Sunday, December 29, 2019

Third and Last Hexie!

You might be getting a little sick of seeing my hexies, and I don't blame you one bit!  I can promise you that this is the last one.  After making three different wall hangings using three different sized hexies, it most certainly is time to move on!

12" X 12"
I'm not sure I would have made this one, except I was issued a challenge and for some reason I couldn't resist!  (Thank you Ellyn!)  

The first version I used 1" hexies, prints and paper pieced hearts.  Hexie Hearts finished at 20 1/2" x 21 1/2" and inspired me to try a smaller hexie.

Rainbow Hexie was made with 1/2" hexies, solids and the center of each circle I machine stitched a star.  This one finished ended up being 18" x 18 1/2".

The center hexie circle takes very little time to assemble normally, but when you are working with tiny pieces you have to be nimble with your hands!  This final version used 1/4" hexies, solids and the center features three shades of gray and white.

I'll tell you it wasn't easy wrapping the fabric around the templates.  The fabric covered the entire back because of the hexie size.  I considered randomly grabbing colors and sewing them together, but I have to say I love a good rainbow effect.  Instead I placed my hexies around a center of gray/white.

The previous quilts I would write numbers on the back of each hexie so I wouldn't mess up the order I wanted them to be in.  With 1/4" hexies that wasn't an option.  I knew it would be difficult keeping these little ones on the straight and narrow, so my solutions was to use tape, sticky side up, and gently place each hexie in the right order.  I'm not sure where my idea came from, but it was the best idea ever!!

***I originally was going to use wash or tear away stabilizer for the templates.  However there was no way I could fold all sides of the fabric around and get a good clean edge.  Instead I used card stock and even with that perfection was hard to come by.

I hand stitch the hexies together in pieces and then assemble the entire center.

You can see just how small each piece is with my hand for scale.  I could have a monster gigantic hand...but its just normal size!

I wasn't sure what to do with the quilting when out of nowhere I thought of pebbles...rainbow...thread!  Sometimes we get an idea and can't shake it, this was one of those times.  

Because of the size of this one, I decided to quilt the background before the circle was added.  Using a white chalk pencil I outlined the circle so I would know just how far I should go with the pebbles.  It almost worked!  There are a few spots where the colors invaded the centers!

I finished the center of the hexie circle with pebbles using black thread.  For the record there are 25 different thread colors.  Truth be told I was going to keep the colors in a true rainbow spectrum, but I made a mistake with one color and I wasn't about to rip it out at that point!  After that little blunder I had no choice but to go wild and put the colors where ever I wanted.  Thankfully I had plenty of thread and colors to make this magic happen. 

The center is glued down using Aleene's  Fabric Fusion glue.  It was a challenge getting the glue spread evenly on the back.  I ended up using a Q-Tip for that and it worked very well. 

I kind of really love all the colors and pebbles!  You know me, I'm not awfully accurate with my pebble making!  But I love making them.  

It most certainly isn't proper to do when English Paper piecing, but I left the templates in!  Seriously, there was no way I was going to get the templates out without destroying the hexies, my fingers or my mind!  The good news is this isn't a quilt anyone will sleep under!

My goal at this point in the year is to finish all my WIP's.  I know...there's only a few days left!  I only have one more to go!    

I like to start my year with a clean slate.  Fresh and new!  I may not be able to show all my final finishes before the end of the year, but they will be done!

However you like to end your year of sewing doesn't really matter.  We all work in different ways.  The quilting community is made up of a diverse bunch and who doesn't love that?!



Thursday, December 19, 2019

One More Completed

I've just about completed all of my 2019 WIP's from my sewing room.  And I gotta say it feels great!!  It doesn't mean I haven't worked in a few little extras here and there, but to have all the big projects finished always takes the stress load off my shoulders this time of the year.  I love starting a New Year with fresh projects and a clean slate.  This year will be no exception!

47" x 61 1/2"
I have shared this quilt before (Re-Do, Re-Work, Re-Think), the difference this time is it's quilted!  My goal has always been to write a pattern for this quilt, however that has yet to happen.  I really have to get in the right frame of mind before I tackle pattern writing!  It will be one of the first things I tackle in 2020!

I'm quite pleased with the results of this new version of my design and think it just might be ready to put it to the pattern test.  

For once I kept the quilting simple!  I was looking for it to be finished, not be a showstopper!  I quilted horizontal straight lines and diagonal straight lines varying the width from 1-2".  It seemed like the best choice.

I was happy to finally use some of my Alison Glass stash for this one.  And the background is Kona Silver.  

However, I think this would be a good design to use any and all scraps.  Prints, solids...they would all work.     

Another couple of points about this quilt, it's forgiving!  Not all blocks are created equal especially when I make them.  If for some reason you aren't a fan of this Shoo-Fly block, you could use any block as long as it's the same size, or you could mix and match.  Just sayin'!  I for one love changing it up and putting my twist on things, so you easily do that too!

That being said I better get to business and write the pattern first!  I guess this is the time to say 'stay tuned'!

Do you design and write patterns?  What advice would you give to those of us that fear the process?


Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Little Things

A few weeks ago we had a little visitor!  Josephine is an adorable, sweet and charming little lady that entertains us to no end.  She is 2 1/2 and had no hesitation spending the weekend and just hanging out.  Of course we had to have a few fun projects lined up to keep her amused, but even so I could have kept her for an entire week if her parents had allowed it.

My daughter Britt and I planned on having a cookie baking and decorating day.  That's always fun with kids!  I decided it would be fun to make a child's apron for Josephine and promptly hit the Internet for ideas.  

I ended up drafting my own pattern from newspaper.  It was super simple, super fast and super cute!


While I was making it I kept thinking how small it was and hoping it would fit her.  Jokes on me and it shows just how little time I spend with children!  It was quite big for Jo, but it didn't really matter because she loved it anyway.  There's growing room, that's for sure.

I put the heart over Jo's face to respect and protect her and her parents privacy.  I'd love to share that sweet little face, but these days you have to be mindful about sharing too much!

The fabric is robots and a chunk I've had for years.  I thought it would be cute and the colors are pretty together.  

A pocket can be useful for snacks or treasures that children always seem to have.  I found this red mouse fabric and stitched it on.  

The apron is double sided (same fabric on both sides).  I edge stitched around the sides and added some wide gray twill ribbon I had on hand to finish it off.  

Eating the fruits of her labor!  It's so funny watching kids decorate treats!  I've never seen so many sprinkles on one cookie!  And it's always add a pinch of sprinkles, lick your fingers and add more!!  

She had a blast, we had a blast!  You would think after a weekend with us she'd be anxious to go home.  Much to my surprise she wasn't!  

Another 'little thing' I made is also for Josephine.  It's for Christmas though, so she'll have to wait a while.

23" X 27"
I've wanted to make a doll quilt for her all year and finally had the chance.  Now, the fabric isn't exactly girly or sweet princess like, but I've never been one to adhere to those girl myths!  

Instead I went with Alison Glass Handcrafted and bright pink.  It just so happens I've had these bonus HST's laying around and finally got the chance to put them to use.  Not only did I use every single one of them, I also used every single piece of the Kona Valentine solid.  I love when that works out that way!

The half square triangles are 2" finished.  I stitched in the ditch of the rows and then did a some curves in the pink rows.  Simple, effective and done!

The back is Folksy Flannel by Anna Marie Horner.  Since the front isn't girly I decided to make the back more so.  Now we just need Christmas to arrive!

When Josephine was here we dug out Britt's Cabbage Patch doll for her to play with.  The doll was very well loved by Britt way back in the day, and by Jo!  That weekend prompted me to get this little quilt finished.  It'll look adorable with the baby doll we also bought for her for Christmas!  Spoiled?!  Yep!  And its so much fun to do!

This doll quilt is the only gift I made for Christmas this year.  It was kind of refreshing for a change.  

Have you finished all your secret sewing projects?  


Monday, December 9, 2019

Cut it Out!!

In my last post I talked about how quilting a large stack of quilts can be too much all at once.  By taking a break and making a small project in between recharges me to get back to the larger task at hand.

One of those 'intermission' projects was this project.  Rainbow paper pieced scissors.  
11 1/2" x 11 1/2"
I've had this project cut out for weeks hoping that I'd get a chance to make it.  The Geometric Scissor pattern is another amazing design by Kristy Lea of Quiet Play.  The scissors are part of her Quiet Play Pattern Club 2019 which is still available, and happily she has another year lined up for 2020! (Pattern Club 2020)  As you can see I'm a huge fan of Kristy's!

The easy part was picking the rainbow fabric, the hard part was which background fabric to use.  I decided to use something a little different and went with a fat quarter of Coffee Peppered cotton.  

I could have left well enough alone, but I couldn't very well do that!  It's not in my nature!  I ended up making a border to increase the size and give it a boost.  I designed the border in EQ8 and printed paper piece templates.  And very soon after I had the extra element needed to finish it up.  

Near the end of piecing the border I realized I was literally cutting it close with the background fabric!  I needed and used every piece of that Peppered Cotton fat quarter!  


I could have went around the house a found about another dozed pairs of scissors for the photo...but that would have been a bit over the top!  Instead I settled on three pair that were within arms reach.

The detail is worth a couple detail shots, I think!  When I'm paper piecing something as detailed and tiny as the pieces in the handles, I grab larger pieces of fabric than normal so I don't have to worry about being short.  For those who freak out at the waste of it all...even larger pieces for this were pretty small!  That's what my scrap totes are for!

Another element to take it over the top was the quilting.  Or I should say:  in my mind I think it's over the top!  Pebbles using Aurifil Burgundy thread.  I normally try to match thread with backgrounds, but I had the urge to step out of my comfort zone and choose a color that would be visually impactful, but not outlandish.

I also wanted to keep the scissors sharp (pun intended!) and opted not to put one single stitch on them.  Finished off with a red border and viola! it was done and my itch was scratched!

My plan is to maybe take it to our Guilds Holiday Party and add it to the small gift swap.  They say you should give gifts that you yourself would love...and I do love this!


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Blue HST Geo :: In the Bag!

Another finish!  Just when I thought I might never get to the end of quilting my stack, I made it through one more!

51" X 67"
I don't particularly love the quilting process which is why I accumulated quite a stack that needed to be finished.  There comes a point, at least for me, that you have to do the dirty work before you can move on to the fun stuff.    

The kitchen sink of straight line quilting was added to this quilt!  We've got 1" grids and 1/2" lines inside the squares and rectangles, 3/4" randomly dispersed lines throughout the quilt and some other details that brought the entire quilt together and finished!  

I used two different thread colors: Aurifil 50 wt #1148 Light Jade and #2745 Midnight.  

I used Kona Celestial for the binding and the squares/rectangles.  I like having the bold color as the focal point in this design.  I considered doing a scrap binding, but in the end I went with Celestial as the binding.  The dark frame seems to pull it all together to me. 

I think next time I make this quilt, I'll take it down a notch with the quilting adventure!  While I love the effect of all the different lines it does take a lot of time.  I don't think the design would suffer in any way if I went with some sort of all over grid.  We'll see.  I might forget by the time I make another one!

The back of the quilt really shows graphic shapes with the darker thread.  Although it's difficult to see, you might be able to make out some of the other quilting for a better understanding of the 'kitchen sink' of straight lines.

It's no secret that in between piecing or quilting quilts I love to have a palate cleanser of sorts.  A small project to recharge my batteries.  Those kinds of projects are always so much fun and honestly, if I didn't have an 'intermission' from machine quilting I'd go stark raving mad!!  Not a pretty look I assure you!  

What do you do to keep refreshed or recharged when it seems there is no end in sight with a project?!  Maybe you buckle down and get it done, get a glass of wine, or toss it aside?  All of which I have done myself!


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Walking On Sunshine :: Finally!

I put off dealing with this quilt for too long!  By dealing with, I of course mean quilting it.  I had big ideas about how I'd like it to be quilted, but in the end I just needed it to be done.  

49" x 71"
I think I started making this quilt in June or July.  So much time has gone by I can't be quite sure!  The colors are probably one of my favorite combinations to play with.  Yellow, orange, pink in various shades and various brands were pulled until I had the right combination.

Each circle is 12" and the block is more rectangle than square at 12" x 14" finished.  I borrowed the 12" Glam Clam ruler from a friend  (Glam Clam template by Latifah Saafir) and with very little trouble began making 12" half circles.  

When it came time to pair the halves, I took an enormous amount of care to match the seams.  I did use glue on the seams to ensure I would be accurate.  The results were well worth the time and I believe I achieved some pretty accurate seams.

My initial plan was to have someone else quilt this for me.  I had ideas, but didn't feel I could pull off a show stopping finish in the quilting department.  The passing off of the quilting duties didn't pan out.  That left me with the only other

Once you start you can't stop!  I totally had to commit to it.  I tend to bite off more than I can chew, but I decided this wasn't the time for that.  First, I quilted in the ditch of all the seams including around each circle.  Then I quilted 1" vertical lines from top to bottom.  

I choose four blocks to keep blank so I could do something special on the inside.  I perhaps should have put a different design in each blank block, however I wasn't feeling that adventurous!  Instead, I did this circle design in one block.


And this square design in the remaining three blocks.  Please, please don't look at the stippling too close!  Now your looking, aren't you?!  

May as well share to good with the bad.  Like I've said numerous times, I'm not perfect.  And I don't mind sharing the not-so-good.  

On the back I used Kona Orangeade.  I just love that shade of orange!  And the binding is Kona Bright Pink.  

I used Aurifil 50wt #2145 Orange Yellow which seemed to be the perfect compromise.  I worked well with all the different colors in the quilt.

While I didn't take the quilting over the top, I did manage a finish.  I can't complain with how it turned out.  I'm just happy it's finished!  

I don't feel like I've had many large quilt finishes to share.  I've spent the past couple weeks getting down to business with quilting and finally have a few more to share.  One more is left, but at this point I'm not going to go there!  I wanna make more quilt tops!

Onward and upward!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

1/2" Hexie Kaleidoscope

I've been semi feverishly trying to finish up a small stack of quilts.  Quilting is going well, yet there are still a couple more to get to.  It always seems to take longer than I'd like for this process!  

In between the large quilts I've tried to work in a mini or a wall hanging just to break up the's working for the most part.  

After I finished the first 'Hexie Heart' wall hanging I was determined to make another.  The process of hand stitching the hexies together goes super fast and you end up with a fun design.  For the second go around I decided to use solid fabrics, stay in the rainbow theme, but use 1/2" hexies instead of 1".  I'm so glad that I did!  It's ten times as adorable!

18" X 18 1/2"
Oh the magic it makes!  I decided to use a dark background for a change of pace.  The fabric is Kona Gotham and I think it makes the hexies electrified!  They stand out in the best way possible.


With my hand as a can see just how small the hexies are in real life.  

Once all the pieces are together it measured 10" x 10", that will also give you reference to the size.

And what would a English Paper Pieced project be without a shot of the papers on the back?!  I made myself a chart of the design with each color section labeled.  Once I had that figured out along with my fabric choices, I wrote a corresponding number on each hexie so that I could get the colors in the right position.  A simple guide that makes sewing the pieces together much easier.


When I made the first one, I actually pieced together hearts to go inside the circles.  This time I decided I'd quilt a design in the centers instead.  It made it so much easier.  Plus, you can quilt some pretty great designs especially when you use colored thread.  

I grabbed my Aurifil rainbow mix of colors and proceeded to quilt some geometric stars.  They aren't the most perfect starts, but I love when I can use my walking foot instead of free motion quilting.  The walking foot wins out every time!

I stitched a tiny zigzag around and inside the hexies using a variegated rainbow thread (see back photo!).  I like that look better than the first go around with this design.  I then quilted 1/2" lines in a hexagon around the center using a dark gray thread.  From there I did a few rainbow 'flower' rounds and finished with many more concentric gray rounds. 

Why I don't use a dark background with rainbow designs I'll never know!  White backgrounds feel crisp and clean and you think they will make the colors standout, but a dark background seems to enhance the colors.  I'm a fan and I'm drooling just a bit!   

With every design (this one included) I tend to figure out better ways to accomplish or enhance things.  The center design, the quilting design, background colors, quilting...just to name a few.  And when that happens you know there will be another project along these lines.  I'm always trying to make it easier or faster or better!  Some things are hard to resist!