Piecing and Thinking

Well hello there!  How’s the weekend going?  It’s a beautiful, relaxing week here in ThimbleannaLand.  I’ve been piecing more Steampunk blocks, taking my time and really enjoying the process.  So far, so good.  Out of 48 blocks, I only have 14 left to go.  Slow and steady wins the race. ;-D

Thimbleanna: Piecing

For most of the summer I’ve had my sewing machine on the kitchen table.  TheManoftheHouse hasn’t complained but he must be getting tired of it.  It’s getting harder and harder to sew in the dungeon, because the view from our kitchen is so pretty and I just want to sit there to sew all the time.  Really, I’d just like to move the whole sewing room to the kitchen.  That’s how it should be, don’t you think?

Thimbleanna: Piecing

While I piece along, my mind wanders.  Last night I was thinking about the blog posts not to long ago where people were sharing their favorite quilt book.  My favorite book is my first quilt book MeMum bought me.  The It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt Book by Mary Ellen Hopkins.  My quilty peep Junie told me a few weeks ago that Mary Ellen recently passed away, which is very sad.  I don’t remember taking a class from her, but Junie says I did one year when we were in Paducah.

Thimbleanna: Mary Ellen Hopkins

It looks like someone in the family took a class from Mary Ellen — I found the papers below in MeMum’s The It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt Book.  Either way, I adored her style.  Her approach was simple and straight forward.  This book is full of quilt blocks and simple ways to put them together to make great quilts.  It’s an approach that I think we sometimes fail to teach to new quilters.  I feel we talk patterns too much, rather than teaching new quilters how to dream and plan and make quilts of their own.

Thimbleanna: Mary Ellen Hopkins

I love how the pages of Mary Ellen’s book are on “graph paper”. It’s so fun to plan blocks out on graph paper and see how simple blocks, when placed together, form lots of different patterns.  Mary Ellen doesn’t give you a quilt pattern.  She just shows you the blocks and  then you make your own pattern, whatever size you want.

Thimbleanna: Mary Ellen Hopkins

I remember pouring through the blocks of this book when I made the quilts we have in our guest room.  Do you see the block above that I used in the first quilt in the picture below?

Thimbleanna: Pinwheel Quilts

I knew I wanted both quilts to have pinwheels in them, but I wanted the quilts to be different.  The block in the second quilt is also in Mary Ellen’s book.

Oh well, I’m quilt rambling — back to the Steampunks!  Just wanted to check in — hoping everyone has a great weekend.  Especially if you’re here in the US where it’s a long one!


32 Thoughts on “Piecing and Thinking

  1. what a neat book – I had heard that she died, I had one of her books but I can not find it haven’t a clue where it disappeared to. I wonder what kind of dungeon to you have for sewing that you want to escape to the kitchen? the basement perhaps? :)

  2. Enjoying the long weekend so far. Started a new Schnibbles top. Got all the blocks done. Now I need to figure out block layout and get the top done. Maybe later tonight. :)

  3. It seems like I think a lot when I’m making quilts….especially about the person/people I’m making it for. I think my first quilt book was one I inherited from my MIL — Complete Patchwork Quilting Course by Kaye Wood. It is mostly strip-style quilting and it’s marked up with various quilts that my MIL either made or wanted to make. Fun.

    I agree with you that sewists should sew by windows with pretty views. I would like to sew on my kitchen table too. I might just do that next time. I like my sewing/work room a lot and it does have a window, but it doesn’t have the picture-window view that my kitchen has. I’m glad you’re enjoying your sewing at your kitchen window. Happy Holiday!

  4. I remember Mary Ellen Hopkins. I saw her on TV a couple of times and she was a hoot!

  5. Teresa on August 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm said:

    I have that book. Someone gave my mom an autographed copy. I have never really looked at it, but reading your blog I want to get it out and see heat she had to say. Your guest room quilts look really nice together.

  6. What a great book! And your quilts (and the whole guestroom) is BEAUTIFUL… can I sleep there if (when) I visit you??? :)

    Before I read your text about the kitchen and the kitchen window I thought “wow, what an amazing window to sit by and sew… LOL then I read about TheManoftheHouse complaining – I remember before we moved into the house I live in now (5 years ago) we lived in a small apartment and I used to get complaints like that when all my stuff had overtaken the kitchen table for weeks (it was the only table we got back then)!

    Have a great weekend Anna!

  7. What a nice post about Mary Ellen. I’ve always loved that picture of your guest room; I think I even have it saved in my inspiration pictures, somewhere!

  8. Great progress on your quilt Anna! Keep your machine in the kitchen and sew in the room with a pretty view. Oh I love graph paper too. Enjoy your weekend!!

  9. That was my first quilt book and really taught me how to make my “own” quilts.
    I love the pair of beds in your guest room – so charming. Book me a room.
    I love to sew to a view too and yours looks lovely.
    Ha ha, my husband has always called my SR my dungeon, regardless of where it is in the house :)

  10. I understand that you like to be in your kitchen when you sew. I used to sew in the attic and didn’t like it either. I always felt so off from the rest of the house/family, the lighting wasn’t very good and no view to speak of. Love your guest bed quilts, they are amazing!

  11. Mary Ellen was the “Mother” of half square triangles So maybe the mother of modern quilting. Her book was my guide for calculating the size of the finished square. took her class more that 25years ago. If you don’t have a copy find one!!!!

  12. I always enjoyed watching Mary Ellen when she was on Simply Quilts. What a fun lady she was!!! Mostly, however, she was a great quilt teacher.

  13. Mary ann on September 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm said:

    Sweet post Anna. I have that book too and its one I have referred too a couple of times, straight forward and no nonsense in her approach. the last 5 yras I admit i go to the web usually for a tutorial or videos on something but there is something to be said about the old pros who kept this craft moving forward for us!
    Hoping to do a little sewing this afternoon, girls here form SF but they are of to the beach with friends. Tomorrow they leave and I will do some cooking for a friend who has new baby, 2 1/2yr old and dh having shoulder surgery on Tuesday. I think she’ll need a break this week! Enchiladas, Corn salad and some Beef Dip…maybe an Apple cake..there goes my labor day but for a very good cause!

  14. So sad to hear about Mary Ellen. I didn’t ever get the chance to meet her or do a class, but of course knew she was The Godess of Quilting when I first started making quilts. Love the view from your window……can’t blame you for wanting to sew there!! Enjoy!

  15. I need that book! I have never heard of the author but I am pretty new to quilting. Thank you for sharing.

    P.S. Your quest room is lovely and those two quilts are perfect.

  16. I so love this post, Anna! So much to think about here!

    PS you won the Fashionable Fabrics giveaway on my blog…congrats!

  17. You guest room looks so inviting. I might be a little worried that my visitors wouldn’t want to leave, given such cozy accommodations.

  18. I love your guest room. I hope your guests appreciate those beautiful quilts. I sure do. How was the visit with Aunt Ann?

  19. I say put the guests in the dungeon and take over that lovely sunny room for sewing!

  20. lol, my husband HATED when I sewed in the kitchen! He said he was ‘terrified’ he might accidently touch something and then get in trouble for it. I eventually turned a guest room into a sewing room. It’s small but it’s mine. ;p

    You should keep the dungeon for fabric storage and supplies but sew in the kitchen. just make a pretty sewing machine cover that matches kitchen colors and it fits right in. Who said a table was made to eat on not sew on…oh, wait. my husband said that. dang! ;p

  21. oh what a sweet book! (and those quilts are gorgeous!)

  22. I’ve enjoyed my weekend celebrating two family birthdays. Today I’m back to a few quilting projects that need to get done! I love your guest room quilts! I’m with you – I like the creative side where I can make my own patterns by just looking at different blocks! Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  23. I just noticed your iron in the pictures. How do you like it? I was trying to explain how it works to my husband, but his eyes started to glaze over…..

  24. I love your guest room quilts, and your guest room in general! It looks very inviting :-)

    Because I’m old and have been quilting forever, I tend to prefer books like that one, which I too have in my collection. Back in the old days, books taught you how to draft a quilt block and combine different blocks to get secondary patterns. Now sadly, too many books just show you how to reproduce something. Which in it self isn’t terrible, I suppose.

  25. Oh, yes, you definitely merit a sunny room for sewing!

    I keep going back to the pic of your guest room. How beautiful are those quilts! And the twin beds look like lovely antiques. It is beautiful quilts like those that make me want to dip my toe into the shallow end of the quilting pool.

  26. Jill Reid on September 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm said:

    That is genius, making twin bed quilts in same fabrics, but different blocks. I love that! They look fabulous. I remember hearing Mary Ellen Hopkins lecture, she was a hoot…too bad she’s gone.

  27. What beautiful quilts in your guest room! I have yet to even start a full sized quilt – still on baby size ones but one day…

  28. Since the “basement” in this house is a true country cellar, underpinned so I can walk (then again you may recall I am hardly tall), but not dry and the concrete isn’t sealed so dusty….I co-opted part of the family room, no view but I am in the middle of everything…..next step might be to figure out a view, but then I would see the back garden which wasn’t touched this year at all amongst the chaos of the first summer here and everything else…..

  29. I have a lot of her books as well, and think they were great for learning and experimenting!

  30. Oh wow! Those guest room quilts are gorgeous!!!

  31. Well first off, I love the name of the book. I love books that encourages you to be creative and think out of the box! Clarice

  32. Mind wondering is a part of quilting! It happens to me all the time. Not sure if it’s normal, but I’m not normal anyway! ;o) Lovely quilts you made. I guess we have EQ now. There are many things that I do on paper first, but quilt blocks are not one of them. I did try, but found it quicker to use EQ. Cheers!

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