Memory Lane

Christmas time does this to me, does it do it to you?  Memories come flooding in.

I took my first quilting class in 1980, in 1985 I made my first ‘new quilt made to look olde’, and it is this quilt ‘Hattie’s Baskets’.  I named it for a friend of my moms.

I’ve never looked back on this journey of ‘making new quilts to look olde’.

I loved the antique quilts I would see at quilt shows, loved the quirks in them, and loved the fabrics.  Some things don’t change. I wanted to make my quilts to feel like that. I still love small size quilts, traditional patterns and vintage look to fabrics.  Perhaps I should add, certain colors appeal to me more than others, and every quilt I make does have a spot that it would look good in our home.  Made for me, and shared with you.

Hattie's Baskets, 1985, 24x24

Hattie’s Baskets, 1985, 24×24

Now remember, this is ‘back in the day’, I made templates, cut out the pieces including seam allowance, arranged all four blocks to look scrappy and olde, I even turned a couple of pieces over and used the back side up.  This was arranged on a card table in the living room (no design wall yet, no dedicated sewing room either).  I hand pieced this quilt top, eye-balled a stitching line, it is hand quilted with black HQ thread (again eyeballed the lines), and I even added the binding by hand, then sewing it down.  Notice how wide the binding is?   🙂

We gain skills with practice.

HQ on 6inch block, black HQ thread

HQ on 6inch block, black HQ thread

I wanted to make one quilt entirely by hand, check.  Quilts come in all sizes.

I added my signature to the back with a small running stitch, careful not to go through the batting into the front.

signed this quilt by stitching my name and date

signed this quilt by stitching my name and date

Please note, I documented that it took from April to December in 1985 to complete this small quilt of 24″ x 24″.  I only stitched information to the back of a quilt once.

The dark red print, the black inner framing border and binding and the backing are all from early Jinny Beyer fabric lines. The other pieces are from my beginning ‘fabric collection’.

I prefer to sign my quilts on the back with a Pigma Pen these days: name, year, city, state, no stories.

I enjoyed the quiltmaking process then, still do when I have time.

Thought you may be amused at a little Jo history.


I’ve been adding some handwork in my evening schedule (and sometimes early in the morning before I shower – I know TMI).  My new work schedule allows evenings out of the office – a long over due change.  For years I felt I was suppose to work crazy long hours, happy that I finally realize the error of my ways.

My handwork skills are a bit rusty,  it is time to get back into the handwork groove.  I have a small appliqué project started, found my hexi project that I started last Fall ( 1/2″ hexis), and get this – started a new hexi project with 5/8″ hexes – no deadline is the mantra.  All my other hexi projects use the 1/2″ hexis.

Fall 2012 hexi project - view is the back side

Fall 2012 hexi project – view is the back side

I’ve stitched the flowers, added path hexis, joined the flowers to make diagonal rows, now I’m joining the rows together.  The picture shows that I’m in the process of removing papers from the center, leaving papers in all the edge hexis.  You can see – I  thread baste the fabric to cover the papers.  After the hexi rows are joined, I’ve cut the basting threads and am removing the itsy bits of thread and finally the papers.

Nice to have needle and thread in hand once again.

This is just a progress report – will show the front when it is assembled and the edges worked out.   Remember no deadline, so basically this is just a tease.

What are you working on?   🙂

PS – I have plans for a new hand piecing project – will let you know when I have it all worked out, I’m pretty jazzed about a new handpiecing project!

PPS – I’m going on a sewing Retreat next week – just a warning, who knows what I’ll start while hanging out with friends!

Hexagons – more

Decided a picture is worth a thousand words.

back of hexi flower with the papers

back of hexi flower with path on one side and with the papers

The next picture shows the papers removed in the center, you have to leave the edge papers.  You can remove more of the papers in the center of the completed unit as you watch your piece grow.

back of hexi flower with papers removed only in the center

back of hexi flower with papers removed only in the center

I think in this crazy busy world, we find that sitting and doing handwork (where ever we may be) is calming to the soul.  Let the hexi craze continue!  Very portable and accuracy takes care of itself using the precut Paper Pieces from the company with the same name.

Happy Stitching!

Gosh it is February!

Time is getting away from me, I’m plenty busy, not sure why I haven’t blogged.

So today . . . I have a new hexi project, well new to you.  I began cutting fabric on the ride to Texas for Fall Quilt Market (shhh that was last October), then covered the 1/2″ papers (from with ‘Spice Market’ and ‘Toasted’ fabrics.

To begin this project that had no plan (I know you do this too, don’t you?), I determined that I should cut at least 6 hexagon shapes from every fabric, I have a template to aid the fussy cutting.  Yes, I do fussy cut, I cannot help myself.  I’m not wired to do it any other way.

I made flowers first, six identical fabrics around a center hexagon.  Humm, I’ve done this on three other projects, so I decided to take a look in the exhibit catalog for ‘Elegant Geometry’ that was on display at the IQSC (in Lincoln, NE) over a year or so ago.  Ah, ha!   Add one more dark hexagon on opposite sides of my flowers to elongate the units – loving the new look!  And yes, I did have to cut more hexagons shapes from fabric as I only had originally cut six.  Yes, I’ve also over-cut on some fabrics that I didn’t use as much of.  It isn’t an exact science.  Leftovers are a good thing in quiltmaking as they are in the kitchen.

I also baste the fabric, I do not use glue.  I’ve alway felt I needed to wash a project if I used glue.  Now I don’t have to worry about it, project has no deadline, don’t have to wash it.  I only take stitches in the corners, of course I begin with knotted thread, and end off with a knot.  The basting stitches are removed later.

The flowers are made with ‘Spice Market’ and a few other odds and ends that were mostly used in the centers.  The path is all from ‘Toasted’.

Next step, I have the revised flower units together, have added six path hexagons to one side – yes I had to lay out all the pieces to figure out where to add the path, I found that I need to cover more hexis with ‘Toasted’ as I don’t have enough done for the path.  That means I’ll have to cut more hexagon shapes from ‘Toasted’ fabric, I think that will be a good project for Wednesday evening, or when I get around to it.

Below is a picture to entice you.  It will be a while before you see more, as this project has no deadline.  It will be done, when it is done.  No pressure, just something available to pickup and work on, in between other projects with a deadline.

Are you working on a hexi project?

I also made two small projects with 1″ 60 degree diamonds – to share another day – no hurry.

path hexis covered with 'Toasted', you can see some of the 'Spice Market' flowers stacked behind.

path hexis covered with ‘Toasted’, you can see some of the ‘Spice Market’ flowers stacked behind.

I hope you enjoy this addition as  much as I do!  Happy Stitching!!



Oops on a Sewing Saturday

I’m confused, I’m not sure where to post things anymore . . .

on my Blog?

on FB?

on Pinterest?

So if you are seeing double, it is because I’m posting some things more than one place.

This one is here because it is darn funny!

Oops on a Sewing Saturday

This is a technique that requires a seam adjustor.  Things like this happen to the best of us.  I’m not sharing who did it, just sharing.   LOL