Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's been a while...

...since I've written.  Yes, to me, adding a post to my blog is like writing a letter.  And this one is overdue!

Spring Retreat came and went... three and a half days of blissful moments with my quilting friends!   Ten of us created our individual work spaces, sometimes spilling over one another, with scissors, needles, pieced blocks, and chocolate treats ending up in the wrong work space.  (Note to self... remember to discreetly hide the chocolate!)  I was a bad girl... I didn't take any pictures of the projects that were being worked on.  I forgot my camera... and even though I returned to my home in the evenings to sleep, I managed to forget the little bugger every morning when I headed back!   My trusty Canon Powershot is usually joined at my hip for these events, causing most of this group of quilters to hide behind a held up project, or run off to the ladies room when they see the lens pointed at them!  I'll blame my forgetfulness on a busier than normal month of March, and my aging memory.  But I can tell you that between a Christmas Pickle Dish flimsy, several Civil War mid size quilts, a couple of BOM projects, two casserole dish carriers, Lucy blocks, a knitted prayer shawl, embroidered tea towels, and a the beginnings of a new quilt for a grandchild, the days spoke RETREAT, loud and clear!

This was the first retreat I've ever attended without my sewing machine.  After many talks with myself in the weeks leading up to the first day, I decided to take just handwork... primarily my 3/8 inch hexie project, Stars in the Garden.  I finished piecing together the 8 half flowers and the 4 diamond shapes.  I chose my "path" fabric, and am now in the process of making the 240 hexies necessary to complete the garden. 

I am still very much enjoying this project... I have a long way to go until the completion, but it's been a fun ride so far!   The layout will probably change a time or two before I decide on the final "look."  I'm notorious for changing my mind...

Here's just a small heap of the "path" hexies.  I decided on the lighter of the two fabric choices I was struggling with.   By going with the lighter of the two, the stars and flowers will show themselves with a bit more pop! 


My mojo has slipped a bit since the end of retreat.  March has been a busy month and April will be the same, presenting challenges of balancing work, family, and me time.  So, it will be one day at a time... and what's important is that each day be enjoyable, be it at work, with family, or a little me time! 

I'm off to read blogs... or should I say the letters of many other quilters at heart!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Still playin' with hexies...

I haven't forgotten about my hexies stars and flowers for "Stars in the Garden," a project from the Spring 2013 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine.   I started this project in January, hand stitching the 3/8 inch hexies along with two of my quilting friends, Nor and Carole.  Both of them are just about finished with their projects, while I'm still working on the half stars and flowers, and have yet to start on the diamond shaped fillers.  (I'm using my job as my excuse!) 

I need 5 more of the half flowers, and 4 diamond shaped pieces.  I haven't decided on the background fabric yet... there's still plenty of time for that decision! 

Here is a picture of Carole's...  I love her choice of fabrics and colors!

Carole will be sewing the flowers and stars together while visiting her daughter in Louisiana during the next couple of weeks.

Thursday will be the first of three days of Spring Retreat for the Threads quilting group that I belong to.  We meet at one of the members homes, converting her living space into a menagerie of sewing machines and ironing boards, with power strips and extension cords criss-crossing the floor to the electrical outlets.  (We blew a fuse one year!)   If you were a fly on the wall you would hear the hum of the machines, the hiss of the irons, oldies playing with some of us quietly singing along, (no choir angels in this group...), ahhhs and ohhhs over projects being completed or just started, and laughter... lots of laughter!!!  Because we are keeping it local, everyone returns to their home to retire for the evening... giving our hostess a few hours of peace and quiet... until bright and early the next morning! 
I need to get a few projects ready... not sure what I'll be taking to work on.  I'd better get busy... I don't want to miss a minute of the fun!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beginning Boston Blocks...

It must be the year for EEP (English Paper Piecing) in my house, and the homes of some dear quilting friends.  Ongoing projects involve 3/8 inch hexies, (3 of us caught up in the madness), 1 inch diamond paper pieces, (combined with applique, 2 of us are venturing into this project), to 1 inch, 3/4 inch, and 1/2 inch honeycombs!  (8 first timers to the Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses).  Only a few of us were able to meet this past Saturday for the sole purpose of stitching a few of the Lucy beauties, and we made the best of our time!  

The Lucy blocks require fussy cutting your fabric for some of the honeycomb shapes, to be combined with prints, stripes, and solids.  24 honeycombs make up one block... actually that's the variation we  chose.  Linda Franz's book, Patchwork of the Crosses, gives you variations from 4 honeycombs to 48 honeycombs per block! 

I want to show you an example of three different fussy cuts from the same fat quarter of a large scale fabric, used at the center of the block, or the cross.


It's amazing how different each cross of these three blocks will look when they are completed!  These are Barbara's... it just goes to show you what a little (or a lot!) of creativity can be achieved from the same piece of fabric!  Are they not gorgeous?  Barbara is using 1 inch honeycomb pieces.


Carole is using 1/2 inch honeycombs, as shown in the picture below.

Her center cross has nice movement to it with the floral design!  She is getting ready for a road trip to the Southern states, and has a good supply of fabric covered honeycombs to take along.  We are expecting her to return with many completed blocks!   (Note to Carole... try to resist sipping on a Pina Colada if you have a threaded needle in your hand...)


I decided to use 3/4 inch honeycombs for my Lucy blocks.  These are a bit more time consuming than those little 3/8 inch hexies I'm addicted to!  I managed to cover 24 honeycombs, played with the layout, and decided on the one pictured below.  Connecting the pieces together will take place during a future evening in front of the TV.

I have some practicing to do with my fussy cutting regarding accuracy... and I'll get it with future blocks!  I did discover that by using the smaller honeycombs, it's a bit trickier to fussy cut fabrics with "movement" onto the honeycombs, without losing the effect.  Oh, but I love a challenge!  

I'm copying both Barbara's and Carole's idea...

I'm building a nice supply of fabric covered honeycombs so I can "play" with the layout of future Lucy blocks.  When I was going though my stash of red, brown, beige, and black fabrics I was surprised at how many fat quarters and scraps I had that would work well together.  I'll keep adding to the ones pictured above, and be ready to play with various layouts of Lucy blocks in no time! 

I'm behind in blog reading... again!  What I wouldn't give for a few uninterrupted hours to devote to that feat!   Any suggestions???