June 16, 2015

Hello stranger…. (and a tiny surprise at the end, so read on! )

…and that would be ME! 🙁 Hello everyone, sorry to be MIA for so long from our blog!! What can I say… just life in general! New job, too much fun with my granddaughter, summertime… excuses, excuses!! But early this morning, while it was pouring outside and I couldn’t go for a walk with Marley, I was browsing quilty blogosphere of course, with my morning coffee…and thought that this particular new book (and the fun Blog Hop that goes with it), could be interesting for you all too! IRISH CHAIN QUILTS by Melissa Corry The subtitle is what I really, really LOVE – contemporary twists on a classic design!! And lets just say it from the start – I have no affiliations of course, I don’t even have the book YET! I just love the idea, love the quilts I saw so far and thought to share for inspiration. 🙂 […]
June 5, 2015

proven benefits of crafting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. If someone asked you, “why do you quilt?”. what would your answer be? I’m betting it wouldn’t be that it increases dopamine levels in your brain, or that it helps to prevent premature cognitive decline. But quilting (and crafting) does have proven health benefits. Have a look. Click here. Now go make something!
June 3, 2015

update on our gift along challenge

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Back in January a challenge was thrown down to work on holiday gifts throughout the year instead of waiting for “crunch time” in November and December. The challenge was to make/finish one each month. How’s that working out for you? I’m doing pretty well. But to be honest…I have a little extra help. I teach classes at a local quilt shop and am frequently making sample to use in teaching. I’ve gotten smarter about choosing the fabrics. I now pick them with someone on my gift list in mind. (I’ve got 3 completed gifts living at the shop right now.) That way the sample, when it’s returned to me from the shop, becomes a completed gift. If I know the sample will be still living at the shop after the gift occasion passes, then I choose the fabrics for the step outs with the giftee […]
May 23, 2015

Needle Knowledge

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I know it’s a busy weekend for all of us, so I’ll keep this short. When I teach classes I am frequently asked questions about the needles I suggest. I usually will list the needle requirement for my classes as a microtex or sharp needle in a size 80/12 or 90/14, depending on what we will be sewing together. I used to buy all types of needles when they went on sale, but now have settled in to generally just using a sharp. (I have so many “quilting” needles that I could probably build things with them. I never buy universals anymore, and am making an effort to use up the ones I have. Maybe I’ll sell the rest at our upcoming guild garage sale! There’s a thought. (BTW did you know that your old sewing machine needles can be used as nails for hanging […]
May 9, 2015

Things mom taught me

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Many of us inherited our love of quilting and all things fabric from our moms. Our moms are often the best cheerleaders for our quilting efforts. My mom was my first sewing teacher. I was allowed to use the “real” machine when I was a little girl and never had to use “junk” fabric because I was just learning. If there wasn’t money to purchase good fabric for my projects, I learned to wait and save, rather than to buy fabric that wasn’t of good quality. In the days when the standard for well made clothes was clothing made by a dressmaker or tailor, I learned that you wanted your project to look “handmade, not homemade.” I think maybe the perfectionist streak I have came from my mom and great-grandma. Neither worried about the scars to my psyche that would result from picking out stitches […]
May 8, 2015

what are you up to?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Have you been busy at the sewing machine lately? Or have you been out in the garden? Or maybe neither or both? I’ve been doing a bit of both. In January I set a couple of quilting goals for myself. Of course there is the usual one to finish more of my UFO’s. In addition I set a couple related to getting out of my quilting comfort zone to try some new things. One is to use more orange in my quilts. Whenever I see quilts with orange in them, whether in shops, or quilt shows, or magazines, I always admire them. But I find that I seldom make orange quilts, except around Halloween. So far this year I’ve made 2 that took me a little more into the oranges. Another one of my goals is to get away from always using white or cream […]
April 24, 2015

going back in history

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. My history as a sewer began with clothing–first with clothing for dollies made with crude little girl hand stitching, gradually working through making my own A line skirts and Peter Pan collared blouses up to making tailored suits and coats. Some of my motivation was financial (in those days, one could make nice clothing spending less than it would cost to purchase similar items); some of my motivation was a desire for unique clothing that would never be seen on anyone else. If you are a watcher of YouTube videos you will know how videos are recommended to you along the side bar or as part of your “subscription” package. Videos about sewing-both quilting and clothing construction–are always in the recommendation list for me. This week I was recommended several episodes of a series called “The Great British Sewing Bee”. I clicked on one of […]
April 17, 2015

Martha and quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by such a volume of e-mail in the morning. I have begun to unsubscribe from those sources whose e-mails aren’t “fun” on a regular basis. One of those I’m thinking of dropping is from Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. Very little is free there anymore, and it seems my taste in quilts is evolving away from the styles they feature. Today, however, as I scrolled down through their post looking for gems, I ran across this. I don’t think of Martha Stewart as a source for quilting information, but we know she collects all sorts of things. In this post she featured a group of patriotic quilts. She doesn’t own them all–she was just showcasing them. She does seem, in this video anyway, to have a sincere appreciation for the art. Some of the quilts are amazing. I particularly like the […]
April 13, 2015

sewing for others

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Quilters are among the most generous people I know. Every quilt guild (I think?) has charitable efforts where quilts are made for others and given freely with no expectation of any return. Many individual quilters sew for others as well. Quilts for preemies, for seniors, for veterans, …, and the list goes on. April is National Autism Awareness month. The diagnoses of autism have increased greatly from when I was young. I’m not sure if that’s due only to more awareness of the syndromes, or if it is occurring in the population in higher numbers than in the past. Probably a bit of both. Almost all of us know, or know of, a child who has been diagnosed to be somewhere along the autism spectrum. This quilting project might be just the thing if someone you care about is autistic. This tutorial is for a […]
April 10, 2015

…and another spring idea

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I have a bin into which I throw the selvedge trimmings as I’m sewing. It sits to the right of my sewing machine and is getting fuller and fuller. Seems kind of like the loaves and the fishes, if you get the drift. The more I use selvedges for projects, the more the bin fills up. Never seems to reduce in volume. In between the phases of projects I’m making for work, I’m working on a selvedge project which also uses the 60 degree triangle ruler-perhaps my favorite specialty ruler! But I think I will be taking a break from that project because I ran across this one, which is too cute for words (play on the selvedge concept ladies!). I’ll now be looking for a pair of canvas slip on shoes so I can make myself a pair of these selvedge shoes. Yep, you […]