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June 19, 2015

Blog-chatting perks – we have a winner!

Hi everyone, I am so bummed I had to miss the meeting again!! It seems that un-planned things always happen on Thursday, the Guild night?? yeah…last night was unexpected family shuffle as some were battling a little stomach bug that baby is giving everyone these days (but me! – grandma is immune! ) Oh well – maybe in July I will just take a day off when Guild night comes, ha ha! In the meantime – using my coffee break here at work to quickly draw a winner of a surprise I promised, as I promised!! So…what is the prize?? Maybe you guessed it already, but yes – it’s a BOOK! Book we talked about – IRICH CHAIN QUILTS, Contemporary Twist on Classic Design. We had 8 guild members comment (so now we know what they are up to!), each got a number assigned in order of comments appearing – THANK […]
June 17, 2015

Are they done?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Although that title could be about quilt projects, it’s actually about the maple helicopters, whirligigs, schizocarps or whatever you call them. It seems that this year’s crop is at least twice the size of a usual spring. Every garden bed needs another cleaning from them, both those just dry and dead and those that are starting to sprout. The pathways are loaded too–I’ve got work to do before the mulch can go down. In the middle of summer I love those lush maples, but now I hate them. And I haven’t even mentioned cleaning the gutters and the flat roof!! I’ve been enjoying a new quilt book that just arrived. The Farmer’s Wife sampler (this is the 2nd book-using 30’s fabrics this time) is a project that intrigues me. I haven’t been enticed in the past to do any of the block compilation type quilts-Dear […]
June 5, 2015

proven benefits of crafting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. If someone asked you, “why do you quilt?”. what would your answer be? I’m betting it wouldn’t be that it increases dopamine levels in your brain, or that it helps to prevent premature cognitive decline. But quilting (and crafting) does have proven health benefits. Have a look. Click here. Now go make something!
May 23, 2015

Needle Knowledge

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I know it’s a busy weekend for all of us, so I’ll keep this short. When I teach classes I am frequently asked questions about the needles I suggest. I usually will list the needle requirement for my classes as a microtex or sharp needle in a size 80/12 or 90/14, depending on what we will be sewing together. I used to buy all types of needles when they went on sale, but now have settled in to generally just using a sharp. (I have so many “quilting” needles that I could probably build things with them. I never buy universals anymore, and am making an effort to use up the ones I have. Maybe I’ll sell the rest at our upcoming guild garage sale! There’s a thought. (BTW did you know that your old sewing machine needles can be used as nails for hanging […]
May 9, 2015

Things mom taught me

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Many of us inherited our love of quilting and all things fabric from our moms. Our moms are often the best cheerleaders for our quilting efforts. My mom was my first sewing teacher. I was allowed to use the “real” machine when I was a little girl and never had to use “junk” fabric because I was just learning. If there wasn’t money to purchase good fabric for my projects, I learned to wait and save, rather than to buy fabric that wasn’t of good quality. In the days when the standard for well made clothes was clothing made by a dressmaker or tailor, I learned that you wanted your project to look “handmade, not homemade.” I think maybe the perfectionist streak I have came from my mom and great-grandma. Neither worried about the scars to my psyche that would result from picking out stitches […]
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 […]