Friday, November 27, 2015

The best kind of "black Friday"!!

What you ask is the best kind of "black Friday"? 
I think most of you can guess.
It's a wide open, nothing else going on, stitching day!!
And that's how I spent Friday, November 27, 2015 -- stitching.
I finished up three small projects and worked on a fourth I'll be sharing next week!
This cloth version of the perennial 1950's favorite, The Poky Little Puppy, has been cut out and hidden in my studio for longer than I can remember.  Earlier this month, I laid it on the cutting table in hopes that looking at it every day would stimulate me to finish it. 
And it finally made it today!!
Another preprinted panel project that was malingering away up there was this lovely apron panel.  Actually it may have been one of my mother's UFQ's.
But now it's finished and ready to use or gift.
Finally, I'm putting together a bundle of Christmas gifts for a 7 year old girl who adores all things Frozen -- I shopped last week for fleece to make a throw but decided instead on this much cuter cotton to make an Easy Peasy Drawstring Backpack.  This is the fourth time I've used this tutorial from Sew Can She -- takes less time every time I make one!! 
Want to try one -- you can find the tutorial HERE!
Need inspiration?   You can see the first two I made HERE!!
It was a good day!
Time to retire to the couch to enjoy some apple pie, a romantic movie, and some sock knitting!!
More stitching waits the morrow!!
Mary Huey

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Firing myself up!!

Firing myself up consistently has been a bit of an uphill struggle for several months.  The achiness of osteoarthritis was taking it's toll and finally I relented last month.  After a long talk with my physician and some blood tests, I'm trying to manage the pain with medication.  Early returns are encouraging although as those of you who have the similar issues know, just taking a pill doesn't do the entire job.  We'll evaluate the benefits against the side effects the end of January and in the meantime I have to modify and find routines that minimize aggravating my body.
At this point, I'm delighted to be feeling more energetic!!  Saturday morning, I was inspired to set up George for a morning of machine quilting and tackle one of the stack of layered quilts that has been waiting patiently for me!  I was headed to a Therapy Balls Workshop at my yoga studio in the afternoon and thought a morning of being hunched over my machine would set me up perfectly to see if the ball therapy would give me relief from the upper back tightness. 
(Yes, I know I'm not suppose to "hunch" but it's proving to be a hard habit to break.)
The easiest piece at hand was a Christmas wall hanging that I put together a couple years ago.  Rather than struggle with "how to quilt" the fussy cut motifs and balance that out with the pieced stars, I went for a simple approach.
I turned the quilt upside down and quilted it from the back with simple wavy lines that followed the contours of the fabric design.
Since the bands of "sand" were narrow, I quilted along each side of them. 
Then I came back and added a line through the mid-section of the "sky" areas pausing every so often to stitch out a funky little star.  There's one in the picture below just behind the wiseman's head - they were disoriented at that point  (-;
I'm pleased with the results -- it was fun, it works with the design of the front, and it only took about 90 minutes which is the upper limit of the time I can "hunch".
I left for the workshop with aching shoulders and the beginnings of a crick in my neck.
Happily, the ball therapy worked and when I returned home, I was able to bind the quilt.
That evening, I added a casing and it's ready to sell!! 
I listed it yesterday in my Etsy Shop (which I'm currently revitalizing) along with two other small quilts.  Wanna' take a peak?
There's only one and I've set it up with FREE shipping!
Today I'll be back at the machine -- my group still has a handful of quilts to finish quilting by mid-December to gift to children at The City Mission!!
You can check out the Yoga Tune-up Therapy Balls HERE and see if your local yoga studio is offering workshops with them.
Happy Thanksgiving!!
Mary Huey

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Trunk Show Fun!

This morning while catching up on blogs I've missed while traveling last week, Julie at Pink Doxies shared a link-up for a trunk show organized by Whims And Fancies that is happening right now!!
Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies
Since I'm unpacking and putting away a huge pile of stuff and up against a wall for a topic this morning, I'm in!!
I was teaching Set-In Piecing Simplified this past week in upstate New York so all those samples are at the top of the piles.  These are just the finished ones -- there are half again this many that still need to be quilted!!

My journey started four years ago while teaching this workshop for the quilt guild in Watertown, NY with a student named Mary O'Keefe who figured out how to chain piece through set-in seams (y-seams)! 
Back in my studio, I started this scrappy tumbling block quilt and worked to make it a teachable skill to share with my students.  It's one of my favorite quilts.   I just love it -- so much in fact that there is a second one in the works.
This is a close-up of the quilting -- lots of continuous curve with some leaves thrown in. 
Then I tackled hexagons by machine -- these are 1 1/2".  It's a large laprobe size and was made with the intention that it will be a gift to someone one of these days.
I made this giant tumbling block with 4" diamonds to use as a workshop project that was manageable.  It only uses 6 prints plus the conversation print.  It's crib quilt size -- another gift in waiting!
By the time I finished those three quilts, I was feeling confident enough to do something more challenging.  The Kaffe Fassett Collective print in the border inspired the color scheme and was the only "new" fabric I purchased for this quilt.  It's a wall hanging and might pop up for sale this winter when I rework my Etsy shop.
There are a couple other projects between these two, but they aren't quilted.  This one, Pieceful Constellations is my masterpiece.  It was rotary cut with Marti Michell's Template Set G and pieced by machine.  The inspiration was Kerry Dear of Australia's Candied Hexagons.
This workshop sample finishes up as a tabletopper.  (The worksheet/cutting guide is available in my Craftsy Shop --

When Marti Michell introduced the Kite and Crown Template Sets, I launched into an assortment of new samples -- this bed runner is perfect with a vintage woven white spread I use on my bed in the summer.
And my most recent finish was this table topper for the Kaffe Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram -- it also gave me another opportunity to test a block, Dresden Star, that I'll be offering as a workshop this winter during the 2016 Lake Farmpark Quilt Show.
Time to go finish unpacking the travel bags and spread the quilts out flat on the guest bed until the next time we hit the road together. 
 If this is your first visit to my blog -- thanks!!
I hope you'll come back again and again to see more of my y-seam obsession!!

And click on the Trunk Full of Quilts icon at the top of this post to enjoy some more quilts!!

Mary Huey

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Quiet Mary

That's who I've been for the past couple weeks -- quiet Mary.  No particular reason, just feeling quiet.
But of course, I've been busy.
We've had a week of rare beautiful, mild November weather and there has been lots of woods walking but I finally finished quilting this piece for my younger daughter.  The only table with available work space was out on the patio so that's where I trimmed it for binding. 
She pieced and appliqued it at least 10 years ago and I noticed it wadded up in her knitting supply closet earlier this year and offered to bring it home and quilt it for her.
I might have quilted the border too densely for the interior of the quilt, but I'll wait to make that final decision until it has been washed -- it would be easy enough to go back in and add some more quilting.  I'll bind it this weekend and take it to her next week.
My studio time has been used cutting and organizing Rose Star kits for workshops this coming week in upstate New York.  It provided another opportunity to test my cutting strategy for this block -- you can read about that HERE
I'm even "marking the dots" since it's only a half day workshop and I want everyone to get the entire block pieced.  No two kits are exactly alike and I'm a little nervous about everyone liking my choices but if they don't, they'll have a holiday gift almost done when they leave the workshops.
This little spot of color in the garden caught my eye yesterday morning from the office window.  The new fall crocus bulbs were up and blooming.  I took some pictures to remind me where they are planted so I don't dig them up next summer while planting something else.
And my red witch hazel shrub is absolutely glowing.
A friend remarked that it would be a good color combination for a quilt.
The handouts are ready, the quilts for my lectures are almost piled up, and this weekend I'll assemble the workshop supplies and review everything for an early launch on Monday morning!
Maybe I'll see you in Syracuse?
Have a pleasant weekend!!
Mary Huey