Home Sweet Home

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It must have seemed like forever since I dropped out of sight and stopped posting on my blog. Well, it’s not your imagination; it has felt like forever – for me too.

Many of you know (and for those who don’t), I spent the last 66 days tethered to an IV pole and a hospital bed with some “House”- like (remember the TV show?) ailment that eluded doctors and rendered me helpless.

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It started with 103-degree spiking fevers and chills once or twice a day. The fevers were often high enough to cause my eyes not to track and mild hallucinations – I could see the room, and people but nothing made sense. I was out of it. (But I really wish I could remember some of those Age of Aquarius visions and feelings … for my art, of course).

Finally, after bone marrow biopsies (looking for cancer), kidney biopsies (looking for my kidney transplant rejection), a Bronchoscopy, multiple MRIs, x-rays, CAT scans (good news, I don’t have to turn on a light when I get up at night for the bathroom – I glow), talk of removing my spleen, and finally a major surgical jaunt into my lungs (yup, there were clouds forming – but not until 2-weeks after I was hospitalized!), an answer was found.

I spent a great deal of the time in isolation. My white blood cells fell dangerously low making me even more susceptible to anything and everything flying by. Then, not to be outdone, my red blood cells took a nosedive, which meant several platelet and blood transfusions.

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Over two months alone in a room, with the exception of Mr. Electric who tried to balance a fulltime job, a household and a very sick husband. I was losing it.

I was finally diagnosed with something called histoplasmosis and is also known as Ohio Valley Disease. Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus. Symptoms of this infection vary greatly, but the disease affects primarily the lungs] and it can be fatal if left untreated. Here’s the rub: There are areas of the country where certain fungi live comfortably. There is a fungus in the Arizona area. Another in the San Diego area. Another type in the Minnesota area. And another in the Ohio Valley where I grew up (Pittsburgh).   These fungi are endemic to the specific areas and many, many people carry the fungus in their bodies them their whole lives.

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I haven’t lived in Pittsburgh since September 1975, but guess what settled in my lungs?   It wasn’t until I became immune suppressed due to the kidney transplant anti-rejection drugs that this fungus among us reared it’s ugly, and rare, head. Lucky me.

While the cure is almost worse than the disease (the side effects of the IV drip were nothing less than horrifying and torturous), I will be being treated for this using massive (and also somewhat rare) antibiotics for at least a year.

Two days ago I was sent home.

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After months in a bed, I have to tell you I’m as weak as a kitten and can barely walk or get up or down stairs (it’s going to take fortitude), I’m extremely emotional (crying 24/7 and I don’t know why), I am having a hard time walking, and also have a slight tremor in my hands, which I hope is temporary.

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And just like Jesus (sorry) I have a hole in my left side with stitches from where the lung tubes and cameras and tools were forced into my chest (and it still hurts like a moth …. never mind).

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I want to thank everyone for their prayers, and messages, and cards (which were all hung on my wall and amazed everyone who walked into the room), flowers, quilts, cupcakes, and gifts.

When the going gets rough I go inward (you might find this hard to believe but I’m an introvert at heart). I didn’t post much, but your thinking of me meant the world to me and kept me going when I didn’t want to – or when I never thought I’d leave that hospital without a hearse (yes, it got that bad).

The Future

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The medical team demands that slow down and take it easy for the next several months so I will be forced to cancel several gigs (and I’ll get by on my looks, I guess).

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The experience, while frightening and grueling, was also so illuminating and such an opportunity for spiritual growth, that I am reminded once again – no matter how bad it gets, there is ALWAYS something to learn, an opportunity for growth, and a silver lining.

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Most importantly, the greatest lesson I learned through one particularly high fever and I was sure I was closing my eyes for the very last time …. There is nothing to fear in this world, and nothing can stop your dreams if you just go for broke. When our end does come, nothing matters or makes a difference except how much you have loved, how much you have given of yourself to others. The rest is all illusion. The rest is just bullshit.ec78b5f228ec525440ff058d7e436721.jpg

The Slow Stitching Movement Getaway: Autumn 2015

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The first Slow Stitching Movement Getaway was held at the Lambertville Inn in Lambertville, New Jersey in April.  It was a transformative experience for many of those who attended as well as a relaxing, reflective, and educational 4 days.

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There were 30 attendees and the Slow Stitching Movement Getaway sold out in a matter of hours after it was announced.  It was intimate, inclusive, beautiful, and supportive.

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Participants travelled from Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Florida,  New York, Iowa, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kansas, all parts of New Jersey … even as far away as the United Arab Emirates.   And new, sure to be life-long friendships were made.

Allie Aller conducted relaxed and easy-going workshops in various crazy quilting and stitching techniques.

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Liza Lucy conducted workshops in English Paper Piecing.

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Meg Cox presented an entertaining and insightful lecture in how to photograph our quilts.

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Each day begun with a cup of coffee or tea,  Morning Process Pages or automatic journaling, a technique inspired by The Artist’s Way author, Julia Cameron, and a Continental breakfast.

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A lot of emotions were processed and shared, and creative and emotional blocks were beginning to heal.

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Every morning a new Slow Stitching Movement technique was introduced and practiced.

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Talks on Starting a Creative Salon,  Ideas for a Legacy Quilt, and a lecture for surviving creative burnout were also presented.

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Free sewing time is added into every day for participants to work on their own projects.

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Lunches were catered, and afterward, a walk for gathering inspiration for a future inspiration journaling technique.

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An often emotional, and sometimes funny show and tell was entertainment one evening.

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A milk & cookies & wine pajama party and a textile themed Yankee Swap was held on another evening — talk about non-stop laughs!  I still get a smile on my face when I think of the battle of the embellished shoes, the angel statue, and the Mr. Slow Stitching portrait.

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All the food except 3 of 4 dinners was catered by the hotel and it was delicious.

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Jenny, a slow stitcher, generously set up a tea station and many of the participants brought baked goods and snacks for late night sewing!

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Even if you didn’t feel like sewing or quilting, there was wool spinning, embroidery, watercolors, and design techniques in action.

 

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The event was so successful that another has been scheduled…


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The Slow Stitching Movement Getaway: Autumn 2015

November 9th through 12th (and beyond!) 

Minneapolis Area, Minnesota

in conjunction with the

ORIGINAL Sewing & Quilt Expo

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The Slow Stitching Getaway: Autumn 2015

Doubletree By Hilton Hotel Minneapolis-Bloomington South

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Monday 4:00pm – Thursday 11:30am

The Slow Stitching Movement taps into our need to create meaningful pieces which satisfy at a deeper level. It is not about stitching slowly (although you may want to do that from time to time). It’s more about stitching mindfully, not racing from project to project but rather choosing and editing and creating in a more deliberate way. Mark Lipinski’s quiltmaking background gives this retreat a decidedly “quilty” orientation, but the Slow Stitching Movement tenets and techniques are applicable to all types of creative endeavors.

The Slow Stitching Getaway: Autumn 2015 , will be like our Spring Getaway in that the group will be small and intimate, so please, if you’re interested in being a part of this, do not wait to register.  

Your retreat days will be filled with exercises and lessons, workshops and lectures, fun and satisfying experiences….all designed to help you achieve your own version of Slow Stitching. Formal workshops and group exercises will provide insight, new techniques and inspiration; the camaraderie of the people around you will do the same, in less formal ways. Skills will be shared with time to practice what you’ve learned, you’ll have time to stitch (or sketch or edit or build) on your own and suddenly…. you’ll have an ‘ah-ha’ moment. Ahhhhhh. Click here to view FULL DETAILS for your activities, lessons and break times.

As a part of your Retreat experience, you’ll also enjoy:

  • Opening Reception and Dinner / Continental Breakfast (3 days) / Lunch (2 days) / Evening Refreshment (1 day)
  • 3-Day Expo Pass, Expo Project Tote, Project Pouch and 20th Anniversary Pin

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  • The use of sewing machines in the Retreat Studio, Surprises and extra treats!

 

Itinerary Summary

Click here to view FULL DETAILS for your activities, lessons and break times.

MONDAY   

  • Opening: Wine and Cheese Reception and “Icebreaker” Games  4:00 PM

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  • Dinner  6:00 PM

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  • The Slow Stitching Movement LectureSlow LOGO

Quick, fast, easy. In our busy, multitasking world, those buzzwords capture our attention. But speed can kill creativity and the enjoyment of our creative pursuits. Maybe what we really need to do is slow down, enjoy the process and create pieces we’re really proud of.

With Mark as your inspiration and transformational guide, explore ways to approach your craft in a totally different way, recharge your passion for patchwork and engage the connection between your body, your quilts and your legacy. Learn to expand your creativity as you tap into your right brain to train and develop your imagination, find the creative genius in you and heal your life, your emotions and even boost your physical health.

If you’ve hit a creative wall, if you have more fabric and notions than you do inspiration, if all of your quilts are beginning to look-alike or if you’ve been quilting for years and haven’t had a recent “ah-ha moment” …. The Slow Stitching Movement is for you.

 

MORNINGS (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

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  • Process Pages with Mark
    Each morning the group is encouraged to participate in effortless, non-traditional journaling. Unlike a traditional journaling, participants will learn time-tested techniques that will unlock creative blocks and open hearts and minds to a whole new process of self-examination while tapping into our higher creative selves. Mark offers several journaling techniques that will boost your self-awareness and access your creative potential through this simple exercise.
    8:15 AM

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  • Morning Yoga
    Creativity often goes hand-in-hand with being in touch with your body. You’ll be encouraged to get your blood flowing and increase the oxygen in your system through guided yoga poses that can be modified for beginners, older adults and those with chronic conditions. Every morning, join the group in a relaxing environment to relieve tension, release endorphins and relax your body and mind while preparing you for the day’s increased creativity.
    9:00 AM

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  • Breakfast 9:45 AM
  • Mark’s Slow Stitching Workshop Techniques 
    Each day of The Slow Stitching Movement Retreat, Mark presents a short talk, different each day, about the various techniques he uses during his slow stitching time. Whether by hand or by machine, these exercises in mindfulness have the potential to not only elevate your stitching expertise, but to challenge and change your day-to-day life with increased health, creative, spiritual and financial benefits.
    10:30 AM

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  • Closing Ceremony (Thursday morning after Slow Stitching Workshop)

AFTERNOONS (Tuesday and Wednesday)

  • Lunch 12:00 PM
  • Walk and Inspirational Photo Gathering
    Each day after lunch, Mark will guide a group ‘inspiration’ and photo-taking walk. Learn how to find inspiration everywhere, and how to access your creative vision when you’re feeling less than inspired. Be sure to bring a camera, or a smartphone that has a built-in camera.
    1:00 PM

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  • In addition to Mark’s morning lessons, two guest instructors will offer one-hour workshops each day. The group will be divided to allow everyone to take both workshops – one each day (Tuesday and Wednesday).
    2:00 – 3:00 PM

 

  • QuiltWriting with Cyndi Souder
    Adding words to a quilt broadens its interest and deepens its meaning. Learn about choosing words, quotes, wishes, or names, and discover the secrets to quilting smoothly on lines or curves. This lesson is all about incorporating words into free motion machine quilting – either on their own or integrated into basic meandering.

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Cyndi will be teaching workshops on quilting with words.

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This is Cyndi’s newest book, Creating Celebration Quilts, which relates to the Slow Stitching Movement legacy quilt idea

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  • Modern Hand Stitch with Ruth Chandler
    Modern hand stitch is a term Ruth uses to describe hand embroidery stitches that are not stitched traditionally. Any of the traditional embroidery stitches may be used and changed for this technique, but for today we will use a small group. Threads and fibers used will include some which are familiar to you and some that are not, as we lengthen or shorten stitches to purposely distort them, layer to give them depth and change weight to add texture.

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Ruth will be leading relaxed workshops in these Modern Hand Stitching Needlebooks

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This is Ruth’s book, Modern Hand Stitching

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  • Open Sewing Time 3:00 PM
  • Dinner on your own

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TUESDAY EVENING

  • A Memorable Journey Lecture with Cyndi Souder  7:30 PM

A prolific creator of memory quilts herself, Cyndi brings us her approach and some of her favorite methods in this exploration of creating personal, meaningful celebration or memory quilts. Using traditional patterns and original designs, she’ll show how you can create unique, effective pieces, carrying a theme or thought throughout. See how she works through the design process and handles unusual artifacts and mementos. Everyone will leave with at least one idea to use right away.

  • Group Show & Tell  8:30 PM

Each member of the group shares one fiber object (quilt, afghan, needlepoint, etc.) that tells their story or is just simply an example of what they might consider their ‘slow stitching’ or process. This is an easy-going, non-judgmental exercise in discussing new ways of looking at things, getting to know our fellow stitchers more intimately and forging new friendships.
8:30 PM

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WEDNESDAY EVENING

  • My Creative Inspiration for your Quilting Life Lecture 7:30 PM

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  • Are you feeling bone dry in the creative department or losing creative motivation?
  • Haven’t had a good quilting idea in years, or maybe your quilts are all beginning to look and feel alike?
  • Do you procrastinate when it comes to your quilting?
  • Do you have a pile of stash and no quilts to show for it?

Well worry no more as Mark guides you through dozens of ways and leads you to places so you can jumpstart your quilting and general creative inspiration.

Learning to identify sources for inspiration and tips to turn your inspiration into action is the goal of every creative spirit. Listen and learn as Mark gives you his personal recipe which will empower you to unearth your own unlimited fountain of inspiration.

If your bad quilting day has stretched into weeks, if you’re beginning to feel detached from the quilting that used to give you joy, or even if you want to simply refresh your creative juices, then this lecture is for you!

 

  • Milk and Cookies PJ Party and Slow Stitchers’ White Elephant Yankee Swap

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On our last day, we will have a mindful and fun tradition for honoring our fast and speedy selves and welcoming in all of the new slow stitching information in a mindful way.

 After our Goodbye Tradition 

We will visit the opening of The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, vendors, and classes!

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I am going to take two classes from the roster of teachers, in something I have absolutely  no experience with. I urge my fellow Slow Stitching Getaway participants to do the same .Take the same classes with me if you’re interested

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I’m taking or take a class in whatever you like that will stimulate your creative muses.  This, too, is an exercise in getting “unstuck.” No matter how professional or proficient, one only grows from learning new, and very different things.

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You Deserve It!  

RELAX      MEET NEW FRIENDS     LEARN NEW THINGS  

DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR YOURSELF

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FOR MORE INFORMATION

AND TO REGISTER PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK

Guest Blogger: The Woman Who Took the “HEX” Out of HEXAGON, Katja Marek

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Author and Designer Katja Marek, Her Journey Into Patchwork, Transforming the Hexagon, and Her Slow Stitching Influences

By Katja Marek

As a young girl growing up, I thought all women sewed. I thought that you got up in the morning, brushed your teeth, combed your hair, and sewed. What stirred this belief? My mother!

I like to tell people that I grew up under my mother’s sewing machine.

I was born in Germany and my family immigrated to Canada just before I turned 8. As a way to stay home with my sister and I my mom took in alterations, but when she wasn’t ‘working’, ie sewing at the machine on other peoples clothes, she was stitching on needlepoint, cross-stitch, knitting, crocheting, sewing beautiful clothes embellished with appliqué and stitchery. In short, I rarely saw my mother without some form of handwork. She worked with purpose, with intention; putting part of herself into the things that she made. She was ‘Slow Stitching ‘ long before the words were put together to explain this movement.

“She worked with purpose, with intention;

putting part of herself

into the things that she made.”

I don’t ever remember being taught or learning to sew; I simply did. I wanted to sew clothes for my dolls, so I picked scraps from the sewing room, needle and thread, and sewed. As I grew older I simply chose to use a sewing machine. I crocheted and did needlepoint, I knit and stitched, and learned by example and osmosis.

By the time I was a teenager, I sewed many of my own clothes. Unlike many girls my age, instead of buying make-up or music, I spent all my money on fabric. Prom coming up? Not a problem, the dresses were usually sewn a night or two before. I never thought of buying dresses, I bought patterns instead, and fabric.

During another major move in my life at the age of 14, my family moved to a camp/resort, where many of the beds had handmade quilts and bedcovers. There I discovered a beautiful Grandmother’s fan coverlet. I promptly started searching out fabrics from the scrap box and old clothes that could be cut up. I pulled apart an old sketchpad to make thick templates to trace around and I sketched out a plan. This was to be my ‘seven year quilt’. Not 7 years because that’s how long it took me, but 7 years because I worked on it every seven years. Started when I was 14, worked on it again when I was 21 and newly married, again at 28 with two small toddlers in the house, and completed when I was 35 and now guild president and firmly entrenched in quilting.

“My aim has always been to encourage my customers

to take those designs, play with them

and to make them their own.”

As I mentioned I had sewn all my life, but it wasn’t until I moved to Kamloops in 1988 that I learned that part of what I had been doing was called ‘quilting’. My first large quilt was King sized and hand pieced and quilted.

After years spent working in banking, a job I did very well, but one that did not nourish my soul, I began searching for something else to do. Even during those years I’d spend lunch hours and coffee breaks hand sewing hundreds of Christmas ornaments to sell at local craft fairs and through private contacts. In 1995 Kamloops lost the only remaining option for quilting fabric, it took me until 1999 to gather the courage to jump in and open my shop.

Very soon after I opened the shop I started to design quilts for in-house kits and Block-of-the-Month Programs. My aim has always been to encourage my customers to take those designs, play with them and to make them their own.

Sometime over the years I became obsessed with hexagons. My Pinterest board ‘Hexagons have put a Hex on me’ alone has over 1,000 pins. Designing inside the hexagon, treating the hexagon like a block in a quilt instead of just a unit became a goal. By 2012 I was ready to launch my Block-a-Week Hex-a-thon; these blocks later turned into ‘The New Hexagon – 52 Blocks to English Paper Piece’ published by Martingale in October of 2014.

The New Hexagon

Although I wanted to streamline the English Paper Piecing process to make it more accessible to many more quilters by glue basting the fabric to the paper templates, I also wanted to share with more quilters how fulfilling the process is. EPP requires few supplies and is extremely portable making it the perfect project for everyone from young moms sitting waiting at piano lessons, hockey games or doctors appointments, to snowbirds on the road travelling south for the winter.

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When the publication of my book was approaching, I re-read Martingale’s Author Handbook and took to heart the section about their expectations that the author help to promote their book. I almost panicked, thinking I don’t blog or travel to teach, being tied to my own store, so I gave considerable thought to how to do this. During the writing of the book many other ideas came to me for different ways to use the blocks I had designed and then I received a Kaffee Fassett fabric called ‘Millefiore’. I loved this fabric and looked up the definition of the word Millefiore, finding it described the art of Glass caning, fusing canes of glass together and crosscutting them, then embedding them in clear glass to make often-kaleidoscopic designs. I knew then that I wanted to create this look with fabric, specifically using the blocks in my book in a totally different way than I had done in the book itself to create ‘The New Hexagon – Millefiore Quilt-Along’ on my website. I wanted to reward those that had purchased my book by creating a FREE online quilt-along. I announced this launch on the Martingale Stitch This Blog in October of 2014 and also on my store Facebook page.

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Right from the start I received some pretty positive feedback. I posted on Instagram and Facebook and those posts were shared and re-shared. As the anticipated start date of January 1st /2015 approached the number of registered participants climbed higher and higher. I had interest from several businesses to run it as programs in their stores. Several days into January I had received many request to start a The New Hexagon – Millefiore Quilt-Along’ FaceBook group page for participants to share photos and interact. Within 24 hours of starting that group page we had well over 300 members, as of this writing we are up over 2800.

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Layout with finished Rosettes

What exactly makes this project about Slow Stitching? Yes, it’s about hand sewing, but that doesn’t make it slow stitching in and of itself. It is the interaction of the participants and the support and advice they give each other, it is choices of fabrics made with intention to create something lasting and representative of self, it is struggling not only about fabric placement, but personal changes in the design and the techniques used to satisfy oneself.

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Above: Katja with Kate Spain

I have put My heart and soul into this project. Not only have I developed a wonderful following of other hexagon addicted devotees, but also I have created a mini-movement that follows ‘The Slow Stitching Movement’ ideals. I as well as the 2800 or so stitching along are creating a true legacy quilt that will one day define us at this point in our lives. We are putting our blood, sweat and tears into this project, and perhaps a bit of our souls as we grow to love ‘our Millies’ more each and every day, fabric by fabric, stitch by stitch.

“Not only have I developed a wonderful following of

other hexagon addicted devotees,

but also I have created a mini-movement

that follows ‘The Slow Stitching Movement’ ideals.” 

During a recent trade show, I had a women tell me she had lost her brother about a month previously and it wasn’t until she discovered my design and ‘The New Hexagon – Millefiore Quilt-Along’ online that she once again found a reason to get out of bed in the morning. My heart cried for her, but I was grateful that I was able to touch her and all the others who have jumped on board with me.

And my mom??? She still sews, knits and cross-stitches daily. It is rare to see her without work in her hands. Once a week she comes in to the store with me and inspires others with her meticulous works created with focus and intention.

Come join us and Discover the ‘Hex’-abilities! Katja

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ABOVE: Katja’s Hexalicious Quilt

 

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About Katja Marek

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Katja Marek was born in Moers, Germany. At the age of eight, she immigrated with her family to Canada. Her mother was a tailor by trade and took in alterations as a way to stay home with her children. Katja grew up under her mother’s sewing machine, and spent many childhood hours crafting, sewing, crocheting, and cross-stitching. Unlike most teenage girls, Katja spent her money not on makeup and music, but on fabric. When she was 14, the family moved to a camp/resort, where many of the cabin beds featured handmade quilts. Katja fell in love with an old version of a Grandmother’s Fan design. Without any knowledge of quilting, but with a vast knowledge of sewing, she proceeded to make templates and cut pieces from old clothing–and thus her quilting journey began. Winning the award for art achievement in high school convinced her that she wanted to pursue a career with a creative outlet. In 1999, with years of banking behind her and her children in their teens, the time had come for Katja to realize that dream. She fulfilled her vision by opening her own quilt shop in Kamloops, British Columbia.

 

The New Hexagon

Buy your copy of Katja’s wonderfully inspiring book by CLICKING HERE

 

Visit Katja Marek on her various social media pages:

Pinterest   

‘The New Hexagon – Millefiore Quilt-Along’

Martingale Stitch This Blog 

Katja’s store Facebook page

Instagram

‘The New Hexagon – Millefiore Quilt-Along’ FaceBook group page

Katja’s Quilt Shoppe store

 

My goodness . . . Who’s this handsome specimen of man?

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ABOVE: Katja Marek and Mark Lipinski at International Quilt Market

 



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We would love for you to share your creative process, thoughts, feelings and your place in The Slow Stitching Movement.

Just email Mark Lipinski at:  slowstitching@slowstitching.com

He will email you the simple guidelines for posting your own blog here and introducing yourself to the world of Slow Stitchers!


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Guest Blogger Fiber Artist and Author, Cyndi Sauder, and the Legacy Quilt

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Fiber Artist  Cyndi Sauder, Her Legacy in Quilts, and a Slow Stitching Journey:  

Slow Stitching and My Legacy Quilts

by Cyndi Souder

When I first heard about the Slow Stitching Movement, I thought, “Great. I have too much to do already and now they want me to SLOW DOWN?!” But once I read Mark’s thoughts on the Slow Stitching Movement, I realized that I don’t have to work even more slowly (I’m already a tortoise in the studio); I do need to show up and be truly present as I work.

Many of the quilts I make are for others. Clients come to me with memories, clothing, pictures, ideas, stories, and so much more. Often, they want to celebrate the life of someone they’ve lost. Sometimes they want to celebrate a new life, an accomplishment, or the realization of a lifelong dream. While I normally call these Celebration Quilts, we could also call these Legacy Quilts. These quilts will outlive their owners, be passed down through the generations, and carry their memories and stories into the future. These are important quilts, deserving of our best work and our full attention. These quilts cry for us to slow down and respect the process.

So, how do my legacy quilts relate to the Slow Stitching Movement?

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Let me share a Celebration Quilt with you that’s not in my book. Last summer, I made a quilt for a client who was in the process of building her dream house in the mountains. On her new property, she had a trail tree, also known as a bent tree. As a sapling, this tree had been bent down to the ground and tacked there to mark the trail. As it grew older and stronger, the tree returned to its upright position but always bore the characteristic bend of its trunk. Throughout construction, my client protected this tree and hired a graphic artist to create a logo for her new home based on the bent tree. I created her quilt, Bent Tree, from this logo.

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Every step of this quilt’s creation was intentional and deliberate from the fabric selection to creating the pattern to fabricating miles of bias tape to hand-basting each piece onto the foundation fabric as it hung on the design wall. As I worked through each step, I stayed present in the moment and did the best work I possibly could.

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I think it’s too easy to turn on the TV or listen to a book while you are working on really important quilts. I’m not saying you can’t watch West Wing marathons or listen to Mark’s Creative Mojo podcasts as you work. When I’m working on a utility quilt that I just need to get done, I’m all about multi-tasking. Here’s the distinction: When I’m working on a quilt that really matters, I try to live up to its standards.

When we slow down and give these quilts our time and our full attention – when we’re truly in the moment as we work on these quilts – they become our legacies and they will speak for us long after we are gone.

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About Cyndi Souder  

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Cyndi Souder is a teacher, lecturer, author, and award-winning art quilter       who creates Celebration Quilts for clients. Some of these quilts can be seen in    her book Creating Celebration Quilts available on her website www.MoonlightingQuilts.com. Cyndi is a Juried Artist Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates and a BERNINA Ambassador. Follow her blog at www.MoonlightingQuilts.WordPress.com, follow her on Twitter @CyndiSouder, and like her on www.Facebook.com/CyndiSouderQuilts.

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 guest-blogger

We would love for you to share your creative process, thoughts, feelings and your place in The Slow Stitching Movement.

Just email Mark Lipinski at:  slowstitching@slowstitching.com

He will email you the simple guidelines for posting your own blog here and introducing yourself to the world of Slow Stitchers!


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Guest Blogger, Lucie Dutton, Sewed Thousands of Squares and Learned a Lesson in Slowing Down

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A Slow Stitching Journey of 3,200 Paper-Pieced Squares Commemorate a British War Hero,  Helps Define Research, and the Consequences of Rushing to Finish

by Lucie Dutton

As a hand quilter by preference, it is inevitable that I sew slowly. One of my quilts can take over a year to complete if it is particularly complex. The thrills of the quick make and the speedy finish are not for me. I have mountains of fabric I cannot possibly get through, unfinished quilts come in and out of favour, my sewing machines lie idle. And that is the way I like it. The Slow Stitching Movement is, therefore, a movement for me!

It is just as well that I don’t mind being particularly quick to finish quilts. Just under a year ago, I started on my most ambitious project to date – a quilted representation of the British Naval hero Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, KB. Based on a portrait of Nelson painted in 1800 by Sir William Beechey, the quilt comprises 3,200 one inch squares, all sewn by hand using the English Paper Piecing technique.

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The Nelson Quilt at 2,000 pieces – March 2015

A bizarre project? Well, possibly, but there is a reason for it that makes sense to me. When I am not sewing, I am writing a PhD thesis about the British film director, Maurice Elvey. Elvey had a long career, starting making films in 1913 during the silent days, making his transition to sound in 1929, and retiring in 1957. In 1918, Elvey made a biographical film about Nelson – a flawed film, but a very interesting one. I’ve spent a long time researching the background to the production of Nelson, and become increasingly fascinated by the film and Nelson’s place in British culture. 

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Nelson at 490 squares, August 2014. A face starting to emerge?

“The thrills of the quick make and the speedy finish are not for me.”  

One hot day last summer, while writing about some of the film scenes filmed on the Isle of Wight, I idly wondered whether it would be possible to make a quilted piece that complemented my film research. Before I had properly worked out the details, I found that I had ordered fabric and started cutting out one inch squares of spare paper: The Nelson Quilt was born. It is part of a long tradition of works inspired by Nelson. Starting with the Battle of the Nile, his victories and subsequent death at the Battle of Trafalgar resulted in a phenomenal amount of commemorative memorabilia – from plates, to cups, to busts, to wallpaper, to snuffboxes.  There are sewn commemorative banners, and girls sewed samplers mourning Nelson’s death– the list is endless.


UnknownScouting out film locations at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight

So while writing about the film, I started to sew about it as well. Strange as it may seem, the slow stitching of the Nelson Quilt has enhanced my film research. I understand better why a film about Nelson was so important during the First World War and why he was promoted as a hero at a time of national emergency.

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The Nelson Quilt waiting to cross the Solent from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth, September 2014

I’ve visited film locations on the Isle of Wight and considered how certain shots were taken. I’ve sewn squares of the quilt on long train journeys to Portsmouth where I stood on the deck of HMS Victory by the spot where Nelson fell and stooped to reach the Orlop Deck where he died. I’ve gone to see Nelson’s tomb in St Paul’s Cathedral in London and been unexpectedly moved. I’ve visited London’s National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and peered at the coat Nelson was wearing when he was shot – still a venerated object today.  None of this would have happened without the quilt project; the Nelson film would just have been one of many I would have looked at for my thesis. Instead it has become one of the key areas of my research and I love it! Stitching on that quilt for so many hours has enhanced my research significantly.

 

Unknown-4Nelson’s coat at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

I was happily working on the writing and the quilting projects in tandem, each adding to the other. What could be better?

“Embrace the slowness of a transformative project. It will be so much more worthwhile in the end.” 

And then, about a month ago, there was trouble. I’d just hit the 2,000 square mark on the quilt. I was celebrating that as a significant point on the Nelson Quilt journey, but I started to hear myself say “I’m enjoying the project but I would like all that piecing to be done with. I’m really looking forward to him being finished.” (Yes, I started to refer to the quilt as “him” some months ago). Around the same time, I was delighted to be invited to speak at an academic conference in May about unexpected creative outcomes of film research – the Nelson film and the Nelson Quilt. What an opportunity to bring two of my major passions together and share them with other researchers. Over coffee with a fellow film researcher friend, I said “Oh I want him finished by the conference. I want to show him off complete.”

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The Nelson Quilt visits the National Maritime Museum, December 2014

Instead of enjoying the sewing, instead of watching each section grow and the portrait develop, I put myself in a totally artificial race against the clock. Must get him finished! Must get him finished!

And one morning I woke up and couldn’t stretch my right arm. All that English Paper Piecing is hard on the hands and arms. I’d given myself a dose of lateral epicondylitis – more commonly known as Tennis Elbow, or as I have rechristened it, Nelson Elbow. Serves me right for losing sight of what was important – enjoying the sewing, reflecting on Nelson, thinking about my film research – and replacing those with a sense of grim determination. So the Nelson Quilt has sat idle for three weeks.

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Taking Nelson for a New Year Walk, 31 December 2014

My elbow is getting better and I think I’ll be able to pick up the project again fairly soon. If he isn’t finished in time for the conference it doesn’t really matter. The piece as it stands is pretty big and can be shown as it is. And my Nelson Elbow has really done me a favour by telling me: Don’t rush to finish. Remember to enjoy your sewing. Embrace the slowness of a transformative project. It will be so much more worthwhile in the end.

 

I am a slow.v3

 

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Horatio Nelson painted by Sir William Beechey (1800)

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of decisive naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the sight in one eye in Corsica. He was shot and killed during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.


   UnknownAbout Lucie Dutton

     Lucie Dutton is a quilter and film researcher (with a particular interest in British silent cinema) who lives in London.  She sews by hand rather than machine so Slow Stitching comes naturally. Lucie blogs about quilting, reading and the movies at www.isthereroomformetosew.com and tweets (mostly about silent film) at her main twitter account, which is @MissElvey, and less frequently (about sewing and quilting) at @TheSewingBea. Her Instagram is MissElvey.

 

 



 guest-blogger

We would love for you to share your creative process, thoughts, feelings and your place in The Slow Stitching Movement.

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Just email Mark Lipinski at:  slowstitching@slowstitching.com

He will email you the simple guidelines for posting your own blog here and introducing yourself to the world of Slow Stitchers!


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Upcoming Slow Stitching Movement Lectures, Classes, Webinars (TOMORROW), and Thank You’s

A Live Slow Stitching Movement Podcast
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A LIVE SLOW STITCHING WEBINAR TOMORROW

April 14,  2015
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Mark Lipinski has the prescription for
better, more mindful quilting.

Slow and Steady, Forget the Race

imageplaceholder Vivika Hansen DeNegre
Editorial Director, Quilting Arts
QuiltingDaily.com

What do you get out of fiber and quilting arts? A pile of quilts? An expression of your creativity? A way to escape the world? An excuse to go to the fabric store?

As quilting artists, we all have our reasons–and they’re all valid.

For me, quilting, sewing, and other fiber arts serve as outlets for creativity, ways to relax and unburden my mind, and even practical pursuits (making gifts and decor).

But sometimes, the number of projects on my table–or in my head–can stress me out. I’ve heard other quilters say that seeing what other quilt artists post on social media causes them anxiety: they feel like they are ‘behind’ somehow. And the sheer number of tools, fabrics, kits, patterns, and supplies to choose from for art quilting can be overwhelming.

Over the years I’ve found that, instead of looking for shortcuts or adding more projects or supplies, the best way to approach my fiber art is to slow down and simplify.

Mindful creating, or paying close attention to what you’re doing. how you are doing it, and the materials you’re using, can help you regain the “Zen” of your favorite pastime. Not to mention how much better your results will be.

This is the message quilter and personality Mark Lipinski is trying to promote with his “Slow Stitching Movement.” Mark has been lecturing on the topic for about a year now. Judging by the enthusiastic reception for the topic, many in the quilt community crave ways to slow down and enjoy their quilting again

Mark makes it clear that there will always be a place for the get ‘er done project or the jelly roll strip quilt. But he wants to bring back the joys and benefits of losing yourself in a project by giving it all your care and attention.

Here are some of Mark’s Slow Stitching tips:

Pause and reflect. Take a couple of minutes before you hit the sewing machine pedal to think about your project, what you’re trying to accomplish, and to consider the tools and materials you are using. Consciously breathe in and out to prepare yourself for the work ahead.

Stitch intentionally. There are times when it’s good to just practice, doodle, and play with fabrics with no particular plan. When you slow stitch, think about what you want to accomplish with your stitching and focus on it intently.

Give it 20 minutes a day. You don’t have to slow stitch all the time, for every project. In fact, Mark says you may not actually enjoy your slow stitching at first: your mind will want to wander over to the 10 other things you ‘should’ be doing right now, how hungry you are, or what your best friend might be up to. Like anything else worth doing, you might need to practice. That’s why Mark recommends giving over just 20 minutes a day to slow stitching. The goal is to make it a habit.

There is so much more to The Slow Stitching Movement: how it can improve your quilting, encourage your to create a legacy quilt, benefit your health, even strengthen your relationships!

Mark will tell you all about it in a new version of Mark Lipinski Presents The Slow Stitching Movement Creating, Promoting, and Sustaining a New Vision in Quiltmaking, a live webinar, April 15, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET.Mark’s Slow Stitching events have been sell-outs, so earn more below and register now.
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Mark Lipinski Presents…
The Slow Stitching Movement
Creating, Promoting and Sustaining a New Vision in Quiltmaking Live Web Seminar
Quick, fast, easy.  In our busy multitasking world, those buzzwords capture our attention.  But speed can kill creativity and the enjoyment of our creative pursuits.Maybe what we really need to do is slow down, enjoy the process and create fiber art that we’re really proud of.  But how?
Lipinski

This ILLUMINATING live web seminar introduces a revolution within the quilting industry, The Slow Stitching Movement, launched by international quilting personality Mark Lipinski.  With Mark as your inspiration and guide, this web seminar will prepare you for a higher form of creativity and important quiltmaking.

If you’ve hit a creative wall, if you have more fabric and notions than you do inspiration, if all of your quilts are beginning to look alike, or if you’ve been quilting for years and have nothing wonderful to show for it . . . The Slow Stitching Movement is for you.

What you’ll learn at this web seminar:
Approach your quiltmaking in a totally different way
Recharge your passion for patchwork
Engage the connection between your body, your quilts and your legacy
Expand your creativity, self-esteem and even your spiritual journey
Create groups and habits to support your creative vision.
Tap your right brain, to train and develop your imagination.
Find the creative genius in you.
Implement your creative thought in today’s too-fast world.
Heal your life, emotions and boost your physical health.
REGISTER NOW
Instructor: Mark Lipinski
Date: Wednesday,
April 15, 2015
Time: 1pm -2pm ET
REGISTER NOW
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
You will be hard pressed to find a more entertaining lecture and enjoyable quilting class than one taken with international quilt teacher and quilt fabric designer and creator and former Executive Editor of Quilter’s Home magazine, Mark Lipinski.As a designer, Mark’s work has been seen in McCall’s Quilts,Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting, McCall’s Quick Quilts, Quiltmaker, American Patchwork and Quilting, Quilts and More, The Quilter, Irish Quilting, and Fabric Trends magazines and has been a guest on HGTV’s Simply Quilts. He has also launched a line of his own quilting patterns, called The Quilts of Pickle Road. Mark has been commissioned to design products and workshops for Island Batiks (Bali and California), M&S Textiles (Australia), Langa Lapu (South Africa), Wrights EZ Tools, Libas Limited Silk, Lakehouse Fabrics, Northcott Fabrics, Maywood Studio, Andover Fabrics, Benartex Fabrics, and Prym Dritz.

HOW THE WEB SEMINAR WORKS The web seminar is broadcasted via the internet as a power point-style presentation with live audio delivered through your computer speakers or over your telephone. The live web seminar’s visual slide presentation is displayed directly from the Presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions being read and answered by the Presenter for the entire class to hear. A recording of the live event will be sent to all web seminar registrants (regardless if you attend the live webinar) after the live event for viewing 24/7.

 Slow Stitching Lectures

ALBANY, NEW YORK

This Friday 

NEW LECTURE JUST ADDED!!!

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JOIN MARK’S SLOW STITCHING INTENSIVE! 

APRIL 17 & 18, 2015

Slow LOGO
LECTURE:  In our busy, multi-tasking world, the words “quick,” “fast,” and “easy” are the ones that capture our attention, but the can be fatal to the enjoyment of creative pursuits. If you’ve hit a creative wall, if you have more fabric and notions than inspiration, if all of your quilts are starting to look alike, or if you’ve been quilting for years and feel you have nothing truly unique to show for it, The Slow Stitching Movement is for you!
CLASS:   THIS CLASS IS SOLD OUT This is a class of Mark’s Slow Stitching workshops!  How to write morning process pages from the inside out!  Learn several of Mark’s slow machine sewing techniques.  Practice finding inspiration all around you. How to plan, develop and create your legacy quilt.  Plus, more!

NEW LECTURE JUST ADDED!!!

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ADDED LECTURE:  If your well of quilting inspiration has dried up, or you haven’t had a good quilting idea in years, fret no more. Mark will guide you through new places to turn for amazing quilting ideas, with practical examples that will give you motivation and inspiration for better quilting and a happier life. This lecture will open your mind to sources of creative inspiration you may have never considered. Bring along a notebook to jot down every last suggestion you hear.
19 Glenridge Rd
Glenville, NY 12302
Phone: 518-399-0128
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BEAVER DAM, WISCONSIN!

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http://www.nancysnotions.com/category/store/sewing+weekend.do 

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MAY 9:   If your well of quilting inspiration has dried up, or you haven’t had a good quilting idea in years, fret no more. Mark will guide you through new places to turn for amazing quilting ideas, with practical examples that will give you motivation and inspiration for better quilting and a happier life. This lecture will open your mind to sources of creative inspiration you may have never considered. Bring along a notebook to jot down every last suggestion you hear.About Mark Lipinski:
  • International quilt teacher, fabric designer, and creator/former Executive Editor of Quilter’s Home magazine, Mark has been called the “bad boy of quilting” by industry press. His seminars are half quilting, and all stand-up comedy.

Register now and get a free 2015 limited edition Sewing Weekend souvenir pin. Limit one per order.

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Slow LOGO
MAY 7 and again on MAY 9In our busy, multi-tasking world, the words “quick,” “fast,” and “easy” are the ones that capture our attention, but the can be fatal to the enjoyment of creative pursuits. If you’ve hit a creative wall, if you have more fabric and notions than inspiration, if all of your quilts are starting to look alike, or if you’ve been quilting for years and feel you have nothing truly unique to show for it, The Slow Stitching Movement is for you!About Mark Lipinski:
  • International quilt teacher, fabric designer, and creator/former Executive Editor of Quilter’s Home magazine, Mark has been called the “bad boy of quilting” by industry press. His seminars are half quilting, and all stand-up comedy.

Register now and get a free 2015 limited edition Sewing Weekend souvenir pin. Limit one per order.

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MAY 7:  If you’ve ever wondered why a successful television producer would give up a hefty salary for poverty wages to quilt, this lecture will surprise you. Travel with Mark from his boyhood home in Pittsburgh, to San Francisco, Miami, New York, Chicago and New Jersey to learn how each of these places led him to become the quilt master he is today.

From his first quilts to his most recent work, see how he transformed from a duckling to a swan – and feel better about your own quilting transformation. He’ll bring some of his UFOs and explain why he lost interest in finishing them. Hear what inspires him, and allow his life experience and outlook on the creative process to inspire you.

About Mark Lipinski

  • International quilt teacher, fabric designer, and creator/former Executive Editor of Quilter’s Home magazine, Mark has been called the “bad boy of quilting” by industry press. His seminars are half quilting, and all stand-up comedy.

One evening event attendee will win a Baby Lock Melody and Ott-Lite Marietta Lamp—a $1,894.98 value. No purchase necessary to enter and win.

Register now and get a free 2015 limited edition Sewing Weekend souvenir pin. Limit one per order.

 

McLEAN, VIRGINIA

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McLean Quilters Unlimited

There may be room for the lecture but there is a waiting list for the Throw Me a Curve class.  

10 AM, Tuesday, April 28  CONTACT: Sherry Cowley at sbcowley26@yahoo.com

Fellowship Hall at the Mclean Baptist Church

1637 Chain Bridge Road

McLean, Virginia.

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SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA

Moonlight Quilters Guild of Sonoma County 

May 20 and 23, 2015

Slow LOGO

 

LECTURE, Tuesday May 20:    In our busy, multi-tasking world, the words “quick,” “fast,” and “easy” are the ones that capture our attention, but the can be fatal to the enjoyment of creative pursuits. If you’ve hit a creative wall, if you have more fabric and notions than inspiration, if all of your quilts are starting to look alike, or if you’ve been quilting for years and feel you have nothing truly unique to show for it, The Slow Stitching Movement is for you!

Class, Saturday May 23 – Simple Simon 

Santa Rosa Quilt Guild

MAY  21 – 22, 2015

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LECTURE, Monday May 21:  BULL IN A CHINA SHOP LECTURE: If you’ve ever wondered why a successful television producer would give up a hefty salary for poverty wages to quilt, this lecture will surprise you. Travel with Mark from his boyhood home in Pittsburgh, to San Francisco, Miami, New York, Chicago and New Jersey to learn how each of these places led him to become the quilt master he is today.

From his first quilts to his most recent work, see how he transformed from a duckling to a swan – and feel better about your own quilting transformation. He’ll bring some of his UFOs and explain why he lost interest in finishing them. Hear what inspires him, and allow his life experience and outlook on the creative process to inspire you.

Class, Tuesday May 22 – Lemon Cathedral

CONCORD, CALIFORNIA

Guild of Quilters of Contra Costa County

May 18 – 19, 2015

Slow LOGO

LECTURE, Monday May 18: 

In our busy, multi-tasking world, the words “quick,” “fast,” and “easy” are the ones that capture our attention, but the can be fatal to the enjoyment of creative pursuits. If you’ve hit a creative wall, if you have more fabric and notions than inspiration, if all of your quilts are starting to look alike, or if you’ve been quilting for years and feel you have nothing truly unique to show for it, The Slow Stitching Movement is for you!

Class, Tuesday May 19 – Throw Me a Curve Mystery Quilt

Anybody can duplicate someone else’s patchwork pattern. This class will teach you how to take any pattern and rework it so the design becomes 100% your own.  This easy quilt will allow you to learn the basics of “reworking” a pattern and learning to sew curves.

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The Slow Stitching Movement Getaway: SPRING 2015 Begins Next Tuesday

 

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APRIL 21 -24, 2015

 THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES FOR THEIR SUPPORT: 

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CLICK ON THE ICONS TO VISIT OUR SPONSOR SITES

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We want you!

Blog Your Slow Stitching Movement Experience

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Talk about Slow Stitching

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Every creative stitcher has an opinion.  

Every creative stitcher is on their own unique journey.

Please share with the slow stitching community your personal slow journey, process, projects, thoughts, and opinions in a Slow Stitching Movement podcast.   

To schedule a podcast interview email:  slowstitching@slowstitching.com

Or telephone: (908) 876-1208

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2 ADDED ENROLLMENT OPENINGS! THE SLOW STITCHING GETAWAY: SPRING 2015

The Slow Stitching Movement Getaway: SPRING 2015

is opening up our enrollment to allow for 2 more participants! 

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This event sold out in roughly 6 hours!  

But we were lucky enough to be able to offer 2 more spaces!  

Come and join us! 

FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED 

CALL Mark with questions at Pickle Road Studios:  908-876-1208  

or register your information on THE WAITING LIST NOW! 

For the last several months, Meg Cox, Liza Prior Lucy and I have been working on putting together an event to celebrate your creativity and how to enrich our lives and fiber art through The Slow Stitching Movement.  I can’t tell you how excited we are to invite you to  the first ever . . .

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APRIL 21 -24, 2015

This intimate, inspiring retreat will include 3 full days of skill-building tutorials, lectures, trunk shows and more, but most of the time, you’ll have a chance to work on your own projects in a stunning, relaxing setting that encourages your unique slow stitching journey and sharing your time with like-minded old and new friends.

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Our retreat will be held at the picturesque Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn, situated on the banks of the Delaware River, where the food and service are as outstanding as the inspiring views from our glass-enclosed ballroom retreat space.

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Located in charming Lambertville, New Jersey, you’ll find a wide range of restaurants, world-class antique emporiums (amazing for patchwork inspiration), welcoming art galleries, unique shops, and parks. Just a short walk across the The New Hope-Lambertville Bridge is historic and artsy New Hope, Pennsylvania, full of boutiques, galleries, one-of-a-kind stores, cafes, and restaruants. Be sure to bring your camera!

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During the retreat, international quilt teacher and designer, Mark Lipinski will give his lecture “The Slow Stitching Movement: Creating, Promoting, and Sustaining a New Vision in Quilt Making”, why he started The Slow Stitching Movement, and how retreats such as this one can help quilters slow down to deepen both their creative skills and satisfaction levels.

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Mark will also share his secrets to daily process journaling for increased creativity, developing your legacy project, and will share the current projects he’s working on, and resources that inspire him.

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Author/journalist/teacher Meg Cox will share her slow-stitching projects and inspiration, and give a humorous but practical slideshow on how to take better photographs of your quilts.

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Renowned crazy quilting guru and author Allie Aller will join us on our retreat as our special guest teacher, offering multiple tutorials on making fabric flowers and combining both machine and hand-stitched embellishment. Allie will also give a trunk show sharing some of her prize-winning quilts. She’ll be selling and autographing her two books, as well as selling “squishes”, special bags full of silk, velvet, ribbon and other scraps so you can practice some of her embellishing techniques.

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Nationally known teacher and author Liza Prior Lucy will be on hand as well, offering a tutorial on paper-piecing hexagons. And, she’ll be selling Kaffe Fassett fabric, and special kits for an optional retreat project.

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 THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES FOR THEIR SUPPORT: 

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