Wednesday, November 9

Apple Candy

I’ve started back on this quilt – I‘ve been a stumped by how to finish the edges. I originally wanted to have a plain border in a darker shade of green, but it has not crossed my path yet. So this top sat for a while, unfinished, taunting me. Last week I thought I found the perfect green, and bought 2 metres of it. When I got it home it was more in the blue/green end rather than the yellow/green end that the rest of the background is. Not right. So I decided to combine all the green fabrics (including the new one) and make a mosaic of 2 inch squares instead of trying to find the “perfect” border fabric. I quite like how it has come out, so now I can move onto the best bit – The Quilting!

But first, the dreaded basting stage. Honestly, there has got to be a better way to baste quilts than crawling around on my kitchen floor (in humid, 30 degree days), trying to keep the backing flat, the batting even and the cats OFF.

I never quite manage all three. I wish I had a big table, or something, that would make it an easier process.

Anyway, for the quilting, I am thinking I will try out some McTavishing techniques, and free form feathers. I might have a bit more practice before I tackle the actual quilt though, it’s been a while since I’ve done fancy quilting.

I thought of the best name for this quilt – Apple Candy – it suits it, and makes me smile.

Friday, November 4

Rose Spirals

This is some quilting I did yesterday for a friend of my sister, in exchange for a couple of metres of cotton batting. I am thinking that she got the better end of the stick. But nevermind.

A while ago, I read on a blog (can't remember who, sorry) about someone who couldn't manage to quilt a spiral into the middle and back out again (like I have in the yellow border). So instead of trying to quilt spirals, they looped back over the inward spiral and then commented that it looked like a rose. At which point I had a lightbulb moment, and started quilting spiral roses myself. So, whoever you were, thanks for the great idea! I use these all the time now to fill in long borders, and they are so easy to do.

How to Make a Hexagon Quilt in 492 Easy Steps

Kelly recently asked for some assistance in making her own Hexaholic quilt, so I am drafting her a separate version. You may or may not have noticed, but I love hexagons. They are a great hand sewing project, portable, and you can do little bits of sewing at a time, or, if you're like me, you can sit in front of the telly for hours and have something to show for your time. So, because I could find so little information on hand paper piecing, I am writing down some hints and tips that would have made my life easier, if only I had known.

How to Make a Hexagon Quilt in 492 Easy Steps

1. Choose the size of hexagons you want to use.
2. You can buy precut hexagons from places like Lizard of Oz, or you can print your own if you have access to some quilting software like EQ5.
3. If you are cutting your own papers out, normal printer paper is fine.
4. You can layer 4-5 sheets of paper together and cut out multiple hexagons at the same time.
5. Just make sure that the papers don’t slip, and you are getting an accurate hexagon on all layers.
6. Your arms will get very sore from cutting out all the papers, even if you have the spring loaded Fiskars shears to cut with.
7. If you are cheap like me, you won’t mind the sore arms. Just as long as you don’t have to spend good money on precut hexagons.
8. Choose your fabric. This is a great way to use up tiny useless bits of fabric, as long as they cover the paper.

9. Work out what size square you will need to cover your hexagon. This is not an exact science – I cut these by eye. Without a ruler. I like to live dangerously.
10. But, you can still use “rotary cutting principles” to cut bulk pieces. Cut a strip the required width, then cross cut your squares from the strip.
11. To reduce bulk, you can snip of the corners of your squares.
12. If you are lazy, you don’t need to bother with this step.
13. Next Stage: Basting!!!

(and how come my hand looks so fat in this picture!?!)

14. Use a contrasting colour thread for this stage. You will thank me later. Fluorescent orange works well, and may well be the only use you will ever have for this colour.
15. I use straw needles for hand sewing, but it doesn’t really matter at this stage. Use what you are comfortable with.
16. Knot the end of your thread. You will be tying lots of knots. Learn how to do the magic winding knot. It will save you big heap time.
17. Put a paper onto the wrong side of your fabric piece, and fold one edge of the fabric around the paper.
18. You want your knot on the top of the hexagon; so sew through from the right side, and back up to the right side.
19. Fold the next edge up, and stitch through
20. Repeat for the remaining 4 sides.
21. When you get to the beginning again, just put a stitch through the first side again. Don’t back stitch or anything. It should hold OK.
22. Repeat ad nauseum, until you have enough hexagons to sew something together. Check your pattern and see how the hexagons are supposed to go together .

Next instalment - Joining and other construction

Tuesday, November 1


Ok - this will be quick because I have an exam this morning (Does ethics play a role in building mutual trust within an organisation? Sadly, I am past caring at this point.)

Congatulations to Zoe S! I will be posting your quilt off to you later in the week. Just as soon as someone tells me where you live.

(this is a crap photo, but it is very freaking early in the a.m. and the best I can do under the circumstances. I'll try a take a better one later.)

No quilt is completed in this house until it is given the kitty seal of approval:

Yep, this one works!