Kaleidoscope Quilt Progress Report

I’ve been pushing through life lately. I’m sure you can relate.

I’m working on my emotional issues and that has been draining. I just keep going back to sewing when I start to spin out mentally. – Do you know that feeling? When there is so much going on AND so much to do, you start to go from one idea to another – not giving anything the needed time and attention it deserves… not getting anything done…?
I call it spinning out.

But –  I have been working on my Kaleidoscope Quilt and it is coming along very nicely. I only have 3 chunks left in the whole quilt!  SQUEEE!
Then I need to sew these larger chunks onto my centerpiece, so I still have a bit to do, BUT I think I’ll be able to finish the top to show it at Show and Tell at PMQG in August!
If so, that will mean I hand stitched a 60″x80″ quilt in 10 months. NOT BAD!

The time saved is all because of the stitch lines on the back – not having to use paper pieces saves so much time! If you’re interested in trying them, we have some in stock in our store here. I call them NEPP pieces or Not English Paper Pieced pieces.  I’m already starting to plan a second quilt like this… in a totally different color story.

I think the only negative compared to EPP is that when you press the fabric, the back looks messy. With EPP, the seam allowances are all neatly basted into place. With a good pressing… it doesn’t really matter.

I’m really excited to finish this project… but it’s sort of like being halfway through the last book in a long series – I’m going to be a little lost until I find another hand-sewing project!

A Plan Formulation

Finally a plan for my Vishuddha Quilt is starting to come together in my head. I make things a little more difficult by trying to only use what fabrics I have on hand… but that also makes for a more interesting quilt!

The Throat Chakra (Vishuddha) is energetically based in the neck region and is connected to our power of communication. It also connects our physical attributes with our mental ones. When this chakra is blocked we can experience fear of conflict, inability to speak up or speak out when necessary, and more physically: neck, jaw, and shoulder pain – and thyroid problems.

So I’ve been envisioning the shape of the thyroid gland as a base design element. It’s often described as being the shape of a butterfly – and I’m also thinking of the pattern metal shavings make with a magnetic field.  I was having a hard time translating that look to a quilt pattern idea… but I think I got it! I’m going to try a New York Beauty Block – make it big and split it down the center.

One of the main symbols of this chakra are 16 petals. These petals represent each vowel in the Sanskrit language. Without those sacred letters, speech would be impossible. Instead of going super literal and making petal shapes, I’m going to make the NYBeauty block with 16 points.  I drafted my own pattern, and traced it onto newsprint:

The color associated with this chakra is blue – a more aqua blue to be exact. This is where I have to put a little time into planning so that the quilt will be balanced. My blue fabric selection is all over the place, but I really want to make it work without having to purchase anything new.
See what I mean:

This is all my blue – and none of the pieces are over 1/4 yard, many are scraps… I have to dig though my solid stash and see how much in white and blues I have to work with. I think with the right solids, you can make anything work!

I’m off to separate these into color/value order and see what’s there. Wish me luck!

Our Retail (Ad)Venture

It’s up… our online store is up!!
It’s a store that combines my love of fabric and quilting with Gregg’s (my husband/partner)  screen printing ability.  It’s what I’ve been working on this winter to keep me busy. Pretty exiting!

Our approach to business is a low-tech, slow-grow, and hands-on. We don’t plan on automating or investing in a digital printer. We want to keep the craft of hand-pulled screen printing alive and well . This is what makes us very different from most ‘printers’ you find online who either use their own digital printer or they use a third-party printing platform like Society6, Printful, Cafepress, or Spoonflower.
Digital printing technologies have made big advancements over the last few years. It is this technology that makes it difficult to compete as a manual printer, and is part of the reason why we are trying this retail adventure!

Here are a few things we offer:

Fabric Panels.
Our screen printing studio is not large enough to print large bolts of fabric like they do for quilting cottons (see video here), but we can print fabric on a small scale! We are hand printing fabric panels to be used whole as a centerpiece for a pillow or quilt block. However you can cut them up and use them however you wish! Since the inks used require washing, we are serging the edges, washing and pressing the fabric panels. Their finished size is approx. 11.5″ x 13″


NEPP Hand Sewing Kits.
This is the most exciting thing for us to try! Being a hand stitcher myself, I have often used the EPP method (English Paper Piecing) for sewing shapes together. This is where you use die-cut paper templates to baste fabric around to make your ‘pieces’, then you stitch all the pieces together. This takes a bit of time, so I tried tracing my sew lines on the back of the fabric and using a running stitch with y-seams, and that was much quicker, but less accurate. Then I thought that we could screen print the cut and sew lines on the back of fabric very accurately… and I had to try it! Now that I’ve been using my NEPP (Not English Paper Pieced) pieces, I’m flying through my current hand sewing project!
So –
we are creating NEPP Hand Sewing Kits! I’m designing the color layouts and we are currently using Kona Solids for fabric. The kits will have all the pre-cut fabric pieces with accurate stitch lines and Y-seam start/stop points for smaller, less daunting projects. Each kit will have tracing templates to give the project right angles so you can easily add it into any other patchwork. Kona colors are listed for matching purposes.

Quilt Patterns
I put my Hexie patterns up and plan to try to write at least two other patterns for machine-stitched quilts by the end of the year… it’s good to set goals, right…?

Handmade
We made a category called Handmade for things that don’t fit anywhere else. I have a few quilts and other quilted things, and we have old printers-proof posters, and cards we hand-printed years ago and when we did hand printed flat stock. It’s time to let go.

Pre-Orders
We’ve done a few of these over the years… it’s a great way to offer a featured design on many different apparel items without having to keep inventory! These are limited edition prints in every way. There is a set ORDER BY date – usually allowing for 2-3 weeks time for people to place their orders, and there is a SHIP BY date stating when we will have the shirts printed and shipped by. We plan to do one Pre-Order a month.

Featured Designer
This month for our opening Pre-Order Sale, we are working with Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio as our Featured Designer!  The design is: Respect The Power Tool.
We are so excited to be able to work with other creative types in this way. It helps our sales and the designers get a percentage of every purchase using their design.

 

You’ll find our store in the menu above, and at PhantomChicken.com/store.html

 

 

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!

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!

 

Pondering…

Manipura Quilt in progress

I have been actively working on The Manipura Quilt. It’s a quilt made of 792 long isosceles triangles that combine and create one large downward pointing triangle in the center.  It is a quilt based on healing or opening the Third Chakra – more about that here.

blocks6

The 99 blocks are all finished, and I’m following my printed pattern – so it’s just a matter of going through the motions of  accurately sewing the blocks together. This gives me a lot of time to think, and honestly… maybe there is too much to think about right now.  I keep referring back to the mantra that goes with the making of this quilt:

“I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this reality – effortlessly.”

Confident, successful, and effortless are not words I’ve used to describe myself… ever, so – this is real work for me personally.

Manipura Quilt in progress

Success is a hot topic on my social media feeds lately (a couple great reads listed below). It means different things to different people.  Most people seem to want a success that looks like fame and wealth. Don’t get me wrong… I’d love more funds to cover health and dental work, and get out of debt. However, I need success to be attainable to me, and I may never be ‘successful’ in making money in the art or quilting world.

Manipura Quilt in progress

So I will allow myself to feel successful for: 1. Leaving a religiously fundamentalist family which was/is very hard, 2. Leaving an abusive relationship or two, 3. Stopping the use of alcohol, meth, and cigarettes, 4. Owning a home after being homeless, 5. Creating a family business that pays the bills, 6. Creating a family full of love, communication, and compassion, and 7. Creating time, space and funds to actively quilt.

These things make me feel good, which will help in the confidence department. There are a slew of other things that make me feel like crap about myself, so it’s a real work in progress to feel any confidence. Anxiety, on the other hand, seems to be my best friend… and is constantly whispering thoughts of ineptitude into my brain.

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As I circle around my personal thoughts, I realize I have much to work on emotionally. I’m so thankful I found quilting – it’s a sort of vent or release for me for many issues. I love working through my emotions to a place of feeling accomplished… just with some fabric and thread. On top of that, you create a beautiful source of reference for when those bad feelings may re-emerge, and you need strength to move on.

With all the craziness in the world today, between corrupt politicians, corporations, and media – I look forward to every bit of time I have to sew – time to clear my head and have success in making something comforting out of nothing.

Manipura Quilt in progress

Here are some great reads on success and art that I was turned onto by some FB friends:

Snarling Girl by Elisa Albert

Cynthia Daignault on not commodfiying your art

Ahnoni on art, corporations, and the music industry

 

A New Method – Foundation Paper Piecing

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

I recently designed a new quilt that will need to employ foundation paper piecing for accuracy. I was pretty hesitant to start making blocks until I was shown a really neat technique at our PMQG sew day by Rozina who was working on a Pickle-Dish block.

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Manipura Quilt design by Gail Lizette Weiss

After she showed me how she did paper piecing, I went out and bought a roll of freezer paper and just jumped right in. This is a pretty easy way to get accurate piecing… AND not have to rip papers out at the end.

I haven’t managed to film a good working video yet, so get ready for a lot of photos!

The blocks of this quilt are all the same – using different fabrics. There are 15 blocks in the quilt pattern that are split on an angle to make the inner triangle. Each block finishes at 6.5″ x 9″ –  I inversed my pattern and printed it on a piece of lightweight newsprint paper.

From there, I cut freezer paper to 8″x10″ sheets – this gives me plenty of room for additional seam allowance. I took 8 sheets of FP with the paper side up  (wax side down) and stapled the paper pattern to the top. I stitched through all layers without thread, then carefully took out the staple. I trimmed the paper to 3/8″ around the pattern to account for seam allowance. This gave me 8 freezer paper templates with perforated lines, ready to use. These templates can be re-used quite a few times, but I opted to make a template for each block to keep things organized better. My machine did fine with 8 sheets, you may need to test yours.

Now the tricky part:

Patternfreezer paper template

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the section of the paper pattern I’m going to demonstrate – it’s highlighted – Block #B1.

I marked the freezer paper with pencil on the paper side – so the marking is inversed. That is a hard thing for my brain to get around due to my dyslexia – I have to triple-check my markings before sewing, and I still get some things mixed up… but basically, if I flip the freezer paper over, the markings will match my pattern.

Heat up the iron, I’m ready to start sewing!

I start from the center section of the block – for this demo, “X” is for solid yellow. I put the fabric right side down, and lay the freezer paper over it (wax side down) and press. Don’t worry about the wax paper on your ironing surface – it peels up easily without residue while still warm.

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

You can see here while I’m holding this up that the fabric is now adhered to the freezer paper.  See how there is at least 1/4″ of extra fabric around the whole “X” section. There is excess on this piece I used, I need to trim that off.stucktopaperSo… lay the paper/fabric piece on your cutting table, fabric side down – and carefully peel back the wax paper to the perforated line that marks the “X” section:

Foundation Paper Piecing TutorialFoundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you are ready to trim that extra piece off, but make sure you add 1/4″ seam allowance first.

Foundation Paper Piecing TutorialFoundation Paper Piecing TutorialFoundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you are ready to add your second piece of fabric- which, for me are these dots!Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

With the paper folded over, you can check to see if the fabric is large enough to cover the perforated shape plus seam allowance.

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Once you have your fabrics together (right sides together), it’s time to sew. I sew right next to the freezer paper fold. Sometimes I catch a little of the paper, but that’s okay, as long as it is very close to the fold.

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Now it’s back to the iron. I lay the piece down so both fabrics are on top,

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

then I fold one fabric back and press out, just on the seam (very careful NOT to touch the freezer paper!)

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Then I flip the whole thing,

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double-check the seam matches up to the perforated line,

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fold the paper back over the fabric and press.

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Now I have two pieces stitched together, and I’m ready to trim the dots and add my next section.

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So, I fold back the paper to the perforated line that denotes this section,

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And trim adding 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Add next piece of fabric (solid yellow in this case) and sew closely to the folded paper line.

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Open and press as before, careful not to iron over the wax part of the paper.

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And… as you can see… I make mistakes sometimes! This second solid yellow piece is sewn on backwards – it doesn’t cover it’s “X” section the way I sewed it on, so I had to do a little seam ripping. It didn’t affect the paper at all.

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I was able to reuse the piece, I just had to carefully place it before stitching so it would cover the whole section, and still have seam allowance.

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After stitching and pressing, this is how it is supposed to look!

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I keep adding sections, one at a time, out to one edge,

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then start in the center again to work toward the other side.

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Once all the sections are covered, I consider the block DONE! I’m leaving the paper on and not trimming the sides until I’m ready to start sewing them together.tut057

All my markings are still on the back – which should make layout a snap.

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Here are three finished blocks all lined up:

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I’m so excited to start sewing this quilt together! I guess you could say I’m a little obsessive – all I want to do is sew. Things like eating, cleaning, and work tend to become frustrating distractions, and I have to check myself to make sure I stay grounded. I have to say, with corporations trying to destroy our planet, and politicians just helping them along… it’s extremely easy for me to lose myself in a project like this.

I hope this little tutorial was as informative and inspiring for you as it was when it was shown to me!

Manipura Quilt

solar plexus chakra quilt

A few weeks back I had an intense emotional release during my yoga practice, I wrote about it here. Ever since, I’ve been envisioning how to purge those emotions through quilting. I’ve also been dreaming about sewing a yellow quilt, so I designed one!solar plexus chakra quilt

I spoke with my Cranial Sacral Therapist about all this. I told her how I wrote about it on my blog and she found it interesting that I’m being so open about my emotions in that very public way. She reminded me of how I felt like an outsider when I was a kid, and how I usually try to be invisible as an adult. It’s a protective act – not be seen or noticed – to keep myself safe from ridicule/pain/nerves. This new ‘showing of emotions’ should be taken as a sign to move past the fear, and to believe in my self-worth.  I showed her my design, and we both think my Solar Plexus Chakra that is screaming for attention.

The Solar Plexus Chakra, also called Manipura, is the 3rd chakra and is based just below the diaphram. It is where our will power comes from, and our ability to achieve, self-esteem, raw emotions, and self-discipline are seated there. This energy system governs the large intestines, the stomach, the digestive system, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the liver and the lungs. When you have a ‘gut’ feeling about something, it is this energy source that is communicating to your brain.

Yellow, fire, and sunflowers are all positive symbols of this chakra, and so is a downward pointing triangle. My design is perfect for this project.

With my anxiety, liver, digestive issues, it makes total sense that this is where I need to work energetically. I need a better sense of self. To help heal this chakra, the mantra I need to keep repeating is:

I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this Reality, effortlessly.

So I’m repeating this over and over as I stitch away. One fun fact is that this is my second try at foundation paper piecing, and I’m learning a lot as I go!

solar plexus chakra quilt

solar plexus chakra quilt

The paper piecing technique using freezer paper that my friend Rozina showed me, works great! I’m going to work on a tutorial for that soon!

solar plexus chakra quilt

Looking at the design again I see so much more symbolism – there is the center triangle standing apart from the background. That is representing my self-worth – and it’s made up of many other smaller triangles, that represents my friends and family who are super supportive. The darker edges around the center triangle sort of look like feathers, but really represent all the tears and negativity shed over the years, so I could find myself.

It might seem weird to use quilting as therapy, but for me – it works. I think it’s extremely therapeutic to work with texture and color, and to work and create something completely new with your own hands. While working on the Root Chakra quilt, I connected with that quilt, that project, everything about it, was healing for me. I’m happy to work through emotional baggage as I sew. Plus, I think the end result radiates the energy I put into it.

I am confident in all that I do. I am successful and release my creative energy into this Reality, effortlessly. 

 

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:

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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!

Hexie Quilt Patterns

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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 Valentine’s Quilt

Detail of Green Gardens Quilt

I have two quilt finishes to share… the first is a quilt that Gregg made! He’s not very big into social media so I’m sharing for him:

Valentine Quilt
“The Shortest Distance” Quilt made by Gregg Weiss

He’s had some time on his hands and decided to get creative. He screen printed on fabric first – thought maybe we could sell hand-printed fabric, but the time spent in printing made it too cost prohibitive. So, I though I’d make a quilt out of his fabric – but he stopped me and said he wanted to try to make a quilt!

Ironing
So we set out on a teaching / learning journey together and it’s been a blast going over so many different techniques. I have the book: “Quilt Talk” by Sam Hunter and he found it and taught himself how to do foundation paper piecing! Then I showed him some improv piecing ideas and let him go to town.
Improv Piecing
piecing/planning
Quilting done
mid-quilting

He even learned quilting and binding. Teaching is rewarding, but can be a little tough… luckily, he’s a quick learner!

Gregg with binding
ready for binding

The saying on the fabric is: “The shortest distance between two points of view is love”. It was the perfect Valentines project to do together!

While he was busy with this project, I finished a quilt too! It’s a commissioned quilt, and I’m a little sad to know it’s not staying with me… but it’s going to a good home.
Green Gardens Quilt
“Green Gardens” by Gail Weiss
Detail of Green Gardens Quilt
I’m most happy with my 1/4″ seam allowance accuracy on this quilt, and the straight line quilting. I just learned about using rulers – and boy does that make a difference in keeping my lines a little more uniform looking. The pattern came out well too.
Another quilt pattern I made is this one:
Quilt Map
Quilt Pattern – Gail Weiss

…and I’ve got the top done already:

Oceans of Blue Top
Today I’m piecing a back for this quilt. I made a few mistakes on the front, so I had a few extra blocks and fabric – so I decided to use it all up and make a back.  This is where that’s at so far:
backStart
Piecing a Quilt Back
I found a cobalt floral print that goes well with the colors, Im really liking this side too – so I might consider this one a two-sided quilt! I should finish today, and hopefully get the quilt all basted up and ready for quilting. I’m hoping to have this one done for show and tell at our next PMQG meeting.
On that note, I’m off! Time to zen out on my favorite hobby. What are you working on today?

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…

Time To Connect

YAY! I finished sewing all the rows in the Jellyfish quilt this weekend! I was lucky to take the whole day on Saturday and sew. I spent most of the day with my quilty friends at the PMQG All-Day-Sew and was able to get a lot done, then I came home and finished up the last few (very small) rows.

I’m starting with the top corner and will work my way down. When I stitched the rows together I used a ladder stitch, now to connect the rows, I use a whip stitch.

This is the fun part! Each little stitch builds the quilt. I already have the small corner done and it’s sooo exciting! I started this project in January, and am really happy with the progress – I hope to have the quilt fully completed by the end of the year.

Thanks to my new quilty friend, Sam, I was turned onto something called Thread Heaven. It’s a thread conditioner made of silicon… and it really helps keep the thread from knotting up. I think it’s helping me stitch a little faster too – I highly recommend it!

I’m hoping my progress with the hexies goes fast so I can dig into some new fabric and machine sew a few things. I’ve been big into dots… and I’ve always liked tone on tone prints. It’s hard to have these out and not be using them yet.

The cerise with white dots is for the back of the Jellyfish – I think it will be perfect. Now that I’m at this phase of the project, I can start considering the kind of quilting I want to do… French Knots will certainly make another appearance!

Starting To Obsess

I’m at a point in the Jellyfish Hexie quilt where all I want to do is sew… so I’m making pretty good progress! In a few days I’ll have half the hexies stitched into rows – once the diagonal rows are done I can put it all together! Here are more process shots:

Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – bottom portion sewn into strips
Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – starting a “roll” of hexies
Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – an open “roll” of hexies ready to be rolled
Jellyfish Hexie Quilt – rolling hexies up in batting and fabric strips
Rolls of hexies ready to go!
My hexie roll kit

All Day Sew Day!

Yesterday I was able to attend the All-Day-Sew that the PMQG sponsors every month. It’s pretty sweet…  now that I moved, I’m feeling pretty lucky in that I can walk to the fabric store where it’s held!!

It was really fun – we have such a great group of people. Of course, I forgot my camera, so no pics of the day – oh well. I do have a photo of all the pretty fabric I bought while I was there – the fabric store was having a 35% all fabric sale… and there were some sweet remnants too! My little brain is spinning with all the ideas I have for some of this:

Sweet new fabric score!

I also finished two long strips of my Jellyfish Hexie Quilt. I’m taking a photo with some dimes and quarters to over some of the stitched rows to show size. What do you think Miss Kory? Does this help?

Each piece is a bit bigger than a dime. Hexies are so cute… especially when they’re small – right?

The sun is out today, and I don’t have anything pressing, so I might take the opportunity to sit in the sun and stitch a few more of these together. My pace is at about 30 in a row per day. Not too bad.

Number 200!

This is my 200th post! Woot Woot!

To celebrate, I’m going to be posting some free downloads. You’ll find my Unbe-weevil-ble quilt pattern, and a file to print to cut your own 1/2″ hexie paper templates. I’ll be adding my layouts for the Squid and Dragon Hexie quilts soon too – kind of exciting to be able to give back a little!

Timing is on my mind as I feel I’m going very slowly on the Jellyfish Hexie Quilt… I’ve started sewing rows together from the bottom up. I’m sewing about 25 hexies together a day, so I am making some progress.

Missing rows are currently being stitched together – bottom right rows completed.

I figure it will take about 3 months to sew the rows and another 2-3 months to sew the rows to each other. Fingers crossed to finish this year! Here’s my layout sheet – you can see I make really good use of it for note-taking, counts, and a little math. I used a piece of cardstock for the dragon quilt… much better than regular paper.

Jellyfish Pattern – all marked up, and a row of stitched hexies.

Help me celebrate my big 200 by leaving me a comment. (comments make my day!)
I’d love to know if you have done English Paper Piecing before, and if so – what was your first project… and how long did it take you to finish?
If you’ve never tried EPP, what would you make if you did?

I Have Committed!

Okay, so… months after starting the Jellyfish Hexie Quilt layout, I have finally committed. I’m done – no more moving hexies around, so time to sew!!

strip sewing kit

I broke out my “strip sewing kit” today. It’s a great little “tool” for taking this project with me without losing my place in the layout.

First I cut a long strip of batting about 2″ wide, then a piece of fabric at about the same dimensions. I lay down the batting, and carefully place the hexies, in order, onto the batting:

I start at on one side the quilt and go at an angle. I think sewing the strips as angles will help even the pressure of the stitching when it hangs on a wall.

Once all my pieces are laid out on the batting, I place the strip of 2″ fabric over the top – this will keep them from sticking to the batting later.

Then I take a practice piece of quilting and make a roll out of it.  I use this to keep the hexies from bending when I roll them up.

Then I start to roll it up.

When rolling, I adjust the fabric layer to keep it from bunching up. When it’s all rolled up I carefully put it in this small plastic container.

There is a spool of thread under my fingers in the photo… it holds