Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grandmothers Flower Garden...

I am going to do a series of posts on my projects/UFO’s. Maybe it will be motivation to work on them.

The first I am going to show is my grandmothers Flower Garden. I think I might call it the Agnes May or the Lillian Dorothy in honor of my two grandmas. Gotta think on that as it isn’t just right and I know the quilt will tell me what it wants to be called. I have always had a special yearning to hand sew. Currently this is my second completely hand sewn quilt. I will post later on my first one that is still in progress.
I was going to New York in May and I wanted something small and compact to work on and thought it was the perfect time to start some English paper piecing. I have observed it over the years and thought how cool that was. I was especially influenced by watching Beth at Heart to Hand Quilt shop. She taught a class on it but I was just able to observe her at the monthly block of the month club and then with talking with her a bit. I also did some research on the Internet and studied a couple of tutorials and read a couple of directions on a couple of sites and came up with a mishmash my own style of doing it. To get started I knew I had to find some templates. Of course I dreamed up the design of this quilt at work. That is where a lot of my designing starts and I was itching to leave work but I had to wait until 5 when I got off. I first looked at the Internet to see where I could buy hexagons. I found a site but I didn't want to have to wait for delivery so decided to go check out Fabric Depot here in Portland. A wonderful store here in the Portland area. They had them. The hard part was deciding which size to use. After much debating with myself I choose the 1 inch hexagons and I was off and running.
I knew I had tons of scraps at home and decided to go buy some white on white fabric to go in the centers. I also bought a cute cutter in the shape of a daisy for the plane as I didn't know if my cute little scissors would make it past the checkpoint and I didn't want to risk it.
Later that week while sitting in front of the TV I cut out my fabric from all of my pieces just roughly around one of the templates. I did not cut them precise or perfect. In fact long ways from perfect as some are a bit more a hexagon rectangle then a hexagon square. Lol. In fact I even found that I cut the white ones two small so those were not going to be the center any more and I had so many different pink fabrics I decided to use those as the centers. It actually looks pretty good.
I had a plastic box left over from my Q-tips and it's the perfect size. For my trip I put enough fabric for 6 flowers, needles, the cutter and thread into the box. I put the rest of the stuff in my suitcase with my scissors. I was way too ambitious.
We took a red eye to NY from Portland, with no stops. I was tired and hyper. My friend was traveling with me and he fell asleep so I started one. It seemed so hard. I didn't cut the pieces big enough and even though I pinned it, the fabric slid all over and I had very little left to baste. I put it away after the first few hexagons as I was discouraged.
My days in NY were full and I never had a chance to pick the sewing up to work on. I flew home alone and the seat next to me was empty – so I tried again. I still struggled. I was able to complete two flowers but I was still discouraged. I even found the whip stitching hard. So I put it away and thought about it. I was about ready to chuck the whole idea.
That week I made another trip to Fabric Depot and bought the ¾ inch hexagons and tried again. I am now in love. That smaller size has made such a difference. The fabric still slides a bit but it so easy to baste and the pieces are nice and tight. The whip stitching is now so much easier. My applique project is at a stopping point so last week I started taking the flower garden to work. I find that between my 2 - fifteen minute breaks I can usually get almost 1 flower done a day. When I first started I would baste the middle hexagon and then 1 for the next round and then whip them together. I would then do the next one and whip stitch it on. If felt like I was starting, stopping, starting stopping... So I changed my rhythm. Now I baste all 7 hexagons and then whip stitch them all at once. So much faster and I feel so much more productive.
One day at work I did a little figuring. Each flower is 4 inches. I figured out that if I wanted to do a quilt 80 by 80, I would need 400 flowers or 2800 hexagons. I haven’t figured out how many white ones I need to make but it’s just a rough idea. I might just do it in sections as I plan to use all my scraps on this.


sunshine said...

your welcome for the tut and I hope you progress well in your quilt

Alicia P. said...

I can appreciate what went into those. They're wonderful!