Kona Solids Arrive and New Flower Garden Quilt Begun

The Kona solids I ordered last week for a project in the design stage have arrived.  Here they are:

I thought i had ordered half a yard of each of these, but I apparently ordered a yard and a half of the fabric to the far right.  I’m kind of glad that I made the mistake because I really like it.

From left to right these fabrics (with their code numbers) are: Charcoal 1071, Medium Grey 1223, Ash 1007, Oyster 1268, Mustard 1240, Straw 186, Moss 1238,and Sweet Pea 201.

It’s hard to judge how these colors will look as yardage just looking at the Kona sample cards.  You more or less just have to order them knowing that you will eventually use them even if they aren’t quite right for the project you are working on at the moment. The medium gray, for instance, turned out to have quite a blue cast to it, and the charcoal is probably too dark to be used in the project I am planning.  I’ll find something to do with it though.

I went to the trouble of taking photographs of my patterned fabrics on top of each of the solids, but I will only show the Sweet Pea here:

The sad truth is that this photograph simply does not do justice to the extent to which the Sweet Pea fabric harmonizes with these three prints, especially the scallop fabric on the left.

Soon I will cut a couple strips of each of these fabrics and baste up some hexagons and start pushing them around to see what I can come up with.  I’ve reserved strips of the scallop fabric to feature prominently on the back of the piece.  The Sweet Pea fabric will be included on the back as well.

Now on to the new flower garden quilt…

Earlier this week I blogged about some flower units I created on a car ride to and from a visit with my mother. Even though I have been working with hexagons for awhile I have never made any flowers. The details of my thought processes as I created those units can be found here. At the end of that blog post I started to think about how I might utilize this fabric, which I had previously proclaimed to be ugly.

What a victory it would be to design a quilt around a fabric which I found to be challenging. I decided to pair it with another batik and create a flower with a maroon center.

I’ve made 21 of them already, all of them completed this week.

I’ve cut what I have remaining of the yardage for the two batik fabrics to see how far it will stretch.  The limiting factor is the brown batik because I have less of it than the other batik.  I’ve got enough to make thirty more flowers.  I’ll get them finished before I give any more thought to how this piece is going to go together. I will say that I am leaning heavily toward using hunter green in the combination, but that should come as no surprise.

I am linking back to Life Under Quilts as usual. If you visit over there you will see what Jessica has worked on this week, and you can also click the links at the bottom to see the work of the others who link back. Those of you who have come here through the Monday Morning Star Count linkup might enjoy these other post I put up since last week:

$4.00 a Yard Fabric Sale Seduced Me into a Big Purchase

and incase you didn’t follow the link earlier in the post, you might also like:

Started Some Flower Garden Units 


$4.00 a Yard Fabric Sale Seduced Me into a Big Purchase

The Pennington Quilt Works is currently having a big end of season sale making way for new fabrics. I decided to go over yesterday and see what I could find on the sale tables outside the store. First up, I headed to the bins of scraps. You could get a bag of scraps for $5.00. You just had to be able to zip it shut. Here’s my bag with a little room to spare, actually, because I ran out of things I wanted to stuff into it. There are a lot of bright and pastel prints in the bag, which are a real departure for me given my somber maroon and green pallet. I’m planning to turn the contents of this bag into a new bowl of more brightly colored basted hexagons. Next up was a look at the bins of fat quarters, which were on sale for $1.00 each. I was quite discriminating in my choice of fabrics there. I had actually pulled out a selection of low volume prints and white and cream solids, but threw them back because I like my Kona solids, and I recently purchased a low volume jelly roll from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Here are the fat quarters I picked up.  I’ve already pressed two of them. It was initially my intention to find fat quarters that would harmonize with my maroon and green pallet, but I didn’t have much luck there. The second from the left qualifies, but the others don’t. I think I have to take a look at the more expensive bolt yardage in the store to meet that need. That will wait, however, until I go back to use my birthday discount later in the week. Next up was a look at the $4.00 a yard pieces.  I didn’t realize that these lengths of yardage were going to be so long.  You had to purchase the whole piece too.  That’s a real commitment to a new bargain basement piece of yardage.  My attention was immediately drawn to a green fabric with a fish tail motif.  I picked it up and carted it around with me while I looked around at the yellow tag bolts at 20% off inside the store.  I found myself to be overwhelmed by the offerings, however, and left the store to return to the bargain table.  Then one of the salespeople pointed out to me that the fish tails fabric that I held in my arms was part of a collection.  Oh no. That meant I had to seriously look at the other remaining fabrics in the collection.  I decided on the blue fish tail print, but I wasn’t sure about the wide stripe.  Then I saw the narrower stripe and decided to get all four. Only after taking the above photograph at home did I discover that the narrow stripe is not even part of the collection, but that’s okay, because it really goes well with the wide stripe and I may plan something for those two fabrics together with some coordinating Kona Solids. The collection is called Salt Air by Cosmo Cricket for Moda. The wide stripe is pattern #37027.The blue fish are pattern #37026, and the green fish are pattern #37026 as well. I’m not sure sure how the green and the blue fish can have the same pattern number, but I guess you need to specify color in addition to pattern number when ordering those fabrics. It turns out that the narrower stripe is Giselle by Phyllis J. Anderson for Henry Glass & Co., Inc. pattern #9338. The four large pieces combined comes to nearly 25 yards of fabric, and I got out of the store with a charge to my credit card for less than $120.00, so I think I did fairly well, especially since I am already starting to envisage some of the ways I can use the large pieces of yardage.

Started Some Flower Garden Units

Today my husband and I needed to take my mother to the hospital to get a procedure done.  She lives an hour and a half away. My husband is the one who drives when we go out to visit, so I saw an opportunity for some English Paper Piecing in the car, and also while waiting at the hospital.

Even though I am currently in the planning stages for a project, I am not actually stitching anything at the moment, so I decided to do some spontaneous work with my big bowl of basted hexagons.

I grabbed a large handful of hexagons from the bowl, and put them in a plastic bag to take along with me. As we were driving to see mom I started to piece together some small flowers for a possible Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.

I decided to use a violet batik for the center of the flower and include a couple solid hexagons along the outside.  Here’s the first flower I made:

After looking carefully at this first flower I decided that it might be good to have the two solids directly across from each other, so my next flower looked like this:

I went on to make another two flowers with the violet batik center for a total of four flowers:

I wasn’t sure how these flowers were going to look after they were assembled and was starting to think that maybe I should make my flowers with maroon centers and put nothing but patterned fabrics along the outside. I proceeded to make a flower with a maroon center to see how I liked it:

I liked the result, and went on to make three more such flowers for a total of four:

Then I started to think about how I might combine these flowers.  The ones with the violet batik centers might end up densely packed with hexagons of hunter green to tie them together.

The flowers with the maroon centers are crying out for a solid border to join them.  This could be hunter green as shown below, or perhaps a variety of low volume fabrics.

After playing around with these flowers a bit I found myself focusing on the orange, green, and brown batik which I had at one time called an ugly fabric.

Well, all by itself, as a large expanse of pattern, it is kind of ugly.  I used it on the back of the binding sample that I am currently putting through a three month torture test. I happen to have about a yard of it left and had no idea what I might eventually do with it.

I am seriously considering starring this fabric in a quilt along with oranges, greens, and browns. I do like my Kona solids.



Weekly Progress Report: Selecting Kona Solids

This week I started to look for Kona solids to work with the prints I am currently using to make basted hexagons. I posted about those prints in my last weekly progress report.  Here they are again.

Christa commented on last week’s post, and said that she loves the scallop fabric. It’s nice to have someone else look at it with fresh eyes.  That prompted me to take another look at it myself.  I realized a few things about this fabric.  I love the tiny dots of maroon, which are better appreciated up close.  I also like the directional nature of the print.  I’ll be taking the direction of the scallops into account when I baste hexagons using this fabric.  I am currently planning to feature this fabric in strip form on the back of the quilt that I will design from these fabrics and the kona solids I choose to go with them.

Here’s the technique I used to search for Kona solid colors. I held some squares of fabric in my hand and dragged them across the rows of the Kona sample card.  Then I would stop when I came to a fabric that spoke to me, and take a photograph of it along with the fabric squares.

The photograph below shows the technique in action:

No, orchid did not speak to me for this quilt. It’s just an example.

I took a screen capture of my Flickr album of fabric swatches that I photographed in my hunt for kona solids for this piece.  I won’t buy them all, but this is a starting point in my search. If you want to get a closer look at any of these solids, and be able to read the names, you can view them in the album.

swatches copy

I spent my creative energies this week on thinking about planning the new project. I didn’t get any actual basting or stitching accomplished.

The only stitching I have done this week is to continue to work on stitching together a successful web site.  I’ve been reading the 2nd edition of “WordPress: The Missing Manual“.  I bought it directly from O’Reily Media as a hardcopy/digital package that includes DRM free digital versions of the book.  I’m reading it on the Kindle App while I am waiting for the hard copy book to arrive.

I must say that I am really enjoying my experience with Bluehost so far.  The introductory webinar session was excellent.  The one-on-one Getting Started Session was great.  My guide for the session took into account that I was already an experienced WordPress user, and tailored the session to my individual needs.  When I verified my account recently on the phone, to be able to check out with a new domain I wanted to register for my grandson, I had a nice conversation on the phone with a guy who talked to me at length about what I hoped to accomplish with my site.  So far it has all been great with Bluehost.  They are always happy to answer my questions, they understand that newbies need some hand holding, and they have great resources available.

I am linking back to Life Under Quilts as usual. If you visit over there you will see what Jessica has worked on this week, and you can also click the links at the bottom to see the work of the others who link back.  Those of you who have come here through the Monday Morning Star Count linkup might enjoy my other posts since last week:

Now and Then: Cutting Fabric
I’m Onboard with the Slow Stitching Movement

I’m Onboard with the Slow Stitching Movement

As a long time quilter, and more recently a hand stitching piecer, I have found the trend in the quilting world toward “quick and easy” projects not only uninteresting, but actually quite offensive.  I savor the process of hand stitching, and I put a big emphasis upon reflection when I write about my work in process. I want to give all the details about what I am doing, where my inspiration came from, how it is related to my work which came before it, and how it might lead to what I may create in the future.

I’ve been writing about the creation of what I consider to be my first heirloom quilt. I refer to it as my Diamond Quilt for lack of a better name.  Looking back at my posts I can see that I have written twelve posts so far about this diamond quilt. The project is currently on the back burner pending an experiment in “binding torture” that I am conducting over a three month period. I’m going to finish this quilt in a timely fashion, but I refuse to rush. Everything about it is going to be well thought out and documented including a binding meant to stand the test of time.

To my great satisfaction I recently discovered that there are other people in the world of fiber arts who share my commitment to detail, craftsmanship, and reflection.  These people exist not only in the world of quilting, but in the worlds of knitting, and stitchery in general. There is actually a movement afoot called the Slow Stitching Movement with Mark Lipinski at the center of its promotion, as well as its creation. On the web page for the Slow Stitching Movement you will find categories for podcasts, a blog, a gallery, and soon a magazine will also be available.

Some day when I finish my heirloom quilt I will upload a picture of it to the gallery on the Slow Stitching Movement page.  At present there is only one item in the gallery, but I am sure that will change soon.

Mark Lipinski hosted a webinar about The Slow Stitching Movement not long ago. It was so popular that he held it again on July 10th. The webinar was available for purchase through Fons and Porter, and I am proud to say that I was in attendance on July 10th.  I was quite impressed with the presentation. It spoke to me, and I left a message telling Mark that I considered it to be the best $20.00 I had recently spent on my art.  I still believe that.

If the webinar is ever available again I certainly recommend that you register and participate.


Now and Then: Cutting Fabric

The Olfa Rotary Cutter has turned 35 years old. The use of rotary cutters and self healing mats has radically changed the way we cut fabric for quilting today.

For those of you too young to remember how we used to do things, I thought it might be fun to take you on a walk down memory lane, and tell you how we used to cut fabric.

I started to quilt forty years ago in 1974 at the tender age of 20.  In those days cutting pieces for patchwork was a tedious process.  The only book I had available to me at the time was The Perfect Patchwork Primer, which does not appear to have been updated recently, but you can still find some older copies on Amazon.

I read that book from cover to cover. This is where I learned how to make templates for cutting the pieces of fabric I needed for my patchwork blocks. There is a detailed section about “Making Templates” beginning on page 124 of the softcover edition of The Perfect Patchwork Primer published in 1973.

This book recommends using graph paper, but also goes into detail about how to use drawing instruments to draw a quilt block to scale. I used graph paper for my fist few sets of templates, but lucky for me I eventually completed a required course in mechanical drawing as part of my Art Education degree at Kutztown University.  As a result I became adept in the use of a drawing board, T-square, drafting triangles and even the use of an architect’s scale when it was needed.  I could get by without the use of graph paper if necessary, and there was some pleasure in knowing that I could do things the hard way.  All I needed was a plain piece of drawing paper, and my drafting tools, and I was good to go.

The recommended technique for creating templates, especially in complicated blocks, was to first draw out one’s entire block to scale. (Diagram from page127)

You then cut the pieces apart very carefully.  You adhered each unique shape to poster board leaving plenty of space between the pieces to allow for adding the desired seam allowance, which you then drew into place. (Diagram from page 128)

Then you cut out your templates. If you were using poster board you could do that with scissors, but if you had the skill to use a mat cutter that was even better. Templates were traced with pencil directly on your fabric.  You kept your pencil sharp for accuracy.  It was important to realize that simply tracing a poster board template would eventually degrade it’s accuracy. Therefore, you diligently made fresh templates for each project even though the shapes may have been exactly the same as shapes you had used in previous projects. You also may have made a fresh template in the middle of a project if you had to make a great number from a specific shape.

My First Act In Fiber Arts lasted about five years. The end of my First Act quilting days would have been the time when the Olfa Rotary Cutter first appeared.  I didn’t notice it then.  I did notice it a few years ago when I considered getting back into quilting and embarking on My Second Act In Fiber Arts. I have to admit that I was intimidated by the cutters and the mats, and that my intimidation contributed to a delay in getting back into fibers. I bought them, however, and eventually gave them a try.  There’s no turning back to hand drawn templates at this point.

Do you want to really appreciate how good we have it now? Find The Perfect Patchwork Primer in the library, or borrow it from your local guild dinosaur. I’m proud to be a quilting dinosaur myself, who appreciates NOW but remembers very vividly what things were like THEN.

Weekly Hexagon Progress Report

This week I was looking for some fabric that I could use to baste some hexagons with no particular plan for what I would eventually do with them. Some mindless stitching was what I needed. I discovered a bag with a quilt pattern in it along with a number of strips that I had cut to be used with the pattern. The pattern was a very easy, nonthreatening type of thing. I picked it up a few years ago to get me involved in quilting again, but hadn’t used it, except as inspiration to cut a great number of 2.5 inch strips. It was my first rotary cutter experience. The pattern and the strips sat around in a bag since then. The pattern has never been used, and probably never will be because I believe that I can come up with something better on my own at this point. This pattern has “quick and easy” written all over it. It was what I needed at the time, but it isn’t what I would choose for myself now.

I had actually cut about eight different fabrics to use with this pattern, but only three of the fabrics were still in the bag.  I had raided the bag previously to make hexagons for my room divider projects.

I set about cutting some 2.5 inch squares from all three of the fabrics that remained in the bag.

I’ve been busy basting hexagons with those squares, and have about 100 of them completed so far. I am focusing primarily on the batik fabric, and have started to generate some ideas.  I am planning to purchase some Kona solids to coordinate with the batik. I’ve got my eye on some grays and some yellows. I might use the other two print fabrics (primarily in strip form) to piece something interesting for the back of the piece along with the Kona solids. Maybe I’ll even use the pattern for the back.

In addition to basting hexagons I was busy this week moving my blog from WordPress.com to Bluehost.com.  That was the subject of yesterday’s post.

Soon I will be attempting to bring over my subscribers from WordPress.com, but if that doesn’t work  and you have subscribed in the past, you might want to resubscribe. Wait a couple weeks before you do that though.  My domain is still not 100% set up to work with Bluehost yet.

The process of taking hexylady.com from being hosted at WordPress.com to self hosting has been nerve racking simply because I am a control freak at heart and I put this into someone else’s hands because I was afraid to do it myself.  I am really feeling really good about Bluehost though. They offer free webinars, and I will be participating in a webinar today for new users.  Tomorrow I have my one on one quick start phone call session scheduled, and Wednesday I am participating in a webinar for getting started with WordPress. This company seems to offer a lot of support and resources.  Their online chat has been very helpful in answering questions, and it is great to know that they take phone calls just incase I feel that it would be better to talk.

I am linking back to Life Under Quilts as usual. If you visit over there you will see what Jessica has worked on this week and you can also click the links at the bottom to see the work of the others who link back.

Bluehost – A New Home for Hexy Lady

While this is a blog about fiber arts, quilting in particular, and hexagons even more specifically, I would like to take some time to write about blogging. I am doing so because this is a momentous post for me. It is the first post that I am making from my self hosted WordPress blog hosted with Bluehost. The training wheels have come off. I am now free to customize my blog to my heart’s content. I am also free to do actual business here if I choose to at some point in the future.

I’ve been active in blogging ever since 1996 when I started my first blog with Geocities under the user name “terriblue”. I’ve owned a few domains too. My first domain was terriblue.com.  I dropped it, and purchased terrischurter.com when it was pointed out to me that it looked as if I was branding myself as a porn star by using terriblue.com because it included the word “blue”, as in blue films.  Who knew? Why did it take so long for anyone to mention this to me? I had to laugh. I was naive. What does this say about Bluehost?  Only kidding.

Not long ago I went through a period of dietary denial, and became the proud owner of nearlyvegan.com, which never really took off.  I started to eat meat again, my LDL cholesterol went back up, and I dropped the domain.

I’ve had a number of blogs with Blogger, including a once very active blog about the game of go at terrischurter.blogspot.com, which I call Enriching My Love of the Game. It’s still there.

When it came time to try to make a name for myself in the quilting community it didn’t seem right to use terrischurter.com because, who is Terri Schurter anyway?  So I looked for a name that would be short, easy to remember, and related to quilting. I chose hexylady.com.  What I didn’t know was that it probably should have been hexielady.com because hexie is the abbreviation commonly used for hexagons in the quilting community.  Don’t ask me why. To confuse matters even more, a Google search will reveal that “hexylady” has World of Warcraft associations with which I was unfamiliar when I chose it.  Be that as it may, I am now Hexy Lady, and I have the business cards to prove it.

While Blogger had been my platform of choice for years, I wanted to give WordPress a try because it is recommended by Michael Hyatt.  I became aware of his blog when Evernote retweeted his tweets about using Evernote.  I read his book “Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World” when it first came out, and I even joined his community at Platform University.

In spite of Michael Hyatt’s recommendation that one should self host, I decided to host my blog with WordPress.com using a premium package that included my own domain name. This meant that I could self host when I was ready and take my domain with me.  That premium package and domain were scheduled to renew on July 24th. I decided that rather than spend another year with limitations on what I could do with my blog over at WordPress.com, that I would make the switch to self hosting now.

The process has been fairly seamless. Bluehost took care of the details by migrating my content and installing WordPress for me. Today I chatted live with a representative who assured me that I could begin blogging again and pointed me to my login page.

Things probably still look the same to my readers, and that is the beauty of migrating one’s content. I may not make changes right away, but changes will be coming. Specifically, I have my eye on the premium WordPress Theme that Michael Hyatt created called “Getting Noticed“. I would not have been allowed to use that theme at WordPress.com, but I can use it at Bluehost, and probably will very soon.

I’ve been reading a thread over on Platform University, where the members are discussing the merits of using one’s own name vs. choosing a domain name that reflects one’s content. I had that struggle myself. Michael believes in registering one’s own name if it is available, and having done that awhile ago, I will probably point it to hexylady.com soon to give readers two ways to find me, and to build brand recognition with both names. Once I do that, and gain some recognition under my real name, I might make terrischurter.com my primary url. In the meantime, terrischurter.com is still hosted at FatCow. I noticed that they have a three dollar a month upgrade to a simplified WordPress panel. My package with FatCow doesn’t renew until November, so I might do a web host “bake off” in the meantime and see what that FatCow panel looks like.

Blogging is so much fun.



Weekly Progress Report

I spent a good deal of time this week gathering together pre basted hexagons, trimming those that needed it, and placing them in a container. I may be sorting them out by color group at some point, or I may be using this container as a source of hexagons for spontaneous scrappy piecing.

I have also been basting even more hunter green hexagons. My container is now nearly overflowing with hunter green goodness.

I’m pleased to say that the Double Wedding Ring paper pieces I ordered arrived this week. I ordered enough pieces to make a quilt with 36 rings.

The pieces come in three types, A, B, and C shown below in order.

I’m sad to say that the acrylic templates that I bought to accompany these paper pieces were a total waste of money for me, but not much of a loss at $8.00 for the set. I’ll tell you why I have no use for these templates so others can benefit from my mistake. The standard 3/8th inch seam allowance is way too large, and it costs an extra ten dollars to get the templates with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, which would have brought the price of the set to $18.00.

More importantly, however, anyone with any sense of spacial relations can easily cut a satisfactory seam allowance with a pair of scissors once the paper has been pinned in place on a strip of fabric. It’s not rocket science. The time one would invest in cutting around acrylic templates with a rotary cutter (even if they had a smaller seam allowance) would be a total waste of time. Who wants to be hunched over a table with a rotary cutter when she could be sitting on a couch with a strip of fabric and a pair of scissors in hand? The only reason I can think of to use these templates is if I wanted to do some fussy cutting. Even then, I would probably end up trimming my the seam allowances by hand after basting.

Even though I’m not yet ready to tackle a full quilt, I went to the trouble of basting a few of the “C” shapes. They were easy to baste. I added an extra stitch along each edge rather than just doing the corners. I think that extra stitch will be important in maintaining the subtle curves of the pieces.

I’m going to the trouble of making sure that I fold my fabric over in such a way that I can remove the papers before appliquéing the rings without having to do any additional reinforcement. The directions that come with the pieces recommend leaving the paper pieces in place when you appliqué the rings, and then cutting the fabric from the back to remove the papers. That seems to me as if it would make it very difficult to sew the rings in place with the thickness of the papers getting in the way and making the piece inflexible. It also seems like a lot of extra unnecessary effort to cut through the fabric for paper removal. Rather than using a full cloth background, I’ll be cutting individual pieces to appliqué behind the openings in the rings. Perhaps I’ll do this as the piece progresses. Perhaps I may wait until I’ve pieced all of the rings.  I haven’t decided yet.

The green pieces I am working with right now are simply for practice. I’ll probably do one ring as a table topper to experience the process before I start to work on a full quilt design. I’m big on making samples before tackling a big project. I’m thinking of planning out something in advance and purchasing the fabric necessary to complete it rather than going scrappy. The package of paper pieces comes with a line drawing of the 36 circle quilt that you can color for planning purposes.

I’ve got a 20% off birthday coupon from the Pennington Quilt Works that I need to use this month. Though I purchase my solids online from sample cards, I like to see prints in person before I buy them.  I will likely buy a lot of batting and some fabric for a wedding ring quilt with my coupon this year. I’m also interested in getting another rotating self healing cutting mat.

I have an idea of basting up enough pieces for a full quilt completely from scraps. This would be a very long term project. I’d put the pieces into separate containers by type, A, B, and C.  I’d then pull pieces randomly as I assembled the arcs. The only rule would be that if I picked the same fabric two times in a row I would throw it back and try again.

I also thought about tracing a set of the papers, scanning them, and then enlarging them to 200%. This would create a much larger ring for a more modern look.  A 200% increase in size would create rings 30.5 inches in size.

It’s time for a report on my experimental binding piece.  This piece has endured 14 regular washes and dries.  It has endured an additional 4 gentle washes and dries. While my binding became quite crinkly from the regular drying, my little seams are holding up very well, and that’s what I’m interested in evaluating.

I am linking back my weekly progress report to the Monday Morning Star Count on Life Under Quilts with Jessica Alexandrakis, whose book “Quilting One The Go” is available from Amazon.