Friday, August 30, 2019

Start a New Project with Me!!!

Good afternoon!  This is "organized" in my studio -- all the fabrics and Marti Michell templates in one place as I work through this years edition of #100days100blocks along with lots of quilters around the globe. 
Did you join in this challenge?
If you did, are you still on task and keeping up!
So far, so good here!
My design wall is right up to date with block #61 for August 30 starting a new row across the bottom!
I'm using my Marti Michell templates to cut most of the pieces and as I was stitching up several sets of HST's this morning, I was thinking about quilters I see trimming their HST's to the correct size. 
If you are one of those, I urge you to give Marti's templates a try.
I would rather spend the time cutting around a template than trimming up anything!!
You can't see the square under this HST and that's because they are the exact same size.
But I digress from my true purpose here today.
I started a new project!
I "had" to because I ran out of stuff to use as "leaders and enders" as I chain piece the #100days blocks. It is inspired by (eye-catching) randomly pieced hexagons projects I keep seeing on Instagram -- my "saved" folder is full of other quilters' cool hexie projects! I'm using a layer cake of assorted blue prints -- purchased and intended for random hexagons a couple months ago!

Wait a minute?!?
Doesn't piecing hexagons mean y-seams?
I have been chain piecing y-seams for about six years now!!
If you didn't know that already, read on.
Before I retired from active teaching, I taught workshops to share this technique inspired by a student -- it's so efficient and so accurate but I know just the phrase "y-seam" scares the crap out of most machine-piecers.
Last week, I had a nice note from a follower, Glen (wondering why I have been quiet in July) who shared that "Your set-in seam technique changed my quilting life! I still like to hand piece but now can cover a lot of ground with machine piecing Y seams."
So maybe you should give this a try?

Would a coupon for 25% OFF give you the courage?
Click HERE to go to my Etsy Shop and purchase the downloadable PDF!
(If the link doesn't apply the discount automatically, use the EASYPIECING in the "coupon" box.)
Offer is good through the end of September, 2019.

Then grab a layer cake with 42 squares (I know you have one with no particular purpose intended) and follow along over the next couple weeks. I'll start by sharing my cutting strategy today.
No layer cake, you say?  How about cleaning out that scrap pile?!?
And look at this, perfect size for "charm packs"!
The layout I drafted (using 2" hexagons) makes a quilt top that is 55" by 69 1/2" before borders. It's a good size hexagon to practice the y-seam technique and will come together easily. It should be a nice crib or lap size top -- might work for that gift you want to make for someone or to brighten up your own space?

I chose the large hexagon (2" finished on each side) from Marti Michell's Set G because it makes good use of a 10" square.
 Working with stacks of four 10" squares at a time, I cut two strips (approx. 4") leaving a leftover strip of about 2".
The next two pictures illustrate the most accurate way to measure the strips needed.
Line up the edge of the template with the straight right-hand edge of the fabric.
Push a ruler up against the left-hand edge of the template -- test this position in several places along the length of the fabric.
When you are satisfied that you have an accurate "measurement", pull the template aside and cut along the right-hand edge of the ruler.
(This is a great trick from Marti for cutting messy measurements like 15/16ths!)
 See Marti demo this process with the Kaleido-ruler HERE -- the measuring part starts at about the 2 minute mark of the video.
NOTE -- Set aside fourteen assorted of the 4" strips to use later for cutting partial hexagons for the outside edges of the quilt.  I didn't do this but I should have -- it will be easier!!
Then cut hexagons from the strips keeping them at the far ends so the leftovers in the middle are something that might be usable (but that's for another day). 
Cut a total of 138 hexagons.
Here are the leftovers -- I'm not sure how or if I'll use them but don't they look tidy?
Of course, I'm already enchanted with this new project so I'm just chain piecing hexagons into pairs to help me calm down or get focused or relax -- any excuse to stitch.
So now you cut a stack of hexagons and we'll talk about the piecing in the next post scheduled for Tuesday, September 3.

We are having a holiday weekend here in the USA so whether you are stitching or headed for the beach or just hiding out, I hope it's a good one for you!



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Upcycling Fun!

I've been AWOL from the blogosphere for a month at this point.  First there were two mini-vacations with my older grandchildren. I took each of them on a different Road Scholar Grandparent/grandchild adventure.  My grandson and I went to Vermont for some nature adventures and I took my granddaughter to Chincoteague Island where we learned about the tidal habitats and did a bit of crabbing!!

Then these three came home from the hospital -- born June 2, they are my newest grands!!
Throw in a trip to the spa for my computer and July was shot!!  

Of course, I've managed to stitch through all that -- mostly handwork -- English paper piecing and knitting.  I also have been working on the #100days100blocks2019 project -- simple blocks and my fabric palette is a cheerful one that I've managed to pull together out of my stash!  You can check out my progress over on Instagram -- I'm @hueymary 

This week I upcycled a garment for a friend into a fun cushion for her living room.  She has traveled to Costa Rica many times and on one of those trips she bought this dress with a handpainted panel.  When she offered it to my stash earlier this summer, I offered to make her a cushion instead.  The panel is too nice to be stuck in my stash.  
It's always scary to begin a project when the first step involves cutting something finished apart.
But it has to be done! 
My first thought was a band or two of flying geese (she goes to Central America to bird).
But in the end, I used fabric from the skirt to set the panel a bit askew.

While I was doing that, I had a quilting inspiration (thank goodness!!) to use several colors of thread and create a "pic-up-stix" style design on the black.  Another quick stash dive uncovered enough black Dream Poly batting which I always use for dark quilted projects.
I quilted with my walking foot and just let the design evolve adding random lines focused on framing the panel. 
I wasn't planning to quilt the panel but as the black flattened down, the panel started to puff up and so I echo quilted some of the details to flatten the panel without taking away from the artist's work.
The finished quilting is subtle. It breaks up the solid black while framing the painted design. 
I revisited my idea to bind the edges of the cushion cover rather than turning it and chose a bright green that will also act as a "piping" accent on the finished cover.
You can revisit my blogpost HERE when I did this (lazy) finish the first time!
So close, so close.  
Back to the cutting mat for six more inches. 
Here's the finished cushion (it's 22" square) snuggled into the corner of my couch for a quick photo shoot before I deliver it to my friend.  I love being able to share my skill with my non-sewing friends like this! 
One more thing to share with you -- a couple days ago, I listened to a podcast by Marie Greene of Olive Knits -- she is such a positive person!!  The title of it is "8 things that are more important than talent"!  I have practiced and preached that "work is more important than talent" for a long time so it was great to hear someone else advocate this concept.  I love the way she broke it down and wrote down her list to keep on my desk. 
She mentioned a few of my strengths and a few of my weaknesses!  Lots of food for thought!! 
If you want to give it a listen (even her voice is cheerful), click HERE.

Hope your summer is still pleasant.  Even though the kids here went back to school this week, we still have a good month of summer weather left and sitting out in shade in my back garden with some hand stitching is a very peaceful place to be right now!