Saturday, September 24, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival Entry #2

Dream Birds
51" by 66"
Using a blocklotto.com pattern for the birds and with help from the ladies of Stash Bee Hive #7 during 2015, I assembled this funky quilt finishing it in July, 2016. 


It's just for fun -- no idea how I'll ever use it.

The extra blocks have been crafted into these cute drawstring backpacks for my grands!!

Love the bird block -- go HERE for the pattern!

Thanks for checking out my entry!
And don't forget to check out all the other entries at the Blogger's Quilt Festival this coming week!

Mary Huey




Monday, September 19, 2016

The Bug Hut is FINISHED!!

It's been almost a year and a half since I showed this quilt top from a round robin group -- pieced, embellished and ready to quilt!  You can see my original post HERE.
Over the weekend, I finished the binding and added a casing -- now to figure out where to hang it!
While it does look great out in the middle of the yard, it will need to come inside!
And happily, it's finished just in time to enter into the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side -- entering it into the Small Quilts Category!!
I've been hand quilting it with big stitch in pearl cotton all summer.  Just having fun and being spontaneous on how to quilt each section.  I started in the center with the "hut" and did more embroidery than big stitch. 
Experimenting with ideas, not worrying about what it looks like on the back. 
Then I moved through the six mini-huts surrounding the center.  It's easier to see the outlining I did from the back.
These big "polka dots" seemed perfect for the sashing frame around the center hut.
I got a little carried away with this big bug and jazzed up his wings with embroidery.
My favorite blocks in this quilt are the bees -- the quilting I added defined the wings and made the strips stand out more.
The quilting I added to the fans make them look more like sunbursts -- bugs love sunshine!!
Have you noticed you rarely see pollinators on cloudy days?
Inspired by the spiders who live by my backdoor every summer, I captured the four bugs in the corners of the outer borders in webs.
I also used webs to fill the blank area in the upper and lower borders. 
This is the label that traveled around with the quilt as it was being constructed -- nice to have it incorporated right into the backing!
I love that I was able to finish this quilt.  It will be a "summer" quilt in one of the groups that I rotate on the walls in my home. 
There is so much about this quilt that makes me smile, I know I'll always enjoy looking at it!
And it makes the third finish for the third quarter from my 2016 Finish Along goals!!
Yea!!

The Bug Hut
42" by 48"
My Round Robin quilt from a group organized by Bea at http://www.beaquilter.com/

Mary

Be sure to click through to the Blogger's Quilt Festival next week to drool over lots of great quilts and vote for your favorites!!










Thursday, September 15, 2016

Quilting Smitten!!

One of my teaching goals for the past several years is to be better prepared to discuss "how to quilt" projects with my students.  In order to accomplish that, it's important for me to quilt most of my own work because experience is such a reliable method of instruction.
The machine quilting of Smitten is well underway -- I've adhered to my schedule by and large and am at the halfway point. I turned to Instagram for quilting inspiration and am so grateful to Kaye Hoffman of Australia who shared a number of photos of her finished version of the quilt five months ago on Instagram -- you can check some of them out for yourself by heading over HERE
Her quilt was quilted by Judy Simcock (you can see more of Judy's work HERE) who is not only a professional machine quilter, but she organizes stitching retreats that look like lots of fun!  The designs she used on Kaye's quilt inspired me as I began to work on my quilt.   While I didn't copy her designs and placement, you can see the impact she had on the designs I've created for my own quilt.
I thought I'd share the specifics of two of the simpler motifs as it might be helpful to you.
The first I've used in most of the hexagons that are the centers of a block.
It is made up of two arced "triangular" passes around the hexagon.
I begin in the first corner, using a "Fine Line" continuous curve tool.  (Click HERE for their website.)  The tool is aligned with the outside edge of my edge following presser foot and aligned 1/4" to the left of the third corner.
The tool is repositioned for two more arcs and I return to the first corner.  If you don't have a ruler, you can draw an arc or freehand it (which is what I did before I discovered the tool).
As I stitched the arcs along the inside of the pink triangles, I "interrupted" that trail and stitched a second arced triangle in the hexagon connecting the three remaining corners and completing the star shape.
Upon returning the last corner, I continue with the design of the shapes around the hexagon.
In the center of this large hexagon, you see a third set of arcs that travel from the tip of a green plaid diamond to the next green plaid diamond -- these are actually my "traveling" lines but they also add more interest to the quilting of the large yellow hexagon (and eliminate lots of thread tie-offs spots).
Here's the same treatment of a smaller hexagon in the center of this star block.
To quilt the background diamonds in this block, I used a "polka dot" motif to fill the center of the diamonds.  To begin, I marked the center of each diamond.  I lined up my straight "Fine Line" tool and stitched a straight line from the point of the diamond,
stopping when my presser foot reached the center mark. 
Now I (very slowly) stitched a circle and re-traced around the left side of the circle  
before completing the straight line to the opposite end of the diamond.  You can still see my "stop" point marking in this picture.  I added arcs around the four sides of each diamond to finish them up!
Once I figure out how to quilt a block, I repeat that quilting design in the rest of those same blocks.  Saves time and mental energy and unifies the quilt!
As you can see, Willie approves of my progress so far!  He was on that quilt in a flash when I took it outside to take advantage of the sunshine for the photo session.
I hope these ideas give you inspiration for quilting your hexagonal blocks -- I know I'm going to bookmark this post so I can refer to it for future 6-pointed star quilts because there are more of them in my future!!
 
I hope you get all the stitching time you want this weekend!!
 
Mary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, September 12, 2016

Two More Hexathon Blocks!

I hope your week is going well.  We are having some lovely weather and I've been a bit distracted from my stitching by a local birding survey project.  Monday afternoon, I spotted two very exciting birds that I rarely see -- black-billed cuckoo and golden-winged warbler. 
Image result for golden winged warbler
This is a picture of the warbler from allaboutbirds.com  It might have been only the second time I've seen one in 55 years of birding!!  Very exciting!!
 
But I am keeping up with Barbara Brackman's Morris Hexathon!
 
I fiddled with my templates for about 30 minutes trying to decide which ones might work for block #17 which Barbara named "Folly".  My favorite folly in England is the "temple of Apollo" at Stourhead -- if you've seen the version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley, it's the location of the big argument between Lizzie and Darcy in the rain. 
 
 
   Finally, I relented and paper pieced them.  In the end, it was the easiest approach.  Since I have been reintroduced to the skill for several of the blocks used for the #smorgasblocks follow along, it worked out well.
 
I copied the pattern onto light weight paper, cut it apart and pieced six of these units. 
The trickiest part was trimming them without cutting off the seam allowances -- there was lots of self-talk for the time it took to do that.
I left the paper in place until the block was completely assembled.
And here's the finished block -- I'm pleased with how crisp it looks!
Block #18, Parquetry was another easy one and I was able to use template G47, a half hexagon.
After I cut the pieces, I auditioned two layouts and decided to replace the brown dot -- the value between the blue and brown was too close and I wanted one of them to be darker so the design of the block was more obvious.
At this point, I had planned to insert a little video of me piecing the units below but either I deleted it in the process of transferring it from the camera to the computer or like so many things, it's hiding somewhere on the hard drive which I haven't discovered quite yet. 
So we'll try it another day.
 
This brown is enough darker in value that I was happier with the results.
It's not as outstanding as the example in Barbara blogpost -- you should look at it as the fussy cuts are impressive!
Since my design wall is currently empty, I experimented with some layouts.
The empty spaces will be filled with large hexagons probably a print or several prints. 
There are still 8 blocks to go and I'm looking forward to translating some of these into large size blocks to include as ideas in my hexagon piecing workshops.
I might even keep them as a loose set for a while to use in workshops for a demonstration tool for designing settings?  What do you think of that idea?
 
Mary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Between the Quilting

Smitten is layered! 
The quilting has begun!!
I appreciated all the lovely comments and compliments about it in my last post!
Very gratifying!! 
My goal is to finish the quilting by September 25 before I head out on a couple teaching trips so the finishing details -- burying threads and binding -- will be my travel stitching.
 
The plan is to complete at least two blocks a day -- hopefully that pace will prevent me from getting too tired and impatient and stitching too fast and getting sloppy.  My arthritis is limiting so more than an hour at the quilting machine is tough. 
So far, so good.
While I'm working on this, I'm catching up on some odds and ends of piecing.  First in line were the last two blocks for Anneliese's #smorgasblocks project at http://eyecandyquilts.com
If you haven't checked this delightful sewalong out, she gathered up ten free patterns from ten bloggers and organized them into a "sampler" style quilt.
 
One of the things I enjoyed about it was trying out some blocks I've admired but never tried like this arrow!!  So simple and I added my own little personal (secret) touch.  Years from now, quilt historians will ponder why I did it.  They'll never guess! 
I was moving too fast as I'm prone to doing.
Then I set to work on the orange peel blocks -- 11 of them.  Isn't that an odd number?  How is that even going to work.  I decided to glam them up with some hand buttonhole stitch using pearle cotton.  I took advantage of two beautiful late summer afternoons to stitch in the back garden.
I've stitched miles of buttonhole around appliques finishing a quilt top that a friend started so here are a few pics of turning a corner that might be useful to you.
 
The stitch at the point needs to be secured or it will slip around.
So after I've made the stitch, I make a small stitch by going to the back on the outside of the loop.  This secures the loop at the point. 
Then I come back up inside the loop catching just the point of the fabric and everything is secure and I'm ready to head down the next side of the motif. 
My quilt has evolved a kitschy, mid-century modern look and I think the buttonhole stitch is a perfect accent for that theme!
And here are all the units together!
So that's why 11 blocks will work!
This might be the end but there is a border plan Anneliese will be sharing this weekend, so I'm waiting to see what that is before making the final decision. 
It's a pretty cute quilt!
I'm awed by how she organized the layout -- must be interesting inside her head!!
I think I might have someone in mind to get this quilt, too!!
 
It's been fun to explore new blogs, try techniques and patterns, and trust that it would all work!
I believe if you are working with a stack of fabric that you like, the results are always good!
 
Next up!
Mary
 
 
 
 
 





Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Busy Weekend!!

As a rule, I haven't enjoyed holiday weekends since my husband passed and my children moved out on their own so it's important to go into those weekends with a plan.
This past weekend was Labor Day here in the USA and the plan revolved around getting this quilt (Smitten by Lucy Carson Kingwell) ready to layer.

Mission accomplished!! 
Wahoo!! 
Today it gets layered and then the hemming and hawing about how to quilt it can begin!?!
I love looking at it, so I left it hanging out on the clothesline with the sheets for a bit just to enjoy the view.
I even contemplated mounting it on the side of the newly painted garage for some photos.
That was one of my other weekend goals -- to get this side of the garage painted before the weather turned hot and rainy this week as is forecast. 
Definitely out of my comfort zone -- the painting part is okay but there was lots of self-talk going on concerning that ladder stretched out into the peak of the wall.
The building is reputed to have started life as the cow shed circa 1915 when the "neighborhood" was likely a pasture behind us.  There's a door at the back corner, long nailed shut, which would have given easy access to a pasture and an old diagonal "scar" along the front corner where a small structure was removed -- chicken coop or wood shed?
I've had the rest of the building sided with vinyl to make it easier to maintain and improve the neighbors' views but I love the visual history of this side and so will continue to keep it painted -- though I won't be the one painting it next time!!
I like the idea of organizing a photo backdrop there -- have to think about that!!

And just to keep things interesting, I'm working on making the transition from tri-focals (which I've worn for 30 years to two pairs of bi-focals?!?  I can see the targets better with both pairs of glasses and I think the challenge of keeping track of both pair will be a good mental workout for me -- memory improvement -- where did I leave the reading pair?
Such a goofy selfie!!
Time to layer!!  Think I might do a couple of them while I'm in the mode!!

Mary