Signs of Life

This week has marked the definite change of seasons.  It’s getting cold enough to frost overnight and it snowed and sleeted today.  We’ve brought in all the plants that I want to winter over and put the hoses away.  The wind has blown most of the leaves down, so raking will be our next task.  And we’ve been watching the Cubs and Indians (go Cubbies!) playing in the World Series.  It must be fall.  

The teaching schedule is winding down a bit too.  But the good news is that with the change of season, there will be more time to spend at home sewing.  I’m beginning to work on some new patterns including a Mystery Quilt Weekend that KayLynn Designs will host online this winter.  Sign up for our newsletter to get updates about the Mystery Quilt Weekend and watch for details in future posts. 

At times like this I also spend time reading and exploring new ideas.  Something that has interested me throughout my artistic explorations is the influence of culture and tradition on my art.  We have strong traditions in quilting that came to the United States from all over the world.  Many of our favorite quilting patterns involve spirals and circles.  Our pieced blocks are dominated by squares, triangles, and circles and many of the block patterns form an “X” pattern, diamonds, squares, or circles.  Have you ever wondered why?  

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One of those books I picked up during a “down” time was Signs of Life: The Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them, by social anthropologist, Angeles Arrien.  What I learned was that there are simple graphic design elements that throughout time and across cultures have carried with them similar meaning.  Those designs are the circle, square, triangle, spiral, and equidistant cross.  My workshop, Signs of Life, is based on this idea.  Dr. Arrien’s study of these universal shapes will help you understand why there are certain patterns you are drawn to, or that you find easier to work with than others.  

Join us at the Gloversville Sewing Center in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, November 3rd for Signs of Life.  We will look at these universal shapes and what they mean within our quilting traditions.  Each participant will then create an individualized wall hanging based on their understanding of these design elements.  For more information and to sign up for the workshop, go to the GSC Website.  Past participants in this workshop have created both art quilts and traditional designs.  It’s open to any skill level – you will be able to design something within your quilting comfort zone.  Come explore and learn a little about why you quilt the way you do.  Hope to see you there!

Upcoming Classes & Shows

It’s the second week of October and the leaves are in full color, especially up in the Adirondacks.One of the joys of living where we do is being able to take a short drive and see such natural beauty.The color is inspiring.And, so when I head to Old Forge on the western edge of the Adirondack Park, I will not be thinking about the fact that we might have frost tonight.I’ll be thinking more about the color, the wonder of nature and how thankful I am for living in such a place as upstate New York.No, I don’t love the three foot snow falls, but most of the year it is a great place to be. 

Kathryn will be at View Gallery in Old Forge (www.viewarts.org) to serve as the awards juror for Quilts Unlimited, an annual show the gallery has hosted for a number of years.The quilts were juried into the show, and now I am honored to award cash prizes to the best of the best included.I will also be presenting my talk, “Cleaning Up the Leftovers” which is my take on what to do with UFO’s and the leftovers we seem to always have following the completion of a quilt project.It will include a trunk show of some of my solutions – from notecards to bed size quilts, with many art quilts along the way.A luncheon is also offered.To sign up for the luncheon and lecture, go to their website (link above) and sign up.In addition I will be offering private quilt appraisals from 2-4 that afternoon.

My quilt Autumn Breezes is a result of “cleaning up the leftovers” and is included in the Quilts Unlimited exhibit at View.The central rectangle was made in a workshop where I learned to do reverse appliqué “mola” style.It sat around for several years before I set it with the Marimekko fabrics leftover from a pair of curtains I made.I then hand quilted it. 

In addition to Quilts Unlimited, View also has an exhibit of Log Cabin Quilts including traditional, contemporary, and deconstructed quilts running through the end of October.Join us this weekend, enjoy the drive to Old Forge and see the creative efforts of many talented quilters from around the country. 

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During the rest of October Lynn and I will be teaching at Gloversville Sewing Center in both Gloversville and Saratoga Springs, NY, and at Pookie’s Fabrics in Troy, NY.At GSC I’ll be teaching Roads to Everywhere, Ladders to Heaven in Gloversville, and Hand Quilting at the Saratoga Springs shop.More information is available on their website.On October 26 at Pookie’s, Lynn and I will present our lecture Amish Shadows Light Reflected, based on our first book, with a trunk show of the quilts from the book.I will be teaching a class based on the book on Thursday evening and Saturday during the day.To sign up for any of these events contact Charlie at Pookie's

Both the Amish Shadows and Roads to Everywhere classes are based on the designs in our books.Each student is asked to purchase a copy of the book, but then they are able to choose the project they want to work on – large or small – beginner or advanced.Yardage and tools needed for each project are listed in the book, so you have all the information you need to take the workshop. 

We hope to see you at these upcoming events!

Get to know the Artists!

By Kathryn Greenwold kathie and lynn at showLynn and I have been friends for about 10 years and have collaborated on two quilt pattern books.  Our creative partnership works because in many ways we are the same.  We are inspired by the world around us, find joy in life, work for peace and justice within our community, and are devoted to our family and friends.  However, it also seems to work at least in part because we are so different in our approaches to quilting.  Lynn focuses on precision, paper piecing, miniatures, and details.  I love traditional quilting, but rarely focus on precision piecing.  I especially enjoy the freedom of art quilting, use of non-traditional materials, and experimenting with new ideas.  We balance each other which keeps it real for both of us.  

Lynn and I decided we wanted to share a little more about ourselves and our approach to quilting.  So far on this website we have mainly shared images from our books and patterns, but we have each made a plethora of quilts, wall hangings, and textile art which reflect who we are as individuals and as artists.  

KayLynn Designs Kathryn Greenwold Sol Art Quilt

"My quilts, patterns, and textile art span a wide range of styles.  I still love to make traditional quilts with the challenge of recreating a part of our quilt history.  In contrast, I love to work with unusual art materials and textiles making art quilts and framed textile pieces.  The freedom of design is exciting.  I have always been interested in space exploration, geology, and landscapes.  Much of my creative inspiration comes from these interests.  Sol pictured to the left is my response to the paintings of Sol LeWitt.  I used 20 pre-cut solid fabric strips for the colors.  The challenge in designing this quilt was calculating the angle for cutting.

KayLynn Designs Kathryn Greenwold Burgoyne Surrounded Quilt Pattern

Burgoyne Surrounded was my first published pattern.  I streamlined the piecing to make this tedious traditional pattern easier to piece and more accurate in block construction.

As I have explored the history of quilts and quilting, I took the AQS Appraisal Skills Course and apprenticed myself to one of the Certified Appraisers for a period of 3 years.  I also studied judging quilts through the NQA program.  I now offer appraisal and judging services as well as teaching, designing, writing, and custom quilting.  

KayLynn Designs Kathryn Greenwold Pine Bush Forest Floor Art Quilt Mixed Media

The work, Pine Bush Forest Floor, is one of a series of forest floors I have made using cotton, wool and silk rovings, real lichens and bark, handmade flowers and leaves, bark paper and other found objects.  They are made to be laid on a table or floor, as if you are looking down at the forest floor.  The elements included here were inspired by the Pine Bush, a unique habitat in the Albany, NY area that is home to the Blue Karner butterfly and other rare flora and fauna. "

Read more about Kathryn in her Bio on the About Page.

And now let's hear from Lynn on her personal approach!

"In 8th Grade I made my own dress for the graduation ceremony. Since then sewing has always been my hobby. Quilting, however, came to me in a blizzard, when the school where I was teaching in Hoboken, New Jersey was closed for an entire week. It was then I learned about the power of creation using little bits of fabric scraps and a plan, however simple. In these 20 years since then, I have taught both music education and quilting to students of all ages and skill levels.

KayLynn Designs Lynn Reynolds Makrin FLW Frank Lloyd Wright inspired set of small quilts

My recent focus has been on collaboration within the arts. Any time two or more work together on a project, great things are bound to happen. Working with Kathryn on our books and the development of KayLynn Designs has led to greater creativity in my designs. The results have been not only fun, but also added to my feeling that “the possibilities are endless” when it comes to artistic collaboration.

For my personal projects, I often draw inspiration from art and architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright’s windows were the inspiration FLW, a pair of small quilts.  Stained glass and the work of artists like Dale Chihuly often inform my design ideas.   Miniature quilts are one of my passions.  It’s a challenge to take a standard pattern and make it smaller.  It also allows me to be “green” by using up leftovers from other projects in these small creations.  

KayLynn Designs Lynn Reynolds Makrin Petite NY Beauty Miniature Quilt

To the right is a miniature New York Beauty that was inspired by the Schenectady (NY) guild’s raffle quilt one year which was a standard size New York Beauty.  Note the tape measure (12”) on the left hand side of this picture.  Each block is about 2” square and over 150 tiny pieces were pieced to create this quilt.  

For this next quilt, the "squiggles" technique was learned from a local art quilter in the winter of 2011.

Seven

Layers of fabric are sewn with a free-hand drawn design and then cut away to reveal the gorgeous colors below.  The piece was completed with appliqué fibers sewn to cover the seams and free-motion quilting to accent the other design elements. This technique leaves lots of room for creativity and surprise."

To learn more about Lynn, visit her bio on the About Page.