Alert the Media: Quilters TOOK Manhattan!



I’ve loved being president of the nonprofit Quilt Alliance, and I think my proudest accomplishment was deciding we should have a benefit in NYC every year. This past weekend marked our third annual Quilters Take Manhattan, and friends, we really took it in style.

A quilter from Australia, now living in North Carolina

A quilter from Australia, now living in North Carolina


Photo by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Photo by Victoria Findlay Wolfe


Keynoter Hollis Chatelain sells her denim patterns

Keynoter Hollis Chatelain sells her denim patterns


Last year, attendees told us that they’d love for us to “take more of Manhattan,” so we added vendors, classes, tours of the Garment District and special events, and most sold out well in advance. We even had a quilter’s night on Broadway.

Mark Lipinski's Class

Mark Lipinski’s Class

Since the Alliance only has a paid staff of 3 people, this obviously requires passionate volunteers, and that includes amazing board members who came all the way from Texas, Georgia, Vermont and D.C. to help make this happen.  They taught classes, filled goody bags, erected quilt stands, whatever it took. Thanks also to the fab City Quilter shop, which let the Alliance use its classroom for free, and its basement for storing sponsor goodies.

Embellishing Class with Frances Holiday Alford

Embellishing Class with Frances Holiday Alford


Once again, our main event was an inspiring and exciting afternoon at FIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and we jammed the room with ecstatic quilters. We had great speakers like Hollis Chatelain and Paula Nadelstern, who brought eye-popping quilts.

Paula Nadelstern Meets Her Fans & Sells Fabric

Paula Nadelstern Meets Her Fans & Sells Fabric

There were primo vendors like Aurifil thread and Cherrywood fabrics, along with a silent auction and raffle prizes. As one person said to me, “This is better than a Hollywood premiere for quilters: I check the name tags and see one famous quilter after another!”

We had a party Saturday night, and that was an over-the-top experience, featuring a quilt design contest between three great quilters: Luke Haynes, Mark Lipinski and Heather Jones. The crowd went wild, watching the 3 create a design in just an hour, helped by people they selected from the audience (it helps when Denyse Schmidt happens to be at your party!)


Here I am with our 2 Quilt Star Referees: Yvonne Porcella & Jamie Fingal

Here I am with our 2 Quilt Star Referees: Yvonne Porcella & Jamie Fingal


Let the contest begin!

Let the contest begin!


The Finished Quilts

The Finished Quilts

The photo above is from Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s blog and if you go there, you can see tons more photos, and even a short video that captures the party’s madness (and loud music).

Mark Lipinski Won!  Champ Belt by Frances Holiday Alford

Mark Lipinski Won!
Champ Belt by Frances Holiday Alford

On Sunday morning, we had our final outing of the Quilters Take Manhattan weekend, a behind-the-scenes peek at a new quilt exhibition. Stacy Hollander, curator at the American Folk Art Museum, showed us the works from 3 artists she had chosen for alt_Quilts. One was Luke Haynes, an Alliance board member, who talked about his work.

All three of the contemporary artists in this show are amazing, but curator Stacy Hollander also mixed in traditional quilts with similar patterns to create a dialog across the centuries. 

Luke's work is at Right, and the other quilt was made by British soldiers in the 19th century

Luke’s work is at Right, and the other quilt was made by British soldiers in the 19th century


As makers ourselves, we all found it fascinating to watch the museum “make” an exhibition: they were still adding touches to the show, and painting the artists’ names on the wall. This terrific show will run until January 5.


            Save the date for next year! The main event will be Saturday, September 20, and our keynote speaker will be the “it” girl of fabric design, Amy Butler. 

QTM 2013

Looking Back: A Review of 2012

 I was inspired by my friend Leslie Tucker Jenison, who posted a wonderful series of photographs about  her year. This made me realize that while there were many challenges in 2012 for me and mine, there was alo a great deal of joy and beauty. 

 March: Quilt Alliance board meeting in Nashville, here w/exec director Amy Milne. Due to a hurriance, we were evacuated early!


Spring Break: the first of many college visits with my son, Max. Here he is at Amherst.

Work-in-progress: a house quilt for the Hun School gala.

For my birthday in mid-March, I visited the Museum of Art & Design in NYC…

And had lunch with my dear friend Wendy Kwitny.

April: Another trip to NYC, for the opening of an art show with quilts by the fabulous Luke Haynes. Here I am with another Alliance board member, novelist Marie Bostwick.

Grounds for Sculpture is one of the BEST culture treasures of New Jersey.

I went with Gerry DeGeorge, an awesome woman who is married to my husband’s cousin.

June: Yippeee! A book launch party for the revised edition of The Book of New Family Traditions. 

July: A Pasta Potluck lunch on the deck with some girlfriends, all in my magical yoga class.

More college visits: here at Brown in Providence, Rhode Island. A reach school.


August: Quilt Alliance board meeting in Nebraska, where we had a wondrous add-on trip to Lincoln, to visit the spectacular International Quilt Study Center. Curator Marin Hanson is on our board.

So many great family memories and sunsets at the Jersey Shore!!!

Good eats, too.


September: Quilters Take Manhattan 2.0 was another awesome Alliance event. Here I am with one of our keynote celebs, Denyse Schmidt.

The room was crowded, and the crowd was pumped!

I had two surgeries in September, figuring I might as well pile on the misery to make it shorter. But it was more intense that way. Here with stitches from Mohs surgery to remove skin cancer on my forehead.

Daily walks were part of my “therapy,” and I tried to fashion them into a compelling ritual to increase the likelihood of completion.

October: my recovery weeks were punctuated by a quick trip to LA, to tape a TV segment on Thanksgiving traditions. Here a shot of the hipster hotel they put me up in, close to Santa Monica’s glorious beach.

Late October/early November: Hurricane Sandy is definitely one of the more memorable events of the year. Here we are trying to eat up the ice cream when the power went out. Who knew it would be out an entire week and then some!

December: all year long, I continued to write for multiple magazines and newsletters, often about quilts. Here is one of my favorite quilts of the year, about which I wrote a story for the December issue of The Quilt Life. This is called “infinite Gratitude,” and it is a red and white Dear Jane quilt made for quilt collector Joanna Rose by her niece (with help). Rose’s collection of red and white quilts was displayed at the Park Avenue armory in NYC last year, in the much-buzzed about Infinite Variety show.

To end the year, a sweet photo of my grand babe Lucy (who calls me Queen), at her parents’ home in DC. She is here with darling Luna, a dog owned by my husband’s ex-wife. 

Happy New Year to all!!!! I hope you will check back to this blog occasionally to see how my 2013 is going.