Sunday, February 7, 2016

And the winners are.....

Thanks to everyone who left a comment about my Easier Than Pie & Beyond booklets each of which contained seven hexagon designs. You can see them here. I'm working on more designs so stay tuned for updates. I am giving away one booklet (of the winners' choice) to five lucky people who left comments. Unfortunately there were several no-reply bloggers which means I was unable to enter them in the draw.

And now the moment you've been waiting for....the names of the winners!

Karen in Breezy Point
Carole-Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus
Jo Ferguson

Karen in Breezy Point wrote "I think I would start with Book 1 since the hexies don't look Easier Than Pie--lol!". Karen, you will be surprised at how easy the hexies and you'll be sewing up a masterpiece of a quilt in no time flat!

Cathy wrote "What to do, what to choose...... If you pick my number, book five please. They are so unique." Cathy is a fellow Canadian quilter and she recently attended one of my workshops. She is an avid EPPer so I hope she has lots of fun with my designs!

Carole-Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus wrote "Karen you're hexagons are always so amazing, congratulations on the publication of these 5 booklets. I'm still sewing your Value Proposition Quilt which has taught me a lot about values, Such a hard choice I would be thrilled to win any of the booklets but if I had to choose any it would be #5. Thanks for the opportunity!".  I can't wait to see what Carole does with her Easier Than Pie & Beyond patterns. She does beautiful work and so I'm expecting some really beautiful hexagons!

Jo Ferguson wrote "If I have to make a choice, I'd pick book 4....or 5. They all look amazing." Well Jo, it looks like you will have to choose because you are a winner!

Quiltsmiles wrote "Great idea publishing you tips and tidbits as you've have kindly shared all the while through your blogging. If I was chosen a winner of this giveaway, I think Booklet #3 would be very helpful with my EPP." I've said it before and will say it again, one of the things about quilting that is the most satisfying is sharing with others!

I'll leave you with a picture of one of the hexagon designs from booklet 3; I call it Butterfly Wings. It is surrounded with the two fabrics I wrote about yesterday. I think it is so pretty and I love the movement created by the striped fabric in the outer donut (ring or round if you prefer) of hexagons!

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to EVERYONE for the lovely comments. You make me blush! Until I post again, happy sewing!

Karen H

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What to do with all the little beauties?

If you've been following my blog you know I have a giveaway running right now. I've just published five new booklets of hexagons designs in my Craftsy shop. You have until Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 09:00 EST (that's 9:00 a.m. EST) to enter. You could be one of five lucky winners of one of my Easier Than Pie & Beyond booklets of hexagon designs. To enter simply leave a comment on this post telling me which booklet is your favourite! The designs look complicated but are so easy you won't believe it! If you can baste a hexagon and sew a straight line you will have no problem mastering these elegant designs!

I've promised to show you what I did with my hexagon rosettes made using my Easier Than Pie & Beyond methods and designs. So let me start off by showing you what a bunch of them looked like tacked to a small design wall. When selecting fabrics they were not made to go together; they are all made with scraps and leftover strips of fabric. I made them simply to illustrate my designs.  Each one is a little gem but I think that when they are clustered together so closely they loose a little of their sparkle. They need some distance between them in order to shine.

So what is the solution? Well I could have cut squares of fabric and appliqued each one to a square and then simply stitched the squares together with or without a sashing OR I could have surrounded each rosette with another round of hexagons and then sew them together with a path of hexagons. Rather than make a decision right off the bat I decided to delve into my stash of fabrics and look for inspiration. My gut told me that the rosettes had a buttery feel to them so I focused on buttery coloured fabrics and this is what I pulled.

The top fabric is what I used in the centre of each rosette . The next fabric had some of the same colours. It isn't a fabric I would have normally selected when shopping but it was under $5/yard (this girl loves a bargain) so I bought a couple of yards with a view to fussy cutting them at a future date. I wasn't crazy about the fabric which made the idea of hacking it up much easier! The bottom fabric was a small piece of fabric sent to me by a friend. I love directional prints and this is right up there as one of my favourites. My plan was to surround each rosette with the bottom two fabrics.

I have also been holding on to a smaller piece of fabric that would make a lovely border and it worked perfectly with the colours I had already selected. I wasn't sure whether I would use the floral print as a border or the black and gold bar print portion. I didn't have enough of the fabric to be able to use both parts. That decision would have to wait. The first thing to do was make an open donut that would surround each rosette.

I made an open donut to surround each rosette. Notice how I captured just half of the brown print from the middle fabric. I think it looks like little crowns that will look perfect atop each hexagon in my rosettes. The buttery yellow striped fabric positively vibrates! I used the stripes as my registration marks to line up my hexagons for placement and then cutting.

I know you are wondering what the rosettes will look like when they are surrounded by the open donut. Here is the first block.

Here is another rosette. Notice that I didn't capture the same part of the striped print as in the rosette above. That is because I wanted to use the fabric efficiently and the repeat (the distance between the beginning of the print) was quite large so the space in between would have been wasted. Instead I cut one set of hexagons and then moved just enough to cut the next set of hexagons on the strip. In doing this there was very little waste and while the part of the stripe that was used is different around each rosette they all work because they are cut from the same fabric.

Once all the rosettes were surrounded it was time to decide "what next". I have written about breaking down hexagons into component shapes such as diamonds and triangles.  My Road 66 is made with diamonds and triangles as connectors and that is what I decided to do with my Easier Than Pie & Beyond rosettes. I had a fabric in mind and hoped it would work. It did!

Tomorrow I'll announce the winners of my draw and will tell you more about the Easier Than Pie & Beyond quilt top! Don't forget to leave a comment here to be entered to win one of my books of patterns! Until tomorrow, happy sewing!

Karen H

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Introducing Easier Than Pie & Beyond PLUS a giveaway!

I am so excited to introduce you to my five  Easier Than Pie & Beyond booklets each of which includes seven designs for English paper piecing. I developed my methods that combine English paper piecing, foundation piecing and made fabric in the late 1990s and have used them to make quilts that look complex but in fact are very easy to make! The rosettes can be combined in a variety of ways to create truly beautiful and unique quilts. If you can sew a simple whip stitch or a ladder stitch you can make these fabulous designs quickly and easily! I've assembled some of my designs into five booklets each of which includes 7 designs! The booklets are available in my Craftsy Store.

You may have noticed that I've used the same fabric for the centre hexagon in each rosette. I did that because I wanted to ensure that the blocks had a cohesive look and feel. The rosettes were made from all my leftover scraps and I didn't give much thought to how these rosettes would look when they were put together to make a quilt top but I knew that if I repeated the fabric in the middle of each rosette that they would look like they belonged together. I will share what I did with all these rosettes and how I did it in the days to come.

And now for the giveaway! Five lucky winners will each receive a pdf  copy of the Easier Than Pie & Beyond booklet of their choice! To enter simply leave a comment telling me which booklet(s) you would chose! That's it! It order to win I need to be able to contact you so if you are a no-reply blogger your name won't go in the draw. You'll know you are a no reply blogger because you will not receive an email from me confirming that you have been entered in the draw. To get around this leave a comment and send me a private email with your address (be sure to include your blogger name so I know who you are) and I’ll enter you in the draw. That way your personal information is kept private but you’ll still have a chance to win! The deadline to enter is Sunday, February 7 at 09:00 EST (9:00 a.m EST). Good luck and I hope you've enjoyed seeing my designs! If you just can't wait and want your own copies of the the patterns now they are available now in my Craftsty Store.

Karen H

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Making stars in hexagons with diamonds

How about just a little more hexagon fun? I wrote about breaking down a hexagon into three diamonds,

and six triangles.

Triangles and diamonds made from the same size hexagons that are used to make rosettes can be used to join those rosettes. If you missed that lesson you will find it here. My Road 66 quilt is made with hexagons that are 1 1/4". The rosettes are joined with triangles and diamonds that were made from the 1 1/4" hexagons that were subdivided.

For even more fun try enlarging a hexagon using the copy feature on your printer. The larger the hexagon the easier it is to subdivide into even more shapes. The hexagons in my Hexagreens quilt were 2 3/4" in size.

To make the math easier let's enlarge the hexagon to 3". You can easily break down this larger hexagon into twelve diamonds to create a star inside a hexagon.

So how did I break it down? I started by creating a master template - I started with a 1" hexagon and enlarged it using the copy feature on my printer until I had a hexagon that measured 3". I should be able to fit several of these 3" hexagons on a single sheet of paper. This now becomes my master template (I mark it so that I know it is a master template) and I will use this master template to make copies of my paper hexagons. I never cut up the original, only the copies.

I start by making a copy of my master template but I don't cut it out. I draw lines from corner to corner on a hexagon.

The next step is to mark the midpoint on each of the six sides of the hexagon. The hexagon measures 3" on each side so the midpoint will be 1 1/2". Draw lines from midpoint on the side to the opposite midpoint. I do three sides to create a triangle (green in the diagram).
I then draw lines from midpoint to midpoint on the remaining three sides (blue in the diagran). The lines should intersect perfectly. Please excuse my sloppy computer drawing skills; the lines do not intersect perfectly in the diagram but they will on the template provided the midpoint is correctly marked on each of the six sides.
At this point it is made up of 24 triangles which you could use to create an interesting design but we want to make a star in a hexagon so the final step is to remove the lines that dissect the diamonds so that what we are left with is twelve diamonds! Again please excuse the sloppy drawing but you get the general idea.
If you remember my lesson from January 28th you will be able to figure out that the diamonds above have four sides of equal length and it is one half the length of the hexagon. This means that if you are working with a 3" hexagon the diamonds will be 1 1/2" long on each side.

You can fussy cut six diamonds to make a lovely star and then use a plain print for the remaining six diamonds that turn the star into a hexagon.

I like the star shown below because it is made from two simple tone-on-tone prints and it is the filler diamonds that turn the star into a hexagon that are fussy cut. I had originally planned to sew them together to make a star but it just didn't work so I though why not use them as the filler diamonds and they worked beautifully!

If you have any questions please feel free to ask. If I can answer the question I am always happy to do so!

Tomorrow I'll be publishing my new English paper piecing patterns in my Craftsy Store. And there will be a give away too! I have five booklets titled Easier Than Pie & Beyond and five lucky readers will have the chance to win an Easier Than Pie & Beyond booklet of their choice! So come back tomorrow to see my hexagon designs enter the giveaway. Until tomorrow, happy sewing!

Karen H

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A student's work and new patterns are coming

As many of you may know I've started teaching English paper piecing (EPP). My workshop is called Easier Than Pie & Beyond because my methods and techniques make EPP easier than pie! It is fun and exciting for me to see others get excited about the possibilities using my basic techniques combined with "made" fabric methods. It takes EPP beyond the basics and launches it to the next level. I've been using EPP to make quilts for 35+ years and developed my "beyond" methods in the late 1990s.  These are my class samples that demonstrate the techniques that I teach.

At the workshops I also sell booklets which each contain seven designs for English paper piecing. They are a big hit with students and I will soon be selling them in my Craftsy Store! I recently heard from one of my students, Lorna. She had made a medallion based on my class samples and then she applied what she learned along with some of my patterns that I sell at workshops and created her own masterpiece. Lorna tells me that she used some Christmas fabric that she had on hand to make this medallion. She plans to turn it into a wall hanging. Well done Lorna - I can't tell you how impressed I am and my hope is that you are as thrilled with what you've done as I am!

I hope to launch my patterns early next week and to kick it off I'll have a giveaway. There are five books, each of which includes seven designs so how about five giveaways? Check back next week to see my designs and to get details of my giveaway!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Setting triangles and diamonds for Road 66

Anne in South Wales (sorry I couldn't reply to your message Anne but you are a no reply blogger) asked about the size of the little triangles which form part of the path in my Road 66 quilt top.The path is made up of little triangles and diamonds.

The hexagons used in Road 66 are 1 1/4". A hexagon has six sides each of which is the same length. When we talk about the size of a hexagon we are referring to the length of each of the six sides.  Thus a 1 1/4" hexagon’s sides each measure 1 1/4"”.

The measurement from point to point of a hexagon is simply two times the size of a hexagon. This means that the point to point measurement of a 1/14" hexagon is 2 1/2".

A hexagon can be subdivided into three diamonds each of which has four sides. In the case of a 1 1/4" hexagon each of those four sides will measure 1 1/4". This is the size of the diamonds that I used in the path for my Road 66 quilt.

The triangles in the path (where the blocks intersect) are simply a hexagon divided into six segments. In the case of a 1 1/4" hexagon each of those three sides will measure 1 1/4". This is the size of triangles that I used in the path for my Road 66 quilt.

You can also fussy cut your diamonds or triangles and then sew them together to make some fun and interesting blocks. Three fussy cut diamonds sewn together make this interesting block.

You could use three different fabrics, one dark, one medium and one light to make a classic tumbling block.

Six triangles fussy cut and sewn together make one big happy hexagon like this!
All of these blocks are part of my quilt Hexagreens.

Hexagreens by Karen H 2009

To read more about constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing hexagons you may want to read a post that I wrote back in 2013!

There's be no sewing for me today because I'm going to a party to celebrate a special occasion with some friends. Hopefully I'll be back at it tomorrow!

Until I post again, happy sewing.
Karen H

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Where did January go?

Where has the month gone? I've been very busy and in the process kind of lost my blogging momentum.  I taught two English paper piecing classes last week. The workshops were organized by the Rouge Valley Quilters' Guild and they were held at Log Cabin Yardage. It was fun to teach in a shop because I was able to pull bolts of fabric to demonstrate ideas. I think everyone had a great time and came away inspired to create. Many of us also came away with some new fabrics for our stashes!

I have a two week break until my next trunk show so hopefully I can get caught up on some projects including my QAL. I've got many of the components made and they just need to come together, Here is a sneak peek at some of the bits and pieces! It doesn't look like much right now but stay tuned because it is going to change and evolve. Part of the reason for the delay is that I am working from the outside edge of the quilt in towards the middle and that makes the math a little challenging but I'm getting there.

I've also managed to put together the rows of hexagon blocks for my Road 66 quilt. I'm really happy with how this quilt is turning out and can't wait to get some borders added to it. The quilt is made with 1 1/4" hexagons. The path that connects them is made with diamonds and triangles.

Now that the top is put together I need to get an accurate measurement of the quilt top. The quilt top design was featured in Di Ford's book Primarily Quilts and while there are measurements provided I never entirely trust them so I'm going to take my own measurements. Let me explain how I do this.

I have removed all of the papers from my quilt top except for those all around the outside edges. I keep them in the quilt until I'm ready to add the border. The paper stabilizes the hexagons and prevents stretching so I can get accurate measurements.

I place my ruler on the quilt top so that the left side lines up with the innermost V where the hexagons are stitched together (red arrows). I line up the 1/4" mark on the edge of the innermost hexagon along the top edge (green arrow). I measure each of the four sides. The top and bottom measurements should be the same and the side measurements should be the same. If there are any differences I measure again. If the variance is 1/4"ish I will either add that number to the opposite side or omit it from the side with the extra. I figure I can ease in 1/4" along the edge of the quilt. These measurements include the seam allowance.

Once I have my quilt top measurements I can position my ruler in the same way as shown above and any parts that are beyond the ruler are trimmed away to produce a straight edge. The last step is to release the seam allowances of the hexagons on the top edge (they are still basted to the paper). This will provide a long straight edge so I can add the border.

I've been hiding away my scraps and leftover bits in baskets and they are overflowing. Sometimes I cut them up and make 3" nine patches but I had lots of leftover hexagon papers so I've been chopping up the scraps and basting hexagons when I'm out and need something to keep my hands busy. They will all be tossed into a bag and when the inspiration to create hits I'll have them ready and waiting to be turned into something new!

Time for a cuppa and maybe some borders! Until I post again happy sewing.