Friday, April 27, 2018

Hexie Diamond *Update*

It seems like a long time since I've shared progress on my English Paper Pieced Hexie Diamond Star project.  For something that was meant to keep my mind and hands occupied nine months ago, it has become much bigger than I ever imagined! 

I don't know if that's good or bad!  I think I'll go with good!  If I don't look at it that way I wouldn't be motivated to keep going.  I couldn't imagine putting all that work into it and then not finishing or liking it!

Here's the scoop!  My adventures with diamond hexies documented over the past nine months!

Star Light, Star Bright
Diamond Hexie Stars
Diamond Hexie Stars 2
The Real Work Begins

Since my last post I figured out the layout.  In a way that was the easy part.  I've never tackled an English Paper Pieced project on this scale.  Following my usual 'jumping in with both feet' philosophy, I pretty much went for it.  I had no idea if there was a proper way of sewing the rows together or if there was an easy method to go about it.  Eventually I developed a way that worked for me and from there...there was no turning back!


I had all my rows labeled (seems to be a theme for me lately!), and on the backside of each hexie I marked where each black triangle would end up.  After sewing the triangles on, I moved on to row assembly.  

The method that worked for me was sewing each row in two sections.  Then sew row one, section one to row two section one together and repeat with the remaining sections.  Once that was complete, I'd sew row one and row two section one to row one and row two section two together.  And with that I have totally confused you!  I can see your eyes have glazed over and you are thinking 'this girl has totally lost her mind'!  

Trust me when I works for me!!

One thing I did not think about before this madness began, was how I'd end the rows.  Is anything easy these days?!  I'm playing with a few options right now, but I certainly wish I had worked that out before hand!  I put myself in a quandary.  I still have time.  As of today, right now, right this very second...I still have the last two rows to assemble in my ever so 'mad as a hatter' way!

Hopefully the next installment of 'Harebrained Hexies' will be all about how I solved the side issues and finally...finally have the top finished!  


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ultra Violet :: Weave

I've been itching to make this quilt!  After I designed it I realized very quickly that I didn't have enough variation of colors to pull it off.  Perhaps that was an excuse to buy more beautiful fabric especially after seeing the bundles online.

It isn't exactly finished.  I have to stitch the binding on, but it's so close!  My goal was to get it to this stage and take it along on our beach trip!  Monday...I cannot wait to leave!

Look at those colors!  Purple is one color that I don't have a lot of in my stash.  When you look at your stash I would bet there is one color that is much smaller than the others!  

My intention was to put as much Ultra Violet and purple in this quilt as I could.  Thinking about the Pantone Color of the Year challenge!!  I'm not sure this quilt will qualify!  

I purchased the fabric on Etsy at Stitch Stash Diva, and couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  It couldn't get here fast enough!  And I'm going to say, I love it when fabric (especially solids) comes labeled!  It makes it so much easier!

I still had to figure out which colors I would use and where.  It was fun, but it took a while!  I needed to get just the right gradient from light to dark, from pink to purple.  I got pretty close to perfect!

The colors I ended up using were:
Light Pink, Kona Carnation, Kona Candy Pink, Kona Pomegranate, Kona Valentine, Kona Sangria, Kona Cerise, Kona Bordeaux, Kona Thistle, Kona Pansy, Kona Dalia, Kona Crocus, Kona Purple, Kona Hibiscus, Kona Nightfall, Free Spirit Deep Violet and a couple others to fill out the list. 

It could have been a big confusing mess getting each color in the right place, so first I wrote out a detailed sheet with what goes where.  After cutting, I placed a label with the name of the color on each stack.  It helped with the chaos, or with what could have been chaos!

It also helped to have a big design wall!  I laid out all the pieces first.  Having several 'firewalls' in place seemed pretty important!

It's not that the blocks were difficult, you can see it's basically a Plus Block, I just needed to ensure I could keep things in order.  Row by row I pieced each 9" block.  Over and over...and I can tell you that my OCD nature worked almost flawlessly...I only messed up two blocks!  

As much as I wanted to quilt it to death, I used restraint!  There was a lot of starting and stopping because I wanted each 'ribbon' to have a continuous flow.  In between the woven colors I stippled...the best I could do...but I like it!

Hopefully I'll have it finished while I'm at the beach and take advantage of the beautiful surroundings!  

Here the computer generated version that got me excited about making this quilt.  I didn't exactly get the colors the same in the quilt, but I like it just the same! 

Are you joining in the Pantone Color of the Year Ultra Violet quilt contest? You can get all the details here:  Bryan House Quilts or No Hats in the House.  


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Block Two :: Bee Inspired 2018

Ready for another installment of Bee Inspired 2018?!  We got our prompt, we got our direction and the only thing left is our creativity!

If you check out this previous post: Inspired By The Original, you'll get a sense of what this Bee is about.  Let's just say it's Improv + queen prompts + imagination = inspiration!

This month Christine @ccpquilt on Instagram gave us a very interesting and thought provoking prompt:  To Thine Own Self Be True.  Yikes!  What does that mean?!  Thankfully she gave us a little insight to what she was getting at.  In an effort to get to know each other better, we were tasked with creating a block that represents our public and private self.  A shape to represent out public self (the dark outside shape) and a shape to represent out true self (the inner shape and color).  And that was just one block!  

The second block we were tasked with a block to represent an assigned Bee member.  All secret and not to be disclosed who we were assigned.  

This is only our second round and already I'm shaking in my boots!  I like to think I'm creative and up for challenges...but, day-um!  This stuff is hard!  Gotta love challenges!

I have to say I am very uncomfortable describing or talking about myself.  When it came time to translate that into fabric, I struggled.  What am I?  Who am I?  How do I come across to others?  Baring my soul isn't normal!  

This is me: 
I'm guarded and don't like to put myself out there.  Adventurous, but only when it comes to my quilting.  Give me an idea and I'll twist and turn it to suit me.  I like to think outside of the box and explore.  I also like to stay in my comfort zone and don't venture out too often.  I'm really not as confident as I might appear!  


I probably come across as sarcastic, but it's a defense mechanism.  I get really nervous when I talk to people and speaking to a group is out of the question.  Scares me to death!

I was assigned a person I've never met before, so I did a little stalking to make this block!  

To me, this person seems very down to earth and natural.  Not just in her quilting, but her life.  She is amazingly adaptable.  She likes to push the boundaries with her style. She is on a new life adventure  which is sure to enrich her life and take her on new paths.

The leaf is for nature and an unconventional shape for pushing boundaries!

There you have it.  You have learned a little more about me for better or worse!  I am horrible at describing myself, and even worse and describing how I come across to others!  

I feel like I had a mini therapy session!  Thankfully the block is done and I can crawl back out of the microscope and into my sanctuary!!

Our next round will explore Chutes & Ladders!  Playtime!

Our Bee Inspired Group on Instagram:

Shelby @godshomemovies 
Jayne @twiggyandopal 
Audry @artandstole 
Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Christine @ccpquilt 
Jenny @pappersaxsten 
Shelagh @stuartmoorestextiles

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Raw II

It appears that Spring is finally here!  I've been waiting for the weather to warm up so I can get outside and thaw out.  It also means there are plenty of nasty weeds going crazy in the flower beds!  I've spent the last few days pulling and yanking and prepping the beds.  Hopefully today will be the last of that for a little while.  

All the yard work has left me zero time to quilt.  Which is making me crazy!!  I need to get busy and get caught up.  I have half a dozen new things happening in the quilting saga and little time to share!

That being said, I finally got some pictures of one mini quilt I'm anxious to show you!  

13 1/2" x 17"
I had been wanting to make another mini in my 'RAW' series, but I just hadn't been able to sit myself down and do it!  You can read about my first adventure here:  'RAW I'.  I talk about my crazy obsession with scraps, raw edge weaving and how I went about coming up with the design. 

This time I wanted to focus on Violet.  Or Purple.  Ultra Violet is the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year, and since I had a few purple/violet raw edge woven squares to work with, I thought it was a good time to incorporate Ultra Violet into this design.  

I started very simple by adding Kona Silver around the woven squares.  With the squares being pretty small (1 3/4" finished), I knew I'd have to come up some other mind blowing idea to up the ante a little bit. 

A long time ago, I played with a piping-like idea in a quilt that I loved and decided this was the time to explore it a little more.  I couldn't be happier with the results!

I ransacked my solids stash looking for anything in the purple family.  The idea I had required a lot of parts and pieces.  The more the merrier!

What I came up with is pure magic!  To me it's magic!  I ended up with the gradient effect and the texture I was after.  

Every time I walked by this quilt I couldn't help but rub my hand across it and feel the texture!  It's hard to capture that in pictures.  The other thing that mesmerizes me  is how it changes as you walk around it.  It's like an optical illusion!  

And you know full well that I have another one in the works!  Just as soon as my weeds are pulled!

I couldn't help but show the back!  You get the full effect of the gradation with the colors.

I kept it pretty simple with the quilting.  I used Aurifil thread Pale Lilac (#2564), which if you look really, really, really close you can tell it's lilac!  

I've been planning the next version of a quilt using this technique.  A baby quilt will be a good size to practice with and see if its worth pursuing...I think it will be!

If I could only find the time...

I have more ideas than hours in a day!  Complaining I am not!  I love trying things that are unconventional in quilt making.  This one renews that excitement of quilting that has always inspired me to take chances!

What is the most unconventional method or thing you have used in a quilt?  


Sunday, April 8, 2018

New To Me :: Tools Of The Trade

It's fun discovering new things!  If I could I would get every new gadget, ruler, tool, cutter out there.  Realistically that ain't gonna happen!  I don't often 'splurge' on tools and make due with what I have, but every once in a while I'll pounce and throw caution to the wind!

I have to laugh when I buy something new!  Because most everything I buy is not new to everyone else!  It doesn't take much to excite me and I'll get it where I can!

First up is thimbles.  I've tried a few different kinds with little success.  Regular thimbles feel bulky and unruly.  I just couldn't use them.  I tried adhesive pads and for the most part they were pretty good.  I found that they slide around and I have to reposition them often.  My last resort was taking medical tape and wrapping it around my thumb.  My thumb is where are the wear and tear happens.  I tear it up when I'm hand stitching!!

On our guild Facebook page, a member posted a link to the thimbles she uses.  Intrigued, I checked it out.  Silicone Needle Puller Thimbles.  Interesting.  These might be just what I need to save my thumb!  And frankly, the price was right.  If they don't work it wouldn't be a big deal.  

Low and behold...they work!  There are two sizes available and it fits like a glove!  My thumb is nearly healed, I can hand stitch without bulky cumbersome thimbles!  Since buying my set I have noticed many others on Instagram who uses them...who would have thought?!  

The shop is on Etsy, Leather Craft Supplies and, Dritz also makes them, I saw them at Joanns!  Who would have thought?!

There are so many ruler options for quilters!  I stick to the basics.  I have three sizes that I use all the time.  My 6" x 24", 4" x 14 and 2 1/2" x 8" get the most action.  

When I saw this ruler on Instagram by Jodi Robinson, it was another 'I gotta check this out' moment!  Since I do a lot of straight line quilting and usually mark each line for precision, I decided it might very well be worth the investment.

The Straight & Narrow is for marking straight lines.  Check out this video on YouTube to see it in action!  The slots are spaced every 1/2", but 1/4" lines are easily achieved by adjusting the ruler.  And it's easy to do!  
The big question for me was what tools can I use to mark the lines?   When I ordered the ruler I also bought a chalk pencil because that's what Jodi used. 

This is a Sewline disposable ceramic lead pencil with a lead thickness of 1.3.  The only problem I had was pressing too hard and breaking the lead.  But it marked well and left very clear lines. 

What I really was curious about, could I use my most used tool ever...the Hera Marker?  I was concerned the grooves would be too skinny.

Much to my delight, it worked perfectly!   I know many people use their walking feet to make perfect lines spaced evenly.  I've never been great at that!  I usually forget where I'm suppose to look and mess up.  So I'm a marker!

The last marking test was with a disappearing ink marker.  Another success!  Now I have options!

Maybe the Straight & Narrow ruler will speed up the marking process on some projects, may it won't work at all on others.  I thought the thimbles and ruler were worthy of sharing, a review and a post.  No compensation was give to me for that!

Do you have any mind blowing new gadgets or tools?!  What pushes you over the edge when it comes to purchasing something new?


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mondrian :: Colorful and Simple

Part of coming up with new ideas for quilts is exploring art.  From modern to abstract, one thing there is not a lack of is inspiration.  The old adage 'art is subjective' really means you either like it or you don't!  I look at something and get a hit one way or the other right away.  Be that art, a house or a car!  Exposing or exploring yourself to different things is important for growth in life, or as I like to use it...quilting!

And there is art that is truly iconic.  That needs no explanation and certainly it doesn't need to be improved upon.  

Composition II 1930
Piet Mondrian was a Dutch artist known for being one of the pioneers of the abstract art movement.  I believe his most recognizable art is the iconic red, blue, yellow, white and black compositions.  Simple or detailed, there's something for everyone!

9" x 8 1/4"
As I was quilting a pile of pot holders, I thought to myself...I wanna do something different!  Something I haven't done yet, something easy, something fast.  And for some reason Mondrian came to mind.  Simple right?!  Primary colors in rectangles and squares.  Piece of cake! 

I was so engrossed in the puzzle that I didn't take any in progress pictures!  But I have this beautiful set of pot holders to show for it!

When I say puzzle, it really was a mind bending exercise in precision and fitting the pieces just right and being able to add the black around each little piece. 

The primary blocks vary in size from 1" square to 1 1/2" x 2" and the white sections, well let's just say they became whatever size I needed them to become!  

The tricky part was making sure I could puzzle the 1/4" black strips around and in between every piece.  You can't just add black around all the sides, you can't just sew a simple block and fit it with black and white...oh no no no!  So much for the simple and quick idea!

You have to puzzle the pieces together so they look random.  And you have to do it in a section kind of way so that all the parts and pieces come together...seamlessly, flawlessly,OCD-lessly!

The only simple part about the entire process was the quilting!  Minimal at it's finest!  Next time I may use black for the backing and black thread for quilting.  Oh...did I say next time?!

You might think I'm complaining and whining about making these, but I'm not.  I'm plotting and scheming my next move!  There are some areas in my interpretation of the design that could be fine tuned or totally removed.  My ultimate goal is to make a pattern so that I can go back to the pot holders when needed.  I think I can...I think I can...I think I can!

What draws me to this Mondrian design, is the illusion of simplicity.  If you dig in to it a bit more, you see that all isn't quite as simple as it seems.  What a genius!  Complicated simplicity!

What artist motivates and inspires you?  I don't usually go primary...but if it's's primary!


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bonus HST's For The Win!

I've been neck deep in so many projects lately, most on their way to becoming patterns.  That being said I haven't even started writing said patterns!!  It's really hard for me to psych myself up for the arduous task!  I feel like I'm putting undo pressure on myself!  I have issues!

Back in February at our Guild Retreat I brought along a stack of fabric for my Flying Geese quilt.  I was pretty excited because I was finally using my bundle of Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric.  

Making flying geese is a repetitive process.  Even more so when you sew an extra line for bonus half square triangles.  It's totally worth it though! Adding the extra stitch line will keep all my triangles together and when I'm ready to use them all I have to do is press and trim.

After stitching from corner to corner, sew another line 1/2" from the original line.  Then just grab your rotary cutter and ruler and cut between the stitch lines.  Now you have a bonus HST ready to rock and roll whenever you are!

This is what I came up with.  First, I got to use all my blue HST's and all my Kona Celestial scraps.  All this came from a hefty stack of flying geese!

I store my bonus HST's in a tote to keep them nice and neat.  I've always had the need to use every scrap from a project right away.  I have a fear that if I don't, I might never use them or they will get shoved in a dark corner never to see the light of day.  This also explains why I might have two or three quilts back to back in the same color!

The hardest part was picking a design.  As you well know, there are so many possibilities with half square triangles.  Part of my predicament was that I had three different sizes.  

I had trimmed the bonus blocks to 1 1/2", 2 1/2" and 3 1/2".  Easy enough, but I had to make all three sizes work together.  Eventually...I did.

To make maters a little more complicated, I set the blocks on-point.  I planned on stacking each set of sizes for something a little different. 

Blocks pieced, blocks trimmed.  Three blocks, three sizes.  


The 1 1/2" HST's finished at 1" for a 10" block, 2 1/2" HST's finished at 2" for a 20" block and the 3 1/2" HST's finished at 3" for a 30" block.  Now I had something to work with!

Afterward, I grabbed the background fabric and filled in.  By the time I was finished I ended up with one small piece of background fabric and I used all but two HST's!

I did have to make half a dozen small and maybe a dozen large HST's to complete the squares.  But it was still worth it and a win win for me.  I got to use even more of the Handcrafted scraps!  Whatever was left will get pieced together for the back.  

Now to get some backing fabric and quilt it!  Story of my life!!  The top finished at 46" x 65"!  Not a bad size for scraps!  I kind of like how it turned out.  It feels very Bohemian to me!