April 17, 2015

Martha and quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by such a volume of e-mail in the morning. I have begun to unsubscribe from those sources whose e-mails aren’t “fun” on a regular basis. One of those I’m thinking of dropping is from Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. Very little is free there anymore, and it seems my taste in quilts is evolving away from the styles they feature. Today, however, as I scrolled down through their post looking for gems, I ran across this. I don’t think of Martha Stewart as a source for quilting information, but we know she collects all sorts of things. In this post she featured a group of patriotic quilts. She doesn’t own them all–she was just showcasing them. She does seem, in this video anyway, to have a sincere appreciation for the art. Some of the quilts are amazing. I particularly like the […]
April 13, 2015

sewing for others

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Quilters are among the most generous people I know. Every quilt guild (I think?) has charitable efforts where quilts are made for others and given freely with no expectation of any return. Many individual quilters sew for others as well. Quilts for preemies, for seniors, for veterans, …, and the list goes on. April is National Autism Awareness month. The diagnoses of autism have increased greatly from when I was young. I’m not sure if that’s due only to more awareness of the syndromes, or if it is occurring in the population in higher numbers than in the past. Probably a bit of both. Almost all of us know, or know of, a child who has been diagnosed to be somewhere along the autism spectrum. This quilting project might be just the thing if someone you care about is autistic. This tutorial is for a […]
April 10, 2015

…and another spring idea

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I have a bin into which I throw the selvedge trimmings as I’m sewing. It sits to the right of my sewing machine and is getting fuller and fuller. Seems kind of like the loaves and the fishes, if you get the drift. The more I use selvedges for projects, the more the bin fills up. Never seems to reduce in volume. In between the phases of projects I’m making for work, I’m working on a selvedge project which also uses the 60 degree triangle ruler-perhaps my favorite specialty ruler! But I think I will be taking a break from that project because I ran across this one, which is too cute for words (play on the selvedge concept ladies!). I’ll now be looking for a pair of canvas slip on shoes so I can make myself a pair of these selvedge shoes. Yep, you […]
April 7, 2015

another spring quilt idea

Hi all, Mary Ellen again. I spotted this one on my e-mail again this morning. Awhile back here on the blog we had some discussion going about the jelly roll 1600 quilts. (Look in side bar for a category link) This quilt was not made as a 1600, but certainly could be. That one strip that makes it more interesting, is just cut from the finished top, top and bottom ends reversed in orientation, sashing/border added to the cut strip and then inserted into the top. It’s a quick and easy way to take a 1600 quilt up a few notches. The reason I pulled this pattern idea out is that I came across a jelly roll I’d forgotten about, while looking through my UFO’s recently. This quilt would make a great gift for a niece’s birthday, since the jelly roll was chosen with her in mind originally. Check out […]
April 6, 2015

quilts for spring

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Bright mornings like today give me motivation for many adventures. I took a tour of the yard, where it’s not too soggy, and checked out what plants are peaking up. The gardener in me (and some of you too, I’ll wager) is itching to get out to play in the dirt. I’m going to pot up some dahlia bulbs today-entails getting out to the garden shed and finding the potting soil and pots. I bought some dinner plate dahlias, which my dad’s mom used to always have in her garden. She was in a different growing zone, so she didn’t need to start hers in the house. I’ve resigned myself to the fact the we Buffalonians must start many of our plants indoors. I’m not much of a house plant enthusiast so as soon as it’s warm enough, the dahlias will be transplanted into the […]
March 16, 2015

3 things we should stop doing

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Although Angela Walters says these are things that machine quilters should stop doing, I think they apply to all quilters–not just machine quilters. If you always send your tops out to be quilted by someone else, the main ideas in Angela’s piece apply to those who are piecers as well. The rest I’ll leave up to Angela: Click here. (p.s. Blog candy coming soon. I’m almost to a milestone in my blogging at this site. Stay tuned!)
March 10, 2015

Getting to know you…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I hope that most of you know our guild has decided to offer our fall seminars in alternate years, instead of annually as had been the tradition for 40+ years. Costs of sponsoring a national teacher continue to climb, and it seems interest from our members continues to decline. To give us some breathing space to raise some funds to offset cost increases and to work with our membership to reformat seminar to better fit current wants and schedules, we’ve decided to hold seminar in the same years as our quilt show. We’ll use the show as a publicity opportunity to both our own members and non-member visitors to the show. That all said, I want to start making you aware of all that our next national teacher, Nancy Mahoney, is doing in the quilting world. Nancy has two quilts in the March/April 2015 issue […]
March 9, 2015

in a bind?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I don’t know about you, but hand stitching a quilt’s binding to the back is not my idea of a good time. I know there are quilters who love that, for a variety of reasons. Stitching in front of the tv is a relaxing time, the end of the quilt is in sight, love to hand stitch are a few I’ve been told. Only very special “heirloom” quilts get a hand stitched binding from me. Although I do it well, I’d rather take the faster machine stitched route on most of my quilts. Most my quilts are going to be used, (hopefully not abused), and will be going in and out of the washer and dryer. I’d rather use a decorative stitch to make it a bit more fun and snazzy and “git ‘er done”. Here’s a new technique, new to me anyway, that might […]
March 1, 2015

In Dublin’s fair city, where the quilts are so pretty…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Apologies to all you Irish purists out there. I know those aren’t the right words but I hope you’ll allow me a bit of license. Are you switching out your hearts and flowers and reds and pinks to greens today (or soon anyway)? I have only a few quilted pieces for St. Patrick’s Day and am thinking I should put together one or two small toppers for the special day. Here’s a link to some ideas, in case you have a similar dilemma. Click here.   I think I’m going to round up some green scraps and try out that shamrock with four patch leaves. It should be quick and easy. What’s your favorite technique for 4 patches? When I only need a few, and I want them to be scrappy, I like to use the two from two technique I learned from Billie Lauder […]
February 24, 2015

how dedicated are you?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Do you consider yourself to be a dedicated quilter? Every 2 years or so the organization Quilts in America funds a survey of quilters across the US to find what a dedicated quilter is about. I’m sure that manufacturers and retailers find this information useful in planning their focus. The amount of money spent on quilting is comparable to, (and I’ve heard but can’t find the  citation for you) and has been at times more than, the money spent on golf! Have a look at this summary of the survey results to see where you fit. In many aspects, but not all, I fit the profile. My one concern about this, if you can call it that, is the average age of dedicated quilters. I won’t go into the math of averaging data, but it does tell us that we are an aging group. The […]