Amherst Quilters Guild

April 20, 2019

RIP, Gwen

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. This week one of the quilting world’s very influential teachers passed away. Gwen Marston, perhaps the mother of improvisational piecing, gave many of us permission to ignore some of the edicts from the Quilt Police and to try things which made some traditionalists gasp. I love her work-both her traditional beginnings and even more her free form second act. Rest in peace, Gwen. How are you all doing on your bucket lists? Updates anyone? I got some good ideas at our guild meeting this week for finishing up a long time UFO. How old? Well I know I bought the pattern at Pine Grove when it was out on Stone Road beyond Lockport. Hoping to finish it up before next month’s meeting…Yah, right!? Well maybe before our quilt show is more like it. What are you working on? Did you ever take a class from […]
March 22, 2019

recycling to the nth degree

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Let’s take care of business first. At last evening’s guild meeting the 2nd prize for blog commenting was awarded to Kathy Tomasulo. She won a coffee mug whose handles look like scissor handles–hard to describe. I should have taken a photo of it so I could show you. Perhaps if Kathy see this, she’ll send me a photo (or put one in her comment) which I’ll share with you. Starting with this post will be the collection of names for our next drawing in April. Also several members told me that they receive 3 notifications for each time I post an entry. That is being addressed with the provider of our blog services. I hope that will be solved soon-I know how annoying it is to have your mail clogged with repetitive posts. If you would like to get e-mail notifications when something new is […]
March 19, 2019

the carrot block

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. You might have been intrigued by the bunny and carrot blocks shared a few posts back. There are lots of cute free block tutorials under the tutorial tab when you visit that designer’s blog. To make it easier, if all you want is the directions for the carrot block, here is the link to those directions. Enjoy!
March 19, 2019

spring time tease

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. It’s been an extra long winter, it seems. I need some color to mix with the drab grayness that is left after the snow melts, but before things begin to green up. I’ll be taking a trip to the Botanical Gardens for the Easter flower show soon. Have you ever gone? I highly recommend it! Not too long ago I went to the Botanical Gardens’ orchid show. Here are a couple of the photos I took. Think about how they might inspire some aspect of your quilting. For me one inspires a double Dresden plate, and the other a color combination I might not have thought about. I will be drawing another winner for a blog commenting prize at our guild birthday party this Thursday evening. In order to enter (remember you can enter multiple times, every comment gets you another entry) for this week’s […]
March 14, 2019

going in circles

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Certainly could not let Pi Day go by unnoticed. How do you feel about sewing curves? Are you one of those who thinks they are very difficult to get nice and smooth? If so, I’ll bet you were taught to pin the heck out of your curves-15 or 20 pins in a 4 inch seam for example. I find that 3 pins will usually do the job quite well. One pin at the beginning of the seam, one in the middle, and one at the end. I have found that with more than that, you actually end up pinning the tucks into the seam, rather than smoothing the seam. There is actually some math behind my theory (retired math teacher of course), but we won’t go into that here. Try using just 3 pins and your stiletto to match the edges in between. Of course […]
March 5, 2019

bunnies again

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Yesterday a bunny design for free motion quilting was a topic of discussion. This morning, completely by accident, I can across an adorable bunny and carrot quilt with pieced bunnies and pieced carrots. I hadn’t planned to piece another spring project, but I think I might have to change my mind. Click here to see if you’ll agree with me on how adorable these blocks are! And when you add in a carrot block or two, even more so.
March 4, 2019

quilting your quilt

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’ll be heading up to my machine shortly to continue piecing a top for a class coming up in April. When that’s done I have a top for myself which needs quilting. While looking for some possibilities, I visited the blog of one of my favorite sources for free motion ideas. While I don’t often quilt an entire quilt by free motion, I do often mix walking foot quilting with free motion. Lori Kennedy has a nice collection of motifs at her blog, very clearly drawn in step by step style so you can see just how she drew her little figures in a continuous line of stitching. I was impressed with her bunny-my quilt is a spring time topper and bunnies along the border might be just the perfect thing. Click here and scroll to the end of her post to see her bunny. […]
March 1, 2019

bucket list updating

Hello everyone, Mary Ellen here. How are you progressing on the quilting bucket list challenge that we started at the beginning of the year? Please remember to comment now and then on items from the list that you were able to check off as completed. (As a nice addition- those comments, or any comments to this blog, will put your name into drawings for “quilty” prizes. The next drawing will be at our guild birthday party in March. As for me, I completed #6 by attending our February guild meeting, #9 by completing a quilt using only scraps and stash, and #33 by washing and storing some quilts. I know that some of you completed #17 recently and while doing that probably completed another item or two on the list. Let’s hear from you!
February 24, 2019

amazing mandalas–so much like a quilt

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. This is an amazing video of an artist using a few tools, and magic markers to make a spectacular mandala on a wall. It is so much akin to the medallion quilts which often win the big prizes at national quilt shows, or those Judy Niemeyer quilts for the totally patient and ambitious quilters!  Click here. The math student and teacher in me remembers back to learning and eventually teaching compass “constuctions” in geometry class. Most students either loved or hated them-nothing in between. If you’re old enough to remember learning that in math, where did you fit in? Working with a compass and ruler–Loved it or Hated it? Here’s a clip from an artist who makes her mandalas in the sand on a beach. Deliberately makes them impermanent to be washed away by the tide. Click here. Perhaps some of you will remember a […]
February 2, 2019

cleaning up

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. As I’ve been changing the quilts for the new month (bringing out a few heart/Valentine quilts) I’ve also been washing a few of the things that are going back into storage. This is a topic that can divide us into the red quilters and the blue quilters. We have several of those topics. I find them out when beginner quilters ask me my opinion and then tell me what other quilters have said. Example 1: pre-wash your fabrics or not (me? yes unless they’re small precuts) Example 2: steam or dry iron? (me? the more steam the better, but I have learned the hard way to press and not iron) Example 3: hand stitch or machine stitch your bindings? (me-90% of the time by machine. It is not relaxing for me to sit and stitch those miles of binding, and why not use some of […]