On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend Quilters Take Manhattan for the second time. The brainchild of Meg Cox (sign up for her newsletter; it’s fabulous), Quilters Take Manhattan has been an annual fundraising event for the Quilt Alliance since 2011. Lots of fun activities take place over three days, but this year I could only attend Saturday’s main event at the Fashion Institute of Technology…and what an event it was!

Quilters Take Manhattan 2017 swag
Of course, there’s a swag bag.

Vendors ringed the hall with fabric, thread, books, and eye-catching pincushion creations. I visited with Pokey Bolton and Melanie Testa. I very recently got Melanie’s book, Playful Fabric Printing, so I picked her brain a little about metallic paints and got some great advice on stamping. I couldn’t resist buying a turtle friend for my bird from Fish Museum and Circus. And I also couldn’t resist a book and templates from Victoria Findlay Wolfe. But otherwise, I was pretty well-behaved except for buying a LOT of tickets for the raffle. (SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t win any raffles or door prizes.)

turtle and bird pincushions from Fish Museum

Sherri Lynn Wood‘s dynamic talk about improvisational patchwork as a restorative practice focused a great deal on repurposed materials, particularly her work during a residency at Recology San Francisco. I especially enjoyed her community outreach projects where she held drop-in sewing clinics with some participants who had never sewn a stitch creating some terrific blocks.

safety vests quilt
I’d love to see this quilt that Sherri Lynn Wood made from discarded safety equipment in person.

Merikay Waldvogel continued the theme with her lecture about quilts made in the Southeast region of the United States and the tradition of “making do.” One of the quilts that was featured in the hall had some unusual details. I’ve never seen a quilt with a possum on it before…. I found the pig and his pile of corn cobs to be particularly charming, though.

quilted pig
As Charlotte would say, that’s “some pig!”

During the lunch break, I explored the display of contest quilts and photographed a few that were made by friends and acquaintances who were unable to attend. The theme was “Voices,” which led to a wide variety of interpretations. The quilts will be auctioned off online beginning on November 13, 2017.

quilt alliance contest 2017
These are just a few of the quilt submissions for the Voices contest.

After lunch, artist Michael Cummings was interviewed by Carolyn Mazloomi (she spoke last year and I have a bit of a crush on her now–I could listen to her talk all day) for Quilters’ Save Our Stories. I loved hearing about his artistic process, and he was especially charming when he talked about his “dance partner” — the sewing machine with which he’s created all of his textile art since he began sewing forty years ago.

Carolyn Mazloomi interviews Michael Cummings

If you have a chance to see any of his work in person, take it.

Michael Cummings quilt
“President Obama Goes to India”
Made in 2015 by Michael Cummings

Next, Carolyn Mazloomi and Betsy Vinegrad (whose work I admired at QuiltCon) demonstrated how to do a Go Tell It! interview. This is simply a video of a person talking about a quilt for three minutes. It’s an easy way to record information about a quilt–and a quilter–that might otherwise be lost to history.

Carolyn Mazloomi quilt detail
detail of “Lessons Learned”
by Carolyn L. Mazloomi

At the end of the day, I was delighted to find that I had won an item I had bid on in the silent auction–a Bernette b33 mechanical sewing machine! I’ve been thinking about finding a simple and lightweight machine to bring to workshops for quite some time, so this was a lucky day. (My arms still ache a bit from carrying it through the streets of Manhattan to the train station, and then from the train to my car, though. It’s light, but it’s not THAT light.)

sewing machine on a train
Luckily, the train wasn’t crowded at all.

I’m very sorry that there won’t be a QTM event in 2018, but the organizers haven’t ruled out more in the future. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of ways to get my friends to start documenting their quilts…pop-up quilt show at my house with the cameras rolling? Who’s in?





8 Replies to “Quilters Take Manhattan 2017

  1. It was a great event! I did my first post about it yesterday while waiting for my plane. It was so nice to meet you and I am glad to be following your blog. I e-mailed Mary P photos of us and her piece 🙂

    1. Yay! It was great to meet you, too, and I’m glad you had a safe trip home. I’ve just gotten caught up on your blog; what a delight! Could you please send me the picture? Sadly, I didn’t take one of the two of us on my phone.

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