Showing posts with label Hexagons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hexagons. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


It's over two weeks since my last post, so I think I will do a general update today. A little of everything -- embroidery, hand piecing, machine piecing, quilting, and binding!

As many of you know, I badly wrecked my back last fall. Now, it's healed very well, and I would say it is better than it's been in years. But a strange by-product has been that hand stitching is clearly bad for my back -- somehow I sit and tense in very awkward ways when I hand stitch. So I can't do it. An unfortunate casualty of this new situation has been my guild challenge quilt, that I started in September. You can see the challenge fabrics here. It was due yesterday, so I think it is now safe to show you what I was doing before my back went out:

I started by embellishing the large scale print with hand embroidery. Stem stitch around the petals, pistil stitch in shaded tones around the centre, and I have some silver lined, forest green glass beads for the centre.

Here is another one:

My plan was to make six "vignettes" like this from the one fat quarter. Four are mostly done.

Then I also started fussy cutting the smaller white print... make hexagon rosettes:

The small ones on the right are the finished size. Half inch (12 mm) hexagons! I wanted 20 rosettes in total.

What's the plan? A half-scale version of the first two rounds of Brinton Hall:

Last fall I was going flat out with my full scale version of this quilt. I already knew the pattern well, so I thought it would be doable in the allotted time. It will be awesome, I thought, to have both the big and little versions together in the show! Well, as I said in December, "Woman plans, God laughs."

Nevertheless, eventually I AM going to figure out a better ergonomic approach to hand stitching, so this is all packed away until then.

And my machine sewing projects are really coming together. The centre of Allietare is down to four pieces:

This is my "quadrants" strategy for a diagonal-set quilt. No seam is longer than 5 blocks. I plan to fussy cut the borders, so there is still a way to go.

Then those muscles were getting sore, so I decided it was time to finish quilting the border on Hen Party:

You can still see the shadows of the previous straight line quilting that puckered so badly. It took me weeks to unpick it, months of dithering, and one day to quilt it again! I like this fat, free form stipple a lot better. And, I think I've finally got the hand/eye/foot coordination figured out for free motion quilting. No stitch regulator here!

In my stash I had a striped fabric that I knew would be perfect for the binding. It ties together all the main colours of the quilt:

Imagine my dismay when I pulled the piece out of the box, and it fell apart! I thought I had yardage, but in fact I had three fat quarters left over from kits. But nothing else works as well, so I'm piecing it all together. This binding will be machine sewn.

The binding on my Cardinal Stars quilt, however, is still only half done:

This was about one quarter sewn when I wrecked my back, and there is no way to switch to machine stitching it now. Long sessions with it have proven too painful. Now I'm thinking that maybe if I set myself to do no more than two threads a day, I will eventually get it done.

In any case, Allietare is going well, Hen Party is finally going well, other projects to be updated separately are all going well, so it's not like this focus on machine sewing is a big sacrifice. My tentative plan for my summer break is to put new effort into figuring out machine applique, both raw edge and turned. But for now, I have plenty to do.  :D

Sunday, September 25, 2016

And Some Dots

It's been two weeks, and I just have a little hand sewing to share today for Slow Sunday Stitching. The day after my last post, I was smoothing out my Gwennie Medallion basket block on the bed for this photo...

...and my back cracked and folded. Two days in bed, two days mostly in bed, but the good news is that I heal well, and the x-rays are clear.

I have not been back on the sewing machine since, but it has given me time to re-think that wavy border. I unpicked it a few days ago. Today, with luck, I will straighten out the sides, re-attach it, and move on to the first border. With luck, I will be appliqueing more olives by the end of the day!

While I was recovering, I did manage a little EPP for Leigh Latimore's Brinton Hall. When you really can't think at all, EPP is the perfect activity! I need 20 rosettes for the first border, and I ran out of plaids. Rather than repeating fabrics, I thought some dots would work:

So that will brighten things up!

I have one more suitable dotty fabric, this blue. Then I think I will have to repeat one of the plaids, probably the bright yellow from the last post.

I am still not 100% decided on the background and floater fabrics, or even on the design. The original Anna Brereton quilt, which inspired Latimore's design, has octagons, and I happen to have suitable octagons in my EPP stash. I've sewn up a few, but the way is still not clear.

But, I have to shelve that for now, because if I have any chance at all of meeting the October 1 deadline for the Gwennie medallion, I have to get back on that horse!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fun with Plaid

Now that the centre of my version of Brinton Hall is done (see here), it is time to start work on the first border. Leigh Latimore's design calls for 20 squares of dark beige backgrounds, 8 appliqued with hexagon rosettes, and 12 with eight-pointed stars.

Although the pattern does not say so, I could see in the photos that some of those hexagon rosettes were fussy cut. That seemed like a good plan to me too!

But, the Kaffe Collective fabrics that I used in the centre tend to have a long repeat, and I didn't want to make small holes here and there in otherwise good yardage.

I needed a fabric with a short repeat, and I thought of these printed plaids. They are the Mix It Up collection from Connecting Threads last year, and I bought quite a few! I love plaid.

The centres, though, are Kaffe's Zinnia design, which I had for something else but then didn't like. But, it is perfect for this! I cut 8 hexagon centres for the hexagon rosettes, and 12 circles for the centres of the star blocks.

As I played around with the plaids, I realized that I could cut some of them to make an interior star. It is subtle in this olive green plaid...

...but I hoped it would be clearer in this red. And, I thought I should take some photos to show how I do it.

I have a homemade cutting template that includes a 3/8" seam allowance. It is important to do the exact same thing 6 times in a row, so make sure you have enough time to do it all at once.

Then something felt wrong when I started basting the fabric to the papers.

Oh no! They don't make stars at all! They go in a straight line!

Why? Because I distracted myself by taking photos, that's why. Pride before a fall...

Fortunately, the seam allowance is so large that I can just turn the paper the way it's supposed to be and baste again.

Here it is fixed. You can see that I still baste with the thread entirely on the back of the paper. I leave the thread in, and just pull out the paper once it is stitched all around. The thread is ancient gritty polyester thread, and it holds really well.

This fabric looked so good that I used it twice.

In fact, I'm loving all these plaids. Even the grey!

And these are the stripes from the same collection. This is the rosette I was starting last Sunday.

I know I have more of these plaids somewhere in my stash. So, I've decided to skip the eight-pointed star blocks completely, and make 20 of these hexagon rosettes instead.

I could even re-purpose the circles I cut for the stars, and baste them to hexagons too!

Here are the first nine rosettes:

Cute, eh? Three more are cut and basted, and then I will have to start digging through the boxes in the basement.

It will still take me a while to finish the rosettes and do all the applique. But, this is the end of the handwork for the quilt, because I'm changing the last border too.

In the meantime, though, please check out all the other hand stitching happening for Slow Sunday Stitching right here at Kathy's Quilts. Happy stitching!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Brinton Hall Medallions

I am looking forward to catching up with the Slow Sunday Stitching crowd today! Last time, in June, I had made a start on Brinton Hall, a pattern by Leigh Latimore which was published in Quiltmania 107 & 108. It's been my main project this summer -- easy, lightweight stitching, perfect for the heat. The hexagon centre is all done! I have several photos. :D

The feature fabrics in the medallions are all Kaffe Collective. Well, a couple are so old they are really just Kaffe. Four of the border fabrics, the citron, purple, coral and blue, are blenders from different Tamara Kate collections for Michael Miller. I mention this specifically because they are a perfect match to the Kaffe Collective fabrics! I could not believe it. They must be the same dyes, and the weight of the fabric is perfect too. I bought them for Down in the Garden, but I think a good portion will be going in this quilt.

The dark beige "path" hexagons are leftover backing fabric from Hen Party. The fabric is much heavier, but, with the English paper piecing it went together fine. I hoped that the dark beige would make the bright colours glow, and it does!

The temptation when fussy cutting those large feature fabrics in each medallion was to put one big flower or leaf in the middle. But I found it was more interesting to have both foreground and background visible in each medallion. It seems to give a lot more depth.

The random hexagons that fill in the corners ended up with an overall impression of "red," even though there are not a lot of red fabrics in there. That was pure accident, but I'm very happy with it!

You can see that I was able to fussy cut a few of those corner hexagons, but the rest were make-do. All the Kaffe fabrics in the corners are small pieces from the scrap bin.

In fact, I was so happy with that motley red effect in the corners, that I started to think about a change in direction for the rest of the quilt. I was going to ask you all for some feedback, but yesterday I came to my senses. I will stick with my plan! Even still, I am deviating from Latimore's design, but I'll talk more about that later.

For now, here's the whole hexagon centre:

The next step is to applique it onto a solid medium blue background (Kona Blue Jay). But for today's slow stitching I am making hexagon rosettes for the first border:

Another surprising match from my stash! But much more on that next time.

Now, don't forget to check out the rest of the Slow Sunday Stitchers in the link up right here. Happy stitching!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Oops - Brinton Hall!

About a year ago several quilters in blogland made a start on Brinton Hall by Leigh Latimore, a contemporary adaptation of a historical British quilt. I left comments all over the place that more or less said, "I love this, but I will just admire yours. I have too many EPP projects already!"

A couple of years ago I stopped buying new magazines, just to reduce the temptation of starting new projects. But this spring I felt I could afford to look around a bit. I bought Quiltmania 110, mainly because I was interested to see the finale of Colmar, the mystery quilt by La Fée Pirouette:

I have been following the work of Nathalie Méance and La Fée for a while -- my L'Herbier is stalled but not forgotten -- and I was so impressed with Colmar. It is a very interesting combination of embroidery, applique, trapunto and quilting. I wanted to know how she did it, so I splurged and bought the whole series. You know, as a reference for my own future work.

Part of that series included Quiltmania issues 107 and 108...

...which include the complete set of instructions for Brinton Hall:

Oh nooo! Worse still, the description in the magazine calls it "an extraordinary combination of reproduction fabrics and the lavish prints of Kaffe Fassett." [italics mine]

  • Lavish prints by Kaffe Fassett? Check.
  • Large range of beigey backgrounds? Check.
  • Solid teal background fabric? Well, I have some blue that will be nice there.
  • 1" hexagon papers? Yes, I even have those.
So, I can make the whole 92" quilt from stash. I made this medallion first...

...and that worked pretty well. Now there are three:

The sun washes them out in this photo -- they are really saturated and intense. I am interested to see how the dark beige background will work with them. The background will be leftover strips of backing from my scrap box:

And I also pulled out every scrap of Kaffe Collective fabric that was in there, ironed it, and made hexies:

It's time consuming, but it feels like a worthy project for all these rare and discontinued fabrics.

So, that's been my big distraction for June! My sewing table is loaded down with projects, and I'm hoping I can clear it off long enough to work on the second round of my Gwennie medallion. To be accurate, it will be my second attempt at the second round of the Gwennie medallion. The song and dance continues...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hand Stitching Round Up

It's been a couple of months already since I shared my hand stitching projects, so I thought I'd catch you all up.

I now have three of the Little Wooly Baskets blocks finished:

These blocks have proven to be a big hit! My first photo of the one on the left with the little red berries was pinned on Pinterest well over 30 times, last I checked. But you know ladies, I have to say, that photo was not the finished block! My white basting threads were sticking out all over it. Now it's finished:

Pin away! I'm always honoured when people pin my photos. The block's designer, Dawn Heese, also has a Pinterest board for this project, which is full of good ideas. That's where I got the idea to transform the berries into little flowers with radiating straight stitches in perle cotton. And then I had my own idea to stitch down the leaves with fly stitches, almost like couching. I love that added texture!

There is just a little perle cotton in this one, which is actually Block 1 of the series:

In my first Little Wooly Baskets post, I went to a lot of trouble to come up with 24 unique background fabrics for the project. But actually, I was right the first time, and there are only 12 blocks in the series! Somehow I must have multiplied "12" and "2 per month," and come to the wrong conclusion! The first ten have now been released, so I have some catching up to do.

The second project that needs an update is Vintage Blooms, the free stitchery series from Sentimental Stitches. With these two blocks, I've now finished four of the 20 that will be released.

The satin stitch centres were padded with an underlayer of chain stitch, which gives them that great height.

These are easy to stitch, The real challenge will be to give them more depth and drama with the quilting.

And third, there is another stitchery finished for Best Friends Forever:

After I posted the last BFF block in April, I looked back over all my previous posts on the project, and I had to laugh. Almost all them include a complaint about how hard it is to photograph! Well, it IS hard to photograph, but I will try to stop mentioning it. After today...

The BFF EPP (lol) setting has also been getting some attention:

You can see that I haven't started filling the background yet. Each flower will be surrounded with 24 scrappy light yellow/green/blue kite shapes, the same size as the dark green "leaves:"

That will turn them into big hexagons. With 31 flowers planned, and 24 background pieces each, this will keep me busy for quite a while yet.

So, for Slow Sunday Stitching today, I am spoiled for choice! What I should sew is this binding:

But it's hard to look at Christmas fabric in June, so maybe not!

Anyway, I have a couple more posts planned before I break for the summer, but this is probably my last Slow Sunday Stitching link up until September. Have a great summer everyone, if it's summer where you are. And happy stitching, in every case!
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