MaryRayMary Ray, Blue Ridge Mountains, NC, US
craft interests: quilting
Member Since: 03/24/2008
Make a table runner to highlight a centerpiece on your holiday dinner table or dress up a sideboard.
Chic raw-edge ruffles, pinked to create just the right amount of fraying and a smattering of beads, turn this silk clutch into an elegant—and fun—accessory.
This neat little accessory is all you need to add texture, detail, and depth to your stitched projects.
Start with a circle. Then add some yarn to make an accessory that will warm your neck and dress up your outfit.
You can make this darling apron in less time than it takes to whip up an omelette, and you can use cute vintage linen napkins or brand-new ones from a home decor shop.
Here’s the perfect gift for the guy on your list who still enjoys putting pen to paper. It has the patina of an old valise that’s been on many a journey with the likes of Lewis and Clark or Indiana Jones, holding accounts of adventures real or imagined.
What’s better than making your own Valentines? Making them from stuff you probably have on hand. And what’s better than that? Making Valentines that are useful, too.
Here’s a bag you can easily make yourself and, just like a custom-made garment, it will perfectly fit your computer.
Here’s a way to simplify a traditional quilt pattern to fit a small project—and a hectic schedule.
A few well-chosen buttons will buckle your belts in style and make them truly one of a kind.
Quilt, bind, and shrink fabric for this casual outer layer.
It’s time to say, “so long” as a CS blogger, but I’ll continue to be a craft cheerleader.
Here's a reusable tote that will stand out in any market.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or restyling an existing garment, here are some ideas that will make the most of your hemlines.
Here’s a great way to turn a basic construction element into a beautiful detail.
The Quilters of South Carolina have created an inspirational and uplifting exhibit for Breast Cancer Awareness.
No matter what size your photo, with some fabric, cardboard, and glue you can custom-make a frame to fit.
Last week I attended the Bernina National Artisans’ Reunion in Chicago and had an opportunity to play on the new Bernina 830 sewing and embroidery machine and to learn about how Bernina is reaching out to the next generation of sewers.
Seams are the backbone of any sewn project. But there’s more to it than keeping them straight.
Piecing an intricate quilt block requires an orderly strategy so you won’t be pulling your hair out trying to set perfect points.
This green project (literally) saved one sweater from the trash bin and the other from a very drab existence.
Unlike the region of space time where nothing can escape, the black hole of my handbag is where nothing can be found.
Attention, crafters! How did our foremothers do their part to preserve the environment and deal with financial downturns? They learned and respected the art of patching and darning.
Here’s a way to make your own slate–and a resolution that will help keep your crafting life in control.
School's out, the holidays are winding down—it's a great time to plan a sew-together with your child. Here are two doll quilt designs that you can assemble and present as kits. Use one to teach some basic machine skills and the other to learn sewing by hand.
From high-tech to low-tech, here’s a quick way to trim a tree.
Sew a bunch of triangles together to make a big triangle, add a trunk, and you have a tree.
Quilt shops are a great source of inspiration during the holidays—or anytime of year.
This no-frills denim apron with matching oven and pot-handle mitt is perfect for the weekend griller or the daily meal maker.
Here’s a great way to jump on the Dare-to-Make-It bandwagon. Greeting cards are small, easy, and fun to make.
Here’s the perfect way to add a personal touch to a hostess gift, a present under the tree, or a festive favor on your dinner table.
Cut up some fabric, add bits of fiber and ribbon, place between two layers of water-soluble stabilizer, stitch, rinse, then stand back and see what emerges!
Here’s an easy way to personalize your Thanksgiving table–and learn to miter a perfect corner.
This traditional hand-sewing technique is like creating sculpture on a flat surface, and it’s just as effective–if not more so–when done by machine.
Just as fiber is key to the beauty and functionality of fabric, the stuff that tools are made of determines their effectiveness as well.
When you don’t want to add a real welt pocket—or your skills aren't quite there–here’s an easy, effective way to make a pocket flap that adds the perfect finish to your garment.
As the nights grow cooler, it’s time to turn off the air conditioner, open the windows, and snuggle under a cozy comforter. Give yours a new look with this easy-to-sew cover.
A loop turner is one of my favorite tools that turns bias strips into tubes in no time so you can make “loopy” flowers, edging, or the skinniest spaghetti straps you’ve ever seen.
Inspiration is everywhere, but recognizing it and transforming it into something is the essence of creativity.
You can create unique textures and true shapes when you quilt fabric petals and assemble them into flowers.
Last weekend I was in Atlanta, a hotspot (literally!) for all kinds of hip crafts.
I’m not talking sports jargon. I’m talking about a couple of procedures that are absolutely necessary if you want perfectly sewn curves.
Take a new look at patterns from the past, revise old techniques, and give them a fresh purpose.
When you want to sew small, many-sided patches together, this traditional piecing method ensures perfect results. It’s done by hand, so ditch your sewing machine and be prepared to become addicted!
Achieving a neat narrow hem is easier than you think -- even if your machine is a relic.
Asheville is always a great place to visit, but if you’re into crafts it abounds with inspiration, resources, and like-minded souls.
Triangles are pretty standard in the world of quilts. Manipulate them to form lots of patterns. One of my favorite ways is the pinwheel.
A Hera Marker is a simple little piece of plastic that definitely leaves its mark.
Download podcasts on just about anything that has to do with fashion sewing and more.
On Saturday, I taught a hands-on class of the tote that was on the cover of Threads Magazine, Issue # 137 - June/July, 2008.
It's like Project Runway up close and personal!
When large snaps are called for, covering them with fabric takes your project to another level.
Here's an easy way to finish the corners when binding a quilt.
Quilting diamonds and triangles won't be intimidating if you have a plan for stitching them together.
With a few small fabric yo-yos, some beads, and couched yarn, you can create elegant vintage-inspired surface design that will turn your project into a showstopper.
Then it's time to pack your bags and head to Nashville for the 2008 AQS Quilt Expo at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, August 20-23.
Cheesemakers are crafters, too. I recently attended the American Cheese Society Conference where the finest cheesemakers on the continent represented their craft. They mostly make their products by hand with a passion that only comes from loving what you do.
This great idea is a fabulous way to help surgery patients recover in comfort.
Combine two techniques to create one chic little skirt – and get lots of compliments, too.
Templates are patterns that you use to cut the shapes in a quilt block. Here are some tips to use whether you are quilting by hand or machine.
Here’s a great way to carry around your memories of family, friends, and favorite places. Make the fabric and the bag -- what could be craftier?
Have you ever been in a home accessories store perusing the linens and thought – “I wish I could buy that fabric.” Well, if the item fits your budget, why not just use the linens – whatever they may be. A pair of scissors, needle, and thread can turn any textile into something else.
Your machine is your most expensive piece of equipment. But even if you got it for a song at a tag sale, it’s important to maintain it. Take care of your sewing machine regularly and it will last for years.
Seminole piecing is simple to do yet looks so complex. Use this technique to edge, border, or embellish any project. Or piece some strips and inset them to add some spark to a garment, bag, pillow—the possibilities are endless.
Sewers from all over the country are heading to Chicago to attend the annual conference of ASG. And I'm on my way there, too.
This popular piecing method isn’t viable for every quilt design, but it’s a great way to handle miniature quilts or quilts with complex angles. The blocks turn out really straight because you use the paper as a stitching guide and you don’t need traditional templates.
This process of felting with silk fibers has been around awhile, but I really became aware of it last fall when I attended Quilt Festival in Houston. It seems a lot of surface design techniques are spreading over to the “quilt world” and that’s really exciting because it gives us more opportunities to be creative!
When you’re passionate about any craft it can make you a little crazy at times, but in this case I’m talking about a style of patchwork that originated back in the 19th century with whole quilts and can be seen today in all sorts of things from handbags to lampshades.
I’ve mentioned before about the need to be exact when making a quilt. But you don’t always have to stay between the lines.
This is the best invention and a must-have tool if you cut a lot of pieces for patchwork.
Some quilt patterns, like Storm at Sea, create an optical illusion. The individual pieces are straight-sided squares, triangles, or diamonds, but the overall effect is one of undulating curves throughout the quilt.
The popularity of quilts and quilting has sparked many a road trip with a quilt show as the destination. But in the Southeast, quilts are a part of the journey as travelers explore the Appalachian Quilt Trail.
If you want to learn more about a craft in a well-equipped studio setting, check out Arrowmont. This distinguished center offers workshops in arts and crafts including ceramics, fibers, metals/jewelry, painting, drawing, photography, warm glass, woodturning, woodworking, sculpture, and book and paper arts.
I know I’ve carried on in the past about all the wonderful contemporary printed fabrics available nowadays for the quilter. But fabric has a long history and great prints have been around for a long time.
For many die-hard quilters, quilting enthusiasts, and wannabes, it’s just not spring without a visit to Paducah, Kentucky, at the end of April when the dogwoods (usually) are in bloom and the Quilt Show lights up the town.
Paducah, Kentucky, may not be the fashion capital of the world, but for one day a year, it’s “Fashion Week” for some wearable artists!
As if there isn't enough fabulous fabric out there to tempt us, now we can design and create our own by dyeing, painting, stenciling, stamping, and printing on inkjet printers. Here are some techniques to try.
After I wrote about machine quilting, I did a little playing with free-motion stitching. It was fun to see if I could actually write with my sewing machine, and it was a good way to practice control over my movements. Then I turned that little practice sample into a soft case for my glasses.
Quilting by machine might have been the only way to do it if sewing machines had been invented centuries ago; however, in the not-too-distant past, traditionalists frowned upon machine-made quilts (in fact, some still do). Today, machine quilts are perfectly acceptable and, for many, the preferred way to go.
Machine quilting is a joy, and today’s machines are capable of some pretty fancy stitching. But for some of us, there is nothing quite like the quiet contemplation that comes with hand quilting. It is a great way to connect with the past one stitch at a time.
If you have a lot of fabric scraps lying around, you might want to try your hand at string quilting (strip piecing). This traditional technique involves sewing pieces onto a foundation, and here is an easy project to teach you the basics.
These amazing quilts from rural Alabama represent a rich tradition of regional quiltmaking and are fine examples of American folk art.
Quilting has always been a part of sustainable practices. Today, there are many more quilting materials coming to market to make your quilts "green."
Fabric's can tell us the story of the world. Their fibers, the way that they are created, and the way that they are used can impart important historical, cultural, and sociological information. Did you ever think that by taking a trip to your local fabric shop you could also see the world?
Ultrasuede is the perfect fabric for chic, modern appliqué. No need to worry about finishing the raw edges;it cuts clean and doesn’t fray. It’s easy to sew and is available in so many great, rich colors. Make this 9-patch-circle pillow top with some Ultrasuede, and see for yourself.
Traditionally, appliqué was done painstakingly by hand, turning under the edges of the fabric shapes and sewing them down with tiny stitches. The icons of this technique are the American Baltimore Album quilts, Hawaiian quilts, and Molas—each unique and amazing in design and mastery.
Quilting is satisfying on so many levels, but especially because it’s about color. Learning about color and the way that colors relate to one another can help build your color confidence and allow you to choose your fabrics wisely and beautifully most of the time.
If you’re a quilter, Kaffe Fassett is a contemporary quiltmaker you need to know. He’s more than a fabulous quiltmaker; he’s a painter, designer, and knitter. He has also written several beautiful books on knitting and quilting, too.
One of the best ways to maximize the full visual impact of a handmade quilt is to hang it up on a wall instead of using it to cover a bed. Here is a simple way to turn your quilting handiwork into a piece of art. You’ll get a little jolt of pride every time you see it.
Furoshiki is a fun thing to do with fabric that doesn’t involve any sewing. Use this traditional Japanese wrapping cloth for everything from wrapping gifts to transporting clothes. Here's how to make them yourself.
Do you love bright, bold, and beautiful fabric prints? Are you new to quilting? Do you want to learn the basics? Or are you looking for a quick and snappy project to use up some of your fabric stash? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then this is the quilting project for you.
There is nothing like walking into a great quilt shop. In addition to all of the beautiful fabric to be seen, I especially appreciate the kinds of service available: staff recommendations, classes and the opportunity to talk about quilting with others that share my passion. While there is nothing like the live experience there are plenty of places to visit online. Here is a list of my favorite places to shop, real and virtual.
The craft of quilting has always been a huge community enterprise. Today, quilters can not only forge new connections online but they will also travel great distances just to be with other quilters who understand exactly what it is that drives a quilter’s passion. Here is a list of some upcoming quilt shows and festivals that just may get you packing.
Most quilters and sewers are fabric aficionados and have the stashes to prove it. There are several ways to build and manage a fabric stash to make it both useful and inspirational. Here are some important considerations and strategies to help.
Choosing the right quilting thread can make your project much easier to work on and it can also give your quilt the visual impact that inspires a great big "wow!"
What girl doesn't need a lingerie bag? This sweet version is a great way to learn some quilting basics and the best part is when you're done you'll have the perfect gift to give or a special reward to keep all to yourself.
I’m not talking about baseball—although that’s one of my passions! I’m talking about the material that forms the middle layer of a quilt. Batting has evolved so much over the years.
Every discipline has its own jargon. Here are some familiar words that have new meaning when applied to quilting.
It’s what you see and what you feel and for most of us, it’s why we sew in the first place–we just love working with fabric. If you’re new to quilting I recommend starting out with cotton because it’s easy to sew and the cotton fabrics available nowadays are just so gorgeous you may not want to consider anything else.
Every craft endeavor necessitates some tools and equipment to make the process more enjoyable and the results better. But if you’re tempted by every gadget available, you won’t have space to create and you’ll spend your time figuring out how to use them or trying to remember where you put them.
My name’s Mary Ray and I’m thrilled to be doing this blog for Craft Stylish because I love everything about quilting and, believe me, there’s a lot to love.
Create a cool skirt out of a pair of out-of-date jeans. This process also works well with any casual pants you might have lying around, including khakis and linen.