12 Hexies Blog Hop

Welcome to another stop on the 12 Hexies (or less) Blog Hop! I’m so happy you’ve joined us. When Diane asked if I would be interested in participating in an EPP blog hop, I didn’t have to think twice. Her challenge to each of us was to use 12 hexies or less for our original project. Brilliant idea because we all know how hard it can be to complete an EPP project once you realize you have to make and sew a gazillion pieces. With this hop, you’ll see ten different projects–all doable without investing years of your life in the process.
12 hexie blog hop buttonI had no idea what project I would make, only that I wanted to use some Anna Maira Horner fabric. I grabbed some bits and scraps and made 12 hexies. Then I played with the arrangement and decided on a triangular shape which only uses 10 hexies. Once I settled on something to act as a canvas for these pretty hexies, it came together fast. The end result is this very stunning grocery tote.12 hexie grocery tote To make this tote you will need the following:

  • 2/3 yard of medium to heavyweight fabric such as canvas, twill, or cotton duck
  • 1 1/8 yard of 1″ webbing in coordinating color
  • 1 1/3 yard of 1″ to 1 1/2″ trim (I used Anna Maria Horner’s Gold Reliquary ribbon for Renaissance Ribbon)
  • 10 scraps of cotton fabric at least 4″ x 4 1/2″ (5″ charm pack pieces work great)
  • 10 – 1 1/2″ hexie papers (I use Paper Pieces)

Prepare your hexies. If you’re new to EPP, there are numerous video tutorials available showing you exactly what to do. Here are links to Diane’s clear instructions to check out:

Got hexies? Now you’re ready to sew them together in a triangular shape. Sew each row. Then sew the rows together.hexie triangle stackPress well on both sides and remove papers. You’re ready to applique!

Cut a rectangle measuring 23″ x 41″ from the medium to heavyweight fabric you have chosen for the bag. Place your hexie applique on the right side of your rectangle, approximately 6″ from the top edge and 6 1/4″ inches from the sides.applique locationUse pins or fabric glue to secure. Edgestitch around all outer edges of the hexie triangle.applique close upWith right sides together, pin the side seams and sew. If desired, finish the edges (a simple zig zag or pinking will work fine). Press the folded edge of the bottom to create a crease. Keeping the bag wrong side out, line the side seam up with the freshly pressed crease. Measure 2″ from the point and mark this line. boxed endStitch on the marked line. Cut off the pointy end leaving a seam of approximately 1/2″. Turn the bag inside out. Sew a narrow hem around the top edge.

Cut the webbing into two equal lengths. Place the handles as shown in the picture below. The handles should be overlapping the top edge by approximately 1 1/2″.  Don’t worry about the raw ends. They’ll be covered by the ribbon trim. handle locationStitch the handles in place. For extra security, sew a box stitch on each end. A box stitch is made by sewing a box with an ‘x’ through it.boxed stitchTo finish off the tote, pin the ribbon trim in place around the top edge of the bag. Center the ribbon over the raw edges of the handles to cover them. Stitch along both edges of the ribbon to secure.ribbon placementAnd that’s all there is to it! The prettiest grocery tote in the store will be yours.071

Be sure to check out all the other projects. The links below will update as each day of the hop continues. The hop ends on the 25th so there are more great projects yet to come.

Big, Bold Ribbon Block

Remember the stack of HST’s from my Amy Butler stash? It’s time to show you what I did with them. Up first, is a lively summer throw, perfect for picnicking.HST quilt and StinkaI used a home decorator weight solid for the backing and left out batting. It’s durable and a bit more compact when rolled up. As you can see, Stinka approves of my choice.HST quilt flatI mixed the prints for a riotous blend of color and pattern. The block itself is quite simple as you’ll see. But the end result of my play is not the least bit boring. (You’d hardly notice an accidental spill on this quilt.)

Quilt Details:

  • Measures approximately 54″ square
  • Consists of 9 – 18 1/2″ blocks
  • Backed with home decorator weight cotton
  • Patchwork is from numerous collections by Amy Butler for Rowan

Think the busy nature of this quilt is too much? Do you like things that are calmer? Here’s the same block done a bit differently.HST ribbon quiltFor this quilt, I used a solid to set off the prints. I used a color wheel effect for this one, but you could simply choose your favorite prints whether all from one color family or not.Ribbon quilt mirrored blocksI mirrored the blocks (look top to bottom) because of the way this drapes on my table. But you don’t need to do that.

Quilt Details:

  • Measures approximately 42″ square
  • Hand quilted with Anchor pearl cotton thread size 8
  • 4 – 18 1/2″ blocks with a 3″ border
  • Patchwork is from numerous collections by Amy Butler for Rowan

I’ve prepared an information sheet for my version of this big and bold ribbon block. You can find it by clicking here. It also gives you the fabric requirements to make the wild 54″ square version.Stinka relaxed on HST quiltLarge blocks and piece sizes make this a quick project. In no time, you’ll be relaxing on your new quilt, taking in lazy summer days and pleasant weather. For everyone in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve plenty of time to make a small stack of these before those lazy summer days arrive.

And if you’re really adventurous, why not use this colorful patchwork as a field for large scale applique. The results would be stunning. A large black monogram in one of the lower corners would make a great gift for kids going off to college. Just look how fabulous Stinka appears against this field of color!


Winner Announcement

Olfa winner 35thThe winner of the Olfa 35th Anniversary Giveaway is Mar who said, “I’ve been using Olfa rotary cutters for decades! My personal favorite is the ergonomic handle, I highly recommend it!” Congratulations, Mar! Check your Inbox.

Thank you to everyone who entered. I’ll be doing a little fabric giveaway soon, so stay tuned for that opportunity.

Olfa Celebrates 35th Anniversary of The Rotary Cutter!!!

Did you know the rotary cutter is 35 years old? Olfa introduced this revolutionary tool in 1979 and things haven’t been the same since. To help celebrate this milestone, Olfa sent me a little rotary cutter, a 6 1/2″ square ruler and a 12″ spinning mat to review. I was also given the opportunity to design a quilt block to help memorialize the event.Olfa Goodies (2)First, let me just tell you a story about rotary cutters. If you’re new to quilting and/or are too young to remember the early 80′s, you missed out on the stir this tool created. Long ago, I worked for a large retail fabric chain, House of Fabrics. I started out as a sales clerk and worked my way up to store manager. During those years, I overheard many conversations between customers on the sales floor. One of the most heated, and often repeated, conversations had to do with rotary cutters. Women actually stood at the notion’s wall and argued about whether or not “real” quilters used these things. Because in that first decade of existence, the amazing rotary cutter was not embraced by each and every long time quilter. Some people even said it was just a phase. Boy, were they ever wrong!

It’s hard to imagine my sewing area without Olfa cutters and mats. I find that Olfa mats last longer and heal better. When it comes to the rotary cutters themselves, you can always rely on Olfa to deliver consistent quality. I have two 45mm cutters for regular cutting, one 45mm with a pinking blade, one with an old blade and labeled for paper cutting, plus this cute little 28 mm cutter that just arrived. More than enough, but probably not the end of my stash of cutters. I do need one of the ergonomic safety cutters after my little accident the other week.Happy 35th Olfa blockTo get everyone in the celebratory spirit, Olfa will give away a small mat and cutter to one lucky reader. Here’s all you need to do for a chance to be the lucky one:

  1. Leave a comment on this post before the deadline to enter. Tell me when you got your first rotary cutter.
  2. One comment per reader. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  3. You have until 12:00 midnight Pacific Standard Time on Monday, July 14, 2014 to enter.
  4. International entrants are welcome.
  5. Winner will be selected by Random Number Generator.
  6. Winner will be notified by email and will have until July 21, 2014 to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected by Random Number Generator and notified by email.

Good luck! Please note that due to the large volume of giveaway commenters, I will be unable to thank you all personally for taking time to visit and enter the giveaway. So to everyone who stops by, “Thank you!” And don’t forget to check out Olfa’s FB page.

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed. A winner has been chosen and notified.

Color Therapy Block #5

Flamingo and Kiwi are the colors for this month’s Color Therapy Block of the Month. They are bold, energizing and lively. In my stash I found the perfect combination of fabrics–a print from Anna Maria Horner’s Dowry collection and an old favorite from Amy Butler’s Soul Blossom collection. Color Therapy block #5It looks a little wild with all that movement. (In real life the colors POP!)  For me, the play of the two prints conveys the life affirming energy of these two colors. Not your cup of tea? You could easily tone it down with smaller prints or fussy cut the green for a less energetic effect.

For alternative selections, head to your Kaffe stash. You’ll find lots of possibilities to mix these two colors with Kaffe’s gorgeous prints. Throw in some of Brandon for a bit of whimsy. It’s all good!

EPP Distractions

In between the daily routines and sewing up the Amy Butler HST’s, I’ve been busy with English Paper Piecing. As summer starts to heat up, I find these little addictive bits to be the perfect sort of handwork. My current problem is having multiple EPP projects going at the same time. I’ve been working on these Kaffe hexies for a while. The stack is slowly growing.Kaffe hexiesBut that didn’t stop me from grabbing some jewel papers and a bit of my Anna Maria stash. I love the fussy cut jewels in Anna’s Aloe Vera print from her latest collection, Pretty Potent. I’ve already managed to add the next round and cut some small pieces for a fun edge. AMH EPP starOne of my sisters was by the other day. On seeing my Kaffe hexies, she had a lot of questions. After explaining the process, she responded that I obviously have too much time on my hands. Which is crazy thinking. I have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone else. For those of us who are drawn to hand work, filling the moments with peaceful stitching is part therapy, part meditation. It isn’t that we’re bored and so choose tedious busy work over relaxation. We just find satisfaction in the process and are content to wait a little while to see our labors grow into a finished piece. It’s impossible to explain to the uninitiated. It must be experienced to be understood.

You may not be into EPP, but if you’re a regular reader here there’s a high probability you find your therapy in some form of creative endeavor. I’m curious. What is it that draws you in and makes you sneak away for moments of sanity?

Friday Feline & A Humbling Reality Check

Today’s Friday Feline forces me to be bluntly honest about the state of my sewing area. Can you spot the black cat in the midst of all that chaos?Stinka's hiding placeShe was waiting for me yesterday morning, sitting right at the back door. I let her in to join me for my morning coffee. I grabbed my cup and headed to the computer for a quick check of my Inbox. Usually, she pads along behind me. I assumed she would follow the same routine.

After a time, I realized she wasn’t with me. (Unlike Pete, whose claws make a very pronounced clicking on the hardwood, Stinka is stealthy and makes no noise as she moves about.) I walked through the house and found no sign of her anywhere. I started looking under chairs and behind curtains. I probably walked right by her three or four times before I saw her tucked away in this mess. Only when she opened her eyes did I finally spot her.

This little area has been accumulating stuff since the kitchen remodel began. I’ve been avoiding it for so long (despite knowing that I desperately need to organize and clean this dust trap) I stopped seeing any of it. And in all of this “stuff” there is a pile of fleece, batting and interfacing scraps–just the right thing for an improvised cat bed.

Guess what’s on my list for the weekend.

Delftware Dreams — A Digital Quilt Pattern

Jane Sassaman‘s newest collection, Gregory’s Garden, should be popping up in shops any time now. Realizing that not everyone has the same affinity for Jane’s work as I do, and keeping in mind just how intimidating these lively fabrics can seem to the uninitiated, I’ve put together a simple digital quilt to help get the party started.Delftware Dreams Digital Quilt DesignUsing only two prints from the collection, Diamond Checks and Locust Leave, in addition to black and white, you can create a dynamic little quilt. Of course, if you don’t like blue this isn’t one for you. However, you could play with other colors and prints. It reminds me of shelves filled with Delftware.

Click here for the pdf with basic instructions and yardage requirements for this quilt. Remember, if you choose to make it bed size you will need additional yardage for everything.


Colorful Friday Fun

Happy Friday! Hard to believe another weekend is almost here. I lost track of a couple days while I sorted through my Amy Butler stash, cutting 7″ squares from just about every piece I own. The squares were cut into HST’s and are now in the process of being sewn up into a rather busy patchwork.AB HST stackHere’s a look at some of those squares before they were cut in half. Some yellows, pinks and reds:AB squares red to yellowAnd a few blues and greens.AB squares blue to greenProgress was halted yesterday afternoon due to an idiotic rotary blade accident–the idiot being me, of course. I’m hopeful I can manage to continue sewing today, even with an awkward bandage on the end of one finger.

Note:  If you want to supplement your stash without buying yardage or expensive fat quarter bundles, check out Quilt Home’s Surprise Endings. I love these. Each time, I’m pleasantly surprised with the odds and ends. (Several of them are their way to me right now.)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Beauty Queen And A Black Cat

Stinka BQProductivity was the name of the game on Saturday. I practiced free motion quilting on the lovely little Beauty Queen quilt. This time I worked a meandering pattern across the quilt, trying not to cross any previously stitched lines. I need a lot more practice before I’ll be happy with the results, but in the meantime, I intend to ignore the problem areas and pretend they don’t exist. Which is a lot easier when a certain black cat helps hide them.BQ hangingAfter much deliberation, I chose Jennifer’s zebra print for the cornerstone squares. They’re just the right amount of unexpected drama. Of course, any black and white print would do the job. I’m just a sucker for that zebra print.BQ fenceThe block I used is very easy. In no time, you can have a stack of them ready to sew into a quilt top. The block measures 12 1/2″ unfinished. I used 2 1/2″ sashing with the zebra squares and a 2 1/2″ border. If you would like to make some blocks of your own, click here for a one page pdf with piece sizes and assembly order.BQ quilt backThe back is just a hodge podge of patchwork. Nothing glamorous, but all of it, Sis Boom finery.Stinka relaxed with quiltWhat do you think? Worth keeping? Stinka has made her choice clear. And as we all know, a cat’s vote is worth more than the accolades of mere humans.