Monday, October 20, 2014

Five minutes of sewing here and there

I've been busy and have managed to stitch up a bunch of blocks. I always have a little sewing kit at the ready so if I go out and have five minutes of sitting and waiting I can take a few stitches. It might not be much sewing but all those five minutes sure add up! This is my sewing kit and it was made for my by Bunny of The Creative Hare. It was made from a free pattern that you can find here.

It is very spacious inside so I can fit a few spools of thread, scissors and my EPP (English paper piecing) pieces. I store spare needles inside the flap. I use my little pouch every day and just love it. It would make a terrific holiday gift for a sewing friend!

So what have I made in those five minutes of sewing here and there? Well let me show you some Lozagon hexagon blocks and Gardens of a King blocks that I've managed to finish in those sewing minutes! This Lozagon is kind of wishy washy isn't my favourite but it will work just fine in the finished quilt.

Some years ago I had been at a White Elephant sale in a church basement and I bought a bag of old scraps, many of which were cut as blades for Dresden plate blocks. I am using some of those scraps in my Lozagons quilt. In the next block you can see some of the prints in the hexagons that surround the solid centre. Unfortunately I was only able to cut five hexagons from the scraps so I went through my stash and found a fabric that was a similar colour but a different print. Even though it is a striped fabric I think it works just fine. I love having the occasional odd patch because it adds interest! The purple flowers on the white background in the outer border are also cut from the old scraps!

How about some Gardens of a King Quilt blocks! This is a pattern I'm testing for Missie of Traditional Primitives. The more blocks I stitch the better I'm getting at making them and I adore these tiny treasures! Missie is also testing the pattern and you can get a sneak peak of what's to come here! For now I'll share some of my blocks with you.

Originally I had dark brown for the outer round of triangles but it was too close in value to the green fabric. I tried the gold scraps and they work perfectly.

I didn't throw out the brown triangles; instead I used them for my second block. Blue and brown are a great colour combination so I searched my stash for the right blue (I needed a blue that was a lighter value than the brown) and this is what I came up with. Notice I rotated the centre pie wedges. This was a mistake and I considered correcting it so that it would be the same as the previous block. My attitude is fix the things that will bother you and leave the rest alone. This is a mistake I can live with so it will stay as it is!

The next two blocks have more pieces (each has 56 pieces). I was dreading sewing this block because of all the pieces but I took care when prepping the patches for EPP, stitched carefully and the blocks came together nicely. I particularly like the red/pink ring around the first of these two blocks. I used a single grey fabric so that the centre star could really pop and I think that this was a good choice!

This second block is much darker and more dramatic. It isn't perfect but I can live with it!

Right - I'm off to see if I can find some spare minutes so I can get cracking on more Lozagons hexagon blocks and Gardens of a King blocks! Until I post again I hope you are able to find five minutes to take a few stitches!
Karen H

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tiny treasures

I'm working on another tiny star for the Gardens of a King quilt pattern that I am testing for Missie of Traditional Primitives. I've already made one tiny block centre and this is the second. The second is always easier than the first - at least that's what I find! The finished size from point to point is 2 3/4". I am so pleased with this tiny treasure!

Some time ago I entered in a giveaway by Sheryl of Sewing After Seven and I was fortunate enough to win one of her exquisite scissors pouches. If you aren't familiar with her blog I can assure you it is worth a visit. I drool over Sheryl's amazing handwork which is exquisite. Sheryl is running another giveaway to celebrate her one year anniversary and this is the tiny treasure she will give to one lucky person!

To enter Sheryl's giveaway go here. It couldn't be easier and while you are at it why not sign up to follow her blog? You won't be disappointed! For example, check out this cushion cover that she made! She posted lots of close-up pictures; you'll be astounded at the level of detail! See all of the pictures and read about the Henry and Anne cushion cover here.

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, October 17, 2014

Value Proposition QAL - Block 14

Where have the past two weeks gone? Time flies by far too quickly! It's time for Block 14 in my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along (QAL). I had told you we are going to make fabric for this one and that's exactly what we will do! This technique for "made" fabric will be used in another block. It is a great way to give your blocks a very different look and you will be surprised at how easy it is to do! I know there are some very creative readers out there so I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Value Proposition Map for Block 14

Value Proposition Recipe for Block 14

  • Cut 7 Light* identified as A on Map (1 for Centre and six for Round 2)
  • Cut 6 Light/Dark "Made" Fabrics** identified as B on Map (for Round 1)
  • Cut 12 Medium identified as C on Map (6 for Round 3)
  • Cut 12 Medium-Dark identified as D on Map ( 6 for Round 2 and 6 for Round 3)
* If you want to add some extra pizzazz two of the A hexagons identified as A* on the Map can be "made" fabric. Scroll down for the instructions for "made fabric"

** See below for the instructions for "made" fabric

My Value Proposition Block 14

This is a black and white picture of my block. Notice that I made my own fabric for the spokes in round 1. I made a second strip of fabric and added two "made" fabrics in Round 2 on the sides. These two are optional. You could just use a light fabric in place of the made fabric.

Instructions for "Made" Fabric
Select two fabrics, one of which is Light and the other medium or dark. My darker fabric is a directional print; it adds some interest and complexity. From the darker fabric cut one strip that is 1 1/4" wide by 15 1/2" long. From the lighter fabric cut 2 strips that are the same length and width. Shorten the stitch length and sew a light strip to either side of the dark strip. This is important because you will be cutting your "made" fabric and you don't want the stitches to come undone!

Press the seam allowances open. A spritz of starch and a press with a hot dry iron will kept them nice and flat. That's it - "made" fabric. Now on to making the hexagons! Cut six 2 1/2" patches. I applied a tiny dab of glue stick to my hexagon paper. I placed the paper on the wrong side of the "made" fabric making sure the dark stripe was reasonably centered in the hexagon. 

Trim the excess fabric at the corners. I like to leave a generous seam allowance of roughly 3/8" all around. 

There you have it - "made" fabric! Continue in the usual method of English paper piecing to complete Round 1.

I set up a Value Proposition QAL page on Flickr so that you can post pictures of your blocks and also see what others are doing! There are many very different and exciting blocks to see and there are also some pictures showing a bunch of blocks arranged together and that is very exciting to see! 
If you are looking for previous Block installments of my Value Proposition Hexagon QAL you will find all of the links under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H just under the banner. Have fun making Block 14. Block 15 will be available on October 31, 2014. 

I hope you are enjoying my QAL! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I send an email response to every comment so if you don't hear from me it means you are a no-reply blogger and I have no way of contacting you (unless you leave me your email address).

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sewing jewelry

I like having "sewing jewelry"; it doesn't improve the quality of my work but it fun to have and nice to look at! Today I thought I would share a couple of my favourites with you!

I love scissor fobs and tassels for small scissors because it makes it so easy to find them when they are in a box with sewing goodies! I made this scissors tassel several years ago! It has a large lobster claw clasp so that I can remove the tassel if necessary. The berry and pomegranate colours of the beads are so juicy!

Another bit of sewing jewelry that I made is a necklace with a Clover Thread Cutter. I use it when I'm hand sewing but I've also worn it as a necklace and I always get compliments!

If you aren't familiar with a Clover Thread Cutter it is the little round disc. Inside the disc is a circular blade; you just push your thread between the notches  and your thread is cut. This is a great tool to have around your neck when you are out and sewing because you don't have to worry about losing your scissors! I collect interesting beads like the face bead and I find a place where I can show them off!

I've got to get to the post office to mail OhioLori her scissor fob. She said she likes roses so I used a fabric with wild roses.

On the other side of the fob is a butterfly! I sure hope she likes it as it is one of a kind and was made especially for her!

Time for me to get back to the Gardens of a King blocks. Tomorrow it is time for Block 14 in my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along. This time you will use "made" fabric for some of your hexagons. What is that you ask? Well you'll just have to come back tomorrow to find out!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coil Baskets and hexagon blocks

My friend Gail showed me some coil baskets she made and they were STUNNING! I asked her to teach us how she made them and yesterday she did just that! Her starting point was the book It's A Wrap by Susan Breier but Gail modified the method to suit her methods and materials.

She also brought a finished basket so we could get an idea about what we were working towards. Isn't it beautiful? I can visualize it filled with Autumnal goodies like pine cones and acorns or maybe balls of wool!

This is one of Gail's baskets in progress. She has made them in all kinds of colours but admits she is partial to a combination of red, hot pink and fuschia.

This is the base of the basket. I was not convinced that the cording could be stitched on a domestic sewing machine but there was no problem at all however be warned - the zigzag stitch uses a lot of thread!

Once you are happy with the size of the base it is turned on its edge and you continue to stitch the wrapped cord. This picture doesn't show it well but the sides are starting to come up! It is just one continual process and I expect that if your materials were at hand and prepared that a nice big basket could be completed in a couple of hours!

My Mom was able to make a little basket in no time flat! She was thrilled with the results and you can see why!  Gail shared her fabrics with her because Mom really liked them! These baskets are very solid and sturdy. I now want to make one of my own and so it is on my "to do" list. Why is it that my "to do" list seems to be getting longer and longer?

This is why my "to do" list is getting longer! Jinx has been with us for a month and he is a going concern. He is cute but he is one very busy little guy and nothing is safe whether it is my fingers flying across the keyboard or the Dritz Petite Press. He was quite annoyed with it this morning because it was turned on and hot, hot, hot!

Gail liked my Good Golly Miss Mollie quilt so she is making her own version of this hexagon quilt. I gave her some tips on basting her hexagons and stitching them together. She brought along what she has made so far.

She made a little mistake on the first round of brick coloured hexagons (she forgot the hexagon at the top and bottom of the diamond) but I love the look of this block ! It's just a little different and I think it will add a little interest to her quilt!

We had a lovely day chatting, sewing and eating! Now it's time for me to get back to testing Missie's Gardens of a King pattern! Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pincushion and more Gardens of a King

There were several comments on the pincushion I showed on Sunday. My starting point was the Tiny World Make Do Pincushion pattern by Mimi Kirchner. I've adapted the instructions to suit my methods and the materials I had on hand. I also created some of my own design elements. The instructions in the pattern are well written and very easy to follow and I've had so much fun making Tiny World Pincushions. The pattern is available here. Yesterday's pincushion is part of a series of four. I found four demitasses at the local thrift shop and made four identical scenes however they changed with the seasons.

I've finished two more blocks in the Gardens of a King quilt pattern that I am testing for Missie. This is another one that I thought would be tricky but I spent some time thinking about the block construction and it paid off. The blocks came together very nicely!

Today I'm going to spend some time with a friend learning how to make coil baskets! I saw a couple that she made and they were beautiful so I'll be sure to take pictures and share the results of our labours!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Two more Gardens of a King Blocks and it's Autumn

Tiny World Make Do Pincushion - Autumn

Autumn is here for sure! The temperature fell below zero last night - chilly but great weather for quilting or snuggling under a quilt! And I love the Autumnal colours and often use them in my quilts.

Close-up of my quilt A Challenging Year

Carrie of A Passion for Applique is testing Missie's Gardens of a King pattern. The pattern will be available from Traditional Primitives in the very near future. If you are interested in the pattern by all means let Missie know.

Carrie's version of the pattern is very different from mine. She has given her quilt a fresh, modern look by using contemporary fabrics. She recently gave her readers a sneak peak and you can see it here. I've gone with a more traditional look; I've used some Civil War style prints but I've also thrown in a few more modern prints because I thought that they worked well.

Here are the next two blocks in my Gardens of a King. This was an interesting block and I used two different construction methods. In the first I appliqued the hexagon and star points to the background fabric.

In the second block I appliqued the blue hexagons to the cream hexagon but the star points were pieced. If I were to made a third block I think that I would repeat the second method (piecing the star points) because it allows for a colour change in the background behind the star points.

I'm making good progress and soon will be able to add the background fabric around the circles. Missie's version is scrappy backgrounds in soft muted neutral. I've decided to use a single fabric (the one I've been photographing the circles) to give it a more uniform look much like the quilt which was the inspiration, the King George III coverlet.

King George III Coverlet

That's it for today. It is Thanksgiving in Canada so I've got some cooking to do today! Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H