Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rowdy Flat Library Quilt Block 3

I am having so much fun with Susan Smith's Rowdy Flat Library Quilt pattern.  Block 3 is finished and I am really happy with it! There are lots of little details like birds, bugs and flowers. This little bird is totally adorable! I cut him from a piece of fabric from an old charm pack. My goal was to centre one of the little flowers to create her eye. She measures about 1" tall and 1.75 wide. That is tiny and it also gives you an idea of just how small the leafs are. At first I didn't think I would be able to make such tiny appliques but I've found over the years that the best approach is to focus on just one small piece and take your time with it. When you focus on the whole it is overwhelming. I made the little rosy breast and that went fine so I then moved on to the bird's body. I just worked slow and took my time.


The is a caterpillar in this block too!


I cut the caterpillar from a leftover scrap from my quilt Mom's Flower Bed. This is the fabric I started with.


It made all of the stars in this quilt (except of course for the dark green stars) and it made the caterpillar in my  Rowdy Flat Library quilt.
Mom's Flower Bed by Karen H

Another little scrap of this same fabric was used to make a snail! I wanted something that mimicked the swirls and curls of the snail shell.


This is my finished block 3.


For me the hardest part of making a quilt from another person's pattern is fabric selection. I am so influenced by the fabrics the designer used and I find it very difficult to make my own choices. I don't have that problem when I make my own quilts.  You may recall my hexagon quilt along called Value Proposition. I did publish colour pictures of each block but I also published black and white pictures. When the colour is removed you see the value (the relative lightness or darkness of one fabric when compared to another). This little trick often helps me make fabric choices because I can search for a fabric that is lighter or darker and colour is much less of an influence.

Time to get back to sewing my polka dot hexagons and prepping for teaching tomorrow! Until I post again, happy sewing.
Karen H

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Naughty or nice? A little bit of both

I'm so sorry for the silence. That puts me in the naughty category I guess! I just seem to have lost my blogging energy over the past few months but I have been sewing, teaching and doing trunk shows. Thank you to everyone who dropped me a line to make sure all is well. That was very nice and very much appreciated. All is indeed well with me.

This is one of the quilts I've been working on. The quilt is made of hexagons that are just over 1/2". I folded it up and put it on my sewing machine. Every rosette is fussy cut and I'm thrilled with how it looks. My plan is to add pieced borders to this quilt. Jinx decided this would be a great place to roost. Definitely naughty but I have to admit that he looks nice on the quilt!


In February I'll be doing a trunk show for the Region of York Quilters' Guild. February is Pieceful Quilters' Guild and April is Twisted Stitchers (what a nice name for quilt makers). Trunk shows are nice and I do enjoy sharing my work with others! I've been teaching at Country Clothesline / Spark Fabrics in Toronto (very nice). I know that registration is open if you are interested. There are two different workshops so far. The first is an introduction to English Paper Piecing and I call it "It's Not Your Grandmother's Flower Garden". The workshop is on Sunday, February 5. I designed two quilts for this workshop and patterns for both are included in the registration fee. The first one needs a border but the English paper piecing is done. It is called "What The Hexagon". This quilt was a great way to use up leftover scraps and that always feels nice.


The second quilt is called "Cotton Candy" because of the juicy candy colours! This isn't my usual colour palette but it is nice!


The second workshop is Fussy Cutting for English Paper Piecing and it builds on the first class. The quilt that Jinx is sitting on is one of the quilts that I will show at the workshop. It is scheduled for Monday, February 13. You will find more info here.

I've also been working on another project - very naughty when there is so much to do! I do love hexagons so here I go with yet another hexagon quilt. I saw an old quilt on Pinterest. It was made of rosettes surrounded by hexagons made of polka dot fabric and the path was made from a chintz print. I managed to find some polka dot fabric. Actually what I found were two different polka dots so I bought them both and mixed them together.


The white background was not nice (too stark) so I boiled a pot of tea and in went the fabric. Well actually, in went the pieced blocks that I had made so far, paper and all! I soaked them for a bit and then rinsed them in cool water and the result was very pleasing to my eye....nice! So I tossed the rest of the dot fabric before cutting it up for piecing. I'm really happy with how these hexagons are looking and can't wait to make more. This quilt will be all about the colour and print with no fussy cutting at all! Can you see the naughty fluffy toes in the upper right hand corner of the picture. He figures that he is being helpful but I have a different point of view!


I didn't have a suitable chintz but came across a new line of fabric, Pumpkin Pie by Moda. I had received a free pack of charm squares and the toffee colour background print worked perfectly with the blocks I had made. I received a 20% coupon from an online quilt shop that carried this line so I ordered the fabric for the path. I think this quilt is going to be very nice when done! I haven't decided how the edges will be finished but am mulling over a number of ideas all of which are nice.

So there you have it - a little bit of naughty and a little bit of nice. I'll try to be more regular in my posting. Until the next time, happy sewing!
Karen H

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rowdy Flat Library Quilt Block 2 (The Beekeeper) and a reader makes a quilt from one of my patterns

I'm sick of renovations because one thing just leads to another. The attic space has been cleaned, repaired and new insulation installed. In the process some electrical work was done up there and as a result it was necessary to knock two holes in my bedroom wall to run electrical cable. That would not have been so bad but for the fact that there is wallpaper on the walls so this means I have to pack up my bedroom, strip the wallpaper, repair the walls, repaint and so on. I had planned on putting my sewing room back together and will do so but once that is done, all of the bedroom stuff including furniture will have to be packed up and stored in my sewing room. Oh well, I had best stop my moaning and just get on with it!

During all of the commotion I've finished block 2 of the Rowdy Flat Library Quilt designed by Susan Smith. She calls this block "The Beekeeper" because as you will see it is loaded with bees! Here is my start.


At the base of the wreath the pattern called for the quilt maker's initial but I just loved the bees sooooo much that I added a bee instead.


Susan's quilt design calls for a variety of fabrics for the bee bodies but I plan to use the same fabric for all of my bees. I like the warm honey colour and think it works well. All the little details such as the legs and antennae are done with a pen.


The flowers in the three corners were appliqued in place. The pattern calls for flower centres made up of two circles with one being smaller than the other.


I have this fabric in my stash and thought it would make perfect centres for the flowers so I cut them out and positioned them on my flowers. They really sparkled so I didn't need to go the two circle route.


I love the effect of this fabric. for the flower centres!


Finally, here is my finished block....The Beekeeper! Notice the honeycomb in the upper left corner.


I recently heard from a reader, Gretchen, that she had made a quilt from one of my patterns, Cherry Blossom. The pattern is available in my Craftsy store.


Gretchen made her Cherry Blossom quilt larger than the pattern and she added a pieced border. All I can say is WOWIE! Cherry Blossom is one of my favourite quilts and I love her version. Isn't it interesting to see how a border can change the look of a quilt? You can read about Gretchen's quilt on her blog Gretchen's Little Corner.



Gretchen added her own personal touch (I love doing that myself and am really pleased to know that Gretchen did her own thing too) by adding the pieced border!


I've procrastinated long enough. Time for me to start packing up the bedroom and think about stripping wallpaper. Until I post again, happy sewing.

Karen H

Rowdy Flat Library Quilt Block 2 (The Beekeeper) and a reader makes a quilt from one of my patterns

I'm sick of renovations because one thing just leads to another. The attic space has been cleaned, repaired and new insulation installed. In the process some electrical work was done up there and as a result it was necessary to knock two holes in my bedroom wall to run electrical cable. That would not have been so bad but for the fact that there is wallpaper on the walls so this means I have to pack up my bedroom, strip the wallpaper, repair the walls, repaint and so on. I had planned on putting my sewing room back together and will do so but once that is done, all of the bedroom stuff including furniture will have to be packed up and stored in my sewing room. Oh well, I had best stop my moaning and just get on with it!

During all of the commotion I've finished block 2 of the Rowdy Flat Library Quilt designed by Susan Smith. She calls this block "The Beekeeper" because as you will see it is loaded with bees! Here is my start.


At the base of the wreath the pattern called for the quilt maker's initial but I just loved the bees sooooo much that I added a bee instead.


Susan's quilt design calls for a variety of fabrics for the bee bodies but I plan to use the same fabric for all of my bees. I like the warm honey colour and think it works well. All the little details such as the legs and antennae are done with a pen.


The flowers in the three corners were appliqued in place. The pattern calls for flower centres made up of two circles with one being smaller than the other.


I have this fabric in my stash and thought it would make perfect centres for the flowers so I cut them out and positioned them on my flowers. They really sparkled so I didn't need to go the two circle route.


I love the effect of this fabric. for the flower centres!


Finally, here is my finished block....The Beekeeper! Notice the honeycomb in the upper left corner.


I recently heard from a reader, Gretchen, that she had made a quilt from one of my patterns, Cherry Blossom. The pattern is available in my Craftsy store.


Gretchen made her Cherry Blossom quilt larger than the pattern and she added a pieced border. All I can say is WOWIE! Cherry Blossom is one of my favourite quilts and I love her version. Isn't it interesting to see how a border can change the look of a quilt? You can read about Gretchen's quilt on her blog Gretchen's Little Corner.



Gretchen added her own personal touch (I love doing that myself and am really pleased to know that Gretchen did her own thing too) by adding the pieced border!


I've procrastinated long enough. Time for me to start packing up the bedroom and think about stripping wallpaper. Until I post again, happy sewing.

Karen H

Friday, September 9, 2016

Rowdy Flat Library Quilt Block 1 is Finished!

We've had more house problems. In the most recent heavy rain the roof started leaking so getting that addressed has been my priority. We now have a new roof (I would rather have had new fabric) and the next step is to have someone go up into the attic to check the state of the wood, the insulation and the ventilation. There is some damage to the ceiling in one room so it will have to be repaired so I think that when that happens the entire room will get a fresh coat of paint. I see more dollars being spent in the near future and they won't be spent on sewing stuff.

I finished Block 1 of the Rowdy Flat Library Quilt designed by Susan Smith.


The block measures 22" finished. Some of the pieces, like the butterfly bodies are quite tiny but I simply focused on the one I was working on rather than think about the entire quilt. It is a little mind game that I play with myself but it makes the project less daunting!


This is the fabric I used for the body.


I drew the body with a fabric safe marking tool.


I cut out the body leaving a 1/8" seam allowance and on the sides and bottom I left a generous seam allowance.

I carefully needle-turn appliqued the top edge of the butterfly's body and then trimmed down the rest of the fabric and finished the needle-turn applique. It made it possible to use a pin to hold the body in place while I appliqued the top edge.

Work is now underway on Block 2. The toile skeleton fabric is tinted with my markers and embroidered details added. This is one of the blocks that I first saw that REALLY appealed to me because it had oodles of bees, one large and 18 small! Here is the large bee.


And here is the block with the toile and the big bee.


Next step is the wreath with lots of green leafs. There are flowers in the corners and the last step with be the 18 little bees! I will use the same gold and brown striped fabric for all of the bee bodies.

I have been working on the pattern for The Empire Quilt. It is taking much longer than expected but I'm hoping to get it to you soon.

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, August 26, 2016

Block 1 of the Rowdy Flat Library Quilt and Barbara Brackman

My quilt Stars in The Loft was recently shown on Barbara Brackman's blog Material Culture. You can read the post here.  What an honour and a thrill that was! This quilt remains one of my favourites!


I continue to work on my Rowdy Flat Library Quilt designed by Susan Smith. The yellow petals are stitched down and the raw edges covered with bias binding. I used a very lightweight cotton. It is like a lawn or a batiste and it was very easy to work with.


I used the same fabric for the next component which is four bows and a small heart.


Once the bows were stitched down I was able to proceed to the next step which was to add a wreath. The stem is made of bias tape and once again I chose to use my lightweight cotton. The pattern calls for scraps of all colours for the leafs but as much as I like scrap quilts I found it difficult to use random scraps so I chose to make the leafs with green fabrics. The lighter greens are at the top and the darker greens toward the bottom.


There are flower pots in each corner. The pot in the lower right is stitched down as are the little stems which are 1/8"! I thought that they would be difficult but in the end they were so fast and easy to do. I had considered using different fabrics for each pot so you can see that the pot on the left is a different fabric. In the end I decided to use a single print but cut out the pot from different parts of the print. The flowers will all be cut from different parts of the same fabric. The method I used to make the circles is not unique but it works for me. You can read my tutorial here.  I like to cut out all of my circles at once. In this case I needed 20 of them. In the evening I basted them so the edges could be gathered and I just left a long tail of thread so that I could draw it up when I pressed the circles.  There are butterflies to be added to this block and their bodies are small and I thought they would be REALLY difficult but I had an idea about a method that might made it easier so I tried it out and it worked like a charm. I plan on showing you what I did in an upcoming post.

I'll leave you with a close-up of the ink and embroidery details in the toile fabric.


Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H





Friday, August 12, 2016

Making large circles for my Rowdy Flat Library Quilt

Do you ever have to draw a large circle of a specific size? I needed to make circles of varying sizes for my Rowdy Flat Library quilt. There are tools that you can purchase to draw circles of different sizes but why spend money when you can make the tool yourself for nothing?

The first step is to understand the circle. Most often patterns will call for a circle of a particular measurement. That measurement is the diameter of the circle. The diameter of a circle is the measurement through the middle of the circle from one side of the circle to the opposite side. If your pattern calls for a 5" circle the distance from one side of the circle to the other through the middle of the circle is 5".

Diameter of a circle

To make your circle maker tool you will need to know the radius of the circle. The radius is the measurement from the midpoint of the circle to the side. You simply divide the diameter by 2 to come up with the measurement. If you need a 5" circle the radius is 2 1/2".

Radius of a circle

To make your circle maker tool you need only a few supplies: a strip of lightweight cardboard, a ruler, a slim darning needle and a mechanical pencil. The glossy bookmarks used to advertise businesses or quilt shows work really well!


I was lucky enough to get a bookmark that has a little ruler printed on it. If I didn't have this I would just cut a strip of lightweight cardboard that is roughly 1 1/2" wide.  Along the length of the strip of cardboard I would draw a line that is 1/4" in from the long edge. Starting roughly 1/2" in from the end I would make marks in 1/2" increments.



To finish my circle maker tool I take my slim darning needle and pierce the cardboard where the 0" mark intersects with the line that is 1/4" in from the long edge of the tool. If I want to make a 5" I will pierce the cardboard at the measurement that equals the radius, 2 1/2". That's it! The tool is made and ready for use!

How do you use it? Simple! Take your square of fabric. Make sure it is pressed flat and smooth. If you press it with a little starch or sizing it will ensure a nice flat finish. Find the middle of the square by folding it in half in both directions and make a soft crease at the centre point to create a little cross.

Place your fabric on your cutting board. Take a pin and slide it through the hole at the 0" mark on your circle maker tool. Place the pin on the middle point of your fabric. Hold the pin in position so that it is perpendicular to the fabric and place the tip of your mechanical pencil through the hole at the 2 1/2" mark.



Slowly and gently begin drawing the circle.


I like to draw half the circle and then reposition my hands and the circle maker tool in order to draw the other half of the circle. When you do this be sure to check that the lead of the pencil is lining up with the line you've already draw. If they don't line up your pin at the midpoint may have moved in which case you will need to be reposition the pin.

I used this method to make the circles on the toile fabric I plan to use for my Rowdy Flat Library Quilt designed by Susan Smith of Patchwork on Stoneleigh.  I showed you the skeleton toile in my previous post. It is a great print but it was black and white and so I added colour with ink pens and then I added some embroider details! I should have taken the picture with my camera rather than my tablet. Oh well, at least you get the idea. I won't need to use all of the circles but I had so much fun making them that I just couldn't stop.



Here is a close up of one of the coloured circles!


Once the toile circle is placed on the background fabric and a surrounded with little petals - 32 of them!


The next step will be to make 1/4" bias binding that will be appliqued over the edges of the petals. Stay tuned because there are more pictures to come.

I'll leave you with a close up of my pretty little pincushion that was made for me by my friend Paula.


Until I post again, happy sewing.

Karen H