Monday, March 30, 2020

Elongated Hexagon Quilt - Part 3

This is a continuation of the posts about the elongated hexagon quilt.

After playing around with the placement of the pieces, I marked all of the corners so that I would know where to stop and start.  But, before I started sewing it together, I felt like it was way too busy and needed something to calm it down.  I originally DID NOT want to spend that much time on this quilt, but as it progressed, I became interested in playing some more with the layout.  I even lost a little sleep while my brain was thinking about multiple quilts.  Egads!  How on earth did I jump from an easy quilt that I intended to donate, to thinking about multiple quilts?  I guess that's just how we quilters think. The ideas just don't stop coming.  Or to put it another way - I suffer from TMITSIL.  (Too many ideas to sew in lifetime).  And lookout because its catchy.

I decided that I really like the deconstructed modern quilts and the ones that were called "shattered".  The idea of this modern take on a quilt layout is that you gradually leave more and more white space between the pieces so that they merge into nothingness.  (Is that even a word?).  Here are some of my ideas as I worked them out on my design board.

The first one put all the pieces in the upper left corner and spread out the rest to the right and bottom.

These two moved the bulk of the pieces to the left of center and added solid pieces in some spots and fractured pieces in others.  Yuck, still too heavy.

This one seemed just right.  Lots of white space and shattered pieces.

Here's what I had to do to the pieces I had so carefully cut and marked to get the shattered look.  First, I sewed the white fabric onto the pieces, trying to alter the direction.

Then I cut the excess off, pressed the seams, and used the same freezer paper templates that I had used to originally cut the pieces.

It's a good thing I was somewhat sequestered due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  It didn't seem like I was wasting any valuable time that I used to have for volunteer work in the community.  But what a mess!  This is definitely NOT a zero-waste project.

I think I have more fabric than when I started.  The bind that I took to the quilt retreat still looks quite full to me.  Do you notice that when you're doing "scrap" projects too?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Face Mask according to the AB Mask by a nurse

Many of my quilting friends are making face masks according to the AB-Mask-for-a-Nurse-by-a-Nurse pattern.  I made 5 of them this week, but changed the instructions slightly.  The great thing about this pattern is that you don't need elastic, which is almost impossible to find. 

Here's what I changed:

1.  I added a layer of non-woven interfacing between the layers of cotton.  This is to provide an extra layer of protection for our health care workers.
2.  I added a pipe cleaner (cut in half and used just the half) inside the top binding so that it can be molded around the nose.
3.  I placed the cotton pieces wrong sides together, instead of with the right sides stacked.  I think this makes the masks prettier.
4.  I cut the 1/2" seams down to 1/4" after sewing in the pleats, and before the darts were made at the top and bottom.  I found that if I did this after the darts were sewn, the dart seams popped open.  I did mark them while there was still 1/2" seam to insure proper placement.
5.  I sewed the binding on the sides before I sewed the darts and while the mask was still flat.
6.  The binding strips can be cut out of any fabric and don't need to be the same as the mask. 

There you have it.  It takes about an hour to sew one.  But if you do them assembly style and cut a bunch out and sew the steps on all of them at the same time, the total time per mask is reduced.

I have 3 nurses in my family.  One works in a Salem, OR hospital; one works in a hospice facility in Albany, OR, and one works in an Issaquah, WA hospital.  In addition, I have one doctor in my family who works in a private practice.  If you talk to any of them, they will let you know if they need these masks or not.  At least one of my family members is working with no PPE!  So even if you don't have any family members working in the health care industry, please use your fabric and skills to help them out.  And don't forget to make one for yourself!

Stay home and stay safe.  We are all in this together.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Face masks

The call for face masks has been circulating among quilters and sewers, who are working fast and furious to make them out of our stash of cotton fabrics.  I hope that this doesn't turn out to be hype like what happens after a natural disaster and people start making and sending quilts that end up in the trash.  The COVID-19 pandemic is REAL, and the need for medical equipment is real.  So maybe this is real too.

Most of the  YouTube face mask videos  that I've seen have you start with a small amount of fabric, and a little bit of 1/4" of elastic.   There are tons of them, so be sure to check them all out.

Silhouette Patterns  has a PDF and pattern for a more fitted and darted style.

Again, I don't know if this is a real thing, but it won't take that much time to make some for my family.

Here are the ones that I made.  I found that the 3-1/2" final size works the best, and I used pipe cleaners for the top so that it can be molded around the nose. 

I didn't have 1/4" elastic, so I cut strips out of some 2" wide black elastic.  It's not ideal, but it works for now.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Elongated Hexagon - Part Two

This is a continuation of a previous post about the Elongated Hexagon quilt that I made, based on a Ricky Tims pattern.

I fussy cut out the hexagon pieces from the Marcia Derse fabric.  This is the left-over fabric - Swiss cheese from the fussy cuts!

Then I started to cut the hexagon pieces from the strip sets, all at an angle.  I marked the freezer paper template with grain line direction; both right and left.  This way of cutting the hexies left way too much fabric in the strip sets.

I decided mid-stream that I needed to cut more with the lines of the piecing. I knew if I did some of the cuts this way, I could at least sew together the left-over fabric and get more cuts out of the strip sets.  In fact, if you want to do it this way, there is very little waste.

Here is what the original design looked like on my design wall, using only the diagonal cuts.

And here is what it looked like after I changed the placement of the Marcia Derse fabric and added vertical rows of straight cut hexies.  I liked that this showed off the theme fabric better, but still showed all the strip piecing.  It's busy!  If you like color, then WOW, this little quilt has it.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Retreat quilt- Elongated Hexagon - Part One

I went to a 3-day retreat with my Vagabonds group in February and needed something to work on!  Believe it or not, I had nothing in progress, except for some clothing.  So, I had to scramble and put together some fabric and a plan for what to sew.

I remembered an elongated hexagon quilt that Ricky Tims demonstrated on The Quilt Show, and looked through my paperwork to find the template that was a free download from their website.   It is a pattern where you sew strips together, kind of wonky.  Then cut out the elongated hexie.  Some of the hexies were made of solid fabric.  He called it Double Tumbler/Lantern. 

Anyway, here is what I did, with some of the steps shown.  I started with a fabulous print fabric made by Marcia Derse.

I pulled fabric from my stash that was either more of her coordinating fabrics, or other fabrics that had similar colors in them.  I didn't do anything else before the retreat.  After I got there, I just free cut strips from my fabrics and put them all into a big brown grocery bag.  (Yes, we still can get those at the grocery stores for free in Washington State.)  The strips varied from 1" to 2-1/2" and I didn't pay attention at all to whether they were straight or ironed.  I mixed up the strips in the bag.  And then just sewed for the 3 days until I had all the fabrics sewn into strips sets.  Here is what I ended up with:

I didn't have a plan on how to cut out the hexagons from the strip sets.  So, I pulled out my handy design book, and sketched up some ideas.  Here they are:

I think I like the one where the stripes are going neither vertical or horizontal, but on the angle. 

Stay tuned for more posts when I start cutting and piecing the quilt together.  Who knows how big it will be when I'm done?  I love the spontaneity of this free cut and sewn quilt. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Clark County Quilters show - POSTPONED!! - COVID-19

My local quilt guild, Clark County Quilters, was all set to put on another stunning display of quilts made by our members in early April.

We were all on pins and needles while we wondered if our event would have to get cancelled due to COVID-19.  Almost everyone in our quilt guild falls into the high-risk category (over 60, and many with underlying health conditions).  We usually get large crowds at our show and so we knew that there was a bit of a risk going forward.  In the weeks leading up to our event, there were over 20 deaths in Washington State, and many more confirmed cases.  The Governors of Washington and Oregon banned events of more than 250 people in many counties.   Schools and universities were shut down.  This was all to stop the "community spread" to hundreds and, likely,  thousands of more people.

So, the leadership group of Clark County Quilters made the difficult decision to postpone our quilt show to November 12-14.  Here is the postcard with the announcement of the new dates.

I hope that those who planned to attend in April can still make it to our show in November!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Sewing together 9 shadow selfies

I made 9 small (12" x 12") quilts that were all shadow selfies as a series.  I previously wrote blogs about all of these little pieces.  They were exhibited at my solo show in October 2018, but they haven't been entered in the Clark County Quilters show yet.

I was inspired to group them together into one quilt after I saw a grouping put together by Lynn Czaban of the portrait quilts she made of the Vagabonds.  She used zippers and tabs to sew hers together.  Here's a photo of that quilt:

Although the zippers were an unexpected and fun way to sew some of them together, I'm just not as talented as Lynn is, so I decided on adding tabs only. Here is my sketch of the idea:

I used black fabric (with a stabilizer on the back) and sewed with decorative stitches and couched yarn and trimmings on top.  

Here is what that looked like before I cut it into tabs.

After I cut the strips into the tabs, I placed them on plain black fabric and satin stitched (zig zagged) around all the edges.  I used a machine setting of 3.4 mm width and .4 length.  

To keep the corners from fraying, I added a dot of  fray check, let it dry, then cut out the tabs.

I placed the tabs between the little quilts and stitched right through the binding and the tabs.  I like the effect that this has given the grouping.

I hope you like it and will try grouping smaller pieces into a larger one for exhibit.  

OH, and P.S.  It costs $10 to enter a quilt into our show.  Sewing these 9 quilts together is going to save me $80!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Vagabonds Challenge for 2020

Vagabonds has picked the challenge for 2020.  We're all making quilts based on a photograph that was taken by member, Ada Levins.  Ada has been taking all kinds of photography classes and she has quite a stash of amazing photos.  Last year, she took a lot of abstract photos, using all kinds of techniques.  We were all allowed to select our picture from her portfolio, and we didn't restrict the choices if two people wanted to use the same photograph.  Here's the one I chose.  She made this photo by putting glass over some Christmas tree lights, and adding oil to water.

I played around with the color and cropped the photo to this:

And here are some of my quick sketches for ideas on how I might make this quilt.

We have a year to complete the quilt, and this one may take most of that time!

I hope you stretch your brain and step out of your comfort zone to try new techniques.