Monthly Archives: May 2014

Exciting new fabric designers

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’ve been watching videos and reading blog posts about the recent Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. Lots of great cool “stuff” coming.  One that I’m going to be truly excited to see will be the fabrics from a new design group called Cotton and Steel, who work with RJR fabrics. The names of these 5 women were already familiar to me-some have published books in the “modern” quilting movement. Melody Miller, the ringleader, has already made a name in certain circles of “sewists” as we are now called. I think of my self as a “sewist” more than a quilter, because I sew all sorts of things. Quilts, garments, home dec, crafty items … The fabrics from Cotton and Steel have tickled the sewing gene for me. I’m anxious to try some of them out– in who knows what kinds of projects. See what you think about them.  (Leave comments to enter into the running for prizes from me celebrating my 250th post here at this blog. Actually this one you’re reading is number 252)

Click here for short film about Cotton and Steel.

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free tutes

Hi everyone, Mary Ellen here.

This post will just be a collection of links to free tutorials.

a quilt for when you’re not in the mood to be precise: crinkle quilt

pincushion pattern, but that’s not the interesting part: hair receiver!

button art for you or the kids: button art

I’m so done with pantyhose!: pantyhose flowers

If you want to get in the running for a prize celebrating my talkativeness, read yesterday’s post (a milestone). If you leave a comment on today’s post you will also be in the running. And yes you can enter more than once, so comment away!

 

 

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Filed under "modern" quilting, eye candy, free patterns, sewing with/for kids, tutorials, Uncategorized

a milestone

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

This post is a milestone-my 250th post at this blog. I talk a lot I guess. If you read all the way to then end, I’ll tell you how to enter to win a prize from me to celebrate this “achievement”.

One thing you might know if you’ve read these posts for a while is what some of my favorite blocks are. Take a minute, can you name of few of my faves? … Drunkard’s paths should be in the list. Here’s a link (click here)  to a modern looking drunkard’s path. I think this one would be great for a fat quarter collection of some of those gorgeous, somewhat solid, fabrics that are now appearing in the shops. How about Grunge from Basic Grey? Love it!

Another favorite of mine … hexagon quilts, not grandmother’s flower gardens–bigger hexagons! I tried the English paper piecing needed for the old-fashioned grandmother’s flower garden and did enough to cover the yoke of a denim shirt. That was enough of that for me! I think I like quicker results. The new trend of cutting the hexagons in half making trapezoids, which makes construction of the rows so simple, is used in so many of the latest hexagon patterns. It does make construction of the hexagon look so much faster, and manageable for a beginning quilter. I don’t like how it distorts the proportions of the hexagons a bit though; on some fabric designs it also cuts right smack into the design which gets spoiled when a seam runs through it. If you want to leave the hexagons whole, the tops can still be pieced on the machine but it requires a Y seam. I don’t mind the Y seams myself, particularly on large hexagons. It’s a trade-off I guess. No seams vs. speed. Both methods are good to have in your quilter’s tool box so you have the option of either one depending on the project you’re making. Here’s a link to a collection of free hexagon quilt patterns. Click here.

If you’d like a chance to win a prize celebrating my 250th post, leave a comment to me answering one of these questions: What is your favorite quilt block or quilt style?  OR Who is your favorite fabric designer and why? On June 10 I’ll choose a winner at random from the comments received.

Thanks for reading my ramblings; I hope you’ll stick around for more!

 

 

 

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Filed under antique quilts, English paper piecing, free patterns, Giveaways, Uncategorized

Watch Bonnie Hunter for free!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Want to watch Bonnie Hunter on The Quilt Show for free? Follow this link to her website (click here) and she will give you the steps to follow, including the code for free access to the show. This is for a limited time only, so don’t miss it!

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What to write about today?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

How do I find something to write about nearly everyday? Strange how the mind works. Usually I’m just commenting on something I got in my e-mail or that has recently happened in “life”. For example…

In today’s e-mail I got my blurb from “The Quilt Show”, the Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims adventure. When they first put the show up to the web, I paid for a subscription so I could watch the videos like I used to enjoy Alex’s Simply Quilts show on HGTV. Now though I just do the free stuff, since there are so many free videos available all over the web. Today in the e-mail there is a slideshow of free patterns from Bonnie Hunter. In it you’ll see 2 of the blocks Bonnie will be teaching at the fall seminar for us: Boxy Stars and Pineapple Blossom. Also shown is the block I demoed at our recent quilt show: easy delectable mountains. Bonnie calls it scrappy Mountain Majesty. click here for the slideshow

Last night we had the Jim(?) and Wally show at guild meeting–two machine mechanics from a local quilt store talking about machine maintenance. I was amazed at how many of our members own featherweights! When Jim called  ladies up to show how to free motion quilt on a featherweight, nearly the entire audience went up! They took questions from the audience on a variety of machine care concerns. One member asked about having magnets near our machines. Both fellows said to keep the magnets away! Interesting because I had just read information to the contrary in the past day or two. This exact question came up on the message board at The Quilting Board.com and all of those who had chimed in said magnets today are not a problem. This is the link that one of the responders included to support her claim. click here for the opposing view  Just goes to show that even the “experts” don’t always agree. I keep the magnets in my sewing room (pin dishes mostly) away from the machine. Better safe than sorry I’m thinking. Another question of note: how often to change the needle? The answer boiled down to: more often than most of us do. You can usually hear it when the needle needs changing. Popping sounds as it pierces the fabric. Or you can see it when it needs to be changed. Poor stitch formation or skipped stitches.

Well the question for today–sewing or gardening? Gardening in light rain is not a bad thing. The transplants love it–no need for me to water them. The weeds come right out without a fight. Anybody else find that all of your garden edging heaved up this past winter and had to be completely redone this spring? I’m about 3/4 of the way around the yard and I must say the edges are looking better. I’m thinking though that it’s time to find a permanent sort of edging–river rocks or something. Of course if it rains as hard today as it has the past few days, the sewing machine will win. Actually I’m working on a second wreath sample for my seminar class, and it requires more hot glue than stitches. Tangled with some hot glue yesterday and have a blister to prove it. Maybe I’ll find some stitching to do instead. There’s always another project in the queue.

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Quilting hits the national news

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I don’t know if you’ll think it’s a plug for quilting or for Jenny Doan, but none the less it helps to get the word out about quilting. Would you have expected to see a spot about quilting done by Harry Smith for national coverage?! I didn’t see this when it aired in February; I’m a fan of a different network. Maybe I’ll have to reconsider that.

click here

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quilting makes you sharper

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I missed this spot on NPR last week.  Patricia Ohtake, a member of our guild and one of our seminar teachers, pointed it out to me. She followed up on the research and is writing about it for our newsletter. But the main point–quilting makes you sharper! Wouldn’t it be great if we could get a prescription to take frequent quilting classes?!

click here

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quilts for the men in your life

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Quilts for guys. A continual puzzle. How do you find a quilt pattern that is manly but still fun to make? Is it possible to make a guy quilt without using camo fabric or tractors or muscle cars? Of course it is, but it ain’t easy!! Even the fabrics in most quilt shops are working against us–those gorgeous florals and prints are just too pretty for most men.

It’s the time of year for graduation quilts. Quilts that can go into dorm rooms. I think Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company has come up with an easily made quilt that fits the bill. This one could go into a guy’s dorm room I think. The blue and white combo she uses is a classic, but of course any 2 color combination works. Even school colors-but some of those combos would be godawful–I’m thinking of my niece’s colors: maroon and gold. Yuk!

Anyway here’s a link to a video that may be just what you need. If you don’t need it now, file this one away for future reference. I think even in black and white with a shot of hot pink you’d have a quilt for a fashionista. Or how about as a background for some tropical applique? Click here.

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more about Bonnie

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

Bonnie Hunter, our fall seminar teacher, has been on the road quite a bit lately. I’ve subscribed to her blog feed and was so jealous of the seminar she gave at Mackinac Island. An absolutely gorgeous setting, both in the Grand Hotel (grand in every sense of the word), and the naturally grand setting around the island. I would love to go there. The seminar was actually a needlework seminar (not just quilting) so other needle arts were featured as well. I think I’ll put that one on my bucket list. Click here for one of her posts about the island.

A while ago Bonnie filmed a segment with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims to be shown on their internet based The Quilt Show. Here’s a slide show of some of Bonnie’s bits. Click here.

Registration for our seminar is going well. We have 2 of Bonnie’s classes full already. I wonder though why more than half of the registrations are from non-members. I hope our members haven’t hesitated too long, and been closed out of a class they wanted to take. Still have room in Bonnie’s other 2 classes, although the Saturday class is getting close to the limit. Slow registration for the local teachers–I’m guessing folks are waiting for the photos and supply lists to go up at the web. The deadline for teachers to get the information to us is June 1, so all will be posted soon thereafter!

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Maybe one of these…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

In my last post I wrote about a quilt I’d never make. In this one I’ll share some I might make. If you are a reader of the Fons and Porter magazine Love of Quilting you are familiar with the Pilgrim/Roy collection of quilts. There is an article each month about a quilt or two from that collection. If you’ll be in Boston this summer, you might want to make a stop at the exhibition described in the post at the link I’m including. It might even be worth a trip to Boston specifically to see these. click here

If you know of places that quilters would enjoy visiting while vacationing this summer, please share! A road trip is always fun.

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Filed under antique quilts, applique, eye candy, quilt history