Another Cold Day

sewing tools

It’s been pretty cold here in the PNW. Snow has been on the ground for days and I’ve been spending a lot of time indoors, and in sweaters! We had a family visit last week, and it took a while for me to get caught up with work after they left – so my daily blog post was neglected a few days.

I did get a little time to work on Hexie Hummingbird No.2 – I’m still sewing the individual hexies into rows. It will probably take another week or so to get to the next step, which is sewing the rows together.

Hexie Hummingbird No.2 in Process

You can see the missing sections… they are ready to travel in a hexie-roll. I can take this project on the go by rolling the hexies into a batting roll, and using a small plastic container as a dispenser. As you pull the batting, the hexies ‘pop’ out in the order and placement you need them. See more about how I put that together here.

sewing tools

This is my current sewing ‘kit’ situation. I have my hexie-roll, and all my tools and thread in a cardboard box (with lid). I always need a scissors, needles (which you can barely see here – they are on their side next to the scissors), a thimble, thread and thread conditioner. I have silk thread here for piecing my hexies, and the other threads, along with the clothespin and grey grip are used when I bind a quilt. My nephew drew a neat piece of art that makes me happy, and he left it there for me… so sweet!

So I’m off to get some more sewing done today, I’ll show my progress tomorrow, since I still want to keep up with the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge!

 

One Full Week

hexie Rows

Today marks a full week since I started the 31 Day Blogging Challenge, and I’m really happy I committed. The prompt to write really keeps me active in this process, which is great. I know that some people view blogs as a bit out-dated, but for me, it’s a great reference tool to check back on my work and the thoughts I was having while making each quilt. Very much like a journal.

Like a journal, my writing is a little personal – but sharing is important. I think we are all so similar, and when we read personal things about a someone, it helps us realize we are not that different from each other. We may have very different backgrounds and ideas… but emotions and stresses affect us all the same. Finding common ground is what we need right now, in more ways than one.

Yesterday I wrote about Cannabis, and I lost a couple of my very few followers. I realized that there will always be a stigmatism around that plant as long as people keep their minds closed. So… good! I don’t have time for that type of negativity, however… my goal is to cull more readers, not lose them.

hexie Rows

Last night I did get a little sewing time in, and got a couple rows of hexies put together for my Hexie Hummingbird No.2. I stitched while watching the Ink Master Finale. Yeah… it’s a bad habit, but I do love tattoos, art, and social studies! It didn’t hurt that Ryan Ashley broke the glass ceiling in that regard, and became the first woman Ink Master! It was fun to watch with my daughter, who also loves tattoos, and looks up to strong women.

 

 

Sew Day!

Hexie Dispenser

Today our quilt guild hosted an All-Day-Sew at a local fabric store, which happens to be close to where I live… so I walked there and back. Luckily, I started working on Hexie Hummingbird No.2 so I had an easy project to tote with me.Hexie Dispenser

I roll up my hexies in batting rolls to take on the go – I explain the whole process here.

This allows me to take my project anywhere and work without worry of losing placement. I got a little done today, but honestly I used a lot of my time visiting with friends… which is awesome!

 

Changes…

Hexie Hummingbird No.2 Layout

Phew… boy oh boy. I have been on a crazy physical and emotional rollercoaster lately, and I’m pretty sure I can chalk it up to getting older and being female. Ugh. I’m sure some of you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Yeah, I think it’s that time. I’m 47 and the average age is 51, so it looks like I’m right on schedule. This is one of those times I wish I could talk to my mom and find out more about her health issues. Instead I’m reading up on the subject and learning a lot on my own about this somewhat intangible thing called peri-menopause.

This could be the base of a lot of my recent ‘mystery symptoms’! The thing that tipped me off was I recently started getting morning sickness… and I’m definitely not pregnant. Who knew this can be a symptom?!? I sure didn’t, and if it’s anything like the morning sickness I had while pregnant 26 years ago, I will be miserable every morning till it’s over. This along with many other fun things like hot flashes are my new reality.

As you know, I need to find a silver lining in everything, or else my depression can take hold and pull me to never never land. So… I’m excited that this may be the cause of other awful symptoms… and it all could be going away soon!!  I just have to get over the hump. To do that, I’m immersing myself in quilting.

I brought my Juki in for a cleaning and tune-up and since I’m now without a machine, I started another hexie project! Hexies always cheer me up – they are so freaking cute!

Hexie Hummingbird Finish

A good friend purchased my Hexie Hummingbird Quilt recently, so I decided to make another one with my left-over hexies. This was much harder to lay out than the first one due to my dwindling resource of made hexies… but I’m still happy with it. This photo is close to the layout I ended up with:

Hexie Hummingbird No.2 Layout

Pretty cute, right? I like it because I’m using bright, big patterned fabrics. Very different than the usual monochromatic patterned fabrics I usually choose. This is going to be fun to sew! I’m going to keep track of my time on this too. It was very interesting to see my time spent on my last quilt, and that helps give me confidence to value my work more accurately.

manipura quilt-gail weiss

Speaking of which… this is me with the Manipura Quilt at our most recent PMQG meeting – thanks to Kimberly Lumapas for the photo! I was so nervous I don’t think I was even making any sense up there… but my guild is so supportive! As soon as the quilt unfolded, there was a bunch of applause and it made me feel like a rock star! (a little embarrassed too – if I’m being honest)

I’m really happy with how this quilt turned out, but – I really enjoyed the process of making it more than any other quilt I’ve made so far.  Now that I’ve made two Chakra quilts, I think I’m going to follow through and do all seven. It will be a fun design challenge, and if I use the process of quilting for healing – it can only be good!

 

Hexie Hummingbird Quilt Finish!

Hexie Hummingbird Finish

Super excited to share my last quilt finish – the Hexie Hummingbird! This was a super fun project – especially trying to make-do with the fabric I have on hand. It’s a smaller quilt, finishing at 34″ wide x 39″ tall, perfect for a wall hanging.

Hexie Hummingbird Finish

When I last blogged about this project, I was trying to decide on a background fabric to appliqué the Hummingbird to… well, I think I found the best thing hidden in my stash. This is Petals in Violet by Alison Glass, and I think the hand-dyed nature of it makes the Hummingbird look magical. I also thought it was neat to use a hand-dyed fabric for my hand stitching work!

I had a small piece of Tula Pink’s Free Fall backing fabric that just barely covered the back of this piece, it was very dreamy to hand quilt. I only hand-quilted the Hummingbird itself – the background was free-motion-quilted with my Juki. I really loved how the hand quilting made a neat pattern on the back.

BackHandQuilting

The hummingbird idea came to me while I was having cranial sacral work done, and I feel it has a deeper meaning than just an idea for a quilt. I know it’s a sacred totem for certain native tribes, but I do not know what exactly it symbolizes to them. For me, right now, I’m just seeing it as a good sign that I’m on the right path forward – where ever that may lead me.

Finish Closeup

I was able to finish up the binding at our PMQG monthly All-Day-Sew yesterday, which was really fun! I got to meet up with a quilter-fried from Minneapolis who is here visiting – we have many mutual friends, so it was really sweet to catch up. It also felt a little like worlds colliding, talking about people and experiences from years ago, all while happily quilting the day away. It was really grounding for me, and that is a good thing.

Yellow-Fabrics

Lately, I’ve also been thinking and dreaming of making a yellow quilt, so I recently came up with a new design. At first, I wanted to try to make it monochromatic, but I decided it needed a little grey, white, and cream to make the yellow pop. The design is done and ready to go, but my yellow fabric supply is looking orange. Funny how yellow is… and then isn’t – as soon as you change the shade! I think it’s one of the hardest colors to work with, but I’m plugging forward. More about this quilt to come!

 

 

 

A Quilt Finish!

Teal Sparkles Finished Front

Last night we had our yearly PMQG picnic, and I was able to finish a quilt to bring for show and tell. I brought it because I wanted to share a ‘frustration’ quilt. I know we all have them from time to time – that quilt idea that never really came to fruition the way you pictured in your mind…

I started this quilt last year, and have added bits and pieces over time and every time I pull it out to work on it, I became frustrated by my placement choices and would put it away again for a while. I tried working on it a bit every month, but would get irritated by looking at it. Have you ever made a quilt like that?

Teal Sparkles Finished Front

Last month I decided to just get it done already!!  I put it in my mind that it didn’t matter how it looks, I’ll just use it as a couch quilt anyway.  So I finished the front and used my questionable pieces for the back making a 2-sided quilt, and was very unhappy about it until I started quilting it.

Teal Sparkles Finished Back

For some reason, quilting this piece, connected me to it and I started to appreciate the work… and once I was finished, I felt it was good enough for show and tell. At our picnic, I received some really nice feedback and now I’m liking it even more 😉 I’m definitely my own worst critic!

In other news, my hexie hummingbird is coming along nicely! Here is the backside of the piece – showing my stitching work before hiding it forever…

Show Your Work

I’ve finished piecing the bird itself, and took out all the papers and appliquéd it onto a backing fabric – I’m in the process of quilting right now, but I wanted to show how I take the papers out of the piece before appliqué.

First I need two important tools: a seam ripper and a wooden BBQ skewer.

Paper Pulling Tools

I work in rows so I don’t get confused – and I start snipping my basting threads with the seam ripper. I snip once on each hexie – then I use the wooden skewer to pull a basting stitch or two, then to pop the hexie out:

Pulling Papers

Before I basted the hexies, I punched holes in them for this very purpose – my seam allowances are big and cover the back of my small hexies… so it’s very important for easy paper removal. Once they were all removed, I pressed it well. At this point, I’m quilting this piece, and hoping to have it ready for our next guild meeting!

Contemplation

Hexie Hummingbird Pieced

I recently finished piecing my Hexie Hummingbird together! It went so fast… not adding a full hexie background certainly helps in the time department.  However, now I’m faced with a big decision: what to use as a background fabric?

Hexie Hummingbird Pieced

This decision has taken days – I want to only use what’s in my stash, and I don’t have many pieces large enough (1 yard) to use. So I spent some time in contemplation, and I’ve settled on a great piece that looks a little magical to me. I’ll be sharing soon…

In the meantime, I’m working on a binding for a quilt that I’ll have finished for our next PMQG meeting, which is also part of the PNWMQG Meetup! I’m really happy there is one event where I can meet new quilty friends that is free. Will you be coming to town? Wanna meet up? Hit me! I don’t get to travel much anymore, and I love meeting new friends and talking quilts.

 

Making Progress

whipstitching on back

I’m steadily making progress on my Hexie Hummingbird! Currently, I’m stitching the rows to each other. whipstitching on back

While I make the rows using a ladder stitch, I change it up when I’m sewing the rows together and use a whipstitch. I think it’s easier to work as a flat piece when the rows are coming together.

To start, I take the piece I’ve stitched together an place in on my design board exactly where it needs to be:

Finished section

I check my layout to make sure it’s in the right place then pin the two sides where I need to start stitching:

pin In Place

From here I flip it over and start my stitch a little in from the edge:

stitch Start

The blue fuzzy thing I’m working on is a stuffed animal in the shape of a bolster pillow. I find by using this pillow on my lap while sewing, it helps me keep the piece flat while working on it, I can see my stitching better, and sew with less stress on my wrist… I can also wrap it around the pillow as it gets larger.

I start stitching here and work to the edge then back up the way I started:

stitch Start 2

I’m testing a fine silk thread as a double strand right now. Usually I use an all purpose thread, and that can be used as a single strand. I’m still undecided as to which way I like better.

stitch Start 3

I like using the whipstitch here because you can really tighten it up and make super strong seams – and you can’t see them from the front:

top

So this is my progress! I’m looking forward to the appliqué process – it will be a new thing to try for me!  I just love how quickly this project is going – and it’s because I didn’t do a full hexie background. Food for thought!

Tonight is the PMQG meeting, and they’re having a mini-trunk show of all the quilters who had quilts show in the PMQG section of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Since I’m in that group, I’ll be bringing some quilts to show tonight, even my hexie quilts! I’m a little nervous, but really excited to be able to share my quilts again!

Sewing Hexie Rows

Needle Through

I’m working on a Hexie Hummingbird right now, and I sew in rows, and in my previous post, I show how I take my hexie-row sewing to go. In this post, I’m going to show you how I stitch these little guys together! *I feel the need to say: this is my own technique – it may not be the “right way”, but it works for me!*

First, you’ll need all your ‘tools’. For me, this is a well-fitting thimble, John James #10 needle, Superior Silk Thread, Thread Heaven, and a scissors.

ToolsNeeded

After threading my needle, I run it through the Thread Heaven – this makes the thread easier to work with and last longer. I make a quilters knot in the thread – and start in the center of my first hexie, and tie a knot:

Starting Knot

Then I push the needle up through the center, staying on the inside of the hexie:

Needle Up

Next, I take the hexie I’m going to add and make sure it’s nicely aligned to the first hexie, with WRONG sides together, and then do a ladder stitch to one end:

Ladder stitch 1

Flip the hexies over and ladder stitch all the way to the other end:

Ladder stitch 2

Flip the hexies again, and ladder stitch back to the center:

Ladder stitch 3

‘Open’ the hexies, then carefully send the needle through to the backside without catching any fabric (if you do catch fabric, you’ll see the stitch on the front):

NeedleThrough

Tie a knot on the back, close to where the thread emerges from the front:

Back Knot

From here, you can make a running stitch up to the top, where the next hexie will go, and make another knot – this way, if the running stitch accidentally gets snipped, the knots will keep the stitches in place:

Next Knot

Voila! Well stitched hexies… with NO stitches showing!

No Seams

I have just finished sewing all my rows for the Hummingbird – next up I’ll be sewing these rows to each other.

finished Rows

It’s really going fast! It makes such a difference with the decision to appliqué this onto another fabric, rather than making a full hexie background. It feels real good to be able to get a hand-project done quickly!

Hexies-A-Go-Go

Hexie Travel Roll

I’m just about ready to start stitching my new hexie hummingbird design, and I thought I’d share how I take my hexies to-go with me so I can work on piecing anywhere!

I physically layout my whole design before starting to stitch. That means you need to have a layout space large enough for your project. The hummingbird is on the smaller side, so it fits on card table. For other projects I’ve used a 4′ x 8′ piece of foam insulation covered in batting and rested it on a table top.

Once you have your layout exactly how you want it… you can take your piecing on the go with a handy little roll:
Hexie Travel Roll

Here’s how (get ready for a few photos!):

You’ll need • a long strip of batting about an inch wider than your hexie pieces, • a strip of fabric same size as the batting strip, and • a scrap of practice quilting

Needed Items

The scrap of practice quilting should be the same width as the fabric and batting. Roll it up and secure it with paper clips.

innerRoll

Next, start laying out a row of hexies – centered onto the piece of batting:

Travel Hexies 1

Continue lining up your hexies exactly as they are in the layout:

Travel Hexies 2

Travel Hexies 3

Leave a little space between separate rows, so you don’t accidentally sew them together.

Travel Hexies 4

Travel Hexies 5

Travel Hexies 6

When you run out of space, lay the strip of fabric over the hexies.

Fabric Cover

This piece of fabric will keep the hexies from sticking to the backside of the batting.

From here, take the pre-rolled quilted scrap and place it on the end where you just ended your layout. This piece will keep your hexies from getting bent in the roll.

Start roll

Carefully roll it all up, adjusting the fabric strip as needed:

rolling1

rolling2

Rolled up

Now you can pin it on the sides to keep it all in place:

pinnd

When your ready to stitch, place the roll in a small plastic container like this:

Plastic Container

I put a spool of thread behind it for stabilization, because this roll is a little small for the container. Once in place, you can un-pin and carefully start to pull the batting:

Carefully Unroll

Lay the batting over the edge of the container and pull as you need – it’s sort of like a Pez dispenser for hexies!  It’s a great way to sew in rows and keep all your hexies exactly as you had them laid out.

Hexie Dispenser

Once you have a completed row stitched up, you can lay it back on your design table, and start on another row.

If you try this little hexie-dispenser idea, please let me know how it works for you!

Hexie Hummingbird – Start!

mass-O-hexies

It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a hexie project to work on – I really needed a little break, and I wanted to focus on some machine stitching – which was great, but I’m starting to really miss having a hand-project.

mass-O-hexies

It took some time to figure out what I wanted to make next. I have a whole bunch of 1/2″ hexies basted, ready to use… but I needed a plan. Last week I saw my therapist  (Shiatsu, Rolfing, Cranial Sacral, & Energy Healer) and while on the table in full meditation mode, I envisioned a hummingbird. No reason… but I came home and felt the need to make it come to life, so I spent a little time on the computer and laid out a Hexie Hummingbird!

Since I have so many basted hexies already, I didn’t want to make anymore – and just use what I had in my stash – which turned out to be much more difficult than I imagined. I wanted to share the evolution of this layout:

First I print out my design layout and use that as reference for hexie placement. This was my first layout:

Hexie Hummingbird Layout 1It’s not bad… but it could be so much better, so after a day of rearranging, this is my second layout:

Hexie Hummingbird Layout 2Wow… that just got super messy – but I really liked the purple wing and the orange tail feathers… I just needed to get that back wing and the head to read better.  So this is my third layout:

Hexie Hummingbird Layout 3Now that back wing is just driving me nuts… I’m about 4 days in at this point and about ready to dump the table and start over. I do really like how the face looks better a bit lighter.

I took a full day off of looking at it – sometimes you just need a break, this type of creative work can be exhausting… but the time invested always pays off!

Next time I worked on it, I spent another day picking and switching and changing my mind, then I came to this layout:

Hexie Hummingbird Layout

I’m really happy with this! I posted it on IG late last night and got a lot of great feedback, so I think this is IT! For this hexie quilt, I plan on just doing the main image in hexies, then I’m going to try appliqué and place it onto a solid background… and maybe add some hexie flowers too. I’m excited, because this approach should make this a fairly quick project.

I’m so happy to be back in the hexie swing again!

The Squid Hexie Pattern

The Squid Hexie Quilt

I’m so excited to have this pattern ready to share!

The Squid Hexie Quilt
The Squid Hexie Quilt

I started the Squid quilt in 2010 after going to my first PMQG meeting and learning about English Paper Piecing (EPP). We practiced basting hexagons (hexies) and the possibilities I imagined in quilt patterns was so inspiring, I went home and designed the Squid that night!

It took 7 months of hand stitching, and a lot of learning to get it finished – but I was hooked and couldn’t wait to get started on the next one (The Wood Dragon).

Fast forward 6 years to now with 3 large hexie projects under my belt, I’m being asked often for the patterns, I finally sat down and wrote one up for The Squid. You can find it here on Craftsy.

As a bonus with my patterns, I’ve attached the Illustrated Stitching Techniques as a print out, and I set up the Hexie Portal with links to tutorials and other information on hexie stitching that I’ve written about here on this blog.

I hope I can inspire other people to become a hexie addicts like myself!

 

Hexie Quilt Patterns

icon

I’m making some progress over here! I have a new page on this blog called “Hexie Portal“. I’m hoping it will be a good resource for tips and tricks for hexie stitching.

I have a few links listed there with tutorials I’ve written in the past. I’m also sharing new illustrations that show my stitching technique.

Last but not least, I have my Wood Dragon Hexie EPP Pattern finished and now available on Craftsy!

I will be following up with patterns for the Squid, Jellyfish, and Placemat as I get them finished. YAY for progress!

A Hexie Placemat – All Points Patchwork Blog Hop!

Hexie Placemat

 

As you may know… I’m a hexie addict, and when Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod contacted me about participating in her Mug Rug Blog Hop, I couldn’t say no! She has recently published the book: All Points Patchwork that is chuck full of all sorts of tips and tricks for English Paper Piecing (EPP). She covers everything you can think of… and then some. It’s a great book to add to your quilting library!

In this post, I’m going to show part of my design process, as well as my stitching process for an EPP hexie placemat.  In the near future, I will have a full pattern available for this project – check back soon.

When I have created hexie quilts in the past, they have been larger projects with more pieces, allowing a more detailed imagery. A small mug rug or placemat bears some difficulty in creating a unique design.

I am a very visual person, so the way I design is by trial and error with a physical layout. For this project, I used a card table covered in batting as my “hexie play station”, and really just arranged and re-arranged different hexies until I was happy with a design! For this design in particular, I wanted to incorporate many bright colors together… without a rainbow effect and without it getting too busy.

If you have many different colored hexies, this is a really fun way to realize ideas.  For my larger quilts, I layed hexie graph paper over a picture of what I wanted to create and colored in the hexies accordingly to abstractly represent the underlying image. Once I have the basic solid-color layout – I physically lay out each hexie and arrange / re-arrange the individual pieces until I’m happy. That usually is the hardest part of the whole process and can take months to do.

Here is a video of me beginning to lay out my Jellyfish – this was 4 days of work, and the actual layout I used took over a month to finalize. Even then, I feel like I could have reworked it a million times over. Sometimes… part of the design process is knowing when to stop.

Finished Hexie Top – 1/2″ hexies

Once a design is all laid out and finalized, I start sewing my pieces together. Some people like to sew these as flowers and piece them that way, but I like to sew the hexies in rows, then sew the rows together.

I have recently been introduced to Kimono Silk thread – and it works amazingly for piecing without the stitches showing!

How do I stitch my hexies? I use both a ladder stitch and a whipstitch. I worked on some illustrations to show my process. This is just the way I do it – everyone has their own style. In All Points Patchwork on Page 48, Diane explains how she sews these together… and on page 200 she describes a ‘skimming whipstitch’ which I use a lot!

To baste hexies I personally use either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch hexies, using paper templates from PaperPieces.com. I punch a hole in the center before covering with a square of fabric. This is a small size to some, and can be basted only on the back without going through the paper. With larger pieces, you may need to baste through paper. I love this size because it’s very easy to manipulate the fabric and hold it in place with one finger.

Once you have a bunch of hexies basted, you can lay them out as you like, creating a design that is pleasing to your eye. Then when you’re ready, you can start sewing the strips of hexies together. To sew the strips, I use a ladder stitch. I start in the center, stitch to one side, then the other, then back to the center. This keeps the knots from the edges and reinforces the stitch.

Make sure to catch the fabric on the inner edges, that way your stitch will virtually disappear when you ‘open’ your pieces. This was the first ‘trick’ I learned when I started making hexies – thanks for the insight, Rachel!

When passing the needle through from the front to the back, try not to catch any fabric – if you do, that little stitch will show.

I take a stitch and tie a knot right on the inside and run the needle to the next side to be sewn and tie another knot without snipping the thread. You can snip the running stitch between hexies when you take out the basting… or you can leave it there.

Then, when all the strips are stitched, you can stitch the strips together into rows. To sew the rows together, I lay them flat next to each other and whip stitch from one end to the other.

When I am sewing long rows of hexies together, I sometimes wrap my project around a bolster pillow to make it easier to work with. Since I’m right-handed I like to hold the strip I’m stitching on the left side using my left hand to hold everything in place while I stitch… I rest my left hand on the bolster.

Once all the pieces are sewn together, it’s time to start thinking about quilting and binding. Also time to pull those papers out! The tools I use for this is a wooden skewer and a seam ripper.

First I snip the basting with the seam ripper.

Then I use the skewer to pull out a basting stitch or two. This is when the hole punch in the center of the template comes into play.

The skewer then goes into the punched hole of the template… and pops right out! You can leave the snipped basting stitch as is, or you can pull the threads out too.

Personally, I like to pull all the threads out – it soothes my OCD tendencies, and I think it looks better! Also, if you pull the threads out, the paper templates stay fairly flat and are reusable after ironing!

I am currently out of spray baste, and don’t want to buy anymore since I don’t have a good place for glue basting at my house. So lately I’ve been thread-basting by hand. For a small project like this, it took me about 15 minutes. I use Sharon Schamber’s technique described here.

This way of basting is fantastic! It holds everything in place so well, and is very easy to work with compared to pins. It’s how I basted the Jellyfish too. From here I had to do a lot of thinking on how to quilt this! Since the pattern is busy, I decided to go loud and use pretty colored #8 Perle Cotton threads with bigger stitches.

I also made a hexie binding for this project. You just need to make a copy of your project and string together hexies to make the shape of it. I needed a printout to mark off as I stitched so I put the hexies together correctly… and still made a few mistakes!

Once the binding was complete, I pulled the papers out and pressed with starch to keep the folds as crisp as possible.

In hind-sight, I think I would leave the papers in until the binding is stitched onto the front. It would make it easier to stitch! But this was my first attempt at a hexie binding and I’m learning as I go!

Before I could stitch the binding on, I had to very carefully trim out the extra batting and backing. Take your time here – a wrong move could go South quickly! After trimming it up, I pinned the binding (right sides together) to the front.

I stitched all around the edges, making sure to avoid catching any batting or backing… and I also tried to take small stitches. Sometimes I back-tracked to make sure there were no large gaps in my stitching. When it was sewed onto the front, I turned the binding to the back and used my skewer again to pull the points on the hexie shapes.

I then double checked my stitching around the edges.

And lastly I stitched the binding down on the backside to finish.

Voila! My completed Hexie Placemat is ready for use! There are 324 pieces in the front, plus another 68 pieces for the binding, for a total of 392 hexies in this project.

The final measurement of this placemat is 15″ x 19″ using 1/2″ hexies. For a larger quilt, you could use 2″ hexies for this pattern, and make a 60″ x 77″ quilt! I will have this pattern available soon with step by step illustrations and hexie graph paper too.

For amazing instructional photos and information on paper piecing, check out All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. Her step by step approach makes it easy for anyone to jump in on the hexie train!

For even more inspiration and information, check out the other stops on this Mug Rug Bloghop:

Monday, 9/14: Hanna Andersson, http://www.ihanna.nu/
Tuesday, 9/15: Maryline Collioud Robert, http://www.maryandpatch.blogspot.com
Weds, 9/16: Gail Lizette Weiss, http://gaillizette.blogspot.com
Thurs, 9/17: Ula P, http://www.luluandceleste.com

Friday, 9/18: Caroline Heinrichs, http://www.goodearthquilting.blogspot.ca

More Hexies!

Since I finished the Jellyfish Hexie Quilt, I’ve been making hexies out of random scraps of fabric that have been given to me by a few PMQG members (Thanks Sam, MaryAnn, and Cris!) So I have piles of crazy-colored hexies to play with.

I came up with a layout for a medallion for a larger quilt, and I’m stitching it together!

Hexie Medallion in Process

This is the first project that I’m using Kimono Silk 100# thread (thanks to Rachel!) to stitch them together with, and I am loving the results! From the front you cannot see any stitches, and even on the back, the thread is so fine, it looks really clean:

Showing the work

These are 1/2″ hexies. The size I used on the Jellyfish and the Dragon. It’s my favorite size because they are so easy to handle while sewing. No need to baste through the paper with smaller pieces like this either.

I also have a quilt finish to share… it is for the Game of Quilts Challenge, so I’m not posting pictures yet, but I’m very happy with my project, and can’t wait to share! For now, I’ll continue working on these hexies – I love having a go-to project like this.

Hot Summer Days

The weather here in Portland has been unseasonably warm. For some reason, my body has much more inflammation issues in the heat than usual. I now have cankles, and my feet and toes look like sausages. That part isn’t so bad, it’s the sciatica (which gets ramped up with inflammation) that has been keeping me un-able to do much of anything.

However, my spirits are up – on our way out to dinner the other night, Gregg spotted a folding card table and 4 matching chairs with a free sign on it – we quickly made a U-turn and now I have a ‘Hexie Play Station’!
(and on a side note: My friend Kimberly turned me onto a new place to eat. Teote is super yummy and gluten free …and they have fried plantains!)

Hexie Play Station

I used some masking tape to attach batting to the table top – it can easily be removed. The batting really keeps the little 1/2″ hexie pieces in place… so even when Mr. Kitty jumps up there, they don’t slide around.

We set this up in our basement which has been staying about 10-15 degrees cooler than outside, and so now I have a project to keep me busy for a while… I have a lot of hexies made:

Bin and Bag of Hexies

 

Solid Brights

I made all the solid bright hexies from a honeybun roll – there were 41 different colors and I made 28 hexies out of each 1.5″ strip of fabric. I have them all color separated in baggies for now till I figure out exactly how I want to use them.

Currently on the HPS (hexie play station)

FYI: it seems to be much harder to design a layout this way… as in: not having a plan. At least it is for me! I’m going to play around with this today – I’m interested in making a few smaller projects with these hexies. We’ll see what speaks to me once I get all the colors divided.

Stay cool folks!

Just Making…

Lately people have been asking what I’ve been working on hexie-wise… and I don’t have a specific project in mind. I’m currently just making to make, with hopes that the right design will just show itself to me!

I am very, very fortunate to be a part of the PMQG where I have amazing friends, and some give me their fabric scraps. Sam Hunter, who is an amazing quilter and teacher, has been feeding me little bags of awesome fabric scraps for months now, and I’m starting to get through them!

Super cute hexies – Thanks to friends!

Look how adorbable!! Do you see the elephants? – Those are my favorites so far. Going through these little bags is like opening little treasure chests of awesomeness! Thanks Sam, and everyone else who has contributed to my little addiction 🙂 I can’t wait to start laying them out to see what quilt will be next!

On the machine front, this is what is on my design wall right now:
Design wall 5.19.15
Not sure what the plan is here yet… but I’m liking the colors. There are a few other quilt ideas I think I’d rather be working on, so this might get put away for a little bit, unless an idea strikes and I see where this one wants to go. Right now it’s WAY too symetrical and expected – this will take some work. At least when I get frustrated, I always have hexies to make! That always makes me feel productive, and feeling productive is a very good thing these days!

Making Hexies

piles of hexies, still making more.

This is my current sewing project.
What IS the project? I do not know… yet, so I’m just in the making mode.

hexie-making kit

I have been going through scraps and getting them cut down to size (1.5″ squares) so I have something to work on all the time. The solids are from a ‘honeybun’ roll of Kona Brights – I’m keeping them separately from my other scrap fabrics.

bin of random hexies from scrap fabrics

bag of solid hexies

There are piles of scrap fabric on my cutting table I still need to cut to size, so I have plenty to work on for a while (thanks Sam!) 

So, at this point of making… it’s time to think about design. I am playing around with the idea of smaller projects like placemats and snackmats… projects that can be done quickly and that I can share with others.
What are you working on this month?  

Jellyfish Finish!

I brought the Jellyfish to my guild meeting last night for the first unveiling of it being totally finished… so now I can share here!

Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – Finished. Hand pieced, quilted, knotted, and bound.

What a thrill to have it completed. I was just talking to a friend about how I never used to be able to finish or follow through on anything… so this is really a step up for me personally.  It’s the follow-though I’m most proud of… but it sure is pretty to look at too!

Here are some close-ups:

I tied a bunch of French Knots into this quilt – they look like bubbles and from a distance look like part of the fabric. They add so much depth and texture, I just love them.  I had planned to quilt all the “water” with French Knots, but I changed my mind and used them sparingly and quilted it all with a fine silk thread.
Here is the right side with even more French Knots
This is the lower left side – I love those little bits of red in the “water”. You can also see the French Knots I used to ‘quilt’ the border white and cerise hexies.
I call this part “algae” because it ended up looking like something else floating in the water… maybe some food for the Jellyfish…?
This is the head – I used even more French Knots and lightly quilted it.
Here is the back… you can see a little more of the quilting here.  Since I used a 100# silk thread, it’s barely visible, which gives the water a wonderful ripple-effect.
I used wool batting so it all fluffed up really sweet – shows the quilting so nicely. I’m totally hooked. I plan to use wool batting whenever I can, it’s dreamy to work with.
I have about 750 hexies made for my next project. I’m unsure as to what exactly I plan to make, but I just can’t stop making them – I’m hooked.

A Bit Of Sunshine

It is gorgeous out today here in Portland – sunny and warm for February. It’s not the norm, but I’ll take it!

Since joining the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, I have made some friends who are amazingly talented. They are inspirational and they have taught me so many things over the last 5 years. So I was thrilled to hear that our own Rachel Kerley won 2nd place for her “The Dishes Can Wait” Quilt at Quiltcon this week in applique! Congratulations! She has been a good friend and quilting mentor – shit… she was the one who showed me how to make hexies. Enough said!

Speaking of which, I’m almost done with the Jellyfish!! It’s all quilted, I’m just adding a few more French Knots, then I’m hand stitching the binding on. OMG so close!

The right side of the Jellyfish head is still being worked on, otherwise the rest is finished, and this is what the quilting is looking like:

Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – Progress shot – hand quilting and French Knots

I quilted the water with 100# silk thread, so it’s almost invisible. I’m using DMC pearl cotton for the French Knots and stitches in the head. I wasn’t quite sure how this was all going to turn out, but…

I LOVE IT. I can’t wait to show it at the next PMQG meeting in March.

Quilting By Hand

Quilting the Jellyfish

After many tutorials, I’m trying to hand quilt my Jellyfish Hexie Quilt. It’s been quite a process of decision-making to figure out my plan of action. In the picture above you can see some of my quilting… and I have to be honest, it’s not as good as I would like it to be. My stitches are a little too far apart. Here is a close up: 

Quilting the Jellyfish
I’m using a silk thread that was given to my by my friend Rachel who has been using it for her awesome appliquéd quilts. I love using it, it doesn’t fray or knot up at all… and it’s fairly invisible. My problem comes in when “rocking” my needle. I just can’t take small stitches! I figure it must be all the seam allowances making it difficult. Anyhoo… I’m going for it regardless! Sometimes you just need to do things, even if it’s not perfect. 
I am thrilled with how my French Knots are turning out – I’m using them as “bubbles” in the water and will probably be adding more once I finish the quilting.  I WAS going to only use French Knots to quilt this, but I thought it might look too messy, so I changed the plan.
French Knot “Bubbles”
I’m still working on ideas on how to quilt the actual Jellyfish… I think an idea will present itself when I’m ready to work on that part. For now, I’m just stitching away – I’m about 1/3 of the way through the “water” with quilting as is, although I may go back over all my stitches and add more. I just thought I’d share something to show how much of a learning curve I go though with each quilt I make.
While I was hoping to have this quilt finished by the end of this year, I’m still happy to be where I’m at. Happy New Year everyone!

Jellyfish Hexie Top Finished!

I finished the top!!!! Happy dance!

I waited to post pics until I had showed this to my guild last night – I was really excited to show it in person – the PMQG is the best group ever! I’m very happy with how it turned out, the colors are vibrant and the background works. My favorite parts are the “bubbles” in the background… and how it looks almost glow-in-the-dark in some areas… and so many friends donated scraps for this quilt. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of the extremely sweet people in my life.

This was started January 14, 2014 – today is September 19th… so nine months of work so far. There are 2373 1/2″ hexies in this piece, and I used (re-used) papers from Paperpieces.com Now it’s time to think about quilting. So much to ponder…

Starting Something New!

Time to break out a new pattern from my idea list. The plan is to follow up on the block I did for a GenQ Magazine block builder challenge they had in June. The name of my block is “braces” because that’s what I see when I put a few of them together.

It took about 4 hours to figure out how to put the block together, how I wanted to piece the blocks within the quilt, as well as pick and cut my fabrics.

Cut fabrics for Braces Pattern

After reading this blog post by Molli Sparkles about the value of quilts, and talking to other quilters, I’ve decided it’s important to keep better track of my time spent when sewing AND designing. It’s really important to know the value of your work – even if you decide to give it away… it’s important the receiver has an idea of what it’s worth. As craftspeople, designers, and artists – we as quilters need to become educators as well. Here is another great blogpost from Sam Hunter on great comebacks to those who still don’t understand the value in what we do… my favorite is: 

“Can I get a quilt as a donation? It will be great exposure for you.”Did you know you can die of exposure?

So… based with these inspirational thoughts, I pulled out a timer and have it next to my machine – I’m all ready to chainpiece away until I get all my blocks made – I’m so curious to see how long it will take! I’ve always just guesstimated my time, it will be good to have an accurate account.

By the way, I’m still stitching my rows together on the Jellyfish – this is progress as of 8.23.14, I’ve gotten a few more rows done since. There is an All-Day-Sew for PMQG next Saturday, and I’m trying to work it so I can maybe finish it there! It would be super cool to finish with friends around, but I’m not going to get my hopes up yet – there is still a bit to do before the finish line.

Jellyfish Progress 8.23.14

Slow Growth

Not much to report, just a little slow growth of the Jellyfish!

Friday will mark one month that I’ve been connecting the rows of hexies together, still have a bit before hitting the center mark, so if all goes well, I should have the top done sometime in October.

What are you working on this week?

Being Productive

I got a little bug up my butt to finish my “Unbe-weevil-ble” quilt last weekend, and I was super productive by focusing on it as if it were a job. I gave myself two days to finish the quilt back, and I got it done!  Here it is on the floor, taking up even more space in our living room.

You can see the Jellyfish sitting up on a design board on a table above the quilt back I’m working on. That top area is all stitched up, I’m ready for the next row of hexies – I’ll be bringing it to the PMQG meeting tonight, along with the stuffed round blue guy I stole from my daughter to use as a work surface.

I had yet to baste a quilt in my new house. Figuring out how to baste that big quilt proved to take a bit of time in problem solving. I ended up sticking with spray baste, which is my favorite basting method, and just laying out bed sheets to catch any runaway spray. I did it on our basement floor which is carpeted and padded, so I couldn’t tack it down… but it still worked!

Started working on the quilting yesterday – it will take a little time, I’m just doing (somewhat) straight line quilting at an angle – I think it will look good, and I can do it on my Singer! Unfortunately, I will NOT be able to finish this quilt for the meeting tonight… next month!