Monthly Archives: March 2013

seminar stuff

Hello all, Mary Ellen back again.

By now I hope you all know that Pat Sloan is going to be our featured national teacher at our fall seminar this year (September 18-21). Over at her blog today she has posted some photos of student projects from a class she is teaching now for another group of quilters. If you’d like to see some samples of the work they are doing, in the same classes that Pat will be presenting for us, click here. Pat loves to share photos of the classes she teaches. That will be us in the fall (don’t forget your lipstick!)

Keep an eye on our visitor counter. At 35,000 visits (wow, I’m still amazed!) we’ll have several special things for you. Prizes, tutorials, etc.

What would you like to see us write more of in the future? AMQG activities, links to other sites, ramblings about nothing in particular?? Let us know–your suggestions will help me anyway, when I’m stumped for a topic.

Here’s one idea I’d like to try out. I’d like us to do an online “show and share” now and then. Send me photos (my e-mail is in the roster, or you can post in your comments) of whatever you’re working on, completed projects, new tools or books, anything quilting related that we could share. Or we could have themes for each upcoming show and share here at the blog. What do you think about that? Of course some of you would have to actually share!!

The first one, my photos to come soon, is going to be about scissors. Gather yours together and take a photo of your collection, or just zero in on your favorite pair. This is for all of you “cut-ups” out there!

Leave a comment

Filed under gadgets, seminar, Uncategorized


Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’ll bet we could guess your generation from what “tats” means to you.

Here it means ink. This is one way in which I will never be a modern quilter, but it was interesting to read how these members of the Modern Quilt Guild wanted to celebrate their quilting by getting a tattoo. For many it was not the first. Here’s the blog entry from them about the experience: click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under "modern" quilting, Uncategorized

in a rut?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Happy National Quilting Day! Go buy a layer cake or a jelly roll (not the edible kind, silly) and celebrate!

I have a quilt to “fix” up. I thought I was done, but whenever I looked at it I kept thinking “something isn’t right”. Friends who’ve seen it say it looks great. I think it needs more quilting. But I’m stumped as to what to add. Ever been in this predicament? I think maybe this is how many UFO’s come into our world. We get to a point in a project where something about it just isn’t right. The gorgeous colors we began with aren’t looking so great. Or the directions are unclear or even worse, incorrect! (I’m amazed at how many math mistakes in patterns go out into the publishing world.) Or we didn’t choose the value differences carefully enough. The quilting isn’t right.  There are all sorts of reasons for losing our “mojo” about a project. How do we get it back so we can finish things up? Leah Day, of the Free Motion Quilting Project, deals with this from her perspective in this video. See what you think about her advice.

I sometimes get myself out of a quilting rut by looking at other people’s quilts-going to a quilt show perhaps, or picking up a new quilt book or magazine. If the quilt show view does it for you, you may enjoy seeing these winning quilts from the Lancaster AQS show. I must say that what they call bed quilts, and what I call bed quilts, are very different. They must be talking about the size of the project, because I surely can’t envision any of these on someone’s bed. At least not in a house like mine where the kids and the dogs get up on the bed to nap and play!

Another thing I do sometimes to try to get my “mojo” back is to put ongoing projects aside and try something I haven’t done in a while, or perhaps have never tried before. I have started a project in really bright new fabrics with that old standby block The Drunkard’s Path. (Actually that’s a setting name, not a block name, but splitting hairs a bit!) It’s quite different looking in the blacks, lime green, magenta, turquoise, and yellow that I’ve started with. And today at the Big J store I was perusing the new quilting magazines, one of my favorite things to do while in line, and spotted the newest issue of Quilty. What’s on the cover? A traditional two color Drunkard’s Path quilt! I’m going to raid my stash and make another small piece in red and white-but use several reds and several creams and whites. (Thank you again, Helen, for that old Drunkard’s Path book you gave me. It’s getting a workout these days! I’ll bring the pieces to show and tell soon.)

Today I’m going to play in my fabric room, making fabric poseys instead of sewing. Really fast results via hot glue and Heat and Bond are another way to get some excitement for the project going again. Sometimes what causes me to bog down is the slowness of the process, or the length of time and amount of effort it will take to “fix” a quilt project I’m unhappy with. For this one-neither is an issue. The flowers are fast to make, and if I’m not pleased they go into the garbage. Small amounts of fabric are used for each-not worth trying to salvage the petals, leaves or whatever. Just make a new one!

What do you do when you get in a rut or lose your enthusiasm for a project?

Leave a comment

Filed under antique quilts, free motion quilting, tips and tricks, Uncategorized

more of it…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

What’s up with this weather?! I enjoy winter but I’m ready for spring. I suppose this is our annual Buffalo St. Patrick’s Day weather roulette. Could be gorgeous, could be a blizzard-just roll the dice!

Once again I’ve got a collection of odd quilty bits for you. The next post I’ve got on the drawing board will actually have a cohesive thread through it!

I’ve done this technique for making a binding with a mini flange before, but haven’t seen such a well done tutorial of it. Great technique to add to your bag of tricks. She also gives some good general binding tips. click here  BTW, maybe you are like me and have given up on a paid subscription to the Anderson/Tims Quilt Show online. If you subscribe to the blog or newsletter (free) you still can see many of their guests, in short snippets, and take advantage of many of their resources.

 interesting use of the disappearing 9 patch technique: click here

If you make dolls, or incorporate faces into your quilts, you may find this tutorial for life-like faces helpful. Very clear explanations. click here.

What’s at your machine these days? Making something for St. Paddy’s Day or Easter? working on a UFO? I’m working on a paper pieced bird house. I finished some samples for a class yesterday on getting yourself out of the ditch. Examples of quilting with a walking foot with little or no marking, and was not in the ditch a single time! This is always a popular class-so many quilters don’t free motion quilt, yet want something other that the old standby “in the ditch”. I was inspired by a book by Mary Mashuta and have been accumulating more and more examples. The trouble was I gave away a few of those samples as Christmas gifts, so needed to replace them! Next up will be some fabric posies. It’s time for something fresh and springy on the front door. (Did you hear me, Mother Nature?)

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tutorial, giveaway and few other things…

Hi everyone,

jumping-in here on another lunch break just to quickly let you know about few things! There is a new tutorial to show you and this time – it is mine! 🙂

???????????????????????????????Here is a springy little wall hanging or a table topper made almost entirely from Flying Geese blocks – those easy, 3D, one-seam Flying Geese blocks! Add a few little tricks and you will have some neat-looking curved blocks and accent lines – check it out HERE!

If you go back one post on my blog, you will find another fun  thing – a giveaway! I am participating in current Blog Hop Party and of course besides my blog, there is over 200 others you can visit, be inspired, learn something and maybe win some goodies – hope you have fun!

Now if that is not enough, there is yet another big “party” brewing up in cyber space – celebration of up-coming National Quilting Day (this Saturday, March 16th) that some busy folks took up a notch and declared it to be Worldwide Quilting Day! Giveaways and party there has been on-going, but I missed it before (sorry!) but you can still catch a few… Of course there is a big party going on on the day itself (Saturday), called 7 Summits Strip Quilt Challenge (remember those Jelly-roll race quilts we talked about a while ago?)-  so check that out too! I know that even some local shops around here are participating in the fun – so check out on the same site, which shops around here are having special events on Saturday! (just scroll down a bit and on the right side is the list of all the shops, by state). Nothing like having some fun (shopping or sewing) with your quilting buddies to properly celebrate National Quilting Day! Me – have a very important baby shower to go to on Saturday so that is why I celebrated a bit early by doing the tutorial on my blog. 🙂 And yes…I am still finishing a baby quilt for that shower…LOL!

Found another interesting article featuring Joe Cunningham – quilter we talked about few posts ago – he talks about why quilts matter, right HERE.

By the way, Why Quilts Matter is a wonderful series that was aired on PBS, but I am not really sure if it was ever available here in our area – I just bought the complete DVD as soon as I heard about it and really, really loved watching it. Since I have it, of course it could be something to watch together in one of the Guild meetings? However, there is also this special Guild offer on their web site if we decide it is something we need in our Guild library?

OK, must leave you all now, hope you all have a wonderful week ahead,


1 Comment

Filed under Giveaways, tutorials, Uncategorized

geegaws and doodads

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Beautiful morning today. It’s the first morning in a long while when I did not need a hat or gloves while dog walking. Sun’s out, I spotted lots of tulip and daffodils peaking through the soil. Even saw a few snow drops opening up. Definitely teasers that spring is coming.

Once again I’ve got some unrelated links for you.

fun stuff for quilters, great T-shirts: click here

I can relate, but I’m working on it: click here

Just finished listening to one of the free QuiltCon lectures over at Craftsy. Because I subscribe to Mary Fons’ blog I got a nudge to go listen to her lecture, billed as one from a member of a Quilt Mafia family. I think she was truly great! Mary spoke for about 45 minutes, with very few visuals, and kept my attention the entire time. She is very eloquent on a topic about which she is passionate. You may be surprised at some of what she shared (she did not sew until she was 27 years old), and what she says about the future of the quilt industry. She makes some very valid points about the beginner quilter–how the beginner now is very different from the beginner of 20 years ago (when many of us in our guild started to quilt). I took some of it to heart as a quilt teacher myself. Points were made that never had occurred to me before. Lots of food for thought, and perhaps some points we should consider for the future of our guild. Where do we, the active guild members, want to see our guild going in the years to come? Hmmm…

I gave a lecture myself yesterday and spoke just briefing about designing your own quilt– Taking my class and not ending up with a quilt just like mine. Scary for some new quilters and exciting for others. The expressions on faces as I looked out to the ladies listening were varied. But I do think many of them want to make THEIR quilt, not MY quilt. So here’s to Mary Fons who pointed that out, and I promise to try to help make that happen.


Filed under Uncategorized


Hello all, ME again!

Another collection of only slightly related quilty bits:

a collection of quilt blocks celebrating Ireland in case you need a quick table piece before your St. Patrick’s Day blowout party: click here

March Madness of the fabric kind: Nominate your favorite fabric line and watch and vote in the competitions for the best (most popular) lines this year. click here

You’ll see why: click here.

Back to the sewing machine. I’m on block 143 of 145 and I’ll soon be able to start assembling the quilt!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wednesday wonderings…wondered off all the way to Friday night!

Hi everyone,

yeah, I know – wandering too much, ha, ha.

But on Wednesday, my lunch break was given to some other friends – four-legged ones. Recently I started volunteering in City of Buffalo Animal Shelter, that is just a block away from my work. Figured, sometimes before or after work and maybe a lunch-break or two  – it is close enough to make it very time efficient and they really need help (unlike SPCA, they do not have as many volunteers and funding and animals keep coming…). So, on Wednesday I spent my lunch break with shy lady, Maple

Maple2but treats of course work – so she trusted me!

And cute boy Bugsley:

Bugsley2and big boy Baloo

Baloowho just about broke my heart because after our walk, he sat down and did not want to move and go back into his kennel…:( But – he did have a “meet and greet” later that day, so I am hoping he is already in his forever home by now!

I know this is not quilt related, but I just had to share these beautiful faces with you. There are more of course, they are all tugging on my heart… I am in trouble, I know, but on the other hand, spending my lunch breaks walking with them rather than in front of the computer is so much better for me – so they are helping me just as much! 🙂

Now back to quilting! I found this really nice tutorial about curve pieced blocks and landscape quilts, by Sue Rasmussen. I LOVE curved piecing! Love to teach it and love to give quilters that one more tool and make them realize it is NOT difficult and nothing to shy away from. It is all about pushing yourself, learning and trying something new, right? March is National Quilting Day month after all – so let’s do it – let’s push ourselves to learn something new!

What is it that you would like to try or learn? Let’s have a LIST!

At my work, when we have a lab meeting and someone comes up with a good idea or another experiment that would help, we call it “action points” –  we jot it down so it is not lost in a sea of everyday work. Maybe a good idea for our creative life? Next time you see something you would like to try – write it down and pin it to the wall, so you don’t “loose” it.  Then come here, on our blog and share it with all of us. Really, lets start a list!

How fun would it be if we have a great list of interesting new (or even not new) techniques or blocks or inspirations to try! Of course, if you DID already try something – share please! That one will be a NEW for someone else of course.

Now – wan to push “something new” to the limit and become the Iron Quilter? You can! Our neighbors to the East, in Rochester will have Iron Quilter Contest during the well known Genesee Valley Quilt Club bi-annual show this summer. Magical Threads, Inspired Stitches is this years show name and HERE you will find all the information if you want to participate in Iron Quilter contest – how fun would that be! Anyone? 🙂

Signing off now, before my wanderings go all the way into Saturday, ha!

Have a great weekend,



Filed under tips and tricks, tutorials

dribs and drabs (need a new phrase)

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I need some new phrases to use when I have just an assortment of unrelated “bits” to post. You know–like “this and that”, “odd bits”, “gee gaws”, and so on. If you have a phrase for this situation, maybe a colorful one that your grandparents used to say, I’d love to add some new ones to my vocabulary. Send them to me!

adorable bunny tea towel pattern, perfect for spring and Easter: pattern at Bunny Hill

Joe Cunningham: If you’ve been a quilter for a long time, you may be familiar with Joe’s work already. He was in the game of quilting long before it became somewhat camp for men to quilt. He is known for several things, but I remember most the times he appeared with Alex Anderson on Simply Quilting to demonstrate hand quilting. Joe is quite knowledgeable about Amish quilting-both the piecing and quilting aspects. He also does a one man show called Joe the Quilter, based on a true story of an old-time quilter. I loved reading this post about his view of traditional and modern quilts. We’ve written about that a bit here of late, so perhaps you’d like to read Joe’s point of view. And I also love the quilt retreat he describes. Another for my bucket list.

Nice 3D embellishment to use in place of cornerstones. A bit of fabric origami. Can certainly take a simple quilt up a notch or two. Click here.

Nice button necklace. With a stash of inherited buttons like I have, it wouldn’t even make a dent! Does use some jewelry/beading tools. I’d better not start another hobby! Click here!

I’m watching some great big fluffy snowflakes coming down. Did they forecast this?!! I thought we were getting a warm spell. I don’t know if it’s better to listen to the weather forecasts or to ignore them. I think I’ll be surprised either way. TTFN!


Filed under Uncategorized


Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Yesterday I was finishing up a purse I made recently and needed a button embellishment. The way the designer had us complete this purse caused the metal prongs of a magnetic snap to show on the outside of the purse. In her sample she was able to sew on a button with the thread going through a hole in the center of the magnetic snap. Well, as Murphy’s law would have it, my snap doesn’t have those holes. I had originally sewn on a button with the thread going diagonally under the button to avoid the snap. Of course that did not work as planned. The metal edges of the snap’s washer kept cutting the threads, even the dental floss I used the second time I sewed it on. So I was in search of plan B.

I have also made the tote bag design included in the pattern, and hid the snap prongs on that with a large yo-yo. That is working fine, but I wanted something different on the purse. I recalled from my days of sewing clothing a technique for making what we called singleton buttons. Couldn’t recall all of the details of how to go about it, so I resorted to my favorite reference these days…the internet. And I found a nice tutorial at CraftStylish. Do you remember having a sweater years ago that had buttons made of rings that had been covered with yarn in one way or another? Those are called Dorset buttons and the singleton is a variation of that. If you make purses and totes and would like some unique embellishments, for much less cost than those large buttons we buy, give these a look. (how to make singleton buttons) and (Dorset buttons)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized