAGANews (Volume 38 Issue 2) which will be going to layout soon, then printed and  mailed out to members by mid-May (hopefully!).

This is our Wee Care issue and is filled with lots of ideas for Wee Care items. I know that Wee Care is special to most of our SAGA members and hope that this issue will inspire everyone.

The issue will also contain information on the ladies who are candidates for election to the SAGA Board. Thank you to those ladies who will be volunteering their time to work together for the membership and oversee the everyday running of the organization. Please take the time to read their statements and also to complete and return your Proxy (which will be in this issue) if you are not attending the Annual Meeting to be held at the SAGA Retreat in St. Louis. Voting for the Board will be electronic and you will receive an email with detailed instructions. If you do not have an email address or know a member who does not, please contact the SAGA Secretary, Sally Rifenburg ( who will mail a ballot paper.

The 'another' thing I have been busy with was attending the SAGA Retreat in Bedford Glen and actually taking classes! More about that in another blog post.

So, after the short break, the SAGANews blog is back and you can look for regular posts again!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Romantic Wedding

On a recent visit to to the coastal town of Madison, Connecticut I spotted an interesting window display set up by the Madison Historical Society for Valentine's Day. The item that caught my eye, was this beautiful wedding gown from 1865. It doesn't say who wore the gown, but it is excellent condition.

The satin shoes date from 1845, so were probably not the ones worn by the bride, but work well with the gown in the display.

 The train of the gown is interesting for the shape of the edge and every one of the blocks is piped.

This is the detail of the lace front panel.  Still in very good condition.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


A sharp pointed tool used to stitch with.


A town in California, USA on Route 66 just over the bridge that spans the Colorado River from Arizona and minutes from Nevada. 

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has a hub in Needles and it was originally a tent town for railroad construction crews, the railroad company built a hotel, car sheds, shops and a roundhouse. Within a month the town also boasted a Chinese washhouse, a newsstand, a restaurant, a couple of general stores, and nine or ten saloons. The town became the largest port on the river above Yuma, Arizona. The Railway and the Fred Harvey Company built the elegant Neoclassical and Beaux-Arts style El Garces Hotel and Santa Fe Station in 1908 which was considered the "Crown Jewel" of the entire Fred Harvey chain. The landmark building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is being restored.

Needles was a major stop on the historic U.S. Route 66 highway from the 1920s through the 1960s. For immigrants from the Midwest Dust Bowl in the 1930s it was the first town that marked their arrival in California. The city is lined with motels and other shops from that era. The "Carty's Camp" which appears briefly in The Grapes of Wrath as the Joad family enters California from Arizona is now a ghost tourist court, its remains located behind the 1946-era 66 Motel.

Needles is a tourism and recreation center, a tradition going back for decades. The city is the eastern gateway to the Mojave National Preserve, a scenic desert National Park.

(The) Needles- a landmark attraction off the Isle of Wight in England.

The Needles on the Isle of Wight is surely one of the most photographed groups of rocks in the world. This row of three distinctive chalk stacks features in all the classic views of the island, a truly unforgettable image – and a photographer’s dream.

The name 'Needles' is believed to have been derived from a slender tapering rock pinnacle which was formerly situated a little to the north (i.e. on the Alum Bay side) of the present central rock. This needle-shaped rock, about 120ft high and known as 'Lot's Wife' collapsed into the sea in 1764 with a crash which was said to have been heard many miles away! The stump of this pinnacle can still be seen at low water where it forms a dangerous reef.

The Needles form the western tip of a band of chalk that crosses the centre of the Isle of Wight, stretching to Culver Cliff in the east. This chalk ridge continues west under the sea to Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck, and is believed to have been connected at one time to Old Harry Rocks, about 20 miles away. In 5,000BC this ridge was breached by the Solent River, creating the Isle of Wight with its jagged white rocks at the western tip. These unusually vertical rocks are a result of the heavy folding of chalk and the remaining stacks of very hard chalk are extremely resistant to erosion.

Situated within The Needles is the world famous Marconi Monument, which marks the precise location where Guglielmo Marconi undertook his pioneering work at the end of the 19th Century, which led to radio and all telecommunications as we know it today.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

SAGA Bedford Glen Retreat will soon be here!

It is not long now before I will be attending classes at the first SAGA Retreat of 2017 in Bedford Glen, Massachusetts! I am excited as I will actually be taking classes- something I don't always get to do as I am busy working taking photos and such for SAGA and SAGANews.

As this is my first time taking classes in a while I looked back at some past blogs to remind myself what items I might need to remember to pack. I thought I would share the list with you today so if you are attending here is a reminder of some things you might find useful:

1. Basic Sewing Supplies

2. Writing materials and tools.

3. Name labels for your raffle tickets (or I will have some you can use :) )

4. Tote bag (especially useful for market).

5. Sewing Machine-If you are taking machine classes and don't forget the power cord and foot; machine presser feet; needles; bobbins; manual; wheels to get it to and from class.

6. Chapter raffle basket.

7. Wee Care items to donate.

8. Table favours-if your chapter offered to donate them.

9. Any pre-class homework?

10. Light and magnification.

11. Spare glasses.

12. Camera

13. Your Retreat Contest entry-Accessory.

14. Your Artisan card.

15. Name Tag (if you have one).

15. A smile and money for market!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The New England Quilt Museum

Another suggestion of a place to visit in the area near the SAGA Retreat at Bedford Glen is the New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts.

The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM - 4 PM November - April

It was almost 30 years ago that a group of enthusiastic New England quilters began to dream of establishing a regional quilt museum. That dream became a reality when the New England Quilt Museum board of directors met for the first time in June 1987. Now, as its 25th Anniversary year has come and gone (in 2012), it seems miraculous that the museum exists and has survived and grown, fulfilling the mission first conceived by its founding mothers.

Over the years, as the museum sought a permanent home, endured water floods and also risked drowning in red ink, there were times when it seemed the dream might die. Still, it has endured, but only because of the support received from the museum's constant friends and members.

The museum is located in historic downtown Lowell, Massachusetts. Master craftsman Josiah Peabody built the Lowell Institute for Savings building in 1845 in the classic Greek Revival Style. The structure boasts an unusual rhomboidal footprint, with curved corners and an ornate wrought iron balcony along two sides.

Today the 18,000 square foot space holds exhibition galleries, a library and resource center, classrooms, a museum store, staff offices, support areas and storage for the more than four hundred antique and contemporary quilts in the permanent collection.

The Crit Group: 30 Years and Still Quilting
January 11 through April 29, 2017
​This exhibit of works by five artists in fiber is a unique insight into the relationships of a critique group. Judy Becker, Nancy Crasco, Sandy Donabed, Sylvia Einstein, and Carol Anne Grotrian have been meeting each month for thirty years to support and sustain each other as artists. Nancy Crasco states, “the focus of our gatherings is always about the work: assisting with aesthetic and construction concerns, sharing opportunities to exhibit, discussing current trends in fiber, and providing the impetus to continue creating.”  All of the artists have gained national recognition and have exhibited widely in the United States and abroad.

Each of the artists has a distinct style which is acknowledged and encouraged by the others.  They agree that the scariest outcome of a critique group would be to have their works be similar.  Each artist has a different source of motivation or inspiration and employs a unique manner of working.