Friday, June 3, 2016

Morris Hexathon Block #4

It's been a week of enjoyable projects here but none of them have involved stitching so I haven't finished block #4, Box Hill for my Morris Hexathon (go HERE to read Barbara Brackman's post) but I want to share what I've done so far.

Box Hill is a scenic view in Surrey, England -- if you are a Jane Austen fan, it's where Emma speaks rudely to Miss Bates and is called out by Mr. Knightley -- "badly done, Emma, badly done".
As I said in my first post about this project, I'm using Marti Michell's Set G -- the templates are smaller so my blocks are smaller.  There are two reasons I've taken this approach -- I don't want to make templates and I can't figure out the instructions for translating the patterns from the blogpost into the right size -- don't have in-house tech support?!? 
(Erin, if you are reading this, I need you!!)
So for this block it's G48, the 1" finished 60-degree diamond.
I took the totally "scrappy" approach and pulled 7 lights, 7 mediums, and 7 darks from my reproduction fabric collection.
I cut a 2" by 2 1/2" rectangle of each print, stacked all 7 and cut them out -- quick!! 
I laid them out randomly, like dealing out the card deck for solitaire and then made a couple changes so the same color family wasn't in any unit.
The value positions seemed good, but I checked by looking at the photo with the B&W option on my tablet -- we had lots of fun using this feature on our phones and tablets when I taught the value workshop in South Carolina last month!  It's an easy way to build your confidence about value choices!
Time to stitch -- yup, I'm machine piecing these little buggers.
For those of you who have already learned the Set-In Piecing Simplified technique or have taken one of my workshops, you already know the value of doing the pivot before moving to the next pair -- prevents getting lost!!
It's easy to keep things in order if you piece the same pair for all the units and leave the resulting chain attached.
Then when you are ready to add the third diamond, remove the first pair from the chain, add the third diamond.  Now clip off the second pair and add it's third diamond, working through the laid out pieces in the same (personal) logical order -- for my experienced Mary Ellen Hopkins groupies, that is PLO.  One thing I've learned from teaching widely is that everyone's "logical order" is personal!!
Soon all the units were together with only the third seam to close it up and it's ready to press.
It took about 30 minutes to cut and piece up to this point!!
I'm never without something to use as a sew-off and right now I'm still getting the units of this tumbling block set together.
It also provides a "leg-stretch" since I have to get up and walk over to the design wall.
Here's all the little tumbling block units stitched and pressed (identically) ready to assemble the Box Hill block.  Once again I laid them out randomly (and wrong side up), then made a couple shifts to separate similar colors.
 Even though these are y-seams, it's okay at this point to stitch down the previous seam allowances making it easier to get as close to the dot as possible.  One of the bonuses of the Set-In Piecing Simplified technique that I teach is you can actually be a little sloppy and stop before the dot with excellent results.
It will take twelve "dot to dot" seams to assemble these seven units. That means I'll also complete twelve seams on the design wall quilt -- excellent progress!!  I haven't picked a fabric for the six diamonds that will outline this block -- will audition for that when I get this completely assembled.
Adding the background diamonds mean twelve more seams and twelve more seams finished on the larger quilt top -- that will bring me very close to a finished quilt top!!

But now it's time to tackle today's big project.  Everything in this photo of my back garden -- table, chairs, pots -- needs to be moved to the far end of the lawn . . .
. . . . so when the tree trimmers arrive, they have access to my beloved white oak.  This tree attracts so much life -- squirrels, insects, birds -- and I work hard at keeping it healthy.

One final note today -- if you own an older OTT Light that uses this bulb --  Type Z bulb, 18W, spiral with 4 metal prongs at the base -- you need to know replacement bulbs are hard to find.  So I called the company earlier this week when one of mine died and discovered that they are on backorder until August!
Happily, they offered to notify me when they are in stock and I'll be able to order directly from them.
The phone number (USA) is 800-842-8848.

Have a lovely weekend and be sure to work in some stitching time!!

Mary Huey

** There are Affiliate Links in this post -- using them results in a small commission for me -- thanks!! 



  1. Wow Mary, I'm amazed by those tiny tumbling blocks. I've never made one and they look a bit complicated to me, so there's another project to add to my "I've got to try that" list! :) I'm really looking forward to following your progress on this project, it looks so good. Thanks so much for linking to Main Crush Monday!

    1. Thanks, Beth! I wouldn't suggest trying tumbling blocks for the first time so small but they are so easy to piece using the technique I teach which I've dubbed, Set-In Piecing Simplified. It's the result of a brain wave one of my students had to chain piece through y-seams and it's fueled most of my work for the past 4 years as I've experimented and taught with the idea. The technique smoothes out the y-seams, makes them easier, and more secure. If you ever get the urge to try it out, I sell a DVD that contain all the teaching demonstrations from my workshops that I sell at for $15.95

      Feedback has been good and quilters are getting fearless about y-seams!!

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