Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekly Report 2013 - 11/15

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Just typing the word hexagons in conjunction with quilting makes me shudder. Why? Hexagons have to be one of the trickiest shapes commonly used in piecing to cut and piece. It is time to conquer the hexagon dragon or at least make peace with it. Like many techniques in quilting there are more than one way to manage cutting and piecing hexagons. Here are few ways you might be interested in:

My first attempt at sewing hexagons by machine.
Step one - Cutting Hexagons

a) You can always buy plastic templates and specialized rulers to cut hexagons. The down side is that you are limited to the sizes that are offered. What if you want something smaller, in between sizes or larger than what is offered? Fortunately, I am married to an engineer and I asked him to design a hexagon calculator for me. All I have to do is plug in the desired finished size of the hexagon I want and the calculator comes up with the height of the strip I  will need to cut the hexagon. Unfortunately, I can't link to my spreadsheet, but if you are interested write me and put hexagon calculator in title of the e-mail. I will send it to you.

b) I found this great link for cutting hexagons from strips

Step two - Seaming Hexagons by machine.

If you would like to try your hand at English paper piecing hexagons, then check out Leah Day's three part post on this topic.

I did not spend my week piecing hexagons, although I gave it a try. I spent the lion's share of my studio time free motion quilting on ZenBlossoms and the remaining time tackling a few other projects as you will see.

1) Finishing a bobbin's worth of FMQ on each of my three studio days on ZenBlossoms. Done! This was enough to finish the quilting phase of ZenBlossoms!!

ZenBlossoms after the background has been quilted,
but before it has been blocked and trimmed.

2) Leah Day's weekly assignments

Do whatever assignments Leah comes up with next. 

a) Foundation Piecing - plan out the number of hexagons I will need and determine how I will piece them. - partially done. 

I experimented with piecing hexagons by machine. I have yet to try my hand at the English paper piecing method. That's next.

b) Free Motion Quilting - Leah did not have a free motion quilting assignment this week.

Detail from ZenBlossoms showing all the different
FMQ motifs and threads used. The background gold
thread is a metallic. It is tough to capture the shimmer
in a blog photograph, but it definitely shimmers when
light is directed on it.
3) Visioning Project - Do the first assignment from my Photoshop Elements class. - Done! 

4) Start sketches for Tickling the Ivories, the quilt that will be my next focus. - Done! Of course a few sketches in and I have gone from keyboard to sax as the instrument I want to feature. This will require a new title, perhaps Singing the Blues.

The first 90% of my work on ZenBlossoms is done. Next week I will tackle the second 90%.  I tend to forget just how long it takes to get a quilt from quilted to exhibition ready, listing the steps is a good reminder.

1)  ZenBlossoms

  • block
  • trim to finished size
  • face
  • take formal call for entry level photos
  • make and attach split sleeve
  • make and attach label

2) Leah Day's weekly assignments

Do whatever assignments Leah comes up with next. 

a) Foundation Piecing - plan out the number of hexagons I will need and determine how I will piece them.

b) Free Motion Quilting

3) Visioning Project - Do the next two assignments from my Photoshop Elements class.

4) Finish sketches for Sing the Blues, the quilt that will be my next focus. 

I am now linking up to two blogs on Friday's. The first is Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project and the second is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays.


  1. I always enjoy keeping up with what you're up to. :-) English paper piecing is the only kind of paper piecing I can do successfully! LOL! I had to do some for a City & Guilds assignment a bit over a year ago; I'd forgotten how relaxing it is. If you'd like to be further inspired (or awed), check out the king-sized hexie quilt at this link: Enjoy!

    1. Margaret, I'm not sure whether the examples of hexagon piecing inspired or terrified me. I guess I will just have to thread my needle and give EPP a try.

  2. Your FMQ looks great! I tend to always go back to the same fillers, maybe I should do some whole cloth pieces just to force myself to branch out.

    1. I have my favorite fillers, too. Even used one on ZenBlossoms. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out a texture that melds well with the piece. I studied several flowers from my garden to get a sense of for direction and density.

  3. The stitching is looking so the texture and movement. Beautiful!

  4. Those flowers, and the quilting, are wonderful! What a fun project to work on!

    1. It has proven to be a fun project, Renee, thank you.

  5. The zen blossoms quilt is winder full. Love the use of the thread work.
    I've tried EPP for hexagons and I've done a bit. Not enough to use in a project yet. The thought of machine piecing them makes me shudder. I'll have to check your link.
    I also shy away from machine appliqué too unless the pieces are big.

    1. I spent the first two decades of my quilting obsession precision machine piecing, for the most part. However, I stuck to squares, rectangles and triangles. Y seams aren't my favorite. What I love about paper piecing is the precision that can be achieved. What I loathe is removing the paper. I noticed Leah found that part a royal pain, too.

    2. There is washout appliqué paper by CTPublishing that I've heard works for this process too.
      Worth a try I think. It's fusible on one side also. It fits in your printer too. Not sure if the ink washes completely out. I haven't tried it yet.

    3. Excellent tip, Suzanne. It's time like this when I wish CT and other manufactures would ask me to test product for them.