Tuesday Treats: Hexies can make an easy portable project

When searching for a new portable project for 2013 I considered making something with English Paper pieced hexagons but ….. I really like using my sewing machine for patchwork piecing and that really isn’t a very portable way to sew, or the easiest way to join hexagons.

Having said that though, I want to share with you some of the hexagon quilts that my friends have made using English paper piecing:

Ladybirdee’s wall hanging is  approximately 12″ x 12″, so the feature fabric hexagons are quite small.

She says:

 Cotton Mako’ 40  works well for paper piecing. It resists any abrasion if it gets caught in the papers and it is fine enough to give a neat, invisible stitch.

A small protable project

A small portable project

And then there is this miniature. Follow the link to see another set of  miniature hexagons in Judysew4th’s friendship quilt

Amazingly tiny hexagons

Amazingly tiny hexagons

I have also quilted some very pretty “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” quilts made with hexagons:

This quilt was made with big bold hexagons and sandwiched with a fluffy batting, making a very cuddly quilt

This quilt was made with big bold hexagons and sandwiched with a fluffy batting, making a very cuddly quilt

By contrast, the following quilt was pieced with quite small hexagons.

The white background gives this old fashioned technique a modern twist.

The white background gives this old fashioned technique a modern twist.

Hexagons do lend themselves to ‘fussy cutting”,  and can look great on coloured backgrounds

This is a clever use of fabric to add spice to the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden block

This is a clever use of fabric to add spice to the traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden block

I’ve decided that  I like the way hexagon quilts:

  • use up the small pieces of fabric in the stash, and
  • the way the fabrics can be colour coordinated
  • and the way the hexagons can be fussy cut

However, I am not quite ready to make  my own quilt using English paper piecing. I will have to find another method to make a hexagon project.

If you enjoy hand sewing don’t let my love of machine piecing stop you from trying this hand piecing method.

For more information about English Paper Piecing:

Fat Quarterly had a sew along running  in 2012 and shared some very clear instructions:

Assembling the flower units

Joining the Quilt together

Martingale features an extract from a book showing interesting, non traditional uses, for piecing the hexagons:

Grandmothers Flower Garden 

Lizard of Oz no longer sells pre-cut papers but her very useful written instruction is still available for free download:

How to stitch English Paper Piece

I will keep searching for my next portable project for 2013.

Your suggestions are welcome.

Back to reality after the summer holiday

For some reason, the Australia Day weekend always signifies the end of summer, and holidays, for me.

Australian-flag

I know that we can still expect lots of hot days in February and March, but I still feel as if the “carefree” days of summer are over.

Melbourne icons, the Australian Open flags flying above a Melbourne tram

Melbourne icons, the Australian Open flags flying above a Melbourne tram

There will be no more days playing truant from work to go to the tennis, or cricket,  children go back to school and the rest of us start concentrating on the plans for the new year.

For me, it also means it is time to assess my sewing projects for the year.

Some carry over from the previous year, but many are close to being finished.

I am still working on the Aurifil 2012 Embroidery block of the month, but it will be finished quite soon.

I am still working on the Aurifil 2012 Embroidery block of the month quilt, but it will be finished quite soon.

I like to have several hand work “portable projects” prepared, ready to take to friendship “sit & sew” meetings.

They are also essential for those wasted hours sitting in waiting rooms when travelling or for sitting through some of the sporting events that I attend by “obligation” rather than choice.

This Lana embroidery has been going for sometime but it is also close to being finished.

This Lana embroidery has been going for sometime but it is also close to being finished.

I sort each project into its own bag, with scissors, threads and anything else particular to the project.

It is a simple matter of picking up a bag as I head out the door, but the hand stitching on most of these projects is close to being finished.

This little scissor keeper is a pattern in the making. So watch this space early in the year if you want to make your own version.

This little scissor keeper is a pattern in the making. So watch this space early in the year if you want to make your own version.

I am going to have to set up a new project for 2013.

It would appear that 2012 was an embroidery year so maybe it is time I worked on an applique.

I’ve been collecting patterns for a while,  so where shall I start.

A decision is required ….. let me know what you think.

I have a collection of applique patterns waiting to their turn to become the project of the year.

I have a collection of applique patterns waiting their turn to become the project of the year.

And a final word about Australia Day.  It just wouldn’t be the same without a lamington or two.

Lamingtons are another Australian icon.

Lamingtons are another Australian icon.

Tuesday Treats: I found some quick references for Hand Embroidery stitches.

Have you ever wanted to add an interesting twist to your embroidery project but didn’t have a stitch guide handy?

This redwork basket was stitched with Cotton Mako' 12

This redwork basket was stitched with Cotton Mako’ 12 using mainly stem stitch and  open chain stitch

My favourite stitch reference is too bulky to carry around each day, so I used to stick to basic stitches when I was out and about, stitching with friends or travelling.

I love using printed stitch guides but they are not easy to carry around

I love using printed stitch guides but they are not easy to carry around

So I was very pleased to discover an embroidery App, by Hugs n Kisses, for my iPhone.

You can download the Hugs n Kisses App from the Apple store

You can download the Hugs n Kisses App from the Apple store

Once I had found one App I started looking for more resources, and found lots of useful instructions online.

Get Your Free Embroidery Resources:

Get some Free Hand Embroidery doodle patterns here.

Handy How to Guides for hand embroidery stitches:

Hugs n Kisses has an iPhone App

Judith Baker Montana has an iPhone App 

If you don’t have an iPhone this website will give you just as much information

My hand embroidery Youtube PlayList will be updated as I find more good tutorials

Colours of Summer

What are the colours of summer?

Gold or sand or blue for the beaches and seas.   Maybe pink for sunburn.  Sadly, some may think of red and orange colours, for the vicious fires that occur in our land at this time of the year.

In  mid December my walk to work had me not only thinking about Christmas and all the things that needed to be done, but I was also looking at the natural colours around me.   I noticed the wonderful Jacaranda trees come into purple bloom leaving a carpet of mauve on the grass and paths.

Jacarandas showing their purple flowers

Jacarandas showing their purple flowers

As well, there is more mauve  with the agapanthus flowers in the gardens.

More gorgeous purple

More gorgeous Agapanthus purple

To me, these are one of the colours of summer.

A carpet of colour

A carpet of colour

Of course I managed to link this to some “Jacaranda’ Aurifil threads:

Summer colours in threads and braids

In 2013 the Pantone Colour of the Year is revealed, and this year EMERALD was chosen to be the new colour.  “Lively. Radiant. Lush… A colour of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony” said the Pantone website.   Today, I looked  around in the Always Quilting store for some emerald items – and found:

Always Quilting store stock - journal, fabric, braids and fabric pen.

Naturally I had no difficulty in finding some beautiful Aurifil threads too

An emerald selection of threads

I think we should all try a little emerald in our world this year!

Tuesday Treats: Fabric Frolic around Melbourne

January in Melbourne is traditionally a time for watching sport, particularly tennis, but January also means  “Fabric Frolic” time for quiltaholics.

The embroidery design on the posy Pocket Hanger, stitched in Cotton Mako' 12

The embroidery design on the posy Pocket Hanger, stitched in Cotton Mako’ 12

Each year the Frolic seems to get bigger and better, with more opportunities to catch a bargain and win great prizes along the way. Keen shoppers, who manage to visit every shop in the Frolic, even have a chance to win the major prizes by getting their passport stamped at each shop. You will find the full details on the Fabric Frolic website.

As we are an “odd” shop, more a wholesale outlet than a retail outlet, we are not directly involved in the “Frolic” but we have contributed prizes for the “in-store” activities.

Some lucky shoppers will win one of these Aurifil gift packs when they paticipate in the Fabric Frolic.

Some lucky shoppers will win one of these Aurifil gift packs when they participate in the Fabric Frolic.

We have also packaged up an exclusive thread set, and free pattern deal, for Palm Beach Quilting, one of the Aurifil retailers participating in the Frolic.

Four pack sets of Cotton Mako' 12 for embroidering the posy Pocket Hangers

Four pack sets of Cotton Mako’ 12 for embroidering the Posy Pocket Hanger

The staff at Always Quilting designed the Posy Pocket Hanger pattern to be embroidered with these pretty sets of Cotton Mako’ 12 threads, and they deserve a special thank you for each stitching a sample to show the various ways the design can be embellished.

Get a copy of our complimentary pattern when you purchase the thread set.

Get a copy of our complimentary pattern when you purchase the thread set.

The pattern is an exclusive bonus when you purchase one of the thread sets during the Frolic.

Collect our complimentary pattern to  make your own Posy Pocket Hanger

Collect our complimentary pattern to make your own Posy Pocket Hanger

So pop along to Palm Beach Quilting to purchase a set of threads, and get a pattern to make you own hanger for your sewing room or daughter’s bedroom door.

The posy pocket is a clever place to store your sewing tools to keep them handy

The posy pocket is a clever place to store your tools to keep them handy as you stitch

Mark your diary, the Frolic starts on Friday 18th January.

Don’t miss out on the fun!

We would love to hear about your Fabric Frolic outing so please call back with a comment.

The Birthday Bag Instructions Continue

Image

Last year we made a patchwork bag for a special birthday . We have had several requests for the instructions with the French Braid instructions provided back in November .

The following instructions are for the paper-pieced Crocus block pictured.

For purposes of instruction I have made a 6” block and used a printed block illustrating the numbered sewing order from my EQ7 program.

Crocus Foundation from EQ7

I also have pre-cut the fabrics adding ¾” to the square patch. The triangles are achieved by cutting a rectangle ¾” larger than the widest point.

Eight blocks were required for the Crocus Flower strip. You can create all the blocks for foundation piecing following the directions from our blog Making Quick Foundations for Paper Piecing.

The 50wt. Aurifil thread  is being used in black so the stitching is easy to see.

Important Note. All the fabric is placed on the unmarked side of the paper. Your numbered side is the side of the paper you will see when sewing.Patch #1

Place patch #1 and #2 with right sides together . Center these over the area mark #1 making sure you have a seam allowance on all sides. You can use large pieces of fabric until you become comfortable with the foundation technique. Patch #1 and Patch #2 rightsides togetherYour seam allowances can be trimmed to ¼” after each addition is sewn if needed. Sew on line beginning a few stitches outside the patch line.

Patch #2 and seam allowance

Patch #2 and seam allowance

Sewing line for Patch #1 and #2

Press fabric open.

Patch #3 ready to press

Patch #3 ready to press

Place fabric for #3 right sides together and stitch as before.Press the fabric open checking the seam allowance as before.

Continue placing the patches in numerical order, right sides together; checking seam allowances; stitching; trimming seam allowances to ¼” until all the patches have been added .

Patch #4 cut rectangle

Patch #4 cut rectangle

Patch #4 cut retangle for a triangle patch

Patch #4 cut rectangle for a triangle patch

Patch #5 cut same size as patch #4

Patch #5 cut same size as patch #4

Patch #5 pressed open

Patch #5 pressed open

Sew Patch #6 check seam allowances

Sew Patch #6 check seam allowances

Seam allowances will be trimmed to 1/4"

Seam allowances will be trimmed to 1/4″

Patch #7 cut rectangle

Patch #7 cut rectangle

Patch #7 pressed open

Patch #7 pressed open

Patch is placed on diagonal

Patch is placed on diagonal

Patch #9 Alternate method

Patch #9 Alternate method

Patch is sewn and seam allowance trimmed

Patch is sewn and seam allowance trimmed

I cut my rectangles 3/4″ larger than the widest part of the triangle I am creating. If unsure of the placement of the rectangle, place straight pins through the corners from the printed side to insure your patch seam allowance. The fabric is pinned for sewing. The ‘positioning’ pins are removed; the piece is turned over and the patch is sewn on the stitching line.

Block ready for last patch

Block ready for last patch

Patch #11

After all the patches have been sewn I trim the block INCLUDING the seam allowance.

Back of foundation for precise trimmimg

Easy removal of papersThe papers are removed once the blocks have been sewn together and secured in the bag row. REMOVE ALL PAPERS BEFORE LINING THE BAG.

This method can be used for any foundation block.Front of finished block

Check back for the final instructions and finishing directions so you can sew your version of our Birthday Bag.

Tuesday Treats: Have you made a Log Cabin quilt?

The traditional Log Cabin design was one of the very first quilts I ever made.  Sadly I don’t have a photo to upload here, as it was made way before digital cameras were common, and the quilt was given away.

All the straight seam stitching made it an excellent pattern to use as an introduction to quarter inch seams and machine piecing.

It was also an easy way to learn about colour value, and the relativity of light, medium and dark colours.

Log Cabin quilts became a favourite with me and I have a wonderful collection of books and patterns so I was very happy when we were asked to review “Build Your Best Log Cabin”,  an e-Book from Fons & Porter.

An excellent e-book from Fons & Porter

An excellent e-book from Fons & Porter

The introduction includes information about the history of  Log Cabin Quilts … they were a popular style in 1860 -70, and did you know that red was the traditional colour for the centre square to signify the hearth of the cabin.

Although there are only three basic blocks used for making Log Cabin quilts, by varying the size of the”logs” and the colour placement there are infinite design possibilities.

The book includes concise cutting charts for these blocks, with measurements for different size blocks and logs, so you can play with the designs, and the traditional setting tips are clever and useful.

You will find patterns for quilts made using these three blocks in the the book.

You will find patterns for quilts made using these three blocks in the the book.

Ricky Timms, Shon McMain Lori Christianson & Marti Michell have each contributed a pattern, and many wonderful hints. You will find simple patterns such as “On the dark side” (shown in centre of cover above) mixed with more challenging blocks so there is something to appeal to everyone.

"Linked Chevrons" by Marti Michell is easier to make than it looks.

“Linked Chevrons” by Marti Michell is easier to make than it looks.

Ladybirdee said:

My personal favourite is the off centre log cabin though I am tempted to try the Linked Chevron pattern too.

Even though I have been quiltmaking for many years, and have read many  books on log cabin patterns and construction techniques, after reading this e -book, I immediately wanted to start finding fabric, cutting and sewing.  The presentation is very graphic and attractive.

On the other hand my favourite in the book is the woven design below. I’ve always loved the colour play in this design and the detail “map”, included in the book, makes it look achievable.

This woven Log cabin pattern is just one of the designs included in the book

This woven Log cabin pattern is just one of the designs included in the book

The finale to all this great information is some brilliant instructions for adding a piped binding with a neat “lumpless’ finish.

All told, this 24 page e-Book book is very informative, including general information about log cabin quilts, patterns and lots of handy hints.  It is well worth reading even if you don’t wish to make a Log Cabin quilt right this minute.

Well done for an impressive and inspirational book.

You can download your FREE copy from Fons & Porter.