Saturday, January 24, 2015

GROW YOUR BLOG

Thanks for coming to check out my world as part of the 2015 GROW YOUR BLOG party!! 

 I'm Mary Huey and I just love to chop fabric up and sew it back together!!  I piece by machine most of the time though I enjoy EPP and have made a few applique quilts over the years.  And there have been lots of years!! 

I studied clothing and textiles in college so when my first pregnancy resulted in boredom and not much energy, I discovered quilt making.  Soon I was teaching friends and next thing I knew I had opened a (tiny) quilt shop in my hometown because I was sure that there were thousands of other quilt makers looking for good quality supplies in the area.  That was in 1979 and I was wrong.  So I had to teach and teach and teach to create hundreds of other quilt makers looking for good quality supplies!

Fast forward to 2005 and I was ready to give up shop keeping (26 years is a career) and focus in on the parts of quilt making I enjoy the most -- teaching and making! 

Intrigued by all the sharing and connection available to quilters through blogging, I began to blog in 2010 somewhat half heartedly.  The feedback was fun and my students were very impressed that I was blogging.  Late in 2013, one of my younger students encouraged me to become a more active blogger because as she said, "you have so much experience to share".  So here I am!!

I love to machine piece -- could do it all day, every day.  I am currently obsessed with set-in piecing -- most of the time with hexagons and all the shapes that work together with them to create so many exciting and designs. 
 It all began with Marti Michell's templates for 8-pointed and 6-pointed stars.  I am a certified educator for Marti's products and from the beginning, I've been impressed with how quickly my students succeeded with these two blocks thanks to the engineering of the templates. 
 
Then I met Mary O'Keefe!  She took a 6-pointed star workshop from me and during the workshop figured out how to chain-piece through the set-in seams (y-seams to some of you) which is the primary skill necessary.  She graciously showed me her idea and when I got home I began work on this scrappy tumbling block quilt.  
 All the way through the piecing process, I just keep thinking, wow, Wow, WOw, WOW!!  
I knew I had to teach this and with Mary's consent, I began to include the technique in my workshops.  In 2013, I produced a DVD, Set-In Piecing Simplified.   It's a 30 minute program that incorporates all the demonstrations and tips from my hands-on workshops. 
Now all I have to do is convince all of you that y-seams are easier than you think!!
 
There is a second tumbling block quilt in process -- it will be in process for a while because it's primary duty at this point is to serve as a teaching visual for my workshops.  So it lives rolled up on a flannel sheet and goes out on the road with me whenever I teach the technique.  At this point, I can actually stitch a tumbling block unit together faster than you can stitch a 4-patch together!?!
Do you see the design twists in this version compared to my first one? 
Now I can't stop making quilts that use the technique!  Pieceful Constellations is a masterpiece quilt I finished early in 2014.  It was inspired by Kerry Dear of Australia's Candied Hexagons quilt which is so familiar to hexagon piecing fanatics.  It began as experiments with 6-pointed stars and grew and grew and grew with a bit of this and a bit of that.
Currently, I'm working on four different quilts using the technique and there are two more in the planning/experimenting stages.  (I've always been a compulsive starter?!?)
 
Right now I'm assembling a reproduction inspired hexagon mosaic quilt for which I've been making motifs over the past year.
And since I chain-piece through my set-in seams (it not only is a smoother sewing process, it also results in more secure ends to the seams), I've joined in Nathalie Sunflower sew-along (you can read about how to connect with that here) and am assembling the 90 pairs of "crowns" needed for that lap size quilt. 
A few hours of alternating back and forth between the two projects and I'm making good progress!
While assembling one of these motifs, I can stitch twelve pairs of crowns.
By the end of the afternoon, I had a stack of these pairs ready for inserting the background crowns. 
And all the motifs for this gem were up on the work wall.  Next step is to cut the remaining 200 or so background hexagons and start to join the motifs together. 
So are you getting curious about the chain-piecing technique? 
 
The focus of my blog is a potpourri of information for quilt makers.  Many of the ideas for my posts come from questions and comments and all of them draw on my 40 years of experience making quilts.  I just finished a series on achieving "contrast" in quilts based on my teaching experience.  I often share ideas on applying Marti Michell's templates and tools to traditional quilt blocks.  During the gardening months, I share some of my love of flowers and butterflies. 
 
I keep my current teaching calendar up to date on the right side of the blog and my workshop list is up at the top.  From my home in Northeast Ohio, I travel to neighboring states to share my skills and knowledge.  Perhaps someday, we'll meet face-to-face at your local shop or in your guild?
 
Did you discover the design twists in my second tumbling block quilt?  I rotated the tumbling blocks (the dark diamonds are on top of each unit) and there is a star hidden in each row.  Some are very subtle and others more obvious.  One of you will win a copy of my DVD workshop, Set-In Piecing Simplified at the end of the Grow Your Blog Hop.  Just leave me a comment below with how many stars you find and tell me know if y-seams scare you or not.
 
Happy Piecing!!
Mary Huey
 
 
 

 



69 comments:

  1. Wow what lovely quilts - I too am addicted to hexagons at the moment - I love to sit and hand sew them in the evenings in front of the telly! I also teach classes but they are paper based ones and are in England so I will probably never get one of your classes I'm afraid but they do look good fun! Have a great day. Sunshine Girl - Grow Your Blog section 24.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by!! The English and Australian have done a great job of keeping mosaic piecing alive in my opinion!!

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  2. I find 8 stars but...I buyed the templates from Nathalie and can't wait to start to try it. I would be happy to win the DVD .

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Bea -- the templates are the reason I get so excited about all these designs!!

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  3. Wow what beautiful quilts. I like the look of hexagons but do not want to hand sew them. I haven't done many y seams. I see 7 stars.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and the compliment!! Y-seams aren't hard, they just require a bit of patience and practice!

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  4. I have been following for awhile and always love seeing the beautiful quilts you are working on. Learning how to create these would be wonderful! I see 7.

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    1. Thanks for following me, Helen!!

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    2. Helen -- you are my winner -- e-mail your mailing address to me at maryhueyquilts@hotmail.com and I'll get a copy of my DVD, Set-in Piecing Simplified off to you in the mail!!

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  5. Hi Mary - as you know I am a follower! I see 8 stars (really I see more because any time I see 60 degree diamonds I figure that six of them will make a star). I'm not afraid of y seams but avoid them if I can! Thanks for the chance to win - I've got my fingers, toes and eyes crossed!

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I appreciate your support and admire your work so much!

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  6. I see 8 stars in the quilt and yes, I stay away from y-seams as much as possible. They do not seem to be my friend. Would love to win your DVD. THANKS!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Donna! Do not be afraid of y-seams -- conquering them opens up an exciting new world of designs!! Good luck!

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  7. your work is amazing! enjoy the party Kathy

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Kathy and the nice compliment!

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  8. Hi Mary! On behalf of Vicki and the Grow Your Blog event, I would like to warmly welcome you - Vicky truly appreciates your participation.

    Wow, wow, WOW! Your work is truly astounding! Beautiful, absoutely beautiful quilts! Hugs to you :)

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  9. Hi i am a quilter visiting from Vicki's blog and now following you

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    1. Thanks, Barb and welcome to my world!!

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  10. I found 22. And I'm now not afraid of set in seams. My 2nd quilt I ever made had tons of them. Why do beginning quilters pick such hard patterns? Thanks for the chance, Mary!

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    1. 22? Wow, I'm going to have to take a closer look.

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  11. I love your hexies and tumblers - I always hand piece though unless the pieces are large - I found you through a comment you left on my blog, I came to see what you do and started to read back through other posts on your blog

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Karen! I would hand piece more if I didn't have so many ideas -- can't seem to stop?!?

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  12. Your work is always so neat Mary and I really enjoy seeing your hexies! One of these days I'm going to sit down and try your techniques!

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    1. Thanks, Connie. I think you'll be quite surprised when you try the technique!

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  13. I counted 17 stars. I avoid y-seams although I can do them if I have to. And that's why I would love to win your DVD, to learn to enjoy them. Your work is beautiful; thanks for the chance to win. jamesprouten@gmail.com.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, James and for the compliment!

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  14. I counted 5 stars, and I'm scared stiff of Y-seams. I have a Marti Michell hexagon set, but I only use them for cutting in preparation for EPP; perhaps I should try cutting them for machine stitching. I'm following your blog now and look forward to reading your tips.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Marly and becoming a follower! I frequently share about Marti's templates so perhaps you'll fine a project in the future to try machine piecing with them, too!

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  15. Mary, beautiful quilts!!!!!

    You throw a great party. Thank you for inviting me!

    So that you know, I've become a Follower and when time permits, I'll be back to see what other beautiful things were made by your hands!

    What this party is all about is to GROW your blog and I'm hoping to do the same. When you get to Section One, check out A Country Chic Retreat and SuZeQ Creations, my personal blog, in Section Fifteen I'd love for you to follow and subscribe to.

    Happy crafting!
    SuZeQ

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Sue -- I'll check you on today on my visiting rounds!

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  16. Hi Mary, I have really enjoyed looking around your blog. I've been quilting for about 25 years and I too love machine piecing. I've been teaching quilting classes for Guilds for about 20 years. I hope you'll pop by my blog too, at Stitch Lines, and maybe we can be bloggy friends! ;) I'm one of your new Followers.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Linda -- putting you on my "to visit" list today!

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  17. Hi Mary! I see 14 stars at first glance, but realize there are star shapes anywhere the tumbling blocks come together, so there are potentially dozens of them unintentionally visible! Set-in seams for me are doable, but having an easier way would be great! I'm not scared of them, just cringe at the thought of having many to do!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Heather -- set-ins are fiddly no matter what, but this chain-piecing approach really smooths the process out for me. I hope you'll give it a try.

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  18. Hi Mary. I counted 20 Stars in your quilt. I really like the Tumbling Blocks quilt and hope to make one some day. I am not afraid of y-seams. In fact I have made several quilts with y-seams in them. It would be facinating to see the method you use. Thank you so much for your giveaway.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Joyce -- if you've already done Tumbling Blocks, this technique would be a snap for you!

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  19. I saw 15 stars but bet there are a few I missed. Y seams do scare me and I usually skip right over a pattern if they use them.

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    1. Thanks for visiting me, Kathy -- Marti's templates have been the key for y-seam success for me -- the trims and the dots put them within anyone's reach!

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  20. I counted 20 stars -- it's a beautiful quilt! I am... cautious of Y seams. I've only tried a few and they're harder than I thought they would be, but not scary. I'm starting a tumbling blocks quilt for my son, so I should get lots of practice. sarah@forrussia.org

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Sarah -- lots of practice is a good way to get better at y-seams!!

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  21. I've never tried tumbling blocks and yes Y-seams terrify me!
    The more I looked, the more stars I saw - but I stopped at 12 as it was sending my eyes squiffy!!!!

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    1. thanks for visiting my blog, Gill -- "squiffy" is a new word for me!! (-:

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  22. Enjoyed cruising your blog. I'm a new follower. Happy Quilting!
    Mary

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Tosty's and thank for becoming a follower!

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  23. I'm visiting via GYB from St. John's, NL Canada. Having a look around your blog. Lots of interesting work going on here. Thanks for sharing. I'm having a giveaway too.

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    1. thanks for visiting, Judy -- all this visiting has been fun and interesting.

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  24. Fun blog name!
    Okay...I see five distinct stars, and a multitude of others that come and go...probably because I'm looking for stars! Thanks for the chance to win a DVD! :-) Y-seams don't scare me, but I haven't done very many, either. Maybe a whole quilt-full would give me pause!

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  25. I found five stars but I bet there are more, I just can't 'see' them. I don't even know what a Y seam is so I don't know if I'm afaid of them or not, but I see patterns that claim 'no Y seams' so I guess they are troublesome. Yes, I'm new to quilting. Glad I found your blog. My DH grew up in Erie and I lived there for a while also. Hope I win.

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  26. When you said you 'love to chop fabric up and sew it back together' it brought back a memory of my dad saying the very same thing to me. He could never understand why anybody would want to cut up perfectly good fabric. Thank you for inviting us over and showing us some of your beautiful creations.

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    1. Thanks for visiting! Did you father come to understand the "chopping" up eventually?

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  27. Hello Mary, visiting from Australia via the GYB party. I actually found a few of the stars in your tumblers, then went back and found 6 altogether. Funnily enough I was only saying to my hubby today how I never do Y seams, cos they are just too hard! Then tried to explain to him what they were.

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  28. Mary your quilts are beautiful. I am not much of a quilter and when I do I kind of make up my own methods. LOL I guess that's what having an art background will do! I enjoyed hearing about your life and processes. Susan

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  29. Hi!!!! Wow!!!! They are all beautiful!!!!!! I counted 12 so not sure if I got them all!!!!! Some of them seemed to blend together with half of another star!!!!! I am a little scared of y seams but not afraid to try with a good technique and instructions!!!!! Considering how wonderful these are it would be worth the effort!!!!! Thank You!!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping for a visit, Carla -- the stars definitely appear and disappear in this quilt and I am getting anxious to put it together so I can show off the whole thing!!

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  30. Beautiful quilts! Is that 7 stars?? Where in NE Ohio are you located? My BFF lives in Wadsworth.

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    1. thanks for visiting! I'm in Willoughby, so north of your friend and right on Lake Erie

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  31. Well, I am a bit baffled as to what constitutes a star, don't really see any other than the nested big one in the middle. I am not afraid of y-seams, but I don't hand piece either. I do admire those who do these hexagon quilts, something I would not have the patience to do. Visiting from GYB hop.

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    1. You are right, there is only one star in the hexagon quilt but I meant to direct the question to the partial tumbling block quilt. Both of the tumbling block quilts are machine pieced!

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    1. Thanks for the visit and the compliment, Dixie!

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  33. Here from GYB, and are interested in spending more time 'Following' your techniques.

    Julie @ Pink Doxies

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    1. And I will be seeing you at the Tree Bird Hop!

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    2. Thanks for dropping by, Julie! I'm looking forward to the Tree Bird Hop -- my piece is on the work wall!!

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  34. I counted 15?? And yes, Y-seams terrify me. I consider myself mostly a hand sewist, so I've recently picked up EPP. Frankly, Y-seams are still a bit tricky by hand, so yes, I am curious about this chain piecing method you teach. Thanks for the chance to win!

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