Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And there was a little pause . . . .

I should have known that there was a speed bump ahead when I made so much progress in January at using fabric from my stash!!  My Mom took a tumble two weeks ago and I've spent lots of time "waiting" here and there for this person and that person.  But when life happens, I'm glad I have my hand work organized as a quick fall back.  That totebag with my knitting which is always waiting by the backdoor got more attention than usual.  One pair of socks down and another in process!!  And my "big stitch" handquilting project was waiting to help me unwind every evening. 

Happily, Mom is on the mend and this past weekend my students in the Economy Stars String Piecing workshop I taught at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark Quilt Show helped me get back to my machine and some happy stitching.  The work they produced was inspiring!  

My goal for them was to use my quilts as an inspiration for their own pieces rather than copying my work exactly!  There were some interesting color combinations that grew out of their own fabric collections -- I love the way Diane graded the value of her diamonds so that the center of the star glows!

Kathy's background was going to be lime green but some auditioning with other possiblities resulted in a much better fit for the scrappy color combination she was using.

Jan's inspiration was a flowery assortment of discarded hospital gowns that her daughter rescued when she worked at a nursing facility -- they are destined for a charming wedding quilt.

I have to confess that when Phyllis announced she was using some red and yellows from her stash, I was skeptical -- I know that's a popular French Provencal combination, but I have trouble with how bright it is . . . but I was wrong -- she made a great top and I love how cheerful it is!! 

Diane worked out of my scrap bags -- they are very easy to access because I have my leftover strips sorted by colors!  There are six bags just waiting for someone to dig into them!  I set the stars with larger than necessary squares and triangles to make it easier to square them up by trimming them down.

Linda's version is the work of someone who has been quilting for a long time -- her fabrics were full of memories for both of us since I had sold many of them to her over the years!  Those blues and warm browns that were available in the late 1980's are still unbeatable in my stash!

If you wish you had taken this workshop, let me know.  I'm glad to offer it again! 

And now I have quilts to finish!!

Mary Huey

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm smokin!!

Thanks to a productive weekend quilting retreat with lots of friends, I've used 31 yards during the first month of my "use it" challenge!  What a great start!!  That success is generating lots of momentum for me! 

I set twelve aging appliqued blocks into a top.  The blocks are made from kits that were available at dime stores in the mid-1900's.  They were started about 75 years ago by a friend who gave them to me about 45 years ago.  Each piece is appliqued using a buttonhole stitch with embroidery floss -- not my favorite pastime, but it's done!!  And I think it looks good.  I used a setting style and fabrics that would have been common in the 1930's when the blocks were started.  My thought at this point is to handquilt it -- outlining the appliques and filling the background with a simple grid.  Once the backing is together, I'll make the binding for it, put a note with my finishing ideas on it and add it to the shelf of quilts ready to be layered!

These two little cuties are no longer a stack of half-finished blocks with no goal in mind.  They began life as a jelly roll that I used to demonstrate cutting log cabin blocks with Marti Michell's large Log Cabin ruler during a quilt show.  Now they are two small quilts (30" by 40") that will go to the community quilt project of the Chagrin Valley Quilt Guild.  I could have put them all into one quilt, but then that would have just become one more UFQ on my shelves.  There were two blocks left and I boldly threw them away, but I noticed that another gal "rescued" them to use for zippered project bags that she makes -- it has a clear front and holds all the supplies for handwork projects in one handy place for carrying here and there.

Since I returned home, I've made the backing for a queen size log cabin made with another of Marti's Log Cabin rulers and a large variety of fall prints.  I put the border on it this weekend and when I got home, plunged into the shelf of "big cuts" and found the perfect backing fabric -- lots of it too.  

I also spent some time machine quilting two small pieces for an exhibit in March and April -- more about later.  Everyone there made progress on projects!  Some were cutting out new projects that have been "sacred piles" in their stashes, others finished quilt tops, and others got back to works in progress.  One gal layered up 5 tops and has a good month of quilting ahead of her. 

If you can't get away for a retreat, set aside an afternoon and focus on what is at hand for the entire time -- I often say that it takes longer to get started than it does to finish.  When I make progress on a project, it generates positive momentum that is a big boost mentally as well as bringing me closer to a goal.  And before I leave the sewing room, I always plan and layout what I will do next.  That plan will make it easier to start up again no matter how exhausted I am when I have the time to sit down.

Time to sew!!

Mary Huey