Friday, September 19, 2014

Quickie Haxie

I told a little unintentional fib in yesterday's post.  This hexie block took 1 hour and 15 minutes.

There are many opinions about how to make these blocks so here is my way:

The Honey Flow quilt is made using 1 1/2" hexie papers.  This means that one side of the hexie is 1 1/2".  If your local quilt store doesn't have them you can order from Paper Pieces.  You will need 413 papers for The Honey Flow so order the 600 piece package. 

  • Cut 7 fabric squares 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" for each block
  • Just a small swipe of a glue stick in the center of each paper will keep the fabric in place.  I like the Bohin temporary glue stick available at quilt stores and even some WalMart stores.  This product holds the paper and fabric together until it's time to remove the papers and doesn't leave any residue.

  • Fold the fabric snugly across 1 side of the hexie paper and then fold the next side.
  • With regular sewing thread take 2 small stitches, one over the other near the corner.
  • No need to sew through the paper.  Just catch all layers of the fabric. You're going to love this when all the hexies are sewn together - no unpicking.
  • Continue folding and sewing at each point of the hexie. Repeat for all 7 hexies.
  •  Place the center hexie and 1 outside hexie right sides together, matching the corner points.
  •  With the same sewing thread that you used to baste the corners, sew the edge while you  hold the 2 pieces tightly together with a knot at beginning and ending of the seam.  You will be stitching a very small whip stitch over the edges. By pinching the pieces together you will be able to catch the edge of the fabric.  Don't sew through the papers.  
  • I used a neutral thread for all my hexie blocks.
  • Take small stitches close together.
  • Here are the center and first outside piece sewn together.  
  • Repeat with each outside hexie, sewing only to the center piece.
  • Above you see the last outside hexie ready to be sewn to the center.
  • When all the pieces are attached to the center, pinch the outside hexies together and stitch using the same method.
  • Press from the wrong side to get the seams flat.  I will have The Honey Flow machine quilted so I'm not worried about extra bulk on the back and the extra fabric doesn't bother me.  But, if you are fussy, feel free to trim it.
  • I used a bit of spray starch on the right side and pressed again.
  • Don't remove the basting stitches, they stay forever.
  • Don't remove the papers until after all the blocks are sewn to each other.
Go ahead, get started on these blocks and I promise to get the pattern written up soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Honey Flow

If you've been wondering why there haven't been any progress photos of Enchantment, it's because I took a little break to finish another project which I named "The Honey Flow".  For beekeepers "the honey flow" is that perfect time in spring when everything comes into bloom, bursting with nectar and pollen for the bees to gather. I apologize for this photo, it was taken with my phone just before rushing out the door to have it quilted.  It is much prettier in person.

I've never felt that yearning that some profess to make a quilt completely by hand.  When I cut the final thread I realized that is exactly what I did as each Grandmother's Flower Garden block and all the applique were stitched by hand.

I have a box of scraps and when everyone was making hexie quilts a few years ago I had to jump on that band wagon, thinking it would use up all the scraps.  Guess what?  I still have that box full and just sent it to my friend Alisa's house to stay for a few weeks so she can use them. It's OK to share, they never go away.

Anyway.......back to hexies.  The Honey Flow is made using 1 1/2" hexie papers which is the measurement of one side of the hexie.  Each block is almost 8" across.  When all the hexie flowers were sewn together it demanded to be joined by an applique border with birds, bees, flowers, butterflies and bunnies.

We will be traveling to Oklahoma for a wood carving class but when we return I will get working on writing up The Honey Flow pattern. Just think how much fun it would be to have The Honey Flow ready by spring when all the flowers are in bloom and the bees are buzzing.  No need to wait for the pattern to start your hexie blocks, just get out some scraps and get going.

Check back tomorrow for a tutorial on making a hexie block in just over an hour.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jewelry Trunk Show and Give Away

My sister, Paula is excited about a new line of jewelry called Lulu Avenue and asked if I would introduce it to my blog readers.  I looked through the online catalog and there are some lovely pieces for just about every taste.  Click HERE to see what's available.

Just a few things to remember while you are shopping:
  1. It's never too early to start Christmas shopping (yikes!!)
  2. When you order your name will be entered into a drawing for a free Bee Balm and Heel Thyself from In Your Bonnet, the best products to heal and restore your skin at summer's end.
  3. This trunk show and give away ends Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Time Management - or the lack thereof

Do you ever become paralyzed wondering what to work on next?  That's my story today.  I need to order threads, wool and notions for 2 upcoming classes,  Enchantment is calling my name as it has been ignored for a few days, my first month's BOM from Material Obsession arrived yesterday, my hexie quilt has a deadline, and I have a new exciting project underway for you.  Did I mention that we will be leaving town for another 2 weeks and the day after we return the studio will be started in the back yard?

~Deep breath~

I hate to say how long ago I started this hexie quilt - let's just say more than a year.  Everyone seemed to be on the hexie craze and not wanting to be left out I ordered a bag of hexie papers.  They are not the tiny ones, each finished "flower" is about 8".  This pic is really just a teaser, I'm almost finished with applique borders and I love it.  It has a date with my amazing machine quilter and she promised it will be done when I return from my trip.  The border has bees, butterflies, bunnies, flowers, leaves and birds connected by a pretty vine and leaves.  It is called The Honey Flow and the pattern will be ready soon.  

Do you have blogging friends?  You know, those people you meet online, never in person, but you feel like you know them?  One of my blog friends is Bev, owner of 44th Street Fabric.  Bev is busy with a "real" job and her online fabric shop.  She has dogs, kids, quilts, just like the rest of us.  Check out her blog and meet a new friend.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Carving in Wood

About 20 years ago my husband took his first wood carving class.  He was instantly hooked on it and has taken many classes to improve his abilities.  He has become a talented teacher and offers weekly classes here at home in addition to offering classes for various groups.

In July he came up with an idea for the slogan, "Don't Drink & Drive", only in his world the drivers are 2 railroad men driving spikes into a new rail line.  I watched for many hours as he first sculpted each caricature in clay and then carefully made a pattern to begin carving from wood.

As you can see, the poor guy on his hands and knees has a bandage on his head and thumb due to his friend's poor aim.  The entire scene is carved from wood including the rails and all the little rocks.  When completed, he entered it in the Caricature Carvers of America's national competition and won Best of Show.

The trophy includes a hand-carved caricature holding a giant-sized blue ribbon.  I am so excited for him and just wanted to share that not only is he a great quilt holder, wool dying helper, pattern folder and all-around  good guy, he is a talented artist as well!

Friday, September 5, 2014

First Bird Finished




The Enchantment project is about 50" wide x 60" long which makes it a bit of a challenge to hold a piece this large while embellishing.  Since the edges are sometimes wadded up in my hand as I work, I decided to begin embellishing in the center and work out towards the edges.  

Here is my first bird and I'm quite pleased with it.  I began by stitching 2 Bullion Knot legs and a Woven Picot beak with Painter's pearl cotton #8, color Van Gogh.

The neck ring is 3 Bullion Stitches in Silken Pearl #5, Phoenix Rising.  I overwrapped the bullions giving them a bit of a curve and held them in place with Pistil Stitches in Painter's pearl cotton #8, color Grandma Moses.

Using these 2 colors again, Fly Stitches travel down his breast with a Lazy Daisy (detached chain) in the center.  On the small fly stitches I added a French Knot instead of the Lazy Daisy.  

The bird's body is outlined in Back Stitch using Sea Grass, color In The Reds.  The wing is a cotton batik which I left without embellishment, leaving a place for machine quilting.  

Some quilters are afraid to quilt on top of the applique but I think the quilting really finishes off the design in both wool and cotton.  The layers of wool will "puff up" once the background is quilted but quilting on the applique will reduce the puffiness while leaving the texture and dimension.  I've been told by some quilty friends that their machine quilter says the piece must be quilted before you embellish.  To this I say, "find a new quilter".

Next, I added Fly Stitch using Painter's Ribbon Floss Shimmer, color Kandinsky.  I typically thread my needle with a 1 yard cut of thread (yes, I know that breaks the rules) but only used 18" at a time as this thread seemed a bit fragile.

The tail feathers were then outlined in Back Stitch with In The Reds Sea Grass.

Three Drizzle Stitches in varying lengths adorn his head using Painter's Pearl Cotton #3, color Grandma Moses.

The eye is 1 gold seed bead surrounded by 5 black seed beads stitched in place with regular cotton thread.  I secured each bead individually with 2 stitches.

We are still up in the mountains and today it is overcast with rain showers.  My husband just started a fire in our stove so I think it is a perfect time to start on some leaves.

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