Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Playing with quarter-inch hexies

Back in October I made a hoop for a swap using quarter-inch hexies.

It started as a bit of a joke, but I found they weren't as fiddly or horrid as I had kind of assumed. So when I joined the Get Your Hex on Bee I knew I wanted to introduce more people to the joys - obviously not the whole block - but just a flavour.

And if I was asking people to play with quarter-inch hexies for the first time, it was only fair to give them some tips!

I start off with pieces of fabric 1" x 1" (though this is quite generous), paper hexies, an applique needle, quilting cotton and scissors. I always use quilting cotton because it's a bit more flexible for the basting, and fine for the whip stitching. Use a matching thread throughout, because the basting stitches remain in the  hexies once you've finished.


I stopped chewing my finger nails especially for the next pictures.... unfortunately the size of the hexie makes my thumb look even fatter than it is :)

Trim the square of fabric to a hexagon shape. This doesn't need to be particularly neat but I leave a generous 1/4" all round. I know this sounds like a lot, but if you leave a very small seam allowance the basting stitches will simply pull out. When you come to remove the papers, you can trim the seam allowances then if you need to. I don't!

Wrap one side over the edge of the paper and hold in place with the thumb, then wrap the next . Catch the bottom fabric and the fold only - do not catch the paper - these little monsters are difficult enough to get out without stitching through the papers too! I do two stitches to hold the fold in place. Continue round the hexagon in the same way. Fold over the final side and stitch in place on both sides - ta-dah!


Place two hexies face to face, matching along the edge. I start with a knot to make sure it holds.

Whip stitch the two hexies together. I make 5-6 stitches along each edge being careful to catch just the smallest amount of fabric I can.

Keep doing this and you'll have a tiny hexie flower in no time at all!

If you have any questions, just let me know!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Not quite the hand sewing I had planned!

I spent this weekend with my parents and without my machine. I had Friday off work so took some hand sewing with me. I managed to finish a couple of things that I can't really show you yet - here is a sneak peek of one of them!

We went to this month's Unicorn Ceilidh on Friday night and caught up with loads of friends, then on Saturday Mum and I went shopping (new shoes and jeans), had dinner (yummy Italian) and then went to the theater - Starlight Express is possibly my favourite musical!

And today... you may or may not know that my Dad is a Morris Dancer - he has been for over 30 years - I have never known life without Morris Dancing and we had a Morris Guard of Honour at our wedding.

I've just noticed they aren't actually wearing bells in the photo!

For the first time in about 30 years, Letchworth Morris Men have decided to update their kit (if you follow the link you can see the old kit - May Day is Wednesday and they will be dancing out for the first time in their new kit - hopefully I will get some photos!). So whilst most quilters make costumes for their children, I spent today making one for my Dad. He did try himself....

...but only an engineer would try to sew with pliers (the leather was pre-punched). Very quickly Mum and I took pity on him. I stitched a new hat band and finished off the bell pads. Except we didn't have enough ribbon, so I will have to actually finish them next weekend. And I have super-human powers - all I had to do was look at the ribbon and it started to fray! Absolutely horrible stuff!
Nearly-finished Bell Pads

Pop back later this week to see my plans for May in the Get Your Hex On Bee (this month it's my turn), some tips on sewing quarter inch hexies (!) and on Saturday the next embroidery in my BOM.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

WIP Wednesday [so much temptation]

You know how as soon as you have a project you must do, you see loads of other projects you want to do?  Well, I've have been very controlled this week!

I picked up the yellow fabric for the quilt for my Dad (you can read the whys and hows right here) on Saturday and knew I had to make a good start to I had something to show Mum and Dad when I visit them this weekend. So I haven't made an Aeroplane bag. And I haven't made a case for my laptop. And I haven't made one of my bee blocks. And I haven't finished my swap item. No. I have made 6 blocks.

I've just noticed what a scruffy photo this is -
I'll try and get a better picture over the weekend!

The background fabric is Art Gallery Floral Elements in Custard and the other fabrics are all batiks. I think you should expect to see plenty more posts about this little project over the coming months. The deadline for the completed quilt is 26th June! Two months!

Of course, this isn't to say that I haven't done anything else! I made one of my bee blocks - I joined the Get you Hex On swap and April was our hive's first month.

I had a bit of a problem with the final hexagon, hence the odd gap. Hopefully our Queen can get it sorted. Your eyes aren't going funny - those hexies really are all different shapes - you can see why here!

And I have a finish this week - the blue and orange baby quilt "Stepping Stones" is finished ad I really do love it. The colour combo is perfect for a little boy. The fabrics are some of my favourites. I love the simply "straight" line quilting and the backing fabric is fantastic. One tick on my Finish Along list already!

backing fabric - very cool

Of course I shouldn't mention the Zakka Along (I got the book yesterday!) or the City Sampler quilt along (the book won't come until the beginning of June *sad face*), or the plan I have for some mini Dresdens.... so many pretty things, so little time - it's a shame we have to work really.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Stepping Stones [a finish]

Just one week after I posted my goals for Quarter 2 of the Finish Along I have my first finish!

Over Easter I pieced a quilt for a little baby boy using blues and oranges. If you've read this blog for a while, you will know that blue and orange is a colour combination I generally struggle with, but for a little baby boy it just felt right.

The biggest job in this quilt was cutting the fabric - it took just a few hours to piece, about an hour to quilt and a final hour to bind.

The fabrics are a real mixture from my stash: Pearl Bracelets, Architextures, Summersville, Art Gallery Oval Elements, Nature Elements and Floral Elements, Comma, Tilda, Cuzco, Benartex, Kona Solids, Urban Chiks, Red Rooster and a couple of fabrics whose origin is lost in the mists of piles of fabric!

The quilting is a 50wt bright orange aurifil - it's nearly the same colour thread as the plastic bobbin! I did wavy lines irregularly spaced both horizontally and vertically.

The backing is a fantastic  kids print by Jenn Ski.

The binding is Kona Orange.

If you would like to make this quilt, I have put together the basic cutting instructions - you can find them right here.

Come the end of June I will be linking this up with Leanne - here's hoping it isn't the last of the quarter's finishes!

she can quilt

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Slowly catching up [skill builder]

I;ve got a bit behind on the BOMs I'm following along with.  On the Skill Builder BOM I'd made four and quilted two - quite a way behind the four made and three quilted which there are now instructions for. So last night and this morning I started catching up with two more blocks.
Woven star

Woven Chevron

And here they are all together

I've also basted some of the baby quilts I need to finish off, so maybe there will be finishes this week. Or maybe not, because I've also picked up the yellow fabric I needed!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

WIP Wednesday [bitty week]

Since last Wednesday I posted my goals for the 2nd Quarter Finish Along - you can peruse them here - totally unrealistic and incredibly over optimistic!

But I made a good start - I've played with five of them in the last week:

Daniela's quilt is quilted - all 116" x 116". Now I need to bring myself to do the binding. I think it will be done by machine, not hand!

I played with my Double Wedding Ring Quilt - 7 blocks done. 23 to go.

I finished piecing my cushion cover for the Modern She Made Swap and order more fabric for binding (which arrived today). If my partner doesn't like it I'm fine to keep it!

I did some of the hand stitching on my Rhubarb and Custard quilt at Craft Club last night.

And tonight I mad a second star for the place mats.

Not a bad week really!

I anyone else noticing a theme in the colours I'm choosing at the moment?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!
  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 15 April 2013

Low Volume

Can you hear anything?

My Swap cushion cover is pieced! And more of that delicious pink is ordered to bind it!

Lots of my favourite fabrics in here, and if my partner doesn't like it, I'm quite happy to just keep this one!

The third star is just 3" x 3"!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Free Motion Quilting Sunday

The monster has been tamed! All 13,000 square inches have succumbed to a free motion stipple. My machine behaved herself beautifully. She had one little hiccup but that was entirely down to the fact she had been quilting for several hours and wanted some of the fluff cleaned out of her....

But you don't really want to see pictures of the inside of my machine - you want to see pictures of the quilt: eight hours and 21 bobbins of thread (I think I've used about 1500 meters). Problem is I don't have any where big enough to show it. Here it is on our spare bed - there is a bed under there - honest. What you can't see clearly in these pictures is that the quilt is hanging right down to the floor on both sides of the bed!

And one I'd finished this, and the machine was still set on FMQ mode, I decided it was about time I finished the quilting on the first two blocks from the Skill Builder BOM - I started quilting these the day I quilted the Pac Mania quilt, but my machine had simply had enough and misbehaved half way through. Today I managed to get them finished. Wiggles, lines and stipples I'm pleased with. Pebbles and bubbles need a bit more work, but I love the texture they create, so I will persevere.
Sound Wave

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Over half way...

I can quilt a 116" x 116" quilt top on my machine...

... and I am over half way through quilting it, which is just as well because I have finished up the first reel of thread...
Pretty excellent photo, if I do say so myself! Colours are close to reality
and you can see the texture from the quilting.
Back to the machine....

Friday, 12 April 2013

Finish Along: Quarter 2

I think you might all laugh at me.... but here's the plan - some things I have to finish, others that are so close to finished that it would be silly to leave them, and then things that I want to finish but which seem unlikely. So, in no particular order, here we go!

Daniela's Quilt: Fourth time lucky for this quilt. It has already been on my list last year in Q3 and Q4 and in Q1 this year. Q2 2013 is the quarter and this quilt WILL be finished. It is pieced, and basted and ready to quilt - the machine is set up and as soon as this is posted, I'm making a start - 13,000 square inches of quilting! Of course, if it doesn't fit in my machine I may have more of an issue :)

Steph's Quilt: Fourth time lucky for this one too. It's also pieced and basted and ready for quilting, and is second in the pile underneath Daniela's quilt!

Debs's Quilt: This is the quilt I introduced you to yesterday. I don't have the background fabric yet, but the whole thing needs to be finished by 28th June. Non-negotiable. 

Modern She Made Swap: the deadline for this is coming up fast and I need to decide on the layout and how I want to quilt it. But I have decided that it will be a cushion.

Anna's Place mats: Anna and Tom got married in mid March, so I really should get this set of four place mats finished.

Stepping Stones Baby Quilt: this one is pieced, and the backing and batting and binding are all bought. Just need to get it all together. 

Ellie-Jo's Quilt: this is another pieced top with backing and batting purchased, but I haven't bought the binding yet.

Bubbles Baby Quilt: There's still quite a bit of work to do on this one - I need to hem all the circles and applique, before I can even contemplate the quilting.

Strings and Things: Hexies and strings. Blue and pink. I would like to have a finished quilt top by the end of May as part of the Scrap Attack: String Fever. Wouldn't be good to finish it too?

Rhubarb and Custard: I'm so close on this one after so long... still sashing

Three Peaks: Pieced. Batting, backing and binding bought.

Neon Stained: this has been around a while too, but it is now fully basted and ready to quilt - number three in the pile, but I haven't really decided how to quilt it yet.

Hexie Table Runner: I made real progress on this in the last quarter, and it's also ready for quilting. But I'm thinking of hand quilting it, so this may have to roll over to next quarter, but I'm being positive, so here it is.

Rock and Romance: I think it's unlikely that I will finish it, but it's here because of the effect that having Steph's and Daniela's quilt on the list. If I move this quilt along, I will be happy.

Poetica Wedding Ring: I love this quilt. The colours are beautiful and I'm working on it regularly in classes at our Local Quilt Shop. I may well have a finished quilt top by the end of the quarter, it may even be quilted. But I have a feeling the binding will be a challenge.

I've just counted - that's 15 projects. In addition to these, and not eligible for the Finish Along, I also want to stay up to date on all of the BOMs I'm following along with. Wish me luck!