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.  🙂

….August?!

My last post was in August?!?!  Good grief.  Not good.  Not good at all.  Not that I have been slothful for the last four months, far from it, but I’ve been slothful about posting about my crafty activities.  My bad.  🙁  I’m going to do few catch-up posts to share what I’ve been up to craft-wise while I’ve been failing to blog, so this is part 1 of n, in which n is likely to be 4 or 5, given that some of my projects really do deserve posts of their own.  😉

To make a start, I’m still working on my hexagons project – as well as all the pretty hexies I received, I’m in the process of making a bunch of my own, it’s a great activity for unwinding in front of the TV of an evening.  Here are some of the hexies I received from my swap partners, plus bonus fabric in many cases:

Cute, no?  Once I’d churned through the bonus fabric (some people, bless them, also sent bonus templates!), I cut a whole mess of squares from my own stash to “use up” the spare templates I had printed and cut out.  I’ve got over 300 hexies finished now, and the number’s set to grow before I’m “done”.  🙂  I have a sneaking suspicion that I could end up with a squares/templates arms race if I’m not careful.  😛  But it’s safe to say that I’ve really been bitten by the EPP bug now, as I’ll demonstrate soon with a project I am really proud of.  😉

However, the big news for the summer in craft terms was the completion of my second commission project, Blue Diamonds.

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It was great to see it finished and in its new home.  🙂  I finished it while sitting on dogs in Dorset (all those points means a lot of hand sewing of binding), then delivered it in person en route back to Wales (with a side trip to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, one day is never quite enough for that show!).

The lady I made the quilt for does a lot of crafting herself and kindly gave me some bits of blue-and-white fabric for my stash that were already cut into (rather approximate) squares.  In the theme of “pass it on”, I decided to use the fabric she gave me, plus a little from my own stash, to make up a little quilt top to donate to a friend who works for Project Linus:

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In a brief departure from quilting, I was seduced by a beautiful, untouched skein of a merino/silk blend yarn that I saw in a local charity shop for the comparatively bargain price of £3 (I looked up the yarn later online – it’s usually about three times that!).  The colour scheme was blues and greens and the yarn itself felt lovely and luxurious.  I do like yarn, but as a non-knitter I don’t often buy it because the nice stuff is usually expensive for an amateur like me to mangle.  Most of my previous efforts with yarn have ended in tears and swearing.  However, one skein seemed not too intimidating and I can use a crochet hook a bit, so I took it home with me and googled free crochet scarf patterns.  Happily, I quickly stumbled across a pattern for yarn that broadly resembled mine in appearance and weight and was also pretty straightforward for a novice hooker, the broomstick lace infinity scarf.  Bonus points for being an infinity scarf (a big barrier for me wearing scarves is dealing with the ends) and for pretty much only needing one stitch.  I tracked down a suitable crochet hook, pressed a short length of wooden dowel into service as my “broomstick” and set to!

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A few evenings of patient hooking (and one of untangling the horrid mess I made because I forgot to ball the yarn before I started!), and I had myself a lovely new scarf for the winter.  I love it a lot, it’s really nice to wear.  I made my scarf a bit longer because my yarn seemed to be slightly finer than that used in the tutorial, and I think I should also have made it a little wider, too.  There’s still not quite half the skein left, so I am debating whether I can figure out how to attach it to make the scarf a few units wider.

So here’s a start, I’m off to hunt down supper and write up some more project posts to share.  🙂  Expect part 2 of n soon!

Meet My New Addiction

It’s official, I really like EPP!  Well, the initial “cover shapes in fabric” part, anyway – I haven’t quite got to the “join shapes together” part yet, but I can’t see why I won’t enjoy that bit too.  🙂

I’ve discovered how fun EPP is thanks to the craft swap I mentioned recently.  Having decided to sign up, I also decided that I would try and sew up as many hexagons as I could for my partners (with the exception of the one person who only wanted squares)… mission accomplished!  I took my little IKEA bags full of templates and fabric squares away with me while I dog-sat for my cousin, and managed to churn pleasingly briskly through all of them while I was away.

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Here they are all ready to sew!

And here they are all sewn up and ready to be put in the post:

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This person requested squares only, so I sent hers out before I went away.  Unfortunately, Royal Fail in their infinite wisdom decided to put her parcel through the office woodchipper and delivered a mangled, empty envelope, so I had to re-do hers when I got home (the picture above is of the replacements).

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Much annoy.  Very sulk.  😐  “Sincere apologies” my bum.  To make up for it, I did extra squares for her and while I was at it, I did extras for everyone else, too – after all, I already had the rotary cutter out and the scrap bin upended all over the floor!

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At 2″ on a side, these were the largest hexies requested (all the others are 1″ a side, and I requested 3/4″ ones).  This partner asked for a wide variety of fabrics to build up her collection.  This was by far the most fabric-consuming parcel, so in this case I decided to just add in the snippet of VW camper fabric – it’s cute and I think she might like it.

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Some people asked for multiples of 2 or more – this person wanted a good variety of prints as well.  I really hope she enjoys the red/gold square print, it’s one of my favourites!

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Guess what this person’s favourite colour is!  😀  I think she and I might be colour-twins, I love blue too and it was hard to pick out just a few blues for her!

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Yellows, purples, reds and aquas, as requested.  🙂

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Another person who requested a mixture of prints (her only criteria was “no pink!”) – there’s a few duplicates there but not many.

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Lastly, this person requested greys, aqua, cute critters and mushrooms – I thought I was going to fail on the last two but then I discovered I had that purple unicorn print, which featured both – yay!  The paper cranes were a great find while I was away and I think they count for both grey *and* cute critters.

Being new to EPP, it took me a little while to settle into a method I found most comfortable, effective and quick.  Because I cut my templates from card, I didn’t fancy trying to pin or stitch through that, so I opted for using paper clips to hold the fabric around the shape as I sewed:

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As I stitched each side, I moved the paperclips round the shape – this probably wasn’t strictly necessary except on the fussy-cut prints, but it did stop me losing paperclips down the side of the sofa!  I also learned that the ends of paperclips are quite sharp and will catch very easily in fabric and thread, so I couldn’t push them all the way onto the hexagon – this meant that they had a vexing habit of pinging off without warning unless I was fairly careful, but I still preferred this method overall.  It’s been great practice and I’ve really enjoyed learning how to do it, I’ll be trying some more challenging shapes soon too.

I’m still receiving hexagons from the other swap partners (three parcels have arrived so far), when I have them all then I’ll show them off in their own dedicated post and explain what I want to do with them all.  🙂

Creative Oozings #20 – A Crafting Holiday: The Birds and the Bees

While I was travelling in 2012/13, I stayed with my cousin and his family in Australia for a month.  They were very good to me and I had a lot of fun helping with their little daughter Chloe, who was about one year old at the time.  As a way to say thank you, I decided that I would try and make a quilt for Chloe as a Christmas present (not that quilts are much needed in Australia at Christmas, but it could also be an excellent beach/picnic rug and might come in useful when they travel to the ‘States to see family there!).  Again, I decided to impose the deadline of entry into the Pembrokeshire County Show to make me get on and finish the quilt.Sunny fat quarters Continue reading Creative Oozings #20 – A Crafting Holiday: The Birds and the Bees

Creative Oozings #17 – A Busy Couple of Months

Long time, no post.  Not because I haven’t been doing things, more because I’ve not stopped doing things.  August and September have seen several completed quilty bits, several shows of varying sizes, and a new member of the family, among other things.  It’s not been dull!

Below are some sneak peeks of things I’ve made over the last couple of months; I’ll add links to the specific posts as I write them.

Continue reading Creative Oozings #17 – A Busy Couple of Months

Creative Oozings #5 – Christmas Presents

Shortly before Christmas, Stefani proposed that we do a couple of smaller projects that could become Christmas presents.  One was a pin board, another was a Christmas-themed fabric wreath.  I ended up being a bit after the fact with the pin board and making it at home (because I’d got in a mix-up over which session we were doing it in), but managed to be in sync for the wreath (which was awkward because it was the week that pretty much all of us forgot to bring along cutting mats and rotary cutters!).  Digging through my stash, I realised that I had a surprising amount of Christmassy fat quarters, though I’d bought a few more just in case.  I like Christmas fabric a lot (it’s usually so sparkly!), but I also find it a real challenge in terms of design because it’s SO Christmassy.  Anyway.

Continue reading Creative Oozings #5 – Christmas Presents