Posts Tagged ‘gift ideas’

New Pieces for New Pieces Blog

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Good things come in pieces!

The blog is back after a few months away!

A lot is happening at New Pieces * and in the local quilting world. We’d like to use the blog as another way to reinforce the New Pieces Quilt community. I will be looking for items to post about gadgets and techniques, to alternate with  stories about the quilts and quilters in our midst, and other stuff of interest to you all. You are invited to send  your ideas for blog entries to New Pieces, or to write something yourself and send it to me. Pictures are welcome too!

*Many of you will notice that this amazing 360 degree picture of the store is filled with quilts by staff emeritae. We are rebuilding our teaching program as you read this. Please ask about the changes underway, and feel free to suggest great teachers and classes to us!

A Ghastly Quilt

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Today at New Pieces we got to see Jan Nilsen’s just finished “Ghastlies” quilt. As she said, we’ve been cheerfully dispersing this fabric (from an Alexander Henry line), but probably hadn’t yet seen it made up.

She’s made great choices throughout; the result is a beautiful piece she can use for Halloween — but also other times. Well done, Jan, and thanks for coming in to share with us!


“Flower Power” with Kim Butterworth

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

The photo above is a detail of the class sample quilt for Kim Butterworth’s one day (September 24th) class “Flower Power”.

This class is appropriate for students at all levels, and is a wonderful example of a simple, but stunning, quilt top that could easily become a gift for someone very special. “Flower Power” is considered to be both “Beginner Friendly” and a “Quick Quilt” class.

There are only a handful of spaces available at this point — don’t get closed out!


Amateur Hour…

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

This one’s personal: Last week I was getting ready to visit my family and wanted to take a present to my lovely mother-in-law. I found a pattern for a simple, reversible bag and decided to make a practice bag or two before using the fabric I’d been saving for her. Each bag was made from two pieces of fabric, each piece was almost 1/2 yard x 42″.

The directions are simple when you know the tricks… but, I had to learn every trick the hard way. I kicked myself several times for being such an amateur.

Over the course of two afternoons I made 8 different bags (there’s just a smidge of the 8th one on the left side of the picture above). While making them I made almost as many mistakes. On two I miss-read the directions for seaming the bottom corners, so those ones don’t stand flat. On two others I forgot to leave an opening in a side seam so the bag could be turned right side out. That problem was solved two different ways – once I seam-ripped an opening, once I put the opening in the bottom seam.  On one bag I sewed the bottom seam without re-orienting the bag; I fixed that by cutting the seam off and re-sewing it. My favorite mistake resulted in:

I forgot to cut the “handle” along the fold of the fabric, and solved that by cutting the pieces and re-arranging them, so this bag has both fabrics on both sides… (The bag is actually the same size and shape as the others, though the picture looks different.)

Somewhere in there I made the originally planned bag – with birds on one side and geranium leaves on the other  (my mother-in-law is both a birder and a gardener).

As far as I know her bag has none of the “mistakes” the other bags did — but here’s the thing — All the bags turned out nicely, and all the people I gave them to liked them. I learned lots from making them, but I learned even more from making and fixing my  mistakes without worrying about them. Each bag ended up looking perfect, with seams and boo boos sealed up inside. I hadn’t planned to make so many bags, or to give them all away, but have now done so joyfully.

Several times I accused myself of being an amateur  — but then remembered that the term “amateur” has nothing to do with perfection — it means “one who is a lover of”. I had a blast working on this non-quilt project, and it turned out well.  There was no mistake there!

Back soon, Heather!

Nancy Wohl – Mystery Quilter!

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Nancy Wohl first came to our store while it was still on Solano Avenue and her daughter was first a student at U.C. Berkeley. After that visit Nancy was hooked on the New Pieces way of color and quiltmaking.




Nancy is an English teacher at a girl’s Catholic school in New Orleans. She was inspired to make quilts for each senior in her homeroom, each year. Although the system has now changed, until this year her homeroom girls stayed with her for the whole 4 years of high school.  Nancy got to know each girl over those years, and she made quilts to suit them individually.


Imagine being sent off into the world with a quilt, a THOUGHTFUL quilt, made just for YOU, by your homeroom teacher.





So, you have a WONDERFULLY funny teacher, Nancy, a crazy project (make the girls quilts) and a friendship with New Pieces…we’ve  done whatever it takes to get those quilts back to Nancy before graduation… what an amazing experience.

Many folks who came to see Nancy yesterday were rolling in the aisle, telling her she has to do stand up comedy.

We are so lucky to know you Nancy… Even though your own daughter has now graduated from U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears!), we hope you will come back and see us often. You’re part of our community.

Thanks for being SO GREAT.

Sharona, and the New Pieces Staff


Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

On Tuesday, May 17th (10:30-11:30am) New Pieces welcomes our third MYSTERY QUILTER to share her amazing (and we believe unique) quilter’s quest with all comers. This month’s guest is well known to the Staff at New Pieces, but will be coming from a great distance to the Bay Area. We have had to move the time for this talk to 10:30AM, as Her Royal Mysteriousness will be attending a graduation at a nearby University, in the afternoon.

As always, the Mystery Quilter talk is free, and starts promptly on the half-hour. There’s plenty of room, but seating is first-come, first-served. You may want to bring your mid-morning coffee with you, or plan to meet a friend for lunch after the talk.

Join us, please, for a talk that may inspire you to think about  your own quilting in a different way, and will certainly leave you feeling warm and fuzzy like a quilter should.

And Now – For Something Completely Different!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


with Pat Dicker — May 15th at Noon

These “Sistas” are just plain fun. Each one is 14″ tall, with limbs you can position and has an exuberant personality that can’t be measured. Dancing Sistas prove the old adage that one can never be too thin, or too richly colored and textured. Pat is a great teacher, and  a lot of fun, even without her Sistas.

As of May 3rd there are spaces for two or three more students in this workshop. Maybe its time you made yourself a “doppelganger” or totem figure — Sistas are also flat enough to mail to a love one.




Thursday, April 21st, 2011

ART TO MAIL  –  May 1, 2011

12:00 – 3:00pm

Priscilla Read

Mother’s Day is May 8th this year. Art To Mail on May 1st is a perfectly timed adventure for anyone who has a mother, or is one, or married one or hopes someday to be one. It’s also perfect for anyone who just wants to learn to make stunning, mailable fabric post-cards.

Postcards have always been a way to remember friends, share good times and make art personal. Using your sewing machine and scraps of your favorite fabrics you will construct and embellish a mini-masterpiece, and take with you the skills to make more postcards at home. Why let Hallmark express your sentiments, when you can do better yourself, and have such fun!

A Quilt Like a Magic Carpet…

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


Sometimes the magic begins with something as simple as an email:

June 3rd, 2010 at 07:17AM (EDT), an email from Madrid, Spain:


Jun 3, 2010, at 5:41 PM, Sharona responded:

Yes, we would love to make your daughter a quilt for her high school graduation. How wonderful that you found us, and that you would ask us to make your daughter’s quilt. Your brother would be most welcome as he delivers the “future” quilt goods.
In some of the quilts we have made, people have included a favorite poem or photo – perhaps of a dear pet or a beloved friend or family…we can transfer those onto fabric and include them in the quilt…I also like to know if there is a color your daughter does NOT like. These are as important as colors she DOES like.
I would like to know the approximate size of the quilt you would like. Any size is fine, I just need to know that. Our website has quilt sizes listed, so that may be helpful to you. (they are in inches, sorry)
You have given us plenty of time Gladys, to be finished next year…thank you for that. We need at least 3 months to design your quilt, prepare your daughter’s fabrics, sew, then quilt, and bind AND get it back to you.
I ask a $300 deposit when your brother brings in the fabrics, then I can give you an estimate of cost, when we see what we are working with, what, if anything, we need to add, etc. The remainder would be due when the quilt is done.
On another note, I just finished reading “Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Do you know the book? It is set in Barcelona, not so close to you but closer than to me.

Thank you again

Later that same night:

Hi Sharona
I saw New Pieces in an Oprah program about 16 years ago and thought, one day when my daughter graduates from High School I will have a quilt made for her. And now we are almost there, time flies!!!
Good to hear from you so quickly. And yes I have read the Shadow of the Wind, one of the best books I have ever read. I also lived in Barcelona for a while and it is a wonderful city, quaint, beautiful modernist  architecture and a city by the sea, which is always magical.
I recommend you read another of my favorites The Sum of All Days written by chilean author Isabel Allende.
My daughter Gabriella, does not like pink or yellow. Loves blue and purple.
At this moment I have accumulated her actual dresses throughout her life, do I need to cut a piece of each fabric I would like to have included, if so, what size should the square be?
I was thinking the size should be for a twin bed. I dont know if you put the squares of fabric on both sides (I have lot of them) or only on one side.

Thank you for the information, let me know the other details so I can give my brother what you need.

April, 2011

Magic Happens!

Meet the Mystery Quilter! Stacey Tunteri

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Today’s “Mystery Quilter” talk featured Stacey Tunteri (both the e‘s are silent), and her stunning fan quilt. Stacey’s 12:30pm talk was a cheerful counterpoint to the gloomy day outside. A dozen quilters braved the rain, on the promise of a good story and a chance to learn something new. They weren’t disappointed!

The Story Behind the Quilt: Stacey made this fan quilt for a dear friend who was leaving a 10 year marriage. Stacey’s friend said she’d realized while moving out of her soon-to-be-ex house that everything there, from the furnishings to silverware to curtains, etc. had been chosen by her soon-to-be-ex husband. Nothing in the house was “hers”.  None of the choices were hers, nothing really belonged to her.  Stacey’s response was to design a quilt for her friend’s new home that would capture her personality and be a thing of beauty — and would belong only to her.

Stacey chose a wide range of wonderful prints that reminded her of her friend, “I tried to select, but I wanted to use ALL of them”, she said. She wanted an Asian influence overall, and took some pattern ideas from Jinny Beyer, drafting patterns for each fan full-size on graph paper. She practiced the ancient art of trial and error — remaking a block or two and replacing a couple as well. She learned by doing things the hard way how to do them the best way next time.  Like many quilters she expressed some satisfaction that every step reminded her of her friend, and that knowing for whom the quilt was being made simplified every decision. Making a quilt for a friend involves channeling that person’s energy and listening for the right answers to design problems – for that person.























One thing Stacey said that resonated with many around the table was that she had to  fight against “perfection,” because it’s   a goal that just wears you down. Its so much better to look at “creating”, a process that turns our mistakes into learning opportunities.

Thanks Stacey, for sharing your story with all of us. It was a treat!

Next month’s “Mystery Quilter” talk will be on April 19th, from 12:30-1:30pm, and is free to all. Hope to see you there!