December 29, 2018

a fresh start for 2019

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’ve started cleaning up my sewing/crafting room and table. One might think an explosion had taken place in there. I have lots of blocks and projects in various stages of completion that I have used in demos at a local quilt shop. I’m trying to make my own little “kits” with the fabrics, directions, and partially done projects so it will be easier to get progress made here and there when I can grab 10 or 15 minutes at the machine. Lots of small pieces of fabric have gone in the garbage–I need to be honest with myself about what pieces are truly too small to save. Many of us make some personal quilting resolutions each year–finishing UFO’s often is on the list. I resolve that nearly every year with varying degrees of success. I found recently a “bucket list” for quilters which for me […]
December 13, 2018

close to crunch time-easy gift

Hello all, Mary Ellen back again. I’m starting to get anxious about holiday preparations. How about you? All done yet? I hope I’m not the only one scurrying around like crazy! I like to dress up the gift cards I give so they look like I put a little more effort into the gift than just a spin of the rack at Tops! This snowman wrap of a candy bar will camouflage the gift card a bit, and who doesn’t like a candy bar? This makes a fun little gift for kids and neighbors even without the addition of a gift card. This author suggests buying one of the cheap fleece blankets that are everywhere this time of year to use for the hat and scarf. They would work great, but so would flannel scraps cut from an old flannel shirt or sheet. I also have used bright fluffy gloves […]
November 30, 2018

Are you making quilts for Christmas?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Have you ever spent hours making a quilt for someone only to find that they have no appreciation of the value of what you’ve made? I know that once you give the quilt away, you’re supposed to relinquish all ownership claims, including any parameters for its use. Hard to do sometimes. This morning I came across this post which really works out the value of a quilt, versus the blanket that some folks equate them to. One of the commenters to this post says she is going to print it out and include it with any quilt she gives away. Not a bad idea. I had another thought while reading the post. I often see quilts and quilted items for sale for less than the cost of the materials it takes to make them. Doesn’t the quilter value her own lovely work?  I’ve been told […]
November 18, 2018

let’s start holiday crafting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here again. Since I was a little girl Thanksgiving has signalled the beginning of holiday crafting season. Many of the crafting projects we did in our house were to be used as gifts-for family, for neighbors, for teachers, for tradesmen, …  That tradition is so deeply ingrained that I still start picking up crafty speed as November winds down. Today in the paper I saw many ideas for the holidays and thought to myself (as many of us do, I’ll bet)–I could make that! One easily crafted item that is very versatile in usage is the lowly Christmas stocking. It’s also a great first project for young stitchers or beginner stitchers. Here’s a link to an assortment of free stocking patterns, ( click here ), not that a pattern is needed. You can draw or trace your own outline of course. But keep reading! If you […]
November 14, 2018

let’s talk turkey

Hello again, Mary Ellen here. As I was perusing pinterest today in search of fun for the holiday crafting, I came across this “turkey” project. I no longer host the Thanksgiving dinner, but if I did, I think I’d be making this. Once made, I think it could be saved from year to year. Basically you are making a felt turkey head to put onto a fresh pineapple body for a fun Thanksgiving table centerpiece. If you have some tweens who enjoy crafting with you, they might find this fun to construct. You’ve still got enough time to buy the felt and get ‘er done. Here’s the link. Gobble, gobble!
November 14, 2018

crafty gifts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Had the kids here this weekend and we were brainstorming what gifts they would like to make for their mom and dad for Christmas. Last year we made painted signs. This year I’m hoping to find something to do with fabric. I also like to make fabric “somethings” for friends and for table favors. If you are planning to participate in the guild gift exchange at our December meeting, perhaps you are looking for something to make too. I found this video for making fabric stars. I have made this type of star many times in the past with paper and always have liked how they finish. When I’ve attempted them with fabric–not so much. The fellow who leads you through the process in the video seems to have worked out some of the trouble spots I have had in the past. I’m planning to […]
October 27, 2018

last chance before Halloween

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. If you still haven’t made a cute Halloween decoration for your front door, here’s a free pattern to have a look at. It’s from the Bernina blog but of course any machine will do. With the time crunch til the holiday, I’d offer some suggestions to speed this up. Instead of making the quilt sandwich as they describe it, try using one or two layers of craft felt. I’m guessing that at this time of year, yellow or orange felt is available by the yard at the big box craft stores. Felt would eliminate the need for hems on the sides or bottom. I have successfully couched down the “hairy” types of yard that the pattern calls for by using just an open toed embroidery foot with a zigzag stitch, and a stiletto type tool to help guide the yarn. Most of us sewed for […]
October 18, 2018

screamy, screamy!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Just ran across this free pattern for a very fun witches hat. If you or someone special need a very funny, and possible funky, hat for greeting trick or treaters, or for a party you’re attending later this month, you might want to make one of these. All of you ladies who will be working at the museum…so fun! Click here for the link.
October 12, 2018

fall quilting

Hello all, Mary Ellen back again. I’ve been looking for an easy fall pattern that isn’t Halloween themed and isn’t pumpkins. I have so many of those already. I came across this yesterday-a very cute fall banner that could go from September through until the holidays. She makes it from wool, with hand stitching. I think plaid homespuns or flannels with machine stitching would be very cute as well. Click here for a free acorn banner pattern. We talk now and then about the status of quilting these days-more or less interest than there used to be? how to attract some younger quilters into the guild? traditional quilting growing? “modern” quilting taking over? I found a source for a few answers to these musings. When I was the guild newsletter editor I would follow the multiple survey results that would appear online and in quilting publications fairly seriously. Since I […]
October 3, 2018

long time no see

Hello all, Mary Ellen here, I have no good excuse for my long absence from blogging. I’m going to make an effort to get back to posting more often. I recently made a fall quilt for a demo that left me with lots of orange and black scraps. This morning I spent some time looking for a quick and easy small project to put those scraps to good use. I found one that I think will work well, and even better I can easily adapt it to use the size of small square scraps that I have. If you like to decorate for fall, and not so much for Halloween you could certainly change the colors of the squares to make yours more of a gourd quilt, rather than a pumpkin quilt. If you don’t have many autumn scraps, the designer starts off with a pillow pattern-one block only to […]