Thursday, November 30, 2017

More Marvelous Hexagon Blocks

I love to sew. I don't always have a goal in mind. If  I can piece and sew random blocks or paper pieced units, it doesn't bother me at all if they don't become a quilt right away. I've been known to let 5, 10 and even 15 years pass between when I started a quilt and when I finished it.

Today I want to share a few random, disconnected blocks that I've been working on. Just to show you that we designers don't always work with deadlines!

First, a few blocks made using Katja Marek's Hexagon Calendar as my inspiration. All of the blocks are designed for English Paper Piecing. I have made many using EPP, but some of them can be rotary cut and I go with that, too!

(You can see my Pinterest Board with many of the blocks I've made so far using Katja's book, The New Hexagon.)

Take a visit to Katja's Quilt Shop in Canada (well, visit it online!) She is a very talented lady with so many wonderful samples from her books and calendar.

The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar
I have been busy with Festive Season by Jackie Robinson for Benartex. I have a blog post next week for Benartex (Technique Tuesday) featuring these fabrics, but these are just a few things I've made in the meantime.

November 25 in the calendar was easy to rotary cut. Diamonds, jewels and triangles. My project next week features this in a fabulous project. That's all I'm saying right now!

November 25 Block

Jackie's fabrics have these awesome cardinals that begged me to fussy cut them to feature in the center of a block. I call this Twisted Hexagon.

Twisted Hexagon (with two borders)
Let's see how I fussy cut another cardinal for a different block. Cut out a piece of freezer paper the size of needed patch; cut out paper center (leaving 1/2" of paper). Centered the motif and ironed freezer paper to fabric (so it adheres). Peel off freezer paper (can be reused multiple times).Cut out hexagon shape and ready to stitch.

Fussy Cutting a special motif: Cardinal
I loved the November 19 block. I gave it a name: Christmas Star and Hexagons. All shapes were easily rotary cut. And there are no y-seams.
Christmas Star and Hexagons (my name for this block)
And one more from November: the 27th. I shared this on Monday. I got to showcase those awesome ornate ornaments in that center hexagon. Again - no y-seams and all rotary cut.

November 27 block from The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar
Last year I worked with a Benartex collection called My Little Chickadee. Let me show you a few blocks - using Katja's calendar and book - and the little birdies. These are from Katja's book, The New Hexagon.

Judy: Block #23
Block # 13: Judy (super sized, but English Paper Pieced using 1-3/4" hexagons and diamonds)
 Debbie, Block #30 (notice the "wrong" spelling!)

Debby block with a fussy cut chickadee in the center diamond

 These delightful little birdies begged me to fussy cut them. I used freezer paper as shown below. Unfortunately, he got a bit of his tail whacked off.

Fussy cutting one of the little chickadees
 Fussy cutting another little birdie. This was used in the Judy block above.

Fussy cutting for a 1-3/4" hexagon
 And one more . . .
Fussy cutting the little birdie with the berries
This is the July 1 block from the perpetual calendar:

July 1 block from Katja's perpetual calendar
The folks in the warehouse who cut the Benartex fabrics for me, didn't pay much attention to where their scissors sliced. They chopped off the heads of several birdies at the top and sliced their bodies off at the bottom. But, look how I pieced this one little birdie back together. Yes, there is a seam right through his throat. (I got these skills from garment sewing in the 1960s!)

Little chickadee pieced back together after encountering a guillotine in the Benartex cutting warehouse
 And I used this precious little guy in the center of my Twisted Hexagon block (finished to a small mug rug.)

Take a visit to Katja's author page at the Martingale web site: Katja Marek. You will see her book The New Hexagon - 52 Blocks to English Paper Piece (which I also own).

You can see my Pinterest Board with many of the blocks I've made so far using Katja's book, The New Hexagon. I've finished several of them and they are mug rugs and table mats. Go take a look!

The New Hexagon: 52 Blocks to English Paper Piece
And her new Coloring Book and Dresden Plate book (also for English Paper Piecing).

Hope you enjoyed seeing some beautiful fabric and some distinctively different quilt blocks. I love all things hexagon, and being able to rotary cut some gives me some quick ways to get to where I want to go.

I will be back next Tuesday with a wonderful reveal of more blocks made into a terrific project.

Monday, November 27, 2017

English Paper Piecing - My Way

I have enjoyed making the occasional block using Katja Marek's book of 52 blocks (The New Hexagon for English Paper Piecing) and her perpetual calendar of 366 blocks. Sometimes, the renegade that I am, I rotary cut and sew by machine the various blocks. Why? Because I can!

The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar
Today is November 27 and I saw that the block could easily be upsized and rotary cut. I used a new collection by Jackie Robinson called Festive Season and I love how it turned out. Don't you?

The blocks in the calendar are measured as is typical in EPP - the length of the side. They are a uniform 6" (so they can all fit together when placed block to block). When rotary cutting, you measure the height of the finished patch and block. My block here will finish to 10".

November 27 block from The New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar
I decided to take the plunge and make this block with EPP. But I discovered I didn't have any patches the right size other than the 1-1/2" center hexagon. Or did I?

Correction alert! These patches are NOT cut from the 3" hexagon papers, but the 1-1/2"!

A light bulb came on when I realized that I had some 3"  1-1/2" hexagon papers which could be cut to size for the diamonds, half-hexagons and small triangles. You don't believe me? Ha! Let me prove it.

The templates for all the blocks are in the back of the calendar. My theory proved correct! The half-hexagons can be cut from the 3"  1-1/2"whole hexagon (see below). I cut two hexagons for the four needed half-hexies.

Two half hexagons cut from the 1-1/2" whole hexagon paper
 Six triangles the size I needed can be cut from the same 1-1/2" hexagon, but since I only needed two, I drew the lines as shown below: yield, two triangles and two (of the four) diamonds.

Two triangles and two diamonds cut from the 1-1/2" hexagon
 And my last 3 diamonds (I only need two) are cut from the hexagon as shown.

Easy to get 3 diamonds from a single hexagon
I already had a center hexagon pieced using a Paula Nadelstern motif. It used a - wait for it! a 1-1/2" hexagon - exactly what I needed!

And can you see all of the card stock patches I cut from those simple 1-1/2" hexagons above? This was my lucky day!

All the needed patches to create this November 27 block
Now, I'm not one to cut my own papers. But this was easy because I had the pack of 1-1/2" hexagons from Paper Pieces. I have been using their papers for almost 20 years and I buy NO OTHERS. They are accurate and affordable and I buy them by the thousands for my EPP students in my workshops.

Papers to make the center of this block
What I want you to see in the picture above is that there are NO y-seams. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Stitch all of the individual units (1 hexagon, two red triangles, two blue diamonds and 4 cream half hexagons). I loved using my glue stick to keep this going quick!
  2. Stitch the small red triangles to the top and bottom of my hexagon
  3. Add a cream half-hexagon to each side of the 3-patch unit from #1, at the bottom
  4. Join a blue diamond to a cream half-hexagon as shown, twice. These are added last, at the top, with a straight seam!
November 27 EPP block finished.
Hope you enjoyed my process. I have made several other blocks from Katja's book and calendar using this Paula Nadelstern collection. There are such awesome kaleidoscope motifs that are perfect for those center units.

Dawn, Block #23 (Twisted Hexagon)
 Another Dawn
Block #23: Dawn

Block #8: Marena

Block #1: Marie (one of my favorites)

Block #1: Marie
 Block #28: Mary Ellen
Mary Ellen
And, finally, some regular Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks. I love these and hope to make them into an awesome quilt sometime soon. I think these use 2" hexies. Doesn't matter - they all are the same size!

Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks using some Fabricadabra fabrics by Paula Nadelstern

So, you see I've been busy. Someday, I'll put them together into something. For now, they are happy to be hanging out with all the other blocks in my EPP drawers!

I'll be back another day this week with some more blocks and ideas.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 48

Let's open up the magic box and see what Patricia has for us this week. Seven new blocks, one for each day of the week.

November 26: Triplet
November 26: Triplet, 6"
November 27: Yokohama Banner

November 27: Yokohama Banner
 November 28: Stamp Basket

November 28: Stamp Basket, 12"
I have at least one quilt made using the Stamp Basket block. This one was made about 15 years ago using a bright and happy fabric collection in much larger blocks.

 Stamp Baskets quilt:
Stamp Baskets Quilt
And a shot of it before quilting (where the colors are less muddy):

Lakehouse fabrics using my Stamp Baskets pattern
November 29: Wreath of Leaves

November 29: Wreath of Leaves, 12"
 November 30: Castles in Spain
November 30: Castles in Spain
A little back story on the November 30 block. My son in law, Daniel, is from Spain and this is his birthday! There are a lot of beautiful castles in Spain.

December 1: Anvil
December 1: Anvil, 8"
 December 2: Berry Wreath
December 2: Berry Wreath
So glad you stopped by this week. Hope you enjoyed seeing 7 more of these beautiful blocks from Patricia Bryant of Australia!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Quilter's Block a Day Calendar: Week 47

New week, new set of 7 beautiful blocks.

November 19: Savannah Squares

November 19: Savannah Squares, 15"
 November 20: Blackford's Beauty

November 20: Blackford's Beauty, 16"
 November 21: Glorious Leaves

November 21: Glorious Leaves
 November 22: Massachusetts

November 22: Massachusetts
November 23: Indian Trails
(Happy Thanksgiving to all my American visitors)
November 23: Indian Trails, 8"
 November 24: Scottish Cross

November 24: Scottish Cross, 12"
 November 25: Teardrop Melons
November 25: Teardrop Melons, 9"
I realize you probably can't see that block. Here it is in digital format:

Teardrop Melons from the Quilter's Block a Day Calendar
Have a wonderful week. Don't eat too much on Thursday and don't spend too much on Black Friday! See you next week!

Friday, November 17, 2017

"Yikes, Those Stripes" is a Favorite Pattern of Mine

It's not really the way I typically work, but I've discovered a few patterns (of mine) that I tend to revisit. Again. And again!

This quilt is so Jelly Roll friendly. You know - those Jelly Rolls you've been hoarding, hoping a quick pattern comes along that uses every square inch of them. This is one idea I think you'll like.

It all started with this first quilt published in Quilt Magazine early 2000. I bought a bundle of plaids from a quilting catalog and decided to test drive a concept for making this block. I cut 2-1/2" strips and paired them with a solid cream.
Simple Hourglass Quilt
Then I made it a second time in 2005. It was a wildly popular workshop for a few years. I called it Yikes, Those Stripes! This one uses 30 blocks. It also was published in Quilt Magazine. This time I used the stripes cut into strips and paired these with Kaffe Fassett shot cottons (the solids).

Yikes, Those Stripes!
 And the glorious quilting done by Leslee Evans of Atlanta.

Beautiful quilting by Leslee Evans of Atlanta, GA
 And more quilting:
More beautiful quilting
I had a few extra blocks and made a table runner (it has since been quilted and used often):
Three blocks for a colorful table runner
Then I played around with some color arrangement and an extra strip:

Yikes with an extra strip
These are Hourglass Blocks made with strips which are cut with a 90 degree triangle ruler. I used one by Judy Martin.

Then I was asked by Lakehouse Fabrics to make the same pattern for Quilt Market. Here is a version I made using a bundle of two dozen fat quarters. This reminded me of a circus, so I called it "Big Top Stripes." This is also one of 13 patterns bundled on my "Best of 2012 Calendar of Quilts" at my Craftsy site (13 quilts for $10 - can't beat that!)

Big Top Stripes with 25 blocks
And my most recent finish (notice I didn't say I STARTED this recently). This was made with some leftovers from my Kaffe Fassett stash. Notice I didn't have enough of that fans fabric to make more than 8 blocks. I made 4 more using a stripe. Works well, I think!

12 Blocks using complementary fabrics
So, you see, when there is such a quick and fun way to get some awesome blocks pieced, the pattern keeps calling my name. While you may not have the sort of ruler I used, a simple cutting template is included in the Yikes, Those Stripes! pattern. It's a fantastic way to use all those 2-1/2" jelly roll strips you've been hoarding. Combine them with a neutral (like the quilt above) or go wild and crazy as in my Big Top Stripes.