Nellie"s Needles

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Even More Hexagon Blocks

Another star block was decorated with a row of outline stitches to make a lacy edge...

I also edged another star block with a dense pattern of colonial knots...
Now I need to decide on the arrangement of my last set of hexagons in this series ...

Here's a peek at my design wall. One of those hexagon arrangements will replace the center one in the bottom row.
This is the direction I have in mind to go with my SoupCon Quilt Along piece. The framing fabric around the center square is rough cut and ready to be trimmed down, edges turned under and appliqued IF ...

Friday, January 24, 2014

And Another SoupCon Hexagon

So far I'm enjoying the challenge to soften the edges of the hexagon stars that I designed for the Soupcon Challenge conducted by Karen at Faeries and Fibers. The outline stitch combined with the buttonhole and colonial knot stitches make a delicate lacy edge on this star ...

 (7" from point-point)

The embroidered outline pattern was figured out in a tracing...
I used a sheet of Press n Seal (Glad paper product for sealing food) and a Sharpie permanent ink pen to do this. The paper is transparent and sticks to the fabric while the pen marks do not smear. This is the process I use to figure out quilting patterns for large quilts, as well.

To see the hexagons that other members of this group are creating, go to this Flickr site.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Another SoupCon Hexagon

It's a bit of a challenge to come up with patterns that help to integrate the secondary hexagon motifs with the background. My intent is to embellish them to be interesting, but not compete for attention with the center star in the middle of this piece. My first thought of framing this one with a straight row of buttonhole stitches defines the shape which draws more attention than suits my purpose,
That line of stitching emphasizes rather than softens the outline of the star whereas the scattered knot pattern gives interest as well as softens the edge between the shape and the background.
I used a 2-ply strand of cotton floss and size 7 needle. Of course, these stitches are made with my favorite method, the Colonial Knot. There are several reasons I really like this technique of embroidering knots:
  • produces a flat and stable knot
  • the size is uniform
  • easy to control and fun to make
The knot size is determined by the size of the thread and needle not the number of wraps. A thicker, or more plies of thread, makes a bigger knot while a larger size needle makes a flat and more open knot as well as increasing the radius of the knot ...
In the above photo the smaller needle is a size 9 and the larger one is size 18. The thread is a 6-ply strand of cotton floss. In this case it's the needles that produced the two different sizes and shapes of knots.

A source that demonstrates how to make this knot (besides my blogged instructions) is a video at this link.

Now it's time for me to figure out the embellishment for my next hexagon star.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Center Piece Hexagon

On Friday Karen posted the next step for this hexagon quilt along called "Soupcon". She suggests we embellish our hexagon with embroidery stitches. I had not taken note of anyone else doing this before I saw her work. It's one of the reasons I joined this project. Go here to see her suggested ideas. This is what I've done to my mine ...

I felt all the fine design lines within my chosen fabric dictated a lacy edge.
I drew a scalloped edge echoing the line that frames the leafy shapes onto my background fabric with a fine white chalk pen. I used a buttonhole stitch with a 2-ply strand of cotton floss to embroider a lacy edge, as well as to cover the lines of the small leaf shapes radiating around the center. Nestled buttonhole stitches filled with a knot stitch accent the points. I also emphasized the dots within the fabric pattern with embroidered knots.

The knot stitch that I prefer to use in all my embroidery is the Colonial Knot. It is more stable than a French Knot ... plus it's fun to make. I wrote a tutorial here.

Another element that I have added is a striped black and white wool yarn. It's machine couched to frame the center fabric. Here's a tutorial I wrote about how I couch yarn in my work. There are two methods presented, one for edges and another for the middle of the work. Scroll down to the second one to see how I sewed the yarn to these centers.

I started to edge this motif with the buttonhole stitch ...
I hadn't made it a scalloped edge because I want to keep this motif secondary to the center one. I'm not liking it, so those stitches will be coming out ... I don't yet know what else will be done instead.

PS: The size of these modified star hexagons is 7" from point to point.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Playing With Hexagons

I bought this half yard left on the bolt by the customer ahead of me at JoAnn's in early December.

 My thought was that it would make nice thin strips to transition between design elements. Instead, it's become the star (literally) to my playing with this online project, "Soupcon Quilt Along" created by Karen on her blog, Faeries and Fibres.  Here's my solution to the first step in making my version of her the wall hanging she's designed...
However, I couldn't resist playing with different configurations of the hexagon to make more medallions...

Here's the fabric from which I'm cutting the centers...

I'm intrigued and couldn't resist playing with more configurations...

I'm excited to see where Karen is leading me and the 28 others who are in on this project. It's not too late for you to come join the fun, too. Just go to her blog and leave a comment indicating that you're interested.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Last Year's Creations

I have been quiet here in blogland this last year. One of the main reasons is that most of my online time is spent on an iPad ... which is not at all conducive to posting here. It's been easier for me to post a quick picture with a brief message on Facebook when a project was finished. Also, I haven't been all that productive in my studio(s). My energy has been a bit diminished since surgery a year ago August and what I do have has been directed to time and activities with family and friends and keeping up with two households.

In review, here are the pieces I have completed this past year ...
 "Smoky Mountain Sunrise" 20"x 16"

It won 3rd place in the Art Quilt category of the 2013 Smoky Mountain Guild Quilt show . To see the beginnings of this piece as well as others that present variations of my favorite view in the Smokies go here. It is for sale at the Cliff Dweller's Gallery in Gatlinberg, Tennessee.

 "Unraveled VII" 24"x 40"

The making of it can be read in the posts of February last year. This, too, was an award winning quilt in the SMG Quilt Show last spring. It is hanging in its new home in Memphis, Tennessee.

 "Trillium Patch" 18"x 18"

This is the first of the wildflower series wall quilts. It found a home in northern Indiana.

Trillium Patch #2 (16"x 13")

Trillium Patch #3 (16"x 13")

The two above are for sale at the Cliffdwellers Gallery up in the mountains.

Trillium Patch #4 (16"x 13")

 Trillium Patch #5 (16"x 13")
The two above are the ones that got pieces of real birch bark along with leaf skeletons included. They are available for purchase at Good Goods Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan. The making of all the wild flower pieces can be read about here.

 "Moon Set on the Lake" (21"x 17")

This is part of the 100 lake series. I'm sure my goal of a hundred has been reached... I've lost count. However, I'm not finished with making lake pieces. There are definitely more moon set ones in my future. This one was sold to a Michigander.

There was quite a bit of creative time spent this fall playing with glass.  I'll post about that big project in the near future.
I'm looking forward to being more productive this next year. I've already got a start on that by participating in an online group endeavor. More about that in my next post.

PS: Add the cuddle quilt "Boxes of Color" that was written about in the last post) to this list of accomplishments for 2013.