Thinking About My Scrappy Hexagons

I’ve hit a bit of a stopping point with my hexagon quilt with the grey backgrounds. I’ve landed on a final arrangement and have started adding the greys, but I’m a bit stuck until I get the final grey fabric on Saturday.

So I spent some time tonight looking at my stash to try out some ideas for the background for my hexagon quilt that I’ll make from the scraps from my hexagon quilt. I’ve got all of the triangles cut and sorted, so I’ll be ready for the background soon.

I’ve been thinking I want to use a yellow background… probably Kaffe’s yellow paper weight.

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Unfortunately, I only have small scraps of this, so it’s hard to get an idea of how it will look with my blocks. But the more I think about it, but more I think it’s not right.

So I pulled out some other fabrics and tried them out with the scrappy blocks and the backing I’m going to use for this quilt. And I came up with a couple that I really like.

Of all the ones I tried, I think the yellows are my least favorite. I like the polka dot one, but not the more solid yellow. But it’s not giving me the effect I was hoping for.

I really like the more solid yellow with the backing, but it’s not very exciting with the colorful blocks.

I tried some blue. The light blue was a fail. I like the darker blue, and the blocks are really bold on that darker background. But i want more of a contrast with the backing. So I’ll probably rule out the blue.

So here’s the current winner. The polka dot is sort of a fuchsia with orange/yellow dots. the blocks play well on it, and it’s amazing with the backing. I love the brightness and boldness of this fabric, especially since my current quilt has grey backgrounds. So I’m hungry for something bold.

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I’ll probably look at some more options while I’m at the quilt shop this weekend, with a lot of the spots color ways. Maybe I’ll find something even better!

Hexagon Blocks Are All Done

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I’ve been working a little each night on finishing up the blocks for my new hexagon quilt and tonight I finished the last four blocks.

The photo above was taken this morning when I got up and saw the light coming through the blinds and hitting these amazing fabrics on my design wall.

I’ve been moving blocks around my design wall for weeks now. Every time I add new blocks I have to redo the entire thing. When I added the last blocks tonight, I spent another hour moving blocks around, taking photos, tweaking, taking black and white photos, tweaking… But I think I’ve finally hit on the right arrangement.

 

And now that I post this picture I can see something that needs to be fixed…. the two blocks immediately under the center red block are too similar… it really shows in the black and white version. ARGHHHHH!

A couple of days ago I had to make a decision about what I was going to do with the top and bottom ends of the second and fourth vertical rows. I have the choice of adding sections of grey, or partial blocks to fill in that space. I decided to go with the partial blocks… they just feel more finished that the large sections of grey.

 

Next up is to start making final decisions about the grey triangles fabric and placement. I have one more piece of fabric I want to buy to see how it works before I start down this road. I’ll purchase the fabric on Saturday.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve been loving putting the fabrics together for these blocks. Each combination is more amazing than the last. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to give this quilt away!

 

 

Can’t Wait to Start the Next Quilt!

I’m nearly done with all the pieces for my hexagon quilt. I just have to make six more hexagon blocks and cut the additional grey triangles I’ll need to fill in all the spaces. And I’ll have to give it some time on the design wall to make sure I like the arrangement.

And even though I ‘m not done, I can’t help but start thinking about my next quilt… and it’s going to be made from scraps from the hexagon quilt I’m working on now.

This one has three hexagons pushed together. I love the way the additional hexagon appears in the center.

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I had pieces of strip sets left over so I cut them into triangles and started playing with different arrangements. The one above is very random. No two triangles are the same, and I think this is the approach I’ll take with this next scrappy quilt.

This next block is pieces from two different strip sets. So there are pairs of triangles. I like this arrangement, but I think I prefer the more random look.

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Here’s another random hexagon. I’m getting so excited about these blocks that I cut up some of the left over fabric, sewed it into half strip sets and cut the triangles. I have enough now for 15 blocks, and have enough cut to make at least five more blocks, which means I can make a small throw or youth quilt from these scraps.

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I’m thinking I might go really bold with the background triangles and use Brandon Mably’s black and white jumble — the black and white in this photo. I’ll have to see how it looks on the design wall, but I’m thinking want to go bold!

I’ll also dig into my stash and see what pieces I have that would work for backing.

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Trying Out Some Greys

I couldn’t stand it. I had to cut some of the grey fabric into triangles and get it up onto the design wall. So at lunch time today I cut some of the grey guinea flower fabric and tossed it up on the design wall.

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I started in the center of the quilt. And I loved it immediately! All it took was one set of the grey fabrics and I knew it was going to work!

So when I got home from work I got started on cutting more triangles out of the different grey fabrics because I was itching to see more.

I’ve wondered about the sludge paper weight fabric in this quilt for awhile. It just felt different than the other grey fabrics and I was really unsure about it. That’s the sludge surrounding the hexagon with the green outer strip.

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It just doesn’t work. Although I love this fabric, in this quilt it just feels drab and dull. It stands out in the quilt, and not in a good way.

So I decided to omit the sludge and use the grey ferns fabric instead. it’s darker than the other fabrics, but it’s a brighter grey, and it feels brighter and lighter.

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You can see the point of the ferns next to the point of the guinea flower in the lower right, and the greys are virtually the same.

So, the sludge is out and the ferns is in.

I’m also using two light color ways of the Mille fiore fabric. I love how they work in this quilt! they add just a little color and life to the points of the stars.

 

I’ve put a bunch of the background fabrics up on the wall. I’m loving how it all works, but still need to move some things around and play with different options.

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I still have six blocks to make to get this quilt to the point where I can finish the design stage, figure out how I’m going to handle the edges, and start sewing it all together.

I can’t wait to see the final lay out!

Balancing Lights and Darks

As I’ve been working on this quilt, I’ve had a little concern that the fabrics are all reading too dark or medium, with not enough lights. So I’ve been consciously adding some lighter fabrics to provide the contrast that I want.

Here’s Rico (with the ear) and Bender posing in front of my new quilt.

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To get a good look at the contrast in a quilt I’ll typically take a photo and adjust it to black and white. Then you can really see the darks and lights.

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I feel like I’m close in the lights that I want. I’ve put together some combos for more blocks that should read lighter.

Good lord… these fabrics are so amazing!

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There are four blocks where the triangles need to be sewn into hexagons. Then eight more complete blocks cut and sewn, and I’ll throw them all on the design wall and start playing!

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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