The quilt back

If you didn’t already know that I am crazy (who hand sews a complete hexagon quilt top??) this will confirm it.

After all that intense hand sewing, it all came to an abrupt end. Now what???  Well of course I need to make the backing and I can’t remember the last time it was one solid piece of fabric.  At first I was thinking I’d make up some flowers out of the remaining hexies, but thought better of it, that part was done!

Then I remembered Quilts and More Fall 2014.  With my library card I can download and read a number of knitting and quilting magazines. The cover of the fall issue had a scrappy quilt with large hexagons! Perfect, I’ll make a few rows and sandwich them between some larger fabrics.P1050263After all that handwork, cutting patches with a rotary cutter and sewing them up on the machine was a breeze.IMG_2836Once started, I just couldn’t stop!P1050269So much so that the backing of this quilt is what most normal people would consider to be a lovely quilt top.P1050271I did mention I’m crazy didn’t I?  Hey, it only took me a few days, not months like the top.


EPP Hexie, progress report

Slowly but surely, the quilt grows. I didn’t bring the actual quilt on my trip, it is getting large and unwieldily  – even though it’s only about the size of a small baby quilt. What I did do was cut up a lot of paper and fabric on my Accuquilt, bagged them up  and sewed quite a few of them on the trip.

Once home I went right back to adding them to the quilt.IMG_2737P1040177P1040179I am being very mindful of color placement. I know quilters who just throw things together, willy nilly and their quilts look amazing. I am trying to balance to the colors, so they  are spread out over the quilt. Since I’m only a third of the way done, if that,  I still have a lot of room to work with.

One issue I’m having is the size of the fabric hexies.  When cutting by hand, I gave myself a lot of extra seam allowances. Although I cut many more of them on the die cutter, they have exactly 1/4″ seam allowances – which to be honest is very tight.P1040182Moving into the yellow and blue you can see the seam allowances are much smaller.  This does create a problem, less seam allowance means less stability of each patch.P1040183Here is a close-up, in some cases it almost looks like 1/8″.  No, I am not going back to cutting by hand. My whip stitches are very close together, so that should hold things in place. Also, I am going to do some kind of overall quilting, by machine! I will not be hand quilting this! The quilting will help hold things in place.P1040180I am also changing the paper/card stock I use. The colored card stock is lovely but it is slightly thicker than the mail card I cut up.  That tiny increment makes a difference when folding over the fabric.  So I am saving all magazine inserts, the ones that used to drive me crazy. As well as envelopes and other junk mail.  How’s that for really recycling and reusing!


Epp- English Paper Piecing

I learned how to quilt back in the the late 1970’s, we cut templates from cardboard, marked  each one on the fabric and cut out the patches with scissors. I recently learned that the Olfa rotary cutters were created about the same time, by the 1980’s they had entered the quilt world. Today we can’t imagine life without them. I also use them for cutting out my sewing patterns. Amazing what a tool will do to change your life.Olfa rotarty cuttersSo back in those dark days, I remember EPP, this was how the English traditionally made their quilt tops. Often using newsprint, or other cheap paper, they would cut each patch out of paper, sew a piece of fabric to that backing and then sew the patches together.  There are historical quilts where the paper was never removed. Traditionally once the top was finished all the paper came out before the quilt sandwich was created.  Quilt tops remain with paper intact – what an interesting way to try and recreate the local history of the day based on snippets of newspaper.

Today this method is used for difficult shapes. most common, the hexagon.P1020513Here a basic grandmother’s flower garden patch, I have basted the paper to the fabric and with tiny stitches attach the hexies together. I have seen comparisons of hand and machine sewing – although it is more work, the end result of the hand sewing is much more accurate and the hexies lie flatter.IMG_2475In this case I had ordered precut card stock templates. Following instructions online, I punched a hole – to make it easier to remove later as well as glued the fabric to the base. I don’t like this method. You can clearly see where the glue didn’t hold. On the one hand you don’t want a permanent glue, but having it release too early means the shape may not be accurate.  Also, when sewing the hexies together, there is always a Y-join. I had to fold the card stock  in order to do so, which can create distortions.IMG_2474The end result is good, but a little too much strain on my hands. IMG_2491So for my next project I’m cutting my paper out of printer paper with a die-cutter. This only affords me the one size. Since this is a sometime project for me, I don’t see myself investing in a large Die-cut machine yet.P1020522Quilting with my walking foot. P1020541End result? Another Sewtogether Bag. You are not seeing double, there are two of them, I’m in love with this bag and what a wonderful gift it makes. Sew Together bagP1020534I so enjoyed making this bag with EPP that I am making another one for myself.


Cars and Stars

For some reasons the pregnant women I know these days are all having boys. They need quilts but must have a boy theme. Once again, in that wonderful stash from Barbara I find many wonderful car and transportation fabric.
I wanted to try some paper piecing, a method using paper template pieces while putting a block together. The central blocks really needed this treatment, the others, no so much, but I was on a roll.Cars and stars, paper piecingTo get the sharp points and accuracy, paper worked like a charm.Layout for Cars and starsOne of the things I love about quilting is putting the puzzle together. I had no plan, just making the blocks and then trying to see the best way for them to make a cohesive, eye pleasing design.finished cars and starsI’m very pleased with how this worked out.  Symmetry and a center motif that is similar but not.quilting stars and carsQuilting on a dark background is wonderful, hides many mistakes, unfortunately, unless the light is shinning directly on it – you don’t see the details. Of course this is a baby quilt, not an art piece. I enjoyed the process, baby should simply enjoy the softness and the bright colors.Back of Cars and StarsBack must be as bright as the front, also here is a chance to showcase some of the fabrics that were cut into small patches on the front.Cars and stars labelA quilt must have a label. I used the old Babylock Quest for the machine embroidery. Yes that machine still has very important used. I also left enough space for mom to add the name and birth date of the baby.  Notice the dark print on the back?  I used the reverse side of this fabric as the background on the front of the quilt.                            Yes that caused a lot of problems and ripping out. Since my brain kept going back to – pattern is the front of fabric. I’d piece two patches together and duh! I wanted the solid side on the front. So rip and start over. Luckily I had a lot of this fabric and still do.Gifting Cars and StarsSorry about the quality of this picture. Lauren is a member of my knitting guild and boy did we ever throw her a baby shower. Here she is admiring the quilt.          Since then her son was born (missing my birthday by 16 minutes!) I have no idea if his name is on the back yet, babies take up much more time than anyone expects.