Tag Archives: hexies

English Paper Piecing & Templates

I like small, portable handwork.  It’s something I can take with me or just a bit to get my hands busy while I’m watching TV or a movie.  I have a couple crewel pieces that I’ve actually finished and  few more in various sates of completeness, but even that was needing a bit too much attention.  In every issue of Today’s Quilter there was a few pages on English Paper Piecing (EPP).  I didn’t really know anything about it so kind of skimmed until a few months ago when it had a hexie pattern in it.  (Once I tried the other kind of paper piecing and really didn’t like it.  That’s a story for another day.)

I love the hexie shape.  There is just something about it that speaks to me.  So I actually read the article that time and a light bulb went on.  Oh!  I didn’t start on anything right away.  Still too much RL chaos, but I did order some hexie templates.  Those came in and went up on the peg board as I ruminated over what fabric I might like to use.  I have a set of bee and honeycomb themed fabric I was considering, but it never quite got there.

One day in late March I was rifling through my scrap fabric and came across the pieces left from my Candy Pop quilt.  Just the thought of the bright mostly geometric prints in small hexagon shapes gave me a thrill.  Fortunately for my, IT had to remote in and work on my computer.  So while I waited, I started experimenting with the templates and the fabric.  I would snip of piece of a scrap just large enough to turn under the 1/4″ seam allowance for a 1″ (length of one side) hexie and baste it into place.  Since then I’ve been randomly making these hexies.  I haven’t joined any of them yet as no one single idea has made itself The One but I am having fun.

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I probably have about 50 hexies done of the 100 templates.  In looking at my stack of scraps that I’ve also supplemented with a fat quarter here and there, I knew I didn’t have have enough.  The idea of cutting more by hand was beyond unappealing, and I had not yet stirred myself to ordering more.  Then I remembered the Cricut.  Pulling up the design space and reading through the how to sections as a refresher resulted in a sheet of 1″ hexies to cut.

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I pulled the machine out this morning and looked at what I had: a couple of blades and three different cutting mats.  All I needed was lightweight 12×12 cardstock.   A trip out to the store solved that.  Of course, it had been long enough since I last used the Cricut that I had to review the instructions on how to use it.  It took a little bit to get it all set up and connected (I had not previously used it with this computer) but we had success.  I have an additional 30 templates from the test run.

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The top center is one of the purchased templates.  The bottom left is one of the cut templates.

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I am well pleased with how it worked.  Next step is to redo the project so the nearly the whole sheet is used to see how many templates that nets me.

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Let there be Quilts

I started quilting a couple of years ago although that was hardly my first exposure to quilting. My mom is a quilter and made baby quilts on a fairly regular basis for friends and family. She often enlisted me in the cutting of fabric and occasionally helping to tie quilt when she chose to do that. I have several quilts that she made for my children and myself. I also have one that was made by my maternal great grandmother that I’m in the process of repairing.

I do remember making a quilted potholder in elementary school. Not the pot holder but the person teaching it nearly turned me off any kind of sewing for good. She had a very volatile and disgusted reaction to my lick and stick method of threading my needle. The little me was quite shocked and stunned. I still remember sitting there with my eyes wide as she went on a tirade. Many years went by and the most sewing I would do was to reattach a button or repair a ripped seam. Fast forward several years, and I took up handwork starting with cross stitch then moving into embroidery and needlepoint including joining the EGA. A few major life changes including an in-state but long distance move, and things got put away. Life finally settled into something of a routine, and the munchkin was in a new school district. As with any new school there were worries, but his first grade teacher and everyone at the new school were so completely amazing. Even two years later, the warmth and kindness still kind of stuns me.

Look I’m rambling.

Anyway, I wanted to do something special for his teacher. The normal, random kitschy stuff just wasn’t going to do it. And so began the foray into quilting. Her classroom is decorated in ladybugs. At the annual parade, her class wears ladybug costumes. Therein lay the inspiration. Cuts of ladybug themed fabric and coordinating dotted fabric later turned into a simple pattered lap quilt that was hand quilted with variegated thread. Hand quilted so that I could quilt in the word Ladybug and her name as well as add free form flowers.

Ladybug Quilt for Mrs. E.

From there we went on toe a baby quilt for a dear friend. As those who know me could tell you, I don’t do pastels. I don’t like them, at all. I prefer rich, deep and vibrant colors. I found this amazing fabric set called Origami Oasis by Michael Miller. The quilt did not arrive before baby, but it did get there within the first year.

Origami Safari Quilt

Origami Safari

And then I was bit by the bug…. I find a lot of a fabric in local thrift shops. Many times it is considerable yardage. I also source fabric through my LQS, www.equilter.com, www.connectingthreads.com, Beverlys and Joann.

I’ve started acquiring quilting tools such as cutting rulers and quilting guides. I have 2 working sewing machines that I use. I do all my piecework on my antique Featherweight that makes the makes an amazing and perfect straight stitch. For machine quilting or machine applique I use amyBrother EX-660 which was another thrift store find (still factory sealed in an unopened box!). My Pfaff just isn’t getting any love right now though she’s a workhorse too. I have another older machine from the 70s that works but is not currently in use. I probably should downsize.

And I did finally buy that pair of left handed knife edge Ginghers I’ve been eyeballing for the longest time. I’ve always adored Gingher embroidery scissors. My large scissors have never been specifically left handed though. This pair cuts beautifully and I no longer struggle against that handle made for the other hand. If you are left handed, I highly recommend them. I do have a set of cutting boards and a rotary cutter with a supply of extra blades. These are also life savers.

My current quilt count is:

  • 5 that are finished one of which is a gift
  • 5 in progress
    • a stack of several tumbling blocks that I haven’t decided how to put together yet
    • a quilt top that still needs the border added
    • a hexagon based quilt that I’m adding embroidery stitches to the hexie borders
    • one that is being handquilted with Valdani perle cotton
    • one that is flannel backed and being machine quilted (first time use of a walking foot for me)
  • Planned quilts that I have the fabric for and are just waiting to be cut number 2.
  • Like any obsessed quilter, there is a fabric stash that, um, seems to be procreating…. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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