February 13, 2014

We are $ew Worth It

Hello all, Mary Ellen again. This will speak for itself. (Click here for an interesting point of view on what our hand-made things are really worth.) I wonder if you”ll agree with her. I’ll be honest, I stopped selling my quilts because I couldn’t get very many folks to pay what I felt they are worth. And I’ve learned to be judicious in choosing gift quilt recipients who appreciate what they are getting. Here’s a cute project for spring. Some cheerful shoes and digging in your button box. Have a look at this. (click here.) If you’ve sewed a lot lately, it might be time to take care of your scissors. I do this now and then (training from my old tailoring teacher who was a strict old bird!), but not often enough. If you own some really good scissors, and you do this “maintenance” routine, along with periodic sharpening, […]
February 7, 2014

Seams Unlikely

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’ll bet that many of you have watched Nancy Zieman’s show, Sewing with Nancy, on PBS for many years. (Tuesday afternoons at 2:00 on Channel 17 in this area)  I know that I kind of “grew up” as a seamstress with Nancy, learning so much about all aspects of the craft from her. I started with garment sewing, and used many of her tricks and techniques to make my clothes look very professionally made. She still has many shows for garment makers, and has added quite a bit of quilting to her line up. I just recently went back and watched (shows available at her website) her series on the dresden plate. I have her templates and have made some of her Christmas ideas from that show. I think next I’ll try one of the giant dresdens with some of the latest variegated fabrics I […]
February 3, 2014

The Olympic patchwork

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Many of the Olympic games have had associations with quilts and textiles of all sorts. The upcoming games in Sochi are no different. Here is a link to a site showing the patchwork designed for this year’s games.   When you get to the page, click on “look of the games”. It will take you to pages with explanations of many of the Russian textile traditions featured in the patchwork. If you click on “collection”, or “catalogue” in the upper right hand corner, you’ll see some of the clothing using this patchwork design. So very interesting.  (Click here.) Here’s another link to the Kansas City Star quilting website from a 2011 posting with lots of information about this patchwork branding for the Olympics. Within the article is a link to another with photos of many ways the patchwork will be used in publicizing the games. I […]
January 31, 2014

a little of this, a little of that

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Were you able to spend any time at your machine during our recent arctic spell? I’m working on some Dresden plates for a class, and trying to come up with a fabric adaptation of a knitted shawl pattern for myself. It’s cold in my favorite reading spot and I’m trying to find the perfect shoulder wrap. If it works, I’ll be sharing it in a demo at the shop.  I love that classic Dresden plate pattern, but not so much in the classic way–with 30’s reproductions and lace. I’ve been exploring to find other ways to use the plate or fans and have found some that are “out of the box”. I’ve made a wreath with the blades in the past, but these are beyond that. The internet is such a great source for inspiration. I started with a google image search and then just […]
January 29, 2014

Wednesday’s Wanderings

Hi everyone, how are you keeping warm? I find that these days I need that extra 20 minutes after coming in from the cold to just sit under the quilt, with hot tea or coffee – just to warm-up and bring myself to normal – and only THEN I can function properly! Of course all this winter stuff is nothing new for us here, but sometimes just listening to all the media talk makes me feel apprehensive and nervous, then Marley and I go out and I realize – oh it’s not that bad, just normal Buffalo stuff… 🙂 Granted, even our walks are shorter a bit and I even saw my snow-dog lift his paws few times during the walk, when it starts being a little uncomfortable… but just look at his face after the walk! I swear he is smiling every time! This was just the other morning. […]
January 21, 2014

running reds

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Are you a pre-washer or not? This seems to be one of the BIG quilt questions that can separate a group of quilters into 2 camps pretty quickly. (Another one of those questions–Do you use steam when you press your seams? but that’s for another day) I am a pre-washer. I have had a few nasty surprises in my quilting career that took all the fun out of some projects. I almost had another one yesterday. I finished a log cabin quilt to be used as a class sample. I had used some dressmaker’s chalk to mark a garland in the outer border. When I got the whole thing done and bound, I threw it in the washer to get the chalk out, and to give it that nice crinkly look a quilt made with 100% cotton batting will get. Yep, I had used a […]
January 18, 2014

this and that

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I enjoy looking around the blogosphere at what other quilters do with the old tried and true quilt blocks. You know the ones I mean–the classic half square triangle, log cabin, flying goose (do you say geese when it’s just one block?), four patch, nine patch, and so on. You wouldn’t think you’d see too much new done with those since they’ve been around for so long.    New look (to me anyway) for half square triangles (or friendship stars if you want a bigger unit): click here. I know many quilters are knitters as well. I just finished some warm mittens for my godsons and a friend, and have some bulky yarns remaining. I was looking around on the internet for an easy cowl neck that I could wear under a coat or perhaps with a turtleneck. Here’s a link to the one I settled […]
January 15, 2014

Wednesday’s Wanderings…wondered back! :)

Hi everyone, Happy New Year!! Yeah, I know, I am a bit late for that and a bit MIA lately and I so very much apologize! It seems that all together, holiday hustle, polar vortex, flooded basement and few other “fun” things combined lately to take me away from regular blogging. I also realized that I needed few days to joust RELAX, do whatever, do nothing, NOT have a schedule…just chill (as my kids would tell me). So I did that too. Loved it. However, now it is time to get on with this year. 🙂 One thing I realized these days (you know, that old year-new year re-cap, re-evaluation, resolution and ….thing? yeah, that one.), is that blogging is a very important part of my life now and when I am not doing it, or when I lag in realizing all my ideas and inspirations – it makes me […]
January 14, 2014

the most beautiful sewing machine in the world

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. That’s the opinion of the man filming this video. ( most beautiful video) I ran across him totally by accident at YouTube and have watched just a couple of his videos. Love his Sussex accent. If you enjoy this video, look over his list and I’m sure you’ll find some others of interest, particularly if you enjoy old/antique machines.  If you have the time have a look at the one featuring the toy machines.
January 10, 2014

getting back to a routine?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. It seems that life is ever so slowly getting back into a normal routine. The holiday decorations are back in storage (except for the outdoor wreath on my gate), the kids are back to school (except for the snow days), and I’m back to the machine (except for when I’m knitting).  Do those exceptions all mean it’s not a normal routine? Hmm… I’m working on my favorite type of quilt now. It looks fairly tricky, but it’s actually quite simple. Don’t you love that kind of pattern? This one is from one of the jelly roll and pre-cut books by the Lintotts. I have several of their books: well written and clever ideas for those pre-cut bundles that are so hard to resist. I’ll get the exact title for you shortly. (Here it is at amazon.)The only ever so slight trickiness comes from the fact […]