Monday, May 23, 2016

More English Paper Piecing

I don't do handwork anymore other than a little crochet and some English Paper Piecing, mainly with hexagons. I thought you might like to see some of my recent finishes as a result of being part of Glorious Hexagons Facebook page. This is based on the book called "The New Hexagon" by Katja Marek.
The New Hexagon book
 I took mine immediately to get spiral bound so it will lie flat.

My copy of The New Hexagon
And coming this summer is a perpetual calendar with 366 more blocks!
The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar

Now, let's see some blocks! First is my version of Twisted Hexagon (a class I've taught for a few years, but only using rotary cutting and stitching).

This is Dawn, but I call it Twisted Hexagon
 And here's Marena:
Notice how this uses the same patches as Dawn
 Marilyn is Block #32 and I used the Kaffe Fassett fabric called "Target" for that bull's eye center!
Marilyn Block #32
 Mary Ellen is Block #28. I didn't like the blue triangle because it was too dull. I am in the process of replacing those two triangles with either the cream or green stained glass fabric.

Notice how Marilyn and Mary Ellen are very similar with the outside shapes. The center is pieced in Mary Ellen and a single fabric for Marilyn.
Block #28, Mary Ellen
And for the 4th "M" name: Marie! Don't you just love these motifs?

Marie, Block #1
Now for Dolores, Block #6. Very simple using three 60 degree triangles.

Dolores, Block #6
I buy my papers online with Paper Pieces. Always have. Though, in a pinch, I will print and cut my own out of card stock. Here is a small order I received last Friday. I generally put in large orders for packs of these for my classes.

My students each get a pack of 100 1" papers, along with small sets with fabric of other sizes.

I am using a Benartex collection by Paula Nadelstern (Fabricadabra) and I have enjoyed fussy cutting the center hexagons. Here are a few more before I go:

Rotary cut and stitched Dawn Block with Fabricadabra motif in center
And a rotary cut block, just to test drive the fabrics:

Sarah, Block #3
And last, but not least, my own upsized blocks using 1-1/2" hexagon papers for larger GFG blocks.
6 of the 9 Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks using Fabricadabra fabrics
 And here are the parts before joining. Made sure my stripes were cut in the same direction!
I had to make sure my stripes were all cut in the same direction

I love that it is so easy to take along a little bag with papers, fabric, thread and needle. And I seem to always do more when summer comes.

I have more to share, but for now, these are happy to meet you!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Winner and a Few More Blocks

My winner in the Benartex Bali Blog Hop fat quarter giveaway was Rosa. I'm still waiting for her to contact me. I give winners 48 hours and then I move on to second choice! Rosa - please phone home!

I plan on tallying up the votes, but because I was on the road I couldn't do it during the hop. You will see more of these blocks and shapes.

Here is what I did with that block I shared. And then I cut a few more diamonds and another block appeared. Like I said - I'm stuck on this shape!

First, the Daffodil block with a small orange hexagon appliqued to the center. This is fusible, raw edge applique (the easiest and quickest approach). As soon as I covered up the center I realized I had created a Grandmother's Flower Garden block!

Daffodil with bright center
Then I thought about cutting diamonds without slicing off one end. It was a simple star pattern. But when you add the same orange hexagon in the center, it becomes the Daffodil block I really had in mind in the first place (honest; that's true!)

Another version of my Daffodil block
Congratulations to Rosa. And many thanks to all of you - all 171 of you - who sent in your votes for my 3 blocks made using that jewel shape.

Stay tuned for another tutorial coming up using these diamonds in a very modern way. That's all I can say!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Daffodils, Jewels and a Fabric Giveaway

Batiks from the Dolce and Rio Collections by Benartex
Head on over to the Sew in Love with Fabric blog today to see what I did with some of these new batiks from Benartex. Yes, I'm still working with that jewel shape. Come see what I did!

Five fabrics for Debby's flowers
For a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the Dolce and Rio fabrics we're featuring in this blog hop, head over to Sew in Love with Fabric to see my 3 new blocks. Come back here to let me know which of the 3 blocks you like (#1, 2, or 3).

Contest is over midnight Wednesday, May 18.

Click here to see the entire Rio collection.
Click here to see the entire Dolce collection. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

All the King's Jewels for Windham Wednesdays

Meet the Royal Court is a delightful novelty print from Windham Fabrics. With images of kings and queens, jesters and even the Royal Pet!

I am enamored lately with the 60 degree jewel shape (some call it a "gem"). It is basically a 60 degree diamond with a triangle lopped off of one end. I am not too keen on single size templates. I mean, what if you want to work with a different size? Then you either are out of luck or have to buy another one. Why not use the lines on your acrylic ruler? Why not, indeed! Then you can cut just about any size diamond and jewel.

First, here is the fabric collection:

Fat quarters of Meet the Royal Court by Windham Fabrics
Because I only have an 18" x 22" piece of each fabric, I am limited in what I make. I love those sorts of challenges.

I cut 4-1/2" strips from most of the prints, saving the larger prints for a border. Then using the 60 degree line on my 6 x 12 ruler, I lopped off the left side. Then I measured 4-1/2" from that cut and made a second cut for my perfect diamond! This diamond measures 4-1/2" in size from flat side to the opposite flat side - in both directions. I was able to get 3 diamonds from each 4-1/2" x 22" strip.

4-1/2" diamonds
Then because the jewel shape will finish to 4", I used the 2" line (half of 4) and cut off one point as shown below:
Cut a 2" triangle (using a 60 degree ruler) from one pointed end.
I did this with all my diamonds:
A whole slew of jewels

I did fussy cut some of those motifs. I cut a freezer paper diamond, made it into a jewel, cut out the center and then was able to center the motifs I wanted.

Fussy cutting a jewel shape with freezer paper "window" template
Then I selected a light print (using another Windham print from another collection) and cut 2-1/2" high 60 degree triangles. Twenty-four of them, to be exact.

Then with my plan, I began placing the "jewels" on my design wall, moving them around. I decided to keep 3 matching sets in the center, sort of like hearts. The rest were randomly placed.

But how to sew them? You can see in the diagram below how I sewed them into six equal sized large triangles. Then the pieced triangles into a large half-hexagon and then into the very large (20" high) pieced hexagon. (No pattern yet; I'm still on the road until the first of June). I colored the top pieced triangle so you could see the piecing sequence. No set in seams; all straight seam sewing. All of the remaining jewel shapes are the random colored jewels patches.

Then I cut four 30 degree triangles from the green fat quarter. I actually got all four from that one piece. I did have to audition the cutting with a large piece of paper - no room to make a mistake!

Adding borders
And here is the little quilt which measures 20" x 24":
All the King's Jewels with Meet the Royal Court fabrics by Windham

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cinco de Mayo

A lot of talk of margaritas and Mexican food today. I can't handle a margarita (just ask my kids!), but I've always loved Mexican food. Raised in California and loved all things Mexican.

I was reminded of the block I designed for Quilt Magazine in 2007 which I called Olé. And I remembered the Benartex "What's in My Pantry" Collection which I featured here a few months ago. I was thinking CHILI PEPPERS and there are two fabrics in that collection with chili peppers on them.

What's in My Pantry?
Here are my steps to quickly cut and stitch these two blocks (which I made this morning in one hour's time). I used these two pepper fabrics as the center of my blocks. Aren't they yummy?

Chili pepper fabrics with black background

Chili pepper fabrics with yellow background

First I cut the parts (pattern follows at the end of this post):

Block parts for Olé
Then I began stitching:
Orange triangles at the top of the blocks

Green triangles at the top of the blocks
I decided to use a stripe to finish the sides. There really is a trick to cutting striped fabric so that the stripes all go in the same direction. Here is what you do:

Two squares with stripes oriented the same way; cut as shown

Stripes are horizontal in the yellow chili pepper block
I audition the stripes by folding and putting next to the block.
Stripes oriented horizontally are cut this way
And these corner squares go with the black pepper block:
Stripes are oriented vertically
The key is to cut two squares and put them side by side. Then cut in a "mountain" cut. You can't get the triangles to work if you cut both squares at the same angle.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Windham Wednesdays: Flora!

I love playing with new fabrics. And I love getting fat quarters because it keeps my creativity under control. Windham Fabrics sent these a few months ago and I began planning and cutting but never stitched up my idea.

Flora by Kelly Ventura is a collection of modern watercolor florals.
Aren't those so yummy? I have stacked them and re-stacked them. Paired them in groups and generally played for a bit, dreaming up a simple way to showcase the fabrics.

I settled on Snail's Trail Star and made it super sized at 18" square.

Snail's Trail Star
This begins with a 4-Patch of the 5 fabrics I selected (4 main colors and a background fabric). (I share the free pattern at the end of this post, along with clear cutting instructions). Then four of the same fabrics are cut into triangles. These are sewn to the sides as shown.

Center 4-Patch with matching triangles, ready to be sewn
This is what it looks like sewn:
Sew on the triangles

Then larger half-square triangles are stitched with quarter square triangles so that the flow of each color "curves" around. The 3 horizontal rows are ready to be stitched.

And how about this nice, BIG block! I have enough fabric to make a few more, but I got sidetracked and began cutting for a second idea. (Yes, that's what it's like inside my head - always jumping to the next thing before I finish the first!)

Snail's Trail Star
Here is the one page pattern for Snail's Trail Star.

And here's a sneak peak of what I'm up to next. I have a kite template (part of the 60 degree angle family) and have been playing with those shapes in the past few weeks.

Flora Kite patches. Stay tuned!
This Snail's Trail Star is very fat quarter friendly. And, with just a few blocks you have a quilt in no time! Thanks for stopping by. And go take a look at the Flora Collection at the Windham Fabrics site. They are a lovely group of modern fabrics!