January 12, 2013

a little of this, a little of that

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Odds and ends found while blog hopping: Pat Sloan, our 2013 seminar national teacher visits a NYC group: click right here. If you are a knitter and a Downton Abbey fan as well, you may enjoy these free knitting patterns: click here. Stopped at Wegman’s today for a few items not to be found at my small neighborhood tops and almost fell prey to all of that extra “stuff” in the seasonal aisle. That’s why I’ve pretty much sworn off Wegman’s for the basics. I did pick up a new magazine from the Fons and Porter group called Quilting Quickly. It is full of patterns from Jenny Doan and the crew at the Missouri Star Quilting Company. If you are an avid fan of Jenny’s videos on YouTube, be forewarned that many of the patterns in the magazine have already been featured on Jenny’s channel. […]
January 9, 2013

blog candy

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Only had three comments on the post last week offering blog candy, so each comment had a pretty good chance of winning. I counted the first comment (judged by time stamp) as number 1. As usual I used the internet random number generator to decide the winner. Kit Willey was our second comment. I’ll award the prize at our next guild meeting. Been sewing up a storm of late-making more four patches from my scraps, and am working on a strippy hexagon quilt, using the 60 degree triangle ruler. Also have dug out 2 UFO’s. I’m hoping that sharing about that here, will keep me on track to finishing them. I’ve got a plastic grocery bag of assorted christmas/winter scraps in a variety of sizes which needs a good home. Let me know if you would like it. First response gets the scraps.  Gone! TTFN.
January 6, 2013

finding the time

Hello all, Mary Ellen again. How do we find the time to quilt? I do it by neglecting my housework! (LOL, no I’m not kidding. There are surfaces in my house that haven’t felt a dust cloth in months! I should be ashamed to admit that I guess, but…I’m not. The important, frequently used, rooms are clean and clutter free, but don’t go in the spare bedroom!) Here’s my philosophy-If you drop in unannounced you get what you get. If I know you’re coming, I’ll make a decision. For friends and family I do my best. For acquaintances I may or may not. For strangers-who cares? One of my other vices is an addiction to paper crafting . I love to use scissors, tape, glue, markers, paper… This blog is one that I visit nearly everyday. I thought her post about finding time for stamping could perfectly work for us, […]
January 5, 2013

free motion quilting project

Hello again. Mary Ellen back. When talking with quilters at the demos and classes I present, the topic of free motion quilting often comes up. I consider myself proficient at FMQ but certainly not an expert. As I tell those who ask, the concept of free motion quilting is very simple but the practice of it is not. There is a long learning curve for most of us, requiring lots of time spent stitching to build muscle memory. I have never met a quilter who mastered FMQ right away. One of the websites I visit frequently, when in FMQ mode, is the one maintained by Leah Day. Lots of ideas for designs, well explained. Her blog gives guidance and encouragement. I’m sure many of you have visited her at one time or another,  if FMQ is a goal of yours. This year Leah will be approaching FMQ from a different […]
January 4, 2013

totally not quilting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I never thought I would get hooked on a soap opera. Resisted watching this one until pressure from friends forced me to check out an episode. Got hooked right away. You know which one I’m speaking of, I’ll bet. Yep, Downton Abbey. Can’t wait for the new season to begin, and it’s almost upon us. If you’re a fan as well, there are so many videos all over YouTube lately leading up to the first episode. Here’s one I found fun. So how about you? Are you hooked too? (Keep an eye out, but I’m fairly certain there will be no quilt sightings in any of the episodes. Quilts are probably too common-not posh enough!) If I find that there are lots of Downton Abbey addicts among us, I can add a category to this blog for us to use this season to make “discussion” […]
January 2, 2013

starting fresh

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Got my sewing/crafting room straightened up and somewhat clean today. Starting fresh for 2013. Changed the blades on all of my rotary cutters. I always write the date on one side of the blade when I put a new one in. In a few weeks or months, depending on how much I use them, I will clean the blade, add a drop of sewing machine oil and flip it over. I write the date on the other side then. I can get awhile longer out of it usually. But it doesn’t pay to be stingy on those blades. A sharp blade can make a lot of difference in your cutting accuracy, and will reduce some strain on your wrist. I see many quilters in my classes using the smaller diameter blades. If you do a lot of cutting, consider moving up to the largest diameter. […]
January 1, 2013

resolutions

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Are you one who makes resolutions each year? I used to be such, but didn’t usually follow through very well. I have good intentions, but… In the latest newsletter from Superior Threads, in my inbox this morning, Mother Superior gives a suggested list of resolutions which I think I will give a try. Some I do already, which cuts the list down from its ten. And others I’d like to push myself to try. I’m including her list here, with a few annotations from me. See what you think. 1. I will read my machine’s Owner’s Manual. If it puts you to sleep, at least read the Tension chapter.  If you do not have the Owner’s Manual, go to Google and type in “machine brand, model number, owner’s manual” and you should find it online. 2.  I will use a thread I have never used […]
December 30, 2012

perfect timing

Hello all, Mary Ellen back again. In yesterday’s post I mentioned I’m going to make some tote bags for my organizational “system”. In my e-mail today I got a link to a video from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. If you haven’t watched any of her videos, make that a resolution for this year. You will love Jenny Doan, the hostess, who has such a nice way about her and her wonderful ideas. In the video today she shows an easy way to make three totebags from one charm pack. Yep, that’s right-three!!!! Granted they’re not big bags, but the “pattern” can easily be modified to be wider or taller or both. The general procedure, which she explains very clearly, is so simple. Sometimes Jenny plays fast and loose with some of “the rules” of quilting, but that’s okay by me. She makes it fun, and gives great ideas. Most […]
December 29, 2012

resolutions

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. It’s approaching that time again-the time for goals for the new year. In addition to the old standards-more exercise, less food, finish UFO’s, buy less fabric (actually this goal might be INSTEAD of the old standards!) I’m thinking about adding some new ones to my list. One of them is going to be to start diving into my increasing collections of selvages and make a few projects. I love every project I’ve ever made with selvages and I always get such nice comments when folks see them. Perhaps I’ll take some photos of a couple of them to show you (the ones I still have in my possession). I want to make another big tote bag-I find that I organize my “stuff” for classes and demos by the totebag system (each class or demo gets its own bag) and I could use a few more […]
December 20, 2012

Heeeeeere’s Bonnie!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. By now I hope you are all in tune with our upcoming seminar instructor, Pat Sloan. You now perk up for her ads in magazines, have visited her blog, maybe listened to a podcast or two. Great! In 2014 we’ll be hosting another live wire in the quilting world, Bonnie Hunter. You may know I am a big fan of scrappy quilts, love this quote at Bonnie’s site: “If it’s still ugly, you just didn’t cut it small enough!!” She has been the force behind www.quiltville.com for some time now. Over at the Quilty Pleasures blog, from Quiltmaker magazine, Bonnie is featured today. Take a moment to “meet” another one of our instructors-to-be. There are links to her site and to her feature called Quiltcam. As you might expect, it’s a video cam in her studio which she will sometimes make live while she is […]