Monthly Archives: September 2012

just little bits

Good morning all, Mary Ellen here.

Have you been working on your seminar projects? If so, you’re putting me to shame. My 2 blocks which I finished during Anita’s pineapple class are pinned to the wall in the sewing room for inspiration, and the rest of the fabric, freezer paper, the book, etc. are in a pile nearby. I am determined to add more for a red and white Christmas wall hanging-don’t think I’ll be making enough for a full-fledged quilt. But… you never know, I love how crisp and precise the red and white look together, and Anita’s technique makes it so easy to get that precision. I do know I will not be just packing it away for later!

I’ve decided to follow some of Beth’s advice that she gave in the lecture about getting rid of some of those old kits and UFO’s that I have hanging around. Many of mine will be going into a cache for seminar prizes-perhaps at Christmas we could all donate one kit or some yardage to the guild for all of the guild’s prize needs. How about a quilt challenge where we put kits in a pool, choose someone else’s and make it up to sell in the boutique for guild funds? Anything to reduce the number of kits in the closet!!

Finally am getting around to reading the quilt magazines that have been arriving in the mail and piling up while I was busy with seminar. In the most recent American Quilter from AQS (the Nov. issue) I discovered a photo of a lovely quilt made by our member Lauren DeVantier. She won second place Quilter’s Choice in the Grand Rapids AQS show. I’m sure you have seen and admired Lauren’s work in our shows. I missed the meeting where she and Norma talked about their collaboration. Perhaps the winning quilt was there for you to see up close and personal! Congratulations to the 2 of them on a beautiful project.

Are you one of the millions of Americans who loves to decorate for Halloween? Got a new project going for this year? I made a fabric witch hat that is pretty cute if I say so myself. I’ve admired for years a hand embroidered pumpkin and witch hat which are then stuffed to make them 3D. Can’t think of the embroidery designer’s name off-hand. I even bought the pattern for the pumpkin a few years ago–but it’s still on my bucket list! The hat I made this year uses decorative stitches from my machine for instant gratification, and it’s not as large as those projects I’ve been admiring. But the good thing about my version? It’s finished!

What quilting projects are on your bucket list? I’ve hinted at a few of mine–a red and white quilt, a crazy quilted hand embroidered pumpkin, a bed sized drunkard’s path quilt for myself, a bed sized dresden plate quilt for myself…

How about your list? Tell us about those projects you want to complete “someday”.


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Seminar aftermat – inspired to sew! …or sew inspired? :)

Hello everyone,

hope you are having a good Tuesday – as rainy as it is. You know, ever since I became a quilter I learned to love rainy day – it really is my favorite time to sew! Something in the sound of raindrops on the small roof right bellow my sewing room window…the rhythm? Not sure, but I just love it! And right now – there is about half a dozen projects on the pile by my sewing machine – so bring on the rain! 🙂

I wish I could be in my sewing room right now (yes, this in yet another lunch-time break post from work), for nothing like sewing puts my mind to ease…and today I am holding my breath until our daughter lands safely in Kathmandu, Nepal. She travels the world for her work and you would think I am used to it by now – NOT! I am so very proud of our girl, but my irrational, emotional,  mother’s mind is killing me during times like this! 🙂 Oh well, at least I can chat with all of you and then go back to my experiments here at work and then go to my sewing room tonight and sew ’till my mind slows down a bit and my heart stops missing her so much already (she will only be away for 6 weeks – calm down Marija!).

Ok, sorry about that little rant – let’s get back to quilting now. 🙂

My question for you – do you have a Seminar Let-Down or are you Sew Inspired after it?

I am definitely the second one! There is something about the good teacher, a room full of quilters sewing, learning, chatting a bit and a great mingle during lunch time that just fills my heart with joy and my mind with inspiration. How about you?

This year, I took a class from both Beth Ferrier (Hand Applique by Machine), and Anita Grosman-Solomon (Two-color Pineapple) and I am sooooo glad I did!  Both Beth and Anita are teachers that fall into that MOST EXCELLENT category in my book now.  Beth’s machine applique technique is now becoming my favorite way of doing it! (and I did try quite a few, trust me!). Look at all of us happy “flower girls” !

And Anita’s genius, so-well-thought-through process of cutting and sewing some of the classic (and not always easy!) blocks just blew me away! Her book, Rotary Cutting Revolution is so choke-full of amazing information, so detailed in instruction and so inspirational in color-play of her scrap quilts that it will be on my work table for a long time! Here are we all working in Anita’s class:

And when I say AMAZING method – I mean it, because ladies, all the pieces for not one, but TWO of these Pineapple blocks were cut in about 10 minutes time! Can you believe it?

In addition, both ladies are just wonderful to meet and talk to.

I really feel so grateful for the amazing treasure of our Seminar that brings these great teachers to our doorstep. How about you?

Tell us your Seminar experience!

But first – I need to use this venue to again thank our wonderful Seminar co-chairs, Mary Ellen Cannon and Jan Reiley and the entire Seminar committee for all their hard work! We all know, in theory, that it takes a lot of work to put together an event like this, but you only see really how much if you get involved. But here it the catch – it is also gratifying, learning and fun experience! So to all of you new and recent members – do jump in and get involved! I promise you will not be sorry and you will make new friends along the way – is there a better return for your effort? 🙂

OK, I think I typed all this in some record time and I hope you don’t mind my ramblings…But to end, here are some of my quick internet finds to send you off on exploration:

-First, some of you may know that I was so lucky to win two tickets to a fabulous event called Quilters Take Manhattan – a fundraiser for the wonderful Quilt Alliance.  So Martha and I did go – woo-hoo!! It was a fabulous day with my best friend and I will tell you all about our own experience in some next post, but in the meantime, here is a great re-cap with lots of photos from one of the event organizers, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, on her blog. Yes, we did meet wonderful Jennifer Chiaverini, yay!! Now I love her books even more.

Important note here – Quilt Alliance is a great organization with a very important set of projects focused on preserving and documenting what we all love so much – our quilts and stories that come with them! If you didn’t already, check it out and become a member if you can!

-Second – did you know about a Ten Minute Table Runner? I didn’t ’till few days ago! (I hope I didn’t miss it if ME already posted this! 🙂  ).

What a fabulous idea! I will be making some of these for gift giving for sure! So here you have the video on how to make it (including a variation for a bag- just too cool!), and here is a written pattern to print . Picture above is from this blog, where there is yet another tutorial for it!

-And third – since it is a lunch time now, I will leave you with this easy and great recipe for savory version of monkey bread, together with the blog it comes from that is a sheer treasure of recipes/tutorials for yummy stuff !!

Have a wonderful Tuesday and week ahead,


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Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

We made it through seminar successfully. No major crises to deal with. Generally happy attendees. I am in the process of catching up on sleep and will soon be tackling the tasks that need to be done to close out this year’s event. I have glanced through the evaluations (thank you to those who took the time to give us feedback) and will be sharing a summary of them with the board and the membership. Most were positive (thank you to all), and we will deal with the others as well, so we make necessary improvements. Just one note to those of you concerned about the irons and ironing boards (the most common “negative” comment submitted). Our guild owns 4-6 boards and irons as far as I know. Ours are in pretty good shape. The rest are borrowed from the museum’s costume area. Those are used by museum staff and lent to a variety of groups which sew at the museum. Over those boards and irons we have little control. We will pass on your concerns of course.

I have a huge “pile”, virtually speaking, of mail to read through. I think my e-mail count was 257 last evening. Of course most are frivolous and are going right into the trash. Among the ones I’ve marked for keeping was one from the Kaye Wood site that I subscribe to, and who is the featured guest? Beth Ferrier! I haven’t watched the entire video yet but she starts with some of her sneaky piecing tricks that I overheard while working in the main building yesterday. The quilt to be featured is Moondance, which was one of the lovely dark background quilts she shared at her lecture. If you are interested-perhaps wanted to, but couldn’t, take her class-here’s the link.

We took lots of photos which I’ll be sharing here a bit at a time, and of course there are more stories to tell. TTFN.

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The big week…


Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Finally Quilt Seminar week has arrived. Spent yesterday afternoon at the museum with Kim G. and Jan R. setting up folders etc. I know more ladies are there today working on door prizes and favors. Jan and I will be picking up the two national teachers, Anita Grossman Solomon who is visiting her brother in Williamsville after teaching in Rochester last week, and Beth Ferrier who is flying in from Michigan. Planning to take them up to Niagara Falls and then out for a nice dinner. By Anita’s request they will be back at the hotel early so they can  be well rested for tomorrow and the remainder of the week.

Hoping you will be joining us for a class–either from one of those two ladies or from one of our talented local teachers. You still can sign up for some of the classes-check the guild website for details. (address in left sidebar). Everyone, guild member or not, is welcome and invited! Tomorrow evening at the museum Beth Ferrier will be giving a lecture “Why Finishing is Highly Overrated” at 7:00. The lecture is open to the public, no prior reservation is needed-just show up. Time and address also at the guild website. I think the majority of quilters will find something to relate to in her lecture-do you know any quilters who have no unfinished projects around? I don’t. I’m sure there are a few who finish each project before beginning the next–but definitely they are rare specimens!

I’ll be busy this week, so probably won’t be back until next–with reports on all the fun we had! Come join us!

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Sunbonnet Sue Anatomy

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Did you know September is National Sewing Month? What’s a good way to celebrate? Attend a quilt seminar-anybody know of one near by?!

Got up early this morning and am checking e-mail before heading out the door. (no, you’re not! you’re writing a blog post). In my e-mail was a notice of a blog hop from Moda designers, showcasing their new pre-cuts which they are calling “Candies”. They are bundles of 2 1/2″ squares. Each designer has a free pattern for using the candies-and the blog hop goes on for 10 days. Go here to get started if you want to have a look.

The first designer I visited was Barbara Brackman, a quilter of a bit of renown. The post that came up when I arrived at her site was her Thursday Sept 6 post about problems with Sunbonnet Sue’s anatomy. It brought to mind the perils of Sunbonnet Sue blocks that several of our ladies held up at the last guild meeting-so fun! You might enjoy looking at the photos of Sue on some old and well-loved quilts, with humorous commentary from Barbara. Go here!

When you are working on a quilt, looking at it from so close, mistakes that no one else will see are magnified in our eyes. Design flaws that everyone else will notice and not seen by us. These blocks in Barbara’s post make the point so well! So step back from the quilt now and then, and give it a good look from farther away. Those not-quite-perfect triangle points can probably stay in, and the upside down flying geese probably should come out!!

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seminar “stuff”

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’ve been at the computer quite a long time today, working on things needed for seminar. I took a break to check my e-mail and found two things “seminar-ish”.

The first is from a blog done by Martingale, a publisher of many quilt books, including those done by Karla Alexander, one of our national teachers from last year’s seminar. In it the writer talks about being a traditionalist and a way in which Karla helped her get out of the box. Here’s the post. If you took one of Karla’s classes last year, or have made anything from her “stack the deck” series, you’ll enjoy this.

The second was sent to me by Anita Grossman Solomon who will be teaching for us this year. Anita was a member of our guild many years ago, and has not forgotten her connection to us. If you have her book Perfect Blocks in Minutes, you might not have noticed this in the dedication. I have had that book for years, and didn’t notice it until Anita told me about it earlier this year while we were discussing which classes to have her teach for us. If you own the book, get it out and look at the dedication instead of going to this link. It’ll be more fun “in person”. Anita sent me the clip and I’ll share it with you.  here it is.

It’s not too late to sign up for a seminar class. Come on….join us!

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Here she is, Miss …

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I think we’re all dating ourselves who can remember what happened for years on Labor Day weekend with Burt Parks singing that famous song “There she is…” I won’t finish it, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll be able to kid yourself that it’s because you’re too young!!

I finally got the next Lucy Goosey directions (#5) worked up. You’ll find the pattern here: sept lucy goosey. I’m kind of amazed that we’re at month 5, one more to go! I must admit that with the summer hub-bub and seminar preparations, I am behind. I have to finish my #4 and get a sample done for #5. I had told myself that if I was organizing this quilt-a-long, I would have to keep up! Oh well, life happens.

Do you have any kiddos heading off to school this week? My 5 year old twins will be going to kindergarten on Wednesday. I hope there will be no tears. They’ll be fine, it’s me I worry about! Got to get to their house for the photo-op as they get on the big yellow limo bus, making it a tradition with a photo at the front door. Wonder how much they’ve grown since last September? One of them takes his eye spy quilt with him everywhere-hopefully no arguments about leaving it home will spoil the start of the day.

I think we’ll (the dog and I) be getting up earlier now, since the sounds on the street will be changing and the canine seems to be hyper-alert in the a.m. He has to be on guard duty for that crazy lady who throws the newspaper at our front door every morning. You know, if he stares her down and barks enough she goes away! Maybe the extra hours will translate into more quilting time. Here’s hoping! Got to start thinking about the quilts I’ll need for the holiday gift giving. Yikes! I said that out loud, figuratively anyway.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend, and get ready for a change in routine.

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Quilts are the bomb..!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

You probably haven’t heard of Ada Lovelace, a female who was WAY ahead of her time in a man’s world. Well read here to find the connection between Ada and a man billing himself as a “heterosexual quilter”.

Maybe a bunch of us should “bomb” a building on the grounds!

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next Lucy Goosey block delayed

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I guess I shouldn’t call it a delay, since I said way back at the beginning of this Quilt-a-long that we have few rules if any for this. I have the block concept-just need to write up some directions for you. This will be number 5 (out of 6)-TTFN! Have a great holiday!

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Filed under Lucy Goosey, Quilt-a-Long