Hexagon Season Again

In spite of having had very nice weather for a long time, – and nice means sunshine on this usually very wet coast, – spring is still some way off, it seems. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon, temperatures drop and the frost bites again.

sewing hexagons outside

But there are moments, – like this afternoon, – when it is possible, even enjoyable, to sit outdoors and sew.

I am working on my “let’s-find-out-if-it-is-possible-to-join-hexagon-flowers-without-folding-the-paper-templates” project. I have cracked the code on how to, but have not written up the instructions yet.

Since this is my out-of-doors project, it is slow going.

april13

If the nice weather continues for some days, I should be able to get some more sewing done, as it is too early to do any gardening.

april13b

A bunch of snowdrops are blooming, plus three crocuses, – the rest is still under the snow at the moment.

The sunshine is nice, though, and if it could just stop snowing and freezing in between, we could have real spring in quite a short time.

:-)

Eldrid

Patchwork Ball made of Pentagons

I recently visited another school class showing them some patchwork quilts, and here they also wanted an easy project to try out for themselves, which did not involve the use of sewing machines. So they got to sew balls made of pentagons, using the English Paper Piecing method.

Here is how:

First, make 12 pentagon paper templates of the size you want, but all 12 the same size, of course.

Cut 12 fabric pieces with a comfortable seam allowance, baste around all 12 templates. I find that the basting method I use for hexagons also works well for pentagons, as long as they are not too large.

Sew one pentagon patch to each of the sides of the centre pentagon. Now you can remove the paper template from the patch in the centre.

Sew the sides of the 5 pentagons together. They will form a bowl shape.

Make two such bowls, only leave one seam open on the second bowl.

The open seam will make it easier to turn this bowl inside out while the papers are still in.

If you want to make a bowl instead of a ball, you can do that of course. Just put one bowl inside the other, wrong sides together, line up top edges and sew. Leave the papers in for stability, – you may also consider putting in the bottom paper that was removed earlier.

Better still, if you plan on bowls from the beginning, you can cut your templates from stiff interfacing instead of paper, – then the bowl will be washable.

For a ball, the two bowls must have the right sides together, and you line up the top edges a little differently. The “mountain top” must be right above the “valley”.

Then you sew the sides together so that the “mountain” ends up in the “valley”. It can be a bit fussy to hold the patches in the correct position while sewing,  so you may have to pin them to avoid the “struggle”.

The “mountain” patch has all sides sewn now, so the paper can be removed.

Continue sewing like this along the edges of the two ball halves. As soon as a patch has all its sides sewn, the paper can be removed, making it easier to handle the project.

Sew till there are only two seams left ….

… or if your fingers are small and nimble, – make it so just one seam is open.

The opening will be easier to handle once the papers are gone.

Turn the ball inside out….

….fill the ball with leftover batting pieces, or whatever you want to have inside….

… and then sew the last opening shut.

A pdf file with pentagon templates can be found here.

:-)

Eldrid

Progress on the Hexagon Flowers

One of my projects for this summer was to join the hexagon flowers to the background pieces and sew them together. This is the kind of sewing I enjoy to do out of doors in good weather, and sometimes in front of the TV.

Well, we had a few fine days, and I sewed and sewed, and got quite carried away, – until the progress suddenly came to a screeching halt caused by a nasty inflammation of the shoulder. Not much one can do about that, except getting some medication and resting the arm; – so there was no more sewing for several weeks. A few books got read, and many crosswords solved, though.

As the shoulder got better, I have tried to sew a bit more, but I am very concious of not going “over board” again, so have limited my hand sewing to the equivalent of one hexagon flower a day. Since I use 1 inch hexagons, and there are 12 seams in one flower, that would be the same as a 12 inch seam. It is not much, and so far my shoulder has been able to handle that. But if the summer has now decided that this is it, – finito, – there will not be much hand sewing till next year anyway.

When starting this quilt, one of my goals was to find out if there was a way to join the flowers without having to fold the hexagon pieces with the paper templates still inside. I want to preserve the paper templates so I can use each one several times, so try to fold only the fabric pieces that have had their paper removed already.

I did find a way to do that, and will post more details on how to later. I made notes while I sewed the first flowers, and also took lots of step by step photos. However, my main computer where most of the material is stored, is in for repairs at the moment (2 weeks by now), and I think I will wait till I get it back before putting the material together. I just hope nothing gets deleted, or I will have to look in several backup storing devices to find everything again.

Till then: one flower a day (or less).

Eldrid

It is Hexagon Season again

We have wonderful spring weather just now. The sun is shining, and the south west terrace is out of the wind, so it is possible to sit outside for several hours without catching a cold.

Today I had my lunch outside, and afterwards spent a couple of hours cutting fabrics for the background hexagons for my experiemental flower quilt, which I also showed you in the autumn.

I have found seven different light fabrics, and cut one row from each, across the width of the fabrics. One row yields 16 hexagons, so now I have 112 light hexagon pieces ready for basting.

If the sun is still shining tomorrow (forecast looks good), and if my skin can tolerate more sunshine, I will start basting.

I am enjoying this :-)

Eldrid

Hexagon Flowers

After making patchwork for more than 20 years, I have accumulated a few fabric scraps, – in fact, I think they are breeding like rabbits even as I write. As throwing out fabric is more or less a mortal sin, I have to find ways to use those scraps.

Making paper pieced hexagons is one way of dealing with them, but it is not a very speedy technique, so I will have to look out for something faster as well. However, hexagons are great for taking everywhere, and is what I have been doing while soaking up the sunshine at the end of this summer.

I did some basting last autumn, and brought out the project again and did some more a few weeks back. Then I made lots of hexagon flowers, – well, – some anyway.

I plan on joining the flowers with one row of hexagons in between each one.  I want the connecting hexagons to be all in the same colour, – or very similar, – so they will act like a background to the flowers.  I plan on starting with the hexagon flowers I have made so far, then add more if I feel like it.

So I have been auditioning fabrics for the background. Here I have spaced the flowers at the approximate distance they will have in the quilt. I think the flowers really pop on a black background.

However, I doubt if I will be up to sewing so many hexagons in black, – I fear that it will be very hard on the eyes, and I might be discouraged and not finish the project. So even if I like the look of the black background, I may settle for a light one in the end. If so, I think I will have to keep the other light fabrics in the centre of the flowers so they do not blend too much into the background.

I have two and a half yards of this fabric, but think maybe I should use several light fabrics from the beginning in case I will be short. There is no telling at this stage how large I may want the quilt to be.

One of my goals is to find a way to join the hexagon flowers without having to fold the pieces with the paper templates still inside.  I do not know if it is possible at all, but I will try :-)

Eldrid

The World’s Biggest Hexagon Quilt

Back in October I sent a hexagon rosette as a very small contribution to this project taking place in Australia.

The quilt is now finished, and was on display in Brisbane last month. It is HUGE!

Here is a link to their blog:

http://worldsbiggesthexagonquilt.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!

Eldrid

Australian Hexagon Quilt

An Australian organization will attempt to make the world’s largest hexagon quilt. Everybody can contribute rosettes made of 1 inch hexagons.

Since I happen to be working with 1 inch hexagons right now (on and off), I will send this one:

hexagonrecord

In addition to the size requirement, the only hard and fast rule is a green centre patch, and if you choose to make a second round, this must be in cream coloured fabrics.

Read more about the project on these sites:

http://www.paperpieces.com/index1.html

http://www.bellaonline.com:80/articles/art2273.asp

Rosettes must arrive in Queensland, Australia before Dec. 1st 2009.

The Greatest Hexagon Challenge
60 East St
Gatton Q 4343
Queensland, Australia

Eldrid

So…

….. what does one do during a thunderstorm when all electric equipment that one cares about, – and that includes the computer and the sewing machine, – are unplugged?

Answer: make more hexagons!

hexagoncut

Cut lots of pieces from scraps…..

hexagonbaste

….. and baste on to paper, ready to make lots of hexagon flower blocks.

Eldrid

Pentagons and fabric balls

As suggested in a comment to my previous post, pentagons will make a sphere, or a ball, when they are sewed together.

It has already been done by lots of people, so here are a few examples, and also tutorials:

iHanna’s blog: Create and Live Happy

blog.burdafashion.com

Jinny Beyer wrote a whole book about making patchwork balls, using both pentagons and other shapes. There was not much information on her website about the balls, so here is a link to

softexpressions.com

where there are many more photos of different balls from the book.

Here is an example of an even more interesting ball, construction wise.

Interesting challenge, indeed!

I might just have to get that book.

Eldrid

Quilt Education 5

In my last posting about this project, I was searching for a suitable border fabric. I tried several colours, including some that were suggested in the comments to that post, but in the end I chose the green one.

hexagonbaste

My plans were to make this into a round pillow, so at first I cut a piece that was a bit larger than the pieced hexagons.

hexagonbaste2

The papers were still in the outer row of hexagons, so I pinned next to the outer ring all around, and then tacked down each corner of the outer hexagons.

hexagonsewborder

Then I sewed the outer edge of the hexagons to the border fabric, – a bit like appliqueing.

hexagoncut

When I had finished sewing all around, I cut away the centre part of the border fabric.

hexagonscissor

When cutting through only one of several layers, I always use my duckbill scissors. The bill shaped tip goes underneath, and keeps the scissors from cutting into the layers below. (The scissors are actually hand made, and I bought them at a quilt show at Ascot in the UK 15 years ago, – they still work fine).

hexagonwithpaper

When the centre of the border fabric had been cut away……..

hexagonremovepaper

………..  removing the last round of papers was easy.

hexagonlayer

After that, I layered and pinned the quilt top…….

hexagonquilting

……… before I committed the deadly sin of machine quilting it.  My hands do not agree with hand quilting, so although I hope for forgiveness, I cannot promise not to do it again.

hexagonquilted

The quilting was very simple, – just one seam for every circle of patches, and then an echo seam into the border.

hexagonmakebacking

Then I made a back piece for the pillow, with a hidden zipper in the centre.

hexagonmarkpillow

Next, I marked the circle on the pillow, using what I call “the poor man’s compass”:  a pencil on a string…..

hexagoncutpillow

….. and then cut out the circle.

hexagonplacebacking

The circle was placed right sides together on to the back piece, pinned, and sewed all around the edge.  Luckily I remembered to open the zipper before sewing.

hexagoncutbacking

After that, the back piece was cut even with the front, the raw edges were zigzagged, right sides were turned out through the unzipped opening, and…..

hexagonfinished

……….. voilà: the finished pillow!

If I had wanted it to be even more cutesy, I could have added a pink ruffle around the edges. Maybe on the next project, ….. because:

hexagonnewpatches

…. now I have even more remnants to make into new hexagons.

Patchwork is a never ending hobby!

Eldrid

Quilt Education 1

Quilt education 2

Quilt education 3

Quilt education 4

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