CHQuilts: table topper
Showing posts with label table topper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label table topper. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Is it time to make a traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden?

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt I have been thinking I'd like to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, but I wasn't sure I was ready for all the work involved. I've never done English Paper Piecing (EPP) before. Was I ready for all the work this would be? It is really an ambitious project. Heck, I didn't even know if I would like this technique.
I've done paper piecing before, but this was very different. The only real similarity between the two techniques, is that both require removing the paper in the final project.  
With EPP, the paper is a simple template that determines the shape of the fabric piece. Once pieces are constructed, they are sewn together, often by hand. With paper piecing, the paper is a portion of a shape, which determines where fabric is cut and sewn together on the sewing machine to form intricate designs.
Even after quilting for more than 20 years, I still consider myself a newbie, likely because there seems to be an endless supply of skills and techniques I have yet to learn. So, when in doubt, make a table topper. I love table toppers because they are just the ticket for practicing new skills.
CHQuilts:Hexi sample
I find I am attracted to hand-sewing. I love that zen feeling that comes over me when I'm stitching. So, I bought a set of templates that included a couple different sizes of hexagons, watched a few YouTube videos, and decided to tackle this new task. 
I Googled 1" hexagon shapes and found a downloadable sheet of 8.5" x 11" hexi shapes. I printed a couple pages onto freezer paper sheets. I simply, but carefully, cut them out. Because the shapes can be reused a couple times, I am now well-stocked with papers.

I liked the glue stick method, rather than basting the fabric around the template.  I also like to press them to make them really crisp and easy to sew together. I admit that makes it a little more difficult to get the papers out, but I can always print and cut out more if I need to.

I decided to make a couple of "flowers" using 1" hexis out of one of my favorite fabrics, a paisley print that for some odd reason I've never been able to use in any other project. I have often picked it out to use in a pinkish quilt, but it just never quite fit. The fabric always read "peach."
No worries though; I decided that it didn't really matter with the sampler project I was planning to use for my EPP practice piece.
Hah, no matter how I try to tell myself colors don't matter, I just can't fool myself. Colors will always matter. But, I decided to play a little trick on my own eyes and everybody else's, by adding bubble gum pink fabric as a background color. It worked too. No one would ever mistake this as too peach-colored.
This is a trick I learned when I was putting tile down in our old house. I bought some pink tile that ended up looking very peachy. I was really disappointed when I got it home. But, I put it on the floor and painted a burgundy accent wall and wallpaper with tiny pink flowers. The peach vanished. These tiles were pink!
I have finished this project and am pretty happy with how it turned out. I hand-quilted it just for fun and I really like it.
All-in-all, I decided that I like English Paper Piecing. I'd like to do And, I like hexagons. I like hand-sewing. I'm just still not sure I want to make a whole quilt with them. Maybe if I used bigger hexis, or a less than traditional pattern than the typical Grandmother's Flower Garden. The jury is still out. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Quilting: always creative; always learning

Just when you think a project is simple, think again.

Donna's table topperMy friend Donna asked if I could re-create a simple table topper she had on her dining room table, at right. She liked it so much that she wanted one in Fall colors. 

I thought, easy-peasy. This is just a simple Dresden Plate pattern. It should be no trouble. Donna provided a sketch with some of the dimensions. The whole piece measured about 19 1/2 inches. 

I checked out my Dresden ruler and realized the smallest number of blades it contained was 16. That wouldn't work. Second option was to draft this pattern with Electric Quilt 7, the quilting software that has helped me out more than I can say. I am pretty new at working with this program, so I figured there might be a bit of a learning curve. That is OK. Learning new things never goes to waste. And, there is always something new to learn. It seems the more I get, the more I want. I think that is all part of the obsession.

First, I looked up Dresden Plate blocks in the block library. I found a 3-blade corner block. I figured I could copy the 3 blades and simply paste and rotate them to form a 9-blade block. I wasn't sure how to do that and figured there might be an easier way. Since I committed to this project, I wanted to get started on it, but I made myself a promise that in the future, I would work on using this software to modify existing designs.

I continued my search in the software's block library. I found a wheel block that was perfect. All it was missing were the points. I could draw those in once I printed out a template--no problem. 

fall fabricsNext I picked out three fabrics I thought would make a nice Fall piece. I sent the picture to Donna. She approved. 

I went back to the drafting stage. I printed out the finished "wheel" block with the points drawn in. 

Suddenly, I was horrified to realize the block only had eight blades rather than nine. So, I went back to the drawing board and redrew the pattern. I printed it out. I knew my improvisation wasn't perfect, but was a good place to start. The sizes weren't exact, so I decided to measure each blade at the base and take an average. The finished size would be my template for all nine blades.

I measured them all. I was surprised to find the nine blades ranged in size from 1 1/2 inches to more than 3 inches. Next I converted all the measurements to eighths, the smallest common denominator. Then I added them and divided by nine, the number of blades. That number measured 2 1/2 inches. I found one of the blades in my printout that measured 2 1/2 inches and made it my template. I also added 1/4 inch for the seam. 

I cut three blades from each fabric and sewed them together. I soon realized that the base measurement wasn't enough to know because once sewn together, the piece didn't lay flat. Next, I increased the seam allowance to 1/2 inch to take up some of the excess, cutting away the first seam to leave only a 1/4 inch seam. 

It was better, but still not right. The angle was off. I carefully measured the blades from the center point to the side at 3 1/2 inches, one of the measurements Donna had provided. So, I sewed each blade starting at that point, changing the angle slightly. 

It am getting pretty proficient at sewing with my fingers crossed. It worked. The piece laid flat and looked just like it was supposed to. 

I printed out a picture of the piece as a pencil sketch, and let it speak to me. Then, I quilted it.

Fall table topper
I checked You Tube videos to verify my own understanding of how to bind inside and outside angles. I finished the piece last night. This is how it turned out.

I actually like it, so I may make a template pattern from it and make one in Christmas colors.

I totally love little projects like this. They satisfy my need to create something and you just can't beat that instant gratification factor.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gotta have something quilted

sun porch
No room makeover is complete without something quilted.

Over the last couple weeks my husband and I put down second-hand (aren't we lucky) laminate flooring, and painted the walls and doors in our sun porch. For the past ten years, this room has been pink--based on a pink flamingo theme. We both just love the little plastic critters. Besides, I love all things pink. (Note the quilt I made a few years ago on the back of the rocking chair.).

Once the walls were painted this color, I remembered that I had made an over-sized square in the same pattern I was planning to use in a quilt in progress. (Stars on Point--see previous posts). When I looked at it, I thought it was perfect as a table topper for this room. So, I set out to free-motion quilt it. 

turquoise table topperBecause it was the same pieced pattern as the blocks I'm using in the quilt, I already had a diagram for the free-motion quilting. Because it was so much larger than the initial 12.5-inch block in the quilt, I improvised a little by using a filler inside two of the triple heart shapes and stippling throughout the background. 

I'm pleased with how it turned out, except that the non-quilted hearts look a little puffy. I may add more quilting in those areas if it doesn't begin to lie flat. 

I really love these totally non-pressure projects. This was pure fun.