Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bloggers Block of the Month

Jackie, at Canton Village Quilt Works, has created a "Bloggers Block of the Month" and I decided to try to participate. (You can access Canton Village Quilt Works with the button in the right column on this blog.) My first task was to choose a set of fabrics to use. I have enough quilts that have nothing to do with colors I like or fabrics and colors I would actually use to decorate my house. So I went hunting in my stash to find 6 fabrics that might work in my house. I found this BEAUTIFUL turquoise batik - and decided I could make that work with most of my earth-toned decor. I then pulled a bunch of browns I like.

Nothing else went well with the batik - until a found a few (very few) scraps of the paisley you can see here with my other fabrics. It works OK.

I was showing my daughter when, all of sudden, I remembered my CLOTHING to-do pile. One day, shopping at Kohl's I found this . . . nostalgic. . . dress. I LOVE the colors!

I made and wore a dress just like this from 1977-1980 (it was red calico - but pretty much all else was the same). I wore it out. . threadbare: it was SO comfortable and cute. When I tried on this brown dress, well, it was a little short for a 50-something lady - and I wasn't too crazy about the spaghetti straps either. But - it was only $8, so I bought 2! One will contribute the skeleton of the dress-to-be, the other dress will contribute one more ruffle to make it longer and some extra fabric for some kind of cap sleeve.

It is also EXACTLY the 6th fabric I want to use in the
Bloggers Block of the Month!!

See ya!
I'm going to go dissect this dress!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

LIKE Quilting

My son is a 3rd year architecture student. It's a shame that they give the students so much work and so little time to complete it - because he now has no time to enjoy what he creates. I am struck how similar quilting is to architecture creations.

If he still enjoyed what he created, I would make a quilt like this.  After two dimensional creations like the black and white - they moved to abstract 3 dimensions
And then began constructing intricate models of buildings.
In artistic angst, he saved the dulled exacto blades from cutting so much balsa and cardboard and hung this sculpture above our fireplace.

Modern art.
I think


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Twisted Distractions: Tesselations

I love quilts that have patterns that repeat and are intertwined with one-another. . . like this jig-saw quilt I made for J & C (finished in 2007). It was really tricky. I had some help, and we had to make one row at a time, making sure the colors intertwined in the right way to create the jigsaw pattern.

Then I saw a tessellating pinwheel pattern by Karla Menaugh at Fancy Work that didn't take all the thinking. You can see her blog post here. You just put squares together, re-cut, twist the new pieces and you get intertwined pinwheels. She also tells where you can buy a cool ruler that assists you in doing this trick. You can see the ruler here.

Being a Math teacher - and loving Geometry especially, I was confident I could 'do the math' and create a way to cut out these tessellated pieces. I got out my graph paper, and drew a scale model of the quilt I would make - with 5 inch finished squares. Here is my sketch.

I superimposed the quilt on a Cartesian Plane, with the Origin in the center of one of the squares up in the left hand corner. I tried to find some whole-number (well, integer) coordinate pairs that would create a square - kind of on its side. Notice the calculations of the slopes of the sides of the cocked squares - and that the slopes are negative reciprocals of each other meaning they are perpendicular... Ok. Maybe everybody does not like Geometry.

So I started with these flannel squares.

At every corner of every square, I centered my template and cut an angled square. There is a small square in the center of each square that I had to remove (baby doll quilt material!) then I merely rotated these new squares and lined them up to make pinwheels.

I have completed two rows

and have the next two cut, positioned and ready to stitch,

This has been SO FUN!!! I kept THINKING it would work, but I waited to actually cut the first row at our Seams Like Sisters Quilting Bee today. My friends got to watch the magic happen right before their eyes.

I like to quilt.
I AM going to try to finish this project.....


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Green Hexagons DONE

I completed the Green Hexagons necessary to connect all the flowers!!!
Here are the solid sides

and here are the prints.

My artistic advisors (daughter and possibly my son) will help me choose where to place these on the quilt, and I will soon finish. YESSSSSS!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Decisions. Deccisions.

The fun began when I tried to decide how to arrange all the padded hexagons. The random approach was not pleasing to me, so I actually un-sewed about 20 of the hexagons. I decided to sew them into 7 piece flowers and then started laying them on the floor.

I placed black hexagons periodically amongst the prints, with the solid side up. I was hoping it would separate the cacophony of color and print. The back side of the quilt is going to look good, because there is some cohesion. I thought about this plan. I decided it was NOT going to work. there is just too much print on the front of this quilt.

I arranged the flowers in color-coordinated rows and used black to separate the rows.
(Sorry the picture is so dark)

I decided to abandon the black blocks but keep the flowers in color-coordinated rows. I came up with this layout.

But I couldn't figure out what to use to join the rows. Finally I took apart the green flowers (where are the green flowers in real life, anyway?) and plan to use them to join the rows. I am not willing to make enough greens to completely surround each flower but thought this vertical color rows might work with a few greens to separate the rows.

I also sketched this quilt about three times, and, in the end, the sewing happened differently than any sketch!! Here is the current progress on this quilt: The front on the left, and the back on the right. There will be three or four more rows.

I am currently creating a few more green hexagons to fill in the holes and to smooth the edges.

On the back I have bright pink paper tags with numbers. That helps me know where to attach the next rows of flowers. The front is interestingly busy. The back, well, is simpler. I'm excited to get near the end of this project.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flowers from Scraps

Reminiscent of Grandmother's Flower Garden, the traditional hexagon quilt, I decided to group these hundreds of padded hexagons into flowers to make some kind of orderly sense out of every fabric you can imagine.

I mentioned that all (most of) the backs of the hexagons are a tone-on-tone or solid-like fabric. So I grouped the hexagons into sets of seven to make flowers. I arrange the prints in a satisfying arrangement and then turn them over to the backs to make sure the back looks good too (and tried to avoid two pieces of the same fabric being right next to each other).

With the English Paper Piecing hexagons, I just used a whip stitch to put them together. I tried that with these. I did not like the look of the whip stitch - as it will be exposed on the back of the quilt. So I chose to use a hidden hem stitch much like what I use when I stitched the frame around the hexagon. This is the same stitch I use when I hand bind a quilt. I go through the fold of the top hexagon and out about a scant 1.4" later, grabbing a couple threads from the lower hexagon. Then stitch into the fold of the top hexagon right where the needle came out of the bottom hexagon. That way just a little, tiny stitch shows Maybe you can see it in this picture:
Cathy H

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pad a Hexagon

I inherited quite a few unfinished projects from my Mom. The padded hexagons provide great handwork that I can take with me just about anywhere. She had completed over 300 of the individual hexies. At Bee yesterday, someone said they would be cute as coasters. I'd have Christmas gifts made for this year already. More than 300 Christmas gifts!!! Mom always intended them to be put together into a small lap quilt, so that is how I am headed.

Mom made all her padded hexagons with a tone-on-tone/solid effect on the back (and thus the frame) and then some coordinating print on the front. Here is a picture of the size for each. (Large hexagon has 3" sides, small hexagon has 2" sides) I teach High School Math - and LOVE geometry, so I could have created these hexagons with just a ruler and a compass. But I already had hundreds of them cut and sewn - so I just used one of those as the pattern.

After you cut a large background/frame hexagon, a smaller print hexagon and a small hexagon out of batting, you place the background fabric face down, center the batting and then put the print on top of the batting.

Then you start to prepare the frame so you can sew it. Fold the background fabric so its edges meet the small hexagon's edges, then fold it once more so it overlaps onto the print about 1/4 inch. I pin each side as I make those two folds, folding one side, rotate, fold the adjacent side (move around counterclockwise) until all six sides are pinned.

Next I begin to use a hidden hem stitch, well maybe you would call it an applique stitch, to secure the frame all the way around. I keep my stitches so they are about 1/4 inch from each other, being sure to stitch at each corner to make it stay and look sharp.

Then you make hundreds of these. I have made a couple dozen of them so that I have the correct selection of colors for the layout I finally chose. They go together quickly, they are extremely portable, and they give you finished results in a short period of time (if you like coasters!).

How to put the individual hexagons together into flowers - next time!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Padded Hexagons

I have this amazing collection of Padded Hexagons. My Mom started this project sometime before 2005. I am attempting to complete the project.

I think the idea was for it to be totally scrappy. . . random colors all over the place. Mom had even begun to sew the Hexies together however they came out of her box.
My life had enough disorder - so I started sewing them together into 7-hex flowers of similar colors.

I'll tell about the size, process, and show the ideas for layout next time.

Good night!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Now. To Begin.

All my life I wanted to be a quilter. Along the way I have, actually, created many quilts. Most I have given away. Many are created but not completed. Some are quilts started by my Mother, my Mother-in-law and other people in my life. Oh. And the blocks-of-the month that are just that - blocks. And clothing. I like to sew clothes....

And did I mention I have a formidable collection of fabric? People give me fabric. Some I have collected myself. A lot of it my Mom collected. I even have a good selection of fabric from my Grandmother.

So. Today. I begin this blog:

1) To tell the stories of the completed quilts
2) To chronicle the completion of quilts and other projects
3) To demonstrate methods and plans I've used (and hope to use)
4) To inspire others to quilt and sew
5) To record the depletion of the fabric stash
6) To tell of my ideas/dreams for the massive quantities of fabric

My long term goal: to use up the fabric. And here is a small taste of the task before me:

Just a couple of the boxes that are out of the closet for piecing Christmas Bee blocks.

Here you can see the "scrap" side of my closet. I've tried to keep my scraps in boxes according to their colors. Oh. And yarn. Did I mention there are knitting projects that I've started?...

Boxes of yardage and old quilt pieces...

And, finally, for today, a glimpse of one of the 3 bookcases with projects, equipment, and fabric.

I love to look at the colors and patterns.
I love to think about what to do next.
I love to linger in the sewing room.

I have to go do some work now.