Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stilettos - Your opinion is invited and a giveaway

My brother is a woodworker and over the years he has made an assortment of treasures for sewists. For Christmas last year he made seam rippers for Mom and me.


I love my seam ripper and when I saw him making a scratch awl for cabinet making it reminded me of a sewing stiletto so I suggested he consider making me a stiletto! Well really I did ask him to consider it - I asked him to make one for me! He has made two stilettos and as you can see in the picture above he likes to use exotic burls for the handles so in addition to being functional they are also very beautiful.

These are the first two stilettos he has made and he is asking for my input and in turn I'm asking you for your input! To make it exciting, if you provide input you'll be entered in a draw for a giveaway (keep reading to find out what it is)!


The stiletto on the left is very much like a sgraffito or a scratch awl. The wood handle measures 2 1/4" from the base to the base of the needle at the brass ferule. The needle also measures 2 1/4" so the total length of the stiletto is 4 1/2". The stiletto on the right measures 5 1/2". The needle is 1 1/4" from its base to the tip. This stiletto is convertible so the needle can be removed and inserted into the wooden handle when not in use.



I also wanted to share a comparison of the needle tips. The stiletto on the left has a rounded blunted point whereas the stiletto on the right has a sharp needle point.


So here is where your opinion is needed: what features do you think are the most appealing? Do you like the longer stiletto or shorter? Do you prefer a convertible stiletto where the point can be tucked inside or do you prefer the non convertible model. And what about the point - blunted or sharp?

If you leave a comment you'll be entered in a draw for one of my pincushion scissor fobs! I'll custom make the fob for the winner! This is a picture of some scissor fob pincushions I made to sell at my Guild's quilt show. I'll announce the winner at 9:00 am October 8th. Please be sure that you are not a no-reply blogger because if you are I have no way of contacting you. I reply to every comment so if you don't get an email from me in response to you comment then you are a no reply blogger.


I'll be off tomorrow but Friday morning will post Block 13 in my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along. Until then, happy sewing!
Karen H

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Two Gardens of a King blocks and quilting hexagons

I've completed two more test blocks for Missie's Gardens of  a King quilt which was inspired by the King George coverlet.  This is the original quilt' Missie's quilt is a smaller less complicated reinterpretation of the quilt. There are literally hundreds of little pieced circular blocks in the original and to think that the maker did this without access to modern fabrics, notions and tools!


The two blocks I'll share today are identical in design however the colours and orientation (direction) have been changed and the result is two blocks that look different! I fussy cut the brown diamonds and the red print triangles for some extra visual interest in the following block but it would have been just as interesting without the fussy cuts.


Once again I fussy cut the brown diamonds for the second block but that was it! I am very pleased with how this block turned out!

All of the blocks were made using Missie's English paper piecing with starch method. The pieces are cut out and prepped with starch and a small Clover iron. I've been using my Dritz Petite Press and it works really well. To learn the basics of this technique you will find a little tutorial here. The following picture is a look at some of the pieces Missie has prepped for sewing.


Missie's pattern for Gardens of a King will be available in the near future. She also offers a brand of freezer paper that she swears by, C. Jenkins Freezer Paper. I was skeptical but thought I would give it a try.


In the past I've just used Reyonds Freezer Paper that I bought at the grocery store and while it works the Jenkins paper is head and shoulders above in weight, quality and performance. The templates made from the Jenkins paper are sturdy and reusable. I think I'll return my Reynolds Freezer Paper to the kitchen and just use it as it was intended in the kitchen. The Jenkins paper will be my paper of choice for sewing!

I written several posts about quilting hexagons and Angie used some of the ideas to quilt her hexagon quilt. I think it looks amazing from the back and front! This is the back. Isn't it fabulous? I love a light backing to show off the beautiful machine quilting!


If you want to see Angie's hexagon quilt from the front you can see it and read about it here! Speaking of hexagons can you believe that Friday I will publish the pattern for Block 13 in my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along? I hope you'll enjoy it as much as the others. I've got all of my blocks sewn together and have found a fabric that I think I'll use for the border. I'll write about it in an upcoming post!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gardens of a King, My Mom's African quilts, My quilt 81 and Lozagons

I continue to test the pattern for Missie Carpenter of Traditional Primitives. Her quilt pattern is called Gardens of a King and it is inspired by the King George III Coverlet. Here's a partial picture of Missie's quilt.


The pieces are small but once you get the hang of Missie's technique for making these amazing blocks it is so much fun! I'm using up so many little scraps which makes me very happy! There are sixteen patterns and the instructions call for two blocks made from each pattern. Here is one of my blocks! I've not yet cut out the second block because I'm so eager to try out the other blocks!


Now it is time for another couple of pictures from the 2014 Yorkshire Rose Quilters' Guild Quilt Show, mine and my Mom's!

This is my Mom (Anne H) with a Montage of African Quilts which were shown at the Yorkshire Rose Quilt Show in September 2014. The banners on the right and left were inspired by a Pippa Moore pattern but Mom personalized them to make them uniquely her own. The quilt in the third column, second from the top was inspired by a quilt made by Allison Wilbur. Allison's quilt was made for Quilt for Change.


I was finally able to get a picture of my quilt 81 - The Giant Monstrosity when it was hung at the quilt show. It does lay flat however we were asked to attach split sleeves to our quilts and this results in a bit of a hump in the middle of the top edge of the quilt.


I will be writing a pattern for making this quilt and it will be available for free on my blog in the near future. It looks complicated but I think you'll be surprised at how easy it is to construct. I did do a great deal of applique in the dark border but if you had a lovely big print it would be a good place to use it if applique isn't your thing!

Yesterday I got together with some friends so while we chatted and munched away on delectable treats I managed to get another Lozagons block stitched. Only 29 hexagon blocks to go!


Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, September 26, 2014

A New Tutorial - How I mount a wall quilt

A friend had one of my Mom's African quilts mounted on a frame and it looked great so I thought I would try it out myself. This was my first attempt. This quilt measures 9" by 12".


I wrote about how I did this on September 8th.  I wrote "We purchased an artist canvas that was stretched over a frame. The quilt top was ttimmed so that the width and length were each 1/2" larger than the canvas (this extra 1/2" is for the seam allowance. I attached 1 1/2" strip of black fabric to all four sides of the quilt and the the sewing started/stopped 1/4" from the corners; each strip was about 1/2" long than the length/width of the quilt. I pulled the strips to the back and used a staple gun to staple them in place but left the corners loose. At the corners I turned the edges under and with black thread stitched them together. The last step was to staple the corners".

Today I am framing a second wall hanging and will modify the method just a little. I cut the black strips 2" wide and this worked much better and I prepared  the black strips before I stitched them to the quilt. Here is a step-by-step tutorial of how I mounted the quilt on an artist's canvas.

Supply List:
Artist canvas stretched over a wood frame
2" strips of black fabric
Thumb tacks
Black thread
Staple gun
Black permanent marker (optional)

Step 1: Measure the width and length of the canvas. While the packaging may show a particular size it may be slightly off.


Step 2: Trim your wall hanging so that it is a scant 1/2" wider and 1/2" longer than the frame. I cut exactly 1/2" larger and the result is a little bit of the black stretching strips show from front of the finished quilt. If you measure a scant 1/2" (just a few threads less than 1/2") then the black will be less visible. As an alternative you can use strips that match the fabric of the quilt and it won't be a problem.


Step 3: Cut two strips that are the same length as the top and two that are the same length as the sides. My Mom's quilt with the seam allowances measure 9 1/2" x 12 1/2" so I cut two strips at 9 1/2" and two strips at 12 1/2".  Turn under the ends of each strip 1/4" and stitch with black thread. Turn under one of the long edges of each strip  1/4" and stitch with black thread.


Step 4: Pin the top and bottom strips to the wall hanging being sure that they are 1/4" away from the edges and stitch them to the quilt being sure to use a 1/4" seam allowance and back stitch at the beginning and end.


Step 5: Pin the side strips to the quilt again making sure that they are 1/4" away from the edges.


I like to place a pin to keep the top and bottom strips out of the way so they don't get caught in the seam. Stitch the strips to the quilt using a 1/4" seam allowance and back stitch at the beginning and the end.


Step 6: Press the strips away from the quilt.


Step 7: Top stitch the strips to the seam allowances in the quilt.


Step 8:  Place the quilt on the canvas and pull the strips to the back. I like to use tacks to hold the strips in place. I pin all the way around being sure to pull the strips taught.


I turn the frame over to make sure that I am happy with the look of the quilt from the front. I make any necessary adjustments and them repin on the back with the tacks.


Step 9: I use a staple gun to staple the black strips to the frame on all four sides but I only staple the strips at the corner on the side strips. I leave the top and bottom strips free at the corners.



Step 10: I hand stitch the corners. To do this I thread a needle with black thread. I bring my thread up at the orange circle and use a little whip stitch or a ladder stitch to pull the two sides together to close the opening. (Note: I took the following picture of the corner before I had stapled the back; I wanted to show the corner. Once the strips are pulled to the back and stapled the tacks are removed)


I pull the black strip taught and place a staple as indicated by the orange circle and then continue stitching the strip as indicated by the orange arrow.  I make a small knot and bury the thread.


Step 11: This step is optional but it gives a nice finish. I use a permanent black marker and colour the staples so that they blend with the black fabric.


Here is the finished product! 


A bit of the black shows from the front but had I trimmed my quilt top so that is was just slightly less than 1/2" larger than the frame this would have been eliminated. Another thing I didn't do but should have done is to clip the corners to reduce the bulk so that the corners were a little sharper. I learn as I go! It isn't perfect but I do like the way these quilts look when then are mounted and hung on the wall!

I hope you enjoyed this little how-to. Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More quilt show pictures

Today I'm sewing with friends so I don't have time for a long post but instead will share more pictures of quilts from the Yorkshire Rose Quilters' Guild Show!

"English Country Garden"

"Flowers in Abundance"

"In My Garden" - This quilt was made by my Mom, Anne H.

"William Morris Blue Bonekickers"

"Birds and Urns"  This quilt was made by my Mom, Anne H

"On The Beach"

"Japanese Taupe Half Square Triangle"

"Shibori Indigo Blue Shadow Quilt"

"Dear Jane"

"Triple Expresso Skip"
"Sunset Lattice"

"Stella"

"Modern Wonky Log Cabin"

"Tango's Quilt"

"Sakura Festival"

Until I post again, I hope you've been inspired to create!
Karen H

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pattern Testing, Lozagons and a Beautiful Pen

I continue to work on the pattern testing for Missie of Traditional Primitives. I'll share pictures when she gives me the okay! I you like English paper piecing and the Dear Jane quilt then you'll be interested in Missie's quilt pattern! It isn't a large quilt - I think it will finish at about 65" which is a nice manageable size!

Last night I stitched together a block for my Lozagons quilt. You can read about the original quilt here.  The turquoise you see will act as the background fabric. I've made hexagon rosettes and I'll stitch one rosette at each spot where there is a turquoise hexagon on the block.


The result will be that the block will appear to have spokes as you can see in the picture of the original quilt below.


That's one block down and thirty to go! You can see my box of "noodles" which are the hexagons stitched into rounds. They are waiting to be turned into larger pieces!


My brother turns wood on a lathe and has made some really lovely seam rippers which he sold at the Quilt Show. He made these for Mom and me for Christmas. The seam ripper part comes out and gets tucked inside the wood handle when not in use.


Well I love the woods me uses and so he me made me a lovely pen made of buckeye burl. A burl is a round growth on a tree. The grain is very different from the trunk and it is full of eyes and swirls.

Here's a close-up of the burl in the seam ripper above. Pretty, isn't it? You can see more pictures of his seam rippers here.


And here is the pen he made for me. I love the colour of the wood, creamy gold and slate grey!


There were some small voids in the burl so he filled them with turquoise inlay. It is a tiny little detail and the kind of thing that makes the pens a little extra special! I love my pen!


Tomorrow I'll share more pictures from the quilt show! Until then happy sewing.
Karen H