Thursday, January 30, 2014

Secret Tote Bag Swap and a honey of a quilt

It is sign-up time for round 3 of Lia's Handmades Secret Tote Bag Swap. If you've never participated you are missing out on a lot of fun!

For this round the theme is geometry. Sign-up is open until January 31st. The way it works is that you fill out an online form which includes your likes and dislikes, you create and post a mosaic of the things you like including bag styles and then you submit your form. You'll be assigned a partner for whom you will make a tote bag based upon her likes and dislikes and someone else will have your name. You can put little treats in with your bag. I've participated in the previous swaps and have lovely bags that I use all the time. And there were plenty of little treats such as fabric, rulers, chocolate and handmade little gifts. For a complete list of the rules and the sign up form go here.

This is the first swap bag I made. It was a lovely linen like print and I embellished it with dragonflies, butterflies, bees and spiders!

This is a little roll up sewing kit with a matching pincushion that I made to go along with the tote bag I made in Round 2. The paisley print I used was the leftover lining from the tote bag!

Lately I've received a number of inquiries about this little quilt and how I made it. I made it for my Mom and I called it Quilting Bees!

Quilting Bees, 12 1/2" square

I used 1/2" hexagons which you can find here. I basted my hexagon papers to various honey colour scraps of fabric and stitched them together. Once it was pieced I gave it a spritz of starch and a good press with a hot, dry iron. The basting threads and papers were removed. I cut a piece of brown fabric and appliqued the honeycomb to the background. I trimmed away the excess brown fabric underneath the honeycomb.

Bees were appliqued to the honeycomb. To start I mad a template for a wing. I cut one wing out and then reversed the template for the wing on the other side. I stitched the wings down. I drew the bodies on a yellow on yellow print fabric and used my Sakura pigma pens to mark the bodies with a dark head and stripes. I made sure that the pattern on the bodies went right into the seam allowances. Once they had been inked I cut them out and appliqued them to the quilt top. I poked a little stuffing into their bodies just before I finished appliqueing them down so that they were dimensional. The method I used was very similar to that I described in my tutorial on making bees - it was a honey of a demo!

The fabric I used for the bees wings was very light so I used an outline stitch and some brown DMC floss to outline each wing so that it wouldn't blend into the honeycomb background.

The last step was to make a quilt sandwich, quilt and bind the quilt. It was surprisingly easy and loads of fun!

Friday morning Part 3 of my Soupcon Quilt Along will be published. So let's have a look at the blocks that were published on the Soupcon FLICKR Group since our last trunk show. Next time the pictures are posted they are going to look different!

Jean continues to produce wonderful blocks such as this one. She used DMC metallic thread for the laid work in the center and green perle #5 cotton for the outer Pekinese stitch. She wrote that the "backstitch which is the basis for te Pekinese stitch and the couching stitches on the laid work are perle #5 cotton in pink. I found it helpful to use a blunt tapestry needle for the Pekinese stitch". Thanks for that great tip Jean!

And this is Jean's eighth and final block. About this one Jean wrote that she worked the "yoyo in the centre with #12 perle cotton blanket stitch. French knots aroung it are #8 perle cotton rose pink and two strands DMC variegated green. Outer scallops are chain stitch #8 perle cotton rose pin, two inner rows of stem stitch in two strands DMC variegated green". I think the chain stitch almost looks as though cord has been couched around the outside of the block. Very effective!

Cee-Emm posted this pretty block. She wrote "I quilted the design onto this block, hoping the next stages don't cause me to gnash my teeth because I did". It might be a bit of a challenge but it will be an opportunity to get creative! It is a very pretty block so I hope we can find a work around!

Brigitte68 posted her block. Check out the beautifully embroidered roses in the center. One of the comments was "that center is out of this world wonderful and the embroidery is so well executed... beautiful and clever". Isn't it just!

Grace has embellished one of her blocks and it is wonderful! It will be a birthday gift for her sister. Lucky sister! Grace fused the hummingbirds and flowers. She asked if they need to be stitched down and I suggested that if it is to be a wall hanging it won't be washed or used so it should be fine but that she could always secure the edges with monofilament when she quilts the piece.

A Passion for Applique's block reminds me of the china pattern "willow". I really like the curlicues with French knots and also the little sprigs of French knots. Very whimsical!

Nellie continues to make blocks from her fabric. Here she has arranged the six patches in four different layouts and is asking which one?  I have no idea how she will pick one because they are all wonderful!

This one is Nellie-knot-a-palooza! It is heavily embellished with colonial knots and buttonhole stitch. Totally gorgeous!

Nellie outlined this block to create a lacy pattern around the outside edges. I love how the hard lines of the block are modified and softened by the embroidery. Be sure to visit Nellie's blog post on January 29, 2014 to see where she is going with all of her lovely blocks!

And the last block comes from Clare! I love the buttonhole border and the little trilobal details at the inner corners. The buttonhole stitch is so lacy and it is wonderful the way the background fabric shows through the stitches. Another pretty block taken to the next level! Beauty!

So that's what's been posted on the Soupcon FLICKR Group. If you would like to have a closer look at all of the details in these wonderful blocks head on over for a look! I expect to see some even more spectacular results after Part 3 is posted!

Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. Wow, what a great post. I love the bee quilt and all those hexagons make my creative juices flow. I may have to do a second one but

    1. So glad you liked today's post! The bee quilt is a great way to use leftover bits of fabric and it works up fairly quickly. It would make a lovely gift for a quilting friend!

  2. Hi Karen
    Quilting Bees is so stunning. I love bees and hexagons and here you combined them into one darling quilt. The colors are magnificent. You really captured the industrious look of the bees.
    There are some talented ladies making Soupçon!

  3. Good morning Karen, what a beautiful post-your bag is just lovely along with the accessories, and I love the bees-thank you for the tutorial on that. and the ladies making the soupcon are just super talented-Kathy

  4. Awesome! It's hard to believe these all came from the same block! So pretty! Have fun with your swap!

  5. Karen love tha little Quilting Bee quilt it is beautiful. I am so far behind in everything I must do some hexagons today, and some embellishments.. I had to hem three pairs of drapes for my son yesterday and they were cut velvet. Not fun. Also the workmen finally finished all baseboards thank goodness we are back to normal.. Hugs

  6. That little quilt may just inspire me to make a weeny hexi piece!!
    Its utterly beautiful. Lucky Mum!

  7. love the bumble bees, such tiny hexies