Island Batik Ambassador Spotlight: Maryellen McAuliffe, Mary Mack Made Mine

Maryellen (Mary Mack Made Mine) has been sewing since she was young, and loves quilting and designing quilts the most. She has published a number of patterns, loves to teach, and does longarm quilting for others. This is her 10th year as an Island Batik Ambassador, and she hopes to share her love of quilting and fabric with everyone!

One Die Wonder quilt, March 2020. Island Batik Steam Engine collection. Read more about the quilt here.

We asked Maryellen a few questions about her creative process and here’s what she told us!

Island Batik: Why did you start sewing?

Maryellen: When I was about 4 years old, my mom sewed, so I started learning. I got my first kids machine at age 6, and Mom got a new machine when I was 8, so I got her a Bendix, which was a 1950’s Singer 15 clone.

Where do you sew?

A studio, spare bedroom, closet…. I have a dedicated sewing room, a large bedroom, for my fabric, machine and cutting table. The long arm is in another bedroom. The guest room has my finished quilts in bins, plus the embroidery machine.

What is your favorite notion or gadget that you use every time you sew?

My Janome 9450, Aurifil thread, and Fiskars snips, a clapper a friend made for me, and Olfa rotary cutter.

What do you do that you hope the “quilt police” never find out about?

I speed quilt!

Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made and why is it your favorite?

I have several favorites. I have a Jewel Box quilt on my bed, and my Christmas quilt is a log cabin with appliquéd Christmas lights in the light diamond area, and the Gradations Flying Geese with flowers I made for the 2022 January challenge.

New York Beauty Blog Hop quilt, December 2022. Island Batik Pumpkin Spice collection. Read more about the quilt here.

What were your beginner mistakes in quilting?

I’ve been quilting for over 30 years, I can’t remember! The one project I know I threw out was because the free motion quilting was not good and I didn’t want to waste time taking it all out.

What’s your favorite part of quilting, and why? Least favorite?

I love it all. I used to hate pin basting quilts, but I have a Handi-Quilter Amara long arm, with Pro-Stitcher, so it’s all fun. I even like binding, because then I can celebrate a finish!

Do you have any other crafty (and non-crafty) hobbies?

I love to bake and cook, and also sometimes do counted cross stitch, English paper piecing, or knitting and crochet. I want to get back to doing watercolor painting, too.

Cleveland Tiles quilt, Island Batik Fall/Winter 2020 Catalog. Island Batik Harvest Blue collection.

What’s your go-to stress relief when a project misbehaves or you need a break?

Godiva dark chocolate. And playing with my dog!

Tell us more about your dog!

My puppy Heather is almost 1, so she’s in a crate while I sew, because she’s still too curious and eats things, but she loves to sit on my quilts for photos. She the social media support person, lol.

If you could choose an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Europe. England, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain and Greece. I would love to see my family heritage area in Ireland, and spend time in the other countries and sightsee and try the foods.

Be sure to follow Maryellen on Instagram and Facebook and visit her blog for inspiration and quilty tips!

Let us know in the comments below if there’s anything else you want to ask Maryellen and stay tuned for more 2023 Island Batik Ambassador highlights!

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