Category Archives: quilt shows

ours and others

how dedicated are you?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Do you consider yourself to be a dedicated quilter? Every 2 years or so the organization Quilts in America funds a survey of quilters across the US to find what a dedicated quilter is about. I’m sure that manufacturers and retailers find this information useful in planning their focus. The amount of money spent on quilting is comparable to, (and I’ve heard but can’t find the  citation for you) and has been at times more than, the money spent on golf!

Have a look at this summary of the survey results to see where you fit. In many aspects, but not all, I fit the profile. My one concern about this, if you can call it that, is the average age of dedicated quilters. I won’t go into the math of averaging data, but it does tell us that we are an aging group. The fact that the number of quilters in the US, according to this survey, has dropped so significantly since 2010 is surprising to me.  How can we get more young quilters hooked on this hobby? I suspect that this data is skewed a bit by the methods used for collecting it. I’m guessing that many of the new younger quilters were missed by the data collection and thereby aren’t included. But in a very informal way of analyzing this, think about the quilt guild meetings and quilt shows that you attend. Not very many young faces are seen there.

What part(s) of these survey results caught your attention? Click on summary link below to view.

QIA_summary  Share your thoughts in a comment!


Filed under guild activities, quilt shows, Uncategorized

a quilt I will never make

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Every now and then I run across a quilt that I know I would never ever make. And here’s a clip featuring one of them. I like the original name for it: Insanity! I know that many traditionalists will absolutely love this quilt; we have a separate category in our guild shows for quilts of this type. I appreciate the workmanship, the precision, the patience but as I said…Insanity!  click here


Filed under English paper piecing, guild activities, quilt shows

Virtual visit to our quilt show

Hi everyone,

well – WE DID IT!

Show was wonderful, colorful, full of visitors, old and new friends, demos and shopping…well done Amherst Guild!!

Special thanks go to our two show co-chairs – Kelly and Kit for all the hard work, as well as all and any committee chairs, volunteers and last minute, impromptu helpers – ALL together made yet another wonderful quilt show! I am almost sad that we need to wait for two years now! Ha, ha!

Did you take lots of photos? If you want me to share them here, please, please email them to me and I will!

Here are some of mine:

we had our first participation of many members of new, WNY Modern Quilt Guild – thank you to all who entered their quilts!


IMG_2096  ???????????????????????????????   Our former president and friend Betty Lerner came to visit!

???????????????????????????????  ??????????????????????????????? Our hand-quilting experts at work:


??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????


Cheryl’s quilt had so much lovely embroidery, it was so much fun to look and look again! 🙂


??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? IMG_2249 ???????????????????????????????  ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? Beautiful, BIG flower garden… ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? I really liked Sue’s quilt, specially how quilting went with it!


??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? Lauren’s quilts need no words… 🙂


??????????????????????????????? LOVED colors in Mary’s quilt: ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

Some scrap-quilts out of this world…


some with only few colors and great visual effect:



There is so, so much more! My main impression from the show (other than sheer JOY) is that we have such an amazing VARIETY – in styles, in colors, is sizes, in ideas…AMAZING!! Don’t you think?

I will have to divide all this beauty into few blog posts but of course will leave you with the grand-winner, the Best in Show – Lauren’s beauty:

??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????Have a wonderful Wednesday my quilty friends,


(appropriately heading off to start another Beginners Quilting class and add more “addicts” to this world!)

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Filed under eye candy, quilt shows


Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

A while back I posted a link to a paper pieced star that got a few comments. It seems star blocks are pretty popular. I love them, and you probably know I love dresden blocks too. I think this star has a dresden feel to it, so of course it was a hit with me. It is another paper pieced one, which sadly doesn’t appeal to all quilters. In my book though, it’s a great technique for getting those points perfect. Here’s the link: click here.

Got your things all set for the quilt show, ladies? Drop off days are just around the corner (this weekend). I finally finished putting the embellishments on the quilt I’m entering. That pesky hand sewing you know–not my favorite thing, but sometimes there is no way around it.

What heaven must look like! click here.

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Filed under eye candy, foundation paper piecing, free patterns, quilt shows, Uncategorized

Bonnie Hunter update

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I think we have made a very good choice for this fall’s seminar teacher. I have probably received 25 or so inquiries from non-members who are interested in taking a class from Bonnie this fall. They are finding the contact information in Bonnie’s calendar at A couple of them are planning road trips with friends from distances away (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Canada). I hope you’ll be joining us too.

Bonnie just finished up a teaching segment in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee at A Mountain Quiltfest. Here’s a link to a slide show she posted from her Boxy Stars class. (click here) The students look like they are having fun, and their blocks are great looking. Bonnie will be teaching the Boxy Stars class for us on Wednesday of seminar.

Marija has just finished up rounding up our cadre of local teachers for the fall, and I am finalizing the typing of the brochure to get it to the printer. We will have the brochures at the table in the member area during our upcoming quilt show. Those members who do not attend the quilt show will receive their brochure in the mail shortly thereafter. Members will have a head start on registration; we’ll open it up to non-members in early May.

Please join us at the quilt show, and surely you’ll find something you like for fall seminar!


Filed under antique machines, eye candy, quilt shows, scrap quilting, seminar, Uncategorized

love those hexagons

Hello all, Mary Ellen here again.

I think I’ll share a bit more hexagon love today. Nothing quite as neat as the way hexagons will nest together and provide so much more interestHexactly than some of the other shapes that will nest (tessellate actually). Even Mother Nature loves a hexagon–think snowflakes, honeycomb cells, crystals… There aren’t very many regular shapes that will do this-squares, rectangles, equilateral triangles. There are ways to construct shapes that will nestle nicely–but they aren’t easy to piece as quilts, and it would require a math lesson to talk about those, so I’m not going there.

Here’s a bit more of hexagon math for those who might want to design something of your own using this versatile shape. This is from the Quiltmaker magazine blog: click here.

At the Hexie Love board at Pinterest that Quiltmaker has set up (click here) you’ll find wonderful ideas for hexagons. Remember that in our guild show, we have a separate award for Grandmother’s Flower Garden. I would think that if you are looking for inspiration, and want to shoot for an award at the show, you could find lots of ideas at that board. There are many full size quilt ideas, but also quite a few small scale projects if you’re new to hexagons. Here’s a link to a little bit of history of hexagons used in quilts-goes back to early 1800’s in America. (click here)

Bonnie Hunter, our seminar national teacher for next year is working on an English paper pieced hexagon quilt that many of you will love. (click here) Tiny pieces, lots of scraps–know anyone who likes that concept?

Heading up to the sewing room to applique more purse handles on my quilt top. I’m working on a quilt called High Fashion which is made of stack and slash squares for the bodies of the purses and wonky appliques bias strips for the handles. I think when it comes back from the quilter eventually, I’m going to add some sort of fun embellishments. Or maybe just a different kind of binding/edging. Will hold off on the decision until I see the quilt “done up”.

Have a great gray day. TTFN!


Filed under antique quilts, English paper piecing, quilt history, quilt shows, scrap quilting, Uncategorized

jelly roll 1600 variations

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

I’m going to be doing a demo on making a super quick quilt top soon (the jelly roll 1600) and have been looking around on Pinterest and other websites to see what quilters have done with the idea. (If you don’t know what the jelly roll 1600 is, go back to my blog entry called “odd bits again” on Feb. 19, 2013 for a quick explanation.) I’ve found some very intriguing ideas–I’ll definitely by making more of these. I think they will really help eat a chunk out of my stash. Here’s what I have found so far-and I’m still on the search. If you have any more ideas, please send them to me or add them in the comments. I think this could be a good resource for members looking for a fast charity, shower, or baby quilt. Here’s what I’ve found so far, in no particular order: (to save some typing, I’m going to abbreviate JR to mean 2.5″ wide by 40″ long strips of fabric)

  1. Attach the strips with diagonal seams (as done for binding) for an easy variation.
  2. Use 20 colored JR  alternating with 20 white/cream JR strips.
  3. Use 40 JR strips. After each one, insert a 2.5″ square spacer block for a pop of color. For example the quilt I first saw was made from 40 JR in shades of “denimy” blues. The spacer squares were bright red.
  4. Use 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles as your spacers between the strips.
  5. Use pieced block such as a black and white quarter square triangle as your spacer square.
  6. Cut your own strips, and change the width (they must all be the same new width.)
  7. For a variety in widths, make your own really long strip set using a variety of widths. Then use the JR 1600 technique on your strip set.
  8. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of soft pastels, and make the spacer squares fussy cut animals for an adorable baby quilt. (love that idea!)
  9. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of whites/creams to make your 1600 top. Then applique some large funky flowers over it.
  10. Use 40 JR strips in a variety of striped fabrics with the strips running the length of the strips. Make your spacers with the stripes going perpendicular to the others.
  11. For a scrappier look, cut 20 of the 40 JR strips in half, and the other 20 into thirds and mix them up really well. This quilter suggested tossing the lot of them in the dryer for a bit to mix them up-I wonder how much they would ravel.
  12. For a great masculine looking quilt, make your 40 JR strips in shades of brown and tan, and use a plaid or stripe for the spacer block.
  13. Make a regular JR 1600 quilt. Then cut it into 5 columns. (Equal or unequal widths, your choice) Reverse the top and bottom of every other column. Sew it back together. This gives an easy “Chinese coins” look.
  14. Use the Chinese coins idea and insert a sashing strip between the columns. Widths of 2.5″ or 3″ would probably work well.
  15. Use 40 bright JR strips, alternating with a black/white print spacer block.
  16. Use 40 black/white JR strips, alternating with bright spacer blocks.
  17. Use 40 floral JR strips, alternating with bright green blocks.
  18. Use 40 strips cut 2.5″ x approx. 21″ cut from fat quarters. Use the JR 1600 technique, resulting in a nicely sized bed runner.

As you can see, quilters all over are putting their own creative twists on this pattern. This could be a fun section for our quilt show next spring. How about it?


Filed under jelly roll 1600 ideas, quilt shows, stash reduction, tips and tricks, tutorials, Uncategorized

far and wide

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

This is really cool beans, I think.

A few days ago I got an e-mail asking me (by name) to vote on a cover design for a children’s book. Sounds innocent enough. The book involves a quilt lost along the Oregon Trail. So far so good. The e-mail asked me to pass it along to my guild members as well. Whoa! Not so fast. But, something about it sounded legit to me, so I wrote back asking how the author had gotten my name and e-mail address. I received a very nice response which I am sharing below. It seems we AMQG members really get around. Someone attending the Sisters, Oregon show (I’m so jealous–I’ve wanted to go to that show for years, since the days of Jean Wells making multiple, frequent appearances on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson) mentioned our guild and museum gift shop to the author and his partner. They remembered us and the rest, as they say,…

Hi Mary Ellen,
I live in Sisters, home of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Dennis and I are a couple – I help him with his booth at the show selling his artwork. Dennis did the poster for 14 years, so he is quite well known in this neck of the woods. He was promoting his book last year, showing some of the artwork, etc. Collecting emails… We get visitors from all over – there were a group of ladies that came through from NY and one of them mentioned Amherst Museum Quilter’s Guild – suggesting the members would like to know about this book or it might be sold at the museum, I wrote a note down back in July – but it had no contact info – not a very good note. So I googled, I think it was Quilting Gallery? where I found the email contact. It wasn’t on your main website of the blog… So, no – we don’t know each other… maybe someday we can visit your historic town and the museum, it looks wonderful. I appreciate your response!
Dennis is self-publishing his book. If you take a look at the website, Back Story!back-story/co61 it explains how Dennis came to write a quilt story. I built the website – the two of us are trying to get his book promoted and out there – once people see it, I think they will really enjoy it. He has worked on this for years in-between paying jobs. All the characters in the book are local friends that modeled for him. I would be so happy for him if it succeeds! I’m trying to get the word out there about it. I’m new to all this social media. Here is a link to his quilt show posters: dennis mcgregor posters.
Thank you for your time,

(I am an artist as well, )

We never know how our influence will spread. Whoever those ladies are, they made at least 2 friends for our guild. Go have a look. Read the back story of Dennis’ book, and cast your vote for the cover design. And by the way, if you are one of those ladies–thanks! Let us know about your experience at the show, and in meeting Dennis and Kimry.


Filed under antique quilts, eye candy, Giveaways, member spotlight, quilt shows, Uncategorized

just little bits

Good morning all, Mary Ellen here.

Have you been working on your seminar projects? If so, you’re putting me to shame. My 2 blocks which I finished during Anita’s pineapple class are pinned to the wall in the sewing room for inspiration, and the rest of the fabric, freezer paper, the book, etc. are in a pile nearby. I am determined to add more for a red and white Christmas wall hanging-don’t think I’ll be making enough for a full-fledged quilt. But… you never know, I love how crisp and precise the red and white look together, and Anita’s technique makes it so easy to get that precision. I do know I will not be just packing it away for later!

I’ve decided to follow some of Beth’s advice that she gave in the lecture about getting rid of some of those old kits and UFO’s that I have hanging around. Many of mine will be going into a cache for seminar prizes-perhaps at Christmas we could all donate one kit or some yardage to the guild for all of the guild’s prize needs. How about a quilt challenge where we put kits in a pool, choose someone else’s and make it up to sell in the boutique for guild funds? Anything to reduce the number of kits in the closet!!

Finally am getting around to reading the quilt magazines that have been arriving in the mail and piling up while I was busy with seminar. In the most recent American Quilter from AQS (the Nov. issue) I discovered a photo of a lovely quilt made by our member Lauren DeVantier. She won second place Quilter’s Choice in the Grand Rapids AQS show. I’m sure you have seen and admired Lauren’s work in our shows. I missed the meeting where she and Norma talked about their collaboration. Perhaps the winning quilt was there for you to see up close and personal! Congratulations to the 2 of them on a beautiful project.

Are you one of the millions of Americans who loves to decorate for Halloween? Got a new project going for this year? I made a fabric witch hat that is pretty cute if I say so myself. I’ve admired for years a hand embroidered pumpkin and witch hat which are then stuffed to make them 3D. Can’t think of the embroidery designer’s name off-hand. I even bought the pattern for the pumpkin a few years ago–but it’s still on my bucket list! The hat I made this year uses decorative stitches from my machine for instant gratification, and it’s not as large as those projects I’ve been admiring. But the good thing about my version? It’s finished!

What quilting projects are on your bucket list? I’ve hinted at a few of mine–a red and white quilt, a crazy quilted hand embroidered pumpkin, a bed sized drunkard’s path quilt for myself, a bed sized dresden plate quilt for myself…

How about your list? Tell us about those projects you want to complete “someday”.


Filed under quilt shows, seminar, stash reduction, Uncategorized

Going to London?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Have you ever been to an Olympic Games? Perhaps you had the chance when the Games were in Lake Placid here in NY. Or in Atlanta?…

I’m sure you know the Games will be in London in the UK this time around. Do you recall the project that quilters were involved in for the Atlanta Games? The flag bearer and Olympic official of each country received a quilt made by quilters from all over the Atlanta/Georgia area. The London Games have inspired quilters in Britain-as soon as they realized that London had won the games the project began. Each country will be receiving a quilt and each athlete will receive a banner. They have expanded the scope of the project to include the ParaOlympics, and the Special Olympics.

Here’s a link to 2 videos with interviews with the project organizers. You can’t see all the quilts and banners but none the less it’s nice to see what you can. Many children, community groups, and individual quilters were involved. I’m sure if I keep looking I’ll be able to find more as the Games arrive and progress.


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