In between everything else I have going on, I have been working on the half hexie stars. I need about a million more stars, so I just work on them whenever I don’t have any other handwork pressing.
I especially need white background stars so I have been concentrating on those fabrics lately.
One problem I had with this batch was matching the centers. WonderClips, which has worked perfectly well before, were not working. They didn’t seem to be clipping strongly enough. My pieces kept slipping, making the centers off. Some were just a smidge. Others had to be ripped out.
Alison saw my double point pins at the last Sew Day. Someone in Rosalie Dace‘s class said I had to have them, so I bought some. Alison mentioned to me that they were for matching up points. I don’t usually have a problem in regular piecing, but since I was having a problem with the half hexies, I thought I would try them. They are not ideal, but they help a lot. You can see from the photo that I use clips and the double point pins. I am now using two pins and a clip. This strategy seems to be working.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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!!!
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!
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.
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.
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.