Anemone: creeping along around the back

It’s slow, fiddly work, but will be so worth it.

Here’s the exact how-to, with pictures to make all clear (hopefully…).

Trim the edge of the backing and batting away from the quilt top by about 3/16″. I prefer the minimum necessary, and think a quarter inch is too much, the outer hexies get a floppy edge.

Stitch your hexie facing together in pairs. Offer up a pair to the edge of the front, and hem the facing to the front using tiny stitches. It helps if you pull the facing back a tiny bit to give you a clear space to run your needle between the fabric layers..

Stitch both sides of the pair to the outer edge of the quilt front. Stop and knot off. You can see the stitches if you look very carefully, but they are small and neat, and with this ‘hemming’ process they’re not right on the edge and will resist wear a bit better.

Take your next facing pair. You need to stitch the right hand edge of the right hand hexie to the left hand edge of the one you’ve just finished sewing in. Lay them face to face and stitch inwards towards the centre of the back. Knot off, and flip the other half over. Now you’re ready to sew the next top edge.

At this point, I like to undo the basting on the previous pair and pull out the paper. I fold the seam allowance back in tidily and pin the free edge down through the quilt layers to secure it.

Once all the facing hexies are sewn onto the outer edge, you’ll come back to this inner pinned edge and hem that down too. After that, you’re ready to start quilting. Because the batting goes right up to the edge, you can also quilt right to the edge if you wish.

Yes, it is labour intensive, but doesn’t it give a pretty result?

Anemone: facing the next stage

That’s a big chunk of work completed.

First on the agenda was to snip away the excess fabric on the back. It’s not really necessary, but I’d like this quilt to be as soft and supple as possible, so it was worth the investment of time.

Following a few more hours of work today, the quilt is sandwiched and trimmed out. It was a tricky one to sandwich because there’s no straight edge to line things up to, the light, soft fabric of the backing is harder to control than firmer regular backing, and the quilt itself needs to be handled a bit more gently than usual because of all the hand sewn seams around the edge.

The easiest way to manage the job turned out to be first sandwiching the backing and backing on the floor, then hanging that up on the design wall, batting side out. Onto that I pinned the quilt top, just along the top edge, and then I rolled it up and sprayed adhesive onto the batting from the top down, unrolling the top and smoothing out as I went along. I masked everything off with pieces of plastic drop sheet, which I seem to be able to get several uses out before they get impossibly gummed up!

I’d left the outer row of hexie papers in place to stabilise the edges, stop stitches unravelling and keep the folds crisp till they could be stuck down permanently.

Once the top was in place and smoothed out, I went round the edge unpicking the basting, gently pulling out the papers and sticking the hexies back down again.

Then I pinned each hexie on the outside edge through the sandwich, and finally, I trimmed out the excess batting and backing.

Now I’m ready to start assembling sections of the facing and stitching them in place along the outer edge. Finally, I’ll hem the inner edges down onto the backing. And then, and then, I can start quilting!

I’m having to take things a bit slowly just now. My back is going through a rather painful phase, and to top that off, I put my foot down a hidden pothole in the grass when I was walking Mouse the other day, and I’ve managed to tear the ligaments down the outside of my right ankle. There’s some quite spectacular swelling and bruising, and I’m lurching around in a rigid brace. Happy days….

Never mind. In a while, I’ll be able to sit contentedly and start hand quilting this baby ūüôā

Anemone: back at it

Did you think I was taking a break?

Nope. I’ve spent the past two days adding the additional columns of hexie flowers at left and right. It’s laborious. It’s fiddly. It’s, dare I say it, booooorrrrinnnggg. But it’s done. The front is finished. I’ve even taken out all the papers except those at the extreme edge. But it looks exactly like the last version I showed you, so no photo of that.

Once it was all in one piece, I counted up how many hexies I’d need for the facing on the back. Turns out it’s 78, or 39 each of the spot and floral fabrics. I’ve made a start, so I thought I’d show you what I plan the back should look like:

What do you think?¬† I find it fresh and pretty, and a quiet antidote to the riot of colour on the front, without being dull. The backing fabric will go right up to the edge of the front hexies, and then be trimmed back just a little so the edge is nice and flat rather than thick and bodgy. Where the outside edge of the front and back hexies meets, I’ll whipstitch them together, edge to edge. Where the inside edge of the hexies meets the backing fabric, I’ll hem them down onto the backing. Does that help to explain the plan?

Because these edging hexies will also need to be quilted, the facing has to go on before quilting, so that’ll be the final stage. It’s going to take a fair while to get there, so don’t hold your breath.

Next steps: finish making the facing hexies; piece together the backing; trim out excess fabric on the reverse of the quilt top; cut batting and spray baste the quilt sandwich; trim away excess backing and batting; stitch together sections of the facing, press hard, remove papers and whipstitch to outside edge. There will be some easing required, I think, so I won’t be hemming down the inside edge till right at the end. And then it’ll be time to quilt!

Now, excuse me, I have an appointment with another 44 hexies.

Anemone: facing facts

Sorry, sorry, yet more puns…

So, the back of the Anemone quilt. I’m not going to straighten out the edge and give this quilt a conventional binding. I have plenty of straight edged quilts. No, I’m going to face the ziggy zaggy edge with yet more hexies on the back. Lots more handwork to do…. Firstly, I have to make all the hexies for the facing. Then I’ll layer it with batting and backing and spray baste the layers together. I’ll trim out the excess of both backing and batting so it’s back a quarter inch from the edge of the outer hexies, and then I’ll lay down the facing on top. The facing strips will need to be assembled into long strips. I’ll starch and press the bejasus out of them, remove the papers and gently lay the strips on top of the backing and quickly pin them in place. I’ll need to whip stitch the outer edges of the quilt together, and finally, hem down the inner edges of the facing onto the backing.

The main backing is going to be this nice blue and white voile in the leaf and animal print. I’d originally bought it to make clothes, but I’m a voile convert for a quilt backing because it feels so soft and lovely when it’s quilted. The facing will combine the navy and white spot with the pink floral. I think this is a pretty combination, and will produce a reversible quilt where the back is just as pretty, if a lot less colourful!

I’ve decided what I’m doing for the quilting. It’ll be offset hexies, the same size, but overlapping the intersections, like a ghostly outline of a second quilt overlying this one, but slightly ‘slipped’. Hard to describe, but hopefully all will make sense once I can show some progress. I’ve decided on a medium-pale grey quilting thread, which will blend nicely into most of the colours and only show a bit on the black.

The original plan for this quilt included entering it in Mackay Show in June. The Show has been postponed to who knows when, so that’s not exactly a deadline any more. But one of the show criteria is that quilts need to feature a hanging pocket. Given that this won’t have a straight edge, I’m having to consider how it might be hung, and I’m thinking tabs along the top edge. Time enough to finalise that. So, quite a lot still to be done…

… in case you thought this baby was in the home stretch!

 

 

Anemone: I think that’s it…

I think this quilt may finally be big enough.

This was before, the way I showed you last time.

This is now, with an extra row of flowers on the right hand side. I still have to make the dotty fillers.

As you can see, I’ve taken out that dark blue flower. It was just annoying me too much.

To me, it’s now large enough. I’ll still want to make coloured fillers to go round the edge so that it’s a simple zigzag, but there are sufficient complete flowers now, in my opinion. Now for several quiet days attaching all 14 new flowers and 13 dotty fillers. For clarity, this quilt is 70 inches wide by 67 inches high, and each flower is roughly 10 inches square. Big, eh?

For the back, my current plan is to use a single fabric backing, but to face the edge all round with an outer row of black hexies so the final edge of the quilt will be the zigzag edge of the hexie flowers.

Once it’s faced, I can start the hand quilting. There’s something to keep me out of trouble for several weeks! Before I start, though, there’s still a fair bit of work to be done. Once that’s finished, I have to make a decision. What colour thread shall I use for the quilting?

I was going to enter this quilt into the quilt section at Mackay Show. That has been postponed for the foreseeable future, but once it’s on again, I should have the quilt ready.

Every lockdown has a silver lining…

Anemo’ Inspo’

Yes, OK, the title’s a bit of a stretch…

What I’m trying to say here is that when I saw Wild Daffodil’s latest post, I was inspired to crack on with more Anemone quilt hexie flowers, especially a pink one! If you click through on the link and scroll to the end, you’ll see her gorgeous pink anemone and may have a lightbulb moment about the reason for this quilt’s name (if you’re not a gardener). I had only 5 more to do until I thought I maybe had enough.

So I chose a very strong pink, with blossom on it rather similar to the amelanchier blossom she’s already showing. It’s the one at bottom left. The other flowers fill what I feel are colour gaps; it’s all getting a bit neutral down that side, and you know how I love my brights! What do you think? I’m a bit worried the blue with teal spots is too dark and strong for this quilt… Would it be better in a different location? What do you think? And is the quilt big enough now, or do I need another row on the right?

Finally, I leave you with my latest face mask, made from scraps of the top I’m wearing. It wasn’t quite enough, hence the black filler pieces at the sides. The linen is too loose a weave for an effective mask, so I’ve lined it with batik to increase the impermability.

S³, everyone: Stay home, Stay safe and Stay well.

Anemone quilt: how to do hexies

It’s this quilt again.

Pauline said she couldn’t get her head around how I made the hexie flowers, and could I explain? It’s not at all hard to do, but a bit tricky to explain in words, so there will be lots of pictures. You can click and zoom on any of them. This isn’t going to be interesting or new for everyone, but if it demystifies the process for even a couple of you, I’ll be happy.

Let’s get started. For each flower you need a centre and six petals. In this quilt all the centres, or hearts, are black. To save time, I just cut squares that will accommodate the 2″ hexie papers*, rather than laboriously trace and trim out hexie shapes in the fabric. You can fold and hold the fabric in place if there’s a bit extra, but with the trimmed shapes, you might need clips, pins or tape to hold it in place while you stitch. Most of my hexie quilts use much smaller papers, but I liked the big ones to showcase the fabrics.

Then start wrapping each hexie paper with the fabric and stitching it in place. This is called ‘basting’. Fold a corner of the fabric over the paper, stitch down until the next corner, where you fold the fabric over again and stitch down to secure the fold. I start with a good knot, which at the end of the process I use to help me pull out the basting at the end.

At the end, simply do a double stitch to secure, and snip the thread. Now repeat that six more times with the petal fabric.

Once you have all 7 hexies done, arrange them around the heart so that the pattern is pleasing, if appropriate. You can obviously use all different fabrics, or two, or three or just one.

Take the heart hexie, and one of the petals, laying them face to face. Knot the end of your thread. Start stitching along the edge where they meet. The stitches should pick up just a few threads at the edge of the hexies, and not pass through the paper at all. Work on the basis of at least 10 stitches per inch.

When you reach the end, pick up the next petal in the layout, lay it on the front of the heart, face to face, and continue with the thread from attaching the previous petal. Carry on all the way round until you reach your start point. Do not knot off and cut the thread.

Put the edges of the two adjacent petals together, and using the same thread, stitch these two edges together. Knot off and cut the thread. Work around the flower to attach all the petals to each other.

You will end up with a neat, crisp flower on the front.

At this point you have a choice. If you have used lightweight fabrics, quilting cotton, shirting, etc, you can leave the corners of the fabric on the back, as they won’t make an enormous difference when quilting. If you have used firmer or heavier fabrics, it would be a good idea to trim them off to leave a ¬ľ to ¬Ĺ inch seam allowance, depending on how close to the edge you have basted. This will reduce the thickness and weight of the final quilt.

Use a pair of sharp scissors and snip away the excess fabric. You don’t need to get an immaculate result, just tidy it up a bit.

So there you are, a pretty, tidy hexie flower. There’s an endless variety of ways to join these. As you can see from the photo at the beginning, I’m separating the flowers with polka dot hexies. You can also surround them with a border and then a separator, or you can create diamonds using extra hexies, and so on. A quick search on Pinterest for ‘EPP’ or ‘Hexie Quilts,’ or a simple Google search will show a huge choice. One of my all-time favourites is a baby quilt using white petals, yellow hearts and green borders and separators, like a field of daisies. All the fabrics were different, which gave it a visual richness that flat, same fabrics would have lacked in this simple design.

Once you’ve joined flowers together, you can pull out the basting from all the hexies except the ones around the edge. Press well first, then unpick the basting, starting with the end stitches and pulling on the knot once you have one or two stitches left. Slide the paper out. You can use it again. It may need a bit of an iron to flatten out; papers get creased when you fold your work up between sessions.

I’m sometimes asked why I stitch through the papers instead of stitching only through the fabrics. It’s because I’ve tried both ways, and I prefer this one. It gives a crisper edge and sharper corners, as the fabric is tensioned over the paper more than using the other method. You may find the fact that you don’t need to unpick the basting is worth the lack of precision. Alternatively, you can buy little glue sticks you can run along the back edge of each paper and stick the fabric down. I don’t like this method as sometimes my papers stay in for years on a long term project, and by the time I remove them, the glue has stuck tight and shreds of paper remain, which is a Bad Thing, and ruins your papers for future use.

I hope this has clarified the process for you (looking at you, Pauline!), and that you might be tempted to give it a try. Who knows, being in lockdown might actually provide the impetus of boredom needed!

If you do, I’d love to hear about it.

 

Note: hexie papers are sized according to the length of each side, not by diameter. You can buy them from any quilt shop in packs of 50 or 100, and in a variety of sizes. 2 inches is a fun size to start with, as you get results quickly, but isn’t such a great way to bust your scraps if that’s what you want to do.

ScrapHappy December: Now we’re getting somewhere

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the¬†day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host¬†ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here’s where I’d got to last time:

And despite a hiatus in actually sewing on this piece due to eye surgery, here’s where I am now, and I’m pleased with progress.

Those three flowers at the end of last month’s photo are attached, and so are three more. At this point, I won’t be adding any more to the length, I’ll start making smaller, squareish blocks to add at the bottom edge, which will make sewing them in easier.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything ‚Äď no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture.¬†Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you‚Äôd like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me¬†page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact¬†Gun via her blog¬†to join. We welcome new members. You don‚Äôt have to worry about making a¬†long term commitment¬†or even¬†join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and¬†you‚Äôll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who¬†joins¬†ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date ūüôā

Kate (me!), Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

See you again, same time next month

ScrapHappy November: Not too bad!

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the¬†day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host¬†ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here’s where I’d got to, having, started again.

And now, this is where I am. Not bad at all, though I say so myself. If I can keep going at the same sort of rate I’ll catch up soon! It’s two hexie flowers short of the original width, and of course, I still have to sew in that section on the left,

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything ‚Äď no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture.¬†Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you‚Äôd like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me¬†page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact¬†Gun via her blog¬†to join. We welcome new members. You don‚Äôt have to worry about making a¬†long term commitment¬†or even¬†join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and¬†you‚Äôll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who¬†joins¬†ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date ūüôā

Kate (me!), Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

See you again, same time next month

ScrapHappy October: A fresh start

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the¬†day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host¬†ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Days Gone By. Now gracing someone else’s home without my consent, or worse still, decorating the council dump. Grrrr.

You will recall from a recent post that this lovely went missing, and it has not been recovered despite all efforts.

It took a day of misery, some tears and a very large bar of chocolate to bring me to my senses. It was a scrappy quilt. Those pieces would normally have been thrown away. All that was lost was my time and some bits of paper.

So, well, I started again.

I still had the photo of the arrangement of hexies I wanted to add to the bottom of DGB#1. So I just took that as my start point and cracked on. In the unlikely and miraculous event that DGB#1 turns up, I can just add this piece as originally planned. If not, well, it becomes the top of DGB#2. Simple!

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything ‚Äď no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture.¬†Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you‚Äôd like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me¬†page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact¬†Gun via her blog¬†to join. We welcome new members. You don‚Äôt have to worry about making a¬†long term commitment¬†or even¬†join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and¬†you‚Äôll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who¬†joins¬†ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date ūüôā

Kate (me!), Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

See you again, same time next month