Here & There: Quilting Edition

 

This post was meant to have Florrie’s story about her hexagons, too… but temperamental internet has kept her from finishing.  She will post hers as soon as she can.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss her project.  Read on for my story –hex

Down at the Flat I was wandering through some few of my favorite blogs a few weeks back and I read about Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy starting work on some fabric hexagons. It jogged a memory of my mother, an avid quilter, making hexagons when I was a girl and carefully hand stitching them together into a quilt top.  Alicia’s hexagons were so pretty. Shades of pink and cream, green and blue.  The combination of nostalgia and the twitchy fingers of my craft mania meant that it wouldn’t be long before I started some of my own.

I’m an OK seamstress at best, but this seemed easy enough.  I did a little research on construction and Florrie ordered us a few sets of paper hexagons online.  We ended up with 1 1/2 inch and 2 inch paper hexagons.  I was to go up to the Croakery for a long weekend and we were set to get started.  While I was there we took a trip to JoAnn’s (which is extra exciting for me as we don’t have any of them down in the City) and we spent 20 minutes picking out fabrics. Initially I wanted aqua and browns, but the greens kept creeping in and the palette seemed to sort itself out. I bought a quarter of a yard of eight different fabrics, four green and four aqua of varying shades, patterns and intensities.

I knew I wanted to make a small project (a quilt seemed a bit daunting to start in case it turned out making hexagons made my teeth squeak) so I settled on a pillow cover.  Turns out making the hexagons is a quick, easy and pretty fun process. I cut out rough squares (why be fussy and cut a hexagon when you really don’t need to??) with my teeny Ginghers.  You just need to make sure that your fabric squares are big enough to comfortably wrap around the paper pieces. Basting the fabric to the paper was quick and easy, soon I had a decent sized stack and started the work of composing my layout. I settled on diagonal stripes of a dark and light of each color, and laid them out to alternate green/aqua/green and so on. I thought the flower motif might be a bit too twee for what I had in mind.

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Stitching the hexes together turned out to be a breeze. The instructions said to use a whip stitch, but I somehow fell into blanket stitch and it seemed to be fine.  I picked up a 20×13 inch pillow stuffer and got to work making my piece large enough to cover the front. I’m going to make the back with strips of the remaining fabric.

hexpillow

I haven’t decided if I want to fuss around with a zipper yet, or just make a flap. I do plan to line the inside with muslin to make sure no disasters occur while inserting/removing the pillow. Should I do a layer of thin batting for the cover and do a little bit of quilting, too? Decisions, decisions… Also, would anyone be interested in directions for the hexagon pillow? Let me know and I may be able to take the time to create a PDF.      -Marie

 

Bitten By the Bug

ImageI learned how to crochet last winter with a class on Craftsy.  I have always been what you might call a knitting snob.  I used to roll my eyes at crochet, and clutch my pearls at the thought of working with acrylic yarn.  “But knitting is so much prettier!”  “I only knit with natural fibers!”  “Crochet is such a grandma thing to do, I may as well get 4 more cats!”  “Crochet is so late 70’s, there’s nothing modern about it at all.”  But I have learned to open my mind a bit. It happened when I was exposed to two things. Bear’s Rainbow Blanket from the Purl Bee, and seeing Heidi Bear’s African Flower pattern on Ravelry. I was astounded that a craft that I considered so ‘tacky’ could make such pretty projects.  I know the dedicated crocheters out there are brandishing their hooks, offended at my words. And I apologize.  In my defense I was exposed to a lot of crocheted toilet paper covers complete with plastic dollies on top as a child.  But my eyes have been opened to the possibilities.

I made my first (gasp) acrylic throw for my sofa last spring.  Its a giant Granny Rectangle.  I didn’t use a pattern, I just made a chain and then made granny stitches in it until it became a rectangle. I love it. Its soft and warm, and I can throw it in the washing machine without thinking twice.  Besides that, if you consider the cost of making a blanket sized project in a nice wool its really prohibitive.  When Florrie and I saw how much the Bear’s Blanket kit cost to make out of Koigu, we fell out of our chairs.  Well played acrylic, well played.

After being bitten by the hook bug, I trolled Ravelry and found that there are a lot of great crochet projects out there. I remember seeing the Purl Bee’s blanket and wracking my brain to figure out a way to make the same squares in knitting,  I tried and tried but it never came out quite right. I believe some clever girl out there did it.  I’m sure if you Googled it you could easily find the free pattern. That’s when I decided that it was time to learn to crochet. Its fast to pick up.  I learned the basics in just about an hour.  That same hour I was making my first clumsy granny squares and soon after that I tried my hand at Heidi’s wonderful African Flower and here are my results!

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Not too shabby, eh? Its a fun, easy pattern. I have high regard for what I call “Bang for your buck patterns” and this falls solidly in that category.  You only need to know how to single crochet, chain and double crochet. I think the next thing I need to learn is the join as you go method. The major drawback for crochet (for me anyway) is that the joining and weaving in ends is a process and a half.  I have learned how to capture the ends as i crochet, but joining as I go is still an unknown, but seems right up my alley.  Do any of you have favorite join as you go method? I would be forever grateful if you hooked me up! (I apologize for that terrible, awful pun).

-Marie