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.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Colour Green

Green- a colour found everywhere, especially in nature, which is where the origin of the word comes from. It is derived from the Middle English and Anglo-Saxon word grene, from the same Germanic words grass and grow.

In the Middle Ages, the colour of clothing denoted class or rank and green was a colour worn by merchants, bankers and the gentry. (Red was the colour of nobility).

The Mona Lisa wears green.

The benches in the House of Commons in England are green (those in the House of Lords are red).
A green light indicates it is safe to move. 

On the spectrum of visible light, green is found between blue and yellow.

To create green sparks, fireworks use barium salts, such as barium chlorate, barium nitrate crystals, or barium chloride, also used for green fireplace logs.

Surveys show green is the colour most associated with calmness. Many hospital walls were painted shades of green.

It is also the colour used to express envy and jealousy-the green-eyed monster; green with envy.
In casinos, the gambling tables are always green.

Many bank notes are green.

The International colour for Britain in motor car racing is green (commonly known as British Racing Green).

People who are good gardeners have a green thumb (USA) or green fingers (UK).

Green is used on the flags of many countries, including Ireland.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Monday, March 13, 2017



A pitted cap or cover worn on the finger to push the needle in sewing.

A group of islands off of the Connecticut coast.

The islands themselves - long prized by sailors on the Sound as a sheltered deep-water anchorage - comprise 23 that are inhabited (most of them wooded), numerous barren rocks and hundreds of reefs visible only at low tide.

Although they are said to be named for the thimbleberry, a relative of the black raspberry, that plant is seldom seen in the area, and is more frequent in northern New England. Other species of blackberry and raspberry, however, are sometimes referred to by residents of the area as thimbleberries.


Rubus parviflorus, commonly called thimbleberry, salmonberry, and snow bramble, is a species of Rubus, native to North America.

A chapter of SAGA, Thimbleberry,  that was founded in 1989 that meets in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Liberty Print Cupcakes

Many of us love Liberty fabrics to smock with and for their timelessness, but did you know you can have your Liberty prints and eat them too? Well, actually eat the contents of these Liberty Cupcake cases.

I might be tempted never to use them!

I have seen these in a large National kitchenware retailers and found them on the Internet.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Diana-Her Fashion Story

If you are planning a visit to London and enjoy fashion, then take time to visit a new exhibit at Kensington Palace -'Diana-Her Fashion Story' opened on 24 February and runs throughout the year.

The exhibit celebrates the life of Diana through her dresses.

Trace the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. Don’t miss an extraordinary collection of garments, including the iconic velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the Princess danced with John Travolta.

For more information visit: www.hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Historic Deerfield

Are you attending the SAGA Retreat in Bedford Glen?

Maybe you are going to have a little extra time, either as you travel to the site or on your way home? Maybe you can visit one or two places nearby?

Here is one interesting place to visit- Historic Deerfield

Historic Deerfield Inc., founded in 1952, is an outdoor history museum that focuses on the history and culture of the Connecticut River Valley and early New England.  It has a dual mission of educating the public about the lifestyles of the diverse people who lived here long ago and of preserving antique buildings and collections of regional furniture, silver, textiles, and other decorative arts. First settled in 1669, Deerfield is one of the few towns settled by English colonists along the eastern seaboard that retains its original scale and town plan. Visitors are offered guided and self-guided tours of 12 antique houses ranging in age from 1730 to 1850. Eleven of these houses are on their original sites.

This is one exhibition that might be of interest to SAGA members:

Celebrating the Fiber Arts: The Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery (2017)
January 01, 2017 - December 23, 2017 | 9:30 am - 4:30 pm 

Historic Deerfield’s costume and textile collection has long been considered one of the finest in America.  Begun by the museum’s founder, Helen Geier Flynt, the collection features a vast array of costumes, needlework and domestic textiles which are displayed on a rotating basis.  Newly installed in this permanent gallery for the season are 38 exciting examples of American and European clothing, accessories, textiles and needlework from the 17th century through the mid-20th century. 
Some of the current highlights featured include a dramatic, mid-18th-century gown, whose fabric was woven in Lyon, France’s renowned center of silk-weaving.  Yards of expensive brocaded silk were draped and sewn to create a gown whose considerable width was supported by panniers or side hoops worn under the garment itself and tied around the wearer’s waist. 

A man’s early 19th-century wool coat is displayed in an unconventional, horizontal orientation for visitors to get a better sense of the skills involved in tailoring the garment.  Padding, interfacing and stitching will all be seen to better advantage from this diagrammatical presentation.

Also on view is a recent acquisition by the museum, a modest pictorial needlework wrought by Violet Forward Scott (1786-1853) of Belchertown, Massachusetts in the late 1790s (pictured).  This piece represents an important step in Scott’s education.  It was likely her first attempt at a pictorial needlework that required her to develop the skill of composition, beyond the practice of count-stitching alphabets and numbers in horizontal rows onto a grid of warp and weft.  This example also incorporates watercolor and gouache, probably executed by the instructress or an outside professional.    

 A vibrant red whole cloth wool quilt is just one of the new items on view in the gallery’s quilt and coverlet rack.  This example’s all-over uniform geometric quilting pattern is indicative of styles from first half of the 19th century, while its cut-out corners – a design feature seen on the bottom corners of some quilts to accommodate its use on a four-poster bed – suggest a New England origin. 
See these and other outstanding textiles thematically arranged according to their natural fibers: silk, wool, cotton and linen. 

 This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from The Coby Foundation, Ltd.