Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Green Parrot - Round Two

I've stitched all of the pieces for the second round for the Green Parrot hexagon quilt. This is the parrot.

This is round two stitched together into a "noodle". Notice that the round is not closed (see the area with the red circle). A "noodle" is a circle or oval of hexagon units sewn together into a long strip which can then be sewn to whatever it is it will surround. It is the same method that I describe as an "open donut" only on a larger scale. I find it makes the sewing go faster and so much easier.

I am constantly asked how it is that I work so quickly so I thought I would share a few of the things that work for me,

  • I find that if I work on something I am enjoying I sew fast. When it isn't as much fun I slow down. To overcome this I always have my quilt in various stages so I can work on what tickles my fancy at that moment whether it is cutting strips of fabric into hexagons, basting or sewing hexagons together;
  • When I baste I work with a very long thread because basting using a lot of thread so the less I need to thread the needle the better. I baste with a darning needle because it is less flexible and it is longer so it is easier to hold;
  • When I sew hexagons together I use a short length of thread because there is less thread to draw through the fabric. So what is a short length? I work with roughly 12" of thread. If I finish sewing a seam and there is a little thread leftover I will use it to baste a hexagon rather than throw it out;
  • I always have a bag of fabric hexagons in a little bag with a needle, thread and small scissors and I toss it in my handbag. When I am out if there is down time I can baste or sew the hexagons. This is particularly helpful for path hexagons because there are so many of them and they are boring. By basting/sewing a few when I am out it cuts down on the monotony;
  • When I have a pile of path hexagons basted I sew them into pairs. Again, this is a great way to use leftover bits of thread (assuming the colour works);
  • I always have multiple needles threaded and ready to go. I've recently switched to milliners needles for sewing the hexagons together. These are long fine needles and I find that the longer needle puts less stress on the finger joints and this fine needle makes it easier to pierce just a few threads of fabric when joining hexagons.
So there you have it - a few things that work for me! I was also asked by JP (sorry JP, you are a no reply blogger so I couldn't send you an email) if I could discuss how I start and carry out my design process. What a great suggestion. I will definitely do a post to explain the processes I use but need to give it some thought so that it is useful to you people!

So today my plan is to attach the "noodle" to the parrot. This picture will give you an idea as to how it will look.

It is a grey, rainy day here so it is perfect sewing weather. Until I post again, happy sewing.

Karen H


  1. Love it! A great start! Looking forward to see more.
    Have a nice day!

  2. Last photo is delightful!! Was trying to imagine them together in my head, while reading the post. Came out better than I imagined.

  3. Always great to see you in action! I, too, love that last photo :-)

  4. I started using the milliners needles for needle turn hand applique 2 years ago. One of the reasons I have been able to get so much applique done is because the longer needle puts less stress on my arthritic hands. It is long enough to push through and then grab hold of to pull it through. I no longer need to use a thimble.

  5. I love this new piece of yours. Was this a spontaneous construction or did you fall in love with the parrot and just start designing around it? Those brown and pink hexies with the mint green is a great combination of colors. Thanks for the process. Link it to WIPs Be Gone -everyone should read this post - especially if they are doing any kind of hand work.

  6. love used my favourite colours for your hexies

  7. Ian not a blogger and don't know how to comment except this way and I don't want to publish my email address. How do I contact you?

    1. Hi jp - you can send me an email. My email address is on my sidebar (faeriesandfibres at gmail dot com).

  8. This is going to be gorgeous! I can understand wanting to do some fast sewing to see the awesome results. Great tips too--thanks!

  9. I can hardly wait to see this one done but I think I say that about every hexagon quilt you make!

  10. Great tips....especially about the different thread lengths. Thanks!

  11. My focus for needle threading is best at the beginning of the session. I use a Clover needle dome to hold up to ten threaded needles. Great for travel, too. Whether using the needle dome or a pincushion, I knot the thread as I thread each needle, then pull the thread so the knot is right up against the eye. The thread never falls out of the needle while stored this way--just remember to pull the knot down before beginning to sew!