a note for my Flickr paper piecing bee…

hi there flickr friends!

thanks for stopping by to take a look at my notes for our SeptemberĀ block. I hope it helps some of you understand what i’d really like from you! I promise i’m not high maintenance… šŸ˜‰

so I’ve decided to go with this block I happened across on Pinterest.

hexagon block

isn’t it cute?! anyway, I had aĀ little tester with the downloadable paper pattern, and it wasn’t exactly impressive. I have two problems:

#1 – I totally clashed fabrics so you can’t see the hexagon, but it’s what I had to work with! I probably should have made the dark fabrics form the hexagon rather than the star. but I learned a lesson!

#2 – the star I made came out kinda elongated.

Photo Aug 28, 9 29 45 PM

so, i’m going to redraw the paper pattern so that it all comes out equal. don’t use the printable one: i’ll have to snail mail it to you all with the fabrics.Ā i don’t have OCD at all…. :S

i’ll slipĀ a little note in with the fabrics, too, but i’ll tell ya now anyway. I’ve stacked the fabrics so that the top 3 squares will be used as the inner star. i had to be strategic with the fabric colors so i wouldn’t get clashes like i did above. I just cut the squares right down the middle to make 2.5″x5″ rectangles to start off with. the next 3 squares in the stackĀ should be used as the triangle pieces that make up the hexagon shape. each 5″ square can be cut into four. I cut it squarely into four 2.5″ squares, but right as I’m typing, I just had an epiphany: I bet it’ll be easier to piece if you cut on the diagonal instead to make four triangles. I might try that and see! i had a little difficulty fitting the whole triangle base in there. sometimes i was a little off and got a notch at the very ends…

Photo Aug 28, 7 00 05 PM

it was small enough to fit inside the seam allowance though, so i didn’t mind. finally there are two long strips – one is 1″ wide to be used for the star outline pieces and the other is about 6″ wide for the outer block background.

now a quick note about switching out fabrics.

i learned my lesson from the last bee block group i was in. i had A LOT of mess ups. šŸ˜¦ And the fabric i chose to go with was all of the same line and aĀ little pricey. šŸ˜¦ i still haven’t fixed/replaced all the blocks yet! anyway, although all the fabrics here are of the same collection, ultimately, i’m okay with you switching out fabrics with some from your own stash. in fact, i might really appreciate you doing so to achieve the contrast look i was hoping for. i seemed to have an abundance of lighter background fabrics and not so many black/dark greys/reds. SO… if you have fabrics from this line, or any that are black/dark grey/red –Ā very close to these shades, and you feel the fabrics i sent you might not turn out so contrasty, by all means, feel free to switch em out! also, if you make a horrible mistake somewhere and can’t rescue it, i’m okay with substitutions – as long as they remain in this color scheme.

if you have any questions, please let me know via flickr – i’ll keep a check on it there.

i can’t wait to see how these turn out!

union flag pillow

UJ2

yesterday, the hubby and I said goodbye to our first couple of foster kids. we had them for about six weeks, and had grown comfortable to them in our home. but we weren’t so attached that we’re traumatized… they were really sweet, cute kids.

anyway, since today was unstructured for me, I decided to bring out the british fabrics i’d been hoarding for a while now and play around with them. of course, they worked themselves into a union flag. and why not form a pillow?

UJ3

it’s going to be a lovely surprise gift for someone special. I can’t wait til they get it!

I’ve got a bit more of this fabric left and am contemplating making another pillow, or something else entirely.

UJ1

definitely liking the flag thing though. i’d love to have a flag pillow for each country I’ve been to. then again, they’d be so numerous, there’d be pillows all over my house! maybe a quilt…

another side swap

I just can’t keep it in any longer: I have to show the latest pillow I’ve made. I had another willing side swapper through flickr. and here’s what I made for her.

Rainbow Wheel Pillow

i’m really happy with how this one turned out. I’ve been wanting to do a rainbow project for a while, but I didn’t think I had enough fabrics in my stash to get a full rainbow with multipleĀ prints per color. I was pleasantly surprised! I got to integrate some of my favorite modern fabrics as well as some older treasures. I like that the rainbow brings it all together.

I saw a colorwheel embroidery pin on pinterest, which I found after I had pieced the pillow top. I thought it was the perfect idea to fill the center square, so I pretty much duplicated it, with a few of my own ideas thrown in.

Color Wheel Embroidery

 

when my family and friends hear that I don’t think i’mĀ particularly creative, they scoff at my remarks and insist thatĀ I am. for the most part over the past few years, I’ve been learning how to sew by copying/duplicating someone else’s work. and I think that’s only natural and okay when one starts out. a lot of people may not even be able to copy another’s work, so i’m glad for the skills I’ve learned. what makes this pillow especially special though,Ā is that it came about (the piecing at least) through my own creativity. i feel that i’m finally stretching my brain and creative energies. so i’m determined to continue exercising my creativity by coming up with my own ideas and designs. i might still imitate from time to time, but i feel it’s time to create my own sewing style.

well, i hope my swap partner likes this pillow, and will treasure it for the gem i feel it is. šŸ˜€

side swap

i really LOVED taking part in the Pillow Talk Swap on FlickrĀ several months back. I love making things for other people, and I really enjoy the surprises I receive. I was so excited to participate in the next one, and was even the first to post a comment asking when it’d be. I stalked the group for weeks, then the one week I didn’t check, it was sign ups and I totally missed it! gutted, or what!? after posting about my disappointment, I had a few people volunteer to do a side swap with me. yay!!

I saw the spiderweb design amongst the favorite photosĀ of my partner. she really liked beachy colors, too, so I came up with this…

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I really loved how it came out. I wasn’t sure for a while if it would turn out cute, but after the quilting and little hand stitched Xs, I fell in love with it.

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now on to my next one!

crayon roll for my foster kids

just over a week ago, the hubby and I became first time parents to two little foster boys. one is two years old and the other is four. they are a handful, and this fostering thing is an adventure!

after we took them to church with us last week and them being somewhat noisy with the plastic pencil case filled with crayons, I decided to make this cute little crayon holder: one for each of them.

Photo Jun 29, 1 05 13 PM

I had some inspiration from this flickr photo, but with no tutorial, I just came up with the measurements myself. it wasn’t too difficult to figure this little beauty out.

Photo Jun 29, 1 04 59 PM

and of course I love the rainbow trend! šŸ™‚ thankfully, we had enough crayons to make two rainbows. these are great because I don’t have to bring dozens of shades of crayons to church anymore, and they still have all they need.

I’ve already been commissioned by a few friends and family to make more for their kids, so i’ll be busy for the next couple of weeks…

Traveling sewing pouch

I’ve been wanting to make a portable pouch of sorts to take on the road/airplane so I can continue my embroidery endeavors while I travel. after reading a post over on the clover & violet blog, I was inspired to create a version of my own.

Photo Jun 07, 1 35 13 PM

I used fabric left over from selling Stampin’ Up! products. when I saw that they did fabric, I had to give it a try. I LOVE stuff that’s already color coordinated! The measuring tape fabric was a lucky find when I went home to the UK over winter. I’m not sure of the maker/designer though. I need to get better at remembering to look for that info.

Photo Jun 07, 1 34 27 PM

the inside features a clear zipper pocket on the left side, with another pocket tucked behind. there is another clear pocket on the green flap on the right, and on the reverse of the flap is a little felt ‘needle book’ to keep those needles safe. I didn’t photograph all the features, but there’s also a loop attached to the upper edge to hold an embroidery hoop… I made this ‘kit’ to pass around some friends for a new project.

blank pillow

I’ve moved a lot in my life, and I like to try and remember as many friends & people I meet as possible. this pillow is currently travelling amongst my local friends: they will write their name, like a legible signature, and embroider over it with a simple back stitch. to make it easier for them to do, I had everything they would need inside this sewing kit. I can’t wait to get it back with all the lovely embroidered signatures! also, I need to take pictures of the sewing pouch in use, filled with colorful threads.

I wondered if I should do a tutorial on how to make a pouch like mine… what do you think?

flower quilt block tutorial

first, a couple of disclaimers: i am not the creative genius behind this block. i first stumbled upon this beautiful flower on pinterest. i couldn’t find where i could purchase the pattern,Ā or evenĀ if i could. apparently it was a ‘block of the month’ pattern for Fat Quarter Shop. but here‘s where the original pinterest picture comes from. anyway, i did reverse engineer the block to how i want it. i wanted it to measure 16″ square (i have no idea how large the original block is) so i came up with my own pattern.

for my Sew Buzzy friends: this block is really cool, and i really hope you enjoy making it. but if you feel like it might be too taxing for you or time consuming, i understand (especially since we’re getting started a little late this month!) just send it on back and i won’t mind piecing it myself. i had such a blast with the first one. šŸ˜€

i hope this tutorial won’t be too long winded, and i’ll try to keep it as simple as i can. please read through it all before getting started. there are a few things i don’t want you to miss! but i promise it’ll be worth it.

this block measures 16.5″ unfinished. it’s a big ‘un!

  • fabric A – 4.5″ square (1)Ā – center block
  • fabric B – 2″ square (4)Ā – center block petals
  • fabric C – 4.5″ x 2.5″ (4) – inside petals
  • fabric D – 4.5″ x 2.5″ (4) & 2″ square (8) – middle petals
  • fabric E – 4.5″ x 2.5″ (2) & 2″ square (4) & 2.5″ square (4) & 3″ square (4) – outside petal #1
  • fabric F – 4.5″ x 2.5″ (2) & 2″ square (4) & 2.5″ square (4) & 3″ square (4) – outside petal #2
  • fabric G – 4.5″ square (4)Ā & 3.5″ square (2) – green leaves
  • fabric H – 3″ square (4) & 3.5″ square (2) –Ā neutral background

make the center block: made using one 4.5″ squareĀ of fabric A and four 2″ squaresĀ of fabric B.

CenterSquares

lay each 2″ ‘petal’ block (fabric B) at each corner of the center block (fabric A). sew from corner to corner of the petal block to formĀ four corner triangles. trim about 1/4″ from seam.

centerpetal

press petals out to form the center square. (Sew Buzzies: i pressed the seams open for this square, but i’m not fussy what you decide to do. i’ll let you know how i ironed my seams throughout, but it’s up to you if you press that way too…)

centerblock

make the inner petal blocks: made using four rectangles of fabric C and eight 2″ squares of fabric D.

pillow5

take each piece of fabric CĀ  and lay a 2″ square from fabric D at two corners of same long side. stitch from corner to corner as with the center block.

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it’s kinda like making flying geese, except the ‘wings’ are a little smaller. trim the excess corner material and press (open). now you should have four ‘inner petal’ blocks.

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make the middle petal blocks: made using rectangles of fabric D and 2″ squares of fabric EĀ & F. keep E’s with E’s and F’s with F’s!

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repeat making the ‘flying geese’ type blocks as in the previous steps. you’ll have two sets of two ‘middle petal’ blocks.

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now, let’s sew up a center strip! line up and sew blocks in this order, as shown: fabric E rectangle, middle petal block with fabric E corners, inner petal block, center block, inner petal block, middle petal block with fabric E corners and fabric E rectangle.

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sew together side petals. arrange as shown (iron seams toward outside of block, away from center)

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you should end up with two identical side petal blocks…

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make outer petal joining block: using a 3″Ā square from both fabrics E & F, place together right sides facing and sew two seams 1/4″ from the center diagonal.

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cut down the center diagonal to form two half square triangles. press (open).Ā trim to 2.5″. repeat once more for a total of four HSTs.

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make outer petal/leaf joining blocks: take a 3.5″ green square, and 3.5″ neutral square and make two HSTs just like the previous step (except I pressed toward the green). trim down to 3″. (I missed a picture of this one, but hopefully you can tell it’s the square underneath:)

pillow21

continue with these HSTs: lay a 3″ outer petal square piece, right sides together and again sew two seams perpendicular to the green/neutral seam 1/4″ either side of the diagonal. cut the diagonal to get a funky looking HST. (press toward largest triangle)

pillow24

you should end up with eight total outer petal/leaf joining blocks: four eachĀ with fabrics E & F.

make corner leaf blocks: take your 4.5″ green square, and lay a 3″ neutral square at one corner. stitch along the diagonal and trim excess.

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this time, press seam toward the leaf. repeat with all four leaf blocks.

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now, here’s where it might get a little confusing. it might help to lay out all your blocks in the arrangement of the flower block so you can visualize where everything fits.

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lay out the leaf corner block pieces as shown, matching fabrics E & F. first, stitch the top three pieces together and press (to inside)

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NOTE: I have the top piece upside-down!! (I actually sewed it together before I realized. argh!)

next, sew the two left side pieces and press (inward). sew this side to leaf block first.

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sew the top row to leaf pieces

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et voila! a corner leaf block. you’ll end up with four of these: two will be the same with fabric E across the top and F down the left side, and two will be the same with fabric F across the top and E down the side. I hope this makes sense!

attach the leaf blocks to the side petal blocksĀ as shown. take care to match fabrics E & F to their respective petals…

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finally, sew the sides to the middle panel. this pattern is quite forgiving when it comes to matching seams, but the only place I pinned was at the center block seams. if they’re off, it’ll look a little out of place.

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I can’t wait to see these guys in their different fabric combinations from my Sew Buzzy group. EEEK!

if any of the steps are confusing, please let me know, and i’ll do my best to clear things up! enjoy stitching!