Amherst Quilters Guild

December 8, 2015

factory stitching mode

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. As we are approaching the big deadline for our holiday crafting, it might help to switch into factory or assembly line mode for getting those crafty or quilty gifts done. Here are some suggestions from a crafter who not only works a full time job, but is a productive quilt artist as well. If you read and used a few tips for finding time to sew from quilt artist Pat Sloan that I wrote about in a previous post, maybe this one will help you make the most of your found time. Click here. Are any of you working on a batch of gifts for the holidays? Today I’m going to be working on pajama pants. The pattern has been traced out in the correct size. Now I’m off to layout the fabric, cut it out, and get to the serger. I don’t use the […]
December 6, 2015

Who knows where the time goes?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. How are we going to find the time to get everything done that either needs to be done this season, or that we want to get done this busy holiday time? Did you have good intentions to make something for each person on your list? It might be time to pare down the scale of those projects, but you still have time to get a lot of sewing done between now and the big day if you plan it right. Pat Sloan (one of our seminar teachers from not too long ago) has some good ideas for finding time everyday to sew. Check out her no-nonsense suggestions! Right here. 945
December 4, 2015

paper footballs

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. If you have had middle school aged boys around you for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with paper footballs. The boys can be entertained for hours with a paper football and a willing opponent. I must admit there were times when monitoring a study hall before the holidays, when I would relent on my harsh study hall teacher persona and allow the boys to play paper football quietly. Who knew that it could solve a storage dilemma that many of us face? …the dilemma of storing all of those plastic bags that seem to multiply like loaves and fishes. In this link you will find how a quilter/crafter solved her dilemma by folding her bags football style and keeping them in a lovely “clothespin” bag. I think this could be a genius gift idea. Particularly if you would do the folding of the […]
December 3, 2015

an oldie but goodie

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Not a big fan of hand sewing. Too slow moving for me. I will hand stitch when it gives better results than the machine, or sometimes on “heirloom” projects that will be gifts. I enjoy embroidery now and then, but regular hand sewing is not for me. That said, I started my sewing journey learning to hand sew. My first non-doll clothing project was a hand sewn apron. Every stitch, including the gathers, was done by hand. That might be the root of my aversion to stitching by hand what could more easily be done by machine. This video tip was shared with me by our guild’s publication editor, Karen G. I knew the first bit about how to thread the needle from long ago, also taught to me by my grandmother. The second lip balm bit is new to me and will be handy […]
December 2, 2015

cute drawstring bag

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Crafty Gemini has been around on the internet for a while now. Vanessa, a clever millenial, has been sharing fun projects to make for your family, friends and home. She now has partnered up with the Jenny Doan empire of Missouri Star Quilt Company, so will become much more familiar to an older audience. But none the less, her projects are cute and quick. In this video she will walk you through the steps of making a drawstring bag. She bills it as a gift bag, but I think it could be useful in many other ways as well. The little boys in my life have all sorts of soldiers and small characters with which they love to stage battles. When going to a restaurant, a few always come along for the wait before the meal is served. My nieces, now too old for dollies, […]
November 20, 2015

a very slick technique

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I don’t know about you, but I hate binding a quilt. It’s like I’m almost to the finish line and then I have to stop in place for some boring work. I don’t enjoy the hand stitching process that so many quilters tell me is very relaxing for them. I have learned a few tricks along the way that make stitching the binding entirely by machine good enough for me, but this video and tutorial I found this morning are very intriguing. I might have to invest in this foot for my machine. I know I could use it for other applications as well. Click here. BTW the heirloom creations site that is referenced in this link is a very good resource for both Bernina owners and Husqvarna Viking owners. Great instructional videos on all sorts of aspects of those machines. I also have e-mailed […]
November 19, 2015

free dresden tree skirt or table topper

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. The dresden plate block is one of my favorites in quilting. I love traditional blocks made with modern fabrics. Here is a video, accompanying a free pattern, for a beautiful dresden style tree skirt or large round table topper. You may not take this on for this holiday season, but it’s definitely a keeper for another year. It would of course be lovely made in non-holiday fabrics as well. Making it with the tree skirt opening would allow you to use it on an umbrella table on your deck this summer. Lovely! Click here.
November 7, 2015

felting your own wool for projects

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Have you (or a laundry helper) ever mistakenly put a sweater into the laundry only to discover it at half its original size when it came out of the washer? If so, then you have already felted wool. Actually wool is not the only fiber that will “felt” but it is the most commonly used one. With the price of felted wool in quilt shops so astronomical, it’s well worth making some of your own. If you did the math to calculate how much per yard those luscious 8″ x 8″ pieces actually cost, you would have apoplexy. If you have a friend who also loves felted wool who would join you in this project, you could trade pieces and get a nice assortment for yourselves. I have some bits left from felting some men’s suit coats that I found in a thrift shop several […]
November 6, 2015

charming trays

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Do you think the end of the falling leaves is coming soon? The piles of leaves at the curb are quite high, the Town hasn’t even made one pick up run yet, and my yard is really getting covered today. I’m hoping that these variable temperatures, rain and wind are going to bring down the rest of them so I can finish up and declare fall finished for 2015. Raking leaves is not as fun as it was in my childhood when all the families would make a huge leaf pile, and then we’d set it afire and cook hot dogs! Of course that was many, many moons ago before all of those pesky rules about open fires were put into place to protect us. How did we ever make it to adulthood with all the “dangerous” (air quotes) things our parents let us do! […]
November 4, 2015

Handmade Holidays

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Ever since I was a little girl I have made gifts at the holiday time, and made decorations, and made cookies, etc. etc. The holidays have always been a time for crafting. Judging by the displays in most of our local stores, it is now officially holiday time. I even came across a radio station which is already playing Christmas tunes 24/7. That’s over the top in my book. Anyway if you are a bit like me and enjoy making all sorts of things for the holidays, you might enjoy this website’s annual tradition. They call it Handmade Holidays. There is a theme each day, with a list of projects fitting the theme. They explain it much better than I can summarize, and if you like you can look back through what they have featured in years past. So here you go–let the crafting begin. […]