Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Hexagon Handwork

Wow, it has been a while since my last post...and so much has happened.

Like me, you are probably undergoing some form of quasi-quarantine in an effort to slow or stop the progression of the COVID-19 virus.  Thank goodness for quilting, right?  The social isolation is not so bad for an introvert like me with hobbies but social butterfly types like my mom and sister are really feeling it.

Over the past two months, I've stayed true to my plan to work on UFOs and projects from my stash.  First, these English paper pieced hexie flowers, to become a Flowers For Emma quilt by Sherri McConnell.

Making the flowers is a great little portable handwork project.  But now that I'm stuck at home and have 20-something made, I started appliqueing them to the pieced background squares.

I'm using my sewing machine for the applique.  I have a Bernina Q440 and the blindstitch (#7) works great for this.

You can see the stitch in the photo below, enlarged.  In real life, the stitches are not noticeable and will disappear even more in the texture of the quilting.  I used white thread to match the background and have the #7 stitch set at a width of 0.9 and length of 0.6.  Yes, that length is tiny and I better not have to do any unstitching because I don't think my seam ripper will fit in the stitches.

So far, so good and it only takes a few minutes to sew each block.

I'll be back again (sooner!) with more updates.

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Friday, January 3, 2020

New Year, New Quilts To Make

Happy 2020!  I'm not big on New Year's resolutions but this year I want to spend more time doing what I love and that means making more time for quilting.  I'm determined to find a way and make a plan.

As part of more quilting, I have two over-arching needs:  tackle some UFOs and thin out my fabric stash.  In December, I gave in to temptation and bought a kit and a fat quarter bundle in the Fig Tree 12 days of Christmas sale.  When my package arrived, I had a tough time finding a place to store the new fabric.  I need to whittle my stash down to what can be reasonably stored in my sewing room. Right now, I  have a couple of bins in the attic and I tend to forget what's up there.   But I have a couple of ideas for quilts that will use some of my stash.  And I shudder to think how many UFOs I have hidden about. 

First UFO is this set of hexies I made in 2018.  They are still in the box!  This is going to be my first project to tackle because I know exactly what I want to do with them. 

A couple of months ago, I came across this pattern online, Piece & Love quilt.  It was "heart" at first sight!  I have charm packs to use for the heart.  My next step is to ransack my stash to see if I  have background fabric on hand, otherwise a trip to my LQS is in store.  I'd like to make this in February, though it will not be quilted in time for Valentine's Day. 

Last year, I saw this Summer Moon BOM all over the internet but was not particularly interested until I saw the quilt in real life at my LQS.   They are offering it as a block of the month but I think I could make it from my stash.  I'm mentally debating it, and also considering whether to do it slowly, as a BOM, or work on it start to finish without interruptions.  I've made a couple of sampler quilts but never done a BOM before. 

I continue to work on my hexie flowers for Flowers for Emma.  I'm not in a rush; this could be my portable project for the next year or so. 

Do you have quilting goals for the new year?

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Displaying and Storing Quilts

What do you do with all of your finished quilts? 

Here on Main Street, I have them in the usual places.  One on every bed, plus a few more for each bed so they can rotate.

Smaller quilts folded on the backs of chairs, or tossed "casually."  I have a seasonal rotation for these throw size quilts.

I hung two curtain poles on the wall on our second floor landing and use them to hang folded quilts.

I change the assortment here as part of my Christmas decorating.

And I have a quilt holder on the wall in the kitchen.  I got this wooden holder at a quilt show years ago, it is 42" wide, great for a rotating display of smaller quilts.  

And I have a couple of quilts hanging in my sewing room.  The Spools quilt is hanging from a dowel rod ...

...while Say Yes To The Dress is hung from a curtain rod using clip-on curtain rings.  

 But even with all these quilts on display, I have many more folded and stored away.  So when I saw this basket in Target, I thought it would be great for holding a few rolled up quilts.  I like the look and it holds quite a lot.  I've got three quilts in it (one is twin size and two are large throws) and could squeeze in one more.   

 If you would like to do something similar, the information on the basket from Target is here.  Target doesn't ship this basket, you have to get it in-store, but I saw a similar one at West Elm and they do ship.  That info is here.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Hexie Flowers and Succession

A couple of months ago, I wrote about my new portable sewing project, hexagon flowers for a Flowers for Emma quilt.  You can read about here if you need a refresher. 

Then I started watching Succession on HBO.  I somehow missed this show last year when the first season aired but saw a lot of publicity in advance of Season 2 and a few people whose taste coincides well with  mine recommended it so I decided to give it a try.  (Just an aside but I long resisted subscribing to anything that would add to our already outrageous cable bill but three years ago, Miss Main Street had to watch The Wire for a college class and the easiest way was for us to add HBO to our cable package so she would watch it at college online using HBO Go.  The class is long over but Mr. Main Street got hooked on some shows and doesn't want to give it up.) 

I thought the first episode dragged a little (heavily focused on introducing the characters, none of them likable) but stuck with it, and I was hooked by the third episode.  It is very well written, acted, and filmed.  The characters are mostly despicable, though I admit to some sympathy for Kendall.   By the way, nothing was left to chance in this show and I am certain the selection of that painting behind Brian Cox in the photo above was deliberate. 

So while the Roy family was entertaining me, I worked on my hexie flowers for Flowers for Emma. 

This is what I had to show at the end of Season 1.  More have been added to the pile during Season 2.  And I'm looking for a new show - Miss Main Street has given me a long list - Peaky Blinders?  Derry Girls?  Hanna?  Something to tide me over until The Crown Season 3 comes out. 

The hexie flowers are very scrappy in the original Flowers for Emma pattern.  I'm making mine less scrappy but using the leftovers from my Fig Tree Harvest projects and augmented with my Chantilly fat quarter stack win.   There is still plenty of the Chantilly stack for another project. 

The pattern as written calls for 35 hexie flowers.  I am considering going bigger which will mean more flowers.  Either way, I need to applique some of the flowers to the background so I can remove the papers and reuse them.  So there will definitely be more TV in my future. 

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Pottery Barn and Using Sheets For Quilt Backing

Can you believe Christmas is less than two months away?!!!  Too soon to start decorating but not too early to make your decorating plans.  And certainly not too early (and possibly too late if you sew like me) to start a new seasonal quilt.

I've been thinking of making a new Christmas quilt and those thoughts coincided with an email message from Pottery Barn covering their Christmas decor items.  They have some of the cutest sheets and bedding sets and they got me thinking about using a sheet as the backing for a quilt.  Have you ever used a sheet and if so, how did it work out?

Pottery Barn calls this one Nostalgic Santa.  I think the design could be great for a quilt back, especially for a two-color quilt in red and white or green and white. 

I also like this snowman print.

What about Forest Gnomes?   These three are 100% organic cotton. 

Winter Village is 100% organic cotton flannel.  Could be very cozy! 

One issue is that it would not be an inexpensive backing because Pottery Barn sells sets only, with fitted sheet and pillowcases included with the flat sheet.  I suppose you could use them on the bed.  We are old-fashionedly boring here on Main Street, with white sheets only on the beds so a printed fitted sheet would be an adjustment. 

Anyway, I am thinking of buying some of these when they go on sale (Pottery Barn is always having a sale) so any advice you have on use of sheets as quilt backing much appreciated. 

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Quilt Show - Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza 2019

In mid-September I attended a quilt show put on by the Mancuso organization, Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. It is held annually in suburban Philadelphia, a little over an hour's drive from where I live in New Jersey.

I've attended this show most years but the quality keeps declining, making me wonder about the future of quilt shows.  Have the internet, blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram filled the need for inspiration and contact with other quilters such that quilt shows no longer serve the same purpose?  While there were some outstanding quilts on exhibit in the show, I also saw a lot of quilts on display that in my mind fell far short of quilt show standard - uninspiring design and inferior workmanship.  I don't expect to like every quilt displayed, nor do they all need to be perfect, but they should inspire in some way and exhibit superior workmanship.  Elizabeth of OccasionalPiece-Quilt blog had a similar experience at Pacific International Quilt Festival, another Mancuso show.  So if you've been thinking about entering a quilt in a show,  just do it!   They appear to be in need of exhibitors and your work is probably much better than you think.

Okay, enough negativity.  Like I said, there were some fabulous quilts.  You can see the prize winners here.   And plenty of very cool quilts that didn't win prizes; I'm showing you a few of my favorites here.

The quilt below was a raffle quilt.  It caught my eye and I knew there was something familiar about it.  On closer examination, I recognized the fabric collection as Garden Delights from In the Beginning fabrics.  I have jelly rolls and fat quarters from this fabric collection in my stash, waiting for a use to present itself and this quilt gave me some ideas. 

I knew this next quilt was in the show and was looking for it.  I am a follower of Wendy Welsh's blog, where this quilt made its original appearance.  Wendy has won prizes for her quilts in her native New Zealand and in Australia and mentioned that this quilt had been selected for an international tour.  This quilt, Vibrant Curiosities, was English paper pieced in mostly Tula Pink fabrics then hand quilted. 

The primary shape is an octagon.  It must have taken ages to piece this 80" by 80" quilt!  The mix of colors is really fabulous - there are so many different prints and colors, it could easily have turned out a hot mess, but no, it is very striking.

This next quilt, Sexie Hexies, was in an aisle that displayed quilts by quilters who were teaching at the show.  Sarah Bond had several quilts using wedges and curved piecing, all part of a series she calls Coming Full Circle

Sarah Bond teaches at shows, including the 2020 Modern Quilt Guild show.  This is something I'd like to learn to do. 

She made great use of color in this block. 

 The show also included an exhibit of quilts from Kaffe Fassett books.  I liked this one, called Ripples (from Quilts in Ireland), in softer colors than I associate with Kaffe Fassett designs. 

Lots of half square triangles here!

 This last quilt is called Confetti Star, by Missy Bauer.  She made it using a jelly roll then it was quilted by Nora Dougherty.  The quilting is absolutely fabulous, especially in the open spaces.  I've seen other examples of this kind of lopped off lone star and am putting it on my to-make list. 

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Log Cabin Finished Quilt Top

I've been absent from my blog too long, but I do have something to show for my time.

Over the summer, I worked on a log cabin quilt using fabric from stash, actually leftovers from some prior projects.  I joined the blocks using the Fields & Furrows (or Streak of Lightening) setting.  The quilt top is 80" by 80", too big for Mr. Main Street to hold up by himself, so I waited for a visit from Miss Main Street.  Even with both of them, holding it up was a job, and both were impatient to leave the house as we were on our way out to dinner. 

The quilt turned out to be an excellent stash/scrap buster.  All I bought was was the pale aqua fabric that alternates with the white on the "light" side of each block.  The white was in my stash and the fabrics for the "dark" side of the blocks were left over from prior quilts.  I even have fabric in my stash for the quilt back. 

The logs are one inch wide finished and the blocks are 10 inches square.  I used a pattern called Sweet Escape by Thimbleblossoms but changed the setting. 

I just have to get the backing together then I can send this off to my longarm quilter.

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