Monday, February 13, 2017

Hexi-Flowers Quilt

Last July we sold our home in Missouri and decided to look for a small piece of property in Wisconsin where we could do a little "homesteading" and raise our boys in a rural community.

During the process of selling our home I knew I needed to keep my sewing/craft space clean and neat and I also knew that once we sold our home I wouldn't have time for quilting/sewing during the moving phase. Also, as part of this move we were going to be staying with family in both MN and TX while looking for our new home. I couldn't lug around my sewing machine and fabric making messes at other peoples houses either. While I knew I had to pack up my sewing machine, I also knew that I needed a project that I could take with me, work on during car rides, in the evenings, etc. I needed a small hand piecing project that would keep me busy for an undetermined amount of time. I decided to make a quilt using EPP (English Paper Pieced) Hexagon Flowers.

Prior to packing up my craft room, I cut out hundreds of 1 inch hexagons using white cardstock and my Cricut Explore. I decided to go with 1 inch  hexagons because I wanted to use Charm Packs of different fabric and if I cut the charm squares into fourths (2.5 inch squares) they fit perfectly on the 1 inch hexies. I loved the idea of using charm packs because it was an affordable way to mix and match many different prints. Each charm pack usually runs between $9-$12 with about 40 5 inch squares included, if I cut each square into fourths I can get about 160 hexies from each charm pack!

TIP: If you can find water soluble foundation you can use that to cut out your hexagon template and then you don't have to remove them later. Pro - it's easy, Con - you can't reuse the template.

I already had 2 charm packs of Happy Go Lucky and 1 charm pack of Marmalade both by Bonnie & Camille for Moda in my stash. Bonnie & Camille fabrics are so cheerful and vintage and really do make the perfect hexagon flowers! Along the way I ordered charm packs of Vintage Picnic, Little Ruby, and Handmade all by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. So I guess I should call this my Bonnie and Camille Hexi Flower Quilt.

Image result for bonnie and camille happy go lucky fabric

Image result for marmalade bonnie and camille

Image result for vintage picnic bonnie and camille

Image result for little ruby bonnie and camille

Image result for handmade bonnie and camille

Like I said, I cut paper hexagons and my charm squares in fourths or 2.5 inch squares, then I used a glue stick to position the wrong side of each 2.5 inch square of fabric. With my ruler and rotary cutter I trimmed each fabric square leaving a quarter inch of fabric around the paper hexagon.

I prepped about 400 or so of these hexagons prior to packing up my sewing room!

So what do you do after you have all of these lovely little hexies prepped???

Over at The Zen of Making I found some really good/clear pictures showing how to stitched the hexies around the paper hexagon.

I originally learned how to EPP Hexies when I did the 2013 Skill Builder BOM from Pile O' Fabric and she has a good video tutorial that I linked above.

If you google "English Paper Piecing Hexies" you will find videos, tutorials, and blogs galore. Many people don't trim the fabric around the template, and I haven't seen too many glue them down, they will use a paper clip or something to hold the fabric in place. My method works for me... but there are many ways to do this.

My pictures are not as clear... I need a personal photographer while I sew :) Basically you turn the hexie over and fold the 1/4 inch of fabric over the paper hexagon, then stitch the corners down. Take care not to stitched the paper template. Eventually these stitches will be "snipped" and the paper template removed.

After I get 7 of these little guys made I can make a flower!

Another thing that I choose to do differently is leave the template in my hexie while I sew the "flower" together. I like the rigidity. I just take care not to sew through the template itself. I have seen many remove the paper template and iron the hexie with starch to hold it's shape better and then stitch them together. I prefer not to remove the paper template from the fabric hexie until I have at least one layer of hexies around each flower. In this case since I plan to put white hexies between each flower, I will not remove the templates until I have at least one outer row of white hexies surrounding each flower. 

I have about 15 Hexi-Flowers now and I think I need 150 or so more lol! Yeah... This is one of those projects that I might not ever finish! If I would do one Hexie-Flower a day I could have it all done by the end of this year, but I am not sure that will happen. It's a fun little project to take on a road trip or to do while I watch tv, when I remember or don't have 3 boys in my lap! 

I found a wonderful way to store and carry my hexagons as well. I found a 3 piece Sterilite Stack and Carry, that came with a 6 way divider. I put the divider in one of the containers and that is where I store the hexies I am working on. In one container I store the hexagons I have pieced together into a flower. In the third container I keep my seam ripper, scissors, needles, thread, etc.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler

A lot of changes have happened in my life in the last 6 months, and quilting had to be put on the back burner. It's always the first thing to go when my life gets crazy, but I miss it so much. If you want to read a bit more about my family's big changes visit our blog, Pyyk Pastures. 

When I saw that Maureen Cracknell, my favorite quilt blogger and fabric designer was hosting a sew-along with Sharon Holland, the Sewcial Bee Sampler I decided it would be just the thing to get me back into the swing of things with quilting.

One simple block each week, I can do that, even in the crazy!

Sewcial Bee Sampler Button
If you are a beginner or just want a fun sew-along please join in! Go to Maureen's or Sharon's blogs to find out all of the details and get the pdf instructions. I will be putting a button on my blog so that you can find it. Remember if you make the blocks to hashtag #SewcialBeeSampler on Instagram to share your beautiful blocks and to be entered into a weekly giveaway. Also Maureen and Sharon will be hosting weekly giveaways on their blogs, so remember to follow them.

The first block, released last Wednesday February 1, 2016, Patience Corners was simple and fun, see my pics below.

I thought I would go scrappy for this project, but I think I will stick with using Garden Dreamer by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics.  I will be using Robert Kaufman Quilters Linen in White for my borders.

Fat Quarter Bundle of Garden Dreamer

4 -Squares for my HST (Half Square Triangles) and 2 1/2 inch strips for the borders

If you are a newbie you learn a really great HST technique with this block - creating 8 HST's out of 2 squares of fabric! It's a really awesome and fast way to create HST's. I wish I had known this fabulous technique years ago when I was on a HST kick and made two large quilts out of HSTs. 

The final product! It turned out lovely and I can't wait to make the next block, which was released today, A Dandy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Evolution of a Fancy Forest Baby Quilt Part 2

In my last post I told you that I made an entire quilt before I decided I just couldn't give it to a friend having a baby. So less than one week before her baby shower I started making a quilt using Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Forest Pattern

Of course there was absolutely no time to order fabric... So I started rummaging through my stash. I kept coming back to a fat quarter bundle of Persimmon by Basic Grey for Moda.

I purchased a complete fat quarter bundle well over a year ago when I just fell in love with the colors. I used it to make a few quilt blocks earlier in the year using Camille Roskelley's Mini Swoon Pattern and lets just say that it was a lot of little pieces! I loved how they turned out, but I got busy and didn't finish it or do anything with it.

I kept thinking the fabric wouldn't work for the Fancy Forest critters because there was not a lot of variation in the volume and some of the prints are rather busy. I decided to give it a try; I made a hedgehog and a fox... and they turned out fairly well.

I made the firefly along with 4 foxes and 2 hedgehogs. 

 I used Robert Kaufman Essex Linen for the gray background of each critter. I had a small fat quarter bundle of that, and I am not even sure the actual colors that I used. Of course by the end of I was stitching together small scraps of the background just trying to make it work.

I made three rows, the top and bottom each with 2 foxes and a hedgehog and put the firefly in the center separated by sashing.

I backed the quilt with a large scrap of brown minky, which I am not even sure which project that brown minky came from, but definitely not my favorite brand... It was a bit on the thin side. I used a 100% natural cotton batting.

I stitched in the ditch around the "critters" and boxes/borders so that the outlines showed up in the minky.

I used a scrappy binding with strips of Persimmon. I did have to machine bind the quilt due to lack of time, which not my favorite thing to do. I love hand binding quilts, it's one of my favorite things to do!

Even though it was a rather rushed quilt, and not what I would consider the perfect fabric, I love the way it turned out and I think the mama and daddy to be did too!

I look forward to making the other little critters in the pattern in the future. I have never used any of Elizabeth Hartman's patterns and I really loved the way I was able to make the critters with simple straight and diagonal lines. No paper piecing necessary, although I do love paper piecing, this went much faster.

- Jessica

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Evolution of a Fancy Forest Baby Quilt Part 1

Finally something new to share on the blog! It's been a long time. I have made some small projects here and there over the past year, but they have been rushed and with limited time I haven't written about them.

At the end of this Summer a new baby boy is due, not mine, but that of a close friend, and of course a quilt is in order. I waited with great anticipation until the day they announced the gender; a baby boy!

Promptly I searched the internet for fabric, and while I found several options I really liked, decided I really should take a look at my stash and see if I already had something that would be nice.

I came up with the following:

Urban Mod by Art Gallery Fabrics
Leftovers from my Philippians 4:8 Wall Hanging

Dr Seuss Fabric with Riley Blake Chevron
Leftovers from a baby quilt back in 2014 and Matias' First Birthday

I let my boys decide which fabric to use and they quickly selected the Dr. Seuss Fabric because they said the other fabric was too girly. I thought the geometric patterns with blues, grays, and mustard were masculine, but they disagreed. 

I found the following tutorial from Sew Mama Sew and decided I would make some pinwheels with my fabric. 

Some of my pinwheels:

 I then sashed them with white fabric. I really wanted to use the elephant portion of the fabric too, so I separated the sets of pinwheels with a wide strip of that. Once I started putting it all together I realized that I had a really long and narrow quilt so I needed to add some fabric to the sides to add width. By the time I put it together I had a twin sized quilt rather than a baby quilt.

I backed it with a beautiful aqua minky dot from Hawthorne Threads. I love their minky , it is the best minky  I have ever used. It is so soft and a little thicker than typical minky in my opinon. I did not use batting because I wanted the quilt to be light weight. It worked out pretty well, I have never done that before. You can see the "dots" of the minky dot on the front side of the quilt. In real life it isn't really noticeable, but in the pictures it makes the quilt look very wrinkled. 

I quilted it with a "stitch in the ditch" following the pinwheel on the front, so it made the pinwheel image into the minky. I really like how that turned out. 

I bound it with a red and white polka dot fabric. 

I had just about finished the binding, one week before the baby shower, when I decided that this wasn't the quilt for my friend and her baby boy!

It's a cute quilt, but it just wasn't the right quilt. I saw the pattern, Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartman online and I just knew that I had to do something with these adorable 'forest friends'. I just couldn't resist!

Image of FANCY FOREST pdf quilt pattern

I knew there was no way that I could make the whole quilt, but I had to do something with at least some of the woodland critters... So I had less than one week to make a new quilt, using this pattern, challenge accepted! Or I have serious mental issues, either way I was determined to make some of those little critters into a quilt.

Keep an eye out for my next blog post to see if I managed to get a Fancy Forest Quilt made in less than a week!

- Jessica