Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What I Did This Summer

...And What I Didn't...

This foundation-pieced pine cone was designed by Cyrille Zellweger, who has an Etsy shop full of cute camping-themed paper piecing patterns. I bought several of them last fall...

...and promised myself that I would make them this summer. Full of enthusiasm, I started the pine cone right after my last post in June. I'd really enjoyed all the paper piecing I'd done previously, so I thought I would take it to the next level. My plan was to make the entire project with fabric by Art Gallery, which is really beautiful -- lightweight and with a high thread count. And it is great for paper piecing. The only problem...

...is that they seem to have banned forest green from their production line. So that didn't work, but fortunately I still had a lot of my trusty Kaffe Aboriginal Dots in forest green left over from Sedona Star 1.0. I used that in the first photo above, and also in my second block:

You can also see that I used a medium scale modern print for the aqua sky. The colour in the pine cone photo is more accurate. It was an experiment, but I think it worked quite well.

But, even though they didn't take too long and all the problems were solved, I lost interest at that point. The thing I like best about paper piecing is the rhythm of sewing all those points. You can pre-cut your strips, and just sew -- light, dark, light, dark. When I looked at the rest of the blocks, I could see that every piece was a different size, and that templates would probably be needed, and it looked more like stop-and-go city driving than driving on the freeway. So I put it aside. I'm not saying I won't go back to it, but it wasn't the big summer project that I planned.

The big event in Toronto this summer was the Pan Am/Parapan Games. Although I didn't seek them out, the Games still found me. Near the end of the last week I was driving home from the grocery store, far from any of the venues, when I passed a couple of cyclists from Chile dressed from head to toe in their team colours. They caught up to me at a red light, and I could see that they were having a fantastic time, laughing and smiling from ear to ear. Toronto cyclists are not usually that happy, lol. It was like seeing a couple of flamingos among the pigeons, and a very nice moment.

It was also in July that I became very motivated to work on Texas Star again. Surprised me! After reading EPP guru Karen's blog for a while, I noticed that she sections her large quilts in rows, and then joins the wide rows at the end. My diamond section experiment was a total failure, but I decided to try Karen's approach. So far it's been a lot easier to manage, and I now have 245 of the stars joined up:

That's 99 more than last time, and there are just 88 left now. Isn't it funny how the numbers keep working out?

In my Summer Break post I thought I might work on Down in the Garden (DitG), Jacks and Cats, and Best Friends Forever (BFF) over the summer, but I've done very little on any of them. I think I need to pack DitG away for a while, because I've totally run out of steam on it. I may still pick up Jacks this fall. BFF is on hold until Texas Star is done, and I'll probably be happy to get back to it by then. I'm embarrassed to say that I still haven't bound those Homegrown placemats, but at least the potholders are done:

I really like them, actually, they're like fun little mini quilts.

And, over the next three Fridays I have three finished flimsies to show you, starting with Collector. I was hoping to bring that up to five, but I promised myself that I would make a big push to get some things quilted this fall, so that's a higher priority. But then again, after less than a week of catching up in Blogland, I was captured by the Ad Hoc Improv Quilter's link up that Ann and Kaja are starting. I knew immediately what I wanted to make for that! And then the next day this order of Laura Gunn's Painters Canvas, for a completely different project, arrived in the mail:

It is awesome, so you can understand how I am torn between too many options.

I know it seems like I am picking up right where I left off before the summer, but the long break from blogging was actually very helpful, and I will probably do it again next year. It gave me chance to step back and gain some perspective on all my projects. I'm tired of working on ideas that are three or four years old, or more, so I'm very motivated to clear out some old UFOs this fall, and get more current with my projects. We'll see how it shakes out!


  1. The point is to have fun. I've been clearing out some older projects too. And by clearing out, I mean 'cleared out", gone! Have fun today, either with old or new! Your Texas Star is gorgeous.

  2. There does need to be a real interest in the current project or it seems like we're wasting our very valuable time.:) Your paper piecing project looks very fun but a lot of stops and starts would get in the way of that. LOVE the Texas Stars! Your are gaining ground there for sure!

  3. It's interesting to see wher the Summer experience took you. The pine cone is fantastic - I can see the attraction - and limitation. The Texas stars are stunning. I like th pot holders a lot. You have a great eye for colour and design.o

    1. Thanks so much, Jillian! There is more to come on my summer learnings - I saw several projects in a new light.

      Really, the pine cone was the best of the bunch for those camping blocks. But, I do think the whole quilt would be nice, so I may work on them now and then.

  4. I so admire you for your FPP I find it so hard though have managed one block! Certainly you have been doing lots whilst away from your blog, the stars are coming along well and good when the half way point is passed means you are on the way home now with it,

  5. "What you did" over the summer is very impressive, so don't worry about the "didn't do's". Love the fabrics for your new project. It will be interesting to see how you bring them to life.

    And, BTW, how small are the stars in each Texas Star block if there are 333 in total? That's a whole lot of star blocks!

    1. Thank you very much! Each star is about 3.25 to 3.5 inches across. The sides on the centre hexagon are 5/8." The whole quilt will be about 60" x 80", more or less, after I have appliqued the stars to a narrow white border. Hexagon math is tricky, but that's my best guess!

    2. I had no idea that those stars were that tiny. That is seriously intricate work. Very impressive.

    3. Thank you again! I would say "small" myself. There is a woman on the Paper Pieces website who made a king size quilt from 1/4" hexagons. That's intricate!

    4. Sorry, my mistake, the stars are exactly 3 3/4" across! Getting a ruler out would have been too easy...

  6. I really like the paper pieced camping project. The Aboriginal Dot green fabric works very well. AD is my all time favorite Kaffe print. Texas Stars is sure impressive. I have to agree that sewing the parts together is kind of tedious. I stalled out on my hexie project for that reason. The Painter's Canvas fabrics are luscious! Whatever you make with them will be wonderful.

    1. Thank you, Mary Ellen! And let me just add that those Painter's Canvas fabrics have already been washed in the photo, and they are just as bright as new. I have high hopes for them!


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Happy stitching!

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