revisiting hexagons

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After seeing this super cute picture on flickr and reading her comment about her whip stitches showing, it reminded me that I wanted to revisit the topic of english paper piecing verses simply sewing your hexagons together.

I’ve had hexagon templates available for download on here for a while now. I recently added a couple more sizes. I also added some triangles, but then realized that someone had requested diamonds, not triangles, so I’ll be redoing those :) But the triangles might be fun too – who knows?

ANYWHOO…here’s what I wanted to talk about. After I went through all the trouble (actually, not much trouble at all) of making those templates, printing them, cutting them all out, sewing a bunch into fabric squares using Sunshine Creation’s awesome tutorial, I found that although it was very neat (as in precise, not neat-o), it was too double-the-work for my taste. And when I went to sew together my perfectly neat little hexes with their papers inside, I could not hide the joining stitches, no matter how small my stitch, no matter what thread.

Finally, I ended up just tracing the hexes onto the wrong side of my fabric. I pin them together and and sew along my pencil lines using a running stitch. Super fast and easy. I think I’ll do a tutorial of my own. Maybe tomorrow…with pictures!

The back is a lot messier, but if you use a little Best Press or something, they’ll press right down.

Hexagons are so fun and come out so cute, but the papers inside is so much EXTRA work (to me.) Once it’s all said and done, I don’t think you can tell the difference. The picture at the top has one english paper-pieced flower – you can tell because it’s edges are turned under (bottom right corner). Here it is below and I think you can really see the stitches, which is annoying. The last picture shows the differences in the backs before pressing. But again, I used a little Best Press, and had no trouble getting those seams to lay flat.

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Portland or bust!

Okay, I’m going crazy! I registered for that class! I’m enrolled in Heather Ross’ Fabric Design workshop at PNCA’s Summer of Making. “But you live in CA…that’s crazy”, you say! Yes, well, my husband said, “let’s make a road trip out of it!” And that was all I needed. There were only 15 spots in that class, and they’re almost all gone. You only live once, right? When do you get a chance to go and learn from the best? It’s like someone saying, “Hey, Blabby, want to go take a three-day song-writing workshop with the Indigo Girls for the bargain basement price of $400?” HELL YES! I would have signed up for that too.

I wish I could go to PNCA for real. I’d use up my GI Bill there in a second. I was browsing through the courses and it’s super awesome.

One small intimidating point is that the description says “bring your own creative ideas to life”…wait, I need my OWN ideas? I like Heather’s ideas! I’ll need to work on that between now and July :) Good thing I have some time!

I’m BURSTING with excitement!

Far Far Away II

Via True Up, I heard about Heather Ross’ second Far Far Away line. Let’s discuss this. I truly love those unicorns and snails from the first line. I even love the frogs. In fact, I just bought a little more yardage from Jenny at Home Ec. BUT, I’m the littlest bit stumped by the double gauze…I mean, I’m feeling scissor shy with my other FFA prints. It’s so nice, but it intimidates me. Anyone else? I’m going to end up just mixing it in with regular old cotton prints and feeling like a horrible sinner the whole time. But then, I’ll still love them, so it won’t matter. Right? Any thoughts on this double gauze business? But I love those colors so much…especially the oranges and greys. She is the best.

And read this! What I wouldn’t give…I mean, really. I just told my husband about this little class and he said, “did you sign up?” That is 1) why I love him and 2) why we’re in debt. It’s actually not too crazy…I mean, I have some family in Portland (that I haven’t seen in 20 years…) and I could drive there (in 20+ hours). Oh, that class is a dream. But the thing is, even if I went to that class, I wouldn’t learn to draw like Heather Ross. And that’s what I want to learn. I want to learn how she creates these witty little creatures and people and settings and puts them in perfect but totally unique colors. I don’t think that’s what she’ll be teaching. But I STILL WANT TO GO!

are you a joiner?

my nametag!

That’s my nametag in the most recent issue of Quilter’s Home. Cool, right? Even though they spell my name wrong and have me listed as being from the wrong guild, I still love it.

In all my excitement over finding the Modern Quilt Guild, I’ve been feeling a little guilty about my other guild, Valley of the Mist Quilters. About a year ago, my husband’s work schedule changed, and I had to kind of give up the guild because I just couldn’t make any of it work, and I couldn’t really rationalize a babysitter to go to guild meetings.

When I joined, I dove in. I took on a lot of jobs, volunteered for a lot of stuff, really wanted to get involved and meet people. I’m glad I did. I don’t think I would have met half has many women or participated half as much during my involvement if I hadn’t.

I’m really off topic here.

I don’t think I ever really found any kindred spirits as far as fabric or pattern were concerned, but I made LOTS of friends and learned tons of techniques. Things like the importance of color value, creating my own patterns from drawings using drafting tools, needle-turn applique (which I stink at), freezer paper/starch applique…who knows what else. Lots of good stuff. I think there’s room for all of it.

I always kind of thought of it like church. You listen to the speaker, and maybe they’re going on and on about something you’re not down with…fire and brimstone or women as the weaker sex. You tune out. THEN there’s a gem of truth that helps you in life, like Prov. 13:3 – which I struggle with :) But you know what I mean. And I’m really not just talking about the speakers that come to the meetings. I’m talking about the members of the guilds that have been making quilts for 40 years. Those girls have skills.

So, modern is awesome. I want to make those quilts. But I want to join all the guilds and meet all the quilters and take all the classes and soak it all up!

The fact is I probably won’t get to go to this new guild much more than the old guild, BUT I’m excited about the possibilities. That’s the important thing today.

serendipity

I’ve been overusing that word in the last few days, and hearing a lot of John Cusack references in answer, but there’s no other word for it. I’m feeling good about things…so good, I went out and bought a few quick pick lotto tickets! But that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

I got hired by my company! So now, instead of being a consultant, I’m an official employee on the payroll. Still part-time, which is perfect. I truly have THE BEST JOB EVER.

Then, my kid finally got into a preschool! I was about to give up – I’m on waiting lists all over town with no nibbles, and I called the top of my list in hopes that there had been a little movement. School #2 said, “Oh! I was just going to call you today! I have one spot for you!” Whew! That is a big relief…I hope this works out!

I was doing my normal eye-candy-foraging on ohfransson.com, and read her post about the Portland branch of the Modern Quilt Guild. I followed the link and found the national page, which led me to the LA branch. So I joined! I lucked out, and was able to make it to a meeting and met a bunch of cool girls, saw a bunch of awesome quilts, and am really looking forward to getting to know everyone better. Then I found out there is a little local guild forming! So exciting. I’ll probably hardly ever get to go to the meetings, but they have a weekend sew once a month, and I think I can swing some of those.

I just wanted to mention this quickly. These girls are doing something awesome. Pioneers! Bringing together modern quilters who have already been grouping informally online for a long time…sharing ideas, forming bees, etc. This is happening because there is a real gap in the industry where modern quilters are concerned!

I recently went to the Road 2 CA quilt show and not one vendor had any Denyse Schmidt fabric for sale. I don’t know how many vendors were in the vendor mall, but there are over 100 listed on the site. Not all of them sell fabric, of course, but still. Not one had Denyse Schmidt, and I’d say she’s easily one of the most popular fabric and quilt designers of the modern quilt movement. Another popular designer who was nowhere to be found was Heather Ross. I did see a couple Mendocino prints, but only one vendor. CRAZY. I saw about a billion reproduction prints from every time period…except my own! So that’s a bummer. The industry is not keeping up with the whole audience. And what’s happening is that the fabric manufacturers and the book publishers see the writing on the wall – or internet – but the trade shows and traditional shops seem to be a few steps behind.

One thing I did see was some of the Gees Bend solids and the kits. Now, how can you make a pattern for a Gees Bend quilt? I mean, doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Watch it…or we’ll take the magic right out of those beautiful quilts.

Alright, that’s enough of that.

One last good fortune… our family in the Dominican Republic is safe and sound, which is awesome.

I hope to do some sewing this week. I hope you and yours are doing great. I wish all the babies in Haiti were wrapped in quilts right now.

Biting the bullet

stashbusterssmallOkay, that’s it. Enough is enough. I was wandering around the Sew Mama Sew forum and found this stash buster challenge on WonderMommy’s blog. I’m going to do it. You heard it here. As I’m typing this, I’m watching horrible images of the earthquake in Haiti, worrying about our family and friends in the Dominican Republic and feeling guilty about my crazy fabric greed in the first place. So, I’m doing stash busters. And I’m making a peace quilt. I’m not sure for who yet, but I’m making a peace quilt as part of the stash buster plan.

The plan – just to say it out loud. No new fabric purchases between Feb. 1 and Apr. 1, 2010. Easy enough, right? Also, post pictures of completed projects on wondermommy’s flickr group. My additional plan – make a peace quilt – probably for the local women’s shelter.

Good plan! Break!

official madness

munki munki martians for swap

Well, I’ll spare you the picture of the pajama pile that rises almost as high as my sewing table, but I’ve been maniacally visiting Marshalls and TJ Maxxes all over Southern California, hunting down any Munki Munki product I could find. Well, that’s not exactly true. I did choose to not buy a few pieces that I saw because I already had so many…like the shoes robe…which I already have five of. I mean – now I have to figure out how to unload all of this stuff on eBay or whatever. I know I’ll make my money back and get to keep all that I want for my stash, but I’m regretting getting so much. I just don’t have the room! And now I want to start sewing, but I have to get all this craziness organized and put away before I can do anything!

Here’s what I’ve found. I’ve entered into the fabric swapping world on Flickr – it’s going well so far. No creeps yet. Fingers crossed! So far, I’ve been able to swap for four more prints…very exciting!

Anyway, I think I’ve found the perfect pattern to bring them all together. Elizabeth over at Oh, Fransson! has come up with a Map of the States! block that I just love. She’s written a tutorial. I’m going to mostly follow it, but instead of cutting apart all the block pieces, I’m going to use paper piecing. Looking forward to it.

* Update – Just when I thought I had things all figured out, I ran across this awesome munki quilt tutorial…too many ideas. SOMEONE PLEASE CLEAN UP MY SEWING ROOM!

Katie Jump Rope spotting

That’s right, I’ve been at it again. I can’t help myself. And I’m not alone. There I was, watching The Accidental Husband, and the preview for The Maiden Heist comes on, and I see this image flash by. One internet search later, and wah-lah…for your viewing pleasure:

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Way to go, Ha Nguyen, Costume Designer! Great use of fabric :)