Monday, August 29, 2011

Hexagon Tutorial - Supplies & Basting

Part 1 - Preparing the Shapes


Click to Enlarge
  • single-hole punch
  • tweezers
  • small scissors
  • millners needles
  • straight pins
  • strong cotton thread
  • thread conditioner
  • needle threader?
  • fridge magnet to hold pins and needles
  • cardstock hexagon templates - 1" sides
  • fabric pieces

  1. Punching a hole in the center of the cardstock provides a place to pin the fabric without pinning thru the cardstock and makes for easy removal with the tweezers when you are ready to  re-use the templates
  2. One or two straight pins is sufficient to keep handy
  3. A few pre-threaded needles is also handy
  4. A needle threader and a mini fridge magnet to keep your pins and needles in place, is optional equipment
  5. I prefer a strong, 100% cotton, quality thread. I use a fine, quilters knot for basting and for joining the pieces with an overcast stitch.
  6. I always use © Thread Heaven, or you could  run your threaded needle thru a new Bounce dryer sheet or  use beeswax. Conditioning the thread helps keep the unwanted knots under control.
  7. I prefer a longer, thin needle. I figure the smaller the needle, the smaller the hole it puts in the fabric. Unfortunately, the eye to be threaded is usually smaller too. You would use whatever needles you are comfortable with.

Pre-assembly: -  Basting the Hexagons

You will be basting on the backside of the fabric only - on top of the template. You will not be stitching through the cardstock template.

Baste a hexagon
You will not have to remove the basting thread. It will remain in the backside of the quilt top and serve to hold the seam allowances in place. So use a good quality thread that you want to remain in your heirloom quilt.

Begin with a single strand of thread with a fine quilter's knot on the end.  Working the needle between the fabric seam allowance and the cardstock template, enter the needle to the right of the mitre, come back up on the left side of the mitre....needle back down to the right side of the same mitre, so the thread holds the mitre in
place; bring needle back up to the middle of the next side and continue in same manner; all the while working around the hexagon counterclockwise.

I don"t  knot the thread again when I get back to the beginning. I weave the needle a few extra paces beyond the knot where I began,  through the seam allowance and snip the thread..

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Purse Tissue Covers

    Sunday was still spent in service to humanity and I got to sew!  I finished a batch of tissue covers for the purse - 16 in this basket, complete with tissues. I made them to give to the Sisters at Victory Noll, which is a local retirement community for nuns. The Sisters sell them in their gift shop and they give the proceeds to feed the poor. Their gift cabinet contains all hand-made items.

    Kleenex Tissue Covers

    I hope to make one more batch of tissue covers to take to them on Thursday.  I always like to say " the Sisters welcome me into their community, even tho I'm not catholic. "  LOL   It is a blessing for me to be able to spend craft time with them.  Thank you,  Sisters.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Christmas Rose Wreath

    I wonder if I can challenge myself to a very small finish - a UFO. It needs a small outer border, then quilted and bound.  Right now, it is only 21" square - a small table topper or festive wall hanging, for sure. 

    Christmas Rose Wreath

    The original concept for this project was to use up those christmas scraps. HA!  I have 3 bins of  christmas scraps still screaming to get out.

    The log cabin rose blocks were paper pieced and finish at 6" and 3". 

    I might gather up some courage to try my hand at stipple quilting for the first time. I'm not a fan of stitching in the ditch, unless it's used to anchor major sections.

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    More Dresses for Haiti

    I acquired 2 more little dresses for the children of  Haiti from another church member, Jeanette Schilling. She trimmed and hemmed these dresses up, added the elastic and a fancy pocket. They were darling!  Thank you, Jeanette.

    All I had to do was  add the bias tape ties around the armholes.  I had some tape leftover from my last bias tape-making session. LOL My job was so simplified.  These dresses are so sweet. I would love to get more of them to finish off.

    Now, I have a personal goal to  complete 50 dresses. The deadline is early October? So, I am making my deadline for Septembers' end. I have 23 dresses finished now,only 27 more to go!

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Organizing Quilt Books & Mags

    Greetings!  While I was on the subject of sorting quilting books, patterns, magazines & everything quilty printable over at my favorite quilting list, I thought I might as well share it here also.

    Eventually, I had trouble finding my books, so I spread them over the table, and re-sorted them. The bottom two shelves have mags, sorted into those office binders, so I can pull out a binder and sift thru the mags. The contents of the binders used to be in a nice dated order, but that got away from me.

    The next two shelves have quilting books. The small section on the left is being kept separated with a book end. It is a batch of books that I am ready to give away! Next quilt guild sale, I guess.

    Then on top, you see all the school binders. They were my organization style in the beginning, in the days of printing patterns and blocks. I tried to toss out some of those contents during my re-organizing phase, but weakened out. I have a binder on seminole, on EQ, on Quilt University classes, some with templates or special patterns, etc. and then the ones I could 'almost' toss out.

    Then I sorted my books by   "how I look for and use them".   This seems to be a key phrase in all things we collect and do. I have my Carol Doak books together, my gallery collections, like "Scrap Quilts books", the log cabin design books, applique stuff, paper piecing stuff  right next to the Carol Doak section, books with special techniques together. If I have several books from the same artist, I keep them together. Generally, I know what books I have.

    Do you have a special way of organizing your pattern collection?

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Cubbie Hole Quilt - UFO Finish!

    It's a rare occasion that I can claim to have a UFO finish. Today, I CAN!  I picked a simple one, didn't even add borders.....sandwiched, machine quilted and finished binding totally by machine.  That is okay. It will go to a child at the local hospital, which means it will probably get laundered alot. The best part is, I came upon finishing it by accident. It seemed a better swap from organizing and tidying stuff!

     This UFO is from a monthly sew-in we had conducted over at Cbees, way back in August, 2009. That's only 2 years ago. Does it still count? I was sitting with a small batch of tops that are stashed under my cutting/pressing tables. I'm pretty sure this batch under the table is all from the year 2009.

    Benita of encouraged a project from this block which, I believe,  was one of her block of the month patterns at the time.  I think we're also suppose to offer her a pic of our completed project for her gallery.  LOL  Here you go, Benita!  Is it late yet?

    I also have a personal challenge from Trish at Cbees, to finish a UFO by Septembers' end.  Whooh, I made it!  No pressure, Trish! We were both on the very low end of  'done'  on our UFO list at Cbees.  I'm still on the low end of  'done',  BUT.............I'm one quilt closer!

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Queen of Diamonds Update

    Please visit my 'Queen of Diamonds' page to view my update about this long-term project. It is just ALOT of hand stitching for a little update.    LOL

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Christmas Bargello Mantle Scarf

    The ladies over at Cbees  'MADE'  me start  another project!  LOL  Cbees is a sister list of Cyberquilters. You have to be a member of cyberquilters, to join Cbees.

    Cbees is our activity list and I try to be an instigator of activity! We have a bucket list. Each month a new skill is drawn from the bucket. The next month we try to incorporate that skill into our own project, big or small is okay.  This month, bargello was the skill drawn from the bucket. 

    Now, I've had this pattern from Clotilde for a couple years, intending to make it into a mantle scarf I've had to set aside other projects to put this together, but the process was quite fun.

    This is the main piece. It measures 20" x 75". I still need to add some applique, pieces on the ends for the 6" depth and then a backing.

    Now it's back to my regularly scheduled projects. I really dont want to get into the christmas projects until next month or even later.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    More Scraps from Scraps

    When I began a new set of string blocks #2, it was to reduce the scrap bin inventory. Yesterday, I got 36 autumn string blocks all trimmed up and ready for quilting at another time.

    Afterward, I had this pile of trimmings to snip and work back into the scrap bins! I just dont know if I have the patience for a miniature quilt. I am tiring of these fabrics.

    I did sort them into baskets, one for triangles and one for logs. Probably I should toss them and move on. That might be Step 3 of our 12-step program. 

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    The Before and After

    This post shall be about how we ladies feel and look after a trip to the beauty parlour.

    We go into the shop feeling all rough and raggedy     -  " the before "

    We come out all aglow with trims, tucks   and tints  -  " the After "


    This must be the comfort of making string blocks.

     Step 1 - You can sew on your scrap strings, willy nilly, feeling glad to diminish that lot! 

    Step 2 - you look at the blocks and think they are so nasty looking, you will just have to give them away to somebody;     anybody............. and dont attach your name to it.

    Step 3 - you trim them down to size, take another look and see how lovely they really are and wonder how you will be able to part with them! They contain memories of all the fabrics you have created something from.

    I totally enjoy machine quilting string blocks into a quilt, but that will have to wait, for now.  I will be sure to stay out of my scrap bins for awhile.That is what started another string quilt # 2.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Template Tuesday

    My DH is so accommodating!  I got over-enthusiastic about this template set that contains an abundance of design possibilities.  He rushed me to the LQS who is about 10 miles away and who also just happened to have a template set in stock. He is a treasure!

    Lots of markings on the ruler to guide you. I hope to try using it with and without fusibles. I love the serpentine and scallop edges.

    This is the creator of these rulers. The video demonstration provides a sampling of the design possibilities.  It was an effective selling tool.   The leaflet that accompanies the rulers is not an instructional at all.

    I'm looking for additional instruction for these templates. If anyone knows other links, tutorials or galleries applying to these rulers, please let me know!  Thank you so much. 

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Sunday Grace

    Nothing quilty to report these last several days. Another round of strings was added to my set of 36 blocks and some hand sewing got done on the never-ending Queen of Diamonds.  LOL  Nothing photo-worthy going on.

    Did I mention that this newest set of string blocks transpired from a straightening out of the scrap boxes?  I got tired of deciding on scraps and thought it was easier to just start sewing them together!  And the Queen of Diamonds - I believe I need to cut and baste another 500 white hexes, just for the bed TOP.  Oh dear, I better start figuring out how I am gonna recycle those paper hex templates for using in the next construction phase. I have about 1100 hex forms, but the entire queen quilt will require about 4100 hexagons.

    Lots of mind-planning occurred last week, in  unfinished stages. No point in cementing down the brain wave of creativity. LOL  Do any of you do that mind-thing with your projects?  Why do fabrics seem to have a mind of their own? It seems they have to tell you how and where they will be used!  Truly.

    I had been busy with other obligations this past week.  I am  SO  ready to spend the new week indulging in my projects.  Now, I just have to zero in on which projects should get the attention. So many choices!

    May your creativity be heavenly blessed.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    String Quilt #2 - p3

    A bit of progress, Yes!  I grew tired of sorting scrap strings and pieces. I found I had an imbalance of colors going on -  small amount of cool colors, lots of warm colors. It seemed timely, I'll make an autumn-themed string quilt. Someone will like it. The narrow black sashing is showing off those tans very nicely. The dusty green center strip is very calming. I see an opportunity to 'control' the design with carefully chosen corner triangles.

    So I took time to work through some of those strings I had tossed in the string box. I managed to sew and press a strip to both sides of the 36 blocks.  It's difficult to step away from working on those blocks.  I think I just started another project!  LOL

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Scrap Sorting - Again

    It’s hot here in the Midwest. and what am I doing? I’m standing over an iron, performing another tidying of my scrap bins. I’ve got to commit to a better system when putting them away. I don’t think I put them away, I toss them in the bin – all sorts of sizes and shapes.

    I do want to keep my current system – I need my pieces sorted by color families. I have some thinner drawers which hold larger pieces, smaller than a fat quarter. Right now, I’m digging thru them for more strings. I thought I could cut up those smaller pieces - LOL – not yet; but as soon as I run out of the strays, they’re next on the chopping block.

    I believe a good scrap users system must go thru a 12-step program. I must be on step 2. I have already determined that my day will be spent collecting and sorting scraps and not sewing them.

    Step 12 must be when you are at the end of your project and you can sort the pieces into their rightful place, before the next project hits the table. Now, wouldn’t that be efficient!

    String Quilt #2 -p2

    Step 2
    My narrow black strings have been added to both sides of the beginning diagonal strip. They will finish at one-half inch (1/2") each. I was able to yield 3 pieces from each 'width of fabric' strip because the length required for this position is about 13 inches.


    I suppose Step 3 will involve replenishing my string box with a new variety. These foundation blocks are begging for some color!

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    String Quilt #2

    Step 1
    I realized I did do something quilty yesterday. I prepared the beginning stages of my newest String Quilt, #2. I decided to use up a drab, dusty advocado? green that was hanging around my stash. It looks almost gray. I cut it into 2" strips for the diagonal. Hmmm,  I couldnt get 48. So I had to go with the plan of 36 blocks, plus a narrow border. This situation is what set off my blueprint plans for string quilts in EQ. You can find those blueprints in my Saturday post.

    This photo is the result of my labors yesterday. A blinding bright white muslin and a dull, dusty gray-green. It looks drab, doesnt it? There are 36 blocks here, waiting to be covered in strings!

    Next step................................adding the narrow black strip to both sides of the green strip. That should add a bit of drama to these blocks!