More Juggling Balls

Juggling Ball n.1 - in 3D
Juggling Ball n.1 – in 3D

I finally got one whole juggling ball to the point where I can stuff it close it.

I didn’t use the same method of basting I use with the half hexies. I only basted through the fabric, not through the paper. This was recommended by the All Points Patchwork author, Diane Gilleland. It doesn’t feel as secure to me, but so far so good.

The next step is to remove the papers, turn it inside out and stuff it.

As mentioned, I had to take all of the papers out before I left Portland, because the ball, as shown right, would have certainly been squished. I’d like to use those papers again.

Handwork Week

Heading home
Heading home

As you may have noticed, I have spent a lot of time this week talking about handwork. That’s because I have been doing handwork. I had to drive to Portland (1468 miles there and back) at sort of the last minute to be with the YM while he had a second surgery on his ankle. I’ll spare you the close-up of the stitches and previous scar.

I did a few things while I was there, but no major sightseeing or anything. I spent a lot of time sitting around while he slept and making sure he had enough to eat. I did manage to visit a couple of my favorite quilt stores- one in Portland and one in Ferndale.

Wool felt eggs at Pioneer Quilts - patterns available
Wool felt eggs at Pioneer Quilts – patterns available

I have been to Pioneer Quilts and Stitch before. I was able to visit both because I grabbed the opportunities when they presented themselves. I really like both of those stores. Pioneer Quilts has a wide selection of fabrics, but they also have the biggest selection of wool felt and patterns to go with the wool felt that I ever seen. I don’t need any more handwork projects, but I couldn’t resist these eggs. Aren’t they fantastic?

Most of my gifts were finished and you will see them in the next few days after they are opened. Anything I had planned to do this week, the DH had to take care of: gift purchases, wrapping, shopping for dessert ingredients, tidying, etc. It is kind of nice to sit around. I feel a bit guilty, because I feel like I should be doing something. He did a great job and finished up some of the shopping, etc. yesterday.

I have been listening to books and podcasts while I drive and sit around. I got caught up on the QuiltFiction podcast. I am really appreciative of the sensitive way Frances is handling major themes such as race and independent women. I am seriously behind on other podcasts, because all I seem to do is listen to books. Recently I have finished all the books in a series. The author has several series that are related to the main series, which is really interesting. I am all about character development, so these multiple series, with their overlapping characters give me more of an opportunity to’ engage’ with the characters. I recommend:

  • New York Dead by Stuart Woods – this is the first in the Stone Barrington series. I actually read one in the middle of the series. I thought I would go back and just read the first one, but I ended up reading the entire series. Not every book in the series is great, but they are not too obviously formulaic and are very entertaining. This particular book is very good.
  • Smooth Operator by Stuart Woods
  • The Money Shot by Stuart Woods

None of these are great literature, but if you are looking for escapist entertainment, these are your books.

By the time you read this, I should be home and will have to dive into pie making.

The YM at OHSU, December 2018
The YM at OHSU, December 2018

 

Pentagon Juggling Balls

Juggling Balls in progress
Juggling Balls in progress

I am absurdly pleased with how these halves came out. Some parts of sewing them into a 3D shape were not easy, but not too difficult either.

As mentioned, I used a mini-charm pack so the backs don’t look as tidy as my half hexies do. I don’t care. I am using pretty supplies I have. I also had no time to pick out fabric and cut small pieces, so the mini-charm pack worked well.

Pentagon Balls

Pentagon Flowers
Pentagon Flowers

After writing the recent EPP book review, I saw my DH trying to teach my niece to juggle. Since then DH has started to practice juggling again. He used to be able to juggle pins with a friend. He doesn’t have many hobbies, so I am glad he is doing this.

Mini-Charm Pack
Mini-Charm Pack

All Points Patchwork has a pattern/guidelines for EPP balls using pentagon shaped papers. I bought some pentagon papers, grabbed a mini-charm pack and decided to start on some juggling balls for my niece. I plan to put some Beanie Baby pellets inside when I stuff them in order to give them a little weight.

I plan to make a bag for storage. I’d love to have them done by Christmas, but that is a little ambitious. We’ll see.

EPP Stars

Hexie Stars -Big Piece
Hexie Stars -Big Piece

I haven’t talked about this project in a long time. I have been working on bunches of EPP stars. It wasn’t until last week that I actually put some of them together in groups and then attached them to my big piece.

I also laid the whole piece out on the bed and found that I have to double the size to make it even begin to fit our bed. I am feeling a little daunted by that effort with all of the other hand projects I have. Still, my friend Faye said that I have to think about this project as a long term, slow project.

Hexie Stars -Big Piece detail
Hexie Stars -Big Piece detail

There is a certain amount of satisfaction in getting even a few bits of this top done. When I add 4 stars to the larger piece, it feels good. It feels like I am making progress.

This is another project where I find that there are not enough colors in the rainbow. I guess I’ll have to think of it as a design challenge.

Interesting Half Hexie Progress

I’d love to say this piece was in the finishing process, but it is so far from the finishing process that lying wouldn’t even cover what I was doing. I am, however, working on this piece. It is slow going, which is fine when I don’t have other handwork that I must do.

Half Hexie First Borders
Half Hexie First Borders

Recently, I bought papers to fill in the border of the half hexie piece. I needed some triangles and some diamonds. I want to create a full stop at least on one side, so I picked out a dark grey (charcoal) with small white dots and basted some pieces. The fabric is not a pin dot.

It is a little bit of a shift to insert these extra shapes, but I got into it. It is kind of funny to see the edge done. I wonder if the grey is too dark considering the overall cheerful look of the piece.

I plan to put another straight border on the sides, once I get all the diamonds and triangles attached.

A Few More Hexie Stars

Half Hexies - May 2018
Half Hexies – May 2018

I have been working on the half hexie stars a tiny amount. They take a long time, as I have said.

I finally was able to cut some more backgrounds, so I have been focusing on making background stars. I’ll have to see when I can add more stars to the larger piece. Making the individual stars is fairly easy, though not completely mindless. I do have to really pay attention when I am adding stars to the larger piece.

EPP Progress

Half Hexie Project - June 2017
Half Hexie Project – June 2017

I have to admit I am losing steam on this project. I’d like to finish it and get it over with, but that means I have to work on it and I haven’t been.

I kind of screwed up on the side I had designated as the definite edge (left side). I need to make one side and edge and put the triangles on so I don’t put a star where it shouldn’t be.

I am feeling the urge to add some more stars so perhaps the time is coming soon.

EPP Technique

Recently I talked about using the flat back stitch for EPP. I have been using it and finding that it works well. I wasn’t always 100% happy with the WonderClips, however. It is probably the one time I don’t find the WonderClips gripping hard enough.

Taping and the Flat Back Stitch
Taping and the Flat Back Stitch

I have heard that some artists use tape to hold the pieces in place while stitching with the flat back stitch.

I started out with Scotch Tape. It was ok, but I could only use the tape once. Mailing tape – the clear kind – was a little better.

I didn’t have any masking tape, which I think would be the best, so I tried blue tape and it works pretty well. I can re-position it about 3 times before it gives out.

Taping and the Flat Back Stitch - back
Taping and the Flat Back Stitch – back

Still, I am pretty happy with the results. It is easier to keep the stars, or half hexies, in place while I sew.

EPP Travel Kit

EPP Travel Kit - closed
EPP Travel Kit – closed

I really like this pattern even though it gave me a few fits before I finished it.

I found this pattern somehow. It is free (for personal use only) from Zen of Making*. I wish I had thought of the name, because there is something zenlike about making and the name is cool.

Anyway.

The travel kit is part of a three part series, which includes a lesson on making the hexie flowers. The final piece is making a pincushion out of smaller hexies to use with the EPP Kit. I had plans to make that as well, but ran out of time.

EPP Travel Kit - open (front)
EPP Travel Kit – open (front)

This travel kit is awesome and the problem I had really had nothing to do with the pattern, but with the supplies I had on hand. I hand on hand, and wanted to use, some sew-in invisible  magnet closures. Sara of Sew Sweetness uses these in a lot of her patterns and I find I have better success with them than the models with the ‘legs’ used in this pattern.

The closure is pretty awesome. I love the way the hexie flowers stick together. Very clever.

Once I figured out how to get the sew-in magnetic closures oriented in the right direction, the assembly went pretty smoothly. There is a lot of handwork in this pattern, which I wasn’t expecting.

The open look (right, slightly above) is a little odd. I think it might be because of the scrappiness of the whole piece. I think I should have used a backing for the flap hexie flower that matched the hexie flower (the one with leaves and a turquoise center). I do kind of like the scrappy look. I think I will make one that looks like a Dia de los Muertos celebration for a different friend. I definitely want to try different colors.

EPP Travel Kit - inside view
EPP Travel Kit – inside view

Altoids tins fit nicely inside and Haley (blog owner/designer) calls for two of them for this project. I had to scrounge them up. I put a piece of felt in the bottom of each tin to make them less rattly and a little nicer.

I cut and added some 5″ squares, and an EPP book to make the kit look full and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

*It appears that the name of the blog has changed to Red Handled Scissors. Not sure why, but the pattern is still there.

More EPP

Half Hexie EPP - late March 2017
Half Hexie EPP – late March 2017

About a week ago, I showed you my big English Paper Piecing project. I have been working on it quite a bit and am showing it again with its new and attractive bulge on the lower right. I have thought about EPP a lot in the past week, wondering why I am enjoying it so much. I don’t suppose I really need a reason, but I do wonder.

What I have come up with is that I enjoy handwork, but something like needleturn applique’ isn’t really my thing. EPP provides a convenient type of handwork that is pretty different from machine work. Why would I hand piece something I can easily machine piece?

For a challenge?

Yes.

After  a few blocks, however, it is no longer a challenge.

EPP is handwork, but it is different enough in process to fill a hole. It is also strangely convenient and can be the catalyst for creating amazing designs. Have you seen La Passacaglia?

On my half hexie piece, I have been working on making dots on white half hexie stars and I am making progress with my next two rows (one with a white background and one with fabrics prints in colors.

I have to admit being a little sick of this project and wanting it finished. I have a long way to go before it is finished, however. Learning something new about basting at the last guild meeting reinvigorated me and I can’t wait to try it with my half hexies.

EPP In Process

Half Hexie EPP - Feb 2017
Half Hexie EPP – Feb 2017

I have done a  little more on this piece since I took the photo, but it is slow going so not much.

Despite my protests yesterday that I wasn’t in a rush to finish this piece, I really do want to finish it so I can start the La Passacaglia. Having two large EPP projects seems ridiculous and I only have a certain amount of handstitching time, so focus is the requirement.

My big push now is to make dots on white stars. I need a lot of them and can’t move forward without them. I think I have three in process, but a number of strips cut, waiting.

Improving my EPP

I haven’t been happy with the right sides together method of whip stitching my EPP pieces together. I don’t like the stitches showing on the front. No matter how careful I am, I seem to always get a few stitches showing. ERGH!!!

Finished star using flat back stitching
Finished star using flat back stitching

I mentioned recently that I had heard about the Flat back stitch for sewing EPP shapes together. I watched the video thoroughly, eventually, and tried it. I like the technique, although it isn’t without hassle and have modified my stitching accordingly.

One thing the video shows is starting inside a seam. The idea is to slip the needle between the fabric and the paper, catching the knot on the inside. I never thought of that!

Flat back stitch using WonderClips
Flat back stitch using WonderClips

I have been using WonderClips to hold my pieces together. It is imperfect at best despite the fabulousness of WonderClips. The video shows using regular transparent tape. Another great idea.

There are a couple of other good things about the flat back stitch. First, you don’t have to bend the paper/card pieces when you insert a piece (Y seam idea). This makes the card last longer. Second, the stitches don’t show at the beginning of the line of stitching, which they can if you are even a tiny smidge not careful. DIY Addict has some info about this after the 2:50 minute mark on her video.

This technique takes me longer, but I like the look and really am not in a rush to get another star attached to this piece.

It is a good day when I learn something new.

Other resources

DIY Addict video: flat back stitch

EPP New Sections

I know the last time I talked about this piece was back in February. I have sort of been working on it, though there have been long stretches where I have not worked on it. I got a little fed up because sewing big sections to the big main piece is really a pain and I didn’t want to do it. It made me think twice about La Passacaglia, but that is a tale for another day.

EPP April 2016
EPP April 2016

Finally, I put a new section on and it is looking good. A little boring and staid, but good.

I am going to try to put one or two stars on the main piece instead of larger secondary pieces. It means more handling of the large piece, but perhaps the duration of dealing with the main section will be less.

Improv Again

I got two new-to-me round robins last Friday. I didn’t have enough design wall space, so I took them out and looked at them. Different elements caught my attention – the squares in Annemarie’s and the applique’ on Michelle-Nicholle’s.

My addition to Annemarie's piece - detail
My addition to Annemarie’s piece – detail

I started with Annemarie’s after I finished the Cutting Corners donation top. I decided to add  the other corner to the top left. My corner has the same look at the corner on the right side. I wanted the elements to be related, but not to be derivative. I wanted to use more of the Alison Glass fabric, but there wasn’t any left in the packet.

I looked at it after I had finished the squares. They looked too square. I had to make up some space (see the bottom strips where the blueberry fabric is?), so I added some strips and kept adding until my addition was large enough to fill the space. The strips look more improv than the squares. I can’t blame my hand for the cutting as it is much better. Habit, I guess.

Michelle-Nicholle's Improv piece -before
Michelle-Nicholle’s Improv piece -before

Michelle-Nicholle’s was harder, mostly because it had the structure of a very traditional round robin. All the pieces in the round robin are getting quite large and Michelle-Nicholle’s is no exception. It is also, I think, the largest piece on which I have worked. There were also only a few motifs I could use as inspiration, none of which were very exciting to me. More applique’ would have been logical, but I just wasn’t in the mood. It was very difficult to think of an addition. I reached back to my early days of quiltmaking when I learned to do improv curved piecing. I added some of that. It is a simple addition, but effective, I think. I may add something else as my addition does seem like much, nor does it help the next person as a jumping off point.

Michelle-Nicholle's IRR after -detail
Michelle-Nicholle’s IRR after -detail
Michelle-Nicholle's IRR after
Michelle-Nicholle’s IRR after