Category Archives: tutorials

step by step instructions

in a bind?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I don’t know about you, but hand stitching a quilt’s binding to the back is not my idea of a good time. I know there are quilters who love that, for a variety of reasons. Stitching in front of the tv is a relaxing time, the end of the quilt is in sight, love to hand stitch are a few I’ve been told. Only very special “heirloom” quilts get a hand stitched binding from me. Although I do it well, I’d rather take the faster machine stitched route on most of my quilts. Most my quilts are going to be used, (hopefully not abused), and will be going in and out of the washer and dryer. I’d rather use a decorative stitch to make it a bit more fun and snazzy and “git ‘er done”.

Here’s a new technique, new to me anyway, that might give nicer results on the back for many of us. I’m going to try it on a small project to see if the extra effort is worth it. It requires an extra type of thread (water soluble), some cotton thread, and 2 specialty feet for the machine. Luckily all are items I already have. I wonder though if the threaded side came to the front, would it look like a piping? Hmm…

Click here to see how she does it.

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In Dublin’s fair city, where the quilts are so pretty…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Apologies to all you Irish purists out there. I know those aren’t the right words but I hope you’ll allow me a bit of license.

Are you switching out your hearts and flowers and reds and pinks to greens today (or soon anyway)? I have only a few quilted pieces for St. Patrick’s Day and am thinking I should put together one or two small toppers for the special day. Here’s a link to some ideas, in case you have a similar dilemma. Click here.   I think I’m going to round up some green scraps and try out that shamrock with four patch leaves. It should be quick and easy.

What’s your favorite technique for 4 patches? When I only need a few, and I want them to be scrappy, I like to use the two from two technique I learned from Billie Lauder at a seminar of ours a few years ago. It’s easy to get a scrappy look without having to cut so many individual assorted squares. Click here for a quick explanation of this easy technique. It’s not written by Billie, but it’s her technique clearly explained. click here.

As I’m sitting here typing, I’m listening to the drip of a leak coming from some of the ice dams across my back roof. Anybody else having those issues? I guess I’ll be back out on the flat roof of the addition tomorrow whacking away at the gutters to see what I can knock loose. Oh the joys of home ownership!

TTFN.

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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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What are your values?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

What a beautiful morning we have today! The first canine perambulation of the day was so refreshing! Both of us enjoyed meeting some of the neighbors out walking too, since many of them are working today due to the holiday.

I’ve been playing with a new computer program (EQ7 is new to me and my Mac) which makes it so easy to move the placement of values in a quilt block. I once heard a big name quilter (can’t recall exactly which one though!) say that “value does all the work, but color gets all the credit!”. Definitely is true.

Here’s a link to a short video (click here) which makes this point so well. I think a fun challenge for our guild might be to choose a block, give just a line drawing to participants, and see what everyone does with it. If we all got one of those dragonfly eye lens that multiply the image, we could have fun looking at all sorts of quilts without having to make them all ourself! Just a thought for whichever member is going to be the next challenge chair.

Heading outdoors now to enjoy our last bit of fall, before Old Man Winter comes to visit.

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folded fabric ornaments

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Title is self-explanatory so I won’t say anymore.

star 1: click here

pentagonal star: click here

Very easy–my personal favorite (can use 60 degree triangle ruler): click here

demo night ornament (I think it is anyway, I was giving a demo myself so I didn’t get to visit the others. I did see one of this type of ornament on the table though.: click here

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recent finds…

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Still not adjusted to the new times yet (nor is the dog!). I find myself wide awake quite early and find it’s better to get up and moving, than to just stare at the ceiling wishing I could sleep for another hour. Instead of heading out on the morning walk before the world awakens, I have explored the web instead.

I’ll share a few of my recent finds.

fabric twine–love this! Can use up very narrow scrappy strings since she says 1″ wide is the maximum! Does anyone you know make blocks with pieces narrower than that?! click here

Houston Quilt festival (on the bucket list!) click here

Recently I made fabric baskets from a pattern from Aunties Two. Their patterns are very well illustrated and explained. I went to the website to see what others they have that might be fun and found a section of FREE patterns. Christmas is coming and I found a good one for quick gifts. You might too. click here

Was checking out Robi’s Pinterest boards and came across this. Like the author of the DIY piece, I have been sewing for many years now (won’t say the number, but let’s says I’ve passed most of the metallic anniversaries) so many of these tips were already familiar. I did find a few hints though where I thought “what a good idea, why didn’t I think of that?” If you’re a relative newcomer to the world of needle and thread, you’ll probably find a couple of hints you’ll want to remember.

Tips for a thorough machine cleaning: click here

Last one for today is a list of DIY gift ideas for guys. It’s not hard at all to come up with cute handmade gift  ideas for your female friends and family, but not so much for those guys on which you want to bestow one of your hand-made creations. Here’s an idea list. I love the magnetic wristband idea. I think I’ll make one for myself too! click here

Do you think today’s round of leaf raking will be the final one? Me either.

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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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