Monday Musings – Linking the Past and the Future

The dictionary defines a connection as a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else. I believe that there are far more things that unite quilters than that separate them. I’m sounding a bit like Carrie Bradshaw here (ok, in my own head!), but why do quilters need labels of any kind?  Why is there a competition – which is as old as the revival itself – instead of a lifting up of all things quilting?  The celebration of all things quilting (without labels) was what we attempted to do last month at the Connections Quilt Festival in Nashua.


Apologies for the bluurry photo

We had antique quilts, hand quilts, modern quilts, art quilts, newbie quilts as well as quilts which have won awards – and at least one that was a magazine Cover Girl. We truly had something for everyone, and we had a lot of people come through the doors.

The quilting base in southern New Hampshire is very used to having a show at this time of year, and we were hoping that by reaching out (far and wide), they would come and find us. Our show  was an open call for quilts of all kind – we didn’t set out to incorporate either a juried or judged process this year.

The response was fantastic,and several of the quilts illustrate links – whether they were across the miles, across the net or across the generations. There were a few antiques, and several handquilted as well…I always love to see that!


The show found many friends along the way, some in our own backyard, and others from across the quilting industry.  One of our earliest friends was Mary Wilson Kerr – who I met first through Facebook, and then I had the opportunity to meet at the Maine show in person last summer. Through that connection, we were able to bring in the Dare to Dance Exhibit, a group of 30 art quilts made around a central theme. Marianne (the show’s founder) and I had the chance to travel to Market,  just before Connections – and she and I had the chance to meet Mary there and congratulate her on her newest exhibit, Twisted.

In fact, keep reading…I have a giveaway opportunity for you this week! Mary donated an autographed copy of the book which accompanies Twisted to this blog. Twisted is an exhibit which showcases modern quilters paired with vintage quilts…and the book is eyecandy for quilters everyone.  The information for how to win is listed at the bottom of this post.

We had wonderful support from the teaching community about our concept, and we are grateful for that feedback, even when tight timeframes made logistics difficult. Pat Delaney of Crabtree Lane Studio was our teacher this year, and she certainly set the standard for years to come.

Another set of friends of the show included the talented group of designers who work as Brand Ambassadors for Island Batik, along with me. Even with the crazy busy schedule we all have at this time of year, we were able to pull together an exhibit showcasing the indivual talents of the group. I have to say, I’ve met some of them personally, but most of them through the net only.  Their quilts in person were absolutely amazing. If you didn’t get the chance to see the show in person, here’s a slide show of their quilts!

But what made this show so special to me was the support of the quilters from all avenues!  They came, they shopped, they offered encouragement (and suggestions, we have a list!)…and they connected with each other. They were kind, respectful, generous (oh, my stars…thank you to each and every one who volunteered your time to help make this first show a success. It literally does take a village to pull something like this off! )

Our first show date fell over Veterans Day, and we reached out early to the Quilts of Valor organization to see if it was at all possible to have them with us. As it turns out, even though Veterans Day is their single biggest day for presentations in their calendar,  they believed in us so much that they moved things around so that they could say yes. 20161111_163022

This is the Mass Coordinator (and big ball of love) Darlene Coit making a presentation to John, the partner of one of our vendors. He had been around quilters a lot, but this came completely as a surprise to him. Very moving to witness.

There were many tales of connections that weekend – and I’m sure some I missed as I tended to the needs of the show. My name tag said Jane of All Trades (and trust me, it fits!).  I can tell you that as I was witnessing one of the wrappings, I went over to offer a shoulder to his wife – it turns out she gave me a big hug – It’s me, Marian – from Facebook. One of my most active fans who I had never run into in real life.  And yes, I have tons of those memories!

So wrapping this up, and putting the giveaway out there into the Universe. To win the autographed copy of Twisted, please leave a comment below answering the following: what is your favorite handmade holiday keepsake (it doesn’t have to be a quilt). I’ll select the winner and post it in a special blog post on Wednesday, December 21st.

In the meantime…there’s 13 days left – are you done yet?

Merry, Merry!

Post edited on 12/18…I’ve added more swag to the giveaway 

I’ve added two more items to this; winners will be picked from the comments below.  The first item is a Threadcutterz, one of the hottest items when I went to Houston. This is the product that was pitched on Shark Tank; – it started life as a tacklebox item for fishermen, and was adapted to out industry. It’s great for travel, or for working with children – you can’t cut yourself with it, but you can sure cut your thread.  One size, and one color fits all. I’ve been using mine since I got home. 

And if you’re looking for some help designing your quilts – I have something for you as well – a set of QuilTiles, courtesy of Kits by Carla out of Monckton, VT.  This is a great way to play with different shapes and colors, while sitting at a table instead of playing online…and like the thread cutter ring, it’s a great tool for working with children.  It’s a great tool for expanding your designing techniques. I know you’ll enjoy working with this.

So, is Santa bringing you want you want?










  • Susan Gilbert says:

    I would have to say my favorite holiday keepsake handmade my myself the first christmas of my married life is a tree skirt. The funny thing about it is I could certainly make one today, quilted, that would be ten times more lovely. BUT I can’t! How could I let tradition go to the wayside now? This tree skirt is truly nothing special but it was made in 1978 and has had it’s place under the tree every year since. I design came from magazine possibly McCall’s or Better Homes and Garden and it features the twelve days of Christmas. The base is a heavy weight muslin. probably canvas in muslin color bound in purchased red with white polka dot bias binding. The figures are cut from felt and embellished with sequins and get ready for this…. magic marker! Cannot part with it, since the Twelve days of Christmas reminds me of my dad who has long passed and he loved the carol. My house is full of the theme. 12 days of Christmas and always will be.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Susan…Merry Christmas, and thank you for sharing your memory with us. I was married in 1978, so it was a very good year, although a distant memory for some! Your tree skirt sounds wonderful. Embellished with Magic marker…well, why not? We embellish with everything else these days! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, tree skirt and all!

  • Kate says:

    My favorite Christmas decorations are the ornaments my kids & I make every year. It’s been a wonderful tradition started many years ago

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Kate, and Merry Christmas. I appreciate you sharing your memory with us. I think that making your holiday ornaments for your tree is the best way to trim a tree. Have a wonderful holiday.

  • Lori Morton says:

    My favorite handmade holiday keepsake Has to be the great things the 4 Kiddo’s made when they were little…but to pick only one..I can’t really say..they are ALL Treasured Keepsakes to this Momma’s Heart 🙂

    Thank you for chance to win your give-a-way!


    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Lori – Merry Christmas, and thank you for commenting. I understand about picking favorites. My older son started my Angel collection; when my younger one wanted to add something – I could see issues a mile off, I pointed him in the direction of Santas (so now I have two collections!).

      Congratulations, you’ve won the ring from ThreadCutterz. Please email me your mailing address at, and I’ll get the details and pop it into the mail ASAP.


  • Susan Stanton says:

    My favorite handmade holiday keepsake is an appliqued Christmas ornament made by my sister-in-law. She does beautiful work and it’s a treasure!

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Susan…thank you for commenting, and Merry Christmas! I don’t applique well, but I do appreciate it, and adding applique and an ornament together is the best!

      Congratulations! You’ve won the book by Mary Wilson Kerr. Please email me at and I’ll get your address and send it right out.

  • Beth says:

    My favorite is a yet-to-be quilted table runner from a pattern seen at Keepsake Quilting. At the time, it was definitely above my skill level but it came out well.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Beth – Merry Christmas and thanks for commenting! If it’s your favorite, and it’s not yet quilted, I’m sure it’s going to be spectacular. I look forward to seeing it.

      Congratulations…you won the QuiltTiles! Can you email me at and we can figure out a way to connect?

  • Maxine E. says:

    My favorite Keepsake is the Angel Topper that I made about 25 years ago. OMG. That’s a long time ago. She has seen better days. Her hair and halo are a tangled mess and her wings are a bit droopy but she still sits atop the tree. I also made one for my sister and she still adorns her tree with her angel as well! Maybe one day I’ll fix her hair, get her a new halo and stiffen up those wings.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Maxine…another angel collector! My older son started me an angel collection when he was in cub scouts, and I still get one each year. I love them – each is unique, and I love hearing the story of how they (now he and his wife) picked this one out. My favorite one (don’t tell him, but I don’t think he reads this) – is the ugly duckling one we made together out of bits and bobs when he was a poor college student. We don’t often spend time together in the craft room, but we did that day.

  • Terry Burris says:

    My favorite holiday keepsake is my mr and mrs santa cardholder Annelee doll. I was once an Annalee employee.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Merry Christmas Terry…and I learn something new about you every day…I never knew that you were an employee of the company! They make some wonderful holiday pieces. Have a great holiday, and we’ll talk soon.

  • Judith Kaplan says:

    My favorite holiday keepsake is an angel tree topper that my oldest daughter made in grade school. She is now 36. 🙂

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Judith – it sounds like a wonderful keepsake (and well made/preserved as well). Thanks for commenting, and Merry Christmas!

  • I think my favorites right now are the ornaments that my kids make in school. One is a traced handprint of my first son, with his picture glued to the palm. Another is a snowflake, made by painting puzzle pieces white with glitter, and formed into a snowflake.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Rachell – thanks for commenting and Merry Christmas! I love both the handprint idea and the puzzle based snowflake…I need to go investigate that idea.

  • Cecilia says:

    My favorites are the ones my kids made when they were young and a set of crocheted snowflakes that my daughter-in-law made.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Cecilia – thanks for commenting, and Merry Christmas. You must be a special mother-in-law for your daughter in law to have made them for you.

  • Laura says:

    I have several homemade ornaments that I made as a kid, and now I add one each year that my own kids make. I love the premise behind the book! Sounds like a very interesting read! And I’ve been thinking about trying one of the ThreadCutterz rings. Thanks for the chance!

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Laura…Merry Christmas, and thanks for commenting. Meeting Mary has been a highlight of my year, and it is a great addition to your library. Thanks for commenting.

  • Jeanette says:

    Linda, Saw the Line/Thread Cutterz on Shark Tank too! Gave all my quilting buddies one for Christmas!! They loved them.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Hi Jeannette…it’s a cool gadget, and meeting Vance in Houston was a kick. I don’t think he quite knew what to make of the whole event – or what would come at him in Houston – but it’s nice to see such an innovation in our industry go mainstream. Thanks for commenting.

  • MaryBeth says:

    I couldn’t possibly choose only 1 favorite handmade. My tree is full of ornaments that my children and grandchildren have made and I just love them all. Merry Christmas.

    • PatchPearl says:

      Merry Christmas, Mary Beth – and thanks for commenting. I love handmade ornaments, and look forward to making new ones with my grandchildren in a few years.

  • Angie Callbeck says:

    That thread cutter looks nifty! MY favorite holiday items are ones that I made 20 +/- years ago at the Potting Shed in Concord, MA (now gone). They made reproduction Dedham pottery items of all kinds and each year you could go there, paint an ornament or other item, they would fire it for you and you go back and pick it up. I have several hanging ornaments based on the 12 Days, but my favorite is a small ceramic house, and over the door I painted my newly married name. I treasure it, and it sits on my mantle every year at this time.

    • PatchPearl says:

      That sounds like a great memory, and a great theme for your tree. I love the memories that traditions bring to the holidays. Merry, Christmas Angie!

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