Friday, June 13, 2014

Thoroughly Modern Hand Piecer

I love hand piecing.  Most quilters today can't be bothered with this.  Quilters want machine piecing.  I piece by machine, but for me hand piecing is so much more relaxing, enjoyable, accurate, social, and gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  Machine piecing is not always quicker. It can be, but I crave accuracy.  This leads me to un-sewing and re-sewing, until I have  perfect blocks.  After years of practice in hand piecing, I finish quick enough, and rarely need to un-sew and re-sew.  And,  even though I hand piece, I'm a thoroughly modern quilter.

When I like a pattern, I approach it as a hand piecer.  I've been doing this for years.  I used this approach with Kaye England's book, Voices of the Past:  A History of Women's Lives in Patchwork, Volumn II.  I came across this book some time in the mid 90's and later took weekly classes to construct the blocks.  I decided to hand piece.

Louisa May Alcott block
This block was one of my first attempts
 at hand piecing.  I took Kaye England's block and reconstructed with EQ.  Then I was on EQ4, I all probably know EQ is a computer program used to create quilts. They are now up to EQ7.  Using EQ for templates, I printed each piece and drew my own sewing lines.  I made 12 blocks that I'm not too happy with.  This was before Linda Franz came up with Inklingo.  I wonder what these blocks would look like if I redid them with Inklingo?  Printing pieces with sewing lines and registration marks already there makes piecing, whether by hand or machine, so much easier.  I still use EQ to create my quilts, but my pieces come from Inklingo. 

Now that I've discovered the ease of Inklingo, I just want to covert all blocks and quilts I make using this method.  I'm currently in a group at a local quilt shop - the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Club which follows along in a book of the same name, created by Pam Buda Heartspun Quilts.  Each month, we create a small quilt. The instructions are for rotary cutting.  The quilts I do, I'm hand piecing, so I'm using Inklingo for my pieces.  

I imagine prairie women used templates to create their pieces.  They traced on fabric and carefully cut out with scissors.  They used needle and thread to piece their blocks and quilts by hand.  I'm fortunate to be in a world where I have so many tools to expand my hand piecing experience.  With the use of Inklingo, I print my pieces on the computer. I use my computer EQ program to create my quilts.   I'm a thoroughly modern quilter.  Past and present have joined.


Saturday, June 7, 2014


Texas Star Fish

After much trial and error, I have finished up the the edging on the Texas Starfish Table Topper.  I'm still going to put on some straight borders, but this is what I have so far.  I've been asked how this was made so I'm proceeding with a short explanation.  Please note--this is by no means absolutely correct and it's not a tutorial nor an organized pattern but simply something I came up with to make a nice linear border.  

Bottom of table topper

I used Inklingo for hand piecing and so all the pieces are made with Inklingo's Collections.  I've named each collection used, plus the size of freezer paper needed to come up with the correct number of pieces.

  • This started out with the Fish Fabric that has a 12 inch repeat.


  • Using Inlingo .05/1 inch Star Point collection ,  I printed out 6 carefully placed sheets measuring  7.5" x 11.75" with star point no. 1 in this collection.  This gave me enough for 35 stars.  I will use 32.  The extras can be turned into a nice mug rug some day. 


  •  To surround the stars plus extend for a squared rectangle top, I discovered I needed and so printed out 68 one inch hexagons in a light cream color. (4 sheets 7.25" x 13.5" and 1 sheet 5" x 11" gave me 68 hexagons); and thirty-two (32) .5 inch hexagons in a light cream or yellow (two sheets of 7" x 6" portrait using Hexagon A in the collection gave me 32).   

  • I also needed 16 two inch diamonds in light cream and 14 two inch diamonds in a darker cream.   These were pieced with  16 half 2" diamonds in light cream to make a linear top and bottom.  

  • To line the right and left side I used a combination of 1 inch diamonds, 1 inch triangles, (both in the 60 degree diamond 1 inch collection) and half 1" hexagons (included in the 1" hexagon collection).  

  • My build up for right and left sides required 18 half 1 " hexagons in cream (7.5" x 9" landscape) , 6 one inch 60 degree diamonds in the fish fabric (4.5" x 5.75 gave me 9), and 22 one inch triangles in a dark beige (7.5" x 6" portrait yields 24). The sides are using 8 of the 68 one inch hexagons already printed. 

Corners are built out
So this was fun.  I'll put more on as I finish up.  I want to add one or two beige borders and maybe a very small fish border and then hand quilt it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Projects Continued

Texas Star Continues to Grow

Progress with Texas Star
Quarter sitting on a 1 inch half hexagon
I've continued with my little Texas Star project over the last few days...hand piecing and interrupted by, cleaning, organizing...stuff and in between the stuff, I've worked on this little quilt.  I think I'll make it into a table topper.  Inklingo continues to intrigue.  I put on a border.  I wanted it square so with hit and miss I think I have it.  Using my collection of diamonds, triangles, and hexagons I came up with what you see on the left.  My plan today is to finish the left side and top and bottom.  I'll be putting neutral diamonds in a deeper color top and bottom and then half diamonds all around.  I'm probably reinventing the wheel with these placements but it's keeping my mind busy figuring out the puzzle.  

To give perspective on size, that is a quarter in the corner.  With Orange Froggy supervising, I moved the quarter to sit near a one inch hexagon and one inch triangle.  The middle of the Texas Star is a  .5 inch hexagon.

Interrupted by my gardening

 I've planted herbs and tomatoes in pots on the patio. 

Thyme, Oregano, Basil
More Basil

Way too many Tomato plants
When I started with these tomatoes my plan was for just 2 plants, but then it just grew I have 5.  What will I do with 5?
Dudley Supervising

I Think you should move the tomatoes

Dudley (The Pooks) always by my side  is there to help.

One of many roses.  I'll be using this photo for one of my applique projects.

Flower Pounding

I picked herbs and flowers and leaves from the garden and took to a Flower Pounding Class at one of the local quilt shops.  I think I'll border this and hand quilt.  Flowers were pounded on prepared for dying fabric that I had purchased some time ago.  I'll be doing this again.  Learned more about colors.  The red rose at the bottom of the photo came out a bright violet .  My sprig of rosemary, although very nice and fragrant as I pounded, came out brown.  The bright green leave at the bottom is a leaf from a hosta.  The petunia came out like the original color of bright purple.