Sunday, August 31, 2014

Basting hexagons from the back and removing papers

One of the quilt makers who is working on the Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along asked a question about basting hexagons. She noticed that sometimes threads appear on the front of the hexagon and sometimes they don't and wondered why this is so. There are two methods of basting hexagons. I mentioned this in my August 4, 2014 post and offered to do a tutorial.

In the upper set of hexagons in the picture below the fabric is basted to the paper so the threads show on the right side of the hexagon. In the second set of hexagons the basting is only through the fabric so no thread shows on the front.

I use both methods and like them for different reasons. When the basting goes through the paper I know that there is a paper in the quilt top if I see thread on the right side of the quilt and this is important because if you don't get the papers out you may find a paper stuck in the quilt when quilting time arrives! I like the other method where the basting does not touch the paper so they aren't damaged which means I can get multiple uses out of each paper. In addition the basting stays in the quilt and holds the seam allowances down. This can be important if the quilt top is going to be handled a great deal as it is stitched together.

I had offered to do a quick tutorial on basting so that the threads don't show on the front and today is the day I deliver that tutorial! To start I like to use a tiny dab of glue to tack my paper hexagon to my fabric. I don't worry about precise seam allowances. As long as it is 1/4" or more I'll be fine. To begin I fold over the top seam allowance and then I fold over the left seam allowance. With a knotted thread I place my needle through the fabric to the right of the fold and come up on the other side of the fold. I take a one more stitch so that the fold is tacked down.

I turn the hexagon counterclockwise, fold over the next seam allowance and tuck it under. I take a stitch as indicated in the following picture.

I draw up my thread and the fold will be tacked down.

I turn the hexagon counterclockwise, fold the seam allowance, tuck it under and take a stitch to hold the fold down.

I continue in this manner until I get to the last seam allowance. I fold it, tuck it under and take a stitch to hold the fold down.

I take two more stitches in the same place and clip my thread. Notice that the edge on the top right doesn't have thread that carries over to the beginning point. I like to leave it this way because it makes the removal of paper much easier.

HELPFUL TIP #1: The basting thread will remain in the quilt so if you are basting a light colour fabric it would be a good idea to use a light colour thread.

HELPFUL TIP #2: I like to use inexpensive serger thread for basting. I can get giant cones for only a dollar or two and they last for a very long time!

When I use this method of basting the papers can be removed at any point however I prefer to leave them in place until the hexagon is completely surrounded by hexagons. In the picture below you can see that the yellow hexagon is entirely surrounded by hexagons.  I use a crochet hook to remove the paper.You can see the tip of the crochet hook on the right just between the start and stop points of the basting.

I slide the crochet hook between the paper and the fabric at the edge that is between the starting point of my basting and the finishing point. I lift the hook and the paper is released. I can now grab the paper with my fingers and pull it out.

The paper is starting to get a little ratty  so it might just have reached its life expectancy although I think I might be able to squeeze just one more use out of it! It has already been used a few times so it really doesn't ow me anything!

I hope this tutorial has been helpful and informative! Until I post again, happy basting!
Karen H

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quilting the centre hexagon diamond in Good Golly Miss Mollie

I've started to quilt the hexagon diamond block that is in the middle of the quilt. This is the block before it was stitched into my quilt Good Golly Miss Mollie which is my version of the Godstone Grannies coverlet. Each hexagon is 3/4" and I'm doing the quilting on my domestic sewing machine, a Juki TL2010Q.

I've quilted the pale yellow round with feathers and I'll show that to you but first I want to talk about the dark rust outer round of hexagons. I used my darning foot and free motion quilted straight lines. I didn't need to use the walking foot because the distance to quilt on each hexagon was short. The trick was to find spots to stop so that I could reposition my hands and that point was the inner point where two hexagons join.

I left this for several days before deciding what next. Because this is the centre of the quilt I want the quilting to be interesting. I finally decided on a simple feather motif. I started at the lower left and worked my way to the top. I them moved to the lower right and worked my way to the top. You can also see some quilting in the pale yellow hexagons. Notice that I again used the fiddlehead motif at the top.

Here you can see the difference this bit of quilting made to the rust round of hexagons. The left side is filled in with the feathers and the right side is not.

I quilted some feather motifs in the pale yellow. I haven't decided how I will quilt the taupe hexagons or the four in the centre. For now I'll just move on and quilt another area. Eventually the quilting solution will come to me!

Here is the block with the feathers quilted all the way around on the rust hexagons.

I hope I've given you some ideas for quilting hexagons! Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, August 29, 2014

Value Proposition QAL - Partial Block 2

Welcome back to my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along (QAL).

Today I'll share Partial Block 2. This is one of four half blocks that are used to fill in the sides of the quilt. In the following picture you can see the quilt layout with the four partial blocks on the side. I've planned a triple path and the pink is the middle of the triple path. To read more about constructing the path go here.

Value Proposition Map for Partial Block 2

Value Proposition Recipe for Partial Block 2
  • cut 10 Light* identified as A on Map (4 for Round 1 and 6 for Round 3)
  • cut 7 Medium** identified as B on Map (for Round 2)
  • cut 5 Dark*** identified as C on Map (1 for Centre and 4 for Round 3)
* I used the same Light fabric for Round 1 and scraps of Light for Round 3. You can do likewise or use a single fabric.
** I used an assortment of Mediums but you could use a single fabric if you prefer
*** I used two different darks. One was for the Centre and the remaining four were used in Round 3. If you prefer you can use only one dark.

My Value Proposition Block

This is my block in colour.

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 Partial Block 2. Block 11 will be available on September 5, 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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Machine quilting the border and some hexagons

I've now quilted the border of Good Golly Miss Mollie (my interpretation of the Godstone Grannies coverlet) I decided to quilt straight lines and I used the width of my darning foot on my domestic sewing machine to space the lines. I really like this look and it is so fast and easy! Before I add the binding I want to quilt the half diamonds around the quilt. The reason is that the border is very narrow (about 2" at its widest) and I like to have some fabric to hang onto as I move the quilt under the needle.

I'm allowing the shapes within the hexagon diamonds dictate the quilting. This means each block will be different however I will repeat some of the motifs to give the quilt a more cohesive look. In the picture above you can see I've added very simply quilting to the hexagon rosette at the top ans well as the partial rosettes along the bottom edge. I decided to fill in the lemon yellow background hexagons with a feather. I started by quilting the spine and it followed the curve of the half rosette. I then quilted the other side and this is the result. I think it enhances the block without taking away from the hexagon design. The straight lines on the narrow border really flatten the border so that the quilting on the hexagons can shine! If you look in the upper right corner you can see a little bit of quilting on another one of the diamonds.

Here is another half diamond on the side. I haven't decided how to quilt the rust colour hexagons on the bottom edge or the fussy cut white and grey print round but I had an idea for the solid brown.

This is what I did. They remind me of fiddleheads. The quilt is stabilized and nothing will shift so I can put off quilting the rest of this half diamond until I know what I want to do.

This is a close-up of the fiddleheads. I started on the left and quilted the first fiddlehead and then stitched along the edge of the taupe hexagon until I got to the point of the next so I could quilt the next fiddlehead. I continued in this way until each of them had its own fiddlehead!

Here's another example of how I'm allowing the hexagons to dictate the quilting. I had an idea as to how I would quilt the centre of each of the four hexagon rosettes and the dark brown frames.

Feathers are great for filling hexagons and three plumes per hexagon seems to do the trick! I haven't decided how I'll fill in the rosette or the rusty hexagons but it will come to me!

So there you have it! The quilting is underway and it is making me think about each block and what I should do! Stay tuned for more pictures!

Tomorrow I'll post  another installment in my Value Proposition Hexagon QAL, Side Setting Block 2 and the following Friday will be Block 11. I hope you'll be back for a visit! Until then, happy sewing!
Karen H

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quilting melon wedges in my Good Golly Miss Mollie hexagon quilt

Time to answer reader questions! Thanks to everyone who takes the time to leave a comment and ask questions; I'm always happy to share what I do and how I do it! Skootchover wrote "Can you illustrate your quilting in the path in a future post? I see the pattern that was created but don't really understand what you did in each hexagon". Angie asked  if there is backtracking (sewing on previously quilted lines). There is no backtracking involved!

I am quilting Good Golly Miss Mollie (my version of the Godstone Grannies coverlet) on my domestic sewing machine. The first thing I normally do when I begin to quilt is ditch quilt but that might not be the best approach for a hand stitched hexagon quilt. I decided to stitch melon wedges (little crescents) in the path because I can work continuously from the top of the quilt to the bottom with no stops. When all these little melon wedges are stitched the result is a little star in each path hexagon. You can see the melon wedge stars on the path. The best part of all is that it serves the same function as ditch quilting which is that it stabilizes the quilt so nothing will shift. Once I've ditch quilted I can go back and quilt inside the blocks which are diamonds shapes made up of hexagons.

To quilt the melon wedges on Good Golly Miss Mollie I used a polyester 50wt thread on top in a colour that matches the path fabric. This helps the quilting disappear and all that is left is the texture and image of the little star. In the bobbin I used Superior's The Bottom Line in a neutral colour. My needle is a Superior Titanium Topstich 90/14. The machine that I'm using is a Juki TL2010Q mechanical (not computerized) sewing machine. I begin at the top of the path and quilt a little melon wedge or crescent in the first hexagon. You can see my start point in the red circle. Once I've quilted the wedge I quilt the next one to the right.

The next wedge is stitched in the same hexagon where it touches the next path hexagon.

I move to the next hexagon and quilt a wedge on the other side of the wedge I just quilted and this creates sort of an elliptical shape. Then I'm on to the top side of the same hexagon. I continue quilting in this way until I reach the point where I need to change direction. I stopped at the red circle because I want to continue quilting in a downward direction. The path will be quilted in a zigzag direction.

I continue quilting the melon wedges until I get to the bottom of the path.

Now I want to quilt up the other side of the path that I just quilted.

I continue until I get all the way back to my starting point.

I go back to the top of my quilt and begin to quilt melon wedges (marked in green) in the next part of the path.

I continue all the way to the bottom of the quilt

and then I come back up and quilt melon wedges on the other side of the hexagons.

So there you have it - melon wedges. These little shapes are a great way to stabilize a hexagon quilt path and it is a shape that is easy to manage on a domestic sewing machine. The hexagons in Good Golly Miss Mollie are 3/4" so the wedge is relatively small and easy to quilt. The wedges don't have to be perfect or identical. Similar is good enough because when the quilting is done what you will see is the overall texture. This melon wedge shape also works well in other blocks. When I made my Baskets and Nine Patches quilt I stitched them in the little 3" nine patches. I like a flat quilt and the melon wedges produce that look and feel.

This is the finished quilt Baskets and Nine Patches. You will find a free pattern for this quilt under the tab Patterns by Karen H.

Until I post again, happy quilting on your domestic sewing machine!
Karen H

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quilting Godstone Grannies AKA Good Golly Miss Mollie

The quilting of Good Golly Miss Mollie is well underway. This quilt is my interpretation of the Godstone Grannies quilt which is at the Quilt Museum in York, England. You can see the original and read about it here. The name of my version of the quilt comes from Mollie Simmonds who was the leader of the group that made the original quilt in the early 1960s.

I've made oodles of hexagon quilts and usually have a pretty good idea as to how to quilt them on my domestic sewing machine (a Juki TL2010Q) but this one was a bit of a challenge because there is a variety of blocks and they can be quite different from one another. There are 31 whole diamonds in the quilt one of which is unique (the block in the centre) and the rest are pairs of blocks. There are also 4 pairs of half diamonds on the sides and 5 pairs of partial diamonds at the top and bottom. The colour is not right in this picture - it looks quite grey but in fact it is more buttery and peachy.

Normally I ditch quilt first, then quilt the border, bind the quilt and then go back and quilt the blocks. So what are the challenges? This quilt is entirely hand pieced using the English paper piecing method so ditch quilting isn't my preferred option. The second challenge is that the border is very narrow which means I'll have to quilt the partial blocks all around the quilt before I can bind it.

My solution was to quilt melon wedges in each of the path hexagons. I like this method because it creates a nice little start and there are relatively few starts an stops. This is a little bit of what it looks like. It isn't perfect - far from it but I'm not at all bothered because I know that once the whole thing is quilted the little imperfections will disappear! It also works the same as ditch quilting which stabilizes the quilt so that I can quilt the border and bind the quilt before quilting the diamond blocks.

What to do with the rest of the blocks? I don't like marking so I want to do as little of it as possible. I decided to work with the shapes created within the diamonds and use them as my inspiration for the quilting! Here is the same side block quilted! I quilted the orange rosette and its centre and then the four partial orange rosettes along the bottom edge. Then it was onto the feather swags on the side followed by the small swag below the orange rosette! I'm a happy quilt maker. I'll quilt the second partial block that is the same as this one in the same manner! That's two done and lots more to go!

Now that I have an idea about how to quilt the blocks I will ditch quilt the outside edge of the quilt where the hexagons were appliqued to the border strips and I'll quilt the border. I like close straight lines so I think that's what I'll do! When I've got it done I'll share pictures of the border quilting!

Until I post again happy sewing!
Karen H

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Just a little progress on my hexagon quilt Lozagons

All of the big blocks for my hexagon quilt Lozagons are cut out and they are in various stages of assembly. If you are new to my blog this is the centre medallion. The hexagons are 3/4". Many of the papers are from my version of the Godstone Grannies quilt which I call Good Golly Miss Mollie. The papers that were in good shape were reused and those that weren't were recycled!

I'll need 26 blocks and I like to organized things in a way that works for me (which is not to say that I'm organized because I'm not). The first thing I do is draw a map of the block. Starting from the middle out I will need:
  • 1 solid hexagon for the centre
  • 6 print hexagons for Round 1
  • 12 solid hexagons (different from the centre) for Round 2
  • 12 hexagons of one print and 6 of a different print for Round 3
  • 18 print hexagons plus 6 solid turquoise  
This is my map for the blocks. I'll keep in in the box with the rest of the bits and pieces for this quilt and I refer to it as I cut out the hexagons.

The turquoise will be the same in each block and when they are sewn together with turquoise rosettes the result will be a turquoise cog. You can see what I mean in the following picture of the original quilt which I found on Lorraine's blog Granny Loz.

Here is a picture of one of the blocks cut out but not basted. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about colour. I'm more interested in value (the relative lightness or darkness of the fabric when compared to another fabric) and scale (the size of the print). Really large busy prints will get lost in this quilt unless they are fussy cut so I've tried to work with smaller scale prints.

I package up each block and place it in a small plastic bags. I've reused these bags countless times. I tuck a little note in the bag to remind me which fabrics go where in the block. For example I'll write "Round 1 plaid, Round 2 solid blue, Round 3 black gingham and off white print and Round 4 aqua print). When I need something to do when I'm out and about I can just grab one of these little bags, a spool of basting thread and a needle and I've got handwork. Even if I only get a dozen basted it all adds up in the end!

When I'm ready to sew the hexagons into blocks I sew in rounds. I'll stitch the six hexagons for the centre rosette together but I don't close the round. I leave it open so that I can stitch in the solid centre. I sew Round 1 all the way around the red hexagon in the centre and then close the opening. This allows me to use a single length of thread that matches the round that is being added.

Here you can see Round 2  of solid blue hexagons stitched together but the round is left open at the red circle. When I'm ready to stitch it to the centre rosette I'll use a blue thread.

This is Round 3 of hexagons (12 print and six print) stitched together but left open at the red circle. When I'm ready to add this round I'll likely use an ecru colour thread.

The final round of hexagons made of up 18 aqua print and six turquoise stitched together and left open at the red circle. I'll use an aqua thread to add this round.

If I don't have time or don't feel like stitching the rounds to the centre rosette I just tack them together with  needle and thread and toss them in the box.

I'll take a picture of the box to show you what it looks like....a box of hexagon noodles!

That's it for today so until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H
p.s. I've linked up Hexie Weekend organized by Angie of A Quilting Reader's Garden. She has a link to a great YouTube video that demonstrates sewing hexagons by machine. Be sure to check it out!