Monthly Archives: April 2015

going back in history

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

My history as a sewer began with clothing–first with clothing for dollies made with crude little girl hand stitching, gradually working through making my own A line skirts and Peter Pan collared blouses up to making tailored suits and coats. Some of my motivation was financial (in those days, one could make nice clothing spending less than it would cost to purchase similar items); some of my motivation was a desire for unique clothing that would never be seen on anyone else. If you are a watcher of YouTube videos you will know how videos are recommended to you along the side bar or as part of your “subscription” package. Videos about sewing-both quilting and clothing construction–are always in the recommendation list for me.

This week I was recommended several episodes of a series called “The Great British Sewing Bee”. I clicked on one of them and let it run while I puttered on a few tasks in the kitchen. I was expecting something on the order of Project Runway. I suppose this series is a bit like that, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. It seems that the hosts of the series actually have pulled together tasks based on items of clothing that real persons might actually wear. In the first episode the tasks were based on an A line skirt, an off the rack top, and a day dress. All were tasks I had completed in the past. I remembered tackling all of the issues that the sewers in the competition had to deal with. And just like them, sometimes I succeeded spectacularly, and sometimes had an epic fail. I actually am somewhat intrigued-enough that I may attempt some piece of clothing for myself before long. I definitely am going to watch more episodes in this series to see how the competition progresses.

If you have some clothing construction in your sewing history, perhaps you would enjoy this series too. I know some of you had nightmarish harridans as your home economics teachers, who completely took away your love of sewing anything remotely related to a piece of clothing. So sorry for that. But some of us enjoyed the challenge and the pride of the garments either in spite of, or because of, the sewing teacher(s) we had. Have a look. Click here.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Martha and quilts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by such a volume of e-mail in the morning. I have begun to unsubscribe from those sources whose e-mails aren’t “fun” on a regular basis. One of those I’m thinking of dropping is from Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. Very little is free there anymore, and it seems my taste in quilts is evolving away from the styles they feature. Today, however, as I scrolled down through their post looking for gems, I ran across this. I don’t think of Martha Stewart as a source for quilting information, but we know she collects all sorts of things. In this post she featured a group of patriotic quilts. She doesn’t own them all–she was just showcasing them. She does seem, in this video anyway, to have a sincere appreciation for the art. Some of the quilts are amazing. I particularly like the one with the embroidered stories of the presidents. See what catches your fancy. Click here.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

sewing for others

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Quilters are among the most generous people I know. Every quilt guild (I think?) has charitable efforts where quilts are made for others and given freely with no expectation of any return. Many individual quilters sew for others as well. Quilts for preemies, for seniors, for veterans, …, and the list goes on.

April is National Autism Awareness month. The diagnoses of autism have increased greatly from when I was young. I’m not sure if that’s due only to more awareness of the syndromes, or if it is occurring in the population in higher numbers than in the past. Probably a bit of both. Almost all of us know, or know of, a child who has been diagnosed to be somewhere along the autism spectrum.

This quilting project might be just the thing if someone you care about is autistic. This tutorial is for a weighted blanket, taught by Rob Appell who is now associated with Jenny Doan’s empire. Some babies who are hard to sooth, are comforted by a heavier blanket. Have a look at this and see what you think. Click here.

1 Comment

Filed under free patterns, gift ideas, guy quilting

…and another spring idea

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I have a bin into which I throw the selvedge trimmings as I’m sewing. It sits to the right of my sewing machine and is getting fuller and fuller. Seems kind of like the loaves and the fishes, if you get the drift. The more I use selvedges for projects, the more the bin fills up. Never seems to reduce in volume. In between the phases of projects I’m making for work, I’m working on a selvedge project which also uses the 60 degree triangle ruler-perhaps my favorite specialty ruler!

But I think I will be taking a break from that project because I ran across this one, which is too cute for words (play on the selvedge concept ladies!). I’ll now be looking for a pair of canvas slip on shoes so I can make myself a pair of these selvedge shoes. Yep, you heard me correctly, selvedge shoes. Also will be searching for fabric mod podge. I’m thinking that will be a perfect way to use a 40% off coupon!

Maybe a bunch of us from guild could start a new fashion trend in the quilter world. Have a look at these! click here

Does anyone know of a local store that sells those canvas shoes by Toms?

3 Comments

Filed under 2015 gifting challenge, free patterns, garment sewing, guild activities

another spring quilt idea

Hi all, Mary Ellen again.

I spotted this one on my e-mail again this morning. Awhile back here on the blog we had some discussion going about the jelly roll 1600 quilts. (Look in side bar for a category link) This quilt was not made as a 1600, but certainly could be. That one strip that makes it more interesting, is just cut from the finished top, top and bottom ends reversed in orientation, sashing/border added to the cut strip and then inserted into the top. It’s a quick and easy way to take a 1600 quilt up a few notches. The reason I pulled this pattern idea out is that I came across a jelly roll I’d forgotten about, while looking through my UFO’s recently. This quilt would make a great gift for a niece’s birthday, since the jelly roll was chosen with her in mind originally.

Check out this pattern (click here) if you need a quick gift–baby shower, wedding shower, graduation, Mothers’ Day…–and the list goes on. ‘Tis the season, isn’t it? BTW how are you coming on our 2015 Gifting Challenge? Remember, one holiday gift completed each month is the goal. Even better if it is a UFO completed. I’ll give a report on my own progress soon.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2015 gifting challenge, free patterns, gift ideas, jelly roll 1600 ideas

quilts for spring

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Bright mornings like today give me motivation for many adventures. I took a tour of the yard, where it’s not too soggy, and checked out what plants are peaking up. The gardener in me (and some of you too, I’ll wager) is itching to get out to play in the dirt. I’m going to pot up some dahlia bulbs today-entails getting out to the garden shed and finding the potting soil and pots. I bought some dinner plate dahlias, which my dad’s mom used to always have in her garden. She was in a different growing zone, so she didn’t need to start hers in the house. I’ve resigned myself to the fact the we Buffalonians must start many of our plants indoors. I’m not much of a house plant enthusiast so as soon as it’s warm enough, the dahlias will be transplanted into the outdoor beds.

Another motivation that has hit me is making a bright springy quilt. This pattern that came up on my e-mail today has struck my fancy. The bright colors, the chevron effect, and the easiness of the construction all combine for a great project (IMHO). Here’s a link to the project that might be my next one: spring quilt #1. Good way to use scrap strips.

Do you have any quilts that you’ve brought out this spring? Currently I have hanging a quilt from a very old Quilter’s World magazine in which I learned my first seminole piecing. It has rows of carrots, lettuce, cabbage and a picket fence–each made with a different seminole piecing technique. I sewed a great big white pom pom between two of the pickets to be Peter Rabbit’s tail. My spring gardens seem to always become a salad bar for the neighborhood bunnies. No matter what deterrent I buy or concoct, I lose a lot of sweet green leaves to the rabbits!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized