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Friday, January 31, 2014

More rows on hexagon quilt

In between embroidering the centres of the coloured hexagon 'flowers', I have progressed to four rows.

I tested it on the bed  and made a few decisions.

I had worked on the basis of the hexagons on the top of the bed and a plain border or around 12 inches overhanging. At this point I decided I wanted two more hexagons in the width (from 14 to 16 coloured ones) so there was one row overhanging on each side, then a border of around 12 inches - so there will be good coverage.

I also decided to finish each edge with a row of full black hexagons, rather than the half-rows I had before.

I then made the appropriate additions to the four rows to establish the new scheme.

By testing the 16 row width on the bed as the length, I decided that I would make the length 14 coloured rows, plus the border. I want this to be a working quilt, so I think I now have the dimensions that will work for our bed.

This has enabled me to make more accurate calculations about the number of hexagons I need - and additional black fabric I will need to buy. The numbers of 3/4" hexagons stack up to 2087 black, 128 red centres, 128 purple centres, and 1428 other coloured.

I had already identified and cut nearly enough coloured pieces, so have topped these up to the requirement and organised them in plastic bags for each row. I have bought the black fabric I need, and will gradually cut and add this to the bags, so each bag will allow me to progress one coloured and one black row.

I also figured out that Monica was right in suggesting my 300 papers are not going to be enough. I took on board the suggestion of another friend and managed to find (after quite a bit of searching) a paper punch that will make 3/4 " hexies. I have so far added about 200 papers to my supply and am recycling the 500.

So - all set for production!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hexagon Centres: chain stitched spider daisies

Mary Corbet's chain stitched spider daisies, from her stitch fun series, is another stitch that is made easy by the six points of a small hexagon. I have added quite a few to the quilt so far.

It is more versatile than the star, because you can use a combination of colours as well as adding centres and French knots on the outer edge. This helps in picking up colours in the fabric.

A number of these fabrics come from my own dresses over the last 40 years but family members will also recognise a couple of their past dresses.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hexagon Centre Embroidery - Stars

One of the attractions to the hexagon quilt was the possibility of embroidering the centre of some of the 'flowers' using Mary Corbett's notion of stitch fun. I enjoyed playing with these stitches in the denim bags and thought it would be fun to play in a similar way with the quilt.

I decided to embroider a simple motif on any coloured 'flower' that had a plain fabric hexagon in the centre. I used the stitches I had already practised on the denim bags and added a few.

Hexagons really lend themselves to this treatment because of their shape. Whereas Mary Corbet begins many of her stitches by marking out dots in a circle, the hexagon provides six points to use without needing to mark the fabric. This was particularly so with star stitch, which I hadn't tried before.

 As you can see, I got right into the stars. They reminded me of a mathematics teacher I had in high school, who, at the end of one year taught us to do 'mathematical sewing' using a needle and thread and card. We marked holes along axes on the cards and then stitched from one axis to another, the threads forming webs and resulting in parabola and other shapes.

This felt very similar.

Much of this fabric is from dresses I  made for  my daughters or grand-daughters.

The stars and checks are from a piece of Christmas fabric and the red carnations fabric came as part of a 2013 Christmas gift - in the wrapping for one of Hagar Arnon Elbaz's fabulous necklaces.

I am pleased with progress on the embroidery - I have embroidered different things on other centres - some examples coming soon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Embroidered bags 3 of 3

The third of my embroidered bags also utilised crocheted medalions from Portobello Gypsy. This time I used quite a few smaller medallions to form a group of flowers around a small square doily with an inset of a lace butterfly.

I secured the doily to the bag with a double border of closed  feather stitch.I also overlay some of the crocheted medallions with a few lace flowers that were stitched to a bridesmaid's dress I wore in 1970 (or was it 1969?). The dress is long gone but I kept the lace flowers (and some of the fabric). These, I think, are the very last.

 For this bag, I wanted to try out some of the lattice stitches from Mary Corbet's Lattice Sampler.

This piece is battlement couching - filled in with shades of pink and the top layer couched down.

The one to the left has a similar purple fill, adjacent to it is crossed on the diagonal in a variety of colours.

Here we have couched crosses within a couched grid.

I have tried to link each fill to the next one with a colour carry-over.

I used perle thread for most of this work and couched a bundle of threads in feather stitch as a border around the whole thing, adding a couple of lace butterflies for good measure.

This one is lined in a tiny floral and has a cotton lace edging. From the way Niamh walked around with it on Christmas Day, I think she thought it was OK.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Embroidered bags 2 of 3

For the second of the embroidered bags made from my jeans I wanted to try out some of the stitches in Mary Corbett's Stitch Fun. I followed these with interest and was looking for a project to try some.

I appliqued a couple of crocheted doilies in red and cream (from Portobello Gypsy, as before), then began embroidering around them. I began with some small diasies in two colours using method 2 (two seen here finished, two in process) then added a ribbon of chain stitch waves.

 I moved on to some cast on stitch flowers, and then some similar, but using bullion knots.

I filled in between with little button-hole pom-poms.

Around the large red crocheted piece I worked
inside-out buttonhole wheel flowers and some whipped chain stems.

By now I was really into this- and having a lot of fun.

For good measure, I added some chain-stitched spider daisies around a small crocheted doiley with pansies in the centre. I had been itching to try these - and they didn't disappoint.

I finished this bag off with some coloured embroidered edging that I inherited in my mother's stash. It is a bit over-the-top, but this one is for Veronica, who is an over-the-top kind of girl.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Embroidered bags 1 of 3

I subscribe to more stitching magazines than I could possibly keep up with in terms of stitching projects. As well as giving me lots of ideas and energy, every issue or two most of them have a gem of a project that triggers must-do instincts. One such project was Stitched Treasures by Ann Francene Dimmer in Vol.20 No.11 of Creative Embroidery and Cross Stitch Magazine.

These bags are stitched on denim, and lined with a print. I have several metres of denim in my stash and a quite a few crocheted medallions and small doilies I purchased from Portobello Gypsy a while back (her Etsy store is closed at the moment while she is on holiday) and I thought these would fit well with this project.

Then ... a pair of my old jeans pulled away at the seam - not repairable; the pattern fitted, so I was in business.

I cut out three bag fronts and backs from the jeans. Two backs utilised pockets. I arranged a few of the crocheted medallions on each of the fronts. I thought I would try the first bag using mostly applique.

I added, however a twining stem chain stitch in three shades of green whipped together - one of the stitch play techniques I have been wanting to try from Mary Corbet's blog.

I am happy with the end result and was inspired to try more stitching on the next two bags. This orange piece is the largest crocheted piece I have from Portobello Gypsy and should, I think, be allowed to dominate.

I added wadding, and also put in a zip, the latter not in the original pattern, but makes the bags a bit more secure. I lined it with a piece of screenprinted linen I had in my stash.

Voila! A useful bag for a granddaughter for Christmas.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hexagon progress

My hexagon quilt had been on hold while I attended to Christmas projects.Although I have three more Christmas projects to post to the blog, I thought I'd post an update on the quilt first..

I worked out was that there was a better way of working than my original conception of a patterned hexagon 'flower' surrounded by black, which I then joined using either a red or a purple hexagon, into a block. Conceiving it this way makes joining them more complicated than it need be.

If I think of the quilt as rows of patterned motifs joined by a single black hexagon, with in-between rows of black motifs similarly joined, I can join rows rather than blocks - and achieve the same effect more simply.

I dare say any piecer could have told me this had I discussed it with anyone!

I spent a little time evening up the piece I had already joined so it reflected the rows approach. I haven't decided yet what I will do with the edges, so currently have a row of half black hexagons.

I have left the tacking on the back - can't see any reason to remove it at this stage. I have removed the papers as I go - leaving papers in hexagons that will be joined to another but removing any fully surrounded.

I'm feeling organised and enthusiastic about this project.