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 […]
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, […]