Friday, June 20, 2008

Hexagons - Piecing and Applique In Progress

I'm a restless person - always thinking of one thing while doing another - starting something, then starting another. Cooking while talking on the phone, watching TV while reading the paper, browsing the web while my mind works out design ideas. I don't think this makes me a genius of multi-tasking - rather it takes my weakness of lack of concentration and gives me a kind of superpower of productivity - as long as I'm doing something, I'm happy!

Quilters almost always have a list of projects that they're currently working on, a list of projects they'd like to start, some they've started and given up on, and more patterns, ideas, and inspirations to start even more. There's never a day where a quilter can't find something to suit her mood, time available, or abilities.

Paper Pieced Hexagons

My husband and I love to attend estate auctions. I was fortunate enough to buy a box of vintage quilt pieces - my guess is they are from the late 30's-early 40's. There were eight completed six pointed star blocks, and several blocks not yet appliqued on to the muslin. While the applique stitching was good, something had happened to make the fabric puff out from the base muslin - either the muslin shrinking or the applique not pinned well to the base square.

I also discovered the hand piecing done to make the stars was quite loose - basting, really. So I've begun to take them all apart, and make a hexagon quilt from the fabric pieces. It will likely be a charm quilt with random placement of the pieces, but I'll wait and have fun playing with patterns as the pieces are made.

I'm using hexagons from Paper Pieces. These are made from stiff cardboard and are cut much more accurately than I could cut my own. I did some paper hexagon piecing a few years ago, using freezer paper and regular paper - I find the cardboard Paper Pieces much easier as the stiffness of the carboard means I really do just have to baste the fabric over the edges. The pieces can be removed after sewing all sides of the hexagon to other hexagons, or after applique. And, I can lay it down on the ironing board, spray starch (well, not really - see below) all over, give it a good press and its ready for other applications - maybe even machine applique?

Mary Ellen's Best Press is the best "starch" I've ever come across. I've never liked using starch - I find it can leave flakes and bits on my iron and ironing board, and I don't like the stories I've heard of bugs and long term storage. I've been using Spray Sizing, but its hard to come across these days - not many people iron their shirts anymore! The Best Press is easy to use, smells nice (it actually comes in three scents), and it will apply lightly or heavily for the results I need, without any flaking or mess.

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About Me

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southern Ontario, Canada
I began quilt-making in January 2001, as therapy following diagnosis a chronic autoimmune condition. I enjoy creating and exploring hand and machine applique, machine piecing, english paper piecing, machine quilting, and machine embroidery. I have been working with Electric Quilt for several years and I'm comfortable with just about very aspect of using EQ to design pieced, applique, and embroidery quilts. I'm an early retired Mom with two teenager and a son who'll be married in Fall '09. My husband is my biggest quilting supporter.

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