Loose Threads

Monday, June 18, 2018

Hexagons (Of Course) and Some Finishes

Hello dear readers

This is the third day in a row that we've had a heat advisory here, so it is perfect weather for doing some stitching.  The weather service alert says that afternoon and early evening temperatures will be in the lower to middle 90s, with maximum heat index values around 105 degrees.  They say to put off all strenuous activities.  They don't have to tell me twice:  the vacuum cleaner is parked in the closet, the stove is off, and I'm sitting in the air conditioning with my needle, thread and hexagons.

I have a lot of 1" hexagons basted, so I have been making more of these double hexagons.   I usually baste 6 hexagons from one fabric, and I usually find something that I think would look good fussy cut.   Sometimes if I find a fabric that I really like, I'll baste 12 from the same fabric.    

A lot of the time, two of the fabrics I use come from the same fabric line like the two purple fabrics.  The red stripe was just in the container.  When I find a fabric like I used in the first two centers, I baste several of these because I think the center hexagon makes it look like a flower.

The inner floral fabric and the blue stripe are cut from the same piece of fabric.  The brown wavy is from the Lewis & Clark line by Barbara Brackman.  I still have some of it left, and I use it sparingly.  I love that fabric!

This is my container of basted 1'" repro hexagons.  You can see I've used snack bags to group more of these double hexagons.   I have another container just like this with bright 1" hexagons.

In the afternoons, I usually pour a glass of iced tea and take a basket of hexagons to stitch out to the porch for awhile.  These are the hexagons for the Rose of Kaleigh sew along by Sue Daley.  I think there are 52 of these 3/4" hexagons.  The ones on the right are complete with the center.  The pile on the left still needs to have the center sewn in.  

By the way, I have switched to these Tulip #9 Sewing Needles to do my English Paper Piecing, and I think they are saving my hands.  They are showing up in a lot of quilt shops and are available on line. 

I had 17 of these bright hexagons finished and some more cut, and I wasn't sure what I would do with them.  My friend, Michele, showed me a photo of a hexagon quilt in the June issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine by Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life blog.  Her hexagon quilt uses 35 hexagons so I basted and stitched 18 more for the quilt.  The background is 4 squares of low volume fabrics made into four patches, and I will hand applique' the hexagons onto the background.  I think that will be a good summer project (yes....another one).

Michele also got me started on these Lone Star quilts.  They are made using a foundation by Quiltsmart.  They have a light fusible on one side and are marked with placement and sewing lines.  This was my first one, and I've kept going.  I even taught a group up in northern Indiana how to make this Lone Star quilt.  This one is 38" without the border.   I used batiks on this first one because it's easier to concentrate on the technique and not worry about getting the fabric upside down.

This was my second Lone Star.

I love this one in fall colors.  The fabrics were given to me by my friend, Barb.  I just love the border print.  

This is the Little Lone Star at 19".

Michele gave me this bag to carry quilts in.  These are really Laundry bags, but they are great for taking quilts to show and tell or packing a lot of "stuff" to go to a retreat.  In order to cover the word laundry stitched on the bag, I covered it with a 6 pointed star left over from my quilt.

This is the 38" Lone Star made by one of my students, Kim.  She invited me to come up to Hebron, Indiana, to sew with her group for the day and teach them the Lone Star.

Pam brought hers along to the Jane Stickle retreat in Shipshewana, and she finished it while she was there.  Judy was almost finished with hers, too.  I didn't get a photo of her progress.

This is my Pretty Plates quilt.  Theses blocks are English Paper Pieced, and the pattern is by Annette Williams of Sewing the Good Life.  These blocks have very little hand sewing and are appliqued' down to the background.  I added broderie perse flowers in the centers of my blocks using fabric by Di Ford, and I machine quilted it.  

I know this looks like a lot, but I did a trunk show for the Evening Star Quilters in Columbus, Indiana.  That is always a good motivator to finish quilts.

I hope you are still reading because I have seen several of my favorite bloggers ranting  talking about the  problem with Blogger Comments.   Not long ago, I found out that I was only getting part of the email notifications when someone left a comment on my post so unless I went to my own blog post, I didn't see those comments that were left.  I went in and toggled and untoggled my settings to get it to work.  Today, I was reading Fun with Barb's blog, and she says this is just the way that it's going to be.  It's a change and not a problem with Blogger.  One way around this is for me to post and then put down the first comment and then the rest of the comments will come to my inbox (I think).  But, if I don't know your email address then I won't be able to email you back.  I'm not sure what their thinking is with this.   I have been told that I should reply down below the person's comment.  After I've read a blog and comment, I hardly ever go back to a blog again until their next post.  How about you? 

I'm going to link with Judy over at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday.

Hope you are finding some time to stitch today!

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Memorial Day

Hello dear readers.  Happy Memorial Day everyone.  God Bless those that have served our country in the past and have fought and died for our freedom and those that are currently serving in the military.  Thank you all for your service. 

Most all of my draft posts start out with an apology for being absent for so long so I won't start this one that way.   I'm always stitching, so I thought I would show you some of the things that I've been working on lately.

This is my progress so far on Sue Daley's Rose of Kaleigh sew along.   Sue gives us a few steps to sew each week.  I believe the sew along is on week 13.  I have finally caught up and have done the center and some extra single hexagons. I laid it all out on the floor to take a photo so I can get a good idea of what the finished quilt might look like. 

This is another block for my double hexagon quilt that I talked about in my last post.  I am using some leftover 1" hexagons that I have basted to make these blocks.  These blocks are really a lot of fun to put together.

This is one of the baskets from the Antique Basket pattern I've been working on. The baskets are cut from a template included in the pattern.  I've prepped all of the basket bottoms and needle turn appliqued the top and bottoms onto the baskets.  Now I am embroidering the handles on the baskets using a product called Transfer EZE.  You put the Transfer EZE sheets in your printer, copy the outlines, and stick it onto your background.  It is fairly thin so you embroider right through it.  Then when you are finished with the embroidery, you soak the block in water and the Transfer EZE comes off. 

Here are 4 more 3/4" hexagons for my Libby Morgan Reunion quilt that I talked about in my last post.  I will start putting the quilt top together soon. 

We are on vacation in the mountains for a few more days.  We've been here about 10 days.  I've been to 4 different quilt shops while I've been here.  Nope.   I didn't think to take one single photo.   

It's rained just a little nearly every day and most times there has been a rainbow.

On the way down we took some back roads through Kentucky and saw lots of barn quilts.  I realized later that we were on the Barn Quilt trail because there almost wasn't a barn that didn't have a quilt on it

We also stopped and took a tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.  The little buffalo on top of these bottles are collector items.  This is the room where they bottle the bourbon and put the labels on the bottles.

This is our tour guide getting ready to pour the samples.  

Image result for american flag image

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope you are finding some time to stitch today!

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Making Hexagons

I had a great time  sewing last Tuesday up in the northern part of Indiana with a nice group of girls that I met several years ago at the Jane Stickle retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana.   I usually only get to see them twice a year at the retreat, so it was great to have a get together and visit in between retreats.  We were working on Lone Star quilts using Quiltsmart interfacing.   I'll save that for another post when I hopefully have photos of some of their finished tops.   Toward the end of the day Nancisue asked me what happened to my blog.   A few days earlier I heard from friend, Trudy, who wrote that she missed my blog.  And I ran into Denise last weekend at Back Door Quilts.  I hadn't seen her for at least four years, and she asked about my blog.   So I thought it was about time for a post.  

 My laptop is in here in my sewing room, so instead of sitting at the computer I usually sit at the sewing machine.   Most of you that have an IPAD know that you can't really write a blog post on an IPAD or Iphone.  I have a keyboard that will Bluetooth connect to the IPad so I'll have to see if that helps.   I am over on Instagram a bit.   Over there it's just a photo with a couple of sentences and some hash tags ####.   I never thought I'd see the day when I would hash tag anything, but I do.  That was what we used when we played tic-tac-toe to kill time in study hall.   A hash tag is just another word for labels.   I put as many labels as I can on my blog posts and Instagram posts so if someone is searching for a topic, they might come across my posts.   

Here is what I've been spending a lot of my sewing time on.  These are 3/4" hexagons.   A group of us over on Instagram and Facebook are making the quilt that Libby Morgan made in the book by Leah Zieber, Libby Morgan Reunion.  The quilt is made of hexagons surrounded by a path.   

The next few photos are of some of my latest  3/4" hexagons.   Most of my hexagons are fussy cut...probably 99% of them.   Most of my fabric looks like Swiss cheese, but I love the look of fussy cut hexagons or anything English paper pieced.

This is part of what I have cut for this project.  I think I am about half way done sewing hexagons.  The quilt has a total of over 200 hexagon rosettes.  

Here is the beginnings of adding the path between the hexagons.  Karen over at FaeriesandFibres blog  adds 5 path hexagons to each rosette, and they fit together kind of like a puzzle.  That is really a good way to work on the path right along with sewing the hexagons. 

I'm not exactly sure what fabric I will use for my border fabric, but I auditioned this fabric by Di Ford Hall and think it is a definite possibility.

Then a few of us over on Instagram went off the deep end and are making these double hexagons.  We hashtag them Liberated Libbies because they are the regular inside hexagon arrangement with the outer ring arranged in different ways.   They are really just double hexagons.  You saw the photo above with the container of 3/4" hexagons cut and over half are ready to be glue basted to the paper pieces.  I have a container of 1" hexagons with the same amount or more.  I also have a bag of 1 1/4" hexagons left over from my Route 66 quilt found in Di Ford's first book, Primarily Quilts.  I'm taking the leftover hexagons from that quilt that are my favorites and cutting them down to use with my other 1" hexagons.  

Here are my double hexagons so far.  I've cut a few "new" hexagons, but I'm trying to use those that I already have cut to make this quilt.  I'm not quite sure of the arrangement I'll use yet.  Right now, I'm just having fun matching up the fabrics and sewing them.

I  really love to fussy cut hexagons or any English Paper Piecing as much if not more than I like to sew them.   Here is the link to my fussy cutting tutorial.   I explain how I choose fabrics for fussy cutting and how I place my templates on the fabric.   I use pretty old fashioned methods, but I enjoy tracing around my template with a marker and then cutting the hexagons out with scissors.  That is great TV work in the evenings, and I find it relaxing.  

Here is the link to my Lucy Boston Framed Tutorial showing you how I fussy cut a striped fabric to make a frame around the outside round of a Lucy Boston block.  

I have a lot more in the works to show you, so I'll be back again soon.  

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you're finding some time to stitch today!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I really appreciate all of you that still visit my blog in spite of all of the "dry spells".   It's a drizzly day here to the point that it looks foggy out.  It's a perfect day to spend in the sewing room.

You've seen this quilt here on my blog before.  I had it quilted last year by my long arm quilter.  It is made of red and white string blocks.   You can see the heart motif that he put in the border. 

Below is the drawing from my Electric Quilt file.  You can see the breakdown of the blocks a little easier.  You can make the string blocks any size that you want.  Here is the link to my string block tutorial.  You can also get there from the tab under my header.

You could also use squares and half square triangles to make the quilt if you don't want to make string blocks.  In that case you would need the following:

 6 red squares
2 white squares
40 half square triangles (half red-half white)

My blocks measure 8 inches, but you could make them any size.  I know it's too late for this year, but if you are in a Valentine mood you could start today and have the quilt finished for next year.

Here's a better look at the string blocks in the center.  I used any and all reds.  The whites range from pure white to creams, and I even used some shirting pieces.

I love the photo below.  It was taken at my husband's family farm. This was taken before it was quilted.

Here is a smaller version using 3 inch (finished) blocks.  This is a table topper size and finishes at about 18 inches.  You can find my tutorial on how I made this table topper in my blog post here.  
It includes more on how to piece the string blocks and cut them into half square triangles.

Here is a close up of one of the string blocks.  I quilted this after watching Leah Day's Heart Paisley video.  I love her videos because she does her example on a square, and she shows you how to get on and off of that square and fill the entire area.  She has lots of videos on line if you just search.

Here is the same table mat using 3 1/2" unfinished squares and half square triangles.
For this you will need:
6 red squares
2 neutral squares
28 half square triangles

You can find more detail about this version of my table topper in my blog post here.

Here is the pattern for the table mat drawn in Electric Quilt.

The pattern for this little Valentine quilt and the Valentine table topper pictured are both available for sale in my Etsy shop.  The little quilt below fits on a wire table stand.  I have one of the Sunburst Dresden Table Toppers for every season, and there is one in the center of my table all year.  The patterns are also available at Back Door Quilts

I'm not sure what the Valentine plan is, but I bought each of us one of these.  I thought this was a better option than having a whole box of chocolate here . 

Are you all watching the Olympics coverage like I am?  There is not only the network coverage, but there is a cable channel that covers some live events.  It's NBCSN.  The problem with that is the time difference, so to watch you have to sit up into the wee hours of the morning because they won't let you record on that channel.   So I'm a bit sleep deprived, but I'm getting some stitching done in the evenings. 

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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