March 19, 2018

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Lovely sunny morning today, still chilly but fingers crossed that the worst of the snow falls are over! It’s too late to stitch up something for St. Paddy’s Day, but a bunny or two for Easter is still doable. I love having a cute bunny around for Easter and then into spring so I don’t have to put every Easter decoration away immediately. Try this link to find lots of adorable bunny ideas. Click here. Top o’ the mornin’ to you!
February 28, 2018

celebrities and quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Quilting makes strange bedfellows sometimes. Here’s an unusual pairing: Ken Burns, the filmmaker, and the Kardashians, famous for being famous. Quilting has been in the news of late; both of these mentions surprised me in different ways. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns really values quilts. When talking about one of the quilts in his collection, he says, “If you consider the thousands of woman-hours that went into this, it’s just an extraordinary thing.” “I would not trade it for a $25 million painting by you-name-the-artist,” he added. Click here to view his collection. If you see the large NRA quilt, don’t worry that a political statement about our current state of affairs in this country has snuck in. That quilt is from a different NRA-I’ll let you explore the exhibition for yourself to find out. Can you believe this pairing: the Kardashians and red and white […]
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 […]