Monday, August 11, 2014

How I spent my Summer vacation.

Hi!  I finished a new quilt, and drove with my brother and parents to Colorado.  Over 3500 miles.  We went to see my niece, her husband and their kids, who happen to be my great-nephew and great-niece, as well as the great grandkids for my parents.  My sister-in-law, her twin, and brother-in-law flew out.  We drove John's Sprinter van, a 10 passenger, out, so we could go on day trips without renting a car, and bring my parents, who didn't want to fly.  We were gone 2 weeks.  It was my first time crossing the Mississippi, as well as going into 6 states I've never been in, for a total of 26 states I've visited.

My first view of the Mississippi River, off Route 80.  

We went to Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs (found a quilt shop there, and bought a book), Dinosaur Ridge, Buffalo Bill Cody's grave and the view into Golden, and did some shopping around Littleton, and painted ceramics at Arts on Fire, while visiting.  We also went to the Colorado Renaissance Faire.  Noah had asked me to make him an Archer costume.  He worked with me to draw and color the design that I sewed, and he loved how it looked. 

 We stayed in the Hampton Inn and Suites in Ken Caryl, and the room I shared with my parents had a wonderful desk.  I had brought my 1957 Singer Featherweight, and had a very comfortable area to work while we were there.  That was a great place to stay!  The staff was wonderful, and we enjoyed the breakfasts, the fruit infused water in the lobby, my first taste of Blue Bonnet ice cream (sold in their Suite Shop), and the great service.  
I was able to finish piecing the pink and orange floral Hole In The Wall quilt blocks.  I need to press them, add sashing, and the borders, and then I'll get that quilt finished and listed.  I pieced the July Aurifil DOM block, and started on the Island Batiks All Star quilt, the new design by Eleanor Burns.  I was very happy with my progress, and the location.  

We enjoyed the views, seeing all the wind turbines, and lots of horses and cows, as well.  I had hoped to see some Quilt Blocks on Barns, but didn't see any.  John did most of the driving, and I gave him a few breaks.  On the way back, we stopped at my dad's brother's house, outside of Cleveland.  My cousin, Ann, surprised us with a quick visit, and we met her daughter, Emily.  I got to sleep under a 1930's vintage Triple Irish Chain quilt top, that was all hand pieced and quilted.

Aunt Joan wanted to take me to visit 2 of her favorite quilt shops, but both happened to be closed.  This area of Old Olmsted, outside of Cleveland, was adorable.  I guess I'll have to visit Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob again, on a day when Abigayle's Quiltery is open.  I did get to see Aunt Joan's quilts, and her fabric stash, too.  It was a fun afternoon, and we had wonderful meals there.  

When I got home, I started quilting this large tossed 9 patch (Quilt In A Day).  I had made the top with Moda fabric, the Spa collection by Deb Strain.  It's such a pretty collection of blue and white, with text, tile and floral prints.  It measures about 76 by 88", and I used 8 bobbins of Auriful Mako 50 weight, in white, just for the quilting.  I used Aurifil 4755, the blue and white variegated, for the top, for quilting.  I did lots of feathers in the borders, and love how it looks.  Warm & White batting, and white premium muslin for the back.  

It's been an exciting few weeks!  Thanks for checking in.  I'm off to finish some table runners.  I'll share when I finish!  See you soon!

PS, Hazel stayed with my son.  They enjoyed the time together, but she missed me, too.  It's good to be home, and back to lots of sewing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Latest Finish and a Winner!!

Hi!  It's Friday!  Yay!  I had planned this post for yesterday, but Random had picked another Island Batiks Ambassador for a winner, and she said I should pick another winner.  So, the new name has been picked, and I've contacted them.  

So, first, photos of the FQ bundle I chose as the prize.  These beauties are from the Sangria and Plum Wine bundles I received.  

The green and purple leaf print is stunning!

I also love the other light print, and the gold with the painted gold stars. 
The colors are so rich and deep!  I hope the winner has fun creating something from this! 

My latest finish was a custom order.  She liked the Hexagon Flower table runner in my Etsy shop, but wanted something longer, in different colors, with matching place mats.  Although these are batiks, they may not be from Island Batiks.  I can tell the difference in the base fabrics.  Since batiks don't have a selvage with printed information, it's difficult to say unless you tag them before they go into your stash.  I may begin doing that, although the Island Batik Ambassador bundles are in a separate bin.  

So, here's the new Flower Power runner.  I must say I like how it came out, and really appreciated the additional info I got from Sue at Quilt In A Day.  This is a great pattern!

I used the blue binding on the runner, and switched to the burgundy fabric for the binding on the placemats.  The runner measures 58 by 15" and the place mats are 15 by 17".  I hope she loves them!  They are on their way to Wisconsin now.  

I picked 4 colors of Aurifil Mako 50wt for quilting, from left to right, 2123, 4030, 2275, and 4653.  I love having an assortment of great thread.  It makes it so easy and fun to do what I do!  

I especially enjoyed making the green hexagons look like leaves between the flowers. 
The green variegated really added to the visual appeal!  

More finishes in another post!  Thanks for stopping by!  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tamarinis Blog Hop

**This give-away is now closed.  Winner will be notified and announced soon!  Thanks for visiting.

Hi!  Welcome to my small corner of the huge world of Quilting! I'm Maryellen, aka Mary Mack, and I've been sewing since I was about 4, and quilting for a long time.  I've probably sewn just about anything, from dresses, costumes, clothes, gifts, chair slipcovers, tents, alterations, and wedding gowns, but quilting is my favorite.  There's just something about seeing what happens when you cut up pieces of gorgeous fabrics, feed them through a machine, and see what it all becomes.  

As an Island Batiks Ambassador, I was contacted to participate in this hop, announcing Tamarini's class on Craftsy.  I'm sure you'll have fun and be inspired by Tammy's ideas.  Go to her blog post for a chance to win the class, and go to Island Batik's launch, for a chance to win some gorgeous batiks.  Other stops on the blog are offering prizes, too.  Take a quick visit and get in on it!  

July 7 – Island Batik
July 8 – Tammy Silvers
July 9 – Freemotion by the River
July 10 – Bejeweled Quilts
July 11 –  Freemotion by the River– Stop #2!
July 12 – Mary Mack Made Mine (You're here! Thanks)
July 13 – Kauffman Designs
July 14 – One Quilting Circle
July 15 – Susan Vassallo Quilting

So, today's my day!  Tammy asked me to preview her pattern, called Mary's Contrary Garden.  
I found the name interesting, since I've named one of my quilts the same thing, but it was because it featured 14 different floral prints from my stash (or garden) and my machine was pretty contrary while quilting it.  The designs are in no way similar, but thought it was funny that Tammy gave me, Mary, her Mary quilt design.  

When Katie from Island Batiks asked which fabrics I wanted, I said "Surprise me!"  Anything would be fun.  Katie passed that on to Lilly, who picked these gorgeous fabrics.  When I saw the bundle, I just said "WOW!" 

Look at the colors!  Look at the one at the bottom right.  Gorgeous!  And the top right?? Awesome!
Here's a shot of the bottom right, opened.  And the silky smoothness??  Yes, totally a sensory experience.  Gotta love Island Batiks!  The yellow is Basics Lemonade.  The Pink is BE26-B1.  Red is SS14D-G1, and the multi is IS14S-U2. 
I'm usually a more traditional style quilter.  I love pieced squares, so creating something like this flower design is new for me.  I don't usually do something so abstract, but it's always good to try something new.  It pushes your creativity and skills.  
So, here's my trial of the technique Tammy designed to create the flowers.  
Quite fun, and great learning experience.  I need to work on getting the sections to be flat. I started a second.   This idea has possibilities!  Go check out Tammy's class for more info, and her patterns.  I'm sure you'll find some fun things to do! 

The best part for me was playing with these gorgeous batiks.  Seriously drool worthy!  

So, thanks for visiting and I hope you visit the other shops on their days, as well as sign up for Tammy's class.  To thank you for your time, I'm going to give away a small bundle of some Island Batiks fabrics.  To enter, please leave a comment below.  For a second chance, follow my blog, and leave a second comment to let me know.  Since I loved the surprise pack I got for this hop, I'll surprise you.  I'm sure you'll love it!  After all, it's Island Batiks!  I'll draw the winner by random number on Thursday, July 16.  Please make sure I can get in touch with you, to get your address.  Thanks again for visiting.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tumbler Flag Wall Hanging

Hi!  I finished this last night.  I think it's adorable!  It's a Flag!  I used scraps of the fabrics from the 2011 PA shop hop.  The hop blocks that year were for Quilts of Valor, so the fabrics were reds, creams, and blues, reproduction prints from Jo Morton's Hurrah collection, with others from Andover fabrics.  I made all the blocks, in a 12" finished size, while doing the hop, and had lots of scraps left, so I cut them with my Accuquilt GO! 3 1/2" tumbler die, and pieced them on my 1954 Singer 15-91 machine.  (That cool one in the Trapezoid cabinet).  It was FUN to make this, and I cut the rest of the scraps into 2" squares, and I'll play with them another time.  I've seen this style quilt, and thought it was really cute, so I had to make one.  I'll probably make more than one.  It's that fun!  This one measures about 22 by 24".  Maybe I'll make the next one bigger?

I also pieced scraps from the fabrics for the binding, which adds to the fun.  I've made quilts and table runners with the larger Tumbler die, but this is the first with the smaller, and a first for a scrappy binding.  I think it's also the first time I've used the wavy edge of the tumblers, and not cut them off.  I love it!

I also did a cool feather design in the blue, and feathers across the stripes, in coordinating thread.  I love using Aurifil!  Not one break, and the threads blend so well.

It has hanging loops on the back, so you can put it on a decorative rod.

I need to find more scraps!  I want to do another one!  I better go dig in my Fat Quarter stash!

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tablet Case

I got a Samsung tablet, and wanted to make a case, rather than purchase one that is like a million others.  I've made cases for my camera and camcorder, so I thought this would be fun.

I grabbed 5 strips left from the Island Batiks Orchid strip pack, from the Braid quilt {see here.)  I picked my 4 favorites, then grabbed a 5th, cut it in half to make it 1 1/4" wide, and sewed the strips together.  I wanted this to look like an envelope, and have room for a pocket and a holder for the stylus.  I grabbed some Island Batik (IKF13F-V1) for the lining and pockets.  I used 2 layers of Warm & Natural batting, did some fun feathers on the top, cut and made the pocket and stylus holder, and used another strip for binding the edges.  I called Verizon, and they said it's fine to use a magnetic snap closure near a tablet, so this has a matching purple closure.  I'm thrilled with how it came out, and have plans to improve the next version.  This is great for slipping into a tote or briefcase.  The pocket can hold the booklet and extra note paper or cards.

Inside, with pocket and stylus holder.
Tablet inside, with stylus.
I made it a little roomier than the one the salesperson showed me at Verizon.  I'm very happy with it!  I think it's much prettier than black vinyl.  Plus, it's washable.  The tablet is reflecting the leaves in the tree over my deck.

I plan on offering this for sale in my shop.  I'll do it as a custom at first, until I get a few made, and can offer them for sale.  Do you want one?? Let me know!  Any fabrics can be used, and any color!

Monday, June 16, 2014


I'm happy!  I love finishing quilts!  It's such a great feeling to know that something that started with bits of fabric and thread is now something that will brighten someone's day, provide warmth, and beauty!

This one is a purple batik braid.  Here's one of the first photos of the process of making this quilt.
I got the strip pack, and picked the frame, lattice and border fabric, and put them with the pattern, Braid In A Day by Quilt In A Day. 

It was pieced on the 1954 Singer 15-91 in the rare trapezoid cabinet.  I sewed the frames and lattice and border on with my Viking Sapphire 850.
Here's the top, now called a Flimsy.  It's ready to be layered with the backing and batting, and pinned.
I did that when I rented time on a large table at American Ribbon.  The table is about 8 feet long, 5 feet wide, and is about 36" high.  It's great for doing this.  Many other tables are too small and not comfortable for standing and working.  The height helps prevent back aches, as each quilt can take about 20 minutes to pin.  I did 3 quilts that day, in about 45 minutes, because I got there late, and the store was closing.  Lots of standing, reaching, pinning, smoothing, etc, and moving quickly!

This is during the quilting process, showing the 3 colors of Aurifil thread I used, and Christine's Sapphire 835, which I borrow when I visit my parents.  Each braid section has feathers.  There are large "pebbles" in the darker purple frame, more feathers in the aqua lattice, and more feathers in the outer border.  Aurifil colors are:  Aqua (Ice) 40 wt green spool #4225.  The center is 50wt 1243, for the braids and border, and the left is 4225 for the dark purple frame.  I have a lucite table under the quilt that fits around the machine, to make stitching easier.  It's a larger flat surface.  I wear gloves, called Machingers, while quilting, to help hold the fabric and move it to make the shapes. The gloves are a light nylon stretch material, with rubberized fingertips.  I pull out the safety pins as I go.

Once the quilting is done, I cut strips for the binding.  Those are sewn end to end, to make a long strip.  In this case, 7 strips.  This is pressed in half, to make a long narrow strip, then sewn to the edge of the quilt.  I have a way to join the ends, then I trim the batting and backing.  I turn the binding over, and stitch it down again by machine, on the back of the quilt.  Here's the quilt, done.

A view of the backing, and the binding.
This is over the twin bed in my guest room.  Normally I tape quilts to the rail on my loft, and take a photo from the living room, but the sun was setting, and this room still had daylight.  I'll have to take one from the rail tomorrow.  

Thanks for reading!  I hope you learned something, and understand why handmade is better than store bought, and also why it's worth more!  It's also much prettier in person.  The fabrics are silky and smooth, and it just feels great as a throw or over a bed.  

See you soon!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

SewJo Saturday June 14

Another week!  Wacky and busy, but fun!

Here's the update on Abigail's dress.  I made the tie.  Should have taken about 15 minutes, but my Viking Sapphire decided to have an extremely rare hissy fit.  It took more than 20 minutes to get her to behave, and make a second buttonhole.  The pattern recommended the ties be buttoned at the shoulders, instead of one long piece tied behind the neck.  The machine has a great computerized buttonhole feature, which I've used successfully millions of times.  Plug the special foot into the computer link, set the machine for the button hole length, and place the fabric under the presser foot, with a piece of tear-away stabilizer.  The first one came out perfectly.  I started the second one, and the machine didn't start the zigzag part, it just kept going backwards.  Way longer than it's supposed to, for the size of the buttonhole.  I tested on scrap fabric, and it worked fine, but as soon as I put the piece for the tie back, it only went backwards.  So weird!!  And very frustrating.  Usually a 15 second thing took more than 20 minutes.  I shut the machine off twice to reset the computer, cleaned everywhere, and yelled a bit.  Finally, it worked.

Anyway, here's the finished dress.

I'm also working on the purple braid quilt.  I need to finish the border and bind it.  I also need to press the pieces for the linen quilt, and get that top together.  I want to make a case for my new tablet, too.  Fun!!

Thanks for stopping by! Go visit the others on the list and see what they are doing!