Hexie Patterns – Ready!

I’ve been working hard over the last month or so to create patterns for all of my hexie quilts and projects, and I finally finished them all! I have them up at Craftsy.com where they might be seen a bit more than here. I’m really happy with the work I put in, I think they’ll be good.

It was interesting going back in time and looking at my notes to how to do certain things, and how those things evolved over time. I really do love working with the hexie shape!

Do you EPP? Which one would be your favorite? Leave a message below telling which pattern you’d choose and why.  I’ll do a random drawing for a winner who will get the pattern of their choice in a digital .pdf format! Drawing will be on September 5, 2017.

Mindfulness

quilting hummingbird No2

Lately, with all the horrible news and hate-filled, ignorant people running rampant – I’ve been a little overwhelmed. I know I’m not the only one, and I know this is nothing new… it’s just heavy.

To stay out of a downward mental spiral into utter depression, I’ve been practicing mindfulness. Really it’s just finding the positives out of the negatives, and being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Even still, I’ve been crying intermittently all week due to the terrorist attack on the MAX – the same train my daughter takes often… it hits really close to home. The reality is is that I will never understand the white-power nationalistic ideals – just can’t relate. Their whole base is that they are better or more human than others. I’ve seen this in my own parents, and it’s just sad, and there is nothing you can do to help them understand that all humans are equal… so what can we do?

This is what I’ve been meditating on: What can we do to help people unite and save our planet? I’m just one little spec of a human on a spec of a globe in a spec of a universe… however, if I can think of the larger picture like that, it does help. It reminds me that each atom is positively or negatively charged. Each person is positively or negatively charged. Right now, almost everyone I know seems to be negatively charged… but: if enough people are positive, we would automatically make more positive changes as a global organism. It’s a little woo woo – but it’s one of the few things that keeps me going at the end of the day: the fact that if enough of us little specs of humankind take on a positive charge, we will make positive change.

While contemplating this and trying to stay positive, I’m working on my Hummingbird No.2 Quilt. I just finished all the hand quilting and it has such amazing texture now, I can’t wait to finish it! One binding – coming up!

quilting hummingbird No2

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say…

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say… We have a lot in common.

I saw this saying on a shirt recently and it hits the nail on the head. I’ve actually written about 2-3 blog posts a week over the last month, but haven’t posted any of them because there’s not a lot of nice things to say right now. Between the current administration, and things like Fukushima… it becomes difficult to lead a contented life.

I think I’ll leave it at that. No need to fuel any more flames in my heart. So… I want to get back to quilting! Sewing always makes me feel better. I think it’s because the making of something tangible gives me a little sense of accomplishment.

Right now I’m currently hand-quilting Hummingbird No. 2. I quilted the body of the bird with almost invisible silk thread, and I’m using #12 perle cotton thread to stitch vertical lines with larger stitches. I’m really loving how it’s turning out.

I want to add at least 3x the amount of lines I already have… and in different blue thread colors. I think I’m just going to put French Knots in the centers of the flowers and leave them alone otherwise. They might puff out a little more once I quilt more lines into the background.

This is a slow project. I’m just not motivated to push myself to go fast… partially because I’m not ready to start another project just yet. Close, but not quite.

I also just finished my SIBO diet ‘cleanse’ and have some positives and some negatives from it. I did a lot of research into the subject and learned a lot. Mostly what I learned is that there are 2-3 differing viewpoints on how to treat the bacteria overgrowth – and that they are learning as they go. Hopefully more solid information will be discovered as more and more people are having gut issues. (have you seen all the acid reflux and constipation commercials recently??)

Mostly what I’ve learned is that most of the food-like product being sold to us as edible food, should be questioned. Who knew there were so many ties between lobbyists, the FDA, Monsanto, big Pharma, big Ag, the EPA and our government. I learned that a company like Merck or Monsanto can do all research on their own product, show their findings to EPA or FDA (filled with people who used to work for Merck/Monsanto/Bayer/ etc.) and get the “Okay” to make big profits off us… based on their own findings!! There is no real oversight, and that frightens me. It frightens me because almost everyone I talk to 100% believes the EPA and FDA are legitimate agencies for our benefit, when in reality, they are the stamp of approval needed for larger companies to poison us for profit.

Maybe my next quilt needs to be food-related…?

Another Kind of Busy

applique

I’m always a little overwhelmed with the quilting projects in my mind that are in que. This year with all the political turmoil, I feel even more scattered. Right now I have about 10 quilt ideas and it makes it difficult trying to figure out what to do next. Not knowing makes me ‘spin’ or not be able to focus on one thing at a time. Luckily, Cannabis can calm my mind when I need it to – and I’m so thankful for that.

I’m feeling very pulled toward making a political quilt. Or more. Unfortunately the ideas come quickly, but they go just as fast. I’m not sure that quilting is the best ‘voice’ for making change in the here and now, but it’s fantastic as a historical documentation.

Beyond sewing, I’ve also been very busy with our printing business. This time of year is slow for us, so it’s a good time to re-organize and prepare for the upcoming year. Usually this is the only time off we get, so we try to enjoy the down-time, however it’s always a bit rough when finances are tight.

This year I completely redesigned our website during this lull period. I’m pretty proud of myself because I didn’t need to sign up for Lynda.com for help this time. I feel like I did it pretty quickly (3 weeks) plus, I just got confirmation that all the forms work, and if you’ve ever worked with code, you might know the level of satisfaction that gives! If you’d like to see my handy-work, check out Phantom Chicken Screen Printing.

After looking more closely to this blog, I think I’ll be redesigning this site soon too.  applique

I’m still working on my Hummingbird No.2 Quilt – it’s now all appiquéd to a backing fabric, basted and ready for quilting. I just bought some Superior Kimono Silk Thread and special needles for my machine. If I can get this thread to quilt on the machine, I might machine quilt the whole thing – or I’ll hand quilt the bird and machine the background. Decisions, decisions!

I’m also planning a commissioned quilt design that should be really fun. I want to plan it well enough so that the actual time to create goes very quickly. I can’t share until finished, but then I’ll post all about it.

In the meantime, I’m cleaning my sewing room and getting ready to bust out some pillows and other smaller projects I’ve been thinking about so I can make room for some bigger projects.

Slacker

Hummingbird Hexie No2

Been feeling a bit like a slacker lately when it comes to working on this blog, but I am getting closer to being able to focus on it. Right now I’m working on a big website overhaul for our business site – I like to keep it updated, and the new version of Dreamweaver I’m working on is pretty sweet… at least so far. We’ll see how well it goes when I test links and usability.

In the meantime, I started some Cannabis Pillows – I have two tops made and the backs are cut, zippers in house, all I have to do is sew them up!

cannabis Pillow Tops

I think they’ll be pretty sweet when I get them finished up. The other project is my Hummingbird #2 Quilt – I’m appliquéing the bird down now, I’m about halfway done. For this one, I’m going to add some flowers so the bird can be in the garden!

Hummingbird Hexie No2

I’m still working on the placement of the flowers. I’m going to sew the whole bird down first then I’ll work on the flowers. They are so cute!

What are you working on this month?

Hummingbird Step

I just finished piecing together my second hexie hummingbird for a new quilt… and while it’s not the greatest photo, I just had to share!

It’s on my design wall right now – time to pick a background fabric to appliqué it onto. I was thinking something on the darker side, since a lot of the fabrics are pretty light – but seeing it on the light background here is making me rethink a little. I guess it will depend on what I have available!

This has to go on hold for the moment as I ready the paperwork for the annual major accounting for our business. It was a difficult year for us. There are many t-shirt printing companies online that use direct-to-garment printing or have automated equipment that can crank out t-shirts faster than we do on our manual press… and fewer people are considering quality as an important factor in their purchases. So it’s time to re-think the plan and see what we can do to increase the right type of sales. I have a feeling my time will be spent with these thoughts more than with fabric over the next week, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Nothing grows unless you nurture it.

Positive Strides

I have to stay positive mentally, or my mind goes into a downhill spiral real fast. This time of year is hard to not get a little down, and this year especially – I think it has been tough with everything that has been happening in our world.

As I reflect over the past year, I realize there has been a big shift for me. In some ways, I’ve grown a lot… but in other ways, I feel like sometimes it’s 1 step forward, 2 steps back. I feel like I’m learning so much, which makes me feel great, but because I’m learning so much, I’m exposed to some realities that make me feel extremely nihilistic.

This feeling is very similar to when Reagan was in office. I have always considered myself a ‘damaged Reagan youth’ because when he was in office, I was afraid of an atomic bomb going off at any minute. So much so, that I was afraid to go to sleep. My dad moved us close enough to a nuclear silo so that, in his words: “if there ever was a nuclear war, we would be the first to go, and we wouldn’t suffer”.  It was meant to be calming. Also, being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, we were constantly being prepared for the end of the world or Armageddon… I remember a couple times when we thought it was the beginning of ‘the end’.

This fear ‘of the end of the world’ turned to anxiety and now, many years later, I’m experiencing the same phenomena of being so scared of dying at any moment, that I can’t sleep. I know it sounds silly – especially reading this out loud – but it’s my reality right now. I feel safer now than ever before in my life… but I still have this fear, and it frustrates me to no end, because I know better than to succumb to it.

The best thing I can do is keep busy. Keep my mind off spinning inside my own thoughts. I’ve been cleaning and re-organizing, and I’m also making progress on my Hummingbird Quilt No.2. Here is a picture of the backside so far:

Backside of the Hummingbird Quilt No.2 in progress- 1/2″ hexies #hummingbirdquilt #hexiequilt #hexies #pmqg

A photo posted by Gail Lizette Weiss (@gweiss23) on

Today also marks the last day of the #31 Day Blog Writing Challenge. I know I missed a few days through the month, but overall it was a fun challenge to take part in. Thanks again to Cheryl Sleboda for the push!

Happy Holidays

The holidays can be a somber time for me, but this year we’ve been keeping the obligations very light and so far this has been a great period of time for us. I’m using the down time to sew and spend time with my daughter who is living with us and has some extra time off as well.

I’ve been working on my Hexie Hummingbird No.2 Quilt. I have all the hexies sewn into rows, and now I’m starting to sew the rows together.

I used the ladder stitch for the individual hexies, but now that I’m sewing the rows together, I’m using a whipstitch. I hold the piece flat and work from the backside:

whipstitching

I work from one side of the quilt to the other so that each row I sew onto the main piece is easier to manipulate and work with. Here is an illustration of how I sew the rows together:

Sewing EPP Hexie Rows Together

Using this technique, I usually don’t get any stitches that show on the front of the quilt. I also don’t remove any papers until the whole piece is complete.

piecing Rows

I’ve missed a few days this month for the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge, but I plan to keep up this last week!

One Day At A Time

rows12.17

Yesterday I said I would show what I got done in on Hummingbird Hexie No.2 in a day, and this is it – five rows:

rows12.17

I try to stitch for 2 hours a day. Sometimes I can’t get to it because life can sometimes get in the way! 😉  But if I shoot for 2 hours as my daily goal, I know I will finish anything in a timely manner.

Here is my layout currently in process:

Hexie Hummingbird No.2

You can see two of the rows lined up on a “hexie-roll” at the bottom of the photo. I have a few more rows to do after I finish these two, then it will be onto sewing the rows together and starting to pick out a background fabric!

 

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!

 

Hexie Piecing

piecing hexies

I’m currently stitching another Hexie Hummingbird Quilt (No.2) and right now it’s at the piecing stage. Instead of making flowers, I stitch individual pieces into rows then sew the rows together. I made an illustration of my stitching:

Making EPP Hexie Rows

To sew the individual pieces together, some people sew with right-sides together. I was taught to do it a little differently by sewing with wrong-sides together! I also switched my thread up to a fine silk thread (Superior Kimono Silk #100) and the needles used are John James #10 Sharps – it’s what works for me.

piecing hexies

I use a ladder stitch, and start in the center, work my way to one side, then back to the other side, then back to the middle. I try to stay on the ‘inside’ of the paper template.

This means it’s double stitched and I can easily ensure no large spaces between my stitches – they are tight and hard to pull apart. And when you “open” the row to see the front, you see no stitches at all.

piecing hexies

My Sunday will be filled with more sewing while watching my nephews play with Legos and watch all the Star Wars movies. I think I’ll be able to get a lot of sewing done today!

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.

 

 

Sunday Preparation

hexie strips

Today we are getting ready for a visit from my In-Laws who are coming in from New York City. They’re arriving on Wednesday and I’m so excited to see them! They have always been super supportive of us, even helped us get into this house to begin with.

records n kitties

So, I want to make sure the place is looking good and clean. I’m a cleaning mad-woman today – so much dust accumulation, and so many things to move around to clean it.  As I was cleaning, I snapped a couple photos – just to show when you collect plants and toys, dusting all of a sudden can become a big project!

plant nursery

My husband is the collector – but he is no longer adding to it… just maintaining the things he already has. *phew*  Many records, comic books, toys, etc… it makes for fun still-life pics! Not to mention, always having something interesting to look at, read, or listen to.

As far as sewing goes, I plan on doing more hexie stitching later today. This was my kit and progress from yesterday:

hexie strips

I got 3 strips of hexies stitched together in 2 hours and 45 min. However, it was at Sew Day, so I was talking while sewing and I think that resulted in a much slower pace of stitching! I’m okay with that, at least I can get a little bit done while visiting – and, I think hanging with friends is really important right now.

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!