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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 […]
February 5, 2015

Not happy with your work?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. This clip that I am linking to below was shared by one of our guild members, Karen G., who is a blog reader as well. The clip is from Ira Glass, a commentator on NPR. He’s not talking about quilting per se, but about the creative process in general. Good counsel for all of us, I think. Thank you to Karen for sharing, click here
January 31, 2015

sewing by and for guys

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Nearly all of us have sewn a quilt for a male family member or friend. But…have you ever sewn with a male family member or friend? Not so many of us. I have mentioned Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company here before. She and quilter Rob Appell are starting a new venture together: Man Sewing. I think it will be fun and I’ve already subscribed to get the first few videos. I have 2 grandsons turning 8 today. Maybe I’ll be able to get a quilter out of one of them. One of them is very interested in any type of machine, and I’ve got a machine with considerable bells and whistles that he might find to be “awesome”. Have a look at Jenny and Rob’s skateboard quilt here. click here  Great idea for the boys in those “middle” years. Here’s a link to […]
January 22, 2015

Signing your work

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Do you label or sign your quilts when you finish them? I generally do except for table runners and toppers. I’m finding more and more when I change the “quilts” for the seasons or holidays that I like to look on the back to check when I made the piece. I’m often surprised-sometimes by how old the piece is and sometimes the reverse, by how recently I made it. I’m just checking for dates. I do hope that all of my pieces will find good homes after I’m gone. What would those owners want to know when enjoying my quilted art works? Maybe I should be including more information. Isn’t it fun when examining an antique quilt to find the quilters name and date somewhere-even more fun if it tells where and why it was made? We should be adding those little surprises to our […]
January 21, 2015

Hey, I know her!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Look at this site that I was mailed from Free Quilt Patterns.com.  I know her!! I think many of you do too. click here Congrats on your moment of fame, Marija!
January 20, 2015

odds and ends

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. How’s everybody enjoying the new season of Downton Abbey? I haven’t watched the 3rd episode yet, but I am enjoying the season to date. Love that Maggie Smith/Dowager character. She says the darndest things! And Lady Mary’s escapades…my, my! Have you purchased any of the Downton Abbey fabrics? I think they’re on the third collection now. I’ve used a few as fillers in a project or two for the shop where I teach, but have not gone for an entire project with them as of yet. How about you? If you did make an entire project, what was it? Quilt? bag? purse? I get the newsletter from Superior Threads regularly. Bob always includes a joke-very tame and inoffensive. Often they include a play on words or some sort of pun. Love myself a good pun. Since I am working on a very common goal of […]