Monthly Archives: May 2012

Is quilting cool?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Recently was talking to a shop owner newly back from Quilt Market in Kansas City. She was pleased with the influx of so many young (35 ish) quilt and fabric designers. It bodes well for the future of the industry that young people are getting involved in the business.

How do we interest, and then keep, young quilters coming to the hobby we love so much? How can we make quilting “cool”? How do we make young quilters aware of our guild? Get them to visit? Actually join? What kinds of activities would they like to be a part of? We who are members of the “older” quilting contingent should find ways to pass the needles and frames on to the next generation of quilters.

If you, or someone in your life, is a fan of Anthropologie or Pottery Barn then you probably have seen some of the new “modern” style of quilts. They very often are based on traditional patterns such as the log cabin block, or the rail fence or one block designs. Very graphic designs done with the gorgeous saturated solids that are available now are typical of what I call “modern” quilts. Fussy quilts, loaded with intricate floral applique, would not be my idea of a modern quilt.

There is a new book  called Geared for Guys by Emily Herrick that I have seen mentioned in lots of bloggers’ posts about Quilt Market. It’s not loaded with fish and deer fabrics, or Nascar and NFL images! The photos of quilts that I have seen from it are just “modern” to me. Rather spare in detail, focusing on geometry and color play. Here’s a link to a blog book tour of the designs-they all could be geared for gals too with different fabric choices.

To finish up, here’s an interesting nod to very traditional quilting from a modern tech perspective. You can get a Dear Jane cover for your blackberry! I wonder if they have them for iPhones! Look here. Now that’s cool!!

Here’s another idea-let’s all join a gang and give ourselves “gangsta” names. Check this quilting gang out. Right here.

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checking up on Beth

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

If you’re a guild member or a blog follower, you know that Beth Ferrier will be one of the national teachers at seminar this fall. I check in at her blog now and then to see what’s up with her.

Look at this cool thing she is doing on some of her windows (April 20 post). Applique patterns as window designs! One of my bathrooms has a small window where this could be a very nice screen of the outdoors. Hmm…thinking about what design I might use.

Start keeping an eye out for her new book which was to debut at Quilt Market this spring. She has only been giving hints-so it’ll be a surprise for all of us. Here’s a bit more of a hint from the publisher. I see it’s due out in October-if we’re lucky maybe she’ll have some for us at seminar. Although I’m going to give her applique technique a try, I’m a piecer at heart. I’ll have to have this new book!

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Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Found a wonderful collection of patriotic quilts at the International Quilt Study Museum. Women (and a few men) have often expressed their patriotism through the things they’ve stitched. Type “patriotic” in the keyword blank at this site and you will find a collection of quilts, some with many supporting details and some not. What a wide array of styles expressing patriotic feelings and influences.

Going to put out a few flags around the yard and get down to the business of yard work. I regret that I don’t have a patriotic quilt to bring out this weekend. I think I’ll have to do something about that, perhaps for a subsequent Quilt-a-Long.

Have a safe, and happy holiday weekend everyone.

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This and That

Hello all, ME here.

Spent some time exploring Pinterest this morning. Here are a few of my best quilty finds.

I don’t know if I’m too old for these scrap necklaces or not. Hmm…they look cute against the plain white T shirt. Definitely could be an idea to do with kiddoes.

Love this girly quilt. The dress mannequin and the parasols are the best! If I spy this pattern somewhere I’ll have to have it. What a great pieced border too.

This quilt  (Dec 6, 2011 post) is gorgeous. The fussy placement of the flowers in the clamshells is especially nice. I certainly admire the patience of some quilters–my patience is used for other things. I won’t ever be making a quilt like this but I sure do like it!

Here’s a very cool dresden fan block. Love how you can make it look very circular or more octagonal. I also like how the dark band at the center vs. the dark band at the outside really changes the look of the block. This one uses a 15 degree ruler for the wedges (6 per quarter). If you want, just enjoy the pictures and skip the “mathy” stuff at the end. For me, the former math teacher, I appreciate that she included that part!

Here’s the last one for today. I love words on quilts, and I love miniature quilts. This idea combines both. I think I may have to do something like it. Since I also love redwork, I might embroider whatever words I include.

BTW, how is your Loosey Goosey star coming along? I have the idea for the June star ready. It’s a nice pieced block, not too much matching except a few corners. I’m planning for the 6 stars to have lots of background fabric around the perimeters of the blocks so they will “float” a bit. Remember there are no “rules” for this quilt-a-long so if you didn’t want to do the first paper pieced star, feel free to jump in anytime. As you finish your stars if you would like to have a photo included in our Loosey Goosey album at the guild site, you can send a photo to me, or to Don Dee, webmaster extraordinaire, or bring it to show and share at the next meeting.


Filed under eye candy, Lucy Goosey, Quilt-a-Long, tips and tricks

Missed Monday

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Where did Monday go? Flew by with only laundry accomplished. Shouldn’t one get more done than that in a day?

So what’s up with you? How does your garden grow? I’m into transplanting now, and taking the absolutely humungous Christmas cactus plants outdoors for the summer. I have one that came from a start my Nana gave me when I started my first apartment. It now is so large that I have to turn it on its side to get it through the door. That was in the fall when I brought it in for the winter. I’m going to take it outdoors today-if it has grown much over the winter, I’ll be in trouble. It weighs a ton-I know that from attempting to vacuum up the fallen blossoms behind the plant stand. I may have to call for reinforcements from next door to help me.

Looked around on Pinterest this morning. So much inspiration. Here’s a collection from one of Rachel Griffith’s boards. She blogs at “ps i quilt“. You might like her quirky Southern take on things. Very fresh quilting style, and great down home recipes now and then. Try the biscuit recipe–great old fashioned biscuits, perfect for strawberry shortcake. If you want a sweeter dough, just add a few teaspoons of sugar.

Did you see that Anita Grossman-Solomon does have a quick cutting trick for the block in the magazine that I mentioned a few posts back (Seminar Spotting on May 12) ? She posted a comment (thanks, Anita!) and included a link to the cutting trick. Make sure to sign up for one of her classes this fall.

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bloggers’ quilt festival

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I love surfing the internet for quilt “stuff”. You can find everything you’re looking for and more. So many quilters are getting into blogging these days-like us. There are even online quilt shows to visit, where you can vote for viewers choice, favorite baby quilt, favorite… just like a “real” show.You can’t fondle the fabric or visit the vendors (but you can follow their links to the online shops!), or chat with the other quilters, but you can look at a quilt for as long as you want without feeling that you’re holding up the traffic and you can zoom in for a close look.

Here’s a link to a bloggers’ quilt festival for you. Enjoy it at your leisure, maybe we can aspire to doing something like this in the future. And be sure to visit our guild site and look at the photos from our show-whether you attended in person and want to revisit, or whether you weren’t able to join us. It’s a great show either way.

Have a great day outdoors-putting in your annuals yet? The neighbors are ahead of me–I’d better get moving. Finally got all the sawdust from my removed maple tree out of the beds (as much as I can anyway), all 9 yard bags full, and now can put in a sunny garden where it used to be shady. The stump is still there, low to the ground. I’ll be hoping to camouflage it with plants that will droop over it, at least for this year.


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Baptist Fans

Hello all, ME again.

I’ve wanted to try quilting the Baptist fan motif on a quilt of mine. I love this stitch pattern. It’s so old-fashioned looking (that’s a good thing in my book). Originally it was hand quilted with no marking. Amish quilters would just swing the arc of their lower arm and trace a mark with the needle tip. Once they got that line of stitching established they would just echo it several times using the needle length as a guide for spacing the arcs. Sounds easy enough when stitching by hand. However I want to do this by machine.

I did quilt this once with my walking foot. I would trace around a template for the first arc and then used my walking foot’s spacer bar “thingie” to evenly space the echoes. What a pain in the patootie that was! Lots of maneuvering of the quilt top (and it was only a large runner, not a bed quilt) and continually switching from the right spacer bar, to the left spacer bar. Would really like to do this free motion. What has held me up is the puzzling out how to keep my arcs smooth and evenly spaced. I can echo relatively evenly with close spacing  by using the diameter of the darning foot as a guide. I would like my arcs on the fan to be farther apart than that-maybe 3/4 of an inch or an inch.

So where to look for hints on how to go about this? Of course, you got it…the internet. There have to be videos on YouTube about this. Of course there are, but most I have found, so far anyway, are for long armers using plastic circle templates. It seems this is not a motif that gets tackled often, or there would be more on the web about it.

This tutorial results in nice arcs, but oh my, lots of marking required.

Patsy Thomson free pattern download to trace for developing muscle memory.

A slightly modernized version from Leah Day’s free motion project. These are still echoed closer than I want, but I do like the randomized look.

Less random from Leah’s site, but still closer than I’m searching for.

I think this might be a case of working this out on a dry erase board until I feel comfortable with the whole idea, and then just…go for it. It’s only a quilt after all, not brain surgery. Most likely, as is usually the case for all of us, no one will notice the imperfections except the quilter. And I am learning not to point them out, just accept the compliment with a “thank you” and no follow up “but, …”

I do have a Patsy Thomson DVD that I’m going to pull out to see what might be there to go along with the pattern I linked to up above.

Do you free motion your own quilts? How do you teach yourself new patterns? I’ll take any suggestions! TTFN


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It was worth it

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

Finished up reading the most recent issue of Quilters Newsletter (J/J 2012) and was very interested in the article about Robyne Melia’s crazy quilt. The photos are amazing. Robyne started embroidering the blocks for the quilt in 1992.  She used a grandmother’s fan for the borders and heavily hand stitched each one. She said she planned to try historic embroidery designs from a book by Dorothy Bond Crazy Quilt Stitches. Well, as she progressed the quilt plan grew. She added a cross stitched horse as the center. Then she thought more pictorial blocks would be nice. Maybe a new stitch to learn. It eventually finished at 75″ square. After finishing the quilt in 1996 she entered it into a quilt show. Although she had no intention of selling it, she was required to put a price on it. She wanted viewers to understand and appreciate the true value of her time and the craftsmanship involved. She consulted with a prominent Australian art collector and together they arrived at the price for which she did end up selling the quilt. Are you ready? It sold for $70,000 (AU) which is approx. $74,000 American!! Here’s a quote from her about the sale.

“People are both proud and pleased for me, and see the sale as a victory for all of us. I feel proud for us too. We all know how much work is involved in all styles of embroidery and quilting, but it largely goes under the radar in the general public’s eye…I really did put a lot of effort into it and have always been an advocate for asking a realistic price for our work. We know how much we put in, and how many generations of women have made their homes beautiful and warm and developed amazing art and skill without recognition from the wider community. We deserve it.”

I agree!

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gray days are great for quilting

Hello again, it’s ME.

Just came in from running some errands. Having a bit of lunch, then have to get busy. It has stopped raining, but looks like it might start again. So…can’t mow the lawn, can’t weed the flower beds, probably could do a bit of transplanting but don’t want to, can’t weed-whack so what’s a girl to do? Why quilt a bit of course!!

Lori and I got together last evening over dinner and planned our demo for guild night. We’re bringing the Accu-quilt machine to show any newbies how it works and explain this great resource we have for our members. It hasn’t gotten much use of late, so we’re hoping to re-generate interest in it. With the onset of quilters using die cutting machines like the Accu-quilt Go machine, perhaps there will be more interest. We, as the guild, own quite a few very useful dies and it’s very easy to use. You’ll see tomorrow; here’s hoping you’ll want to use it.

I have gotten back into listening to the podcasts that Pat Sloan (next year’s seminar teacher) does for American Patchwork and Quilting while I walk the dog in the morning. I hadn’t been listening much through the winter because adding the iPod to all the winter paraphernalia just seemed like too much. (Silly, I know.)  These podcasts are free and available at her website or via iTunes. Definitely better listening than talk radio of the usual kind! Give them a try if you like listening to something while you are exercising or puttering. You can just listen to them via the computer if you don’t want to put them onto your iPod or other smart device.

Well, lunch is just about gone so I’ll be going up to the craft/sewing room. I could work on some “in progress” projects, but maybe it’ll be more fun to start a new project. Decisions, decisions!

If you are playing along with us in the Loosey Goosey quilt-a-long and have your first star complete, please bring it to the meeting tomorrow night for show and share. It’ll be fun to see what everyone is doing with it.


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Make It Monday

Hello all, it’s ME again.

The brownies were a hit yesterday. Very rich! About 1/2 of a regular brownie size and a bit of vanilla ice cream and you’re good to go. Definitely a keeper recipe. I’m going to write it up, and figure out how to start a recipe file. Oh! I’ll just send it to the file over at our website for now, and get to the file here eventually.

first loosey goosey blockFinished my first block for Loosey Goosey. Not real happy with the slight hole at the center, but I think when I take all the paper off the back, I’ll be able to fix it up with some steam. I’m leaving the papers on until I attach this block to something else. I’ve used all sorts of scraps with no regard for grain so I’m sure my block’s edges would get really wonky if I take the paper off now. Here’s a photo. I’m going to pick a nice easy pieced block, maybe with a twist, for June.

Today I’m working on a scrappy table topper using 4 blocks from the pattern for a jelly roll Irish chain quilt. It’s from the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. I made the throw size and liked how it turned out. I’ve made several quilts from this book. The directions are well written, and I particularly appreciate the pressing plans. The quilts go together so well, with nicely opposing seams. I came upon a tutorial on-line for a “cathedral edge” binding that I want to try out on this topper. I made my blocks red and white, with assorted red Christmas prints and white with gold prints for the backgrounds. With only 4 blocks it was harder to combine the strip techniques of the pattern with my desire for randomness in the placement, but I think it’ll do for my experiment.

I’ll also do some more of the hourglass blocks I need for my sister’s signature quilt. Those go quickly, I just need a quantity so I’m doing a few at a time.

Gave the godsons their eye-spy quilts yesterday. They seem to be a hit, but not the eye-spy side! The boys like the roadway panels that I used for backing better. Just right for little matchbox cars and super hero toys. They did like that their names are in the blocks on the front. I told their mom that these quilts are to be played with and worn out, since she tends to “save” quilts so they won’t get ruined. I want these to get used up, frayed, and dirty from being played with everyday. How do you feel about the treatment of the quilts you make? Should they be used hard, or do you prefer that they be special?


Filed under Lucy Goosey, quilt books, Quilt-a-Long, recipes, Uncategorized