Monthly Archives: October 2014

Don’t hurt yourself!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’m sure if you’re more than a rank beginner to quilting, you know that quilting does use a lot of muscles. It’s not difficult to make your body tired and sometimes sore after an extended period of any of the processes involved in producing a quilt. We had a speaker at a guild meeting not long ago who gave some tips, but perhaps you weren’t at that meeting or you would like a review.

Check out this video. Tips are given for finding more comfort or less strain in each step along the way, starting from cutting the fabric all the way to the hand stitching of the binding. If you are an embroiderer the hand stitching tips and the stretches suggested would be helpful for you as well.

Have you got your project ready to work on in between tomorrow night’s trick or treaters?

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Filed under applique, free motion quilting, stitchery, tips and tricks, tutorials, Uncategorized

Ruby Jubilee

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

A Ruby Jubilee is a 40th anniversary of an event. This fall marks the 40th anniversary of the International Quilt festival in Houston. The exhibit of red and white quilts, inspired by the red and white exhibit that was in NYC a few years ago, is spectacular. I’m sure there will be more and more about that on all the social media etc before too long. Have a look at this newsletter from Quilts, Inc. to read about the birth of the quilt festival, pick up a free pattern, and some great recipes. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to do some of your own internet surfing to find more about those “ruby” quilts. click here

You might also enjoy this summary of all of the special events to take place at the quilt festival this year. Wouldn’t this be a great quilters’ trip?! click here.


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odd bits

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

What have you been up to lately? I recently drove down to Penn Yan with a friend to have my sewing machine serviced. Discovered that Mapquest and Yahoo maps can’t always be trusted. After having a very detailed tour of the Cayuga Lake shore neighborhoods, we eventually ended up at the shop we were aiming for. Fortunately it was a nice day, and the hillsides were gorgeous with fall colors. After dropping the machine off at the shop, we headed further on for some quilty fun. Our first stop was at Quilters’ Corners in Ithaca. I had known of this shop from quilt show venders malls, but had never been to the brick and mortar place. Wow! Lots of eye candy. So many samples to look at, and of course many different fabrics than our local shops. I love seeing the different choices that each shop buyer will make. Saw rayon batiks, voiles and canvas that I haven’t seen in our area. Every shop has its own personality, don’t you agree? We spent quite a bit of time looking at just everything, every nook and cranny. And oh, the sale fabrics… I am proud of myself that I didn’t buy any fabric at all! But I did have quite a haul of patterns and fun gifts.

Second stop was O’Sussanah’s in Watkins Glen. Another shop with a personality very different from my local haunts. Loved seeing the fabrics being used in garments and home dec.   Quite a few samples of Japanese taupes, and books from designers working in the “zakka” style. Again bought some patterns but no fabric!

We were on the clock to get back to Buffalo around dinner time, so were pleased when we got the call that our machines were ready, right around 3:00. We were in the bulk food store down the way from the machine shop when the call came. Great stuff there too. And we had some scrumptious autumn squash soup in the little cafe which is part of the complex.

All in all, a great quilt excursion. It’s definitely worth the ride with some quilting buddies.

Do you know of some fun destinations for a quilting day trip? Share!

BTW, here are a few interesting links I’ve come upon recently in my travels through blogland.

binding an inverted corner: click here

easy quilt for baby or actually for anyone: click here


Filed under eye candy, free patterns, garment sewing, gift ideas, local quilt shops, tips and tricks, Uncategorized

decorating for the holidays

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Most quilters have made a piece or two to bring out during the Christmas season, but I wonder if you’ve made anything for the Halloween or harvest time of year. I’ve read that more money is spent in the US on decorating for the Halloween season than for any other time of the year. Perhaps that includes all of the costumes, outdoor “freaky” fun and pumpkin villages as well as the typical indoor stuff. How about you? Do you have any quilty things for this time of year?

As I sit here at the kitchen counter and look around the house, I can see that I have quite a collection amassed over several years. I’ll share a few of my things and I hope you’ll tell us about yours in a comment. Here’s a list in no particular order:

Stuffed cotton apples and pears in a fabric bowl which is atop a Halloween place mat,

Stuffed cotton, flannel and wool pumpkins atop a table topper made from a swap of 5″ squares of fall and harvest fabrics. My quilty friends have done several projects with fabrics we swapped in the group. Last evening at the guild meeting we were reminiscing about all the projects we’ve done that way. Maybe we’ll come up with another one.

a Halloween quilt on the back of the couch made in a seminar class with Gretchen Duhling (sp?) using her 2 x 4 rectangle techniques. I cut my pieces from a Halloween jelly roll which I still remember was titled “Pumpkins Gone Wild”,

a wall hanging with an assortment of Halloween prints in the background, and a big witch’s hat appliqued over top. That one was made to show that if you change-up the fabrics you can give a quilt a very different look. I was giving a demo on a baby quilt pattern for a local shop, and used my Halloween version to illustrate my point.

a table runner from a super easy pattern called “The Big Easy” using fabric I purchased at the “gone but not forgotten” oasis for quilters: Pine Grove Workshop out near Lockport. Fond memories for so many of us of that shop and its lovely staff.

a fabric haunted house which I made as a variation on Christmas houses from a Terri Atkinson pattern,

on the wall in the stairway hangs a pumpkin stack panel which I bordered with 4 patches. Purchased the panel at one of Material Rewards’ holiday open houses.

I’ll stop there, I guess. This brought to mind a comment that Bonnie Hunter made during her lecture on using scraps. Your fabric carries your memories. Micki’s commentary about her quilts last evening illustrated that same point. I bet you can tell stories about your quilts too.

Share a story with us!

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seminar 2016

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

It’s now official. Nancy Mahoney will be our national teacher for the 2016 quilt seminar. She is in all the quilt publications, so I’m sure that even if you’re not familiar with her name you have certainly seen some of her work. Here’s  a link to her blog. Go explore and get to know a bit about her.

Please be thinking about what you’d like to see in the open years in between our seminars, instead of a seminar. I’ll be asking for ideas in the months ahead.


Filed under scrap quilting, seminar

Eye on Elegance

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I come from a family of folks who spend their days immersed in math and science. Except for one. I have a niece who loves history, in all of its forms. She is currently living in the Washington D.C. area, discovered this exhibit at the DAR museum, and sent me the link.

Eye on Elegance is an exhibit of quilts from the Maryland and Virginia area. This “show” online is wonderful for those of us who will not be in Washington soon. There are video clips from the curator, and many photos of the quilts which you can explore. You are able to zoom in and look at the details of the quilts. If you are interested in the history of our art form, I think you’ll find this very interesting. So much to learn about the beginnings of quilting here in the US, and lovely things from an artistic standpoint as well. I am always amazed at what quilters with little mathematical education, and the most basic of tools were able to come up with geometrically. The star blocks are challenging for us now with all sorts of tools, including computers, to help us draft the blocks. I can’t imagine how they were able to plan the piecing the “old way”.

Enjoy. You’ll want a cup of tea, and some time to linger over this exhibit. Click here.

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Filed under antique quilts, applique, English paper piecing, eye candy, quilt history, what is art?

quilting bucket list

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.
Do you have a quilting bucket list? All those quilted projects that you want to accomplish before the end?
I do. Lots of things on it, but here are a few… a totally red and white Irish chain, a white on white with feathers drafted and quilted by me, a very fun Halloween “redwork” quilt with 15 blocks so detailed that I can’t even get started!, …
Well I just found another quilt project to add to the list. I love the fabric manipulations (origami, smocking, etc.) on this quilt. Definitely want to try this out. Check it out here.

What’s a project on your quilting bucket list? Come on, share!


Filed under eye candy, Uncategorized

Wicked Quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

How do you find inspiration for your next quilt project? Here’s a link to quilts made for a challenge from Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics was to use 3 “wicked” greens from their 2014 line and make a quilt inspired by “Wicked”. It’s the 11th anniversary of the show “Wicked” in NYC, so many chose their inspiration from there, but other worked from the meaning of the word itself. Good theme for Halloween season, isn’t it?

click here (if you dare!)

How are your seminar projects coming? I hope you enjoyed yourself and learned a least one new thing. Those are the goals of seminar. We’re working on getting our national teacher lined up for 2016, and hope to announce the name at the next guild meeting. Bring those completed (tongue in cheek) projects for show and tell in October.


Filed under eye candy, Meeting Show and Tell, seminar, Uncategorized

Seminar – already two weeks ago?

Hi everyone,

this can be yet another issue of my Wednesday wanderings but I have been thinking and meaning to post all my Seminar photos here only to realize just now – it has already been TWO WEEKS??? That’s just not possible…. You know how they say that time goes faster as you grow older? Well – I must be REALLY old then…it just flies by!!!

Well, better two weeks after than never – wasn’t Seminar just a TON of fun?? I heard several times from Bonnie (and that’s just in two separate occasions) how well organized it is and how nice it is!! So I know you all will join me in saying a BIG BIG THANK YOU to Mary Ellen and Jan and everyone who worked on Seminar to make it yet another wonderful success!!

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen a crowd that big for our Wednesday night lecture – ever!!


And our guest of honor, Bonnie Hunter  working hard even before it all started!


And so did Mary Ellen, Lori, Jan and Robi (she was on the other side) at the door:


And then the fun begun!!!

Bonnie was inspirational, informative, encouraging, funny… you name it.

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Oh and don’t you just LOVE our new quilt display system? I think it is fabulous!!


Oh and speaking of QUILT DISPLAY – was it one amazing quilt after another or what??

I was truly mesmerized by Bonnie’s quilts!! How beautifully balanced, yet amazingly diverse and scrappy, how warmly traditional and comforting, yet fresh and contemporary in colors and style.

For all of you who couldn’t be there here is just a little glimpse into the evening:

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Yup, as I said – inspirational and spectacular!

So my friends – let’s get sewing!! 🙂

Have a wonderful week,


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