Hexagon Quilt Layout

I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to lay out the blocks in my new hexagon quilt. I’m going to use variations of grey Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics for the background triangles.

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There are a couple of these fabrics that I’m not sure about. I’m going to have to cut triangles and get them on the design wall with the bright colored blocks to make the decision.

The photo below shows how the blocks will be laid out. The grey triangles will make subtle star patterns throughout the quilt. I had to draw it all out to make sure that it would work in reality the way it worked in my head.

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The whole thing will have to be laid out on the design wall, and then I’ll sew the triangles to the blocks in diagonal rows and then sew the rows together.

I also just made the decision to order six yards of the tangerine Paisley Jungle for the backing. It makes me so incredibly happy!

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That fabric just  gives me chills it’s so good!

Going to head to the sewing room right now and see if I can sew eight blocks before I have to go to bed.

 

Hexagon Quilt Progresses

I’m making really good progress on my new hexagon quilt. I have 14 blocks completed, with eight more ready to sew together. The ones in this photo that are positioned directly next to other blocks are the ones that are completed. It’s a lot of fun to play with the arrangement and see how groups of blocks look together.

IMG_1182I’m really happy that these blocks are going together much better than I anticipated. Two edges of each of the triangles that make up the hexagons are cut on the bias, so you have to be really careful to not misshape them and make them all wonky. I’m being really careful to press my seams so that each triangle will nest with the one next to it, and I’m pinning sewing carefully to get a good 1/4 inch seam allowance. I know that if each block is nice and flat and accurate, the whole quilt will go together more easily.

I’m also being very careful when sewing my strip sets that the triangles are cut from. I learned a trick to use a metal straight edge when pressing the strip sets to make sure you have them absolutely straight when you press them. Again, this accuracy will help insure that the entire quilt will go together more easily.

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Out of each strip set you get triangles to make two blocks where the fabrics are the same but the blocks look completely different. Look at the blocks below. They each have the same three fabrics, but one has the red on the outside, and the other one has the red on this inside. The fabric in the middle row of each block is the same. It’s amazing to me how different these two blocks look.

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Unfortunately, one strip set doesn’t yield enough triangles for two full blocks, so I have to do another set out of half width-of-fabric pieces.

I’ve really been having fun putting fabric combinations together for each block. I mean, look at these things!!! (these photos are of blocks from the same strip set so you can see how different they look even though they’re made from the same three fabrics.)

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I’m thinking this quilt will be five blocks by six blocks, so a total of 30. I have 14 all done, eight more cut and ready to sew. So I’ll need to make eight more blocks, and then I can start playing with the blocks on the design wall.

Can I Paint?

I have a board on Pinterest called “Can I Paint?” It’s where I keep all kinds of things I think I SHOULD be able to paint, or that I’d really like to be able to paint.

I don’t have much talent for painting. But I’ve always wanted to do some watercolors. I’ve finally dipped my brush in the water.

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A few weeks ago, some friends and I had our “Second Thanksgiving,” something we do every year, typically between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We do a full thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, and combine it with some kind of crafty activity, and a nice field run for the dogs after dinner.

This time we tried watercolors. We ordered some kits online that were complete with paint, paper and instructions for a painting. My kit was a landscape.

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It was pretty simple and it wasn’t bad for my first time out. I did learn a few things. I learned that this is NOT my color palette.  I learned that it’s really hard to control where watercolors go on the page. They just sort of want to go all over the place! I learned that less is more.

But what this did do for me was to solidify my desire to try some more painting. So I’ve been looking at watercolor instructions and tutorials on the internet, and I felt confident enough to strike out. So I went online a few nights ago and bought some paints.

The next day I realized that I didn’t have any watercolor paper. But I do have a LOT of blank note cars just begging for watercolor.

The paints arrived today, so after I got my chores done tonight I pulled them out and dug in. I wanted to paint something simple… something that I could do several of to help me build some skills. So I decided to paint a radish.

This is my second radish, painted on a note card.

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Not bad for someone who has never painted a radish with watercolor until tonight!

Here’s my first radish:

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And the first and second radishes side by side for comparison. I definitely did a better job on radish number two. I know which one I’d rather eat!

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I’ve already ordered some watercolor paper. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head for my next attempt. I can’t wait to get some fun color on the page!

Thinking About My Next Quilt

I took a few minutes this afternoon and pulled some of my Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics for a quilt I’ve been wanting to make.

I have two unfinished quilts on my design wall so, of course, it’s time to start thinking about the next one.

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I saw a quilt posted on the Kaffe Fassett Collective Facebook page almost a year ago that was based on Brandon Mabley’s My Fair Lady pattern from the Kaffe Quilts Again book, but the fabrics had been changed. I’ve wanted to make this ever since.

The quilt in the book is made from rusts and tans, with pale turquoise colors. It’s very muted and understated, compared to a lot of Kaffe Fassett quilts.

The colors make up the hexagons, and the neutrals will make up the joining triangles.

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The photo above is from Kaffe Quilts Again and is the pattern for the quilt I saw on the Kaffe Fassett Facebook that inspired me to make this quilt. The photo below was made by Denise Blake and I loved it the minute I saw it.

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To make the quilt, you make strip sets and then cut those into equilateral triangles. Then sew six triangles back together into a hexagon.

 

 

Then you sew a different and neutral triangle onto two ends of the hexagon, which makes a parallelogram, if I remember my limited education in geometry. Hmmm. Maybe it’s a diamond.

This makes it possible to sew the blocks together in rows, and means no Y seams! Yay for no Y seams!

And then there’s all kinds of triangles to even out the edges of the quilt.

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I’m going to make this a nice throw size. I’m tired of making huge quilts and need something quick.

I have to take my Bernina in for servicing. I found a place not far from me with a certified Bernina service person, and they said it would only take a week or so!

First Time’s a Charm – Coiled Rope and Fabric Basket

I’ve wanted to make one of these coiled rope bowls for some time now, so I figured this cold winter weekend was the time to start.

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We were supposed to wake up to several inches of snow yesterday, so I was ready to hunker down in the house for the weekend. I woke up to only a dusting of snow, so I decided to hit the stores and get the rope I needed for this project. I tried a couple of different craft stores, and no luck. I ended up at Home Depot and purchased 200 feet of polyester 3.8 inch clothesline rope. I was worried the polyester would make it difficult to sew, but it didn’t.

I started out this morning by digging into my stash, and went to my pre-cuts bin. I had batik fat quarters in bright colors, and decided to use them. I’m glad I went with larger pieced rather than scraps, because this took about 1.5 yards of fabric total.

I cut the fabric into one-inch strips, and decided what order I wanted them in the bowl.

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I decided to put the darkest fabrics on the bottom of the bowl, thinking it would hide dirt better. Then I went to the lighter greens, then into the oranges and pinks. I added the purple later when the bowl ended up too small with what I had cut.

I had watched several different video tutorials on making these bowls, so I felt pretty confident to just dig in. I started by wrapping the fabric around the end of the rope, then spiraled it down the length of the rope. then I coiled it pretty tight, and started sewing.

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I set the zig zag stitch as wide as I could make it, and started sewing from the center, turning the coiled rope as I went.

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Once I got the very center stitched into place, I continued to wrap fabric around the rope, and zig zag it onto the coiled piece.

I had set my zig zag stitch length too short at the beginning, and I was not happy with how much the thread showed. So after a few rows, I lengthened the stitch, and it looked much better as the thread was hidden a little more on the dark fabrics. Once I got into the colorful fabrics, the thread blended in really well.

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You can clearly see in this photo where I lengthened the stitch. The center is really showing all the stitches. It looked much better once I lengthened the stitch.

After the flat piece got to the size I wanted, I started to tip the flat piece as I sewed to start making the sides go up.

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The hardest part about making this was wrapping the fabric around the rope and joining the fabric pieces together. It took me a few rounds to get it figured out, but once I got it, it was smooth sailing.

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I wanted the wraps to be as smooth as possible, and I wanted to minimize overlap so that I could use less fabric. I used my fabric clips liberally… using one on top of each fabric join so that i would hold in place until I got it stitched into place. I would wrap several pieces of fabric around the rope, with each join clipped, so that I could sew more once I sat down at the machine. The sewing went really fast. The wrapping is what took time, so I wanted to be as efficient as possible and take fewer breaks to wrap.

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The clip above is holding the piece secure where the second piece of fabric was wrapped around the end of the previous piece.

Then I just continued to wrap and sew, wrap and sew, maintaining the slant of the side of the bowl.

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Until it was all done.

I’m really happy with how this turned out! I love all the bright colors, and I like the shape… even though it wasn’t quite what I was going for. It will take some time to figure out how to manage the slant!

But I will definitely make more of these!

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Jewel Frames Quilt — All Blocks Done

Over the last two evenings I’ve finished the last 49 blocks for my jewel frames quilt, and I can’t wait to see this all put together.

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The fabric that these blocks are sitting on is the Black Shaggy that I used for the cornerstones in the sashing, and will be the border of this quilt as well. It is so gorgeous! I can’t wait to see it all put together.

I’m thinking I want to buy a new bed along with a new mattress and box springs. I might wait to finish the quilt until I get that done so I can fit it to the mattress and new bed.

New Kaffe Fassett Colllective fabrics will be released in the next couple of months. There is a new color way of the Brassica that is the most amazing thing! I’m going to have to base a quilt on this fabric!

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Jewel Frames Quilt – 40 down

I have really gotten a lot done on this quilt during my four-day weekend. And what a great way to spend a weekend!

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I haven’t arranged the blocks yet. I just put them on the design wall as I finished them because I wanted to see how they looked.

I have about half of the blocks done, and my design wall is full. I’m not really sure yet how big I’m going to make this, but I want it to be generous on my queen bed. I have 89 blocks, which is an odd number and doesn’t add up to a quilt top. But 90 blocks would make a generous quilt once I add the borders.

The pattern instructions said to do one long sashing with cornerstones made from the same jade millefiore fabric, and to sew it to the blocks on one long seam. the purpose of the cornerstones is to help line up each row of blocks.

I figured that if I was going through the effort to make cornerstones, that I should make them special. So I decided to use the same black shaggy fabric as I’m using for the border. And I love how they look.

I also decided to make each block with the green border and cornerstone as part of the block, rather than doing that sashing in one long line. Then on the blocks on the last column and row I’ll need to add the final border of green with the cornerstones. You can see the individual block in this photo.

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I also used a mass production method to make the 10-inch strips with cornerstones attached. I cut a 9&3/4 inch strip, width of fabric of the green and a 2 inch strip WOF of the black shaggy. I sewed the shaggy onto the green, then put two layers together and cut the finished two-inch strips from the larger piece.

This photo shows two sets of cornerstone strips, one on top of the other, being cut in one piece. It’s a much faster and accurate way to make these strips with cornerstones.

img_0454Then I pressed the strips and pinned them onto the blocks to sew. It took a little longer to put these strips with cornerstones onto the blocks. I’m trying to be very accurate so that the finished quilt will go together well and will be flat.

It’s really coming together nicely and I can’t wait to see how it looks once I mix up all the blocks.

Choosing Cornerstones

I made a good deal of progress on my new quilt yesterday, so today I took some time to square up all the blocks.

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The blocks were supposed to finish at 10 inches square, but not one of them measured that big. They were all between 9 3/4 and just shy of 10 inches.

So to make the upcoming construction go better, I squared off all the blocks to 9 3/4. I didn’t cut more than a sliver off of any side, but this minor trimming will make the quilt much more flat and even as we go forward.

I’m going to use Phillip Jacobs black shaggy as the border on this quilt, and am thinking I want to use it for the cornerstones on the sashing as well. I’m going to give it some thought and take a look at it in the daylight tomorrow.

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That black shaggy fabric is really something! It’s a bold choice for a bold quilt! I can’t wait to see it all done!

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Jewel Frames Quilt Progresses

I’ve made some really good progress on piecing the blocks for my Jewel Frames quilt.

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Each block center is cut to 8 inches. The black strips are 1.5 inches wide, and are 8 inches long on the short side, and 10 inches long on the long side. The blocks were cut from fabric in the kit, plus about 15 blocks that a friend of mine gave me from when she made this quilt.

Since I’m making the quilt big enough for my queen bed, and the kit is for a throw size quilt, I knew I’d run out of the jewel/black Kaffe Fassett paper weight fabric. I was afraid I’d have to delay more sewing while I waited for fabric to arrive.

I’ve been trying to replace a black with white fabric that I’ve used a lot. In searching based on the selvedge on the fabric, I learned that it’s a Civil War reproduction fabric. This really surprised me because if feels modern to me. Well,  I found some online, and the shop also had Kaffe Fassett fabrics, so I bought the black and white, the paper weight, and some Phillip Jacobs black shaggy for the quilt border.

I was really surprised when I opened my mailbox today and found a thick packet inside! It only took two days to get the fabric, so I was off and sewing this afternoon!

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I cut a bunch of the fabric into 1.5 inch wide strips, and sat down at the machine to add these strips to all four sides of the big blocks. I love to find efficient and quick ways to get things done, so I sat down with a big stack of strips, and chain pieced about 20 blocks at a time. Then turned them around and chain pieced the opposite edge.

Once I had two sides done, I pressed the blocks, and then added the longer strips to the remaining two sides.

I was able to get the strips sewn onto all 89 blocks today!

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I still haven’t decided yet how many blocks I’m going to need for this quilt. I know there’s no arrangement that will require 89 blocks! But maybe 90 would work. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Tomorrow I’ll start putting on the jade Millefiore strips and purple cornerstones. I’m going to have to give that some thought before I start.

Bright Cat Storage Bins

I made these bins for the same friend that got the cat shoulder bag in a previous blog post. She asked me for some storage bins that she could use on her desk. I knew she would love the cat fabric. I auditioned a number of different black and white fabrics to go with the cats, and the zebra fabric was the one that sang!

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I used this tutorial from Birch Organic Fabrics. It was really easy to make up, and the tutorial is really easy to follow. The only thing that was a little difficult was fusing the interfacing to the fabric. It took a long time to get it to stick well, but that was it. Everything else was really quick and easy.

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