Wednesday, June 30, 2010

hexagon tips

Just a quick pop in post before I go back to my packing! I have had quite a few people ask me to share some tips on how I sew my hexagons. It took me a long time (months) to find a technique that worked for me and I encourage everyone to try several different stitches to find the one that works best for them. 

First, I straight stitch along the edges of two hexagons, making sure to just skim the top of the paper inside. Making sure to pull my thread nice and snug. You want it to be as tight as possible without causing it to ripple.

Then once I reach the other side, I back (straight) stitch in the opposite holes of the original straight stitch...

When finished it will look like a solid line of stitches (please excuse my inconsistency, I am working on that part....luckily it doesn't really affect the outcome). The back stitch evens the tension of the original straight stitch and helps get rid of the tugs on the front of the hexagons.

And thats pretty much it. If you make sure your stitches are nice and tight it should look like this...

 I do have to admit that it does add a  little time onto making hexes when sewing this way. The whip stitch was much faster, but I couldn't get the tension on the fabric consistent enough not to tug on the front. The ladder stitch that Heather taught me was amazing, but I was WAY too slow at it to keep it up....but her technique is how I discovered that the tension on the fabric was the key (thanks again Heather). 
Just a few extra notes:
I use a hand quilting thread (100% cotton by Gutermann) for extra strength. I kept breaking all the others when pulling tight to keep my tension right. 
I use a quilter's knot in the beginning of all my threads. It is thick and strong enough not to pull through the fabric when pulling tight.
Last but not least...I only iron my hexes with the paper in place. Once you remove the paper ironing can pull on your fabric and stitches warping the end result. So once all my hexes are sewn together, I iron them one last time and then carefully remove all the paper.

Here is a block that I made in my down time this week for my son's quilt. I told him that the grey seeds prove my love for him!! I had a precious little of the FMF grey seeds for my hexagon quilt and sacrificed most of it for his that is mother love or maybe just plain insanity!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Instead of packing, as I should be, I decided to spend my time yesterday organizing my fabric. For some unknown reason to me, I have always kept my stash organized by cut. I almost always stash in half yards (mainly so I can afford to buy more, not because I prefer the cut), but also have a small collection of fat quarters and a few cuts of several yards (stashed either for sashing or backing).
This system has never worked out well, so I thought I would try the color approach on organization.

I have to be honest in saying that I think that I need to increase my stash of quilting cottons!! Doesn't it look a bit needing? Now this does not include my piles of "planned projects" to be:

All of these piles have quilts planned for them and are just waiting for me to get started on them!

Then there are my japanese prints, that I can't seem to blend in with all the they stay piled separately.

I have also been collecting a stash for Isabella. Hopefully these will be cute little dresses, blouses and skirts for her, before the year is up.

Then lastly, the pride of my small stash, which I always keep in its own place for me to fondle and admire whenever I want...enchino.

 Through this process, I also created a "I don't think I will ever use" pile. Sadly, because I do most of my shopping online...I have quite a few newer fabrics in here that I didn't really like once I received them. Then some of my older fabric stashes that I would not choose if I were shopping now.
What do y'all do with your de-stash?

I have always kept my fabric on a shelf by my sewing table, but with the move, I will be loosing space. I have been thinking of easy ways to store it all in a closet. The first solution that comes to mind is plastic bins. Which is why I thought separating by color might be better. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 14, 2010

and the winner is...

My random number generator was up and ready to go this morning. Although, I don't think she understood why she was picking numbers out of a bag, she was just excited to do it!!

Here she is with her hand in the bag.....and the first number to be picked

was 84. Barb said:
"Oh my, so much work already done! I can see those 3 1/2" finished squares sewn into wonderful fabric for a summer skirt!"

The second number to be picked

was 19! Make do and mend quilts said:
"Ohh yes please, I was just bemoaning the fact that this is starting to get sold out everywhere and I don't have enough left over for a second little folks quilts! They would find a very welcome home with me!"

Thanks to everyone for all your fun comments.This was only my second give-away and I really enjoyed the process....and how excited everyone was to participate. I will be emailing the winners and mailing out there goodies tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

little folks anyone??

What is a girl to do when she cuts to much of her favorite fabric? I have been so indecisive with my little folks voile quilt that I cut a bunch of 4x4 inch squares and then changed the layout of my quilt. So now I have an abundance of squares. I thought about planning a second quilt to use them all up....but have been looking at this fabric on my design wall for so long now, that I just don't have it in me. So what is my resolution? Whenever I don't know what to do with something, my first thought is "someone else will know exactly what to do with it"....and that led to....give-away.

I have two 4x4 charm packs up for grabs. The first charm pack has 10 of each pattern (14 voile and 6 dobby) and the second has 5 of each pattern. I know that someone out there will love this fabric and have the enthusiasm to make something incredible with it.
To enter all you need to do is leave a comment (with a way for me to contact you if you win). I will be using my own personal random generator, Isabella! She will pick 2 lucky numbers out of a hat on Monday, June 14. Sorry so long, but we are going to my nephews graduation in Northern Cali and won't be back until then. Oh, and everyone is welcome to enter, including all my fellow bloggers over seas!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

home again

I returned home from Portland with a serious loot of fabric!! So much actually that I had to buy a bag at the airport to put it all in (thank goodness my flight wasn't full otherwise I would have had to check it). Not only did I find some amazing fabric at Cool Cotton, but I also got to shop raid the shop with my blog pal Heather! I preempted her with "don't judge me on how much fabric I buy" because I had the "I am on vacation" free for all attitude! No holding back...I grabbed it all and bought it all!!

Here we are, proudly displaying all our loot (yes....all that fabric under my hand is mine). Now I have to tell you, Heather is a RIOT!! We talked non stop at such a rapid pace that I think we left all those around us spinning, only pausing long enough to take a breath of air and to let one another grab another bolt of fabric! 

Now that I am back home, it is time for me to get to work on prepping for our move and making a quilt for my youngest son. He is moving into his own room for the first time when we move and has requested a new quilt for his bed. So between some of my finds in Portland and a recent order from Kerri's shop, Sewdeerlyloved, I think I have everything I need to get started.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

i got it!

Thank everyone for all your tips and words of encouragement. I have finally got it! My stitches are looking much better, thanks to all the great advise and guidance. 

Heather very patiently helped me get my ladder stitch down (finally)....and although it wielded great results, I was too slow at it. I think it would take me a few years to finish if I kept it up, so I have finally settled on a straight stitch. Mainly because I can actually move at an exceptable pace (i do however still think it will take me a year to finish). To get a little extra practice and to see what my hexes would look like quilted, I made this.......

This will be shipped out in the mail to a friend as a little surprise gift, hopefully she likes it! I am new to making potholders and need much improvement, so hopefully she doesn't mind it's imperfections!! There is a bit of decorative hand stitching on the inner edge...I am not sure it really shows up in the pictures but if it does, it was completely inspired by this binding, made by Red Pepper Quilts.

Outside of that, there hasn't been much sewing going on around here....and I fear there won't be for a while. I am off to Portland tomorrow for a 4 day visit with one of my dearest friends (YIPEE)! It is a mild stone for me, I have never left my family for such a long period of time before and am a bit nervous!! Although, I am looking forward to the R&R, pure girl time......and of course the shopping!! Any suggestions of shops that are a must see? Then it's graduations, trips to Disney, Knotts.....and a month of packing up our house. We are moving up to Orange County in July and after 6 years in this house, I think it will be quite a bit of work to get it all packed into boxes. So if I am not around much for the next few months, you know why!