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what are you up to?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Have you been busy at the sewing machine lately? Or have you been out in the garden? Or maybe neither or both?

I’ve been doing a bit of both. In January I set a couple of quilting goals for myself. Of course there is the usual one to finish more of my UFO’s. In addition I set a couple related to getting out of my quilting comfort zone to try some new things. One is to use more orange in my quilts. Whenever I see quilts with orange in them, whether in shops, or quilt shows, or magazines, I always admire them. But I find that I seldom make orange quilts, except around Halloween. So far this year I’ve made 2 that took me a little more into the oranges. Another one of my goals is to get away from always using white or cream backgrounds–done that too. I tried a turquoise background on a quilt I made as a sample for a local shop, and I really like how the quilt turned out. I tried a new type of fabric as a background on my most recent quilt–it is “beigy” but its called mochi. Many ladies use it as a fabric for embroidery backgrounds. I think we used to call it kettle cloth in the old days. I combined it with fabrics (some including orange) that would not have been my kind of purchase in the past. Again I’m liking how it has turned out. That quilt needed some applique in the borders to jazz it up a bit. Those who know my quilting style know that applique is a four letter word to me. (Eight letters make it twice as bad!) To make it a bit more my style I used wool for the shapes (no edge treatments needed) and stitched them to the quilt with the machine! (no hand stitching necessary). The only handwork I had to do on this quilt was attaching buttons to the centers of the flowers. I suppose I could have done that with the machine, but I wanted to use perle cotton and about half of the buttons were shank style. Pleased with the overall effect of this most recent quilt.

Would you like to try something new to get out of your quilting comfort zone? What would that be? Please share with all of us by leaving a comment!


  1. knitnkwilt says:

    Two things. Storm at Sea. The precise piecing would be out of my comfort zone. And Mariners’ Compass, pieced, not paper pieced. Those skinny points seem daunting. But women used to do it.

    • Mary Ellen says:

      You might like to look at Sally Collins’ book on precision piecing. She has suggestions for those long skinny points that are in both of those blocks. She offers both tips for the piecing and tips for dealing with the seam allowances that won’t fit well in the space.

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