Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A cornucopia of blocks

Did you miss me? I know I've been quiet but it is because I've been busy helping my Mom (Anne H) with her latest African quilt, working on my quilt The Meadery, making class samples for my workshops and working on assorted other projects.

I thought I would start by sharing a few more blocks in my Mom's current Africa quilt. These are original designs and she is beyond thrilled with how her quilt is coming along. I can't get the background fabric to photograph accurately. It is in fact a deep gold colour. Hopefully I can get a few pictures outdoors and the colours will be better.

Notice the dress on the little girl. Mom has difficulty appliqueing dresses so she actually makes little dresses off the quilt and then sews them to the child. You can see that the skirt is actually gathered!

Mom loves making blocks with Masai and she told me that this is one of her favourites.

Mom often has a grandma with her grandchildren in her blocks and this is an example.

How cute is this little boy trying to climb a tree to get at the redwing blackbird? There is an abundance of them here in Canada but I'm not sure that there are any in Africa. We love the redwing blackbird song. To us it sounds like they are saying "sweet marieeeeeee"!

I've completed two more Road 66 blocks. The Road 66 quilt is featured in Di Ford's book Primarily Quilts. This first block reminds me of an antique sandwich plate. I bought the lavender print many years ago. I liked it because it was a serpentine print and then can be hard to find. I think that this type of print adds so much visual interest to a block.

I really like this block. The circle fabric in the middle adds a little pizzazz and the striped fabric in the outer round seems to glow.

I've made two samples for my workshops this Autumn and this is the first one. They have been sent to the Guild that is hosting the workshop. I hope the Guild members like what they see and are inspired to sign up for my course. I think what makes this piece work is the fabrics I've used. I'll have to write a post soon about how I selected the fabrics for this project and also how I buy fabrics to build my stash.

I've recently discovered that there are books available on making pieced hexagons but I've been making them since the late 1990s. I had planned on making a fussy cut hexagon quilt (Stars in the Loft) but couldn't find fabrics that I needed nor could I afford to buy the quantities I would need for fussy cutting so I developed my methods to "make" the fabric and designs needed for my quilt. Once I got started the design ideas flowed!  My techniques and methods are constantly evolving, changing, streamlining and simplifying. My friends used to tell me I should write a book and I suppose I should have but that train has long since left the station. The reason I tell you all of this is because I don't want anyone to think that I am copying or profiting from another person's work. My pieced hexagons are my own idea and I've been developing and refining my techniques for more than 15 years.

We've had falcons and hawks nesting in the neighbourhood. The young are very noisy begging their parents to feed them. Yesterday there was constant whistle so I went out to see what it was and it was a young red tail hawk! He was a big fellow and he sat atop the trees for a very long time.

I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts Let's Be Social and Esther's WOW.  If you are looking for inspiration head on over for a look see at what others are doing.

Time for me to get my day started so until I post again, happy sewing.

Karen H


  1. IS that the project we'll be doing at the London Friendship Guild? If it is...... love it and looking forward to it!

  2. Hi Karen - will you be teaching at the Yorkshire Rose Guild? I would like to take your class. You have creative quilting strategies that can be applied to other types of quilting such as controlled scrappy quilts.

  3. I only wish that I could take your class!

  4. Wow your mom's African quilt is just amazing! Those little outfits really add so much to each block. I don't know how you get so much done. You have a great eye for fabric to use for your hexies. Such talent!

  5. I very much like what your mother does with her African quilts. She is very creative.

  6. so lovely your Mom's African quilt...
    i wish i could take your class....you really should write a book..your technics of using fabrics for hexagones are so fabulous ...

  7. I like your mothers African blocks; the golden fabric is a good choice to echo the Savannah. Your photo of a hawk is amazing; you were luck he stated there long enough for a photo!

  8. I like your workshop quilt. You do so well with the fussy cutting hexagons. So inspiring. All of our quilt patterns, blocks, ideas come from those quilters of years ago. Take the Baltimore Album quilts. Most of them are the same blocks but put in different settings. Keep on trucking Karen... I enjoy all that you do - it is inspiring.

  9. I have already told you that but I tell you again, your Mom is very talented !! She made beautiful blocks with lots of inspiration !!
    Beautiful hexies too and the fussy cutting is awesome.....

  10. Your Mom's blocks are so charming--love the little guy in the overalls!!

  11. All blocks outstanding!! Love your Mom's with the bird, tree and little kid.

  12. I'm fascinated by the Masai too and I find your Mums blocks are always captivating, adorable and love the gathered dress!
    Your right that flower does look like an ornate Victorian plate, but way prettier lol
    Okay, showing my ignorance, what is a serpentine pattern?
    Although whatever it is, it gives a great design opportunity, clearly!

  13. Hello my faraway friend, as par for the course your blocks are superb and do tell your Mom her work in African themes are so unusual and that makes them lovely!

  14. Hello my faraway friend, as par for the course your blocks are superb and do tell your Mom her work in African themes are so unusual and that makes them lovely!

  15. Dear Karen,
    your mother's project is just wonderful, love the littel dress and the way the pleads come out. Great inspiration, and so are your new blocks. Just love the swing of the fabric in them. They actually dance...

  16. I progetti di tua mamma sono meravigliosi, complimenti. E che dire delle tue trapunte!!! Conservo tutte le tue e-mail che mi possono aiutare per avere spunto per i miei prossimi lavori, ma non mi basterebbe tutta la vita......Tutto ciò che ho imparato sul taglio esigente è merito tuo..... Grazie per tutto.
    Silvana Italia
    P.S. Mi piacerebbe tanto conoscerti di persona e partecipare ad uno dei tuoi corsi....Chissà che un giorno non venga in Canada.....

  17. I'm definitely a fan of your mother's work. I love that she made the dress separately. The striped fabric in the outer part of your block doesn't just make the block glow, it makes it look dimensional.

  18. Your mum's quilt is beautiful! And I love your fussy cut hexies, I also saw this trend coming a few years ago, nice to know we're ahead of fashion eh?! :)

    1. Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. Sorry I couldn't email you but you are a no reply blogger! :-(