Monthly Archives: May 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. They might as well give the sizes animal names for all the good the size numbers do! Anyway I’ve made two of the three views so far. Loving this skirt. It’s an 8 gore skirt, with elastic across the back waist, and a flat waist band in the front. I used a new floral fabric from Basic Gray for one, and an “archived” piece of Amy Butler yardage for the second one. Both fabrics are quilting weight cottons.  I think I’ll be making more of this style, it’s so easy to construct and the skirt is very comfortable to wear. (I did have to search around for a slip for under them. Not for modesty reasons as much as helping the skirt fabric drape better. I don’t think I’d worn a slip since I retired!) It would be a good pattern for a beginner garment maker to try, or for a veteran seamstress to whip up in an afternoon. The basic view, which was the 8 gores with the waist band, and no flounce or godets, went from folded fabric off the shelf to completion in about 3 hours. That even included the time rethreading the serger after a couple of years away. Had to actually get out the manual to remember how to do it!! (I thought since these summer skirts would be going in and out of the washer often, that I should clean finish the exposed seam edges. Pinking them or zigzagging the edges would work fine too.  I enjoyed making those skirts, and may get back into some simple garment making for old-time sake.  Simple I said, not those tailored wool suits and coats I used to do, mind you–I haven’t completely lost my mind!

Did you read the comments on the quilt history post? Both of those ladies are from the UK. I got a lovely e-mail from each one. Isn’t it just so cool that we have things in common to talk about with quilters “across the pond”?

Did you notice the article recently in the Buffalo News about flying a kite for charity in Gratwick Park? I’m sure that at least one or two of the fabulous kites, that the reporter referred to, were made by our recent guest speaker, Dennis Foster. I’m going to make a point this summer to go to the park on one of the kite flying days to see those spectacular kites up in the sky. I can only imagine how gorgeous they will be.

What’s on your sewing machine table these days? Tell us about your latest fabric adventures.

Off to give a demo on adding ruffles to the edges of your quilts, and later to teach a paper piecing patriotic project. (enough alliteration for ya?)  TTFN!

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a bit of quilt history

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I received an e-mail this morning from a member ( our former president, Mary D.) returning from a vacation to Utah and some National Parks. She included some photos and a link to the story of the Panguitch Quilt Walk. I had heard this story before but had forgotten it. I also enjoyed seeing her photos of the hanging in the visitor center, near Bryce Canyon National Park,  with its stitchery and miniature quilts included.  I did a little internet search and am also including a link to “Utah’s Patchwork Parkway”. Cool concept. Enjoy. You can click on any of the photos for a larger view (which will not have the right hand edge cut off!).





Filed under antique quilts, quilt history, stitchery, Uncategorized


Hi again, it’s ME.

Just found this video where Amy Butler goes through all of her new lines that premiered at Spring Market in Portland. I’ve been a fan of her fabrics since she came into the quilting scene. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with them though-those gorgeous big prints you don’t want to chop up. I’m thinking that I am going back to my roots in garment-sewing to make some simple skirts or toppers. Love, love, love the fabric in the dress Amy is wearing in this video with a pair of leggings. I think I am not built for leggings, but a longish A line skirt with a nice colorful T might be just the ticket. And those ribbons she shows–gotta get me some of them! I’ve been experimenting with some simple beading techniques so a few of those bookmarks or cuffs would be super for holiday and birthday gifts.

Talk about your eye candy!  click here for the video

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free videos

Hello all, ME here again.

Thank goodness for the rain last night. I’m not one of those who loves the hot weather, and I was getting worried about the drought state of my gardens. I’m attempting to grow some grass seed in a few bare spots in the lawn. All of those issues were helped immensely by the rain. So, thank you! to Mother Nature.

I’m teaching a series of lessons on some of the traditional blocks/techniques that I think of as the basis for all sorts of quilting designs. Recently I taught some curved piecing via a small drunkard’s path project. I wanted to find a good tutorial for sewing the curves, that would match the method I taught, so I could add it to the class handout as a back-up reference for my students. I found a pretty good one at the Fons and Porter site, in among their free videos.  I was surprised at the number and variety of free videos on demand that they have available. For those of you who are fans of the Fons and Porter Love of Quilting show that sometimes is in the line-up on Channel 17, those videos, and their past series of oldies but goodies, are available at this site. There is a series called “Quilt with the Stars” that highlights some of the big names. I know that Lynn Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles, Edyta Sitar, and Nancy Halvorsen are rock stars in the quilting world. They are 3 of the stars who have been featured. Some of Jenny Doan’s videos, corresponding to the patterns in the magazine she is producing along with this organization, can be found there.

In other words, Lots of Good Stuff––for FREE! Go have a look, and perhaps set a timer so you don’t lose track of time going from one video to the next. Click here for the fun viewing!

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Moda School house

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

If you frequent your local fabric shop on a regular basis, you may have noticed that the owner was missing for a few days last week. International Quilt Marker for spring of 2013 was going on in Portland, Oregon. For those of us who wish we could go to Quilt Market each season, here is a treat. The folks from Fat Quarter Shop video taped the entire Moda School House presentation and posted it at YouTube. You’ll get a sneak peek at the newest fabrics coming from Moda, and their designers. Our fall seminar guest, Pat Sloan, makes an appearance at 15:36 in the video. I’ll warn you the “show” is about 45 minutes long. You might want to watch it in segments, or just treat yourself to a cup of your favorite beverage and sit down to watch the entire thing. I loved getting to see what will be in our stores before too long!   click here for video.

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May Guild meeting photos

Hi everyone,

as always, I am a bit late but hey – at least I am consistent! 🙂

May meeting was really great! Our guest, Dennis Foster is truly amazing kite-maker and quilter, don’t you think? I am so proud to be able to say that I had a little bit to do with him becoming a quilter and it was and always is such a pleasure having him in my class. You can count on Dennis to come back with a masterpiece of his own after taking a class – teacher’s biggest reward! 🙂

So he started by showing us one of the early kites he made:IMG_6320Some smaller ones too (but so cool-looking, don’t you think?)

IMG_6322 IMG_6323And then came Bargello design kites – SPECTACULAR!

IMG_6333IMG_6339IMG_6348Or how about some optical illusions effect:

IMG_6399IMG_6347Bar-code anyone?

IMG_6397Dennis’ big inspiration are quilt patterns and designs – so how about this for Ricky Tims’ Kaleidoscope:

IMG_6352Or a bit bigger one:

IMG_6358Even bigger and more spectacular:

IMG_6364Oh and for a glimpse on how amazing these look while flying in the sky, you put the lite against the window:

IMG_6367Amazing, right?

Some other classic quilt patterns are Dennis’ inspiration too:

IMG_6369Or New York beauty:

IMG_6382Or Renae Merrill’s spirals:

IMG_6372And then some amazing original designs – start on the paper first:

IMG_6374And then make a spectacular kite:

IMG_6376Or maybe this one:

IMG_6380All I can say is – AMAZING!

Oh and if you are wondering – yes, Dennis makes amazing quilts too! Kaleidoscope one:

IMG_6355New York beauty:

IMG_6387Or this flowery design by yours truly (I am so proud! 🙂 )

IMG_6351How is all this for an inspirational work? Dennis’ kites are so spectacular – now we all need to see them fly in the sky! And YES, the all DO fly well! How amazing is that?

I can’t wait to see what is the next marvelous kite coming out of the Dennis Foster workshop – we must ask him to come again!

Have a colorful Tuesday in flying colors,



Filed under quilt inspired kites

the wrong side

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Got to make this quick today. Miles to go before I sleep, as a famous man once said.

Did you know battings have a right and wrong side? I discovered I have been using my favorite Warm and Natural batting wrong side up for years!! Have a look at this article from APQS and learn some new things about the part of your quilt that you don’t want to show!  click here!


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controversial quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

We’ve been talking about the modern quilting movement and their recent gathering QuiltCon here at the blog of late. One quilt hung in the show at QuiltCon has caused quite a stir among quilters. It definitely “ain’t your grandma’s quilt”! But first let’s back track a bit.

In the early 2000’s a group of quilters in Lawrence Kansas wanted to erase some of the “goody two shoes” from the image of quilters and worked together to make a quilt depicting the demise of Sunbonnet Sue. Many quilters were incensed by this attack on the beloved traditional pattern. Apparently some parts of quilting are to be held sacred. Here is a link to an image of the quilt, now residing in a university archives in Michigan.

At the International Quilt Show in Houston in 2010, Rochester quilter Randall Cook caused a commotion with his art quilt depicting a nude male. Quilters felt the subject was inappropriate. You might enjoy seeing images of Randall’s quilts from his website gallery. Many interesting and lovely quilts, some showing nudes. Nothing obscene in my opinion, and the gallery shows a wide range of quilting styles. There is nothing worse than what you would view in many art galleries (or along an expressway near you). click here to visit the gallery.

Yesterday I visited Joe Cunningham’s blog. I first found out about Joe back on the long gone Simply Quilts show where he would appear now and then to demonstrate hand quilting. Gorgeous work, done in the old fashioned Amish style. Now I run across Joe’s work in modern quilt context. His quilts have definitely evolved, and he has added computerized machine quilting to his repertoire. Following his most recent blog entry was his February 24, 2013 entry in which he talks about a quilt at QuiltCon that stirred up a bit of controversy, and his feeling about the entire issue. I knew of this quilt in particular, which has blocks showing the F-bomb word in many styles, perhaps 2 years ago. The whole story of the professor’s exploration of words in our language and their impact is very interesting to me. There are no upsetting images-it is more a compilation of typography. Each block within the quilt was contributed by a different quilter. I am amazed by the vitriol that I have heard around this quilt. Within Joe’s blog there is a link to an image of this “F” quilt, should you care to have a look before deciding your position on this controversy. Does freedom of speech apply to quilting? While this word is offensive to many of us, the quilter who made the controversial quilt certainly has the right to do so. I can’t imagine this quilt “threatening the future of our art form” as I read one quilter saying. I suppose this is what many artists of controversial works deal with regularly.

All in all I think it’s great that quilting is beginning to be a main stream art form-not just something that old fuddy duddies do. We have as wide a range of styles as many other art forms-from the tame to the controversial. Controversy means that people are seeing quilts, thinking about what is shown, and forming opinions. Better than having our work ignored?

Do you have an opinion?


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cheery projects

Hello all, it’s ME again.

I’ve been looking around for some cheerful warm weather type projects. I’ll share a few I’ve found.

Love to check in at Purlbee now and then. They have great project ideas for both knitting and quilting, two hobbies I enjoy. This one is actually stitchery more than patchwork, but that’s where I found it at the site. Great looking coasters–they’ve used wool felt, but craft felt would work too. It just wouldn’t be as absorbent when your Long Island ice tea glass begins to sweat. click here.

I know we’re past Easter, but in my backyard we are into full swing bunny season. They tell all their friends to come to the salad bar at Mary Ellen’s. It’s hard to keep them from some of the perennial shoots-particularly they seem to love the bachelor buttons (centaurea, I think is the Latin name). So here’s the bunny purse: click here.

This is not a quilting project. It’s a remake of a plain tee shirt into a snazzy one.  Great project for any teens you sew with, or for yourself even if you love a good DIY clothing project. Lots of possibilities for the creative bargain hunter. click here.

Any project made with this cheerful fabric from our upcoming guest, Pat Sloan, would be so fun to sew on and use. Check out her video about the new fabric line. I know of at least one of our area shops that will be carrying this line. (Hint, I give classes there.) click here.

Very cute bunny surrounded by carrots or an apple blossom table runner found here.

Paper pieced daffodil, iris, pansy and many more here.

Enough of this, heading out for a Mother’s Day breakfast with friends! Hope you all have a great day!

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drooling over dresdens

Hello all, Mary Ellen back again,

After writing yesterday’s post, I got dresden plate blocks stuck in my head so I went exploring. I found some neato variations on the traditional block. Not all are easy-peasy but they all are keen! Enough already! Spoiler alert, many are paper pieced to get perfect sized wedges.

This one is a off center swirled dresden:click here.

A very modern angular dresden: click here.

a peppermint pinwheel block: click here.

dresden plate lampshade!: click here.

ideas for finishing the middle of your dresden plate. The best one is shown on the very chic purse at the beginning of the post-it’s the dimensional rose. Love it! click here.

I think this is what I meant yesterday about getting so much mileage out of a few great classic blocks. Enjoy!

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