Monthly Archives: August 2013

e-mail find

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Are you all set for the new year to begin? After all my years of being involved with education, I still think of  September as the start of the new year. Shortly after I retired, I ran into a colleague who also was a former student of mine in Wegman’s. At some point in the conversation, he asked me “Does it seem odd not to be teaching?” Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a teacher but, truthfully, I do not miss it. But here is my answer to him: “This is the first September in about 60 years that I have not been going back to school. That does seem a bit odd.” I’ve been retired for a few years now, and it still seems a bit odd not to be returning to a classroom. It takes me about the amount of time my first cup of coffee takes on the first day of school to get over it, and then I’m fine!!

Usually while I’m having that cup of coffee I’m reading e-mail. I subscribe to quite a few blogs and online newsletters, though not nearly as many now as I did when I first retired. This morning I was reading one of the newsletters I get from an Australian quilting group. They always feature a collection of links to things of interest-usually quilty but not always.

This link was in the batch this morning; I picked up a few good tips (life hacks, as they called them), perhaps you will too. If you have time, also look at the collection of perfectly timed photos which follows the list of hints. Click here.

Have you left us a comment on those two entries a little ways back? Get your name in the drawing for some great prizes celebrating our 40,000+ visitors by leaving us a comment or two. You can comment as often as you like to have more entries. We’re talking good scissors, rotary cutter blades, a ruler or two. Good stuff!!

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still more modern

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Still cogitating on those modern quilt ideas. Got an e-mail today from about a Joe Cunningham class called Pattern Free Quiltmaking. Hmm… Went over to have a look. Signed up for it.

I have always been a rule bender. Not so much a rule breaker, just a bender. I never, even as a kid, wanted to blindly follow rules unless I could see the point. (I have a terrible time with speed limits!) I think this is caused by the other hemisphere of my mathematical, analytical brain wanting equal time. This appears in my quilting from time to time, as it does in all of the other parts of my life. Sometimes the perfectionist geometer is in charge wanting perfect points, symmetrical layouts, and precision in the measurements. Other times not so much. Love to create with random width selvage strips, like to make my own fabric with OTF (off the floor, as named by quilter Ami Simms) scraps stitched to a foundation, and have enjoyed wonky piecing as done by Gwen Marston (and her ex-husband Joe Cunningham) for years. I loved making my wonky house quilt, as I’m sure those of you taking Jackie’s seminar class will as well.

This new Craftsy class sounds like a lot of fun. After I watched Joe’s intro piece, (click here to see it), I knew I was going to give this a go. Whenever I am teaching a class and tell the students just to grab a piece at random, I can see some of them break out in a sweat. Quilt Police be da*%$*(ed! I say. Sometimes it’s fun to let go, and just see what happens. That’s how you make YOUR quilt, not just someone else’s quilt in different colors. I’m thinking I’ll get some ideas for presenting a class like this down the road. Anybody want to take it?

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more on modern

Hello all Mary Ellen here.

Since our guild meeting last week with the “modern” visitors, I’ve been looking at my latest magazines and blog subscriptions through a different lens. I’ve been thinking, as I shared in an earlier post about the show and share projects at that meeting, that many “standard” or traditional projects have a modern look, or could easily be modified to look “modern” with just minor tweaking.

This link to a “tweak” of Dresden Plates, one of my favorite blocks, illustrates my point well I think. Before you click on the link get a mental image of a dresden plate block. I’ll bet it’s a fairly “traditional” image you have in mind. Now click on the link to the modern dresdens. Whole new look, but still very recognizable as a dresden. Cool beans, I think.

Modern Dresdens: click here.

Still gathering celebrants in our 40,000 visits party. To enter in the drawings for some very cool prizes, answer this question in your comment below or go back to the “It’s time to celebrate” entry and comment to that one. These are some very nice prizes you’re going for. Hey you lurkers out there, give it a try. We’d like to meet you!

Here’s the fill in the blank for today: I, (your first name) learned to quilt (how or from whom) (how long ago?) Again I’ll go first to get the needle threaded, so to speak!


Filed under "modern" quilting, scrap quilting, Uncategorized

It’s time to celebrate!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here again.

We had a very nice presentation by the WNY chapter of the Modern Quilting Guild at our regular guild meeting last evening. Many of us had some of our questions about “modern” quilting cleared up for us. Those of us who consider ourselves to be “traditional” quilters have more in common with the “modern” girls than we might have thought. Several of the quilts that they brought along to share didn’t look “modern” to me at all. Some of the fabrics used looked like repros to me more than brand new designs, which is not to say that others of the fabrics did not have a really fresh new look to them. The use of solids in many of their quilts reminded me, and perhaps many of the others in attendance, of the days of old (now I’m really aging myself) when solids and mini-dots were about all you could get for quilting. For Pete’s sake, Victoria Findlay Wolfe whose Double Wedding Ring quilt won Best of Show at this year’s QuiltCon has a prized collection of double knit quilts! Remember those? I think double knit will be found completely intact by archeologists thousands of years from now. I did love those double knit pant suits though, when we professional women (I almost said working girls—no no no!) were first allowed to wear pants to work. It was great to see young women so excited and passionate about a craft/art that many of us more senior ladies have loved for years. During our show and share after the business meeting we saw many of “our” quilts that could have been examples during the “modern” portion of our program. It gives hope that our work will be loved and appreciated for years to come.

Hey did you get a look at the visitor counter to our blog? Over 40,000 visits!!! I would not have predicted that in a million years–just a bit of exaggeration. It’s time for a blog candy celebration. I’ve gotten permission from our treasurer to spend a bit on some nice prizes, so here’s the deal. You lurkers out there will have to come out from hiding if you want to win any of them. From now until the Monday following our quilt seminar, I will post a question now and then.  You can answer as many times as you want–answer every question, or leave more than one comment to a particular question. Let’s find out who some of our visitors have been. You do not need to be a member of our guild to play along. All of our visitors are welcome and appreciated!!By leaving a comment where you answer the question, you will entered into the drawing for the great prizes. I’m thinking gift certificates, great thread samplers, super duper scissors…stuff like that. Since I personally am trying to reduce my fabric stash, none of the prizes will be fabric–although you certainly could use a gift certificate to add to your own fabric collection if that’s your thing.

So here’s the starter question: Complete this sentence by copying it and pasting it into your comment. Then fill in the blanks. If you need to reword the sentence a bit to have it make better sense, feel free. I’ll do the first one as a sample.

I, (your first name), love (a color) in my quilts and (your favorite kind of fabric). My current quilting project is (title or description).


Filed under "modern" quilting, blog candy, Giveaways, Lucy Goosey, seminar, Uncategorized

More Joe

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Not too long ago I mentioned quilter Joe Cunningham in a few posts (search for Joe if you didn’t see those posts). We also have been mentioning modern quilting quite a bit of late. Today I came across a posting at the Generation X blog (August 7 posting) interviewing Joe. There is an upswing in the interest in hand made work, and in many of the “traditional” quilting patterns. Will hand quilting be the next “new” thing? Read Joe’s thoughts on this, from his 34 year history as a hand quilter. Click here.

We’re coming down to the wire for our fall seminar. Please sign up soon to join us in the fun. All classes still have spaces.

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why smile?

Hello all, ME again.

After finding yesterday’s link to the “dispatchwork” completely by accident, I decided to see what else I could find about this urban art.

First after examining the map carefully, I noticed that there are some spots not awfully far from us. Not requiring a passport anyway! Perhaps if you are visiting Troy, NY or Albany, you might come across these bright spots.

Secondly here’s a link to the background story. click here

Thirdly I’ve been mulling over “vandalism vs art”. Recently in the Buffalo News a graffiti tagger was shown serving his community service sentence, given for his repeated spray painting of public spaces. I’m trying to decide where the line is between destructive “art” (as the taggers call it), and this sort of Lego art. How far could an artist go before becoming a vandal?

Finally I wonder if more of this sort of “harmless” (my personal opinion) art would foster an appreciation for old buildings by “repairing” them in a fun way. Perhaps folks would look at our old buildings through different eyes, hoping for restoration rather than razing. We certainly have plenty of spots in our area that could benefit from some Lego insertions. Wouldn’t it be fun to encourage artists to add this type of inexpensive work to our down town areas?

Just musing on the state of the world over my morning coffee…



Filed under what is art?