May 12, 2013

controversial quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen again. We’ve been talking about the modern quilting movement and their recent gathering QuiltCon here at the blog of late. One quilt hung in the show at QuiltCon has caused quite a stir among quilters. It definitely “ain’t your grandma’s quilt”! But first let’s back track a bit. In the early 2000’s a group of quilters in Lawrence Kansas wanted to erase some of the “goody two shoes” from the image of quilters and worked together to make a quilt depicting the demise of Sunbonnet Sue. Many quilters were incensed by this attack on the beloved traditional pattern. Apparently some parts of quilting are to be held sacred. Here is a link to an image of the quilt, now residing in a university archives in Michigan. At the International Quilt Show in Houston in 2010, Rochester quilter Randall Cook caused a commotion with his art quilt […]
May 12, 2013

cheery projects

Hello all, it’s ME again. I’ve been looking around for some cheerful warm weather type projects. I’ll share a few I’ve found. Love to check in at Purlbee now and then. They have great project ideas for both knitting and quilting, two hobbies I enjoy. This one is actually stitchery more than patchwork, but that’s where I found it at the site. Great looking coasters–they’ve used wool felt, but craft felt would work too. It just wouldn’t be as absorbent when your Long Island ice tea glass begins to sweat. click here. I know we’re past Easter, but in my backyard we are into full swing bunny season. They tell all their friends to come to the salad bar at Mary Ellen’s. It’s hard to keep them from some of the perennial shoots-particularly they seem to love the bachelor buttons (centaurea, I think is the Latin name). So here’s the […]
May 10, 2013

drooling over dresdens

Hello all, Mary Ellen back again, After writing yesterday’s post, I got dresden plate blocks stuck in my head so I went exploring. I found some neato variations on the traditional block. Not all are easy-peasy but they all are keen! Enough already! Spoiler alert, many are paper pieced to get perfect sized wedges. This one is a off center swirled dresden:click here. A very modern angular dresden: click here. a peppermint pinwheel block: click here. dresden plate lampshade!: click here. ideas for finishing the middle of your dresden plate. The best one is shown on the very chic purse at the beginning of the post-it’s the dimensional rose. Love it! click here. I think this is what I meant yesterday about getting so much mileage out of a few great classic blocks. Enjoy!
May 8, 2013

the charm of traditional blocks

Hello all, It’s Mary Ellen back again. Between the garden, and the sewing machine I haven’t had much time at the blog lately. So I’ll try to catch up a little bit today. I taught a class today on designing your own “drunkard’s path” layout. Part of the class was also learning how to stitch that curve in the block without any puckers. I must say all the students were successful at that. YAY! Accurate cutting and very few pins are the keys in my book. I used Anita Murphy’s drunkard’s path book as a resource (thanks again, Helen). We also went a bit high-tech and used Google images to see SO many gorgeous variations on it. I had brought color photos, but one of the students had her iPad with her so we went on the internet. The students were floored by the versatility of the “module”. I think […]
May 1, 2013

Wednesday’s wanderings…

…is back! 🙂 Again have to apologize for being MIA. Life just runs over me sometimes… 🙂 April wasn’t the best of months around here…(see my blog for the story), but after all April showers DO bring May flowers, spring is in full force around here and it is time to “wake-up”, renew, enjoy the sunshine in your face and grow, grow, grow….Mother nature is so good about all that, we just need to follow! 🙂 Don’t you just LOVE all these first blooms, riots of spring color? I can easily go out for about 10 minutes and come back in with over 100 photos on my digital camera! All of which are quilt inspirations of course… Every spring, this is the color that fascinates me: This incredibly vibrant, “in-your-face” green that is in all the new growth! Specially when it is either against the gray of the tree bark […]
April 30, 2013

morning musings

Hello all, I’m back. Mary Ellen here. I’ve been doing a lot of stitching lately. I’m getting my samples for my seminar class (Get out of the ditch, class K) ready. Actually I have many samples of the quilting techniques around my house in a variety of projects. Your friend the walking foot is capable of many fun designs, once you free yourself from the “quilt in the ditch” box. I’m making up another set of the placemats we’ll be making in class to use as bases for the quilting. It’s hard to choose which fabrics will photograph well for our website, and to choose the 4 quilting motifs to use that will entice you all to take my class. I’m certain you’ll be pleased with the class if you attend, but I need to get a good teaser prepared to convince you of that. I’m also finding that all […]
April 16, 2013

love those hexagons

Hello all, Mary Ellen here again. I think I’ll share a bit more hexagon love today. Nothing quite as neat as the way hexagons will nest together and provide so much more interest than some of the other shapes that will nest (tessellate actually). Even Mother Nature loves a hexagon–think snowflakes, honeycomb cells, crystals… There aren’t very many regular shapes that will do this-squares, rectangles, equilateral triangles. There are ways to construct shapes that will nestle nicely–but they aren’t easy to piece as quilts, and it would require a math lesson to talk about those, so I’m not going there. Here’s a bit more of hexagon math for those who might want to design something of your own using this versatile shape. This is from the Quiltmaker magazine blog: click here. At the Hexie Love board at Pinterest that Quiltmaker has set up (click here) you’ll find wonderful ideas for […]
April 15, 2013

the latest pre-cut

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Are you a nut for those gorgeous pre-cut bundles that every quilt store puts out to tempt us? I know we could cut them easily enough ourself, but we’d never get the little sample of every fabric in the line without driving some poor salesperson nuts cutting little bits for us. And the ladies behind us in line would be shooting daggers at us with their eyes. So much time is saved when someone else (actually some computerized machine) has done all the cutting for us. And then there are all the beautiful patterns written specifically for pre-cuts…I could go on and on. It seems, from the ads I’m seeming of late in the newest quilting mags, that a new pre-cut is coming along–pre-cut hexagons. Don’t flinch at the thought of sewing those. They don’t require hand stitching. Here’s a free pattern and a very […]
April 14, 2013

some new books

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. It is a beautiful morning here in the neighborhood-truly, not tongue in cheek this time. The canine and I had a great walk in the sunshine, and by the end I had taken off my gloves and hat. (whisper-I think spring is in the air) When we returned home, I took a circle around the garden in the spots that aren’t too squishy wet to see what’s up. It’s time to do some clean up of the parts I can reach from the paths–too early to walk on the beds. Don’t get overly anxious you gardeners out there. It’s not good to pack down the dirt walking on it too soon. Lots of leaves are in the beds from our Snyder trees-no matter how late the last fall raking occurs, more leaves come down after. The daffodils are looking great, the hellebores too. Starting to […]
April 12, 2013

this and that again!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. What a lovely day in the neighborhood! Fortunately I can find plenty to keep me busy up in the craft room. I’ve been working on things to be posted at our guild website soon, all seminar details. We’ve gotten the brochures and bookmarks back from the printer and will be labeling those this weekend. If you attend the guild meeting next week, you’ll receive your copy there. A friend can pick yours up if you’re not able to attend. Those remaining after the meeting will be left at the museum for mailing. Anyone who attended last year’s seminar, but is not a guild member, will also receive a brochure in the mail. If you’d like to keep up with Pat Sloan’s quilting adventures, have a look at her April newsletter. She’s posted a free scrap buster pattern called Traffic Jam that I really like, and […]