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July 11, 2013

just wondering…

Hello all, Mary Ellen once again, If you’ve ever wondered why the thread tension on your machine is so important and sometimes so finicky, perhaps this animation of the formation of a stitch will clear up some of the confusion. Found a link to this at the selvage blog-great fun for fans of selvage quilts. Have a look here. If you’ve ever wondered how you could put zentangle into your quilts, here’s a nifty tutorial. Great for collectors or black and white fabrics like myself. Even small scraps could be put to use. (click here) I love this idea, and am definitely putting on my list. Some more “zentangle-ish” sketches from a quilter. Like the notebook idea she has. Scroll down a bit in her blog to see the “gray-haired” lady in her quilt. I can’t tell if the hair is selvages or just black and white strips, but I […]
July 5, 2013

what our quilts are worth

hello all, Mary Ellen back. I just came across this discussion at another blog on what our quilts are actually worth. I’m not talking the “sentimental” value. Quilts made and given from the heart are priceless. This discussion was among women selling quilts as an income. Those in the discussion are not the big name “professional” quilters, but are woman like us adding to the family income to pay for groceries, electricity, school clothes, prescriptions, etc. You know what I mean. Even though many were selling at craft shows or other small venues, they were wondering what they should charge for the time, materials and expertise in their items. I will admit that I usually under charge for the quilts/quilted items that I sell. Now that I look over the calculations in the post I will link to at the end, I am REALLY under charging. Granted there is a […]
June 30, 2013

Simplify again.

Back again, it’s ME. Yesterday since the selection of TV shows was so dismal, I started to go back through some of the things I’ve recorded on the DVR. I was way behind on the Sewing with Nancy shows and started there. I watched two episodes of a series where Nancy super-sized some of Grandma’s favorite one patch quilts. She did the tumbler block (thimble shaped) in one episode and Grandmother’s Flower Garden in the second. Those hexagon pieces are the latest pre-cut from Moda, joining the jelly rolls, charm packs, etc.  I’ll be interested to see how the designers show new quilters how to work with them. Usually the dreaded “Y-seam” puts people off. In Nancy’s technique she actually used half-hexies, (trapezoids to me the former math teacher), to completely avoid the Y-seam issue. You can watch those shows at her website I believe, since most of her past […]
June 29, 2013

simplify

It’s ME again, After I finished perusing the book I talked about in yesterday’s post, I went to my other quilt book purchase: Simplify retro by Camille Roskelly. Camille is one of those “modern” quilters who is building a following on a national scale. She and her mom are the team of Moda fabric designers known as bonnie and camille. You might have loved the very popular Moda lines Ruby or Sky or Bliss that they designed. Camille’s premise in this book is using classic blocks, with modern fresh fabrics, often super-sizing the blocks. I’ve been looking for ways to make some of what I think of as the bedrock blocks of quilting, like a churn dash, or a log cabin, more fun for beginners. Generally I’ve liked those classic blocks in a smaller size, like a 4″ or 6″ or even smaller finished size. Seeing them over-sized has given […]
June 26, 2013

shakin’ your booty

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Get up off that chair, step away from the machine and do the Quiltmaker Shuffle!! How fun this would be at a class or a meeting after we’ve all been sitting for too long!?  Give it a try, you already know the motions: hand stitching, free motion quilting, shopping, sewing, you’ll see. Lots of giggling to be had. click here to do the Quiltmaker Shuffle!
June 24, 2013

the next generation of quilters

Hi y’all, Mary Ellen here. If you’ve been following this blog for awhile then you know that I like to listen to Pat Sloan’s podcasts for American Patchwork and Quilting while I walk the dog. One segment of the most recent one was about a new author, Annabel Wrigley, and her book, We Love to Sew, containing projects for teaching tweens to sew and quilt. Great things at her blog too. click here to visit. I have a little sewing buddy who lives next door. She is the official babysitter for my dog, whenever I need someone to feed him or let him out when I’m at work or gone for long periods. She works for fabric. When she was tiny she asked me if I would teach her to sew. I told her when she turned 9 that we would start. She never let me forget it. We got […]
June 22, 2013

your inner finger painter

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. We all know that quilting is good for the soul. We do it for a variety of reasons-seldom, in this day and age, is it a necessity for warmth and shelter. We get more esoteric value from it. But most of this confidence that quilting is a “good thing” is just a “hunch”. No science to confirm it. … Until now. At the guild meeting the other evening a friend shared an article from Prevention Magazine for me to use here at the blog. It’s from the June 2013 issue, and the article’s heading says “Medical research says: Put Some Fun in Your Summer…and the surprising reasons why you should”; the author is Sarah Mahoney. Here’s the excerpt she thought we’d be interested in: “FIND YOUR INNER FINGER PAINTER  While most of us gave up coloring by middle school, any creative endeavor–whether painting, writing, or […]
June 13, 2013

what goes on in our heads?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I’ve been sitting here with my coffee watching the rain come down. It’s such a rarity these days. (NOT!) Actually I think I’m watching my grass grow. I missed my opportunity to mow yesterday and will now pay the price for procrastinating. That lawn will be too heavy to mulch it, so I’ll be emptying the mower bag repeatedly whenever I am able to get out there. I only have only garbage can which I dedicate to yard waste and my lawn will over fill it. I either need to mow more often, or buy another can. The compost bin is full so that will not be an option til I use more of it.  Oh well..this makes for a great day to sew! I’m working on some fabric scarves from an Amy Butler pattern. She calls for voile but I’m using some regular quilting […]
June 10, 2013

there’s an app for that…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. How many times has a tech savvy, usually younger, person said to you “you know, there’s an app for that”? Well here’s an app that you might find useful if you are one of those folks who collects apps like the rest of us collect fabric. It’s an app from Schmetz needles, that will tell you just about anything that you might need to know about sewing machine needles. What size needle should I use with this fabric?  on the app What kind of needle  for this project? on the app What’s the difference between all these kinds of needles? on the app I often get asked needle questions while making demonstrations or teaching classes and this app answers just about all of them. See what you think: click here. I last wrote about the skirts I was making from the “Cute Skirts” pattern from […]
May 30, 2013

Amy and some new friends

Hello all, Mary Ellen back. A few days ago I posted about Amy Butler’s Quilt Market video. Thought I might make a skirt for myself. Well it’s done. I dug around through my archives (doesn’t that sound better than overstuffed storage bins?) to find a skirt pattern. Found one that I had used to make skirts for my nieces and pulled it out. I remembered how easy it was and that was just the ticket! The pattern is from Favorite Things, and is called Cute Skirts. Three styles in a wide size range, sizes 4 – 24. Of course those numbers do not match up with size numbers found in the stores. That would just make too much sense. If you have made garments in the past, you know that this has been an issue for years. Just measure yourself and choose the size you need from the measurement chart. […]