April 5, 2017

a sewing machine adventure

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. A sewing machine powered by a bicycle. What about that? This young artist has taken to the countryside, streets, world…with her sewing machine behind her bicycle. When she gets where she’s going, she sets up to free motion stitch scenes and portraits. Often the subject of the portrait is riding the bike to power the machine or to recharge its battery. So (sew?!) cool! Check out this article (click here) and if you’re as intrigued as I was, visit her website for even more. Maybe someone could set up a booth like this at the next quilt show?! How awesome would that be?
March 9, 2017

borders without much math

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Borders have been in the news quite a bit of late, haven’t they? Not our kind of borders though! Let’s talk quilt borders. Here’s a video on calculating your cutting size for quilt borders that greatly simplifies the math. Even though the retired math teacher in me cringes when people say they can’t “do the math”, I know that many quilters are just happier to avoid it when possible. This video uses the same technique that I teach to my students for measuring to cut borders and to make your own border stencil templates. See what you think, perhaps you’ll try a pieced border after you see how she does her “figuring”. Click here.
February 19, 2017

Have you met Miss Thing?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Just saw this video clip from Ricky Tims. He was talking about Miss Thing.  You’ve all met her. She’s a member of every guild. And usually she brings her sister!! And another thing about Miss Thing–I hope you aren’t her. But if you are, listen to what Ricky has to say to you. Click here for Ricky’s video.
February 17, 2017

Sold! goes to…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. We had our annual quilt bucks auction last night. For those of you who are not members of our guild, here’s a quick summary of quilt bucks. To me quilt bucks are like monopoly money (I think that game should be called monotony, but that’s for another day!). We earn them by supporting and/or participating in guild activities throughout the year. For example, our community service committee has a pattern for a particular quilt block each month, generally with a few parameters for colors or methodology. Those members who make one or several of the selected block, and return the completed blocks to the next guild meeting, earn quilt bucks for each block they submit. Those bucks are then saved (they are play money bucks printed on paper) by the member until the next auction. If you are an active member of the guild, you […]
February 3, 2017


Hello all, Mary Ellen here. What will you be watching Sunday evening? If you’re not a football fan, you’ll be needing to find a good video since the tv will basically be held captive by all things football-ish! Got a good book to read, or maybe a quilt to work on? Just in case you have to take a dish to a party, here is a recipe for some delicious taboulleh from a former member of our guild. And it’s relatively healthy eating as well! I’ve just copied and pasted it in here so the asides are not mine. Here’s the basic taboulleh (or tabouleh or tabouli or tabbouleh or…..) recipe.  My friend from Lebanon taught me how to make it.  I’ve made it several times over the years, so I really don’t follow a recipe, per se.   There’s no real exact measurements, so all is done to taste. 2 […]
January 26, 2017

after midnight, we gonna…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Is there anybody else out there who quilts late at night? I generally don’t start after midnight, but there have been a few times when the session started earlier extends past the witching hour. Not generally a good idea for me because mistakes tend to multiply. Sometimes though,  a deadline is looming, or plain old insomnia prevails. Are you a fan of Angela Walters? Most of us think of her as a long armer extraordinaire, or as Tula Pink’s quilter. Angela does do much of her own piecing as well. She has a few classes over at Craftsy if that’s of interest to you. Angela also hosts a Youtube series of videos called The Midnight Quilting Show. She shows the construction of a quilt, from the cutting through the piecing and sometimes throws in some quilting tips too. Most of the patterns are free downloads. […]
January 18, 2017

Pinking your seams

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Before I became a quilter, I was a garment sewer. Pinking shears were a tool often used in finishing seams. I still like to use them when sewing things like wallets, purses, tote bags etc. They help to reduce bulk in seams, particularly seams on curves. You might not think that they would be of use to a quilter, but I like to use them whenever I have a curved seam to work with such as those in Drunkard’s Path blocks. If you have a pair of unused pinking shears that you inherited from your mom or grandma, watch this video for a few tips and tricks to maximize their usefulness. Click here.
January 15, 2017

testing, testing! and slicing and dicing

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. We are having an issue with the notification process after I post a new blog entry. If you DID NOT receive an e-mail notification about the previous post (“quilting goals for 2017”) and you usually do, please let me know by commenting on this post. Also if you know of any other technical issues with this blog, please let us know those as well. Do you purchase pre-cut fabrics? Charm packs, jelly rolls, layer cakes or any of the many other variations? Or perhaps do you like the patterns out there for the pre-cut packs but you prefer to cut your own fabrics (scraps perhaps) to make up the pieces needed for the pattern. I am going to be doing a demo soon on cutting for pre-cut type patterns and am curious how many quilters will take the time to cut the variety of fabrics […]
January 10, 2017

quilting goals for 2017

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Wow-It’s been much longer than I thought since I last posted here. I’m going to make a goal to post much more regularly this year. I won’t be specific as to how often or on what days because life gets in the way some times–I’m sure you all know how that is. Despite one’s best laid plans for quilting, there are some things/people in our lives who will always take precedence. Have you made any quilting goals for yourself for this upcoming year? I hesitate to call them resolutions. Somehow for me that means failure when they aren’t met. On the other hand any progress toward a goal, no matter how small, feels like a success to me. Each year I set a small goal for myself related to my quilting–a color to incorporate more often, a new technique to try and/or master, a pattern […]
November 27, 2016

a precision binding technique

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Sometimes I drive myself crazy with my perfectionist tendencies. Not every quilt I make needs to be perfect. The baby quilts that will get burped on and dragged around, the kids quilts that will be used as tents and forts, the graduates’ quilts that will be on the lawn behind the dorm–no need to perseverate over points cut off, or stitches that didn’t stay in the ditch. I like Beth Ferrier’s  phrase (that’s the name I couldn’t think of at the guild meeting last week) that she is a “recovering perfectionist”. I describe myself that way too. I have let go of many of my tendencies to keep fixing things until they are just right, but I do like knowing how to make things perfect when the occasion merits it. I love a perfect binding for example. On a quilt that is going to be […]