Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Old Projects and Some New Ones

Hello Dear Readers

Today someone wished me a happy holiday, and I responded, "What holiday?"    I'm not totally sure what happened to the month of June, but it's almost over.   I spend a lot of summer afternoons sitting out on our screened porch with a big glass of iced tea listening to some music and doing some stitching.  The time just seems to fly, and the day is quickly over.   Here we call this "porch time" because when you are sitting out here in the quiet you really do lose all track of time.   I wish I could stop life just until I could get caught up.  But, since I can't do that I'll tell you a little about what I've been doing.

We spent almost 2 weeks at the end of May down in the Smoky Mountains.  This is the view from our cabin.   We've found a place that we can go to relax and get away from it all and just unplug and regroup until we get back there again.  

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While visiting Tennessee, I always get to make a trip over to Mountain Creek Quilt Shop.  It's always good to get to visit with Teri, the owner, and see just what is new at her shop.   Her shop is the only one that I've visited that carries Tilda fabrics.   Here are some that I bought on a previous trip.

These are the new ones that I bought last time along with a charm pack.
I wasn't sure what I was going to use them for, but when The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek came out, I ordered the paper pieces pack from paperpieces.com.   I had them sorted and stored with the book, so I thought I'd try the Tilda fabrics out on these blocks.

Here are the first dozen or so blocks.   I also used some polka dots that I bought at a shop in Lexington, KY, and some tiny pin stripes that are available at Back Door Quilts.   There are only 52 blocks in this quilt.  How long could that take?   I thought I could do about 10 a week and be finished in about 5 weeks.  I need to make up more block kits so I can keep going on this.  I thought this would be fun for a summer project.   


I also have enough Morning Glory blocks to make a small quilt.  These are all English Paper Pieced.
The pattern is by Annette Williams at www.sewingthegoodlife.com



This one is called 1797 Revisited.  If you are on Instagram, you can search #1797Revisited to see other's finished quilts.  I have a ton of hexagons cut, and I'll get back to this one day.  I bought my elongated hexagons at Yellow Creek Quilt Designs.   After I started cutting these, I ordered the next larger size and decided that I really liked the smaller size better.   If you take a look at the quilt it's kind of interesting.   You keep adding rows all the way around and eventually fill in the corners.   


These are my double hexagons.   I have 32 which was my plan for a quilt.  After I took this  photo, I started adding the path to the 1" hexagons.   I'm about a third of the way finished.   


This is a sew along that I started because I spent too much time on Instagram.  This is called 
Dutch American Sew Along.  #DutchAmericanSewAlong.   You request the PDF file from one of the girls on Instagram, and you cut them out and make the star.   I English Paper Pieced mine, and some are foundation paper piecing heirs.   This one attracted me because they are using Dutch chintz fabric.   I've had an envelope of chintz that I ordered from a shop in Texas that is no longer in business.   I think this was about 7 years ago.   So here was my chance to let those fabrics see the light of day.  The chintz is really beautiful as you can see in the last photo, but it is really stiff and hard to hand sew.   I went ahead and made the star anyway mostly because I knew it would be a challenge to get all 12 of those points to spin and lay flat in the middle.   


Then I found this blue fabric in my stash.   It's from the line Elizabeth's Dowry by Karen Styles.   I'm adding the half square triangles and will keep going until it feels like the right size.   


Here is the chintz that I have plus a couple of books just full of Dutch quilt inspiration.

That's all for now.   I'm sure there is something that I've forgotten so I'll try not to stay away so long next time.  

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Shipshewana Retreat and New Projects

The last week in April was our semi annual Jane Stickle Retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana.   We have a lot of fun, and we count the days until we can return to do it all over again.   It is always fun getting together with friends I've known for years and making new friends.  On my last day at the retreat right before leaving for home, I met a new friend Barbara who is as obsessed with English paper piecing as I am.  She is doing her Dear Jane quilt using EPP.  Wish I had gotten a photo of what she has done so far.   I'm looking forward to seeing her projects and visiting with her when we return in November.

There are horse and buggies everywhere you go in or out of town.  This horse and buggy sits in this covered area right outside the Blue Gate Restaurant and is available for rides through town.

My friend, Pam and I went out southeast of town to the Copper Top.  As you can see she had a salad.  It had a cheeseburger underneath all of the veggies, but it looks pretty healthy.  I went off the deep end and had their signature burger and homemade chips.  They won a Burger War at some time, and their hamburgers are wonderful.  Mine had a breaded, fried pickle and onion straws plus the regular toppings.   


I always try to head over to Middlebury to visit the Joyfully Said Home shop.  I've bought a couple of their signs, and I love what Chelsea has done with the shop.  They have expanded and have a nice selection of home goods.  You can order from them at www.joyfullysaidsigns.com.

 

No trip to Shipshewana would be complete without a pretzel from Jo-Jos.  There is no way to explain their pretzels, but those of you that have had them understand!


I also stopped in the shop across the street from the Blue Gate.  They sell Christmas things back in the corner of the shop, and one of my smaller Christmas trees had lost part of the lights.  I really did try to shop with a bit of focus...…


I also stopped in to Lollys for a bit of Stash Enhancement.  

I also went to Yoders another day for a little more fabric.  I also went out to Caroline's Cottage Cottons one day but have no photos.   I came out with a bit of fabric there, too.   



This quilt is in progress by Connie.   I really love this.   It was nice to have Connie, Janet and Donna at the table right next to ours.


My birthday was the Friday we were at the retreat, and some of the girls bought me this cake along with cards and presents.  Thanks to you girls for making my birthday so special.  You know who you are.


This quilt top belongs to Judy that does Design Wall Monday.  She blogs at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts       Each retreat we have some sort of a challenge quilt that many of us try to reproduce.  Our inspiration usually comes from Rebecca that owns Rebecca's Arts and Antiques in Shipshewana.   Rebecca always comes to our Friday night show and tell and most always brings a quilt or two to show us.   One retreat she brought an antique basket quilt, and that was all it took for some of us to start another quilt.  Here is Judy's top.  She was showing it to me, and as she unfolded it a little cheddar basket fell out.  She handed it to me and told me that now I have one.   I love it!



Here is Judy's last basket and my first!   You can see just how small these baskets are by comparing it to the dime.  They will finish at 3 1/2".


Since Judy gave me one, I've made a few more.  Connie helped me out by making a few of my handles while I was away from my machine.   And, almost ten years ago when I had knee replacement surgery my friend, Vicki from Minnesota sent me a little box with scissors, thread, needles and this same little basket pattern.   The pattern isn't in the box, but I had cut several baskets while I recovered.   Some of them are shown in the photo below.   I don't know how many I will make.   At show and tell some showed basket quilts with 12 baskets, and some had made 300 baskets.  I'll keep you posted.



I've also joined the Circa 1800 club at my local quilt shop, Back Door Quilts in Greenwood, Indiana.   I knew about half of the girls in the group, and I am enjoying making these tiny blocks.   These finish at 2 1/2".   As I read through my pattern I saw Janet's name.   She blogs at Rogue Quilter.
She traded some of these tiny blocks with several quilters including Pam Buda that drafted the pattern for this incredible quilt.


One of my posts wouldn't be complete without showing hexagons.   Here are the last few I've made.  I have 24 completed so far.   I have block kits made for a few more, and then I'll see if I can put them together somehow.   I have a big stack of quilt tops that I really need to get busy quilting.   I'm thinking about trying a bit of hand quilting.   I am practicing on smaller quilts now.   






Since Judy gave me one of her baskets, and those are on my Design Wall this week, I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday over at Judy's blog Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hexagon Sewing Tutorial

Hello Everyone

I promised a hexagon sewing tutorial quite awhile ago.   This is just the way that I sew my hexagons; it's not the only way.   In a lot of cases I try to play mind games with myself when sewing.  An example is when I'm hand sewing binding.   I start close to a corner, so after I turn that first corner I feel like I'm a quarter of the way finished.   I know that's not true, but if you can trick yourself into thinking you are closer to the finish than you really are, you get more of a sense of accomplishment and don't feel discouraged at trying to complete the task you are working on. (or at least that's the way I feel).

Hexagons do take awile to sew together, but it's like anything else --- the more you do, the faster you get.  

There are several ways to baste hexagons:

(1) Take a whip stitch at the corners folding one corner over as you are stitching. (photo below).
(2) Whip stitching the corners sewing through the paper piece.  (I feel like this one is hard on my hands.)

(3) Glue basting using the Sew Line glue pen.  This has become very popular and is my choice for basting paper pieces right now.   You simply baste your hexagon shape over the paper piece using a light line of glue.  Be sure to put the glue on the paper and keep it away from the edge where the fabric is folded over.  That way you are not trying to stitch your hexagons together through the dried glue.  These glue pens and refills are sold at most quilt shops.  I buy mine at Back Door Quilts.  



The first thing I do is sew my hexagons into pairs.   That is pretty mindless sewing that you can do while talking or watching TV.  I just put two sides together and stitch.  The only time you have to watch the orientation of the hexagons is if you are sewing fussy cut hexagons.    You can read my Fussy Cutting Tutorial here.  The link can also be found under my blog header.

   Sewing hexagons into pairs is part of my mind game.   Once they are in pairs, the whole hexagon comes together pretty quickly.



Here are my pairs of hexagons.




To sew these hexagons together, I first put the two hexagons right sides together and take 2 or 3 stitches.




Then I sew using a flat ladder stitch (photo below) to finish sewing.  This helps to hide your stitches on the right side of the hexagon.



Next I sew the pairs into hexagon rings.   (I sew the six hexagons together leaving an opening to form a ring as shown below.)  The arrow shows the opening.



 I have always done it this way because that is the way my Grandmother sewed her hexagons.   Here is a photo of one of her hexagons below.  The difference is that she sewed the entire ring and then sewed the inside ring together.   You can see that her template was the Joker from a deck of cards.  Her hexagons were all hand pieced and cut with scissors.  (She lived from 1888-1980 so this fabric is pretty old.)

I have a box full of her hexagons that I need to put together.  You can see that she has cut enough hexagons for a block and held them together with a thread knotted at one end and then a stitch through the stack.



I sew my hexagons this way because I can thread the needle once and sew the center into the hexagon ring with this one thread.   Start sewing at the start arrow and go around the center ending by sewing the last two pieces together by sewing your way out of the hexagon ring.   



Here are some of the hexagons that I've fussy cut.   






The hexagons in the above photo were cut from the fabric shown below.    


I keep a container like the one below full of 1" bright hexagons that are basted.  I also have a container of 1" reproduction fabric hexagons and a third container of 3/4" reproduction fabric hexagons.   


Below are several photos of 3/4" hexagons that are fussy cut from reproduction fabrics.











When you have a few hexagons sewn into flowers, you can either join them together with a background fabric (a path), or you can hand or machine applique' them onto a background fabric.  I've done quilts both ways.   

If the repeat in a fabric is like the one below - kind of a tossed flower pattern - I will take one hexagon that I've fussy cut and place it on the same flower in the fabric and trace around it.   That way you are sure to always get the exact same shape in each hexagon.  



Happy Hexagon Sewing and English paper piecing.   If you haven't already tried English paper piecing, I hope you will give it a try.    If you have any questions, email me or leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.   

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