Monday, September 15, 2014

World Wide Blog Hop

I've been nominated to participate in the World Wide Blog Hop by Jo of Explorations In Stitch. Jo writes that she likes to "explore stitch in all its variations. From Quilting and embroidery to mixed media and art dolls". She promises to share the techniques discovers, the books she reads and the artists who inspire her. I know that Jo is planning a tutorial on making coil baskets and that's something I'm itching to try!
Jo's coil baskets

The purpose of thus blog hop is to answer a few questions and then introduce readers to three blogs. What a great way to discover new blogs and perhaps pick up some helpful tips along the way. So here we go with my answers to the questions!

What am I working on?

I can't even begin to count the number of projects I've got on the go! They do say variety is the spice of life which means my life is VERY spice! Lately I seem to be spending more time working on hexagon quilts which I've been making for years. One such quilt is Lozagons. The centre medallion of roses is stitched and the remaining hexagons are in various stages of construction.


This is the centre of another hexagon quilt that is waiting in the wings. It needs a border and then it can be quilted!


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I'm not sure that it does differ but since I have to say something I guess it is the little details. I can spend a  little time on those details and it will take a block (or quilt) from pretty to extra pretty. Some of the techniques One of my favourite techniques is fussy cutting. This is the start of my centre hexagon from my Soupcon Quilt Along (you can find links to the instructions are under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H),


I like to add embellishments and surprises one of which is little grasshoppers. One grasshopper hidden in a block makes the quilt special for the recipient. I just tell him or her there is a grasshopper hidden somewhere! It doesn't have to be on the front - it could also be on the back.


I really like to add embroidery details too! Sometimes I just don't know when to stop because I'm having so much fun.


There's a Snail in Grandma's Flower Garden by Karen H

My machine quilting makes my work different from others because it reflects my aesthetic which is that "more", whether it is fussy cuts, hexagons, beads, embroidery or quilting, is always better! In addition I strongly dislike planning my quilting so I generally wing it and the quilting evolves as I go along!



Why do I write/create what I do?

I write/blog because I want to share what I do and how I do it with others. I create (quilts and other things) because I've got an overwhelming urge to do so. I just can't help myself and it has been that way all my life. I grew up in a home where we were encouraged to use our hands to create. It is now part of my DNA.

How does my creative process work?

In short it is sleep/routine and play!

For me the most important thing is having a routine. Sounds crazy but its true. I try to go to bed and get up at the same time in the morning. I get cleaned up, go for a walk to lubricate the joints and clear the head, have breakfast and then start my day of being creative! When my routine is disturbed I find it difficult to get into the creative mindset. During my morning walk ideas or solutions to problems will often come to me!

I often start of with a vague idea of what I want to do and I usually start with that basic idea for the focal point and work my way out. If it is a hexagon quilt I typically start in the centre as is the case with my quilt Hexagreens and Mom's Flowerbed.

Hexagreens by Karen H 2009

Mom's Flower Bed by Karen H 2011

The focal point for Owl at Night was the owl. Once I constructed her I worked my way around her and out.

My colour and value inspiration comes from the world around me but I find that playing with scraps of fabric is a great learning experience and it boosts creativity. I like to make 3" nine patches (or variations thereof) with my scraps. I find I learn a great deal about what works and what doesn't work in terms of colour and value and I end up with interesting combinations. Those nine patches can be turned into a great quilt!


Playing around with nine patches leads to creative design ideas. I made Piccadilly to the Nines and it started out playing with nine patches!



Enough about me! I would like to introduce you to three bloggers you may not know.

Missie of Traditional Primitives  Missie is a very talented quilt maker, designer and rug maker. She is currently working on her version of the King George coverlet and will have a pattern available in the near future. Missie's quilt combines English paper piecing and applique! Lucky me - I'm testing her pattern and I can assure you it is great fun! If you love things folksy, old timey or historic you'll enjoy Missie's blog!

Chantal of Ramblings of a Quilter  Chantal is a self taught quilter. Like me she enjoys English paper piecing but she also crochets and knits beautifully. On her banner you will see a hexagon pillow and she published a tutorial so you can make your own. I know that it is on my to do list! Chantal's blog is fresh and lively and loaded with colourful pictures all of which make for a lovely blog!

Lyn of Liniecat@Large  As you can probably guess from her name Lyn is a cat lover! But she is also a maker of all sorts of things from quilts to papier mache to knitting and of course quilts. One of the things I enjoy about Lyn's blog is her car boot sale finds which she recycles, reuses or repurposes. She is currently refinishing some great chairs. Earlier this year Lyn participated in the yarn bombing of Kingston upon Hull. She wrote several posts about the wonderful sea creatures that were created for this event. Lyn's blog is sure to put a smile on your face.

So there you have it! I hope you've enjoyed this post. Don't forgot Friday I will publish Block 12 in my Value Proposition Hexagon QAL. All of the previous patterns are available under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H.

Until I post again, enjoy whatever it is you do to make you happy!
Karen H

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Grace's Soupcon and five days until the quilt show

I've finished quilting Grace's Soupcon quilt. I decided to quilt more feathers in the outer border. I can quilt them comfortably and there are little birds in Grace's quilt so it all dovetailed nicely. I used Superior's Rainbow thread for the feathers. It is variegated and the colours are fuschia, plum, red and orange. It is subtle but it gives a bit of a glow to the feathers.


This is what it looks like on the back. I chose to leave the diamonds in the border uquilted because I like the dimension.


So here is the entire quilt from the back. Don't you just love the look of a quilt from the back? I sure do!


Finally, the from of the quilt!


I have only five working days left until it is time to set-up for my Guild's quilt show. If you are in the Toronto area I hope you'll consider attending!


I organized a challenge for the Guild members. The objective was to make a quilt that is at least 50% half square triangles, has no applique or embellishment and it has a perimeter measurement of no more than 100". The quilts have been judged and I promised ribbons but I have no budget so I am making the ribbons. Nellie published a wonderful tutorial on her blog and you will find it here. This is the beginning of my ribbons. Hopefully they will be done by Tuesday!


Time for me to get cracking! Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quilting a Soupcon quilt (not mine)

My friend Grace from my quilt guild participated in my first QAL, Soupcon. Her quilt making was interrupted as her daughters needed her sewing space for their study area so calls her quilt QAL Interrupted! I believe it is intended to be a gift for her sister. Grace decided not to add the last paper pieced border because she was happy with the look and size of her quilt. I agree - it is very pretty indeed!


She did some really lovely embroidery in the centre. Look at all the pretty bullion knot roses!


Grace asked if I would quilt it for her and I told her I would if I got my quilts finished. I did get them done so Wednesday night I picked up Grace's quilt and first thing Thursday morning I started working on it. Thew show is in eight days! YIKES!!!! I stitched around the star and on both sides of the pink ring. Next step was to add some feathers to fill the spaces between the ring and the embroidery.


I then quilted on either side of the narrow pink borders, around each little square and finally little curved lines in the background behind the little squares. I've not decided what to do in the squares so that's on hold.


This is what if looks like on the back. I love a simple print like this because is shows off the quilting.


Back to the pink ring and another round of feathers but before quilting them I quilting a line just inside the outer edge of the ring. It provides a place to stop the feathers and I flattens the edge so that the feather is accepted. I am crazy about this pink border. I don't know what it is but I love it. When I was preparing to add them I made sure that they moved in the same direction as the feathers on the light blue background. I thought it would be more comfortable for the eye.


I filled the royal blue background with a bunch of doodling or free form quilting if you prefer. I used Superior Fantastico in a steely blue colour (2152). When you see it in person it almost looks gold on the royal blue background but there is no yellow in it at all! I quite like the effect because it looks like brocade!


I think it looks great from the back.


I have to quilt the centre star and the outer pink border but right now I'm stuck for ideas. A cup of tea and a good think will solve that problem! Then I can finish the quilting and prep the quilt for the sleeve and binding!

Until I post again happy sewing!
Karen H

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A new pincushion and a peak at another hexagon quilt

Recently a friend did me a huge favour  and I wanted to give her a little gift as a thank you. I decided to make her a pincushion. She is a quilt maker and quilting teacher so it is a gift that I am sure will be put to good use!


I like little details - they make a huge difference no matter what it is you are creating and they really don't take much time. What little details did I add to make that bit of difference? Tree trunks, a door knob and a chimney!


I've got oodles of quilt tops waiting to be quilted but they will have to wait until after the quilt show. Here's a little teaser of one that is waiting to be quilted! The hexagons measure just a whisker over 1/2"! I'll share more pictures in the near future!


Another friend has asked me to quilt her Soucpon quilt . She registered in the Quilt Show so it has to be finished by September 19th. I'll get the quilt tonight and hopefully start quilting tomorrow! I'll be sure to share pictures of her quilt and my quilting as I go along!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen

Monday, September 8, 2014

Another one and another one!

I've got two "another ones" for you today, a reader's Value Proposition Hexagon QAL blocks and my Mom's (Anne H) latest African quilt.

Deb arranged her Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along blocks on her design wall and we can see there is another fabulous quilt in the making! They are very different from Bunny's blocks that I showed  you yesterday but equally stunning! I don't think Deb has decided on the colour for her middle path although she has auditioned some possible fabrics.


My Mom had made an African themed quilt and it was purchased by a friend who loves her work. She took it to a framer who affixed it to a scrim which was then stretched over a wood frame. It was stunning and Mom and I thought it was a great idea so she made a small quilt and we stretched it over an artist canvas. This is the first attempt. It isn't perfect but I've now got the basic idea as to how to do it!


We purchased an artist canvas that was stretched over a wood frame. The quilt top was trimmed so that the width and length were each 1/2" larger than the canvas (this extra 1/2" is for the seam allowance). I attached 1 1/2" strips of black fabric to all four sides of the quilt and the sewing was started/stopped 1/4" from the corners; each strip was about 1/2" longer that the length/width of the quilt.. I pulled the strips to the back and used a staple gun to staple them in place but I left the corners loose. At the corners I turned the edges under and with black thread stitched them together. The last step was to staple the corners. We are pretty happy with how it turned out. Now she had better get cracking on another wall hanging so I can quilt and frame it for her!

I'll be out tomorrow so there'll be no post until Wednesday so until then, happy sewing!
Karen H

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Good Golly Miss Mollie and a reader's Value Proposition quilt so far

It is quilted... Good Golly Miss Mollie is quilted and bound. All it needs is a hanging sleeve and it is ready to hang at the quilt show in two weeks! The quilt is densely quilted for two reasons. First I like the look and feel of dense quilting and the second reason is that I just can't stop myself once I get started. I used a fine weight polyester thread so the quilt is very soft and foldable even though it is heavily quilted.


I need to get a picture of it hung outside so you can see the whole thing. For now I'll just share some pictures of the blocks.



On September 4 I showed you a little leaf motif that I like to quilt. Here I've used in in round of hexagons made with the taupe & orange fabric.


To quilt the leaf motif  I quilted the outer most shape of the leaf first using the hexagon as my guide for the shape. When it was quilted I bounced back the way I just came from and echoed the leaf shape. Then I bounced back and quilted the outer teardrop and finally I bounced back to quilt the inner teardrop. When I bounce I try to stop a stitch or two (or three) from the corner/edge to avoid a heavy thread build-up. I stitch along the edge of the hexagon until I get to the point where I want to stitch the next leaf. Fast and easy!





If you will be in the Toronto area in two weeks you can see my quilt at this show.


Now for a little bit of eye candy! There are a number of you who are participating in my free Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along. The quilt is made up of 18 full blocks and 4 partial blocks. I set up a FLICKR page so that sewists could post pictures of their blocks. Bunny put her blocks up on the design wall and posted a picture. Are you drooling over her quilt? I sure am! Bunny tells me she doesn't make scrap quilts but she is using her bits and pieces to make this one and she is very happy with what she is seeing!


If you are tempted to join in the hexagon fun you will find links to all of the patterns under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H just under the banner at the top of this page!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, September 5, 2014

Value Proposition QAL - Block 11

It's time for Block 11 in my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along (QAL). We are more than half way done....only seven full blocks to go and 2 more partial blocks that are used to fill out the sides of the quilt. In this installment you can try something new.....make your own fabric with a pen made for fabric. I used Sakura Pigma pens to draw some little images on six hexagons that were the lightest value and I used them in the Round 1 Light value fabric. I'll explain how to do it a little further on! I encourage you to give it a try but if drawing isn't your thing then you can fussy cut your fabric (or not)!


Value Proposition Map for Block 11




Value Proposition Recipe for Block 11

  • Cut 12 Light* identified as A on Map (6 for Round 1 and 6 for Round 2)
  • Cut 12 Medium** identified as B on Map (for Round 3)
  • Cut 1 Medium-dark identified as C on Map (for Centre)
  • Cut 12 Dark identified as D on Map (6 for Round 2 and 6 for Round 3)
* I used two different Lights. I used six of them for my drawings with Sakura pen in Round 1.
** I went scrappy with my B hexagons because it is a great way to repeat fabrics and give a scrap quilt a more cohesive look however you could use a single fabric or just a couple. 


My Value Proposition Block 11




This is my block in colour. The six hexagons in Round 1 have little floral motifs drawn with Sakura Pigma pens.


You can use any type of pen as long as it is safe for fabric! If you look closely you'll also see I've done some markings along the edges where the hexagons in Round 1 are joined.


How did I do it? The first thing I did was to select the light fabric I wanted to use. I applied masking tape to the wrong side to stabilize it for the drawing. You could also use freezer paper or painter's tape.

On the right side I drew my flower freehand. You'll find it easier to work with a pen with a thicker tip; in the picture below I've used an 01 but an 05 size would have made for a darker image.

HELPFUL TIP: If you are nervous drawing freehand sketch out your image with a non permanent fabric marking tool like a Frixion pen. When you are happy with the motif you can then take your permanent market to the fabric.


When I was satisfied with my drawing I removed the tape from the back. I applied a dab of fabric safe glue stick to the hexagon and applied it to the wrong side of the fabric making sure the flower was reasonably centered. I held it up to the light to make sure.


I trimmed the fabric leaving a nice seam allowance. I like a generous seam allowance. The hexagon was basted as usual.


I added the ink to the lower side edges to give the hexagon an aged look and I did it before I pieced the hexagons. This marking is optional; feel free to omit it or if you prefer to add your own touch by all means do so!  So there you have it! I made my own fabric and hope you'll give it a try. Start with one and if you don't like it then do whatever tickles your fancy! It is your quilt so make it your way!



I set up a Value Proposition QAL page on Flickr so that you can post pictures of your blocks and also see what others are doing! There are many very different and exciting blocks to see and there are also some pictures showing a bunch of blocks arranged together and that is very exciting to see! 

If you are looking for previous Block installments of my Value Proposition Hexagon QAL you will find all of the links under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H just under the banner. Have fun making Block 11. Block 12 will be available on September 19, 2014.

I hope you are having fun with my QAL! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I send an email response to every comment so if you don't hear from me it means you are a no-reply blogger and I have no way of contacting you (unless you leave me your email address).


Until I post again, happy sewing!

Karen H