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 […]
July 3, 2017

quilted hearts, part 2

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. In my quest to get rid of/use up/throw away some of the mountains of scrappy things I have in my quilt room, I’ve started making some quilted hearts to sow around town. (See explanation in previous post.) I found in my pile of scraps some quilted fabrics that were trimmed from parts of organizational  containers that I made for a series of demos. What I mean are two pieces of quilters’ cotton with a layer of batting between that have already been quilted into a sandwich. Some are fairly odd shapes, but that will not be an issue. I then dug around in my trimmings drawers to find some short lengths of pompoms, rick rack, lace, piping, seam binding, etc. Next I went to the HUGE stash of buttons to choose some cutesy buttons that cannot go in the washer and/or dryer. I started by […]
June 29, 2017


Hello all, Mary Ellen back! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Life does get in the way sometimes, but I’m going to try to be better about this. Please comment now and then so I won’t feel like I’m just talking to myself. Do you like surprises? I usually do…not surprises of the startling type such as the gigantic garden spider I found under a leaf yesterday-but most surprises are fun. I’ve run across a surprise that I think would be as fun to play on someone, as it would to be surprised by someone. It’s about placing random quilted hearts out in the world for others to find. The finder can keep the heart and, if he/she wants to, log in to the organizers website to tell where they found the heart and perhaps tell a bit about the reaction to the surprise. When I checked […]
April 7, 2017

How much is too much?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Let’s narrow this discussion down to one of a quilter’s most basic tools: scissors. How much will you spend on a pair of scissors? How much is too much? I own LOTS of scissors, and I do mean lots! Probably would approach 50 pairs or more if I counted all of them stashed around the place-the sewing room of course, but also the kitchen, the medicine cabinet, my teaching kit, the garden shed…  Not all of them are expensive scissors. Some are, but I’ve noticed that the quality of the scissors isn’t necessarily commensurate with the cost of the scissors. Some of the kids Fiskar scissors that I have from my school teaching days are of better quality than some of the newer sewing scissors I have purchased. And by quality, I am talking sharpness, retaining their edge for long periods of time, and cutting […]
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 […]