Thursday, February 13, 2020

Designing with the Honeycomb

This is a blast from the past! I purchased some EPP papers in the honeycomb shape about 20 years ago and put them together with some of my 1930s reproduction fabrics. I take them out every few years and mull over what I'm going to do with them.

These are also called Elongated Hexagons (six sides, but the length of the sides is unequal).
Elongated Hexagons
This is the size of my papers. I bought them from Paper Pieces. The long sides are 2" and the short sides are 1".

2" Elongated Hexagons
I also did a very long article in 2002 for Quilt Magazine called "Designing with the Honeycomb" and I decided to show you what can be done with this basic shape and a few squares and triangles.

This is art from a LONG time ago, but you can see the basic shape joined with some "supporting actors."

The Shooting Star uses two triangles added to the long sides. Same with the Signature Block. And, well, the same with the Tessellating Leaves, but that has the addition of two logs on one side.

Now some other ideas: Add small triangles to the short sides and they become the points of a star.
Stack them as in the second photo (which means a lot of y-seams, but that's not a problem with EPP).

And the 3rd photo shows the traditional Japanese Maple pattern, again, using the larger triangles on the long sides.

Here's something from 2000! I called it Long Gems. Not sure how doable it is, but I kinda like it. It can be stitched without ANY y-seams in vertical rows.

Long Gems
One of my favorites is something I designed in 2003 and never worked out in cloth. It is doable, now that I realize I can hand piece it! It's my Honeycomb Border. This incorporates small and large squares. Just think of putting an awesome scene or floral motif in that center!

Honeycomb Border
Now you can see some possibilities for this unique shape. Whether you call it a Honeycomb or the Elongated Hexagon, I hope I got some ideas swirling in your heads!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Windham Wednesdays with Bedrock (again)

Saturday, waiting in line at the Dollar Store, I glanced up and saw something other than candy. (Yes, I also bought a bag of candy!) Here was this colorful set of 24 elastic hairbands, wrapped around a square with a lollypop stick attached. At first I thought it was a lollypop! And then I realized this was an awesome Log Cabin. I bought two of them (I have a little granddaughter I can pass these on to.)
Inspiration from a $1.00 set of hair bands!
I came home and pulled 6 colors from a stack of Windham fabric (5 are from Bedrock and one is from Artisan Cotton). These are PERFECT, right? The orange is the Artisan Cotton because I used the Bedrock orange in this little quilt from a few years ago. Click on that link and you can see some of my steps.

Paper Pieced Carrots
Now, let me show you my steps. There are 12 rounds in this off-center Log Cabin. I cut all strips at 1-1/2" wide. Yellow center of 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" square. Joined my red strips next.

Step 1 and 2
 Now it's time for the orange:

Strips of orange being added

The purple round.

And my mistake! Had to rip it out, of course! Logs are added to TWO SIDES ONLY!

I'm working on 4 blocks. Here's half of the first one. I was chain piecing four at a time, btw.

Half of the first block
There was  LOT OF PIECING going on, but I persevered. What do you think?

Four 12" off center log cabin blocks made with Bedrock (and Artisan Cotton)
I put them together one way, but won't sew them this way. If I had wanted that arrangement, I would have stitched rows around a bigger yellow center!

Four blocks using Bedrock
And four blocks this way:
Four blocks turned
Well, I satisfied my desire to recreate a simple Dollar Store hairband popsicle. What I can't believe is the beautiful way they were wrapped around that base! And all for one dollar!

Here's a pic of my pattern notes. This is how I work: idea first, sample/prototype next, finally pattern notes! Digital design never comes first (ie, Electric Quilt). It always has to be DOABLE in real fabric. In this case, Bedrock from Windham worked like a charm! The cutting list is for ONE block, but I knew I was making four.

Sewing first; notes next
I used fat quarters for this. I don't have enough left to make more than maybe 2 or 3, but I'm going to try! Bedrock is a wonderful blender without being flat. And the colors are awesome, just like a rainbow.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Cookie Cutter Sampler: Block 9

Cookie Cutter BOM: Flower #2 (Block 9)

Yes, this is late in coming this month. I've been busy printing patterns and making kits for my upcoming workshops with the Sewing Expo (300 students!). Excuses, excuses.

This is the Second Flower, block #9. I got them mislabeled, but the link will take you to the Flower #2 (which is really Flower #1).

This is the block before I put it into the quilt.  I've called it the Tulip, and here it is. 

Tulip Block (Flower #2) in the Cookie Cutter Sampler
I've made a few other projects with this block. First, a Four Block mini quilt (stolen in 2005).

Simple 4 Block Flowers Quilt
And a single block quilted, used as a class sample for several years. This is from 2005!

Single Flower Block
What? You don't believe me that this is from 2005? Well, here's my label!

Flower block label
If you're just joining us, you can find the introduction page here: Cookie Cutter Sampler.

Cookie Cutter Sampler Quilt
You can find the listing of ALL the blocks up until now here: The Pear (Block 7)

I have one remaining block: the Fleur de Lis. How appropriate; it will come right before Mardi Gras!
If you've been making any of these blocks (and not saving them for some future, maybe quilt) I would love to see what you're doing.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Princess Feather Quilts (and FREE pattern)

I keep coming back to my Princess Feather quilts. The first one I made was for Windham Fabrics in 2007. It is owned by them and hangs in a prominent place in their offices in New Jersey.

Princess Feather with awesome longarm quilting by Leslee Evans of Atlanta
Here is a process shot of me trying to come up with an assembly:

Trying out a different assembly
I also made one using Kaffe Fassett fabrics and it appears in my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts (2009). Notice the different assembly from the first one.

Princess Feather #2
Then I had a bunch of leftover plumes from my playing around with this Textured Leaves collection a few years ago.
Textured Leaves by Windham Fabrics
I let time get away from me (hello? how are things in YOUR sewing room?) and only cut out 10. Not to worry, the 11th one is traced. Here is what I'm up to:

Freezer paper template ironed to fusible web backed fabric
I drew the template onto freezer paper. I cut it out. I iron it to the RIGHT side of the fabric, which has fusible webbing on the back. (Yes; I will be sharing the pattern with you.) Now I cut it out:

Princess Feather plume spins to the left
 And the mirror image:
Princess Feather plume spins to the right
Why? I don't know. I always let the fabric tell me what it wants. And who has to be all matchey-matchey anyway?

Here are the random plumes (minus the 11th one) scattered on my quilted pillow sham:

Oh, the possibilities!
Some spin right:
6 plumes spin right
I changed my mind on the way to the table runner I had in mind.

Dancing Leaves made with a Princess Feather plume template
I decided to work with blocks. I didn't like my first plan with the background fabrics competing with the plumes. These are too ho hum, don't you think?

First plan
 I cut 6-1/2" x 8-1/2" rectangles of each of the prints. I also cut two 1-1/2" x 8-1/2" strips of the same fabric as the plume. This way the block will become a square. This is how a block looks with a contrasting print behind it:

First block plan
I pulled out some light khaki solid fabric and this is what I got:

Second plan with the first block: much better!
I used fusible webbing to adhere the plumes to the background rectangles and then used matching thread to zigzag appliqué them to the background. Quick is my method here!

And now what do I have? A quilt center that measures 24-1/2" x 32-1/2" (unfinished). I have a plan for borders, but ran out of time. What? That never happens to you?!!

Dancing Plumes made with Textured Leaves fabrics by Windham
But, I had abandoned this post and came back to it this morning. I had added borders to the quilt above a few months ago and here she is: 35" x 44".

Playful Princess Feathers
Here is the link to the FREE Princess Feather pattern that I made for Windham back in 2007. I used the large top half of the plume which is included full size in the pattern. Of course, you can make the entire Princess Feather quilt if you like. And whatever you make, please do send me a picture!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Michael Miller Mondays with Tropical Batiks

Yes, again. And this time with Fairy Frost! Such a lovely combination. I am making samples for workshop proposals for 2021 (yes, that's right!) and I am revisiting one of my oldie patterns: Divided Diamonds. It was a block I had in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine in 2012. At that time it was 12" and paper pieced. I upsized it for making this using some current Michael Miller fabrics.

18" Divided Diamonds block (27" x 27" small quilt)
Do you remember this luscious Tropical Batiks collection? I was sent a bundle of fat quarters about a year ago and made another of my Pickup Stix quilts. (You can see the tutorial here). But they've been calling to me again. Fat quarters can be a bit tricky when it comes to making something of substance. I had to do some serious math to get my patches out of the main print in the center of my block. I think I got Divine inspiration this morning (Sunday) in church because I knew that ONE single mis-cut would ruin my plan. And, yes, I was paying attention to my pastor! But I figured out the math.

Tropical Batiks
This is a new pattern, so I am not sharing too many details. It's the fabric I'm concentrating on today.

3 of the Fairy Frost fabrics I selected
This is a paper pieced pattern. I printed my foundations and then cut strips and squares (for triangles).
Strips stitched to the foundation
After the paper is removed, you would never know I didn't cut templates! I trim, leaving 1/4" seam BEFORE I add the next patch.

Wrong side of one of 8 units
This is a Mariner's Compass variation. It requires curved piecing of the background. Here is how I cut them out. Again, I used only a fat quarter. My template is freezer paper.

Ready to cut out background from one of the Tropical Batiks prints
Then I flip-flop the freezer paper template for the next unit. I needed to cut four of these. The block will finish to 18", so these are 9-1/2" high.

And together? From the back side.
The back of my Mariner's Compass variation
And with some borders squeaked from the remaining pieces of the lovely batiks. Notice that the border prints DO NOT match. Well, yes they do - but only in colors. The prints are different. But, who cares?!! It works, and I bet you never saw that the prints were different until I said so.

Divided Diamonds block with some borders
This is not a difficult pattern. I love that it lets the fabric do the work. Strong contrast is important. Remember: I sew for the camera and have for 28 years. And I need fabric to be able to create new patterns. Thank you, Michael Miller fabrics for those luscious Tropical Batiks and Fairy Frost!