Category Archives: Quilt-a-Long

Anyone who wishes to join in makes the blocks chosen by the moderator, following the announced rules. Completed projects are shared at a guild meeting “show and share”.

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.

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…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?

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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.

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

Ya Gotta Have Heart

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Happy Valentine’s Day. With this weather it’s a great day to sit inside and quilt. I’ve done a little search for some heart quilts that could be quick and easy-although you probably won’t get them done today for this year’s holiday, they could be easily finished in time for some other occasion needing heartfelt wishes.

log cabin heart (only 12 blocks): click here

hearts and chevrons (uses only half square triangles and snowball corners, can easily reduce the number of each needed for a smaller quilt): click here

pieced heart block (this is a 12″ block pattern, you can make just one for a small table mat or several for a baby quilt or more): click here

Since we’re a bit of the way through February, those of us  participating in the gifting challenge quilt-a-long should be on our 2nd quilty gift project. How are you coming along? I’ll fess up that my original idea for using a Jenny Doan video for disappearing pinwheels is stalled-not giving up on it though. I have finished up 2 UFO’s that will be holiday gifts. One is a set of “nesting” zippered pouches, and the other is a Christmas quilt which had been incomplete for about 2 years. I’m counting myself as “on track” for the challenge since I have gotten 2 gifts done to check off the list. How about you? Anyone willing to also fess up on your progress?

I try to get out seasonal quilts each month and I do have a few heart themed pieces around the place now. But I am thinking ahead to March and wondering what I’ll get out in the green leafy family. Maybe I could make something up to use myself and then pass along at Christmas time. Is that allowed? Regifting? Since shamrock leaves are basically 3 hearts joined, I think I might be able to use some of the techniques I linked to up above. Hmm…

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sewing by and for guys

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Nearly all of us have sewn a quilt for a male family member or friend. But…have you ever sewn with a male family member or friend? Not so many of us.

I have mentioned Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company here before. She and quilter Rob Appell are starting a new venture together: Man Sewing. I think it will be fun and I’ve already subscribed to get the first few videos. I have 2 grandsons turning 8 today. Maybe I’ll be able to get a quilter out of one of them. One of them is very interested in any type of machine, and I’ve got a machine with considerable bells and whistles that he might find to be “awesome”.

Have a look at Jenny and Rob’s skateboard quilt here. click here  Great idea for the boys in those “middle” years.

Here’s a link to Rob’s intro to his series “Man Sewing”. click here

If this is the first you’ve heard about Rob Appell and his quilts, go have a look at his designs and his other quilterly projects here. He is not just a quilter wannabe. I think his applique will blow you away. click here.

We’re at the end of the first month of 2015. How are you doing on your gift making challenge? I’ll be asking for reports in my next post, so get ready to fess up.

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Filed under "modern" quilting, 2015 gifting challenge, applique, free patterns, gift ideas, guy quilting, pre-cut bundles, Uncategorized

One man’s trash…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Last night we had our annual auction at our quilt guild meeting. Throughout the year member’s earn “quilt bucks” by getting involved in our guild’s activities. Basically it is monopoly money, but it has been a successful motivator for many of our members. For example, one might earn 5 bucks for making a block for our charity committee, or 10 bucks for sewing the binding onto a charity quilt. We have a few guidelines for amounts to be awarded, but each chairperson has some leeway as well. Bucks are then saved by the members throughout the year to be used to buy items at our annual January auction. Items for the auction are donated by members. It’s a good chance to clean out our sewing rooms of excess fabric, kits, patterns, UFO’s etc. This auction is certainly an example of the cliche that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Bidding was very spirited on some items, reaching  $300 on one. (Keep in mind–monopoly money!). This year we had a new wrinkle (pun intended) added. The board members added some mystery items. Wrapped securely in brown paper, only one member knew what was in each of the mystery packages. Some were gag gifts–scraps, pennies, selvages. Some were great–brand new good scissors, best press spray, a gift certificate to a local shop. Fun was had by all, I would say. I successfully sat on my hands and did not come home with any new fabric to add to my stash!! I did bid on one lot of purse supplies-handles, stabilizer, magnetic clasp, and a few good patterns. Paid $100 for it (again–monopoly money!). I also was given a treasure by a fellow member. She found a bag of selvages in the lot she won. To her they’re trash, to me it’s a treasure!! If you are not a member of our guild but think this would be a fun idea for your quilty group, I’d be glad to give you more details. We found out about this concept at a meeting of the NYS Quilters’ Consortium and have adapted it to suit our guild. Always glad to share good ideas! Just reply in the comment section and I’ll get back to you.

How is your gifting challenge coming along? (described a few blog entries back). I’ll admit I’ve not made much progress on my original idea for January (to make a Christmas quilt from a Jenny Doan tutorial). I have chosen the fabrics from my stash and have begun to cut them up. I think this is going to be my next leaders and enders project (Bonnie Hunter gets credit for that great concept). I have completed 2 runners though, that will be Christmas gifts. I needed samples for a class I will be teaching so chose the fabrics with gifting in mind. I think I’ll call that a success for this month’s challenge. I’m hoping to get all the fabric cutting for my original idea done this weekend, and to organize it for sewing. Next I’ll be choosing the February gift project for myself.

Does any one of you have a report for us on your progress on this challenge? Who is playing along with us?

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Filed under 2015 gifting challenge, guild activities, quilt bucks, Quilt-a-Long, selvage projects, stash reduction

quilting the new year-2015 gifting challenge

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’m hoping that tomorrow will begin a return to normalcy around here. The holiday goodies are all gone-either eaten or discarded. The plan to get rid of excess avoirdupois is in place. The holiday quilts and decorations are coming down and being laundered a few at a time. That chore should be complete by the end of the week.

I’m ready to begin my new quilting-for-fun projects. How about you? Quilting for holiday gifting loses its charm after the 10th project or so. Part of my plan for this year is to spread those “gifty” projects throughout the year. I say we set a challenge for ourselves. Let’s complete one gift project per month through the year and report back here. In that gift project, try to incorporate something that will make it fun for you. I’ll remind us at the end of each month. Since we’re just starting this we’ll give our goal for this month now. As the year goes on, when we report on the month’s completion (we hope), we’ll set the next month’s goal at the same time.  To keep this achievable make it just 1 project per month if you want to join in. If your potential recipient is also a reader, you can cloak your monthly report in whatever verbal disguise you need.

Okay then. I’ll start us off. Most, but not all, of the quilt appreciators in my family already own a holiday lap size quilt from me. I have 2 to go. So my first goal is to make one from my holiday fabric stash. No new purchase is necessary. I’ve taken 2 online classes recently about machine quilting with a walking foot. I’ll use this holiday quilt as a practice piece for another quilting technique I’d like to try. I’m going to use a disappearing pinwheel technique from Jenny Doan’s Missouri Star Quilts as the pattern. That’s another thing I’ve found online that I want to try. (Here’s a link to the block I’m going to use. Click here.)

Please join in on the challenge and share your first goal for the year in the comments section. We’ll give encouragement, and maybe I can come up with a prize or two as an incentive to keep sewing!!

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Filed under 2015 gifting challenge, free patterns, stash reduction, tips and tricks, Uncategorized