Quilt Market time….and some quick inspirations
October 28, 2013
What’s Up with Me…
November 5, 2013
Quilt Market time….and some quick inspirations
October 28, 2013
What’s Up with Me…
November 5, 2013
Show all

What’s Up with You?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

What’s going on in your sewing and crafting space these days? I just finished a bunch of mason jar transformations, all using fabric, for a demo at the shop where I work. They all were fun, but I think I enjoyed working with the wool the best. It has been a while since I’ve done that. Some of you may remember our guild garage sales that we have had a few times. At the last one we had, I scored a bunch of wool from Betty L. who was moving south. Some was already felted, and the rest I did myself. There was enough fill 2 Rubbermaid storage bins. I’ve made many a project using the wool and have barely made a dent. I’ll include a photo of the jar cuffs I made with the wool. This project got me thinking that I should do more with wool, that I’d better get going on gifts for the holidays, and that we ought to have another guild garage sale sometime. (There’s an idea for our new 2nd vice presidents if you’re looking for a program.)

flower jarleaf jarholly jar

My next demo project for the shop involves folded fabric stars. They are showing up in lots of “quilty” catalogs these days. I’m seeing Christmas ornaments (balls and pine cones in particular) on lots of Pinterest boards too. My first folded star, from a pattern of long ago, was a round star mounted in a quilting hoop that hung on the wall in my kitchen. And yes it was in dusty rose and a chalky blue. (There weren’t many other choices in quilting cottons back then!)

I was chatting with one of our guild members, Irene J, today about the first time we made this sort of star. MY pattern from yesteryear is dated 1980. It is obviously typed on a typewriter and photocopies. We both remembered NOT HAVING A ROTARY CUTTER to use–gasp! We had to cut all of the squares with cardboard templates, using scissors.

from Wikipedia “The first rotary cutter was introduced by the Olfa company in 1979 for garment making, however, it was quickly adopted by quilters. Prior to the invention of the rotary cutter, quilters traced handmade templates of the necessary shapes onto the wrong side of fabric and added 1/4-inch seam allowances all around. Templates were often handmade of (cereal box type) cardboard and the pencil wore down the edges with repeated tracings, rendering them inaccurate; new templates would be made several times until all the patchwork pieces were cut. Pieces were usually cut one at a time with dressmaking scissors, which were often heavy and had long blades that were designed for cutting large pieces for garments but were cumbersome to use for cutting small pieces for patchwork.”

Doesn’t that sound like fun?! Irene and I got laughing about those first days of our quilting bug and wondered why we stayed with it?! Certainly we spent much more time in the prep process than we do now. And with much less accuracy as well. You girls who have always had a rotary cutter in your quilting tools don’t know how much fun you missed (chortle!)

Here’s a pattern link for a quick pin caddy. I like the idea of repurposing bits of tattered or stained embroideries. I picked up a bag of such at the end of the day at a garage sale to save them from the trash bin. This would be a good way to give them new lives; perhaps at our quilt show boutique they could find new homes. This too would be a nice small giftie for sewing buddies at the holidays. Can’t hurt to have a few yourself in your various project bags. Click here.

Do you remember the pre-rotary cutter days of quilting? Did you ever make one of those stars?


  1. Mary D says:

    Hi Mary Ellen, It sounds like the pin caddy would work well with old handkerchiefs as well. By the way, talking about wool, I saw a Baltimore Album type quilt made of wool at the quilt show that is on this weekend just north of us (I didn’t know if I could mention which quilt show). It would be a great way to use those small pieces of wool. It definitely caught the eye of a friend who has worked extensively in wool

    • Mary Ellen says:

      We surely can mention and support the guilds around us. The show is at the Kenan Center ladies. Always a great show.

  2. Marija says:

    oh I remember a wonderful day spent with my quilting buddies (some of them you know…like Martha and Ann…) making Christmas ornaments using this technique! We made quite a few and I continued making them after for some years, to give as presents. I just might go back to that this year!! LOVE your re-purposed canning jars Mary Ellen!

  3. Roxanne says:

    I like that program idea of a guild garage sale. Any program suggestions are always welcome. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *