Sunday, November 19, 2017

Week #49 -- It's Mary Huey's Turn!

Hi, I’m Mary Huey – not just Mary, always Mary Huey even to my closest friends because there have always been so many “Mary’s” surrounding me.  I’ve been planning my takeover of @52quilters for a couple months and am looking forward to connecting with more quilters so thanks for checking out my introduction here at 52 quilters!!

I love to cut fabric up and sew it back together! 
During my 40-plus years of quilt making, I’ve owned a fabric shop for 26 years, taught for over 35 years, and made I don’t know how many quilts for my family, friends, and to bless people in tough situations.  When I’m not making a quilt, I’m watching birds and walking or knitting a small project like socks (love to turn the heel!), or working on my husband’s family genealogy. 

In the early days of my shop, I taught beginners how to quilt using Mary Ellen Hopkins book, It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt and since closing the shop, I’ve worked as an educator with Marti Michell’s expansive line of rotary cutting templates and tools.  Now I’m obsessed with set-in seams thanks to a clever student (another Mary) in upstate New York who spontaneously figured out how to chain piece through y-seams and shared her idea with me.  (Did she just say y-seams and chain piece in the same sentence? Maybe you better go back and read that sentence over.) Yep, that's what I said -- chain piece through y-seams!! I’ve spent the past five years perfecting and teaching this skill and will share some of that with you this week!
This is the first quilt I finished using what I have dubbed as the “set-in piecing simplified” technique.  I love scrappy quilts and sourced all of the fabric for this one out of my usually bulging 2½” strip box (the home of most leftovers in my studio).
This is the most detailed quilt I’ve made the technique – a reproduction of an antique quilt I saw displayed locally about 10 years ago. 
That's a lot of 1” hexagons, all machine pieced and machine quilted!!
I love 8-pointed stars and the y-seam technique is perfectly suited for those as well.  This quilt was inspired by the abundant and varied ferns of New Zealand on a long walking vacation there in 2007.
I’m always experimenting to see how the technique works with new block designs and tools so I’ll be sharing several of my recent experiments with you this week on Instagram!  My version of Jen Kingwell’s Glitter is a good example of one of my successful experiments. 
So come along over to @52quilters on Instagram and hang out with me this week!
Mary Huey

#48 Abby Walls: The Modern Fair Isle Quilt

When I was an art teacher, I became really interested in knitting. It was something I could do with my hands while I watched TV and at first I could turn off my brain while I worked. Soon, however, I wanted to learn more and try some new techniques. Fair Isle knitting became my favorite! I loved knitting in the round and watching a pattern emerge. It was so addictive and I had to keep going! Just one. more. row.

This pattern is inspired by those knitting patterns. Each square is like a stitch, each row like a piece of variegated yarn. And putting it together is just as fun as knitting fair isle. Just one. more. block!

I drew up a chart (above) to help me follow the pattern and I'm sharing it in case you would like to try it out! There are 25 numbered blocks and I'm using 4" squares to make a 100" square quilt but this would be easy to size up or down by changing the size of the squares you cut.
First, I cut squares of each color of Kona cotton and lots of white squares. I cut my fabric to 4.5" squares so they would be 4" once they are pieced.

I used the following colors:
Kona Red
Rich Red
Grass Green
Basil Green

I think this quilt would look amazing in icy blue colors or bright colors with a black background!

Next, I laid out and pieced one block at a time and labeled them with a scrap of paper with the number from the chart. Once I got a few blocks done I started putting them together to piece the top.
I wasn't able to finish the top this week 😔 Life got away from me but I'm hoping to have some time after Thanksgiving! If you would like to see my progress, I'm on Instagram @crafty_abby and I'll post pictures there! If you decide to make one, I want to know! tag me and hashtag #modernfairislequilt.

Thanks so much for following along this week!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2017 Quilter #48: Abby Walls

Hello! I'm Abby Walls and I live with my husband and 3 boys in Xenia, OH. I work full time at a dental office as a Marketing Director and try to find time on evenings and weekends for sewing.
I've always been a "maker" but the desire to create has taken various forms for me over the years. When I was a kid, I spent most of my time learning how to sew, knit, draw and paint. I decided I wanted to teach others to create and went to college for Art Education where I had the opportunity to learn about lots of mediums and ways to make art. While most of my classes focused on fine arts more than functional, I found ways to incorporate fabric into my projects regularly. I always seem to land back in front of a sewing machine!

There's something magical about making something out of nothing. Yarn and needles become socks, beads and wire turn into a necklace, a lump of clay is spun into a pot, and fabric and batting is stitched into a functional and beautiful quilt. It's been the driving force of my life. I always have the next project in mind... and usually the one after that too!

I'm so grateful to be part of this community! The internet is an amazing tool for artists and Instagram has been invaluable for connecting me to other quilters and learning about what's out there and what's possible. Arts and crafts connect us, in so many ways, through history and across the world. I hope to connect with you on Instagram! Come visit me @crafty_abby!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Quilter 47: Melissa Shields - The Quilting Room with Mel

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited to be here at 52 Quilters this week.  I love to meet new quilters!  So are you ready to learn a little more about me?

The Quilting Room with Mel is my blog and quickly becoming my life.  The Quilting Room was the name of my mom's business.  She did longarm quilting and custom quilts for people.  Mel is a nickname that I was given in college by a friend's little sister.  It has stuck and I'm OK with it.  I'm more likely to answer to Mel than I am Melissa nowadays.

The other day on Twitter a friend asked me when did I start sewing.  It took me almost two days to form that response.  Some of my earliest memories are of sewing.  My mom or grandma would give me fabric scraps to sew together.  They would also give me plastic canvas and yarn to work on even hand stitching.  I hate hand stitching today.  After my mom passed away I didn't do any more quilts.   Quilting didn't leave my life though.  My uncle and aunt ran a quilt shop and both grandmas were still quilting.  I still sewed garments for 4-H and made home decor items but nothing quilted. I think I knew deep down that I was a quilter but I tried to silence that inner voice.  I took a Craftsy class on how to turn a picture into a quilt a few years ago.  I decided I would make a quilt for a breast cancer, what my mom died from, fundraiser we were doing.  We had taken photographs of the dancers for the first couple of years.  I posted the picture on my old blog and the response was overwhelming.  My email was flooded with questions on how to do it.

This is the quilt that birthed The Quilting Room with Mel.  I knew quilting was more than my craft and cooking blog could handle.  I didn't know how right I was.  I have since stopped blogging about general crafts and recipes and am focused on quilting.  My husband joins me on the blog with posts about maintaining and fixing vintage sewing machines.  We currently have close to 125 sewing machines ranging in age from 1882 to 1982 plus a modern sewing machine, a modern serger, and an embroidery machine.

Click on photo to learn more about vintage sewing machines.

I like to share how to make individual quilt blocks so that quilters can design their own quilts based on those blocks.  I also share a lot of tips to help make your quilting easier.

Click on photo for tutorial

I haven't completely left my love of home decor either.  I like incorporating quilting into my home decor because at some point I know I will run out of beds for quilts.

Click on photo for tutorial 

 Don't forget to follow along on Instagram this week so you can see what I am up to this week!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Quilter #46: Halloween Fun!

Happy Halloween, quilty friends! I am sew excited that I get to post on Halloween! I have been hoarding this quilt for weeks, waiting to share it with the world on the 31st! I was in love with this quilt pattern (Pattern is Sweetly Scalloped by Carried Away Quilting) from the moment I first saw it. 

Then, somewhere on the interwebs (possibly even the designer's Instagram, my memory is a little foggy), I saw this quilt made with Halloween colors, and I was SOLD! I began stockpiling Halloween prints, and any fabric remotely Halloween-esque for use in this quilt. Aren't those Alexander Henry kitties and webs (outer border) just to die for?!!

Then, I found the absolute softest minky for the backing. It was seriously meant to be, because this gorgeous polka dot minky was just wide enough so that I didn't have to piece my backing. Normally piecing backing fabric isn't a huge deal...but if you've never worked with minky, well. It has a nap to it. And somehow I always manage to piece it with the nap going in opposite directions. And that is just the worst.

I wish you could reach through your screen and feel how soft this backing is. For reals.

Isn't this quilt just the absolute cutest? Between the super soft backing, and the fabulous prints, I'm tempted to leave this quilt out year round.

The 2.5" strips used in this quilt made it ideal for practicing my longarm skills. (FYI, autocorrect on my MacBook Pro really hates the words "longarm" and "minky." It's changed them every. single. time. SUPER annoying.) Anyway, I really went to town quilting this. The interlocking swirls in the border are one of my favorite designs to quilt (only because I'm good at them), but I managed to quilt pumpkin patches, fall leaves, spider webs, and even ribbon candy, which has long been my quilting nemesis. Lastly, I repeated prints from the quilt and made a scrappy binding, and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. It really adds to the fun of this quilt.

Well, thanks for stopping by! Hope y'all have a safe and happy Halloween! Until next time!!!!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

2017 Quilter #46: Pamela Morgan, Sweet Little Stitches

Hello there, quilty friends!

I'm so excited to be here and to share a week of my life with you! I'm Pamela Morgan, and I run a lovely home-based business called Sweet Little Stitches.

I live in Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA. I have a background in photography and art, and I originally started this business selling small quilts to be used as photography props after seeing antique hexie quilts (EEK!) being cut and stuffed in baskets as props. I had always intended on having a business that revolved around quilting, and even in my art school days, I had big dreams of designing modern quilting fabric. However, a scholarship that awarded me my first DSLR and a desire to have beautifully photographed memories left me bit by the photography bug, and so I pursued that career for several years.

Making quilts as props ended up being an epic failure, as the trend in newborn photography is naked babies, and well...I was creating heirloom quality quilts that were being used as baby poop catchers! Even though I failed at selling props, it left me aware that I was able to draft my own patterns and bring them to life. So after a cross-country move (related to my husband's career change), I turned toward selling my own patterns.

My love for sewing began as a young girl, and one of my first Christmas memories is receiving my own sewing machine and creating my own doll clothes. I got married the summer after my freshman year of college, promptly got pregnant, and needed a creative outlet. I discovered quilting and was instantly hooked. My first attempts were absolutely horrible, but I didn't let it hold me back. I was also determined to learn to machine quilt these horribly constructed first attempts, and wore out the bobbin cases in multiple cheap sewing machines before I finally was able to purchase a machine capable of withstanding my desire for free-motion quilting. Fifteen years later, my love for quilting hasn't waned, and I'm so fortunate as to have an in-home studio, complete with an APQS Millennium longarm, where I custom quilt mine and others' quilts. In the coming weeks, I actually plan on adding a second computerized longarm to my arsenal to allow me to take on more customer quilts, while still leaving me time to design. In short, I pretty much spend my days in a caffeine-fueled frenzy (I am a Diet Dew addict!!!), working on all things quilt related.

When I'm not occupied with quilty things, I'm busy playing chauffeur to four crazy kiddos (ages 13 to 4), and wife to one hot hunk of man meat. They're my whole world. I'm also a sucker for furry things, and so I'm the proud mom of four fur babies as well (3 cats and 1 dog).

My quilting style falls somewhere in between modern and traditional. I love antiques and vintage, so I initially started quilting with 1800's repros, but the artist in me quickly grew tired of everything being brown. My current quilts are awash with color and texture, and tend to include a variety of substrates and techniques.

If I had to choose a favorite quilt, it would be my Bee-utiful Quilt, which was a quilt along I designed for Moda Bake Shop (free pattern series can be found here).

When I'm not here at 52 Quilters, my happenings can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and the Blogosphere. Until next time, 

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

HollyAnne-- Signing Off!

Hello again, my friends!

Thank you so much for a wonderful week! I've loved sharing with you, and I hope some of the tips and patterns I've shared have been helpful to you!

If you haven't already, please be sure to visit to find free quilting tips, two free patterns, and more resources.

 You can find me on Instagram @stringandstory -- I hope you'll follow along because my goal is to guide you to quilt with confidence!

Happy quilting!
HollyAnne Knight, quilter 43