November 27, 2016

a precision binding technique

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Sometimes I drive myself crazy with my perfectionist tendencies. Not every quilt I make needs to be perfect. The baby quilts that will get burped on and dragged around, the kids quilts that will be used as tents and forts, the graduates’ quilts that will be on the lawn behind the dorm–no need to perseverate over points cut off, or stitches that didn’t stay in the ditch. I like Beth Ferrier’s  phrase (that’s the name I couldn’t think of at the guild meeting last week) that she is a “recovering perfectionist”. I describe myself that way too. I have let go of many of my tendencies to keep fixing things until they are just right, but I do like knowing how to make things perfect when the occasion merits it. I love a perfect binding for example. On a quilt that is going to be […]
November 15, 2016

the centerfold

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. My copy of McCall’s Quilting magazine  (Jan/Feb 2017) arrived yesterday-and many of us know one of the featured designers. One of our guild’s very talented quilters even made it to be the pin-up in the centerfold. Look for Marija’s quilt right in the center (page 40ff). Any of you who like Marija’s designs should be awaiting our guild’s next raffle quilt (in process right now) with bated breath. Congratulations Marija! It’s a beautiful quilt. Can I have your autograph?!
November 14, 2016

storing and gifting quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’m starting to think about what quilts I’ll be giving away at Christmas time. I have 2 nieces who are always appreciative of a quilt so I need to pick out one for each girl.  My larger dilemma than which quilt to give, is how to wrap and present it? I have done the matching pillowcase thing already a couple of times, done the boring big box thing, done the rolled up and tied with a wide ribbon thing, done the tote bag with quilt in it thing–I’m looking for something new to try.  Any ideas out there? The larger sized quilts that I have been perusing for the dilemma above are all stored flat on the bed in the spare bedroom. That pile is getting quite deep. Even though I give many of my quilts away, it seems that my own personal stash is […]
November 2, 2016

Holiday Quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. One of my chores for today is taking down all of the Halloween decorations, which include quite a few quilted items, and replacing them with fall/Thanksgiving things. Do you have a collection of holiday quilts? After one has been a quilter long enough, it seems that a collection of “quilts” (I’ll use that term to include bed quilts, wall quilts, table runners, …, anything made of a fabric sewn to other fabrics!) grows and grows, until it seems that we will soon have day of the week quilts! Some of you are of an age to recall day of the week under pants! Did you actually wear them on the correct day?! Oops, I digress. What kind of quilts will you be bringing out for the month of November, until it’s time for all of the Christmas stuff? I’ve got a door quilt of a […]
October 14, 2016

Quilts in the family

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I have a quilt that my great-grandmother, the master quilter in our family, made for my mom for her 16th birthday. Since we did not save our quilts “for good” in our family, the quilt is quite tattered in some areas. However the center medallion is still a lovely appliqued ring of irises. I have been looking for a long time to find the source of my grandma’s inspiration. I had been fairly certain that it was from the Mountain Mist collection until quite recently. At the Indianapolis Museum of Art there is currently an exhibit of the quilts of Marie Webster. If you have memories of lovely appliqued floral quilts, often in medallion style, it’s not unlikely that Marie Webster may have played some role in their designs. When I downloaded the pdf of the brochure for this exhibit, there it was. The iris […]
September 30, 2016

Dear John

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Many of you who are members of our guild enjoyed the visit in June by John Kubiniec. His classes got very nice reviews. If you purchased his new book at our most recent guild meeting, and had it autographed, you’ve got (in my humble opinion) a great set of patterns to play with. I have been a fan of the Drunkard’s Path block for a long time. I love those classic standby patterns that have so much versatility when you veer away from the traditional settings or traditional fabric construction. Apparently Bonnie Hunter, another one of our popular national instructors, is a fan of John’s as well. On her blog she is featuring John’s book, with links to other designers’ use of John’s patterns. Enjoy a little virtual quilt show or shop hop. Get a cup of hot tea and settle in with this link. […]
September 25, 2016

2 spools and a pack of bobbins

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Every now and then I run across an idea that causes the “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of reaction. This is one of them. I do not enjoy winding bobbins. Especially when it is in the middle of a row of stitching. Here’s an idea, cheaper than buying prewound bobbins, that can be just a perfect solution if you, like me, use one or two types of thread for all of your piecing. Buy two spools of the same thread. One will be your top thread, and the other spool will all get wound onto bobbins to use for the bottom thread. All of those bobbins you wind from the 2nd spool will run out just about the time you use up the first spool which was reserved for the top thread. Yes you do have to spend some time up front winding […]
September 24, 2016

the quilting world evolves

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Do you remember those years when it was so hard to find cottons appropriate for quilting? How exciting it was when you ran across a new pin dot color? The mauve and dusty blue color combination that was wildly trendy for a few years? We’ve come a long way from those days, haven’t we? If you’ve been around long enough to remember those, then you probably remember when Quilter’s Newsletter magazine was just about the only one available for purchase. How nice it was with historical articles, articles about the winners of the big shows, news about quilting in other countries. A few patterns were included but they weren’t repeats of pattern ideas that many other magazines also ran. Sadly that era of Quilter’s Newsletter has come to an end. It’s final print issue is on news stands now. Maybe you’re one of the quilters […]
September 20, 2016

what’s the deal with stitch length?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’ve been doing a lot of free motion quilting lately. I started with a metallic thread that has never had issues in the past and it shredded like crazy. I changed to an old reliable 40 weight and fortunately it worked well–for awhile. Then I changed the machine needle and rethreaded both the top and the bottom threads. That seemed to have solved the machine issues. But…for whatever reason I could not get into the groove of a nice stitch length that made me happy. Fortunately I was working on a test sandwich–not the good project. I already was going to have to go back and pull out the shredded stitches that started this whole session. Do you ever have days like this at the machine? I must not be the only one. Anyway as I was working my way through the troubleshooting process I […]
August 19, 2016

back to school supplies

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Many of us who have been quilting for awhile now have a selection of quilting supplies that have been taken from other parts of the house and repurposed for quilting. This helps to save money to use on purchasing fabric instead of purchasing high priced gadgets. Now don’t get me wrong…I love me some good gadgets but many times the old timey things actually work as well or better. For example, I use quadrille graph paper for measuring and trimming triangle points. There are two plastic templates on the market which are sold for the purpose of aligning triangle (or other shapes too) pieces which have to be offset for stitching. They cost about $10 a piece (which is equivalent to about a yard of fabric). I’d rather use my ten bucks on the fabric and stick with my 1¢ piece of graph paper for […]