Hexagons With A Twist

In part 1 of n, I mentioned that I was getting quite into EPP.  Part of the reason for this is because I’ve had a project in mind for quite some time, but was unsure how feasible it would be.  The project would involve hexagons, but generated by a small program written by a good friend of mine, which can output .svg arrays of hexagons that range from perfectly regular to highly distorted according to the preference of the user.  To test the practicality of piecing the distorted hexagons, I selected a small sample (90 hexies) and, after some grooming of the shapes in Inkscape to avoid any concave angles, I printed out two versions – one on card to cut for templates and one on paper to use as a guide for later assembly.

To make life even more complicated, I decided that I wanted to piece my distorted hexies from recycled tie silk.  I have a large collection of silk ties that I have purchased from charity shops, washed and unpicked for use in patchwork.  They come in a marvellous array of colours, patterns and weaves!  Some are very thin, whereas others are are much more thickly woven.  To stabilise my silk and stop it behaving badly or shredding too much, I ironed my chosen colours to the lightest interfacing I could obtain locally.  I didn’t put too much thought into colour arrangement – just grabbed a hexie and a silk at random and put them together.

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The distorted hexies were a bit more fiddly than regular hexies, but my examples were quite small and I suspect the distortion factor was quite high for this sample.  If I repeated this project, I would make the hexies larger and a little less distorted.  They do look really cool, though!

Thanks to my “map” of the layout, the assembly of the finished hexies went quite smoothly:

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Once my hexies were complete and assembled, I had a band of distorted hexagons looking for a home, so I appliqued them to a square of grey Essex yarn-dyed linen that I had hunted down at the Festival of Quilts particularly for this project.  I really love this fabric, the weight and texture of it is lovely!  It does shred terribly easily, though – I used an edge-binding stitch on my square to stop it unravelling completely before I managed to finish the applique and quilting.

Once the applique was finished, I made up a quilt sandwich and hand-quilted the hexagon strip with wavy lines in blue perle silk and the linen with straight lines in grey perle cotton, then turned the finished top into a cushion:

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I really, really love how it turned out!  Originally it was intended as a birthday present for my friend who wrote the hexagon software (it seemed very apt to give him something generated from his code), but the piecing and hand-quilting took a bit longer than I expected so it ended up being a Christmas present for him instead – I managed to finish it just in time.  🙂

Despite the challenges of this piece, I really want to try it again, with some modifications, and also with more control over colour placement.  This may be a really good application for some of the beautiful Liberty prints I indulged in when I was at the Festival of Quilts!  😉

Linking up with Monday Making, Needle ‘n’ Thread Thursday and Oh Scrap – all links in my sidebar.  🙂

Mothering Sunday Gifts

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK, so I made a couple of gifts for mum that I hoped she’d like.

First up is a purse.  My first go at making a purse for mum didn’t go all that well.  However, I thought I could see how to fix what had gone awry, so I took a seam ripper to the failed attempt and rescued the zipped pockets, card pockets and magnetic snaps (important because I didn’t have any more suitable zips and no time to get replacements!).  The first thing I did was to trim down the card pockets so that the total depth was much less, making the purse a bit more elegant.  I also took about 1/4” off each side (after checking the width with a card), since I wasn’t planning to turn through and therefore didn’t need to allow for the seam bulk.

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I re-did the lining and the outer cover (fortunately, the new fabric I chose for the outer goes really well with the red lining fabric!):

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I used some much firmer interfacing for the outer cover (maybe a little too firm, but it’s come out ok) and a medium-firm interfacing for the lining.  The whole thing holds its shape really well now.

I was really pleased with the exterior zipped pocket I’d added to the previous version, but wasn’t fussed about the contrast strip, so I just added the outer pocket without any extra decoration:

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Luckily again, the gold-coloured zips go well with the new fabric I bought!  Because of the reduced depth of the purse, I made the outer pocket shallower as well, but it’s still pretty roomy.

The interior pockets are much the same as before, but they sit much better now that they’re not all twisted out of shape!

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Still plenty of room, hopefully!

To finish it off, I made some bias binding from left-over lining fabric (not a wholly enjoyable task, I have to say) and, after basting the layers together, added the binding all the way around the purse.  Machine binding is, alas, something I’m still not terribly good at.  Something to work on, definitely.

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The next thing I made wasn’t really planned at all, it just kind of… happened!  I had a whole bunch of 1-1/2” squares in yellow, cream and purple left over from a couple of different projects and I had my postage stamp template out because I’d just been using it for something else, so I started to arrange the squares on it with the purple in one corner, the yellow in the opposite corner and the cream between:

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It must have been fated to work, since I only needed to cut two extra squares to make a full 10×10 layout!  Once I’d made the postage stamp patch, it told me it wanted to become a cushion, so I rootled out some more of the cream fabric from the scrap box, added borders to bring it up to a sensible size (16” square), and quilted it with simple diagonal lines.  To add a bit of a twist, the quilting is partly yellow and partly purple, to match the respective corners:

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This is an effect I’m really happy with.  Some simple quilted lines around the border to frame it, and a nice envelope back from some more scrap-box fabric and my surprise cushion cover was finished!

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Mum seemed pleased with her presents, so that was a relief!  🙂  It is quite a challenge crafting for someone you share a house with and who doesn’t really understand the concept of privacy…

Linking up with Oh Scrap! and Monday Making (when it’s live).  🙂

Origami Crane Cushion

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And here’s my finished Origami Crane cushion.  I’m really pleased with it.  It’s actually been finished for a lil while, but the weather’s been too foul (and I’ve been too busy) to take any decent pictures until today.  🙂

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The back is another envelope arrangement, with some nice wooden buttons I found at a local haberdashery shop.  It now lives on my bed and is great when I want to sit up and read a book.  🙂  Hooray for finished things!

Linking up with Monday Making, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? and TGIFF (when they go live).  🙂

Foundation-Pieced Crane – Quilted!

Here’s what happened to the foundation-pieced crane I showed off in the last post:

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I rootled around in my stash and discovered some more postcard-themed fabric, which I used to set the crane on point, then gave it a border with some textured chocolate-coloured fabric to bring it up to a better size for a cushion.

For the actual quilting, I started by quilting in the ditch for all seams, then elected to try matchstick quilting for the first time, by following one edge of each polygon shape of the cream background fabric:

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I love-love-love how it looks and feels (as a chemist, it reminds me of crystal grain boundaries!), and it gives the crane some definition and dimensionality that it was lacking before quilting.  🙂

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I didn’t want to clutter the busy postcard fabric on the corners, so I ended up using some neutral grey thread to quilt around the postcard edges and stamps.  I’m very pleased with this – it gives a nice feel and look without weighing down the design or competing with the matchsticks in the centre.  Even if it did mean I had zillions of ends to bury on each corner!

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And here it is all together:

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Currently I’m auditioning fabric for the back of the cushion; I’m an idiot, so I don’t have quite enough of the blue and white postcard fabrics left to do an envelope back with them.  Something fairly neutral is called for, I think!  And I need to hunt down some nice buttons, too.  🙂

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social and WIP Wednesday.  🙂

Let it go, let it goooo!

Here’s the third cushion cover that I’m making as a Christmas present (the first two are here).   It’s for a little girl, so I chose to do Elsa from Frozen as an applique – her mum tells me she’s a fan.  I found some wonderful metallic-finish fabrics at a recent craft show and dug out a slightly shimmery white from my stash and I was ready to rock some Frozen goodness.

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And what would Elsa be without some magic-y icy swirls?  I doodled a few up in Inkscape and appliqued them with a wonderfully frost-coloured fabric:

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And no matter how hard I tried, the shiny bits (well, all the bits are shiny) refused to photograph well.  🙁   I used a different colour of the swirl fabric for the outer border, which brings the top up to the same size as its fellows (20.5″ square).  The Elsa applique was secured with machine satin stitch in a variegated teal thread and the swirls were done with an icy-looking metallic thread.  And I will not be rushing to do satin stitch around iddly-tiddly little fingers again in a hurry!

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As with the Minecraft cushions, my first action was to quilt in the ditch all the way around the border to secure all the layers together and make a nice boundary.  My plan after that became somewhat nebulous, but I decided to start with the obvious things, so I quilted (with the same teal thread) around Elsa and then broke out the metallic thread to do the same around the icy swirls.

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As I did so, I started to add in random flourishes and twiddles and joined some of the applique swirls together in whatever manner seemed appropriate at the time.  My confidence grew as I quilted each swirl and I worked from bottom to top, so the upper swirls are a bit more elaborate as a result!  I’m probably going to go back and add a few more twirls in on the lower bits.  At this point, though, I’m a little stumped.  I cannot decide whether to leave the ice-swirl quilting as it is or add further quilting in the background to make it look more snowy.  I like the magic-y bits and I don’t really want them to be lost, but the rest of the top looks a bit “bare”.  To delay any firm decision in that direction, I dug out some pale blue rayon thread and started quilting the “ground” instead.  I made it a bit more wavy than I’d initially intended, but I think it’s just about ok.  I’ll do more lines of quilting below those two, probably spacing them further apart as I get closer to the bottom of the panel.  Yay progress!  🙂

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social and Free-Motion Mavericks (when it goes live).  🙂