Friday 24 June 2016

It's Giveaway time and it's hexagons

This giveaway is now closed.
True to my promise last week, it's giveaway time for my blog readers this week. I won't even mention this on Instagram, so that will increase your chances of winning.

I really appreciate the online friendships I've developed through blogging.  I now feel that I have friends all over the world.

So what's up for grabs?  These bright happy fabrics chosen especially for this giveaway, PLUS 50 hexagon shapes so you can try your hand at modern hexies.  You don't have to use these fabrics in a modern hexies project, but I would like to see you use the hexie templates - either for a modern hexies project, or traditional English Paper Piecing. Just a warning - some of these paper pieces have been used, but Paper Pieces make them so well that they can be used multiple times.  I always keep mine and recycle them.

Here's a reminder of what I made with just 31 hexies.

To get you started I'm providing a link here to Nicole's tutorial.  She's the expert at this technique, so you may as well learn from her.  The only thing I do slightly differently is create a template and trim my fabrics to hexagon size, plus a seam allowance.

This giveaway is now closed.

Friday 17 June 2016

Honeycomb spin and flying geese all made with batiks!

Several months ago the lovely people at RJR Fabrics sent me some Jinny Beyer Malam batiks to play with.  I made two quilts from these batiks - Honeycomb spin and a flying geese table runner.

Firstly - Honeycomb spin.
I learnt to made this quilt in a class at Nancy's Stitch Studio in Wellington, New Zealand.  Anna Hicks was the tutor, and we had a great time using the modern hexies technique of wrapping fabric around paper templates to form the shape, and then removing the papers and gluing the hexies to the background fabric.  The spiral quilting was the final step and it secured the hexies to the background.

I deliberately staggered my hexies from dark to light to get the shading effect. The batiks worked really well for this.

the background fabric is Radiant Gradients by Hoffman

If it looks like a lot of hexies, you'd be right. I must have used about 350.

I used King Tut variegated thread for the spiral quilting and love the circles it created.

The back looks pretty good too:

This is an out of print piece by Amelia Caruso - the same artist who designed the border fabric I'm using on my la passacaglia. We turned the edges back and made facings rather than doing a normal binding.

The finished size is 25" x 40".  I'm really pleased with how this quilt turned out, and will hang it on the wall in my house.

Secondly, I made a table runner with some of the leftovers:
I've always loved blues and greens, so I decided to make a blue and green table runner for my hall table.  I didn't really have a pattern, but I knew I wanted to use flying geese.  I only have 2 Bloc-loc flying geese tools - the 1.5" x 3" finished, and the 2" x 4" finished, and I used both of them.

I did a bit of algebra, and worked out that 3 of the big flying geese would be 12" finished, and 4 of the small flying geese would be 12" finished, so I made sets of various colour combinations.

Once the mat was the right size I hand quilted it with Aurifil 28wt and big stitches.

I used some of the leftover pieces on the back, and gave it a random binding, because by then I was running out of blues and greens.

The finished size is 11.5" x 36" and it fits perfectly on my hall table.

RFR Fabrics have kindly agreed to let me give away some Malam batiks to one lucky person on Instagram.  So if you're on Instagram and follow both me and RJR Fabrics, you can enter the competition on Instagram.

I realise not everyone is on Instagram, so I'm going to do a separate giveaway just for blog readers next week.

Friday 10 June 2016

Machine needleturn applique

Last week I started a new class at Nancy's Stitch Studio.  Fyvie Murray is teaching us how to do machine needleturn applique.  We are making a design inspired by the Russian lacquer boxes from Mstera.

Photos from the class sample made by Fyvie Murray

Fyvie kindly provided us with a template to trace from, so we didn't need to design our own pattern.

First we made the stems and learnt the techniques involved in securing the fabric to the background with tiny machine stitches in monofilament (invisible) thread.

Update: We are using a vari overlocker of blind hem stitch (number 3 on my Bernina) and have reduced the stitch length and width right down to 1.5 each. It takes 3 straight stitches and then jumps across to catch the stem.  It's very hard to photograph monofilament thread!

thread options

I stopped at Spotlight on the way home and bought these special applique scissors.  I was scared I would cut a hole in my backgroud fabric as I was trimming away the excess fabric.

In the second lesson we started to make the leaves.  We are using water soluble applique paper to trace the leaf shapes.  Apparently it will dissolve with water later on. Batik fabrics are very good for this type of work.  They have natural shading and variations within them - just like real leaves do.

Fyvie's finished leaves

We are to have all the leaves attached before our next lesson, and the berries too.  You can see how small the berries are in this photo.  They don't use applique paper, but 50 cent coins make perfect templates to starch over.

I'm really enjoying trying something new.

Friday 3 June 2016

My Kaffe quilt - Tropical Hexagons

A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to revisit my Mediterranean Hexagons quilt from the Kaffe Fassett class I attended in January (you can read that blog post here). Kaffe and Brandon shared so many useful tips with us that I wanted to look at my fabrics again before I forgot all their advice.

The pattern is Mediterranean Hexagons from the Quilts in Morocco book, but I'm going to call mine Tropical Hexagons because my colours are hot, rather than the blues and greens of the Mediterranean.

Although this quilt looks simple in the book due to the large hexagons, there's a lot of work required to ensure that the star points are balanced through out the quilt.

You need some variety in you star points, but you don't want to use the same fabric for adjoining stars.  So you need at least 6 different fabrics for star points.  I used these fabrics:

When it comes to assembly you need to be working rows ahead at all times.  I decided that the easiest way was to lay it all out on the kitchen floor. It's way too big for a design wall.

I would pick up one piece and sew the relevant star points, and then put it back in position.  It's the only way to keep the pattern correct and not get the star points jumbled up.

Eventually I got 4 rows together:

Each time I had to clear the kitchen floor I would stack the rows up in the correct order so I could lay them out again the next day.

I'm still not finished, but on Sunday I had 8 rows together.  That means there's just 3 rows left to go now.  We have a long weekend this weekend for Queen's Birthday, so hopefully I'll get the hexagons all sewn together this weekend.  Then I have to think about borders.

I love the colours in the fabrics in this quilt.  I'm so glad I stepped away from blue and green and tried something different, and I'm so glad I got to attend the Kaffe course.  I really enjoyed watching Brandon and Kaffe take their time, and mull over the fabrics in each quilt.  I now know that they refuse to be rushed, and keep trying different fabrics until they are really happy with their choices.  That's the approach I like to adopt too.