Showing posts with label family and friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family and friends. Show all posts

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hand Pieced Hexagon Star Quilt

Please let me start by telling you that this isn't my work.  Instead, this is a recently completed hand-pieced quilt made by my mother-in-law.

Hand-pieced Scrappy Hexagon Star Quilt
Finished Quilt measures 55 inches x 70 inches

The progress of this quilt has previously featured on my blog, right from the very first hand pieced stars blocks:
Machine Quilted by Karen from Quilts on Bastings
Three years and much hand-stitching later the quilt is finished (my MIL has also worked on several other hand pieced and applique quilts during this time).

All of the diamonds have been traced onto fabric using a single plastic template, positioning the template so as to fussy cut the desired fabric portion.   Fabric has been been cut by hand, a seam allowance marked with pencil and hand stitched with tiny and consistent stitches.  Truly inspiring.

Some of the fabrics used may look familiar as my MIL has free reign over my scrap bin and stash.  Other fabrics are from my MIL's fabric stash and swapped with sewing group friends.  The red/white polka dot backing fabric and red/white bias binding are a perfect finish touch to this colorful quilt.  

252 Hexagon Star Blocks
3000+ diamonds

My MIL's work is inspirational, and one day I hope to have the patience to piece with such precision.  Perhaps I'll start small, and an English Paper Piecing (stabilizing the fabric shapes with pre-cut paper templates) project may well be in my future.  

With thanks to my MIL for allowing me to photograph and share this amazing quilt.

Enjoy the picture overload,

My MIL did not use a pattern to make this quilt, instead all that was used was this 60 degree plastic template.  The plastic template is placed on the fabric and a line traced around the template with pencil.  The fabric is then cut out with a small pair of scissors.  A 1/4 inch seam is marked on the fabric again using a pencil in preparation for hand stitching.

This template is from Victorian Textiles - a 60 degree 2.5 inch Hex.  Code VT917.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


My daughter Steph turns eighteen today and with it comes a sense of disbelief at how fast time has passed.  It does only seem like yesterday that this "little ray of sunshine" came into the word, and truly she was. Right from day one she was a happy - always smiling - baby, and a happy-go-lucky toddler (tantrums were a rarity although a subsequent child well and truly made up for that).  Steph has grown into a confident young woman who is not afraid to speak her mind, and be her own person. 

I have so many fond memories of Stephanie's childhood, and these are just a small sampling:
  • Steph could run before she could walk and subsequently had many a major fall which made my heart skip a beat, although she'd always get straight back up and carry on. 
  • Right up to the age of 3 she invariably had an object of some sort in her mouth, from crayons, tan bark at the park, sand, stones, sticks, marbles and Barbie shoes ~ a constant concern.
  • Steph loved dressing up and spent many months wearing a combination of her Fairy Dress and a Snow White Dress until they fell apart. Other than that, she had little interest in clothes although pink became a recurrent theme.
  • She rarely played with dolls, and preferred time in the sand pit, drawing, scissors, rolls and rolls of sticky tape, and water play.  She LOVED water and was so drawn to it that we removed an inground pool from our backyard for her safety. 
  • She was curious and unpredictable ~ you just never knew what she was going to do next, including freezing her tongue to the refrigerator element, and burning her chin on a light globe whilst playing "shadow puppets"!
  • Steph endured 1 term of Tap, Jazz and Ballet classes after which she took up Karate and eventually became a Black Belt in Karate and the #1 ranked 13&Under ~ Australian Champion in 2002.
  • Steph is a great traveler and adapts quickly and effortlessly to living out of a suitcase.  She loves history and probably enjoyed and appreciated that aspect of our travels more so than the rest of us.
  • Steph has been a trouble free teenager who loves all things computer and internet.  She sure comes in handy when coding HTML and connecting the printer which has once again un-installed itself.

    I hope you have a wonderful day today with your friends and family Steph, and I look forward to what the next 18 years may bring.  May this last year at school be a memorable one; enjoy your friends, work hard, and I know your dreams will come true.  You're destined for a bright future!

    Happy Birthday!
    Much love,

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Hand Pieced Hexagon Quilt

    Let me start by telling you that this quilt top is not my handiwork.  I was however lucky enough to photograph it so that I can share it here with you.

    You may remember that I have previously featured my Mother-in-Law's hand pieced hexagons (here and here), and although my MIL is continuing to work on her quilt top (it is almost finished!), she is also a keen quilter in a sewing group whose members together have hand pieced this particular quilt top.

    There are 8 quilters in my MIL's sewing group who have been meeting every third Thursday for more than 15 years.  The average age of the group members is approximately 65 and  they share, amongst many other things, much more than a century of quilting experience and know-how.

    One of the group's quilters celebrated a big '0 birthday this year, and the above quilt top was secretly made by the remaining 7 members to present as a birthday gift.  This project was in progress for about 6 months and was a well received surprise for the birthday girl.

    The hexagon blocks are made using just one diamond shaped template to cut fabric pieces.  Most  fabrics were carefully fussy-cut to create a repeat pattern in the center star.  The quilt top is entirely hand pieced.

    Sewing groups are such a wonderful way to share and learn sewing/quilting techniques whilst sharing friendship, food and the highs and lows of everyday life.  These women are an inspiration for the commitment they have made to the group, their amazing work and their enviable bond.  

    Thank you for allowing me to share this beautiful quilt top.


    Monday, August 30, 2010

    It's a Family Thing Part VII

    Today an update on my Mother in Law's hand pieced hexagons.

    And there has been much progress with the completion of over 180 hexagon units out of the required 240 hexagons.

    I've picked out some of my favorite hexagons, however I must say that was not easy task; there were many favorites!  My Mother in Law is a precision hand piecer, the stitches are tiny and consistent.  Each unit is pieced and the seams are pressed to perfection.

    I think you will recognize quite a few of these fabrics as my MIL has free reign to my scrap bin.  I love the way the fabrics have been fussy cut to create new patterns, with surprising results.

    As a machine piecer, all hand pieced patchwork is such an inspiration.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing this quilt finished.

    Links to previous Hand Pieced Hexagon posts:
    Progress Report 1
    Progress Report 2

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Meet Oliver

    Name:   Oliver
    Breed:   Miniature Schnauzer
    Age:      6
    Loves:   (in order) food, food, going for walks, socks, shoes, and toilet paper

    Just so you know - the mini quilt has been claimed by Oliver.  It is draped to cover the armrest of the couch, much like Oliver who loves to lie frog like, legs either side of the armrest, balancing precariously.  He has been known to slip off - only to get back up again and resume sleeping.

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    It's a Family Thing VI

    My 16 year old daughter is studying Studio Art as part of her VCE studies, something I wish I could have studied way back then.
    Her instructions for this project were left to her creative imagination. The step by step documentation of the entire process is the key to success, rather than the finished product.  Thorough documentation is required for all practice runs, difficulties encountered,  testing of ideas, materials and equipment used,  whilst taking progress photos along the way.

    And the final product is a Patchwork Cube, made independently after I introduced her to the very useful Half Square Triangle.

    Steph enjoyed raiding the fabric stash and has learned much from her foray into the patchwork world.  Not only did she learn how to sew a quarter inch seam, but also:
    • that despite all your best efforts not all pieced blocks turn out the same size! 
    • sewing with tomato red thread it not a good idea
    • fabric is stretchy if you don't cut it straight
    • dinosaur school sewing machines are not for taking apart
    • mum's spare sewing machine is pretty cool after all
    • that you learn from your mistakes.
    Steph so enjoyed her project that I have absolutely no doubt that there will be more fabric play to come.  My stash is her stash - with the odd exception of course!  I must also say that this photo shoot was hilarious with many outtakes picturing only blue sky.  In the end any portion of the cube captured in an image was considered a bonus!

      Tuesday, February 23, 2010

      It's a Family Thing Part 5

      Do you remember the hand pieced stars my MIL started working on earlier this year?

      There were many readers who were curious as to how the stars would be joined together as well as numerous requests for a progress report. 

      It seems she has been very busy hand stitching!

      Fussy cutting with an eye for detail and perfection.

      Raiding my scrap bin at regular intervals, dropping in ...

      usually on the way to or from her physiotherapist who is treating her for a sore shoulder, neck and arm.

      Too much hand stitching maybe?  Regardless more hexagons are in progress, just 199 more to go.

      Thanks for sharing, Jan.

      Tuesday, January 26, 2010

      It is a Family Thing Part 4

      January 26 is Australia Day, the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet way back in 1788, and a day to celebrate all things Australian.  It is a family day of BBQs and roast lamb, the latter for me - roast lamb prepared by my MIL.

      And just so you know that I will be in good sewing company today, this is what my MIL gets up to in her spare time. These star blocks are all beautifully hand pieced by my mother-in-law.  Her hand stitching is perfection and I can only hope to one day have the patience and time to piece with such precision. 

      The diamonds are all traced onto fabric using a template, placing the template so as to fussy cut the desired image, cut using scissors, and a 1/4 inch seam allowance marked with pencil. My MIL can hand piece two star blocks in 45 minutes!  80 blocks completed, another 160 to go.

      The fabrics may look familiar as my MIL raids my highly guarded scrap bin regularly!  Naturally I supervise...

      Friday, July 24, 2009

      Show Loot

      Well you asked for it. Here are some of my favorite Craft and Quilt Show purchases.

      Japanese Honeycomb Dots in Aqua, Banana, and Tangerine
      Kei Fabric Honeycomb comes in many colorways

      And then there is this fabric which was just way too cute to resist (it comes in other colorways as well), it is hand screen printed on a linen/cotton basecloth. There is a small amount of text on the fabric, including "craft is the new black", and "who are you calling a fat-quarter?"

      Cookies by Shannon Lamden - Cherry on White

      And some fat quarters because I "needed" them:

      I also promised to show you the winning quilt that my sister, Karen Terrens, made. Karen is a professional long-arm machine quilter. She entered this quilt, named Zigue Zague, in the Custom Quilting section of the Machine Quilters' Competition, and came 2nd in the category.

      The free motion quilting on this quilt is just so detailed and so perfect. Her quilting work is truly inspirational, particularly when I am still having difficulty mastering the basics of stippling.

      The quilting runs from top edge to the bottom edge of the quilt in one continuous line. Karen did not mark the quilt top nor did she used a laser guide to follow a pattern. It was quilted entirely freehand.

      A deserving winner; her work is always perfect and so beautiful. Well done, Karen!

      Thursday, July 23, 2009

      Show Review

      Wow! I had a blast at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair, a truly memorable day. Not only was I able to enhance my fabric stash, but I also met some very friendly bloggers.

      The quilts on show were all amazing, and the variety outstanding. From embellished quilts,

      Fabric Frenzy by Fran Batrouncy

      to traditional quilts;

      Hexagon Quilt by Flora Eggers - c 1950

      And there was also an award winning quilt in the Custom Quilting section:

      But more about that tomorrow, together with the new stash!

      Tuesday, July 21, 2009

      It's a Family Thing (Part 2)

      Two years ago my daughter Steph, then aged 14, was bored during the July school holidays and asked if she could sew with my scraps. I joyfully handed her all my scrap pieces of fabric, showed her how to be careful with the rotary cutter, and how to use the sewing machine.

      Quietly, and with much purpose and concentration, she leisurely pieced all day for more than a week, asking only for help when the "blocks" she had made could not be pieced together without a Y-seam. She really enjoyed the free-form piecing and whimsical construction.

      "Holiday Mischief" by Steph July 2007

      Steph pieced this top and I quilted it for her after repairing some seams that had almost no seam allowance.

      It is puffy, the borders are wavy and the quilt edges curve in and out, some of the piecing leaves a lot to be desired, but to me this quilt is a masterpiece. It also reminds me of the improvised piecing often found in the quilts from Gee's Bend.

      Gee’s Bend is a small rural and isolated community neatly tucked away in the curve in the Alabama River southwest of Selma, Alabama. The town’s women developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art. They passed their quilting skills down through at least six generations to the present. Women with large families often made dozens upon dozens of quilts over the course of their lives.

      Quilts made by the Quilters' Collective of Gee's Bend

      1.) Allie Pettway | Housetop, 1970-1975 2.) Annie Mae Young | Bars, 2003 3.) Annie Mae Young | Blocks, 2003 4.) Annie Mae Young | Housetop, 2002 5.) Annie Mae Young | Housetop Center Medalion, 1970-1979 6.) Katie Mae Pettway | Housetop Variation, 2002 7.) Linda Pettway | Blocks and Strips, 2003 8.) Lola Pettway | Housetop Variation, 2002 9.) Louisiana Bendolph | Blocks and Strips Medallion, 2003 10.) Lucy Witherspoon | Housetop, 1985 11.) Mary Lee Bendolph | Bars and Blocks, 2003 12.) Mary Lee Bendolph and Ruth P. Mosely | Bricklayer

      The Gee's Bend Quilts are so inspiring, their simplicity in design and color again a really striking combination. Stephanie pieced her quilt without prior knowledge of the Gee's Bend or improvisational quilts. I too have tried to make a free form quilt but without much success. I am an inhibited quilter, preferring structure, pattern, and tidy workmanship with 1/4 inch seam allowances, but need to work on stepping outside of the square.

      There are some great books that showcase quilts from the Women of Gee's Bend. Or better still, these quilts are still exhibited, and can be seen at venues according to this schedule.

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