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.