Category Archives: English paper piecing

Eye on Elegance

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I come from a family of folks who spend their days immersed in math and science. Except for one. I have a niece who loves history, in all of its forms. She is currently living in the Washington D.C. area, discovered this exhibit at the DAR museum, and sent me the link.

Eye on Elegance is an exhibit of quilts from the Maryland and Virginia area. This “show” online is wonderful for those of us who will not be in Washington soon. There are video clips from the curator, and many photos of the quilts which you can explore. You are able to zoom in and look at the details of the quilts. If you are interested in the history of our art form, I think you’ll find this very interesting. So much to learn about the beginnings of quilting here in the US, and lovely things from an artistic standpoint as well. I am always amazed at what quilters with little mathematical education, and the most basic of tools were able to come up with geometrically. The star blocks are challenging for us now with all sorts of tools, including computers, to help us draft the blocks. I can’t imagine how they were able to plan the piecing the “old way”.

Enjoy. You’ll want a cup of tea, and some time to linger over this exhibit. Click here.

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Filed under antique quilts, applique, English paper piecing, eye candy, quilt history, what is art?

a milestone

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

This post is a milestone-my 250th post at this blog. I talk a lot I guess. If you read all the way to then end, I’ll tell you how to enter to win a prize from me to celebrate this “achievement”.

One thing you might know if you’ve read these posts for a while is what some of my favorite blocks are. Take a minute, can you name of few of my faves? … Drunkard’s paths should be in the list. Here’s a link (click here)  to a modern looking drunkard’s path. I think this one would be great for a fat quarter collection of some of those gorgeous, somewhat solid, fabrics that are now appearing in the shops. How about Grunge from Basic Grey? Love it!

Another favorite of mine … hexagon quilts, not grandmother’s flower gardens–bigger hexagons! I tried the English paper piecing needed for the old-fashioned grandmother’s flower garden and did enough to cover the yoke of a denim shirt. That was enough of that for me! I think I like quicker results. The new trend of cutting the hexagons in half making trapezoids, which makes construction of the rows so simple, is used in so many of the latest hexagon patterns. It does make construction of the hexagon look so much faster, and manageable for a beginning quilter. I don’t like how it distorts the proportions of the hexagons a bit though; on some fabric designs it also cuts right smack into the design which gets spoiled when a seam runs through it. If you want to leave the hexagons whole, the tops can still be pieced on the machine but it requires a Y seam. I don’t mind the Y seams myself, particularly on large hexagons. It’s a trade-off I guess. No seams vs. speed. Both methods are good to have in your quilter’s tool box so you have the option of either one depending on the project you’re making. Here’s a link to a collection of free hexagon quilt patterns. Click here.

If you’d like a chance to win a prize celebrating my 250th post, leave a comment to me answering one of these questions: What is your favorite quilt block or quilt style?  OR Who is your favorite fabric designer and why? On June 10 I’ll choose a winner at random from the comments received.

Thanks for reading my ramblings; I hope you’ll stick around for more!

 

 

 

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Filed under antique quilts, English paper piecing, free patterns, Giveaways, Uncategorized

a quilt I will never make

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Every now and then I run across a quilt that I know I would never ever make. And here’s a clip featuring one of them. I like the original name for it: Insanity! I know that many traditionalists will absolutely love this quilt; we have a separate category in our guild shows for quilts of this type. I appreciate the workmanship, the precision, the patience but as I said…Insanity!  click here

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Filed under English paper piecing, guild activities, quilt shows

love those hexagons

Hello all, Mary Ellen here again.

I think I’ll share a bit more hexagon love today. Nothing quite as neat as the way hexagons will nest together and provide so much more interestHexactly than some of the other shapes that will nest (tessellate actually). Even Mother Nature loves a hexagon–think snowflakes, honeycomb cells, crystals… There aren’t very many regular shapes that will do this-squares, rectangles, equilateral triangles. There are ways to construct shapes that will nestle nicely–but they aren’t easy to piece as quilts, and it would require a math lesson to talk about those, so I’m not going there.

Here’s a bit more of hexagon math for those who might want to design something of your own using this versatile shape. This is from the Quiltmaker magazine blog: click here.

At the Hexie Love board at Pinterest that Quiltmaker has set up (click here) you’ll find wonderful ideas for hexagons. Remember that in our guild show, we have a separate award for Grandmother’s Flower Garden. I would think that if you are looking for inspiration, and want to shoot for an award at the show, you could find lots of ideas at that board. There are many full size quilt ideas, but also quite a few small scale projects if you’re new to hexagons. Here’s a link to a little bit of history of hexagons used in quilts-goes back to early 1800’s in America. (click here)

Bonnie Hunter, our seminar national teacher for next year is working on an English paper pieced hexagon quilt that many of you will love. (click here) Tiny pieces, lots of scraps–know anyone who likes that concept?

Heading up to the sewing room to applique more purse handles on my quilt top. I’m working on a quilt called High Fashion which is made of stack and slash squares for the bodies of the purses and wonky appliques bias strips for the handles. I think when it comes back from the quilter eventually, I’m going to add some sort of fun embellishments. Or maybe just a different kind of binding/edging. Will hold off on the decision until I see the quilt “done up”.

Have a great gray day. TTFN!

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Filed under antique quilts, English paper piecing, quilt history, quilt shows, scrap quilting, Uncategorized