Monthly Archives: February 2013

It’s me again! (deadline here!)

Hi again everyone,

twice in one day – can you believe it? 🙂

I am popping-in just to show you something I found out just now – you maybe already know it, but there is a very popular voting contest going on one of the also very popular blogs – Sew Cal Gal – called Golden Quilter Award. Well I wouldn’t think it was something so important to share here, but there are several reasons I am:

1. Both of our future national teachers for Seminar, Pat Sloan (this year) and Bonnie Hunter (2014) are among nominees! However, what I found amazing is that next year’s teacher, Bonnie Hunt is not only nominated in FIVE different categories, but she is winning in ALL of them! Including the Lifetime Achievement Award! How about that! That surely says something about Bonnie – good for us next year! 🙂

2. The categories, nominees and products nominated read as an amazing “phone book” (cyber-book?) of who-is-who in today’s quilting, newest gadgets, books and of course all the blogs and web-sites to visit – have fun! 🙂 (but don’t blame me if you are glued to the computer waaaay too long!)

3. If you do vote for any or all categories, you can be entered to win some goodies – that doesn’t hurt at all! But here is the catch – tonight is the deadline, so hurry!!

Click HERE to do all this!

Now, aren’t you happy that today, I am apparently glued to the computer, lol



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Few more wanderings…

Good Thursday to all,

hope you are all having a great day! A bit “slushy” outside and it could be a perfect sewing weather too, if you are free to do it. Me – not so much, so here is another quick lunch-break blurb, just to pass along few of my finds…

We all make those quick but beautiful, personalized pillow cases and I thought THIS tutorial offers a bit of a different way to do it – pillow case has a flap to prevent the pillow from falling out! Interesting, don’t you think?

Few posts ago Mary Ellen talked about scraps and organizing them all – just about that time a blog update came into my Inbox, with guess what – yet another advice on how to “tame” your scraps and have them ready to be used! HERE is what Gayle Bong has to say about it – I guess at the end it always comes to actually DOING it…something I tend to procrastinate on. Anyone has a good tip on how to NOT procrastinate? Ha – I know that is a tough one! 🙂

Through the Facebook, I clicked on this following video, coming from McCalls magazine – it is about tips for a good 1/4″ seam allowance guide. I know lots of you already have your favorite method,- me too! –  but since I teach beginners, I always look for new, good information to offer my students (there really isn’t only one good way for everyone, right?). Hmmm…watch THIS VIDEO and tell me what you think – good, useful?

To give you even more material for discussion or thinking, or just as source of good information, here is another retrospect on the recent Quiltcon (modern quilt show), this time from a known author, Meg Cox. I really enjoyed Meg’s article and it is full of great LINKS too, if you should want to explore further. More importantly – there are links for other blogs with pictures from Quiltcon – nothing like a visual! 🙂

Now here is for something completely different (and not quilty)! I have to say that scientist in me just LOVES this idea! Look at this:

single-flowers-light-off single-rainbow-light-bulb-cropped

Now how cool is that?

Chandelier made from test tubes, either with beautiful colors (food colorings!) or with fresh flowers! Guess what – you don’t have to make it yourself – you can read more about it and find a link to actually buy it, RIGHT HERE! So tempting….:)

Now I must leave you (I guess I should actually eat my food during this lunch break, LOL), with all this food for thought and feast for the eyes,

have a great Thursday,


PS – This just in!! As I ate my lunch and browsed Facebook, a post from our past president and good friend Betty Lerner came in – she shared a TV segment, from their local morning program, where charity quilts and organization was featured. Guess what – the very first quilt they showed, Cat in the Hat is made by Betty!! And so were Butterfly and Trains quilts! HOORAY for Betty and all wonderful quilters in Milwaukee!

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by | February 28, 2013 · 11:52 am

Wednesday’s wanderings

Hi everyone,

and happy Wednesday to you!

Woke up early today (still dark outside) and starting my day with a good coffee and chatting with all of you – good way that start the day! 🙂

It has been a busy weekend and start of the week and I am still to go through all the pictures from our Guild meeting and send them to our web-master to be published on the web-site. Sorry about the delay! But what a great meeting that was! I loved seeing all the original collection quilts and their replicas – completely amazing! Here is just a few photos I took that show original and replica quilts side by side:IMG_4164




IMG_4163I especially like this one above that shows some of the members who worked on this half-square quilt, Ricky, Joyce and Betty together with our wonderful Historic Homes committee chair person and great champion of this wonderful effort of making replica quilts for the Museum, Theresa Utz! BRAVO to one and all who ever worked on these projects!

Another amazing quilt to see was a Bicentennial quilt made by members of our Guild – just beautiful!! Pictured here are some members who participated in making this beauty – Diana, Linda, Marlea and Diane (left to right). Another big BRAVO!


I do have much more photos and they deserve few more posts here, together with all the stories that go with them – something to work on!

In the meantime I just have to say – and I am sure I am sharing this feeling with all of you members – that I feel so proud and grateful to belong to our wonderful Guild! 🙂

And to finish this part – a big thank you to Jessica Johnson, curator of exhibit collections, for doing this presentation for us!

At the end of this wonderful meeting, I took a few close-ups of the antique quilts…I just wanted to have a visual memory of looking at the stitches that someone made so long ago… Think about it – the world was so different then and women were in a very different place in many ways…yet doing the same thing, for SOME of the same reasons, with the same love for it as we do now…isn’t that amazing?


And to bring this Wednesday wanderings kind of a full circle – lets talk for a moment about modern quilting! It is a movement that grows, it has a lot of talk around it and so many polarizing opinions…And if for nothing else, those reasons are enough to intrigue your attention. If you haven’t give it much attention so far, here is some good place to start – free lectures from the recent, first of its kind, modern quilt show called Quiltcon – take a look! And if you are a follower, or you are intrigued to understand it at least – I found this really thought provoking blog post by Tomas Knauer, followed by another addition just yesterday.

A lot to think about here – do tell what are your thoughts please! 🙂

I just might have few more Wednesday wanderings but daylight has arrived in the meantime and my dogs are waiting for that morning walk! 🙂

Have a wonderful day,



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cut the (s)crap!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’ve written a bit about my scraps lately (and have found homes for some of them!) so I thought I’d look around today for some good ideas for using them. I’m sitting around waiting for my new washing machine to be delivered, killing time on the computer. How did we waste time before computers were invented?  My dearly departed machine (23 years old, RIP) died on Saturday. Made the most god-awful noises and wouldn’t shift gears in the cycles. The whole thing was clanking and shaking. I guess at that age it doesn’t owe me anything. Is it strange that I’m a bit excited about a new washing machine?!

Robi sent me a photo of one of her current scrap projects which is great; I might put one like it on my list. It’s basically mile–a–minute squares, with black and white triple sashings and black and white 9 patch cornerstones. The black and white really makes it. If she gives me her permission, I’ll post the photo here soon.

I know some of you aren’t into scrappy quilts and prefer a more “matchy-matchy” look, in a good way of course. Maybe you’ll like this idea from moda.

I like stitchery too. Look at what the selvage lady has come up with. Just wee tiny amounts of stitchery for those of you who think of it as the “S” word!

Great cookie crumble scrap quilt at this blog

This last one is just a link to google images of scrap quilts–inspiration galore! There is a 60 degree hexagon scrap quilt in the mix which I really like. (That 60 degree triangle ruler is my favorite specialty ruler I think. I love to find more uses for it!) Oops!, when I tested the links I found that I can’t link you to my search results. So just put “images of scrap quilts” in your search box and wait for the gorgeous results to appear.

I guess I’d better go get started on something worthwhile. That will make the door bell ring for sure!

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quilt blitz

Hello all. Mary Ellen here.

For those of you who are interested in exploring some modern quilts, visit Pat Sloan’s blog today. She writes about a new book by Amy Ellis on modern quilting, and has links to a list of modern quilters-a blog hop so to speak.

BTW you all know ( I hope!) that Pat is this fall’s seminar national teacher. Look around at all the things she has at her blog to get an idea of what you could expect if you take a class from her. We have signed the contract for 4 classes and a lecture. You can read all about those, including the supply lists (we have those already from Pat, with color copies!), at her class and event link.

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jelly roll 1600 variations

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

I’m going to be doing a demo on making a super quick quilt top soon (the jelly roll 1600) and have been looking around on Pinterest and other websites to see what quilters have done with the idea. (If you don’t know what the jelly roll 1600 is, go back to my blog entry called “odd bits again” on Feb. 19, 2013 for a quick explanation.) I’ve found some very intriguing ideas–I’ll definitely by making more of these. I think they will really help eat a chunk out of my stash. Here’s what I have found so far-and I’m still on the search. If you have any more ideas, please send them to me or add them in the comments. I think this could be a good resource for members looking for a fast charity, shower, or baby quilt. Here’s what I’ve found so far, in no particular order: (to save some typing, I’m going to abbreviate JR to mean 2.5″ wide by 40″ long strips of fabric)

  1. Attach the strips with diagonal seams (as done for binding) for an easy variation.
  2. Use 20 colored JR  alternating with 20 white/cream JR strips.
  3. Use 40 JR strips. After each one, insert a 2.5″ square spacer block for a pop of color. For example the quilt I first saw was made from 40 JR in shades of “denimy” blues. The spacer squares were bright red.
  4. Use 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles as your spacers between the strips.
  5. Use pieced block such as a black and white quarter square triangle as your spacer square.
  6. Cut your own strips, and change the width (they must all be the same new width.)
  7. For a variety in widths, make your own really long strip set using a variety of widths. Then use the JR 1600 technique on your strip set.
  8. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of soft pastels, and make the spacer squares fussy cut animals for an adorable baby quilt. (love that idea!)
  9. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of whites/creams to make your 1600 top. Then applique some large funky flowers over it.
  10. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of striped fabrics with the strips running the length of the strips. Make your spacers with the stripes going perpendicular to the others.
  11. For a scrappier look, cut 20 of the 40 JR strips in half, and the other 20 into thirds and mix them up really well. This quilter suggested tossing the lot of them in the dryer for a bit to mix them up-I wonder how much they would ravel.
  12. For a great masculine looking quilt, make your 40 JR strips in shades of brown and tan, and use a plaid or stripe for the spacer block.
  13. Make a regular JR 1600 quilt. Then cut it into 5 columns. (Equal or unequal widths, your choice) Reverse the top and bottom of every other column. Sew it back together. This gives an easy “Chinese coins” look.
  14. Use the Chinese coins idea and insert a sashing strip between the columns. Widths of 2.5″ or 3″ would probably work well.
  15. Use 40 bright JR strips, alternating with a black/white print spacer block.
  16. Use 40 black/white JR strips, alternating with bright spacer blocks.
  17. Use 40 floral JR strips, alternating with bright green blocks.
  18. Use 40 strips cut 2.5″ x approx. 21″ cut from fat quarters. Use the JR 1600 technique, resulting in a nicely sized bed runner.

As you can see, quilters all over are putting their own creative twists on this pattern. This could be a fun section for our quilt show next spring. How about it?


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critical mass

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

It has finally happened. I can not get the lid on the med/dark scrap bin no matter what I do. I don’t think there is any open space. It already looks like a space bag after it has been sucked out by the vacuum. So I must divest a bit. Anybody want some scraps? I’ll give away 2 or 3 grocery bags full to whomever lets me know they’d like some. Come on somebody-offer a good home to some lovely scraps. I can’t bear the thought of throwing them out (gasp!).

Just finished reading a piece on another quilter’s blog about scraps. What is your definition of a scrap? Is it based on a particular size of the piece? Let’s say, smaller than a fat quarter, for example? (in my world that could be considered huge!) Or is it any piece leftover after a project is completed, no matter the size of the piece? When does it crossover from being a scrap into being a stash fabric?

And how do you store your scraps? In any organized fashion? I took the Joan Ford scrap therapy class held here at the guild a few years ago. And I had great intentions. What I learned from Joan I only seldom put into practice–it’s okay to throw some out!  (very hard for me) I listened to Debbie Caffrey at seminar 2 years ago and cut a bunch of small stash pieces into jelly roll strips. Again good intentions, but… basically I just put what I consider to be scraps (as opposed to stash) into 3 categories: I have one bin for “novelty/kids fabrics”, one for lights, and one for med/darks.  Every time I open one of the bins I find a few fabrics in the “wrong” bin by whatever that day’s criteria are for the categories. I must say though, that this method works best for me. Each bin has a wide range of sizes in the pieces-teeny tiny (for miniature quilts, I rationalize) to medium (for paper piecing) up to near fat quarters. Everything is just wadded up and shoved in the bin. No nice neat folded and pressed scraps for me. As I work on things I just throw my scraps on top of the appropriate bin. BTW selvages are not scraps in my book. I trim those off before I cut into a yardage piece and they have their own bin. When the scraps start to fall on the floor I take the lids off and force them in… as I tried to do this morning…and discovered that they won’t fit!

Scraps! Get your scraps here! Free scraps!


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scraps from my inbox

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

All of these little bits were in my inbox this morning! what a day!

modern quilt example: I follow this blog each day and I think Victoria’s work fits my personal definition of modern quilting. Lots of white, modern fabrics with traditional blocks. What would you think about having her as a seminar teacher? Would there be enough interest? Hmm..? How many of our members have an interest in modern quilting? Or would like to explore it?

McCall’s Quilting University video portal: click here  and/or here.  Free tutorials on many topics

free e-book of pillow covering patterns– some modern, some not: click here.

new (somewhat) technique and book I will definitely be trying!: click here.

spent the morning with the little guys at the Explore and More museum in East Aurora. The place was swarming with little people. Had a great time, but boy am I pooped!



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kick it up a stitch

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

I’ve been a viewer of Sewing with Nancy on PBS for many years. Now I tend to watch it on the computer instead; today I found a very humorous episode of Nancy and Mary Mulari doing a special for Wisconsin Public Television. The two of them are quite a bit more relaxed and silly than I’ve ever seen on the regular episodes. The premise is a cooking show and they do actually share some recipes, but the sewing projects are what gets kicked up. If you are a fan of Nancy’s, you’ll enjoy this.

Be sure to read Anita Grossman Solomon’s comment on the previous post!

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craftsy class

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I just finished taking an online class via Craftsy where I learned all the tips that Anita Grossman Solomon gave to her classes at our seminar last fall. I was only able to take one of her classes-the pineapple one-and had wanted to take her others as well. Her tricks just really click with my learning style.

Well guess what! Beth Ferrier is now giving a class via Craftsy on her Hand Applique by Machine that she taught at seminar as well. I wonder if she learned about Craftsy from Anita. I know Anita mentioned working with Craftsy in some conversation I had with her at seminar. The price for Beth’s class is reduced right now, so if you are so inclined this would be a good time to sign up. You can watch the classes forever once you are given your access, so if this is a busy time you could save the viewing for a better time.

Anita’s class is still available as well, but I think at the full price now. I enjoyed it and have watched the pineapple session several times, even though I heard it “in person” as well. I have also learned from the questions sent by students and Anita’s answers. It’s not quite the same as a live class, but very close. There still is teacher/student interaction. Try it-you’ll like it!

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