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February 7, 2014

Seams Unlikely

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’ll bet that many of you have watched Nancy Zieman’s show, Sewing with Nancy, on PBS for many years. (Tuesday afternoons at 2:00 on Channel 17 in this area)  I know that I kind of “grew up” as a seamstress with Nancy, learning so much about all aspects of the craft from her. I started with garment sewing, and used many of her tricks and techniques to make my clothes look very professionally made. She still has many shows for garment makers, and has added quite a bit of quilting to her line up. I just recently went back and watched (shows available at her website) her series on the dresden plate. I have her templates and have made some of her Christmas ideas from that show. I think next I’ll try one of the giant dresdens with some of the latest variegated fabrics I […]
February 3, 2014

The Olympic patchwork

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Many of the Olympic games have had associations with quilts and textiles of all sorts. The upcoming games in Sochi are no different. Here is a link to a site showing the patchwork designed for this year’s games.   When you get to the page, click on “look of the games”. It will take you to pages with explanations of many of the Russian textile traditions featured in the patchwork. If you click on “collection”, or “catalogue” in the upper right hand corner, you’ll see some of the clothing using this patchwork design. So very interesting.  (Click here.) Here’s another link to the Kansas City Star quilting website from a 2011 posting with lots of information about this patchwork branding for the Olympics. Within the article is a link to another with photos of many ways the patchwork will be used in publicizing the games. I […]
January 31, 2014

a little of this, a little of that

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Were you able to spend any time at your machine during our recent arctic spell? I’m working on some Dresden plates for a class, and trying to come up with a fabric adaptation of a knitted shawl pattern for myself. It’s cold in my favorite reading spot and I’m trying to find the perfect shoulder wrap. If it works, I’ll be sharing it in a demo at the shop.  I love that classic Dresden plate pattern, but not so much in the classic way–with 30’s reproductions and lace. I’ve been exploring to find other ways to use the plate or fans and have found some that are “out of the box”. I’ve made a wreath with the blades in the past, but these are beyond that. The internet is such a great source for inspiration. I started with a google image search and then just […]
January 18, 2014

this and that

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I enjoy looking around the blogosphere at what other quilters do with the old tried and true quilt blocks. You know the ones I mean–the classic half square triangle, log cabin, flying goose (do you say geese when it’s just one block?), four patch, nine patch, and so on. You wouldn’t think you’d see too much new done with those since they’ve been around for so long.    New look (to me anyway) for half square triangles (or friendship stars if you want a bigger unit): click here. I know many quilters are knitters as well. I just finished some warm mittens for my godsons and a friend, and have some bulky yarns remaining. I was looking around on the internet for an easy cowl neck that I could wear under a coat or perhaps with a turtleneck. Here’s a link to the one I settled […]
January 10, 2014

getting back to a routine?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. It seems that life is ever so slowly getting back into a normal routine. The holiday decorations are back in storage (except for the outdoor wreath on my gate), the kids are back to school (except for the snow days), and I’m back to the machine (except for when I’m knitting).  Do those exceptions all mean it’s not a normal routine? Hmm… I’m working on my favorite type of quilt now. It looks fairly tricky, but it’s actually quite simple. Don’t you love that kind of pattern? This one is from one of the jelly roll and pre-cut books by the Lintotts. I have several of their books: well written and clever ideas for those pre-cut bundles that are so hard to resist. I’ll get the exact title for you shortly. (Here it is at amazon.)The only ever so slight trickiness comes from the fact […]
January 7, 2014

it’s back…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Just finished watching the last bit of Downton Abbey’s first episode of season 4. Won’t say too much specifically since some of you fans might not have seen it yet. Several interesting developments-planting seeds for new story lines obviously. I will say that the dowager was surprisingly nice-for her, I thought. Have you seen the fabric lines inspired by the ladies of Downton? When they began to appear in ads in magazines, I was not impressed at all. Too dull in color for my taste. But now that they are appearing in stores, and I’m seeing a few projects made with the fabric, I’m starting to change my mind. Here’s a link to the photos over at Andover fabrics, with free project plans. What do you think? The purples hint at the Pantone color of the year, just muted down a bit. (Radiant Orchid images) […]
January 5, 2014

resolutions

Hello all, Mary Ellen back. It is amazing when I say 2014 out loud. How can I be this old?! I was reminiscing with a friend about a football party when the Bills came back from behind to the great enjoyment of the crowd and the consternation of the dogs in the room. I ended up with a Doberman in my lap who was very upset by all the shouting! Twenty one years ago! How can that be?! Yikes! Anyway, back to resolutions. Are you like me, resolving every year to work on your UFO stash? (Don’t tell me that you’re one of those quilters who has no UFOs because you always finish a project before moving on to the next one!) I want to actually do something about some of my UFOs this year instead of my usual tactic of just shuffling them. A few days ago I was […]
December 23, 2013

2014 color of the year

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Well, it looks like I have to buy some fabric. Such a hardship, but I have nothing in this shade in my stash. Can’t have that! How about you-do you own any “Radiant Orchid”?  (click here) We’ll be seeing this everywhere–just watch. What will appear first at your house? A sweater, a tee-shirt, or some packaging, or towels, or nail polish, or … even a quilt! Or are you ahead of the curve and already have some of this color living at your house?
December 10, 2013

Christmas crafting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. How have you been? I’ve been AWOL for a while-busy with Christmas preparations. I’m sure you all understand. One of the things I’ve been up to involves Mod Podge. Yes that goopy stuff from the old decoupage crafting craze is still around and going strong. It’s quite amazing what you can get to stick with it. Did you know there is a Mod Podge made especially for fabric? Me either. I found this review (click here) by accident at the site for Craft Test Dummies. After reading what it has to say about the improvement in the fabric texture, I think I will check out whether any of our local big box stores, with my 40% off coupon, have any of the fabric Mod Podge in stock. I do quite a bit of crafting with fabric–making fabric flowers and embellishments in particular—and if it performs […]
November 24, 2013

origami ornaments

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. What a surprise this morning when I checked the thermometer before heading out on our daily constitutional with the canine companion. 14 degrees!! He got his sweater put on him, and I got out my Nanook of the North hat! Thank Goodness the wind was calm, or we would not have gone far at all. As it was we only traveled around 3 blocks as my fingertips were protesting, even though they were encased in mittens rather than gloves. I think while I’m out and about doing some holiday shopping, I’m going to get some new outerwear for myself. I’ve been looking for some nice fabric origami ornaments to make for this year. Found this great idea.  (click here) I’m going to test this out with paper first, but I love the look of her samples. Just replace her word “hexagon” with the correct word […]