Monthly Archives: June 2015

Be a quitter

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’ve mentioned here before that many of the ideas for my blog entries come from other bloggers. I subscribe to quite a few blogs and receive daily or weekly updates from many of them. Leah Day, a phenomenal quilter, who wrote the 365 free motion designs blog, is one of them. She has added a few new threads to her blogging posts. Today her post was titled “You have permission to quit”. After listening to what she had to say in her youtube post, it got me thinking about some of the UFO’s I have accumulated. I can think of 2 that are unfinished because I do not like them anymore. One was so poorly written by the designer that every step of the way requires some sort of correction. Her math calculations were atrocious, and you can just imagine how that irks me, the retired math teacher. I don’t know that any of us needs anyone’s permission to quit a project, other than our own permission, but isn’t that the hardest one to get? As I’m thinking about that annoying project I just alluded to, I’m going to quit using trying to use the designer’s plan and either redesign the remaining border or just finish what I have completed so far with no border at all. I love the spring paper pieced flowers in the center of the quilt, but I just want to be done with it. If you need anyone else’s permission to quit a project that is not pleasing you anymore, you now have Leah’s and mine as well. And if it’s really annoying you, you don’t have to go any further with the project at all, JUST QUIT IT!

Here’s a link to Leah’s video if you want to hear her take on this topic. Click here.


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free motion quilting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I apologize for the faulty links that WordPress has posted from me. I’m not sure what is going on there, but definitely it’s not what I want it to do. Ain’t computers just grand?!

I’ve been looking around the web at free motion quilting tutorials of late. I will be teaching an intro class to FMQ myself this summer and am interested in what other teachers are doing. I also am becoming a bit of an online student at Craftsy, Craft Daily and a few other sites. I find that learning and listening in my jammies with my beverage of choice suits my style these days. I came across this blurb for a book/class on bobbin quilting by Michele Scott which is intriguing. That girl has an attitude! I’ve seen her work online and a few pieces at a national show, and she is very talented. Oh that I could do a bit of what she does with her machine. Click here to see the blurb yourself. Maybe you’d enjoy a class with her too.

Do you quilt your own quilts? What’s your favorite technique? I will quilt my own pieces up to the size of a generous lap quilt or throw. Beyond that I send them to a long armer. I tried quilting the larger sizes back when I was first learning to free motion quilt. Somehow I thought if you didn’t quilt your work yourself, that it was a mark in the demerit column. Ha! Not anymore! Although I am proficient at free motion now, and better at creative walking foot quilting, I have no qualms about letting someone else quilt my larger pieces. Why not take advantage of the talented long arm quilters out there? Quilting makes the quilt I think. More than once a quilt that I was not enchanted with has come back from the long armer looking much better than when I sent it.

How do you weigh-in on long arm quilting, or on paying to have your pieces finished by a professional?


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Blog-chatting perks – we have a winner!

Hi everyone,

I am so bummed I had to miss the meeting again!! It seems that un-planned things always happen on Thursday, the Guild night?? yeah…last night was unexpected family shuffle as some were battling a little stomach bug that baby is giving everyone these days (but me! – grandma is immune! )

Oh well – maybe in July I will just take a day off when Guild night comes, ha ha!

In the meantime – using my coffee break here at work to quickly draw a winner of a surprise I promised, as I promised!!

So…what is the prize?? Maybe you guessed it already, but yes –Β it’s a BOOK! Book we talked about – IRICH CHAIN QUILTS, Contemporary Twist on Classic Design.


We had 8 guild members comment (so now we know what they are up to!), each got a number assigned in order of comments appearing – THANK YOU ALL!!! And on that photo you might have took a glimpse of the Random Number Generator that said that the book goes to……(drum roll !!!) …. number two comment…



Congrats Roxy!!! We need to get in touch so I can give you your new book. πŸ™‚

By the way – I really like this one and I think we need it also in our Guild’s library – what do you say?

Also – have you found a good quilting book or new gadget lately? Care to share with everyone? PLEASE DO – let us know in the comments what other goodies are out there for us quilters??Β 

Now have to run back to my test tubes and Petri dishes, coffee break is over! (well this one included Paula’s doughnuts too…. love my co-workers!)

I think I have another question coming for you all soon (and another prize?? πŸ™‚ Β ) – stay tuned!

Wishing you all wonderful weekend celebrating all fathers everywhere!


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Are they done?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Although that title could be about quilt projects, it’s actually about the maple helicopters, whirligigs, schizocarps or whatever you call them. It seems that this year’s crop is at least twice the size of a usual spring. Every garden bed needs another cleaning from them, both those just dry and dead and those that are starting to sprout. The pathways are loaded too–I’ve got work to do before the mulch can go down. In the middle of summer I love those lush maples, but now I hate them. And I haven’t even mentioned cleaning the gutters and the flat roof!!

I’ve been enjoying a new quilt book that just arrived. The Farmer’s Wife sampler (this is the 2nd book-using 30’s fabrics this time) is a project that intrigues me. I haven’t been enticed in the past to do any of the block compilation type quilts-Dear Jane quilts are well-known examples. Maybe some of you who like Jennifer Chiaverini’s books has been drawn to Sylvia’s wedding quilt. Have any of you made any of these types of quilts? How do you keep yourself motivated after 20 blocks or so when you’re not even half way to the goal?

Currently I’m working on a paper piecing project. Have you seen Alex Anderson’s paper piecing book? There’s a lovely sampler in it which uses some of my favorite blocks. One I have not paper pieced before, the New York Beauty, is included as well. The only really daunting part is the border of flying geese all the way around. I believe it’s 84 flying geese. I’ve been sewing a few in between the other blocks so I don’t get too overwhelmed by that number! Sometimes it’s better for me not to know how many pieces or parts I need for a project. I just jump in and start stitching them a bit at a time, adding them to a design wall. Then the fun of seeing the quilt emerge keeps me going on what might seem like drudgery.

Do you do more or less quilting during the summer months? Busy with too many baseball games, sailing races or garden beds? Or do the longer days with plenty of natural light keep you motivated, stitching on the porch with a nice grown up beverage?

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Filed under foundation paper piecing, our other hobbies, Uncategorized

Hello stranger…. (and a tiny surprise at the end, so read on! )

…and that would be ME! 😦

Hello everyone,

sorry to be MIA for so long from our blog!! What can I say… just life in general! New job, too much fun with my granddaughter, summertime… excuses, excuses!!

But early this morning, while it was pouring outside and I couldn’t go for a walk with Marley, I was browsing quilty blogosphere of course, with my morning coffee…and thought that this particular new book (and the fun Blog Hop that goes with it), could be interesting for you all too! IRISH CHAIN QUILTS by Melissa Corry


The subtitle is what I really, really LOVE – contemporary twists on a classic design!! And lets just say it from the start – I have no affiliations of course, I don’t even have the book YET! I just love the idea, love the quilts I saw so far and thought to share for inspiration. πŸ™‚ I really LOVE the block that is on schedule today, by Lee from Freshly Pieced!

Anyway… If you like Blog Hops like I do, this book’s release has one and I find a lot of great inspirations on it – you can find it HERE.Β You will have a list of blogs and dates when to visit and yes some chances to win in there too…hey you never know! Just fun stuff!

So what are you up to these days? Lots of gardening?

In my garden this year, Clematis seems to be a “star” – huge blooms and lots of them!!


Oh but we also have FRUIT!!! The peach tree my husband planted in honor of our new granddaughter (who we all lovingly called Peaches, before she was born) now has peaches!! So exciting!!


Some new quilting and sewing?

In my sewing room…some new fabric to play with, to re-do and re-vamp some old patterns of mine… what do you think? Like?IMG_0599Can we chat about it? (oh, here comes that little surprise….)

Let us all know what you are up to these days in comments!! Everyone that comments will be entered to win a little prize from me!!!

So what is the prize? Hmmm…well that is a surprise too!!! (hey, but I promise it will be good!) Lets try to do this quick and I can even bring the prize to the guild meeting on Thursday!!!

So – GO! Comment away – we are nosy and want to know what are you up to this summer!!!

here is one of the things I was up to recently…making a bunny skirt!! Yes, I know…going a bit baby crazy… but LOVING IT!! πŸ™‚


Wishing you all a lovely day and week ahead, see you Thursday too,


PS – I just realized that I need to be fair to ALL readers of this blog, not only AQG members – so ALL of you are welcome to comment and there will be one prize for AQG member (you all have till Thursday!) and one for non-member, reader at large – you have till the end of the week (just say in your comment you are not a member). PHEW! glad I got this fixed… πŸ™‚


Filed under blog candy, books, Giveaways

proven benefits of crafting

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

If someone asked you, “why do you quilt?”. what would your answer be? I’m betting it wouldn’t be that it increases dopamine levels in your brain, or that it helps to prevent premature cognitive decline. But quilting (and crafting) does have proven health benefits. Have a look. Click here.

Now go make something!

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update on our gift along challenge

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Back in January a challenge was thrown down to work on holiday gifts throughout the year instead of waiting for “crunch time” in November and December. The challenge was to make/finish one each month. How’s that working out for you?

I’m doing pretty well. But to be honest…I have a little extra help. I teach classes at a local quilt shop and am frequently making sample to use in teaching. I’ve gotten smarter about choosing the fabrics. I now pick them with someone on my gift list in mind. (I’ve got 3 completed gifts living at the shop right now.) That way the sample, when it’s returned to me from the shop, becomes a completed gift. If I know the sample will be still living at the shop after the gift occasion passes, then I choose the fabrics for the step outs with the giftee in mind. Those fabrics I try to choose from my stash. That helps to work on another goal of mine-using up the tremendous stash. I’m beginning to worry about whoever has to deal with my “stuff” after I go to the big craft room in the sky. It’s not just fabric I’m talking about. I have waaaaaaay too many hobbies and the “stuff” that goes with them.

This gift idea was in an e-mail from The Quilt Show this morning. The designer says she came up with it because of her curious cat. I think it’s darn cute anyway, being only a cat tolerater rather than lover. (Although my dog was very curious as a pup and ate a pin cushion which was loaded with pins, to the tune of several hundred dollars at the vet!) See what you think of her idea for someone on your gift list. Click here.


Filed under 2015 gifting challenge, gift ideas