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May 8, 2015

what are you up to?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Have you been busy at the sewing machine lately? Or have you been out in the garden? Or maybe neither or both? I’ve been doing a bit of both. In January I set a couple of quilting goals for myself. Of course there is the usual one to finish more of my UFO’s. In addition I set a couple related to getting out of my quilting comfort zone to try some new things. One is to use more orange in my quilts. Whenever I see quilts with orange in them, whether in shops, or quilt shows, or magazines, I always admire them. But I find that I seldom make orange quilts, except around Halloween. So far this year I’ve made 2 that took me a little more into the oranges. Another one of my goals is to get away from always using white or cream […]
April 24, 2015

going back in history

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. My history as a sewer began with clothing–first with clothing for dollies made with crude little girl hand stitching, gradually working through making my own A line skirts and Peter Pan collared blouses up to making tailored suits and coats. Some of my motivation was financial (in those days, one could make nice clothing spending less than it would cost to purchase similar items); some of my motivation was a desire for unique clothing that would never be seen on anyone else. If you are a watcher of YouTube videos you will know how videos are recommended to you along the side bar or as part of your “subscription” package. Videos about sewing-both quilting and clothing construction–are always in the recommendation list for me. This week I was recommended several episodes of a series called “The Great British Sewing Bee”. I clicked on one of […]
April 17, 2015

Martha and quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by such a volume of e-mail in the morning. I have begun to unsubscribe from those sources whose e-mails aren’t “fun” on a regular basis. One of those I’m thinking of dropping is from Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. Very little is free there anymore, and it seems my taste in quilts is evolving away from the styles they feature. Today, however, as I scrolled down through their post looking for gems, I ran across this. I don’t think of Martha Stewart as a source for quilting information, but we know she collects all sorts of things. In this post she featured a group of patriotic quilts. She doesn’t own them all–she was just showcasing them. She does seem, in this video anyway, to have a sincere appreciation for the art. Some of the quilts are amazing. I particularly like the […]
April 6, 2015

quilts for spring

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Bright mornings like today give me motivation for many adventures. I took a tour of the yard, where it’s not too soggy, and checked out what plants are peaking up. The gardener in me (and some of you too, I’ll wager) is itching to get out to play in the dirt. I’m going to pot up some dahlia bulbs today-entails getting out to the garden shed and finding the potting soil and pots. I bought some dinner plate dahlias, which my dad’s mom used to always have in her garden. She was in a different growing zone, so she didn’t need to start hers in the house. I’ve resigned myself to the fact the we Buffalonians must start many of our plants indoors. I’m not much of a house plant enthusiast so as soon as it’s warm enough, the dahlias will be transplanted into the […]
March 10, 2015

Getting to know you…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I hope that most of you know our guild has decided to offer our fall seminars in alternate years, instead of annually as had been the tradition for 40+ years. Costs of sponsoring a national teacher continue to climb, and it seems interest from our members continues to decline. To give us some breathing space to raise some funds to offset cost increases and to work with our membership to reformat seminar to better fit current wants and schedules, we’ve decided to hold seminar in the same years as our quilt show. We’ll use the show as a publicity opportunity to both our own members and non-member visitors to the show. That all said, I want to start making you aware of all that our next national teacher, Nancy Mahoney, is doing in the quilting world. Nancy has two quilts in the March/April 2015 issue […]
March 9, 2015

in a bind?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I don’t know about you, but hand stitching a quilt’s binding to the back is not my idea of a good time. I know there are quilters who love that, for a variety of reasons. Stitching in front of the tv is a relaxing time, the end of the quilt is in sight, love to hand stitch are a few I’ve been told. Only very special “heirloom” quilts get a hand stitched binding from me. Although I do it well, I’d rather take the faster machine stitched route on most of my quilts. Most my quilts are going to be used, (hopefully not abused), and will be going in and out of the washer and dryer. I’d rather use a decorative stitch to make it a bit more fun and snazzy and “git ‘er done”. Here’s a new technique, new to me anyway, that might […]
March 1, 2015

In Dublin’s fair city, where the quilts are so pretty…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Apologies to all you Irish purists out there. I know those aren’t the right words but I hope you’ll allow me a bit of license. Are you switching out your hearts and flowers and reds and pinks to greens today (or soon anyway)? I have only a few quilted pieces for St. Patrick’s Day and am thinking I should put together one or two small toppers for the special day. Here’s a link to some ideas, in case you have a similar dilemma. Click here.   I think I’m going to round up some green scraps and try out that shamrock with four patch leaves. It should be quick and easy. What’s your favorite technique for 4 patches? When I only need a few, and I want them to be scrappy, I like to use the two from two technique I learned from Billie Lauder […]
February 24, 2015

how dedicated are you?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Do you consider yourself to be a dedicated quilter? Every 2 years or so the organization Quilts in America funds a survey of quilters across the US to find what a dedicated quilter is about. I’m sure that manufacturers and retailers find this information useful in planning their focus. The amount of money spent on quilting is comparable to, (and I’ve heard but can’t find the  citation for you) and has been at times more than, the money spent on golf! Have a look at this summary of the survey results to see where you fit. In many aspects, but not all, I fit the profile. My one concern about this, if you can call it that, is the average age of dedicated quilters. I won’t go into the math of averaging data, but it does tell us that we are an aging group. The […]
February 16, 2015

quilts in the snow

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’m sure that some of you have seen these photos before. Staring out the window this morning looking at bunny tracks in the snow brought them to mind. Our current weather would be great for this. Maybe one of you could go to the meadow in Delaware Park and produce one. Not me! click here.
February 14, 2015

Ya Gotta Have Heart

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Happy Valentine’s Day. With this weather it’s a great day to sit inside and quilt. I’ve done a little search for some heart quilts that could be quick and easy-although you probably won’t get them done today for this year’s holiday, they could be easily finished in time for some other occasion needing heartfelt wishes. log cabin heart (only 12 blocks): click here hearts and chevrons (uses only half square triangles and snowball corners, can easily reduce the number of each needed for a smaller quilt): click here pieced heart block (this is a 12″ block pattern, you can make just one for a small table mat or several for a baby quilt or more): click here Since we’re a bit of the way through February, those of us  participating in the gifting challenge quilt-a-long should be on our 2nd quilty gift project. How are […]