Monday, December 25, 2006

These two pictures show the state of the quilt as of 12-25-2006. The first row across the bottom has been finished, and a couple of flowers have been added to start the second row. This blog has now caught up to the quilt. The yard stick gives a better idea of how big the quilt is going to be. (A yard is 36 inches = 91.44 cm) One thing that I am going to have to decide is what to do with the edges. This pattern leaves an uneven edge to the quilt. This will make it hard to put binding on the edges. I am thinking at this point in time that I will put 1/2 hexagons along the sides to make a smooth edge. Then with a smooth edge, I will put a 6 inch strip of solid black all around. This will serve to make the quilt bigger and will set off the flowers better. This is the good thing about such a long project, you really aren't tied into anything. If I wanted to change the arrangement of the flowers, the only ones I'm stuck with are the ones that are completed. So, I can think about all the other options that I have available to me as I go along.

Putting flowers together with paths

Here is the lower left corner of the quilt. This picture gives a better idea of what it looks like with things put together. All the flowers surrounded by the black of the garden paths. Of course, in this picture, you can see all the basting that is holding the paper hexagons onto the back of the quilt. All the white stitching that you see will be removed. The paths between the flowers will be a smooth unbroken black. I am having thoughts of putting bees or butterflies scattered around to look as if they are visiting flowers in Grandmother's garden, but haven't really decided that yet. I am also not positive about how exactly I am going to quilt the quilt. According to my calculations, I'm not going to have to worry about quilting for about another 4 years!! When I get a little bit farther along, I am going to take out some of the paper hexagons, just to see how the final quilt top is going to look. I will, of course, post a picture of that as soon as it happens.

Home storage

I found this wicker box at Crate & Barrel for a very good price. It is 8 1/2 inches tall, and 9 1/2 inches wide, and 14 inches long. All the necessary items I need for the quilt are kept in this box (except for the extra fabric, which lives in the closet). I usually work on the quilt in the evenings while watching tv. I keep the box under the coffee table where it is out of the way. The lid makes an excellent work surface that I hold in my lap as I sit on the couch. This keeps everything together, but doesn't allow the quilt to take over the room. I can very easily pack everything up in the evening when finished.

Traveling kit

I took an old tea tin and put together a traveling kit. All I keep in here are a spool of thread, needles, scissors, and paper hexagons pinned to fabric. I can carry this tin with me on trips (I recently took it with me on vacation) or even on the bus to and from work. With this kit, all I do is baste the hexagons together. This is a real time saver, then in the evenings while watching tv, I have all the hexagons made and can whip stitch them together. The stack you see on the right in the picture is completed hexagons. I then string them together with a single thread through the center. This keeps all the hexagons for a single flower together, 6 seer suckers with a center.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Back sides of the flowers

Here are a two photos of the back sides of the flowers. This may give you a better idea of what it looks like. Once everything is whip stitched together, all the basting is removed and the paper hexagons in the center of each falls away. While the paper is still basted to the fabric, it all has a very stiff feel to it that makes it a lot easier to sew shapes together. Once the basting and paper are removed, the fabric flowers become much more plyable. In the first row of the quilt (which is finished), I removed the basting and paper from the small green flower. I wanted to see what it felt like. I haven't decided when I'll remove more. Nothing should be removed until all six sides of the hexagon has another hexagon attached. Thus, once a flower has been made, the center could be removed, or in a large flower, once the solid has been placed all around, the paper could be removed from the center and the seer sucker. The quilt will have a much cleaner look to it once the basting has been removed. As you will see, the basting really shows up on the black paths surrounding the flowers. Once it has been removed, the paths appear to be solid black. You'll see this more clearly in future posts.

Individual flowers, big and small

Here are the small and big orange flowers. It should be pointed out that all the stitching that you now see (especially visible in the solid orange hexagons) is from the basting of the fabric to the paper. All these stitches will be removed once the paper backing is removed. I've still been thinking about the actual quilting of the quilt, these will be stitches that will be visible for good.
I have been finding it very easy to make the big and small flowers individually and then stitch them together with the black paths later.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Creating flowers from the hexagons

Now that you have made hexagons, it is time to put them together to form the flowers. Many quilts that you will see don't seem to follow a strict plan. This one is. Every flower has the same center. Also every flower has the first row around the center formed from seer sucker. I plan on having all the lines of the seer sucker lined up too, all radiating from the center. It takes 7 hexagons to make the small flowers, 19 for the large size. The hexagons are placed top faces together, they are then whip stitched together, being careful not to catch the edge of the paper underneath (since it will later be removed). All the seer sucker hexagons are attached to the center, and to each other to form the flower.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Baste the fabric onto the paper hexagon

Now that the two are pinned together, you simply baste them together. This doesn't have to be perfect (although I usually try) because all this basting will be removed later. The purpose is to give a nice secure edge that we will then be able to whip stitch together. Start on one side, fold the fabric down, fold nice corners and go all the way around the hexagon. Now you have a bunch of little fabric hexagons, cute aren't they?

English Paper Piecing - Putting paper and fabric together

Now that you have cut out hexagons and squares of fabric. Now pin the two together. Once they are pinned together, you cut the corners off the squares.

English Paper Piecing - The Fabric

The next step is to now cut fabric squares that are a little bit larger than the hexagons. I first cut strips of fabric, then cut squares off the strip.

English Paper Piecing - The Paper

This quilt pattern is usually made using the English Paper Piecing method. In this method, the cut pieces of material are basted to paper shapes and then whip stitched together. Later the whip stitches and paper are removed. I have decided to use very small hexagons, only about 1 inch square (2.5 cm). I am figuring that I am going to need about 5,000 hexagons give or take a few.
The paper:
I made a hexagon in Microsoft Word 2003 on my home computer, then copied it and filled a page. I then printed it out and can now either print out more, or make copies at Kinko's. All the hexagons are then cut out. I first cut them into small strips of 3 and then cut them individually from there. These small strips in a baggie with a pair of scissors make a very compact, easy to carry project that you can work on while on the train or bus.


All the fabrics used in the quilt top will be 100% cotton. Most were purchased at JoAnn Fabrics. They have a wonderful selection in every possible color. Several were purchased in Hollywood Florida in June when I was down for my younger son's Bar-Mitzvah. They were having a sale on the seer sucker so I was able to stock up. I purchased 5 yards of black and 1.5 yards of each of the colors. I am thinking that I might need to put a black border around the entire quilt. That remains to be seen.

My Plan for Grandmother's Flower Garden

Here is my hand-drawn plan. The top picture is a close-up of the lower left hand corner of the foot of the quilt. The lower picture is the plan for the entire quilt top. There are 9 colors in the quilt. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Deep Orange and Black. There are two flower sizes, Large and Small. Every flower has a deep orange hexagon as the center. Every flower then has six seer sucker hexagons surrounding the center. These seven hexagons make up the smaller flowers. The large size flowers then have 12 solid hexagons surrounding the 6 seer suckers. The solids match the seer sucker. Along each row of the quilt there are 14 flowers, 7 small and 7 large. The first row at the foot of the quilt starts with the colors in the order of the rainbow with matching small and large flowers together. Then in each row as you move toward the head of the quilt, the flowers switch position. The Large flowers move one position to the left and the small flowers move one position to the right. In this photo, it is very clear how the large flowers make diagonal rows across the top of the quilt, it isn't so clear, but the small flowers do the same thing in the opposite direction. All the area between the flowers is going to be black, I only colored the first couple of rows. Black should make the colors appear to "pop" off the quilt.
Well, that's the plan. Future posts will give very detailed description on how to make this quilt.

What does Grandmother's Flower Garden Look Like?

So, what does Grandmother's Flower Garden look like? I went online and found a couple of pictures. The quilt is completely made up of hexagons. They are arranged in such a manner as to suggest flowers. There are other hexagons between the flowers that create the illusion of paths. In the two photos above, all the flowers are the same size and the paths are white or other light color. There also doesn't seem to be an overall plan. I have other ideas.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Michael's Quilt

I am starting this blog to show everyone the progress that I make on my quilt. I guess I shouldn't say my quilt, but rather my neice's quilt, as I am making it for her. At least that is the plan, I hope after all the work and everything that I will be able to part with it.
I have already started the quilt. I think it must have been in June or July (2006) that I started, because I know that several of the fabrics were purchased on a trip to Florida in June and I didn't start til I had everything.
The pattern of the quilt is called Grandmother's Flower Garden. I will explain the pattern and the plan in future posts. I would like to be able to illustrate what I am trying to explain with photos, so I will have to wait til I take them.