Hexie Succulent Garden

succlent1When I first wrote about making hexie blocks for the Bee Hive Swap, I really didn’t think I’d ever make any more. I mean, sure, it had its appeal. But that’s a lot of hand work. Then, this summer, with two family vacations and a surgery to recover from, I needed some hand work.

Even before I started the project, I came up with a name for the quilt. Since the block is named Grandmother’s Garden or Grandmother’s Flower Garden, I would make mine in all blues and greens and name it Grandmother’s Succulent Garden (succulent as in cacti, aloes, etc.). Great name! Now I had to make the quilt.

I rushed to gather supplies before my family’s trip to Michigan in July. I ordered the hexie templates from Amazon but didn’t realize how the templates were measured. The template size is the size of one side. So the templates I wanted would be 1″ hexies. I ordered 2″ hexies, thinking it would be the width of the shape, and they ended up being huge.

I looked and called around town and couldn’t find 1″ cardstock hexies, so I ended up buying some plastic templates from Joann.

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The plastic templates were certainly sturdy, but they were also very slippery. I had a heck of a time basting the fabric around them because the fabric would slip off center. But they worked well enough to keep me busy in Michigan.

Before my next trip, I did track down some 1″ cardstock hexies. The cardstock wasn’t as stiff as the templates I had received from Tara for the Bee Hive Swap, but they worked better than the plastic.

Finally, my mom sent me some fusible hexies made by Pieceful Patches. You fuse these to the back of your fabric, baste around the shape, and then remove the paper. The templates can be reused for as long as there’s fusible left to stick to the fabric. While the paper is thin, I did find that my finished hexies were the most accurate using these templates.

So using three different kinds of templates (!), I made hexies. Lots and lots of hexies. Well, 21 “flowers” to be exact.

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My first plan for a layout was to connect the flowers with a light fabric, so that each flower would stand out.

succlent-hexie-settingI ended up not liking that look as much as I thought I would. The flowers stood out almost too much, and I liked the way they looked in a group.

Rather than go through the pain of sewing more together only to change my mind, my dear husband created one flower shape in Illustrator for me. From there, I could duplicate the shape, change the colors, and try some different layouts.

Succulent1The first thing I learned was I couldn’t get a straight line of flowers if I wanted the edges of each one to be horizontal. (My thought with this layout is I could add patchwork of some kind below the hexies to make the piece closer to quilt size.)

Succulent3The edges would have to be at a slight angle for the line of flowers to be straight.

Succulent4Or I’d have to add filler hexies to keep the edges horizontal.

Succulent2Or if I made a lot more, I could just cluster them, and then the straightness wouldn’t matter as much.

So that’s where I am on this project. I have a name and 21 flower blocks. And I have a funny feeling that’s where it will sit for a while.

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Wisconsin Fabric Fun

olivejuice1Last week was my somewhat annual fall trip to Wisconsin. The weather was gorgeous, and while the leaves had only begun to turn, the bright blue skies helped it feel very autumnal.

While I was there, Mom and I managed to work in some fabric fun. First, we traveled the hour down to Ripon, Wisconsin, and went to Bungalow Quilting and Yarn. Mom had been to the shop once before and thought it would be one that I would like. Wow, was she right!

bungalow5The house was packed with yarn and fabric. I liked that the fabrics felt very curated, like someone took time to purchase just the right ones. Most of them would be considered modern fabrics, but there were a few batiks and novelties thrown in there, too.

bungalow6 And I couldn’t help but love the Wisconsin quilt they had on display.

bungalow2Even the bathroom was a feast for the eyes, from the sewing pattern wallpaper to the bathtub filled with yarn.

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bungalow4I was so overwhelmed by the choices (and the fact that we were a bit pressed for time) that I ended up purchasing large cuts of a couple fabrics that I like to have in my stash along with a few new pieces.

bungalow1(I put that green Lizzy House cat fabric in everything.)

Later in the week, we made our way to the western edge of the state, where our first stop was at Olive Juice Quilts in Onalaska, Wisconsin.

olivejuice2This super cute shop was actually huge inside. The fabrics, again, were primarily modern, but they had sections for Christmas prints and reproductions, too.

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olivejuice6And they had fat quarters cut of a vast majority of their fabrics. I find I really appreciate having fat quarters available, especially when I’m visiting far-away shops, because I often don’t have a specific project in mind and just want to try a little bit of a lot of things.

olivejuice7(Although my choices do look pretty coordinated, don’t they?)

While we were there, we picked up our reserved copies of Kaffe Fassett’s Bold Blooms (a book I actually worked on for ABRAMS) because that evening we were going to a lecture with Kaffe and Brandon Mably. We even boldly interrupted Kaffe while he was working on some needlepoint there at the shop to ask him to sign it.

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boldbloomsinterior After bumming around La Crosse a bit, enjoying the lovely day, we headed back downtown for the lecture. Olive Juice Quilts had a nice little shop set up with Kaffe fabrics and books, and we even got goodies for attending the lecture: a magazine and fat quarter.

Brandon gave a short introduction and Kaffe came on and talked about how he moved to England and got started designing. Then he narrated a slide show that included a lot of interesting inspiration photos, behind-the-scenes shots from photo shoots, and finished projects along with some that are still in the works.

Afterward there was a signing session, and Mom got another book signed. This photo was taken right after Kaffe complimented Mom on her jacket (!)—a great way to cap off fabric fun with my mom.

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Finished Quilt of Valor

qov-quilt-smallThe quilt I made for the Quilts of Valor program is finished! As you may recall, back in March, I pledged that 2016 was the year I was going to make a quilt for this program. Seven months later, it has come to pass—not too shabby!

When last I posted about this quilt, the top was complete. Since then, I made a back for the quilt with a blue and white stripe fabric and a red and white polka dot. I knew I wanted the quilting to be more intricate than I usually do for my quilts, so I asked Holly Seever from the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild if she’d be willing to take on the job.

Holly has long been wowing the guild with the quilting she does on her domestic machine, but she recently purchased a longarm machine and began taking on projects for other quilters. I wanted to keep the star theme going in the quilting and suggested maybe adding some red thread, too. Other than that, I left the quilting design up to Holly.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with what she did.

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Each of the star blocks had this same quilting pattern. I love the swirls and pebbles in the corners. And it looks even more amazing on the blocks with the blue backgrounds.

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The blue fabric looks completely different with the quilting, which I think is pretty cool.

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And she quilted the same star design in the plain white squares using that red thread we talked about. I think that adds just the right amount of color.

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And the quilting looks super cool on the back of the quilt, too.

With the quilt expertly quilted, I added the binding—a red solid to go with that red thread.

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Next, the quilt needed a label. The Quilts of Valor program requires that each quilt have a label that includes all of the following: the name of the person who made the quilt, the name of the person who quilted it, the name of the program, and space to write in the name of the recipient and the date it was received. The great thing is, QoV provided a link to Modern Yardage, where they sell labels for just this purpose. There were several to choose from, and even with shipping, the cost was less than $2. I really appreciated this convenience.

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I’m not thrilled that the backing fabric shows through the label, but I tried to line up the label information spaces with the stripes of the fabric so it looks kind of intentional.

Finally, each Quilt of Valor needs a presentation case. Many of these are simply pillowcases made in coordinating fabric, which was easy enough to do. I used a star fabric that didn’t make it into the quilt for the body of the case and used leftover fabric from the quilt for the trim and cuff. I followed the burrito (or sausage) method for making the pillowcase using a tutorial from The Seasoned Homemaker.

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The tutorial was very easy to follow. And it even included fancy French seams (no raw edges) on the interior!

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With the quilt finished and labeled and with the presentation case made, I requested a destination for my quilt from Quilts for Valor. Within a day, I received a note asking me to send the quilt to the Warrior Transition program at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Here, soldiers who are med boarded out (meaning they don’t return to their previous duties due to medical issues) are shown several quilts, and they can choose one to take home with them. The director of the program said, “I never see a Soldier leave my office with one that doesn’t have a tear in their eye.”

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So I shipped the quilt there on Monday. I know it will find a good home soon.