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 […]
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 […]