It’s no secret that Carolyn Friedlander is one of my favorite fabric designers. Last year, I made an entire quilt featuring her Doe fabric line, with cameos from Botanics and Architextures. But as her new fabric lines come out and continue to coordinate so well with her originals, I decided I wanted a quilt that truly showcased her varied and gorgeous fabrics. What better than a Modern Hexies mini quilt using Nicole at Modern Handcraft’s fabulous method?!
Now, I’m already putting myself up against a wall a bit, since I began this project after Architextures became all but extinct. I’m hoping, though, with a bit of luck and a few insider tips, I can eventually acquire at least a 2 1/2″ square of each of the fabrics from Architextures.
Through the #getyourquiltywishesgranted event on Instagram a few months back, I obtained a few more archaic Architextures prints, as well as the Carkai mini charms I’ve nearly made into hexies. I’m on my way!
I already have basted hexagons from all of Botanics and most of Carkai. I have some scraps left from my Doe quilt, so I’ll see where that brings me and go from there.
I think I will make a few more hexies before ultimately deciding whether to back the hexies in my favorite Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal, or to stick with solid white. Perhaps I’ll be crazy and use one of the still easily attainable text prints from Architextures as the background. Time will tell.
If you have any tiny (2 1/2″ square at least) scraps of Carolyn’s Architextures fabric, please let me know if I can persuade you to send them my way! I will be happy to compensate with fabric, chocolate, or cash money. And of course gratitude. Lots and lots of gratitude.
I thought I would link up with Lee’s Work in Progress Wednesday, but it appears I’ve been out of the WiP loop long enough to have missed that she’s taking a (potentially permanent) break from her link up. Oops! Still check out her blog at Freshly Pieced since she’s always making something gorg! I’m also going to go wild and link up with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash since I’m finally sharing my new CF acquisitions.
I’m certainly testing this question lately! I’ve written about the mini mini quilt swap craze, and while it seems to have died down a bit on Instagram, I’m still plugging along working to complete the many mini minis I have promised to swap. Such is life when sewing gets done 20 minutes at a time! One such mini mini has morphed into a true test of “how small can you go?”
I designed a tiny foundation paper pieced geometric feather for the mini mini I’m making for Renee at Quilts of a Feather, since I wanted to create a purple feather (her favorite color is purple and feather is probably a clear choice), but I also wanted it to be unique. The tiny pattern crazy me developed has 60 foundation paper pieced pieces in block smaller than 3″x4″.
Believe it or not, the foundation paper piecing part went smoothly. That’s one of the wonders of foundation paper piecing–you can literally sew ANYthing.
I’ve only removed the papers from half so far, but even that isn’t too bad. I quite enjoy it, actually. When foundation paper piecing, I set my stitch length to 1.2 so the paper basically melts off. I encouraged some of the teeny tiny smaller than 1/16″ bits to come off using a cute stiletto I received as part of a swap last year. (Aside–did you know that a stiletto in quilting is a skinny tool that is thicker and a bit more blunt than a pin, and is used to help feed your fabric through your sewing machine, hold down little corners while sewing, or any other task you can derive? I *just* learned what a stiletto was and so I’m trying to use it more!)
Joining the two halves, on the other hand, was where the challenge truly arose. I broke a needle trying to get through all of those layers, and eventually settled on hand cranking my machine through the thickest part.
Needless to say, this baby does not lay flat, nor can I hope to press it flat no matter how much Flatter I use. But no worries! I plan to use a double layer of batting, perhaps only under the feather (I think it’s called trapunto) so that at least it won’t seem too out of place. But it appears I have my answer: this is as small as I can go, at least with this pattern!
I originally planned to trim the outer edge and needle turn appliqué the feather to the background fabric, a gorgeous glimmering square of Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous. After requesting some tips/advice from Carolyn Friedlander via email, I am approaching it in a different way per her advice; instead I’ll do reverse appliqué, where I’ll cut the hole in the background fabric, place it on top of the feather, and stitch it down around the feather’s edge. While it will be my first time trying reverse applique, I think I have a much better chance at success using this method. Thank you, Carolyn!
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how this mini mini turns out!
It’s all about patience… see what I did there? If only patience were always so easy to come by!
I am really liking my color choices, and as more blocks are added, I’m starting to see how they might go together. I’m still toying with arranging each warm-cool grouping in color order, and very well might do so. I think after the next bout of blocks added, I’ll try laying it all out together and see what you think, too.
I began writing this post this past Sunday, but then caught the cold/fever/cough my kids have been kicking. So instead of finishing this post, sewing, or blogging, I’ve been sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping. And of course, making the most of the days with as much energy as I can muster. So pretend it is four days ago, and read on! The best laid plans, right?
Over the past two days, I’ve been driving from Maine to New Jersey with my three kiddos to surprise my mom (Grandma) for her birthday. I’m happy to report that the surprise was a complete success! My sister and brother who live in the area were planning on going to my parents’ house to cook dinner for her birthday, so the kids and I arrived at my sister’s house earlier in the day, then we all met up at the far end of the street before dinner, where I parked. My sister and brother walked in and Lucy said, “I invited a few more people over for your birthday; I hope that’s ok” and then Maddie and Max followed by Finn and I walked in. My mom says it was the best birthday surprise ever. Yay!
Since we will be visiting here for five days before beginning the trek back up to Maine, I packed a good number of hand sewing projects so that my hands (and sewing mind) can be kept busy during the week. I contemplated bringing my sewing machine, but since the entire point of this trip is to spend family time together, I didn’t want to feel at all tempted to duck off to sew in a separate room while here. Hand stitching projects are a solution since they can be pulled out anytime, anywhere, and still ensure that I won’t be left with any thumb twiddling with all of the extra eager playmates for my kids.
I thought it would be fun give you a peek at the variety of projects I brought to satiate my need to create daily.
English Paper Piecing (EPP) at various stages of completion
Embroidery & Hand Quilting
Visible mending supplies.. just in case
I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s WiP Wednesday, since it’s already Wednesday and these are still very much works in progress. C’est la vie! Good night!
My sewing progress check-ins have been scarce lately, but I have been doing a little bit of sewing. Some consists of projects that I can’t quite show yet, but some consists of literal little bits of sewing: mini mini quilts. The mini mini quilt swap idea has certainly blossomed since my first post about the mini mini I received from Michelle, and it seems that I’ve spread the bug to quite a few of you (Yvonne, Allison, and Jennifer are three who I know have jumped onto the mini mini quilt conga line–it’s a party, afterall!–but I’m sure there are more!). I’ve also agreed to a lot of swaps, but with a relaxed deadline. Many of you swappers asked me to make something I love. I know myself well, though; if I let the momentum go, it *might* be tough to get going again. So I decided to make a few mini minis, trying out techniques or ideas that I wanted to try. Here is a sampling of mini minis in progress, new and old.
This collection includes two “old” mini minis–a foundation paper pieced snail house that I designed a year or so ago for a mini house along, and is actually a large-sized mini mini at 5″ (top right); and, another practice go at small stitching that I created upon returning from the Slow Stitching retreat, inspired by Chawne Kimber (bottom left). There’s also the beginnings of another not-yet-fully-formulated mini mini in those pink donuts (bottom center), my first attempt at improv (bottom right), and a couple rainbow strip remnants that I made while creating Yvonne’s mini mini, which is finished and you’ll hopefully see on Friday (top left). Here are some closer looks.
My first attempt at improv was actually an interesting exercise on two levels. It was inspired by a solid improv mini mini Yvonne was creating, which appealed to me since it looked like improv with intention. The 4″ block consists of four 2″ blocks, each built in a wonky, triangular, log cabin-esque style with the same five fabrics and sewn together. I figured it was as good a place to start my journey into improv as any, and gave it a go. My end feelings were, “Meh” but the response on Instagram was overwhelmingly in the other direction. The photo received 118 “likes” and many comments along the lines of “beautiful!” and “love love LOVE”. This struck me as funny, but is yet another indication that we all have our styles, and what may seem “meh” to you might be absolute visual perfection to another! So I will quilt this up and swap it with someone who hopefully loves loves LOVES it.
This mini snail house is really quite cute, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. It’s clearly time to quilt it up as a mini mini and see who claims it first.
The first rainbow strip I made was far too large to use in a mini mini, since it had 1/4″ strips of color and black. When I switched to 3/8ths of an inch and a few less colors, it turned out perfectly. I’m intent on using both of them in mini minis, somehow.
Sew smaller, Chawne said. Sew smaller, I did.
Finally, as of yesterday, I have begun another mini mini quilt. I’m honestly astounded that it actually worked, but I’m resisting the urge to latch onto a new obsession and make multiples of this one. I present to you: Modern Hexies, Crazy Mini Mini Edition.
I used the fabulous Modern Hexies tutorial by Nicole at Modern Handcraft, and just shrunk it down to 1/4″ EPP hexagons. Instead of actually basting the teeny hexagons, I used Flatter by Soak and pressed the dickens out of them with a hot iron. Astoundingly, I didn’t even burn my fingers, although I don’t know how.
I am loving how this one is turning out, and can’t wait to finish it! The toothpick helped with little adjustments while gluing, and is a good size reference.
Most of my sewing projects fall into two main categories: gifts for friends and family, or a new pattern that needs to get out of my head and into reality. This past week, I’ve been working on projects that don’t fall into either of those categories!
Star Crazy Quilt
Many months ago, I did something crazy. I started a quilt just for me! I made some progress on the quilt, and then it got tucked away in a corner for a good long time. This past week, I pulled it out again and made some more progress. My Star Crazy quilt is slowly coming together, and I love it!
A few months ago, I made the decision to leave grey fabrics out of the “light” sides of these blocks, but noticed that some of my “lights” still read pretty dark. One of the quilters I follow on IG posted about checking fabric values by turning a photo black and white (if it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit!). Trying this method, you can see that some of my “lights” are indeed quite dark.
I’m going to aim to group the darker ones together so that each star is all one value. In making more blocks for this quilt, I’ve also decided that I’m going to be okay if two of the same turquoise prints are next to each other. These are little design details that have been holding me back from forging ahead with this quilt, so I feel a bit relieved that I’ve made the executive decision to let go of avoiding turquoise samesies and aim to match the “dark” lights. Onward with the star crazy!
Baby Plus Quilt, Take 2
I couldn’t help it; I started another Baby Plus Quilt. I had so much fun putting together my Pink & Grey Baby Plus Quilt that I immediately pulled fabric for a second one the day I sent the pink & grey top off for quilting.
The butterfly & flower print was the inspiration piece for this version, and I opted for mostly solids or blenders as my accompanying fabrics. Amazingly, this entire pull was from my stash! After spending a couple hours cutting and playing with layout, I’ve finally begun to sew the rows together. Four (4) down, seven (7) to go.
One last important work in progress from this past week is the final acquisition of a design wall that actually works! You may remember my old design wall (read: epic fail), which I built out of carefully framed 2″x2″ wooden boards, complete with a cross-support beam, and wrapped with white felt. The amount of work that went into building that design wall was inversely proportional to how well it held quilt blocks. In other words, blocks wouldn’t stay on that design wall for more than 2 seconds. I learned from that experience, and this time I bought a $2.99 vinyl tablecloth with a flannel back. The lightest color our local Reny’s had was bright pink, but I realllly wanted to get something to use as a design wall so I bought it. It works SO AMAZINGLY WELL! I apologize for the internet “shouting”, but I am absolutely floored at how well quilt blocks–both solid fabric and already-pieced–stick to that table cloth! It is amazing. Ugly as sin, but amazing!
Lately I’ve been trying to multitask during my sewing time, since this summer is so full of outdoor adventuring that my time spent sewing is little. The last time I had a good chunk of sewing time, I worked on piecing three projects at once. It made for little bits of progress for each, but no big noticeable progress on any one quilt. Today I decided to focus on one quilt so that I can hopefully get a finish under my belt to renew my quilting fury. Since I have yet to complete quilts for my kids, I decided it was high time I remedied that, and I decided to focus on sewing together my daughter’s rainbow quilt.
My design wall is one huge fail, so I had to lay out the strips while the “wall” was laying flat on the ground, and then slide it up to take photographs as quickly as possible before the pieces all fell to the ground. The bumps bug me, but such is life. Nothing’s perfect, especially not a partially pieced quilt top! A new design wall is creeping its way up my to-do list.
My four-year-old daughter wanted a rainbow quilt, and while searching for ideas, I came across this gorgeous quilt on Creativebug.
Today during my two-year-old’s nap, I finished sewing the strips into pairs. I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish sewing all of the paired strips together soon and will have a completed quilt top within a week or two. Next I will have to decide whether to keep it simple and finish it, or to add a border or edging to the quilt. Because it’s for my four-year-old, I’m leaning toward finishing it simply and letting it be small enough for her to drag around with her. What would you do?
I’ll leave you with some fun photographs from my playroom photo shoot today.
After a long, especially cold and lingering winter, spring is finally fully here in midcoast Maine. Those first days of warm sun, cool (not frigid and biting) breeze, and sprouting green are precious days. I didn’t know it my first year here, but I know it now. The blackflies won’t be long.
The past few days have been supurb: sunny, warm-even borderline hot, and too early for blackflies. Needless to say, I have been spending every daylight moment out in the garden, playing in the yard, or admiring the flowers with my kids. I know that once the blackflies arrive, we we hide indoors or only go out with long pants and a full head & arms bug net. The blackflies will subside, but for a good solid month, they are a wicked scourge. Swarming clouds of annoying and biting bitties. When my husband and I decided to move from New Jersey back to his home state of Maine, no one had told me about the blackflies. Some days I joke that if someone had told me about the blackflies, I never would have moved here… but I know I’m joking. I love it here in rural Maine.
Days spent in the garden makes for a tired momma, but I can’t help but sew once the sun sets and the kids are asleep. I’m making slow progress on my Star Crazy quilt, and I like it more and more as blocks get added.
Before beginning this quilt, I was thinking of adding grays into the low volume sides, to have some of the light stars be grey instead of just low volume. I think now I’ve decided to keep grays out of it, and just stick with the black and white stars.
These blocks are a combination of my favorite colors, AND of fabrics from some of my favorite designers and fabric lines. Seeing Botanics next to Wee Wander next to Architextures, framed by Perfectly Perched and Zen Chic makes me tremendously happy!
While my sewing progress has been slowed by this gorgeous weather, I feel like I am spending my days the right way. Family, garden, and those first days of spring are SO refreshing and key to a joyous life.
Here are a few more shots of spring from around my homestead, for those of you who find inspiration as I do, from nature.