Saturday, December 7, 2013

Busy day... now everyone's resting

Jenn is here with Harry for the weekend to sew and visit. Today we finished up a bunch of Xmas gifts. She made two of the 10 Minute Table Runners, I made another of the stuffed Christmas Tree Ornaments, a pillowcase, a block for a swap and worked a little on my Hexagon Christmas Tree pillow. Harry was outside running around a little, once with Al, once with Jenn and once with me... he gets plenty of attention when he visits. Here's the finished stuff:

There's also a couple of coasters...made the same way as my mug rugs but smaller.
So now everyone's resting... Harry is sleeping by Al on our bed (Al is on his I Phone)...

Jenn is relaxing on the couch (with her phone)....

and I'm at the kitchen table playing with my laptop :)

TUTORIAL: How to make Hexagons using the English Paper Piecing Method... EPP

 Recently I made a little Hexagon Christmas Tree pillow using the English paper piecing method. It turned out so cute that I decided to make two more... one for my other daughter and one for myself. This tree will be all in shades of green... the first one had some red mixed in.

SOOOOO... I thought I would do a tutorial for anyone wanting to make one or anyone that just wanted to learn to do EPP. WARNING: It's addictive!!! The paper above is the size I'm using for this project. It's a 1" Hexagon paper. You can buy these at most quilt shops or at You'll find lots of other projects on the website plus there's a great section with pictures of projects people are working on... some are downright AMAZING!!

Okay, so back to the tutorial. You'll need 22 papers... 21 for the tree and one for the trunk. You can also make a smaller tree using 11 papers... just stop after the fourth row and add the trunk.

Here's the piece of fabric I'll use to make my next piece. It measures about 2-1/2" square. You can fussy cut a design if you would like.
 Lay you paper on the wrong side of the fabric square and pin it to it. I know some people who punch a hole with a paper punch into the center of the paper hexagon and put the pin in at that spot... this keeps you pins sharper but I'm not too concerned so I just pin through the paper.

 Trim off the excess fabric... again only if you want to... some people leave the extra... doesn't really hurt anything. I trim so that I have a generous 1/4" all the way around.
 Now knot a thread and fold back one seam... put your needle though all the thicknesses and baste the edges down... use REALLY LARGE stitches because you'll be pulling these out later. Once all the edges have been basted down, just run the thread through a couple of places to secure it... don't knot it... it'll hold well enough. Take out the pin.
 I'm about halfway done with my hexagons...10 more greens ones to make and a brown one but I'll show you how it goes together.
 Butt two pieces like I did below. Where they touch will be the first seam. This is row two... I start my trees with row two. Put the two hexagons right sides together....
 Take you knotted and threaded needle... go through the back seam... coming up at a corner....
Then catch the corner of the other piece to lock them together ...lining them up and whip stitching across... just keep going in one and straight across into the other. You'll get a ////// type of stitching. Knot it at the end of the row but don't cut your thread...
You can add your next piece on now. I lay it down... make sure I know where I want the next one to go... then start adding that piece. I'll add the top piece now (If I had a cute green fabric with a star that could be fussy cut, I would use that instead of this one).
 So here I am adding the top piece ...first to the green. I'll knot at the end of the row... cut the thread and then fold the pieces over so I can stitch to the yellow hexagon. This is really hard to explain but if you do it along with me, you'll understand. Knot again at the end. Cut the thread and get ready to start row 3.
 I line up my rows just to see what piece I want to use next... probably will be that darkest green of row 3... then the middle one. Every so often you have to knot the thread and cut it. If I wanted the smaller tree, I could stop at the end of row 4 and then add my brown piece to the center of the bottom row. You need to end with an EVEN row so that the trunk is centered..... so 4 or 6 or 8...
 My background piece is from the Bluebird Park fabric line. I cut a piece about 15" square... and trim later when I have my tree appliqued down.
I'll show the applique process later but once your tree is made and the trunk is on... spray the whole piece with starch BACK and FRONT. Press VERY WELL. Now you can remove the papers and the seams will stay to the back. Lay your piece on the backing square and applique down. You could use invisible thread to zig zag it down ... or you could hand applique it. The other option is to leave the papers in, hand applique it and then cut away the back and remove the papers.

To remove papers cut your basting threads and just gently pull them out. The papers can be reused about three or four times.

Note: I used YLI Wonder thread for the invisible zig zag stitching I did on my first pillow.

Email me if you have any questions... I love hooking people on EPP... ;)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Let It Snow Table Runner Finished :)

 Today I finished up my table runner from the book LET IT SNOW. There were a lot of cute things to make from this book. This one was super simple... took much longer to quilt this than to sew it up.
 I added the binding on the opposite way we usually do, put it on from the back and folded it to the front. This way I could machine stitch the binding down on top... follow along the edge so that it looks good from the top without being bothered if it misses a little on the back.

For the quilting, I followed along the inside of the trees using 1/4" seam.. getting smaller and smaller. Then just did swirls in a meander around the rest of it.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas trees and other goodies

 Today I'm working on Christmas items... These cute little stuffed trees will be decoration at Demo Days. The shop carries the book that has this pattern and lots of other cute ones.
 These trees are small... not a lot larger than my spool of thread. We're going to make quite a few and string them like garland.
 This pile of strip scraps is being turned into a second Christmas quilt. I'm doing one in just Christmas fabric but using the pattern I used to make my Blue Strip quilt. If you haven't tried strip piecing, you should! MINDLESS (my favorite type of sewing).
 These are some of the strip blocks that are done and trimmed. Some of the fabrics are from the 80's... time to use THOSE up!
Below is how I'll put them together... every 4 strip blocks put together like this form a diamond...  4 diamonds across and 4 down (64 blocks total). It should be about 72" square which is a pretty good size for a lap quilt. Since I build my blocks on muslin, I won't need to use any batting. I'll probably find a nice flannel for the back.... that will make it cozy.

 And if you know how I sew... one project at a time is unheard of! SOOOO... I'm also working on this tablerunner that is on my ironing board. The light aqua is the background of the triangle trees... there will be an aqua border with tree trunks built in and then maybe another border after that. This is also in the book that has the little stuffed tree garland. I can't remember the name but they will have it at Demo Days at Hearts to Holly. I could have made about 5 things from that book... cute wall quilt... nice pillows... a snowman lap quilt... just lots of great items. When I find out the name of the book I'll update this post.
And here is my only purchase when I went to another quilt shop in my area... I was looking for something different to add to my Christmas quilt and found this pretty string of lights fabric. Bought a 1/2 yard of it... just enough to play with.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hexagon Christmas Tree pillow

Al and I are PUP sitting for our daughter's dog, Harrison (Harry for short). She and Jon have taken off for London to get in a last trip before starting a family. They know once they have children, the trips won't happen... at least not for a while. So Harry is here for 10 days or so... 10 LONG days. He's a bundle of energy!
Al is working today so I'm the entertainment committee for the day. We played catch and fetch and tug-a-war............ and now I'm pooped. Figured I could do some hand sewing while he relaxes on a quilt.
This is a Christmas Tree Pillow that I'm making as a shop sample. It's just 1" hexagon pieces put together in rows of 1, then 2 then 3... continuing until row 6. Add a final brown hexi as the trunk. This is an English Paper Piecing (EPP) method (you can see a how-to at with this link)... applique the tree to a background... layer with batting and a muslin backing. Quilt using floss through all layers. Then turn it into a pillow and stuff. You could add sparkly beads at the hexagon junctions... but with a puppy here, I know he'd just try to nibble them off. I've already pulled pins out of his mouth when he grabbed one of my pincushions.
I'll post of picture of the finished pillow when it's done.... WITH ANY LUCK, that will be today :/

UPDATE, same day evening: Finished up the pillow with lots of help from Harry (yeah, right!). Here it is...

Did a little machine quilting too... I like adding swirls of snow or wind. Harry didn't want me to add the piping... he was having too much fun grabbing it and running.

Monday, November 11, 2013

FREE Mug Rug Patterns and Ideas

While I was working today, a lady came in asking about MUG RUG patterns. I mentioned that I have a few free ones on my blog. This COULD be one... with all the work that went into it, I call it a mini quilt but it's mug rug size.

After thinking about all the mug rugs I've made, I thought maybe I should have a page that tells where they are because even I couldn't find them easily.

SO, here it is:

Aqua & Red Hexagon Flower Mug Rug

Dr. Seuss Mug Rug Ideas

More Dr. Seuss Ideas

Dr. Seuss Crazy Quilt Mug Rug


Christmas Ornament Mug Rug Free Pattern

64 Patch Mug Rug Idea - This is just 1-1/2" squares stitched together to make an 8" block then turned into a mug rug.

Teapot Paper Piecing block to make into a mug rug - Sometimes I use these paper piecing block (if they are about 8") to use as the front of my mug rug.. and sometimes I add a small border first.

Paper Pieced Coffee Cup Mug Rug Idea - No pattern for this but I found a free paper pieced coffee cup block online and added a strip to all sides to create a mug rug.

Hope this helps. As I do more or find more, I'll add them on here. Pretty much any small block can be bordered and then finished off like a miniature placemat to make a mug rug. I grab them all the time to use on my coffee table. They hold so much more than a coaster (you know, all the cookies and treats that go with coffee;).

Happy Veteran's Day

Dad in the Navy 1950's Korean War
Wishing all the Veterans a good day.
Thank you for all you are doing and all you have done!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Stitching

 Jenn and Harry came for a visit today. He was in DESPERATE need of his own bed...
I spotted a cute one on Pinterest so we made a similar one. Well, when I say we I mean Al. This is the pic of what we wanted:

We forwarded the picture to Al and "presto"'s done. He's so talented! It just needs that gray wash and Harrison's name stenciled on it.
So, Jenn and Harry headed home.. We made a real mess in the sewing room so I'm going to spend some time cleaning and playing with my fabrics.

I have a few new ones from the shop... have to decide what I want to make. Aren't they cute? It's called Bluebird Park from MODA. Hearts to Holly has it in stock and in the popular HOLLY BUNCHES (12 FQs).

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Modern Male Quilter and Teacher in Charlevoix

Gregg is a quilter and teacher in northern Michigan who was teaching a class at Hearts to Holly. This is a blue ONE BLOCK WONDER that Gregg made in about 4 days. This was a stripe fabric... turned out so pretty!
 This is another of his quilts... this class was a few weeks ago. I just love this one. Emily from the shop, made it in black and white with lime... really nice also!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Making something out of nothing

Yesterday I had a little time before Al and I headed to Jenn's house to help pass out candy for Halloween. There were a couple of blocks that needed finishing up and one that needed applique pieces basted to it so that I could hand stitch them down on our way to Traverse City... it takes us about an hour. Usually I grab some hand sewing so that I'm not bored in the car.
Well, finished up preparing that and still had some time to spare. I was looking at this pile of trash and thought... wonder if I could make something from that... kind of a challenge to myself.
So I started a crazy quilt block... just adding one piece next to another and another (even putting in some of the selvages) until I had a nice big piece.
Trimmed it down to an 8-1/2" square.
Well, now what? Thought about putting into my box of orphan blocks (yes, I have a box of those) but I still had time before we were leaving so I decided it would make a cute mug rug for my sewing room.
I kind of have a Dr. Seuss theme going in there... a Dr. Seuss quilt my sister made me... a matching pillow my sister made ... a Dr. Seuss picture frame my sister bought me (huh, seems to be a theme here too :).. a bunch of Dr. Seuss books and stuffed animals..  YUP, needed a matching mug rug.
I dug through my scraps of batting (yes, I save all of those too).
 And dug through my leftover panel pieces to come up with a backing piece (looks like a picture of Al and I waiting for the kids to visit)...
Gave it a quick quilting...
Then dug through my leftover binding pieces (got a box of those too)...
and ended up with this:
 Stitched the binding down on the way to Jenn's house......
And here's the funniest part. Al saw it and said "you're not giving that away, are you?.. It's too nice".
Sometimes I could just kiss that man!

I've been slowly pushing myself back to quilting. My back pain gets terrible in the mid day so early morning is the best time to sew.  ...