Thursday, January 31, 2013

Plan B

It's down to the short strokes in terms of finishing off my Candied Hexagons but it's not going to end without a little bump in the road.

For whatever reason I cannot find the blue polka dot that I started finishing this block with - I miscounted - I cut 3 diamonds thinking it was for an edge piece but it is a full hexie so I need 6.

So, after ripping apart just about every corner and bag and container that I could think of I opted for Plan B: pick another blue. Time to rip out a bit and put it back together.

Then there's just one more half hexie to finish and all of the blocks will be made and ready to be assembled. The end is nigh....M

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Have a New Love

Call me crazy, but I have a new love in my life. Actually, I have two. Jane introduced me to Pinterest a little while ago and it has opened up a whole new, addictive world for me - you could spend all day pinning wonderful images & inspiration so I have tried to limit myself to a few boards, otherwise I would get nothing else done. My second love was found on Pinterest - this spectacular antique hexagon quilt. Apparently it was made in Wales and was on exhibit in 2009. I am speechless.

A quick count gave me at least13,000 hexagons - it's approximately 130 hexies high and 100 wide. That means that the finished size of each hexie is likely 3/4" - 1"!!! I can't imagine how long that would take me, but I'm darn tempted to try and find out.

There are about 320 +/- of the smallest diamond units so if you look at it that way it's not so bad. Maybe it's time to quit my day job. Maybe if I had only one meal a day and chained myself to a chair.

When I first started blogging I posted about this beautiful Martha Washington's Flower Garden quilt made in the early 1800s, but I think that this new one might just have moved up to the front of the line - I don't even know the name of it.

But there's also this incredible hexie masterpiece from Brigitte Giblin that I found on Lisa's Precious Time blog, along with a few others. The scale is considerably different but it is equally stunning and I have a pile of large florals that would work perfectly in those centre panels. I just love the little white diamonds that run throughout. Thanks so much Lisa for letting me use your photo so that I can share the love....M

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nothing Like a Deadline To Move Things Along

I often find that as I close in on the end of a project I will slow down or set it aside, wanting to move on to something else, and my Dresden Plate has been no different - this explains all the UFOs in my universe. All that marking has put me in the mood for sewing, but sewing small blocks, not big backings. So the thought of putting together the backing for it wasn't really high on my list but I did want to get it to the gals to start quilting this week so I buckled down and got on with it.

Recently I picked up yardage of a mottled yellow with white polka dots on sale (I hate paying full price for backings!) and it works well. I had toyed with using a blue & white fabric that I have, or a turquoise, but this one worked best, and I think there's enough to bind it with too.

Because the quilt is so large there was no way that I could just use the width of the backing fabric, either vertically or horizontally, so I inserted a row of bricks the same size as those used for the sashing on the front and bordered it on either side with white. It's nice and it was a way for me to put my stamp on the quilt with fabrics from my stash.

I really like how it turned out. It would be a nice way to make a baby quilt, and fast too.

So, it was all packed up last night with the batting, the thread and a few instructions on how to quilt it, and left at the church this morning for the gals to have their way with it. They are perfectionists so I know they will do a lovely job of quilting it....M

Friday, January 25, 2013


What a marathon marking this quilt was - it feels almost like I could have quilted it in the time it took me to mark it - but it's finally all done.

It always takes me a while to figure out how to mark a quilt but I finally decided on crosshatching behind the dresden plateswith a finer crosshatch in the centres.

After a slow start I remembered a tip I'd seen recently and went back to my painter's tape. I positioned the tape on my ruler at the line that I was using so that it would be easier to distinguish - after a while they all look the same! It also helps avoid landing on the wrong one and ended up with incorrect widths. And it moves along much faster because you aren't always searching for the magic line.

Because it is such a large top I didn't want the gals who are quilting it to spend an eternity on it, so I was looking for ways to mark it that would be relatively fast and easy to quilt. Rather than following the seams between the blades I've made 3 concentric circles in each plate to reflect the rings in the flowers in the border, and I'll have them stitch right up close to the scalloped edge of each plate.

That meant raiding the cupboards for 'templates'. I wanted something that I could see through without having to draw them out on acetate so out came a vase, a crystal serving dish and a bread and butter plate. I couldn't see through the  plate but it was the right size so I drew the two others first and then eyeballed that one in the middle. For a while there it looked a lot like a garage sale...

The border is very simple perpendicular lines 1.25" apart that run through the vine; I'll have them stitch right news to the vine and each of the leaves & flowers. I toyed with having them insert a vein down each leaf but I'm going to see what it looks like without it. If I really think it needs it then I can do those later myself on the hoop.

Now I need to make the backing....M

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

That's Better

I'm still busy marking my Dresden Plate but I also went back to the drawing board so that I could redraw the template for the mauve triangles that I will be using to join the Candied Hexagons, and this time I think I finally got it right. But first want to show you more of the wool eyeglass cases that Betty made for Christmas gifts. They are all the same, but different. These first two photos were taken with a phone so the colour isn't the best...

Don't you just love those little felt balls?!

So beautiful.

Back to my math. Here are the two triangles side by side - look at the difference in size between them! Guess my head was in another hemisphere when I was doing the original thinking. The nice part about this is that these will go much faster than the tiny ones.

I'm anxious to cut them all, but I need to finish my marking first....M

Monday, January 21, 2013

Things Are Looking Up

I've been planning how to quilt the Dresden Plate so that I could get it marked and off to the quilters but those spots were bothering me. I started marking a few blocks but then decided that I needed to give it another try because they are right in the centre of the quilt.

So I tried a solution that I'd seen on the web (what did we do before the internet?) - one part Dawn dishwashing liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, with a little baking soda tossed in for good measure.

I let it sit for 15- 20 minutes and then went back to see if I'd had any success, but it didn't look like much. So I worked the spots for a bit with a damp towel and decided to leave well enough alone and went back to marking while that area dried out. A little later curiosity got the better of me and, I'm happy to report, no more spots! Ya!

Quilts always have their own stories to tell and this one is no different. When I had it hanging over the ironing board I noticed that there were two slightly different versions of plates

one with 19 petals...

and one with 16. Makes me love it even more...M

Friday, January 18, 2013

Martha Interrupted

The ladies at the church have let me know that they are looking for something to quilt and I was planning to send them Goose Tracks, but I am having a tough time figuring out how I want it quilted. As luck would have it, when I was sifting through the sewing room after Christmas I came across a few treasured bits, one of which is a Dresden Plate that was left to me after mom died. I'm going to have this one quilted first.

The top is beautiful and scrappy and BIG! It measures  94" x 130" so it will go well on our bed.

It was made from a stack of Dresden Plates that she picked up at a rummage sale or flea market, I can't remember which, and there's lots of great vintage fabrics in it along with scraps from her collection - it's amazing how you recognize prints years later. She had to replace some of the petals and finish up some of the plates but it's so scrappy that you can't tell which was which.

I was happy to get this one because she and I spent time creating the layout, particularly the sashing between the blocks and the floral vine for the borders. I just love it.

There is a light brown spot on one of the centre blocks that I need to see if I can get out - not sure what it is but I put a but of plain water on it last night and today it seems lighter so I'll make a more serious attempt.

As I was folding it up I noticed that there's a flower missing from one of the corners - she either forgot it or was interrupted before putting it on. I'll have to see if I can find it in other fabrics that I have from her - or maybe I'll put in a little bird or butterfly, or just leave it as a reminder of her work interrupted.

And there are one or two blocks that the basting still needs to come out on.
It needs to be pressed and then I have to get busy and mark it, get a batting and make a backing because I know that the gals are anxious to get started on a quilt. Sounds like that's my weekend....M

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Little Late

Remember back in July I shared these two star blocks that I was shipping off to Amitie Textiles in Australia to use in creating a charity quilt?

It was to be auctioned off and the proceeds were to go towards a foundation that works to eradicate human trafficking. Seeing these blocks again reminds me of how much I love that pink and orange combo.

Well, the quilt has been assembled and it is beautiful so I thought that you might like to see it. Isn't it amazing how the variety of interpretations all works.

And that backing fabric - LOVE IT!

Jen at Amitie Textiles posted shots of the completed quilt back in mid November and has more photos in her post - take a look. It was quite exciting to know that my little blocks were part of something so far away and lots of fun to try and find my blocks in the photos....M

Monday, January 14, 2013

The New Math

I'm closing in on the home stretch with the last of the Candied Hexagon blocks - I've got one more full block to finish (I need to add 3 more diamond to the outer ring but do you think I can find the blue polka dot fabric that I started with?) and three more half blocks.

I'd probably have all of the blocks done if Downton Abbey wasn't on. I pick up my stitching at the beginning of the show but am so entraced by the sets and the costumes that very little sewing actually gets done.

Being this close to the end I decided to draft the template for the fill-in triangles, so I did that after work today. Actually, I did it twice because the first one was about a quarter of an inch too small. Then I cut one from the fabric so that I could sit down after dinner and see how it would fit.

Good thing I cut only one! I'm not sure what was going on in my little head but it's only half the size that it needs to be. I didn't have the blocks near me when I was cutting the template so I'd forgotten how they were going to fit up against each other. Luckily I went downstairs to trim the half blocks and realized what I had done. As dad used to say (he was a carpenter), "Measure twice, cut once."...M

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Shipping and Receiving

You know how sometimes when it rains, it pours? Well, it feel like I am in a shower of thread these days. It all started back in October when I stopped at a quilt shop about 45 minutes from here to pick up a few things. They were out of YLI thread, which I love and use all the time both for quilting and my hand stitching, so I asked them to order a couple of spools for me. Anne and Betty are also YLI addicts and I knew that they were running low so I ordered a few large spools for them as well.

Well, October ended and no call. November came and went. Nothing. December too. Actually, around Christmas Anne called me looking to see if it had come in as she wanted to put a spool in Betty's stocking, but it was not to be. I was certain that the order was never placed or the paperwork lost, so when I was at another shop about 20 minutes from us just after Christmas looking for my mauve fabric for the Candied Hexagons I asked if they carried it. No, but they could order some in for me early in the New Year. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I ordered a few thousand-yard spools and a couple of 500-yard spools (the large one is too big to fit into my thread caddy).

You almost know what's coming, don't you? A few days ago when I was cleaning up the sewing room what do I discover but a large spool. Then a few days after that half of a small spool sitting on another shelf. And, the icing on the cake: today the first shop that I ordered from left a voicemail that my thread is in! When the second order comes in I will be able to go into business for myself. This must be a sign that the three of us have lots of stitching to be done in the next little while.

I also ordered a few rulers from Connecting Threads after Christmas (can't resist a sale) and they arrived yesterday. I should have paid a little more attention because I thought I was ordering a 60 degree ruler and it's close but it's not. I'll be able to use it anyway. Bummer though. Guess I need to take a remedial reading course.

The other ruler is for Dresden Plates. I've got my eye on a Sunburst quilt that Elsie's Girl made this past year using a ruler like this that looks like fun - maybe a baby quilt.

Time to put away the Christmas decos..M

By the way, is it me, or is Blogger slow as molasses these days?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Once I realized how close I was to having all of the Candied Hexagons pieced I decided to cut everything else that I needed (except the mauve triangles, at this point), assemble all the blocks & half blocks and then start putting it together.

And despite my challenge with finding the right fussy cuts at times, I did it!

These are the pieces for all of the half squares.

I also cut one large hexie - there are a few of them scattered throughout the top and they are a welcome addition to the block count since you don't need to sew at all. It is a beautiful chintz but interestingly enough it is called Canadian Cottage - not sure how they see that but it will be a lovely addition.

I've only made one block with two tones of the same colour, but I really like the combination.

And I love this green and this blue together.

So, including the solid block I have added 4 more to the finished pile - that leaves 4 blocks and I think it's 8 half blocks to do. Yippeeee! It's hard to believe that seemingly suddenly I am this close to being able to put it all together....M