my mini quilt swap group

I’m in a swap group on flickr for mini quilts. August was the first month I participated, and I made a pretty traditional pattern. By flickr standards, it was a dud. Only one or two comments. This month, with the theme of mushrooms and/or owls, I endeavored to have a much more successful flickr showing. So I decided to try my hand at an art quilt. I drew a little sketch, enlarged it on my scanner, and then cut out templates for raw edge applique. I have a ton of awesome fabrics that I don’t have a plan for, and I decided to cut into my gorgeous collection of Heather Bailey’s Bijoux and Pop Garden…it was actually kind of hard to cut into those pieces. Especially for little things like the snail’s head or the mushroom’s underbelly…it felt very wasteful. But I’m glad I did it! So here’s the result:
mushroomquilty-5
Here’s my sketch and and the back of my quilty – which are both pretty boring:
DSCN0691

mushroomquilty-7

Next post – the awesome quilty I received!

more hex progress

I’ve been plugging away on my hexagons. I started out using the English paper-piecing method, and quickly went to just sewing the hexes together. My process is placing two hexagons right-sides together, and placing a straight pin through the points at one end of a side of the hexagon. Then I start sewing a running stitch at the other end of the line or segment, towards my pin. As I get close, I remove the pin. This has been working great. Here are some photos of my finished hexes. I like the big flower the best, but I’m making a small (24″x 24″) challenge quilt, so I couldn’t use all big flowers.

hex garden

The next photo is one that hasn’t been pressed, and one that was painstakingly pressed with a clover mini-iron. This is the definite downside to not using the paper pieces when sewing hexagons. The seams are a killer.

pressed and not pressed

Here’s the one I did use the paper-piecing method on. It came together pretty easy. Once you get the first round of petals on, take the middle paper out to sew their side seams together. I figured this out half-way through. Duh.

paper pieced

The front of the paper-pieced flower. Much neater than the others, but the stitches are a little too obvious for my taste. And it was TWICE the work – sewing the hexes around the paper, then sewing the hexes to each other. That alone is enough for me not to do it. But I wanted to use up the ones I already sewed the paper into.

freshcut is awesome!

All the fabrics except the white with the skinny yellow stripes in the big flower are from Heather Bailey’s Freshcut line from Free Spirit. I LOVE this fabric!

My big plan for this quilt is to appliqué the flowers onto a solid background and add embroidery to one corner. Pictures coming just as soon as I can make it happen :)

I’ve been hexed

So I’m still plugging away with my hexagons. I posted earlier about the girl that didn’t use paper-piecing – just pieced the hexes together. Well, I tried it, and I have to agree…it’s better. I started with some test fabric…tracing the template onto the back of my hex, pinning the corners, and hand piecing. Then I whip stitched a couple of my paper piece hexes. The end result is that the paper pieced ones look terrible. The stitching is awkward and REALLY shows. I think it has to do with the angle of stitches. Without the paper, I’m hand-piecing in line with the seam line. With the paper in there, I’m stitching perpendicular to the seam line. Make sense? Here are some visual aids…

no-paper hex

paperless piecing

english paper pieced

The main problem I found with the no-paper system is that now I have to plan out my design before I sew. So, I’ve started making flowers. Here’s my first one…

hex flower

hex flower back

I have no doubt that using the papers is more precise, but it’s also twice the work…we’ll see how it all works out. So far, I like my flower. If you need hexagon templates, you can download them from my download page above!

new crafts…

Here are my latest creations and almost creations. I made this cool hook roll using a bunch of Denyse Schmidt fabrics and my special pink Japanese bunny and squirrel fabric. I think it came out great. The pattern is from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, and although it looked pretty intimidating with all of those strips, it was very fast and easy.

look at my hooks!

hook roll supplies

Plus, I loved using all those fabrics at once. I am really bad about collecting fabric and then not using it because I hate to cut it, and I hate the idea of not having it anymore. Isn’t that silly? What good is a fat quarter sitting in a box? Isn’t it much better cut into pieces and sewn into something cool? I can see the rationalilty of this right now, but when it comes to my next project, I’m sure I’ll have trouble selecting the fabric I’m willing to cut.

i put a hex on you!I’m also slowly working my way through a million hexagons. I don’t know how many I’ll make, but I cut about 400 squares from five different fabrics. And I’m using my handy hexagon templates (available for download!) which are working perfectly. I can’t decide if I want to just sew them into a big mix, or if I want to create a pattern with them. I saw a fun quilt in a book called Modern Primitive Quilts where the hexagons were appliqued around embroidered blocks – I loved that idea. Especially with fun embroidery patterns out there like Wee Wonderfuls stichettes. In fact, I think Heather Bailey’s fabrics would be the perfect frame for my Quilting Bee embroidery.

wee wonderful!