Notes from our President

A Note from your 2017 Chapter President  

Greetings, fellow sewers!

It’s the end of September and fall is definitely in the air.  I have finally put on long pants and long sleeves to combat the chill, even in my own house!    I was out this morning in a heavy mist and light rain, walking down a mountain road and was surprised to see all the scrub oak that had changed to gold and orange since my walk two days ago. I was also surprised to see two large coyotes, presumably out looking for breakfast. I was gratified to see how healthy they looked, but was slightly concerned that they showed little fear of me. I guess a wet, bedraggled hiker looked too pitiful to be dangerous.  I do love the autumn months, with the cool nights and beautiful colors.  It gets my creative juices flowing and I want to sew wool coats and bake pumpkin pies.

It was my privilege to represent our chapter in Orlando, Florida last July at the ASG National Convention.  The entire first day of the convention was spent in Presidents’ meetings where many topics were covered.  One was a discussion on ASG dwindling membership across the country.  If misery loves company, at least we know that this is a problem for just about every chapter.  It seems that the few chapters that are still growing are those who have figured out how to reach the 30 somethings.  They have introduced new neighborhood groups that cater to upcycling and provide babysitting for small children.  Perhaps we need to go there too; I sure would like to see some young ladies joining us.  We also spent a couple of hours being introduced to the My Grove social media program.  That introduction convinced me that our group should be participating in My Grove and I instituted it shortly after returning to Albuquerque.  We do not have 100% participation yet, but we are closing the gap and I am pleased, so far, that it is working for us.

Nancy Daquino and Karen Mann also attended National with me and while we had a few classes together, by-in-large, we saw each other only at meals and in the evenings as we were off in different directions most of the time. I shared a room with Karen and it was wonderful to catch up with her in person for the first time since her move to Tennessee.  I think she is enjoying her new residence and has finally found a group of sewing ladies to hang with, although they are a bit of a drive to meet up with.

I participated in the big fashion show, MC’d by Louise Cutting that occurred over the lunch hour on Saturday.  I wore two different Victorian gowns and believe I created quite a stir, especially with the low, low cut silk dupioni ball gown!  It was so fun to model in front of such an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd of sewing sisters.

July’s meeting on the 13th was a show and tell of all the children’s clothing goodies that were fashioned for the Back to School community service project.  Jane Casey, your community service chair on the CAB, was also in charge of this meeting, as I was in Iowa on a long overdue visit to my parents.  Many garments were fashioned by folks from outside our guild, especially by friends of Kathy Morris from her church group.  Thank you to them and to all in our chapter who participated in this worthwhile community service project. (It appears that we will be doing this again for our 2018 project and it is never too early to start your projects. Hint, hint!)

August’s meeting was a demonstration of a couple of things Nancy Daquino and I picked up in some of our classes at National. Nancy demonstrated a better way to attach a knit binding onto a neck edge using only a serger, very slick and neat.  I talked about the fashion drawing classes I took, both in learning how to draw fashion industry croques and then in finding inspiration for designing clothing to draw onto a croque.  Those were my favorite classes at National and were definitely outside my comfort zone.  I am glad to report that I am actually using the process now for some of my own design work.

September’s meeting was round-robin series of demos, all presented by members of the CAB.  Ria Russell showed how to make custom shoulder pads based on the directions from the last issue of Threads magazine.  Nancy Daquino showed several different easy to sew cloth bags, great for use in wrapping presents artfully and especially great for odd-shaped gifts. Jane Casey showcased her pieced placemat and table runner techniques while Kathy Morris demonstrated fabric origami shapes that can be stitched together to make any number of shapes for multiple purposes.  I demonstrated making fabric wrapped, clothesline baskets on the sewing machine.  It always seems that this type of demo meeting is enjoyed by the group, so I hope that such meetings will be scheduled at regular intervals in the coming year.  Everybody needs to be thinking about what they can demo for the group next time.

This should be my last Biased Opinions missive to the ABQ Chapter in my role as Chapter President, so let me start by thanking everyone for their support and help in making it such a great year for our group.  Your CAB has been amazing and have all worked so diligently in each of their roles, often wearing multiple hats with grace and willingness.  I am grateful to each of them for their continued support of our chapter!  We are very blessed to have most of them continuing on the CAB for 2018.  Those ladies include Kathy Morris, Treasurer and Nancy Daquino, Secretary, both of whom will be on the November election ballot for those same positions.  Additionally, in appointed, (non-elected) positions are Jane Casey, Community Service and Ria Russell, Fiber Arts Council Liaison.  You will notice the conspicuous absence of a name for President.  I believe that it is time for me to step down and allow someone else with new and fresh ideas to take that position for 2018.  We are also in need of a new newsletter editor, a new member-at-large and a new Retail Liaison, as Renee Hollis is retiring after many years of service in that position.  Please call me if you have an interest in helping your chapter in adopting any of these roles as your own.  (281-5993)  Your chapter needs you!!!

Thank you all for the privilege of serving you as chapter president for the last 3 years; it has been a wonderful and satisfying experience. I look forward to the remainder of this term and hope that members, old and new, will attend and participate in all our chapter activities, while forging lasting sewing relationships throughout the guild.


Leslie Berky Ashcraft


Again, chapter general meeting time has moved up a half an hour to 6 p.m.