April 17, 2016

use it or lose it part 2

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. In my last post I talked about using or losing your scraps. One of my strategies which kind of combines the two ideas was to clean out my scrap bins to give a bunch away. At our guild’s upcoming quilt show (Apr. 22-24) there will be a scrap pool to play in. (Pay a small fee, get a bag, jam as many scraps of your choice into the bag to take home!) I have some pictures following to show you my “success”. I have been keeping the two bins (one for darks and one for lights) somewhat under control by giving away my smaller scraps to Robi, our guild president, who will work with scraps smaller than I like. But nevertheless the lids and sides of the two bins are usually bulging. So I thought I’d put a big dent in that with a garbage […]
March 31, 2016

Use It or Lose It by Mary Ellen

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Do you have lots of “stuff” in your sewing room or craft room that you haven’t used in ages? Me too. I saw a series of posts on a paper crafter’s web site. She is going through her stash a little bit at a time, and either using the trove of supplies or putting them aside for donation or the trash-losing them. In each of her posts she gives ideas for how she is using some of the supplies, and sometimes also explaining why she is losing some of the other supplies. She has challenged her readers to play along with her, and to share how they are using or losing the overflow in their own stashes. I thought this might be a fun thing for us quilters to try also. So here we go. The category for this week’s “use it or lose it” […]
March 23, 2016

quilting at the Broadway Market??

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’m just back from an almost annual trek to the Easter time Broadway Market. The place was abuzz. I have a Polish brother-in-law who has taught me which stands to frequent and which baked goods one must have at this time of year. But what does the quilter in me gravitate to? The decorated eggs. There were many more stands selling the traditional pysanki than I’ve seen in other years. Must be more folks collecting them, or fewer folks making them at home. I have quite a collection that I’ve accumulated slowly over the years. Nearly all of them are traditional geometric designs, with a bit of symbolism of wheat etc thrown in here and there. Most of those designs are very quilt-like with “piecing” in the geometry, and “applique” in the symbols included. The colors choices are broadening somewhat from those I recall back […]
March 14, 2016

X marks the spot

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. When groups of quilters get chatting about their art, the conversation will often come around to favorite methods for marking. Chalks? pens? pencils? markers? Do the marks come out?… Mark Lipinski, an infamous quilting male, has done a series of tests on an assortment of marking tools and has posted his results at his facebook page. I like the way he structured his testing, and found the results interesting. If marking your quilts is a bugaboo for you, you might be interested in what he has found. Click here. I like crayola products when I absolutely must mark on the fabric. I generally try to avoid having to mark in areas that will be seen, because of the lack of confidence in being able to totally remove the markings later on. I must say though that I have done some “severe” marking with Crayola washable […]
March 10, 2016

Take me out to the ball game…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. It’s often difficult to come up with quilt ideas for the men in our lives. Even changing the fabric choices to near solids often doesn’t make a quilt design quite manly enough. This morning I came across this quilt idea which is perfect for the sports fan. A baseball quilt! Actually with a bit of ingenuity any ball–football, soccer ball, golf ball–could be placed into this plan for a super quilt! I’m thinking I may make this into a softball quilt for my sister who just retired from many years of very successful coaching of varsity softball teams. See what you think. Click here.
March 4, 2016

Put it in neutral

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Went to the car wash the other day. Can’t tell it from the looks of the car now. I’m always a bit nervous about getting the wheels of the car lined up with those tracks that pull the car through the “washing machine”. When “he” says to put it in neutral, that’s my signal that I’ve done it correctly. What else do neutrals have to do with anything? Well for us quilters they usually mean “lights” or “backgrounds”. Each year I set myself a quilting goal. Last year it was to use more orange in my projects. I think I succeeded pretty well on that, and was generally happy with the spark the orange gave to my projects. This year’s goal is to be more adventurous in my choices of backgrounds…to stay away from the whites, ecrus, and very pale fabrics. My first full size […]
March 3, 2016

a grand old gal

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. This video came on my Facebook feed yesterday. It’s about an 88 year old quilter, still going strong. She lives in Indiana, not too far from where I once lived as a youngster. I hope I’ll be as spry as she is when I reach her age. Does she remind you of anyone in your life? Look at the quilts all over her house. I think I might be approaching her collection’s size, but not there yet! Click here to see the video.
February 28, 2016

Who quilts your quilt?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’ve been working on several projects lately that all had deadlines. Because of the time crunch I decided I would quilt one myself that I would usually have sent to my favorite long arm quilter. The style of the quilt is somewhat modern, so I decided to try out some of the very dense quilting that one sees on so many of the Pinterest quilts. I did lots of wavy walking foot quilting and some free motion in opposite corners. The quilt measures about 48″ x 60″. I have a new appreciation for women who quilt bed size quilts on their domestic machines. Granted, my set up of my sewing room does not lend itself to positioning lots of tables around me to support the weight of the quilt. That’s my “fault” I guess you could say. I did put my ironing board next to […]
February 16, 2016

wabi sabi

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Sometimes I get great ideas for blog posts sent to me by a reader. Karen G., a member of our guild, put me onto this blog post from that great shop, Quilter’s Corners, in Ithaca. I had never heard of wabi sabi, which turns out to be a Japanese philosophy. It espouses appreciating simpler things and embracing imperfections in daily living. For those of us quilters who are “recovering perfectionists” (a term borrowed from Beth Ferrier, a past seminar teacher for us), wabi sabi is a concept to explore. If you are interested after reading this post from Ithaca (click here ), maybe we should come up with a banner design to hang in our sewing rooms to remind us!
February 11, 2016

cleaning up

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I took the opportunity today to throw a few quilts in the wash. I have some scrappy quilts, certainly not heirlooms, that I usually have on my couches to protect them from my dog. He likes to get comfortable wherever the sun in pouring in on his back. The quilts collect dirty paw prints and lots of hair (maybe I should join the weaver’s guild to learn how to spin his very prolific hair into a usable yarn? No, I don’t think so. That’s just a little too weird, although I have read about it on the internet. A very reliable information source…Not!) When I wash those couch quilts I just toss them in with towels, cool water, regular detergent and away we go. They go into the dryer along with the towels. In the summertime I take them out after a few minutes and […]