Monday, November 24, 2014

Gardening and hexagon fun

I've been working away on my Gardens of a King quilt and the centre is now stitched together. All of the blocks were made using English paper piecing and some applique. At this point it measures 40.5". The next step is a narrow shark tooth border. I've started preparing the teeth to be appliqued to the background and then they'll be stitched to the quilt.

As you may know Missie asked if I would be willing to test the pattern for her and I agreed. While I'm still working on my quilt I've done enough that I was able to send her my notes. The pattern is now available in her shop, Traditional Primitives, and the cost  is $36US. If you are interested you will find the pattern here.  Below is a picture of Missie's finished quilt. The centre block and the fruits and flowers in the outer border are done in wool applique buy I am making mine with quilting cottons. Just so you know, I have no financial or other interest in the pattern or Missie's company. She asked me to test her pattern. I thought it would be a fun thing to do and it was!

I continue to work on the floral and fruit appliques for the next border. The cherries were so much fun to make. I decided to make each one a different red and I think it worked out well! I also used a variety of small brown scraps for the branches and stems. I think the cherries are one of my favourite blocks so far!

The next block is hazelnuts. They resemble acorns in the pattern but I had no idea what real hazelnuts look like so I searched for pictures and all showed green nuts so who am I to argue! Green nuts it is!

Both blocks were made using back basting applique.  I really enjoy this method because I always get good results!

I also completed one more Lozagons hexagon block. The fabric in the first round of hexagons is from he bag of old scraps and partial Dresden plates that I bought at a church white elephant sale. The turquoise looks goofy but when you see the quilt you will understand why it is in my blocks!

The inspiration for this quilt is an old quilt that I saw on Lorraine's blog, Granny Loz.  It is also the source of the name, Loz + Hexagons = Lozagons! Lorraine posted a picture of some hexagon quilt tops that her friend got at an auction. This one caught my eye! I still have to figure out a design for the border but there's time yet!

Lorraine had a great post yesterday about a workshop she took with Marg Sampson George. It looks like they spent a lot of time drafting blocks. It is amazing how a hexagon block can be broken down so many ways and then depending on the fabric used, interesting designs can be created. I wrote a little tutorial about constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing hexagons!  In the following block you can see a hexagon divided into twelve diamonds. I chose to create a star but depending on the placement of the light, medium and dark fabrics you could also create tumbling blocks!

Close-up of Hexagreens by Karen H

I'll give some thought to expanding that tutorial in the future!

I think that's enough blogging for today, Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blogathon Canada and the instructions for my hexagon quilt 81 are HERE!

Welcome Blogathon Canada visitors! This is the final day of a week long blog hop organized by Sew Sisters Quilt Shop in Toronto, Ontario! To celebrate I am publishing the instructions to make my hexagon quilt 81 The Giant Monstrosity!

If you didn't get here by way of the Blogathon you really should visit the  Sew Sisters blog where you can enter to be able to win prizes and you will  find a complete list of host bloggers with links to other Canadian blogs like mine! Leave a comment on the Sew Sisters blog and the host blogger's sites to be entered in draws for wonderful prizes from Sew Sisters! The hosts for Ontario are Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts and Sandy from UpStairs Hobby Room. They'll be introducing you to some very talented quilters!

I've been promising to publish instructions for making my quilt 81 The Giant Monstrosity. I called it 81 because there are 81 hexagon rosettes and stars in the middle panel. The giant monstrosity part was added when I realized just how big it was going to be; it finished roughly 93" by 97"!

The quilt is surprising easy to make and it is very forgiving. I used English paper piecing to make the stars and hexagon rosettes. I fussy cut butterflies and appliqued them as a little extra embellishment. You can embellish as you see fit!

I thought you might like to see some of the fussy cut hexagons!

If you don't have enough fabric to cut six hexagons (or diamonds for the stars) just fussy cut three and use a complementary print for the other three! You can see some examples of this in the following picture.

I used scraps to make the baskets and fill them with flowers. Each basket is the same basic shape but the flowers and leaves are different in each one! I had a bit of pansy fabric in my stash so I cut some out and appliqued them. It is a great place to use some of those pretty florals that you don't know what to do with!

Once the quilt top was together I made my quilt sandwich and machine quilted it on my domestic sewing machine. However because the quilt is constructed in sections I think it would be suited to a quilt as you go technique! I didn't include quilting instructions but I wrote about how I did it in several posts. If there is interest I would consider putting together a separate instruction sheet on the quilting. 

So for those of you who love hexagons, I hope you'll enjoy the instructions for making 81. If you do start making it I would love to hear from you! Even if you don 't make it I would love to hear from you! I reply to every comment. If you don't hear from me it means you are a "no reply" blogger and I have no way to contact you! 

Enough chit chat; here's what you've been waiting for!

You can also find the link under Patterns by Karen H. I put a great deal of time, effort and energy into my free patterns. Please do not sell or reproduce them without my written permission. However you are more than welcome to post a link to my blog so that others can access this pattern and my other free patterns. 

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch and a Soupcon quilt

My first quilt along (QAL) was called Soupcon, a French word that means "a little bit". I called it Soupcon because I used a variety of techniques that I like to use but they were used sparingly so it was a chance to introduce readers to these techniques without having to commit to a large quilt. It was a six part QAL and you will find all of the pattern installments under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H. I've recently heard from several of you that you are still working on your quilts. Keep posting pictures on the Flickr Soupcon QAL page! Here is the most recent picture from Clare!

Soup Is On 003 by Clare

What a stunner it is! She designed her own cornerstone blocks and decided to leave the red border empty. She will use it to showcase her hand quilting. I've seen Clare's work and she is an exceptionally talented quilter so I know that the finished quilt is going to be amazing!

Don't forget that my current QAL is Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along is still running. You will find links to all of the patterns under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H. The next block pattern will be published on November 28th!

I'm still working on testing the Gardens of a King quilt pattern for Missie of Traditional Primitives. There are appliques in the border and some of the stems are just far too tiny so I decided to embroider them with a Hungarian braided chain stitch. I found this online demonstration and after watching it got started on the stems.

Initially it was slow going but once I got my brain wrapped around the technique it was fairly easy. The basis is the chain stitch but you are in effect stitching another chain stitch on top and to do that you need to weave your needle under the previous stitch. A pointy needle can split threads and that causes problems. I saw a handy tip on Quilting Arts this week....rather than taking the point of the needle under the stitch, use the eye of the needle. I tried it and it worked like a charm!

This is my first attempt at the Hungarian braided chain stitch. I've got more fruit with stems to be embroidered and this stitch is perfect! It adds a little bit of texture and dimension.

There will be an oval frame around each fruit or floral applique. I made one to see how it will finish the block and I am really pleased with it!I haven't appliqued it to the block. I want to get all of the embroideries done first!

The Sew Sisters Quilt Shop's Blogathon Canada continues and today we are off to Quebec and the Territories. Be sure to visit the Blogathon and the host bloggers where you can enter to win great prizes. It is easy....all you have to do is leave a comment!

Tomorrow I'll publish my pattern for 81 The Giant Monstrosity so until then happy sewing!
Karen H

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's all in the details

Now that all 32 pieced blocks for the Gardens of a King quilt are completed each needs to be reverse appliqued to the background fabric. That's a job that goes quickly so it was time that I moved on  to the centre block. This is the block from Missie's quilt and it is worked in wool applique. I really liked the darker centre. She told me she used a plaid fabric and it just worked out that the darker portion was in the centre.

I don't do wool applique so I went back to my stash to pull cotton fabrics. These are the fabrics that were eventually used. What isn't show in this selection is the rusty brown that I will use for the shark tooth borders.

My first choice was the gold fabric that is second from the top. Love the softness of the colour with the little pops of rosy caramel. My plan was to use it for the elliptical shapes and to leave the inside empty so that the background fabric showed through but it was boring and very drab. I filled them in with the fabric at the bottom of the picture; I fussy cut the shapes so that they would match. I thought there would four identical prints in the fat quarter but there weren't. I was able to cut two pairs of identical motifs and that worked just fine. The two robin's egg blues in the middle of the picture had already be used in the pieced blocks so I decided to repeat them and they became the four fleur de lis shapes. It was looking nice but still a little on the boring side so I fussy cut a circle from the top fabric and appliqued it dead nut centre! Much better! This is what the block looked like at that point.

I adore that print in the centre; it is one of my favorite fabrics and I think it is timeless and dramatic! Trouble is that I thought the block was still looking like it was looking for a little something something to finish it off. I decided to cut some of the circles from the gold fabric and applique them to the base of each fleur de lis. This is a close-up of what I did! It is just a little detail but it was the perfect finishing touch! You might be able to see that there are some basting threads inside the elliptical shapes. I have been thinking about embroidering a thin, rich brown line around the inner edges but have decided against it (for now)!

This is the finished block! The four little circles took almost no time to prepare and applique but I think that they have a big impact on the look of the block. You only have to add one or two little details to personalize a quilt and make it even more beautiful!

Have you been visiting and discovering blogs that are new to you through Sew Sisters Quilt Shop's Blogathon Canada? Yesterday we were introduced to Albertan bloggers and today it is Saskatchewan and Manitoba! Friday it is off to Quebec and the Territories. Saturday it is Ontario. I'll be one of the Ontario bloggers and to celebrate I'll be publishing my instructions for making 81 The Giant Monstrosity! I am so eager to hear what you think of it!

Until I post again, have fun discovering Canadian blogs and when you aren't doing that, happy sewing!
Karen H

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One thing leads to another

Isn't it funny how sometimes one thing leads to another?  Let me give you some examples of what I mean!

I continue to work on testing the Gardens of a King pattern for Missie of Traditional Primitives. The original quilt that inspired Missie's pattern has some blocks with sun or moon faces and I really like them. I drafted a large block but it isn't part of Missie's pattern so I won't include it in my quilt.This block finishes at about 10" across and I used my Sakura Pigma pens to draw the face.

I really like my face block so I thought about ways that I might include this design element in my quilt while still staying true to Missie's pattern. And that is my first "one thing leads to another" moment! There are four pieced blocks in the corners of the outer border so I thought that would be the perfect place to sneak a face into the quilt. I drew the face and used one of the block patterns to frame it! This is what it looks like! The edges are rough but will finish nice and round!

This is the block in my quilt on which I based my face block. I like the dark frame around both blocks because it focuses the attention on the centre design!

That leads me to my next (and final) two blocks for the centre panel of my quilt. These two were perhaps the most challenging although they look relatively simple. I think if I were to make them again I would use a single fabric for the background (or piece a four patch of four fabrics) and then applique the petals to the background using the back basting applique method that I wrote about.

The last "one thing leads to another" moment involves the fluffernutters, Gump and Jinx. Gump is an older guy who is partial to sleeping or at least relaxing. He is getting much better at posing for picture taking so we were having a nice moment together.  He is such a super model!

And then along comes Baby Jinx who promptly begins to nibble on Gump's toes! Not a good idea.

And that just leads to a good clobbering! Lesson learned for now but it never lasts!

Finally on a totally unrelated subject, it is Sew Sisters Quilt Shop's Blogathon Canada time.

It is an opportunity to find new blogs and win prizes. Yesterday we met bloggers from British Columbia and today we are off to the Maritimes. Tomorrow we are off to Alberta which is wild rose country! Good luck and have fun checking out all of the lovely blogs! One blog that I found particularly interesting is Judy Cooper's blog. Check out her fabric boxes. They are something else!

That's it for me for today! Just a reminder that I reply to every comment so you don't hear back from me it means you are a no-reply blogger so I have no way to contact you unless you include your email address! Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hexagon inspiration at the York Heritage Quilt Show

I went to the York Heritage Quilt Show. York Heritage is a large guild so there were many truly amazing quilts to be seen. Unfortunately there was no program and I missed having it for note taking. The venue was lovely but the space was tight in the main exhibit hall and the lighting was not very good for picture taking but I managed to takes some pix of hexagon quilts, two traditional and a the third a little less so!

This is the first traditional hexagon quilt titled Swedish Immersion . The quilt was made with lovely small prints, most of which were fussy cut! I believe these were 3/4" hexagons. The white border fabric was a shirting type print.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the lovely little hexagons.

The maker quilted inside each background hexagon and also the middle hexagon but the circle of print hexagons was left unquilted and the effect was quilt nice.

The dark border was very interesting and it created a lovely inner frame for the delicate little blocks. It reminds me of dental molding and it is so simple to do; the quilt is appliqued to the dark fabric so that the quilt has straight edges that allow one to add more borders to frame the quilt. I wrote a tutorial showing how I do this with my quilts. You will find the tutorial here.

The second traditional quilt was an Irish chain with hexagons, hence the title Irish Flower Garden! Each of the hexagons flowers was fussy cut from floral fabrics to create some new fabulous flowers.

Look at these pretty "made" flowers! I've said more than once that if you want to make a hexagon quilt but don't have the patience to made a quilt top entirely of hexagons just make the rosettes and applique them to background squares. If you add them to a pieced quilt top it makes for an even more interesting quilt!

It this picture you can see the block with the hexagon rosette appliqued in the centre,

This quilt was hand quilted. When I go to shows I see less and less hand quilting so this was something of a treat!

The third quilt is a little less traditional in its construction and it is in fact a triptych of small hexagon quilts. A triptych is a piece of artwork that is divided into three sections. I found this hexagon triptych interesting because the hexagons were stitched together rather informally and the some were appliqued on top of others giving the small quilts a rather higgledy piggledy look! All three quilts were embellished with hand embroidery and hand quilting.

The quilt on the far left is titled Hexie I. There are areas where bits of red seem to frame the hexagons and this is in fact embroidery!

The quilt in the middle is titled Hexie Blue.

The quilt on the far right is titled Hexie II. If you look closely at this quilt you can see areas where the hexagons are layered on top of others. Even when they are cropped the quilt still reads as a hexagon quilt!

The embroidery appears to have been done with pearl cotton.

Just love the spiderweb effect of the embroidery around the edges of the hexagons!

I wish I had more quilt pictures to share but as I say the lighting was not very good so I'm afraid that's about it! I hope you feel inspired to go create something wonderful today - I know I do!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, November 14, 2014

Value Proposition Quilt Along - Block 16

Welcome back to my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along (QAL). Today I will share Block 16. It is a simple block with no fancy or special techniques, just good old fashioned English paper piecing! Depending on your colour and value choices you can make a very interesting block. I used a lighter value fabric for the B hexagons; if you chose a medium it would give the block an entirely different look and feel. I also used this block to make use of some of my odd, leftover hexagons and I think it works just fine! Can't wait to see what you decide to do with the pattern for one of my favourite blocks!

Value Proposition Map for Block 16

Value Proposition Recipe for Block 16
  • Cut 14 Light identified as A on Map (6* for Round 1, 4 for Round 2 and 4 for Round 3)
  • Cut 6 Lights that are a little darker than A identified as B on Map (2 for Round 2 and 4 for Round 3)
  • Cut 17 Dark identified as on Map (1 for Centre, 6 for Round 2 and  and 10 for Round 3)
* I used a single fabric Light A for Round 1 and the remaining Light As were cut from scraps.

My Value Proposition Block 16

Here it is in colour. Notice all the leftover hexagons I shoved in this one. There is a ecru hexagon with black hash marks on the upper right. I repeated it in the lower left to balance the block. If you lock closely you will see that I followed this same process with other fabrics as well. It is a scrap block but by mirroring the placement it creates and design element and it balances the block. Also take note that I used two sets of three brown striped hexagons at the top and bottom of the block. I paid attention to the direction of the stripes to make the block comfortable to the eye! And of course I had to add one little detail in the form of a fussy cut centre!

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 Block 16. Block 17 will be available on November 28, 2014. We also have two more partial blocks for the sides so I'll post both partial blocks on December 5th!

I hope you are enjoying 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