Tuesday 27 July 2010

hexagon prep

I mentioned that I sew my hexagons on the back of the patch with a back stitch and today I have been asked how I do this. I don't know where this originated from but I learned it from watching a video on quilterstv.com by Pati Shambaugh. Pati uses plastic templates which are her unique design and you can buy them from her. I use good old paper of a good thickness. I drew out a sheet of hexagons on graph paper and had a whole load photocopied so that anytime I want to do hexagons I have ready prepared papers. Just have to cut them out.

I always add a straight grain line to the papers as I find it helps to keep them all in the same direction when piecing them together. I also pin on that line in the centre.

Now fold over the top edge above that line and finger press a crease. Fold over the next corner and make a mitre, use your thumb to hold it in place. Put a knot in the end of your thread and make a stitch through the layers of that corner. You are only going through the fabrics on the top of the paper and not through the paper itsself and the other side which is the traditional way.

Take a back stitch at the corner to secure it in place.

Go to the next corner and turn the edge over and finger press the crease and mitre the corner again. This time you are just going to make that stitch in the corner. You will have a long stitch over that seam.

Again take a back stitch through the layers at the corner.

Repeat until you have secured all the edges. You can go back to the very first edge and do another back stitch but I don't think it is necessary, but I am always prepared to revise any ideas. The stitches keep the paper quite secure. Remove the pin. You can also remove the pin at the last edge if you think the template has shifted a little, it prevents it from bunching up.

On the right side you will have no tacking threads but a perfectly prepared hexagon.

I would keep the paper template in place until it is stitched and surrounded by other hexagons. The paper is easily removed.

Preparation is very quick this way. It is not the only way to stitch a hexagon and I would say try them all until you find the one that suits you best. Hope this helps.

Happy stitching.

Love Shirley.

Sunday 25 July 2010


Reading Valentina's tale of her cruise holiday reminded me of the mini cruise that my husband and I took last year. Daughter no.1 is a travel agent and is always asking us if we would like to book a holiday!!! It would be cheaper to just give her some commission and not go on the holidays. Well, we decided to go on a mini cruise for 5 days to Cork,Ireland. Not one of our better ideas. It was the largest ship by Royal Caribbean at the time. Large ship - lots of people - big noise!! As we were checking in I didn't want to go. It was the height of the flu epidemic and I caught a horrible cold on board and didn't want to get out of bed, the weather was wet and dreary. The ship itsself was fantastic and the company at the dinner table in the evening a real pleasure. There is lots to do if you are so minded or you can just relax if you wish.

The highlight for me was finding this work of art on deck 10. I had to look twice because I couldn't believe my eyes and I so wished that I had thought of this idea. I apologise once again for the photo's but you will understand that These are taken from the brochure which I stole from our cabin!! Guess who didn't take her camera away on holiday?

This was by Devorah Sperber and inspired by the still life surreal paintings by Magritte. It consists of a staggering 20,800 spools of thread suspended on 148 1/8" stainless steel cables. The cables were staggered behind each other. Ladies (and Gents) you would be amazed at all the different shades in this piece of art work. It was fantastic. I cannot give you a guide to the size of this except to say that it was HUGE and hanging in the stairwell. As I sat with my sewing in the library (nice quiet place), thinking that I didn't have the right shade of green for my applique....... wondering....... knowing where the right shade would be....... Lucky there was a big gap between us.

This is one of my favourite books at the minute. It is sheer pleasure to pick this up and just ogle unashamedly. It is Japanese and no, I cannot read it but the pictures and diagrams are excellent. So much inspiration. This one has lots of quilting ideas too.

My eyes were drawn to this pretty little bag and so ages ago I cut out all the freezer paper shapes and the other day got round to cutting out all the fabric in soft greens. Like the clamshells it is not an easy shape to stitch down. If you didn't get those shapes in exactly the right spot then off they went at a tangent. I solved the problem by using Roxanne's glue baste and stuck them in place. It has worked a treat. Now all I have to do is sew them down. I realised mind you that I have mirror imaged the piece of sewing compared to the diagram. I don't expect it will spoil the bag. I shall make the flowers in pinks. What else!!! I am a big convert to the use of glue, not that I will use it for every occasion, but on this one it worked a treat and saved a lot of frustration.

Progress on the hexagons is coming along nicely.

I am not tacking the fabric over the papers but making the tacking stitches on the back and backstitching the corners. It holds in place really well and the papers just flip out when you are ready. I love doing hexagons this way. I find it really relaxing. I am easy to please too.

Hopefully the next time you see this it will have all its background filled in. Haven't decided on the borders yet, but it may have a little bit of red in it.

Klosjes this week 3, total 118.

Happy stitching.

Love Shirley.xx

Sunday 18 July 2010

What quilt are you?

Karen Griska at The Quilters Muse blog is running a competition for anyone interested and wants to join in. She asks "If you were a quilt - what would you be?" You have to make the quilt and send her a photo, you can check out the details at her site. I have given this some thought as to what I would look like if I was a quilt.

I would be one of those quilts that is warm and cuddly, has a bit of pink,is fun, bulges a bit in the middle and has threads dangling off it somewhere. Something practical but pleasing to look at. Now in my minds eye, what do I wish I was? Ahh!! I would be perfect, of course. A wholecloth,made of silk, beautifully handquilted, beaded with crystals and a showstopper. Hmmm! I think this quilt was made by Sandie Lush and well deserved its prize and I can only dream of being it or even making it and owning it. The photo is a section I took myself at The Festival of Quilts a few years back and it doesn't do it justice. I hope that by clicking on the picture you will see what I mean. The quilt is called Crystal Dreams.

You can see what I am at www.sandielush.co.uk so much better. Sandie is my heroine. I love her work.

What I want to know is What quilt are you?

OK. I have reached the end of the metre of fabric and have managed to make 25 flowers. It wasn't easy I can tell you. There is a teensy bit left but I think I did exhaust all possibilities. There are 3 more flowers to finish off and then I can assemble them all. The format will be simple to show off the individual flowers. For the background I am using a piece of Wendys hand dyed fabric. It is maybe a bit contraversial as it is quite a dark colour but to me it said yes.

This flower is my favourite.

A close up of what it will look like with Wendy's fabric.

Progress report on the clamshells - a section 15" square. I like the effect of this.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.x

Saturday 10 July 2010


Naughty,naughty Sue-Anne gave a link the other day for Brigitte Giblin and her downloadable patterns. It is so easy, point, click, pay, wait and hey presto a pattern appears. No waiting for the postman/lady and no flight in a big, silver bird, so no postage. I think I may end up penniless though at this rate because I also downloaded the gorgeous hexagon bag pattern as well as the downright fabulous clamshell baby quilt pattern. I am thankful to Sue-Anne for the link and it is me that is naughty. Naughty is my middle name.

To save some money ha!ha! I am challenging myself again to use what I have although I did have to go and buy fabric for the plain clamshells. That is allowed under my rules. All these fabrics are in a box and are left over from another quilt(not yet shown - tease), so rather than put them away I am using them for this quilt. So far I have prepped 30. I gather that stitching them together can be difficult, trying to keep them straight. I have hatched a cunning plan. I like graph paper and drawing, so have produced a whole page of clamshells with the intention of pinning it to a mount board and then I can pin them in place over the graph and with my new glue pen bond them together ready for stitching. I have not tried his yet so will let you know if it works or not as the case may be. The curved edge is stitched down over freezer paper.

Progress report on the fussy cut hexagons - 13. I am a little less than halfway through the metre of fabric and there are still more possibilities to work out yet. I was fascinated as a child with kaleidoscopes and I guess this is kaleidoscopes for grown ups. I am loving it.

Klosjes total - a shaming zero. Again.

Today we went to Sidmouth on the East Devon coast. This is the Connaught Gardens. The tea room here is fantastic, the food is good and there is a tantalising glimpse of what is through that archway on the right. It is a lovely spot to just sit and be. On a Sunday through the summer there is music at the bandstand and the deckchairs are out.

Yep! this is it. I love this view. Whatever the weather, we have been here and it is still the most beautiful scene. Today it was shrouded in sea mist but cleared to be very hot.

Whilst we were having lunch this baby robin kept hopping about waiting for us to drop a crumb or two. You can tell he is a baby as he hasn't fully developed his red breast and he still has his spots.

After lunch we walked down to the beach and had a paddle in the sea. It was most welcome and cooling. We walked all the way to the end of the bay until we could go no further and then we turned back.

This is the view coming back, looking towards Jacobs Ladder and the building on the cliff top is the tea room.

This butterfly bush is outside the bedroom window and as I was in there cleaning, yes, CLEANING, there was the most heavenly perfume wafting in.

Mick was out watering the plants this morning and spotted this frog. He was hiding under the tomato plant. We don't have a pond, neither do our neighbours, nor do we live too close to the stream so where he is living we do not know. He seemed to like the shower from the watering can. I can only assume that he has a mate hiding somewhere too.

Happy Stitching.

Love Shirley.x

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Viewers Choice

We have a winner. I did not show this quilt from our exhibition as I was saving it for another post but events preceded me. This quilt was made by Janet Kittow and was voted the Viewers Favourite. I hope you will be able to click and see a larger version and the detail. It is a redwork quilt and made for her brothers Ruby Wedding and was also contributed to by her sister. I did mention Janet in a previous post as her work is always so lovely to look at.

Janet sporting her lovely rosette and not wanting her photo taken. I did not take a photo of what she was working on but watch this space as she was doing something equally as delightful in blues. Well done Janet, it was so well deserved.

We were given back the voting slips as people had written comments on them. On one of mine someone had written would I make a quilt with Morris Minors on it?!!!

I have to include this little clip and I apologise for it being slightly out of focus but this was one of the comments left in our visitors book. It has made us so proud. Watch out Tracy Emin, we may not have a famous name but we know how to make a quilt worth seeing!!!

This lovely hexagon quilt in the making is by Pat Sumner and she assures us that it has been on the go for 50 years. I hope to take along my collection at the 50 year mark. Ha! Ha!

Look what landed in my bird bath. I have some wonderful friends who are completely batty but I LOVE THEM. This pink rubber duck came from Sue Lewis for my birthday and is called Darling Duck. Isn't it a bit of fun? Bath time will never be the same again. Thank you Sue.xxx

This calorie free cake is in actual fact a little crochet box and was given to me this afternoon by Ann McLaren. Thank you Ann it is lovely and thank you for thinking of me.

I have been busy making a few more fussy cut hexagon rosettes and the total is now at 10 with 3 more cut out ready to be sewn and I am not quite half way through the fabric. Some of you have asked to see what the fabric looks like that I am cutting up. It is called Flutterby by designer Tula Pink for Moda. It comes in other colourways. Kate asked me how much fabric got wasted in the process. I have to say there is some but, not as much as you think. The fabric is actually quite a clever design and the repeat motif is reversed and so you can get the same shapes out without too much wastage. I like to think that it isn't all going to go in the bin as the doggy cushion is now almost full and it will all have a new purpose.

Happy Stitching