December 30, 2017

“faux” goals

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. The end of the holiday season is approaching. (Thank goodness!) Soon life will be settling into a regular winter routine and perhaps there will be more time for quilting/crafting/snoozing! Each year around this time many of us make some resolutions for ourselves-sometimes for life in general, sometimes for quilting. How many of us have resolved to work on our UFO’s or to use only the fabric from our stashes (with very little success)? I’m going to take a different tack this year for my quilting “goal”. Here’s mine-I’m going to learn some new techniques for edging/binding my quilt projects. I’m currently finishing up a quilt for which the designer planned a binding from the same fabric as the background in the blocks. I’ve decided the quilt would benefit from more contrast along the edge. I’ve done bindings with an inserted contrast flange in the past, […]
December 21, 2017

3D fabric star

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Those of you who know me well know I am not a big fan of hand stitching-if the job can be done by machine that’s definitely my preference. But that said, I will make exceptions for projects that are not achievable by machine, if they are lovely enough. I came across such an exceptional project this morning. I think this fabric star is just beautiful. Here’s a link to the directions for those interested. You fans of English paper piecing with fussy cut motifs will already know what to do and how to do it! Can you get one of these done by Christmas? Click here for directions.
December 19, 2017

in the home stretch

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Are you ready? Projects finished (lol)? Presents wrapped? Cookies baked? Who am I kidding anyway? But I have something cute for those of you who have made, or are making crafty things to give as gifts this year. Here are some links to gift tags to attach to your hand made items. Free downloads that you can print out yourself. (I’ll have to tell you about the items I made in a post after the holidays, since some of the recipients read this blog now and then.) Click here for tags.  Or here.  Or here. Happy holidays to all -no matter which holiday is yours, I hope you have a happy, fun celebration with your family and friends!
December 12, 2017

a pet peeve-wonky fabric

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Yesterday I worked on a new project for a class I have coming up. I decided that I needed a different background fabric than I had purchased at the outset. In the quilt shop when I originally chose the fabric combination, it looked great. However after making all of my “block A’s”, I got out the fabrics to be used in “block B” and discovered that my chosen background fabric did not want to stay in the background–not enough contrast at all. So I headed to one of our local quilt shops and bought a new option. Because of a time crunch I decided not to pre-wash it and jumped right to the cutting. This new fabric has a very subtle directional pattern, so the persnickety quilter in me decided I needed to straighten the fabric (all 4.5 yards of it!). No matter how many […]
December 10, 2017

beginning to look a lot like…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I spent a lovely evening yesterday at the BNHV’s dinner party “A Taste of Christmas Past”. While in line at the various food stations I had time to really examine the decorated Christmas trees. We (our quilt guild) made quite a few lovely ornaments for one of the trees. Since it seems that quilters like to do handwork at the holidays, I’m thinking you might enjoy this resource. The difficulty levels vary and the techniques used do as well. Click here. How’s your progress on your handmade holidays? Baking? Knitting? Sewing? Quilting? I’m somewhat off kilter this year. Our weather didn’t do the gradual lead up of snow flurries and frosty mornings to give the subtle warnings that the holidays are on the way. However I shouldn’t be surprised once December begins-we do have the holidays at the same time every year after all. I’d […]
November 19, 2017

Scraps of thoughts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Just sharing a few bits today. I was saddened to hear of the recent death of Nancy Zieman. I learned so much from her shows over the many years that I was her fan. I have quite a collection of her DVDs and pattern books. Would be an even larger collection, but I have divested myself of the VCR tapes. I started learning from Nancy when I was still a garment sewer. She knew so much about clothing construction, sharing many techniques which simplified the sewing, and gave very professional results. Nancy subscribed to that thought of making the interior of the garment look as  professional as the outside. When I began to transition to a quilting interest, I just followed Nancy’s lead, knowing I would still get good results. I’ll bet many of you also set your VCR’s to tape her show on Tuesday […]
September 25, 2017

It’s time to get started.

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Started on what? Christmas gifts. What!!! Yep, if you like to make gifts for your friends and loved ones, now would be a good time to begin so you can take some time off around Thanksgiving and still finish without too much frantic late night stitching. (No matter how carefully we try to be organized, there always is some late night sewing right before the holiday!) I just watched a video from Rob at Man Sewing showing how to make an infinity scarf easily from three flannel fat quarters. I think you could crank out several of these scarves in a session. If you found some of those “woolish” looking flannels these would make nice gifts for guys. Lush colors or patterns would make them girly. Have a look at his video and see what you think. Click here.
September 22, 2017

Your other loves…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. What have you been up to this summer? I have not done nearly as much sewing as I usually do. I’ve been enjoying some of my other loves. I bet that many of you are like me, and have several hobbies that you enjoy in addition to quilting. I like to paint. I used to take decorative painting classes, and have many lovely things around the house that I painted while under the tutelage of a wonderful teacher, Beth. Sadly Beth no longer teaches classes and I haven’t found another teacher that suits me. I now and then will tackle a decorative project on my own, but my confidence isn’t enough to take on some of the sort of things we would do together in class. My main painting project for this summer was accomplished with the help of a pair of twin boys, ten […]
July 3, 2017

quilted hearts, part 2

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. In my quest to get rid of/use up/throw away some of the mountains of scrappy things I have in my quilt room, I’ve started making some quilted hearts to sow around town. (See explanation in previous post.) I found in my pile of scraps some quilted fabrics that were trimmed from parts of organizational  containers that I made for a series of demos. What I mean are two pieces of quilters’ cotton with a layer of batting between that have already been quilted into a sandwich. Some are fairly odd shapes, but that will not be an issue. I then dug around in my trimmings drawers to find some short lengths of pompoms, rick rack, lace, piping, seam binding, etc. Next I went to the HUGE stash of buttons to choose some cutesy buttons that cannot go in the washer and/or dryer. I started by […]
June 29, 2017


Hello all, Mary Ellen back! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Life does get in the way sometimes, but I’m going to try to be better about this. Please comment now and then so I won’t feel like I’m just talking to myself. Do you like surprises? I usually do…not surprises of the startling type such as the gigantic garden spider I found under a leaf yesterday-but most surprises are fun. I’ve run across a surprise that I think would be as fun to play on someone, as it would to be surprised by someone. It’s about placing random quilted hearts out in the world for others to find. The finder can keep the heart and, if he/she wants to, log in to the organizers website to tell where they found the heart and perhaps tell a bit about the reaction to the surprise. When I checked […]