Lonely no more, the Hawaiian quilt block gets some new friends!

I was busy this weekend.

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Destiny was embroidering like a maniac!  The sections still need to be sewn together, but I managed to stitch out all four parts for each of the red and blue quilt blocks.  The vibrant colors are making me so happy!

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I continue to be amazed at the stitch quality of my Destiny.  It is so consistent and lovely.

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The designs in this Hawaiian Quilt pack by Anita Goodesign are amazing.  That company provides such consistent high-quality projects!  I’m going to need a big pile of blocks for a king-size quilt.

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Notice my solo pineapple square?  I ran out of embroidery thread  after this one.  Oops.  Well, that and I screwed up another two of them.  So we’ll call this one a work-in-progress.

I was working on organizational items in my studio between thread changes on my machine.  This week I will be moving my sewing studio upstairs to a much bigger space.  Unfortunately, this will involve a bunch of dudes with big muscles.  So that’s a wild card.  I’ll be spending my days prepping, unloading bookcases, carrying supplies, and generally wearing myself out without a lot of creativity to show for it.

My small space always looks like a bomb has exploded in it, so I’m looking forward to my bigger spot.  My issue is sure to be the one facing all of us with large fabric collections…storage.  I’ll keep you posted.

Does anyone else see a Hawaiian quilt in my future? I think it’s my Destiny.

Look what happened at my house on Friday!

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The first block of my Hawaiian quilt is in the bag, and I am thrilled.  I’m using an Anita Goodesign embroidery collection called…wait for it…Hawaiian Quilt.  My plan is to use a variety of fun batik fabrics and make it really colorful.

I had three of these four sections completed when my sewing machine decided to have a spa visit.  The good news here is that I had actually saved my design in the machine memory!  I was able to complete the partially stitched section without a hitch.

Wondering what was up with my Babylock Destiny?  Just a big hairball – well, a thread tangle.  A spool of thread I had used previously kept shredding and breaking.  Some of that thread got caught up inside and built a nest in the machine.  Thanks to the clever and talented repair department at my dealer for solving that issue!

Destiny and I are resuming our love affair right where we left off.

Waves in the water and beach balls, all in one convenient quilt!

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I finished my curved piecing yesterday!  It is really fun, once you get over the initial horror of taking a rotary cutter and slicing randomly through the fabric.

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Anytime I need help smoothing out fabric on a flat surface, Tippy the massive cat shows up to offer his services.  He is 20 pounds of fabric love.  Apparently that front beach ball needed some work.

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When that beach ball was properly pressed, his work was done.

I had the beach ball parts fused and cut out already, so don’t be thinking I performed any super-human piecing tricks.  I attached them to the background and zigzagged them on.  I ripped out parts of a couple of the seams so that two of the balls would look like they were in the water.

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Now I am thinking about the borders.  I had a plan, similar to the one shown on the pattern (Day at the Shore Quilt by See How We Sew.)  That may change…

I’m making waves, and here’s a curved piecing tutorial so you can make them too!

Aloha!

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The quilt that I am working on has waves in the background.  They are freehand waves, and it turns out they are pretty simple to make.  Shall we dive right in?

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Here are the waves so far.  The fabric for the next layer is on the left.

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Place the new wave over the previous wave, lining up the selvedges or edges and using a consistent measurement across.  This diamond fabric overlaps the blue approximately 2 inches all the way from edge to edge.

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Obviously, I cannot see the bottom of the blue fabric now.  I use my ruler as a guide along that edge, so that when I cut, I will stay above the ruler by at LEAST 1/4″ so I can have a proper seam allowance.

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The next step is cutting the curve.  I did my freehand.  The one in the above photo is a narrow strip, so the curve is very gentle.

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As I remove the top of the diamond fabric and the bottom of the blue fabric, you can see that the curves fit together perfectly.  Now it is time to mark the fabric so the curves will match after stitching.  I used a Frixion pen which disappears when the fabric is ironed.

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I mark my curves about every six inches or so.

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Pin the pieces right side together, matching each set of marks.

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Stitch, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, easing the curves for a smooth seam.  Below is the stitched seam before pressing.

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Using your iron and lots of steam, press the seam downward.

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And voila!  Beautiful waves, stitched and steamed to perfection!

The fabric shown in this tutorial is Tidal Lace by Kim Andersson, from Windham Fabrics.  The quilt I am working on is A Day at the Shore Quilt by See How We Sew.

Somewhere out there is a nekkid geisha. I have her kimono right here.

A new quilt top has sprung forth from my studio!

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The gorgeous center panel of this, with the red peonies and dangly flower things, really grabbed me when I laid my eyes on it.  It’s got gold in it, too.  Flowers and bling…yes please.

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But I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do with a panel.  Ugh.  Then my wily little friend at Vicky’s Fabrics showed me a book, Japanese Quilt Inspirations by Susan Briscoe.  There it was, the Hanui, a patchwork kimono quilt.

The materials list, yardage requirements, and cutting directions are poorly arranged and incomplete.  The quilt itself is straightforward and stunning.

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It was fun picking out bits and bobs of fabric for the patchwork sleeves.  I added some pieces from my fabric collection, also.  I can’t imagine making this quilt without throwing in some koi!

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We’re having a lovely, breezy day here on Kauai.  I was trying to figure out how to photograph my quilt.  Lightbulb moment, I went into the tool shed and got a couple of heavy duty clamps.  Then I used them to hang my quilt on the fence.  It was ALMOST perfect, except the bottom of the quilt kept blowing up.

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I think I found the perfect item to hold it in place.

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I dare you to try and touch my quilt.

Machine stitching the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt rosette #2: I still love paper and glue, but mostly fabric

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Most of the time I think it is wonderful that I don’t know today’s date.  That’s one of the perks of retirement.  But on Friday, I had a lightbulb moment.  I realized there was only one week left in February.  And I had finished only the center of my “assignment” in the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt along!

Although I had cut and glued the pieces for the first round, there they were, sitting on the table next to my chair.  I had stuffed them into a cute little bag.  But I could hear them whispering.  Kinda like Clarice in Silence of the Lambs.

Before I tell you what I did on Saturday,  I want to give you a little back story.  I am not a block of the month kind of gal.  I’m not overly fond of randomly imposed deadlines.  If I am doing a project, I want to do it because I WANT to, and WHEN I want to.  Especially if it is something that I am supposed to be enjoying.  Something I voluntarily chose to do because it would be fun.  Or because I could learn something.

Really, a project needs to speak to me in some way.  So I don’t want that project to get all sassy and belligerent, up in my face looking at it’s little timepiece and telling me to get moving.  Why would any of us want to do that?  Time is precious.  Life is short.  There are cats waiting to be petted, chocolate waiting to be eaten, naps that need taking.  And I, for one, intend to honor all those important things.

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Anyhoo…my little paper pieces are whispering.  They are whispering politely, and I am still interested in what they have to say.  So I got out my glue stick, fired up Netflix, cut myself with my rotary cutter, and got back into the game.  And I followed my own tutorials.  I pieced those puppies with my sewing machine.

Now, mind you, I had hand stitched the center.  I had cut and glued the first round, and hand stitched three of those hexies.  On Saturday, I cut, glued, and stitched together the rest of the rosette.  That’s six Dolores’ and a shitload of Carols.  And attached them all to each other.  Rosette #2, in the bag.

I didn’t do it because of peer pressure.  I didn’t do it because I thought I might disappoint someone.  I didn’t even do it because  I would disappoint myself.  I did it because I actually wanted to have the rosette finished.  I want to move on to the next one, I want to anticipate number three!

You see, I figured out what I wanted out of this project.  I asked myself if it was the product or the process?  For me, is it all about spending my time hand stitching?  That would be a big no, not for me.  I want the finished quilt.  Since my goal is the product, the finished quilt, I had to figure out how I could make that happen.  And hand stitching the whole thing was taking me down that well-worn path that leads to a dead end.  If I tried to hand stitch the whole thing, this project would end up abandoned.

Knowing my limits, I have chosen to do my rosettes in an unconventional manner.  And it works for me.  I am happy with my results.  And, most importantly, I am still excited by this project.  I know that my new friend Katja Marek will be happy for me  too.

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I was not the first to finish this rosette, not by far.  And I know I am far from the last to finish.  But it’s hanging on my wall, next to it’s fellow rosette.  And it looks spectacular, and triumphant, and inspirational.  And I want to make more companions for these two.

Now go out there and make something pretty!  Right NOW!

P.S.  If you want to try machine stitching on your EPP project, here is a link to my three-part tutorial:

https://handmadebycarolecarr.com/2015/01/23/machine-stitching-the-millefiore-quilt-tutorial-part-one-for-those-of-us-who-hand-sew-at-the-speed-of-a-turtle/

https://handmadebycarolecarr.com/2015/01/24/machine-stitching-the-new-hexagon-millefiore-quilt-tutorial-part-two-this-is-where-i-stop-feeling-bad-about-my-hand-sewing-skills/

https://handmadebycarolecarr.com/2015/01/25/machine-stitching-the-new-hexagon-millefiore-quilt-tutorial-part-three-where-i-actually-finish-before-february/

I’ve got a pair of Mark Twains, can you beat that?

I feel like I am playing that old card game Authors.

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It’s still February, right?  So this is my second Mark Twain this year.  So far.

I didn’t exactly set a goal for sewing that included multiple American humorists.  Funny how things work out.  But I’ve always had a soft spot for Mark Twain since we share a hometown, Hannibal, MO.  (Say hi to my mom if you’re in Hannibal.)  I posted a picture of my Twainy quilt in January.

Mark Twain's head hovering in space

The quilt is heading off next month to the amazing Deonn for her quilty touch.

Just before my Destiny headed to the spa, I had an idea.  I started an embroidery project that I hope to make into a fun and very personal quilt.  I don’t want to share the project until I feel that it is properly cooked.  Suffice it to say that Mark Twain will be in the quilt.

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And maybe some stars.

So we have a mystery brewing here.  Mark Twain, stars, a gopher…

Machine stitching the New Hexagon Millefiore quilt, tutorial part three: where I actually finish before February

What is the date today?  I believe it is NOT February.  It’s still in the Januaries.  And my rosette #1 is done.

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I’m not being braggy, I am making a statement that I did not believe would ever be true.  And if I had kept on with my turtle-paced, nay, snail-paced hand sewing, I sure wouldn’t have a finished rosette to show you now.

I have to give a big shout out to all who have sent me the encouragement and positive comments on the first two parts of the tutorial.  Especially Katja Marek.  I am so glad she is using her powers for good and not evil, drawing us in to this project that is making our world a more beautiful (and apparently hexagon-shaped) place.  Go see her at http://www.katjasquiltshoppe.com

Shall we finish up the tutorial now?  Let’s put the final round on the rosette.

There are 18 hexagons in the final row, 6 each of three different configurations.  (If I may point out the obvious, make sure you don’t mix up your mirror-image Maries.)  Using a bunch of of the blue painter’s tape, line up your first two  blocks.

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This shows Brandi and Marie taped to the second round.  We’re going to attach Brandi first; Brandi is the block with the two floral diamonds in it.   (The second block needs to be taped in place because Brandi is joined to it in the first seam.

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Same procedure as before, removing tape, pivoting, and lock stitching.  This is the same was each of the subsequent blocks will be joined, so tape on your next Marie and go for it!

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The stitching to join this block starts at the place where we pivoted sewing our first seam.  In other words, at the place where Brandi and Marie both meet the row below.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of the start of this seam.  The first photo below shows the pivot after the first part of the seam is shown.  Notice that this seam will have two pivot points.

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Time to lather, rinse and repeat my friends.  I’ll wait here for you.

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That was intermission.

To get the papers out of the back, just follow Katja’s instructions in the book.  I am always looking for a reason to use fun tools, so I love an excuse to get out my pointy little awl.

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Think of this like paper dolls, the kind that punch out.  I always loved those as a kid.  The papers have been stitched in around the edges, but they are now perforated.  Gently pull on them, and if they don’t release right away, punch them out!

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What more would it take to convince you to try this?  Go buy that book.  Dig through your collection.  You know you want to.

Now go make something pretty!

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Machine stitching the New Hexagon Millefiore quilt, tutorial part two: this is where I stop feeling bad about my hand sewing skills

This process rocks!  I hope some of you have had a chance to try it!  I am still amazed and pleased with the results.  First, a re-cap of part one and some questions that have come up.  Then, on to part two, sure to have your project speeding along.

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Short and narrow zig-zag stitch.  Got your thin, sharp needle loaded?  And the smoke-colored invisible thread?  There’s a reason I’m using the smoke-colored instead of the clear invisible thread.  Smoke blends right into the fabric, the clear stuff looks shiny.  Always use a lockstitch (stitch 2 or 3 times in the same hole) at the beginning and end of each seam.  Don’t cut the threads short – I leave mine 2 or 3 inches.  We don’t want scratchy whiskers on the rosettes!

And if you have somehow made it this far, yet don’t know what we are talking about, head over to Katja’s  website and learn more about the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-Along.   http://www.katjasquiltshoppe.com  And definitely check out the FB page The New Hexagon – Millefiore Quilt-Along.

Here we go!

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This is block one from the outer row of rosette one.  Six pieces in the hexagon, I decided that the best way to start was to join the three hexies in the center together first.  I used my painter’s tape to hold the three together.

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Lockstitch and zigzag, stopping with the needle down before hitting the tape.  Don’t stitch through the tape – you can’t see where you’re going, and it will gum up your needle.

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Lift the presser foot.  Lose the tape, stitch to the intersection.  Pivot and continue.

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You’ll notice that the tape behind the presser foot in the last photo above remains in place.  Keep it there so the blue hexie does not wiggle away from it’s position.

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Start the seam, remove the tape, finish the seam, lockstitch.  Lather, rinse and repeat.

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Look at those hairy little threads just dangling.  Now we’re going to do the seam joining this blue hexie to the other green/yellow hexie.

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This is the first time we have to deal with a thread sticking out of the middle of a hexie.

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Flip that baby over, and use a pin or a needle to coax that thread end through to the wrong side.  Then just leave it flopping around on the wrong side.

Now we’re going to add the next piece, a purple diamond.  Notice that I have kept the pieces stacked the same way they are to be constructed.  Just lay the stitched section on top of the stack, lining it up with it’s kin, and it’s easy to see what gets attached and where.  I tuck in the thread ends that are sticking out where the two green/yellow hexies meet.  Tape them to the backside if they are misbehaving.  And then do it!

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Tuh duh!  Now keep on keepin’ on.

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Now you must stand back and admire this stack of yumminess!

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Tomorrow is the third (and final) part of the tutorial, where everything joins together to finish rosette one!  Just in time to start rosette 2.  Tomorrow I’ll also talk about popping out the papers.   My fingers are getting tired of talking today.

Now stop reading and go make something pretty!

Machine stitching the New Hexagon Millefiore quilt, tutorial part one: for those of us who hand sew at the speed of a turtle

You can’t help but drool over all the eye candy that is happening in the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-Along.  The Facebook group has more than 1600 people!  Holy cows!  And if you’ve been under a rock, head over to Katja Marek’s website, then meet the rest of us right back here.  We’ll wait.  http://www.katjasquiltshoppe.com

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Ooh, here’s an idea…how to make this project happen without spending every waking moment hand stitching.  Because, frankly, I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to avoid hand sewing.  I know I’m not the only one out here that wants to do this project, but NOT by hand!

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First, get all your pieces prepped.  Just follow Katja’s directions in the book.  She’s got this part on lock and load.  Count how many you need of each shape, each fabric.  Make them into little piles.

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Now lay out the hexagons.  This is block 12 from the book.  Just stack up all the sets you need, in this case, 6 of block 12, laid out just like they need to be joined.

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The next step is to determine your logical sewing sequence, which seams to join first to minimize the number of starts and stops.  In this case, joining each green hexagon to the purple diamonds above and below it.  Use blue painter’s tape to hold together the pieces to be joined.  Comes off without a gooey mess.

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The thread I am using is a smoke colored invisible thread, top and bobbin.  I set the machine on zig-zag, 1.5mm width, .8mm length.  Use a thin, sharp needle.  I’m using a size 10 Microtex needle.

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Use a foot that allows good visibility to the needle.  Anchor the thread with a lockstitch at each end, catching each side with the  zig-zag  stitch.

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Don’t trim the thread ends.  Think about the thread like little whiskers…if you cut them short they feel all pokey.  Leave them long and tuck them to the inside as you join more pieces together.

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Two sides, ready for the middle.  Tape both of the center diamonds in place, double-checking your directional prints.  This part will be sewn in one big figure-8 shaped seam, pivoting at corners and ends.  Pivot with the needle down in the fabric as shown in the second photo below.  In this case, I am pivoting towards the navy fabric, so the needle is down in the navy fabric when I pivot.

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The third photo shows the stitching continuing down to the second diamond,  and then pivoting at the little pink point, the bottom of the figure-8, to return up the other side to finish.  Make sure you lock the stitching at the beginning and end of the eight.

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I tucked in all the little tails and the thread ends.  Let me just tell you that the entire stack of 6 blocks took only a half hour to stitch together.  One.  Half.  Hour.  That’s it, just a half hour.  It took that long for me to join the first two sections of the center.  And did I mention that the entire second round of my rosette #1 was stitched by machine?  Could you tell that when I posted the pictures the other day?

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Part two of this tutorial will include another example of utilizing a sewing sequence.  I’ll also show how the hexies are joined to the previous rounds.  Stayed tuned for that big pile of fun.

A special thanks today to Brandi.  And also a shout out to Doris, Marilyn, Maureen and Debbie.