Hand Piecing Purple Hexagons

I finally finished another rosette of hexagons for my Road 66 quilt from Di Ford’s book, Primarily Quilts.  I haven’t been doing much on that project lately, and I spotted the almost-finished block up on the wall yesterday.  I realized that I only needed to attach two more hexagons, which really wouldn’t take long, so I sewed the last hexagons to complete a purple rosette.

Purple Hexagons

Purple Hexagons

I also decided to do some machine piecing.  I haven’t been doing much machine sewing lately, and I miss it.   We went to the beach for a few hours this morning, and when we got home, I made a few diamond in a square blocks.

Green Blocks

Green Blocks

These go together quickly once I get started.  I always have to be careful when I do machine paper piecing after a while away from it as I have a tendency to do thinks backwards at first.  Luckily, these went together with no need for the seam ripper!

Hope you found some time to sew this weekend.  I’m linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching.

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Stitching, Reading and Relaxing

Just when you think thing can’t get more hectic, life sends a few more curveballs in your direction.  Things have been crazy busy at work and also here at home.  There simply are not enough hours in the day!  And to add to all that, we’ve been in the midst of a heat wave here in NYC since last week.  Hot, humid and yucky!

So, I did my best to relax amidst the chaos by reading and sewing on the weekends.  I’m hooked on the Outlander books; right now I’m reading the second one, Dragonfly in Amber, and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve always liked historical fiction and these books are just great!

The past two weekends have been good beach weather here, so that’s where I’ve been, with my book and EPP.  There’s nothing like sitting on the beach, listening to the crashing waves, soaking up the warmth of the sun and the cool breezes that (thankfully!) come off the ocean.  It’s the perfect stress reliever!

Book and Green Star

Book and Green Star

After I got home from the beach today, I laid out all my stars grouped by color.  Of course, my cat decided she just had to lay on top of them.  Do cats have some type of radar when I’m laying out my blocks or what?

Stars and Nugget

Stars and Nugget

I wish I could get that comfortable!

Stars and Nugget

Stars and Nugget

I wonder if she’s counting them?

55 Stars finished - August 2, 2015

55 Stars finished – August 2, 2015

She finally left when she heard someone filling her food dish and I took the opportunity to try a random, scrappy layout.  I’ve finished 55 of them!

I’m still not sure how many I’m going to make or what layout I’m going to go with, let alone borders or binding.  That’s what I have to think about this week.

I’m linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday and Life Under Quilts.

Have a great week everyone and keep stitching!

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Beach Days

I am enjoying this summer weather so much!  I am fortunate to live not far from the beach and the time I spend there is what gets me through all commuting to NYC and the brutal winters we sometimes get here.  My husband and I took a few vacation days and we’ve had great weather here the past few days, so I’ve been at the beach Friday, Sunday, today and am going again tomorrow! It’s so relaxing, especially if you go early and walk a bit, it’s not crowded yet.

Beach

Beach

I could really get used to this.  It’s not going to be easy going back to work on Wednesday! I started reading the Outlander books (I haven’t seen the show yet) and now I’m reading the second book in the series, Dragonfly in Amber.  Great beach reading in between working on my EPP stars.

EPP

EPP and book at beach

When I got home from the beach, I laid out all the stars I’ve finished so far on the floor.

EPP Star Count - 50 Done!

EPP Star Count – 50 Done!

I have 50!

Now to prep some pieces for the beach tomorrow.  I’m a bit late, but am linking up with Life Under Quilts for the Monday Morning Star Count.  Check it out, there are photos of Jessica’s quilts at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, they are gorgeous!

Have a great week!

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Still Sewing Stars and Hexies

I didn’t have time to do any major sewing this week, but my determination to take advantage of a few minutes here and there is really paying off.  I’m also finding that my goal to blog more often means that I have to have done something to write about, so that’s keeping me focused.  All good!

I finished another hexie rosette for my Route 66 quilt.

Yellow hexie rosette

Yellow hexie rosette

I’m fussy cutting most of these hexagons and although it takes a lot of time, I really love the process of choosing which motifs to use.  Of course, the downside is putting all that fabric back when I’m done!

I’m making slow but steady progress on my EPP stars.  Even if I only sew a few diamonds each day, after a few days I have a finished block.

EPP Star Count - June 28, 2015

EPP Star Count – June 28, 2015

As of last night, I’ve finished 43! I just finished a light yellow star on the train and I have four more in various stages of preparation.  I’m hoping to stay focused on these and get this top put together soon.

I’m linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday and the Monday Morning Star Count.

Have a great week!

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A Little Stitching on Father’s Day

I only managed a little stitching this week.  A nasty cold has been going around my office and Thursday was my turn to get it.  It really knocked me for a loop, so I’ve been taking it easy much of the weekend.  The weather hasn’t been great, so I didn’t mind all that much.  It’s been a while since I sat in the recliner and watched movies all day.  Yesterday some favorites, Ghostbusters and Overboard, were on TV and since I’ve seen them both many times, it didn’t matter when I drifted off to sleep for a bit! Before I caught the cold, I decided to get back to making hexagon rosettes for my Route 66 quilt.  I’ve only made three full rosettes so far and need to get sewing if I want to finish it any time soon.  I’m hand piecing them and as much as I love EPP, hand piecing is a nice break once in a while.  I still have to decide what fabric will be on the next ring of hexagons, but this was a good start for what turned out to be a hectic week.

Purple Hexie Flower

Purple Hexie Flower

I also hosted a Father’s Day brunch for family at my house this morning.  We had a really nice visit and the bonus was that I had a few hours after they left to stitch together two more EPP stars.  (They had been already glue basted so it went pretty quickly.)

Rust & Yellow Stars

Rust & Yellow Stars

It has been either raining or threatening to rain most of the day, but a few hours ago the sun broke through for a while and my husband and I saw a rainbow, which always makes us happy.

Rainbow

Rainbow

Hopefully I’ll get a little more sewing done tonight while watching TV.  I’m linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching and the Monday morning star count over at Life Under Quilts.

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A Finished EPP Pillow & Some Progress on my Star Blocks

Another week has flown by.  Still, I did make time to sew and even finished something!

My first EPP project was 2″ diamonds, pieced into a tumbling blocks design.  I used three shades of blue, a light, medium and dark.  I had vague intentions of a wall hanging, but after I finished piecing it all, I realized I didn’t like the shades of blue I used enough to hang it on my wall.  It sat around for a few months waiting for me to hand quilt it and figure out what to do with it until one day I decided I should just machine quilt it, make it into a pillow and be done with it.

So, one day a while back, I machine quilted it.  I didn’t do a very good job.  I didn’t take the time to adjust the tension properly and wasn’t happy with the way it looked.  Back to the pile it went.  After all the time I spent hand stitching those diamonds, I wanted it to look great.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I realized I’ve barely made any progress in finishing some of the projects I’ve started and put aside.  Like everyone else, I have valid reasons for not being able to finish some things, but lately it’s getting out of hand!  With that in mind, I decided to just accept the way the quilting looks and finish it.  I found a 20″ pillow form in my basement from a coupon sale at Joann’s and got to work.

Blue diamond EPP pillow

Blue diamond EPP pillow

After adding borders and running a quick line of stitching through them to hold it all together, I measured the back, added several inches and cut it in half to make the pillow’s envelope back (I want to be able to remove the pillow).  For each piece, I folded one edge over 1/4″, pressed and folded over 1/4″ again and topstitched it down.  Then I pinned each piece to the front, right sides together, stitched it all and turned it right side out.  A quick press and I inserted the pillow form and there it was – and I’m happy with it.  Not perfect, but finished.  And we really do need some throw pillows.  It won’t live on this  sofa, but since I’d been sewing, and not cleaning, this was the nicest surface available to take a photo!

I continued to make progress on my star blocks while commuting this week.  I finished this pink and red one on the train coming home tonight and will add the white diamonds later this week.

pink & red star

pink & red star

I didn’t have time this weekend to lay out my completed star blocks, but did take a few minutes to group them by color and add them all up.

Star count - 40!

Star count – 40!

I now have 40 finished blocks.  Yay!  And once I add the white diamonds to that red one on top, I’ll have 41!  Now I really have to focus on how I want to finish this.  I will need partial blocks in various colors to complete it.  Oh well, I’ll think about that tomorrow.  For now, I’m linking up with Life Under Quilts  for the Monday star count.  Lots of EPP!

Have a great week!

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Springtime Flowers, Swans and More Stars

I’m so happy that the nice weather is finally here.  It will probably be very hot and humid soon, so I’ve been trying to get up and out to enjoy the late Spring.  There are so many beautiful flowers blooming this time of year; it’s a real pleasure to be outside!

My rhododendrons peaked over the weekend and are fading fast now, but I managed to take some photos while they were looking their best.

Rhododendren

Rhododendren

Rhododendren

Rhododendren

My husband and I are trying to fit regular exercise into our schedule, so we’ve been taking walks around a small lake area in our neighborhood.  It’s a nice mile walk, nothing too strenuous, but every mile counts, so we keep at it. It’s especially nice this time of year, because there are many swans, ducks and geese with their babies.  I was lucky to snap this photo; they move pretty quickly and are very, very protective of their babies.

Mom and baby geese

Mom and baby geese

These swans swimming were just beautiful.  I love walking around this lake, so peaceful and calming.

Swans swimming

Swans swimming

And, back to quilting – I’ve been making good progress on my EPP stars.  I keep some EPP with me now whenever I’m commuting, waiting for appointments, things like that.  I kind of miss reading, but my Nook is old and doesn’t hold a charge more than a half hour which is really frustrating and not worth carrying around anymore.  I still read at home when I can keep it charging, but EPP has definitely replaced it for when I’m commuting or waiting somewhere!  It’s a nice change, too.  I have been wanting to find a way to get more sewing time but with the hours I work, it’s not easy.  So, I sew on the go!

I finished adding the white diamonds to these two star blocks this week while commuting to work.  I have to say though, sometimes it’s really hard to stop sewing and get my head into work mode.  If I hit the lottery tomorrow (which isn’t likely since I haven’t bought a ticket in years), I’d be so happy to just work on my garden and quilting.  But for now, it’s off to work and stitching on the train is making me happy.

Orange & Gold star blocks

Orange & Gold star blocks

As I was editing the photos above to write this post, I came across this photo taken last week when I was laying out my star blocks.  I think they were about to start fighting over who gets the best spot on my blocks!  Sometimes annoying, but what is it about cats and quilts that we love so much?  Anyway, I just can’t get mad at them, they’re so cute.

Nugget & Mac on my star blocks

Nugget & Mac on my star blocks

Given how much of a hassle it can be to lay blocks out on my floor, I decided it would be a good idea to start playing around with a layout for these blocks in EQ7.  I think there is a Kona solid swatch file you can import but I didn’t have time for that yet.  Maybe this weekend.

Star quilt blocks in EQ7

Star quilt blocks in EQ7

Clearly, I need to work on my EQ7 skills.  I couldn’t quickly get the exact layout I wanted, and ran out of time to play on the computer, but you get the idea.  It’s great to see it start taking shape.  Now to decide whether I want to add another row to my quilt.  I’d kind of like to, but it means making more blocks and I know myself well enough to know that I’m starting to get the itch to work on something else (La Passacaglia for one!) so I’d better get moving on this, make a decision and finish it already!

I’m so glad Jessica over at Life Under Quilts has started her weekly link up star count again.  Keeps me motivated – thanks Jessica!  I think I’m up to 39 now but will do some more over the weekend and have an update soon.

Have a great weekend!

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Sewing Stars at the Beach

It’s so nice to finally be able to say that I’ve been sewing my paper pieced diamond stars at the beach.  I waited a long time for winter to end! But how did the end of May get here so fast? I see that I haven’t posted anything here in two months. That’s definitely below my goal! Oh well. I’m writing today so that’s good.

I love this time of year, so many gorgeous flowers are blooming.  My yellow rhododendron is blooming right now and looks great.

Yellow Rhododenrun

Yellow Rhododenrun

My ferns and hosts are waking up, and the ivy is moving fast (have to cut that back soon) for a lovely show of greens in that corner of the yard.

Fern & Hostas

Fern & Hostas

I have been doing a lot of English paper piecing.  I’m bringing it with me on the train almost every day now.  Those of you who follow my Instagram feed have seen some of these.  I like this red one I finished recently.  I want to make one or two more red stars to balance my colors.

Red Star Finished on the Train

Red Star Finished on the Train

I stitched a few stars together on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend while we were watching an air show at the beach.  I really am making progress on this project that I would not be able to if it were not so portable.  Yay for EPP!

Purple Star at the Beach

Purple Star at the Beach

I decided to lay out the star/hexagon blocks I’ve finished so far.  Of course the minute I started, one of my cats came out of nowhere to lay down on them.  How do they always know when I’m laying out fabric or blocks?

Nugget Checks out the Star Quilt

Nugget Checks out the Star Quilt

After she left, I placed them in a rainbow kind of order, but I’m not sure if that’s how I’ll go with it.  I might mix them up for a more colorful, scrappy kind of look. We’ll see.  I still have some more to make, so time yet to decide.

Star Quilt Layout - May 31, 2015

Star Quilt Layout – May 31, 2015

This brings me to 37 stars.  Almost there.  I’m linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy’s Quilts.  Lots of beautiful stitching there.

Have a great week!

Maureen

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Hexies in New Jersey and Star Quilts in New York City

A few weekends ago, I went to the NJ Quilt Fest.  There were some amazing quilts there.  As I’ve been working a lot lately on diamonds and hexagons, those type of quilts caught my eye right away.

I really liked this one done in black, white and shades of gray.

Hexies Gone Wild

Hexies Gone Wild by Jean DeFrances,
quilted by Barbara Hahl

 

I was lucky to get close up shots of some of these quilts, here’s the center of Hexies Gone Wild:

Hexies Gone Wild - close-up

Hexies Gone Wild – close-up

 

Orange is not my favorite color, but his one was so bright and cheerful I couldn’t help but be drawn to it.  Makes me think about doing something with those orange fabrics I have.

Orange you going to ask me

Orange you going to ask me “Y”? by Marge Lehrer

Another nice one was this colorful beauty:

Starlette by Cheryl See

Starlette by Cheryl See

This is 52″ by 58″ and is made up of 4,582 English paper pieced hexagons! It’s just beautiful – here’s a close-up of the center:

Starlette

Close up of Starlette by Cheryl See

I hope some day to make a major quilt like this one.

For now, though, two of my quilts will be on display at our guild show at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York this weekend, March 28 – 29, 2015.  If you will be in NYC today or tomorrow, please stop by and check out the great quilts made by our guild members and the wonderful vendors with all their goodies!Here’s a link to the Empire Quilters Facebook page with details.

Have a great weekend!

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It’s Finally March

Although I was not sad to see February leave, it passed so quickly I still can’t believe it.  Here in New York, it has just been snow and ice and more snow and ice.  Getting around takes much longer and is more frustrating in this weather.  It snowed this afternoon but as I write this has become freezing rain.  This will wash away some of the snow, but will mean a messy commute tomorrow morning.  Like most everyone else around here, I can’t wait for Spring!

To help forget about winter, I have recently gone to a few indoor flower shows.  The New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show opened last week and was a wonderful way to spend a winter day.

orchids

NY Botanical Garden-orchids

My husband and I then continued the quest for flowers and took a quick road trip to Philadelphia.  It has been so cold here that parts of the rivers around NYC are frozen.

Frozen river

Frozen river

Our first stop was Longwood Gardens, to see their Orchid Show.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Of course, it’s my luck that the day we were there, the garden had to close early due to a winter storm.   They were nice enough to give us tickets to come back another day and we did get to spend an hour in the conservatory, so it was all good.

Our next stop was the always fabulous Philadelphia Flower Show.  One of my favorite displays was this garden with stone and wrought iron geese walking across the grass.

Philadelphia Flower Show 2015

Philadelphia Flower Show 2015

Unfortunately all this running around to flower shows has cut into my already imited sewing time.  And, I’m working on yet another quilting project (technically it’s a UFO – I cut out the first few pieces last year…), Route 66 from a Quiltmania book by Di Ford, Primarily Quilts.  In the book, the author mentions that she worked on her Route 66 quilt while driving around the US to see a Jimmy Buffet concert with her husband.  My husband and I are also Jimmy Buffet fans, so I was inspired to start mine with bright, ocean themed fabrics from a Laurel Burch collection that came out a few years ago.

Route 66 hexies

Route 66 hexagons

I decided to make the patterns pieces at 125% so it will be easy to hand piece.  Also, this way I can have a larger finished quilt than that in the book.  There will be rows of hexes and small diamond between these rosettes, but I haven’t decided on the fabrics yet.

I’ve also continued to work on my Kona solid EPP stars.  I’ve made slow but steady progress stitching these on the train to and from work.  I also took them with me to sew while on the drive to Philadelphia.

EPP Stars

EPP Stars

This brings my total to 18, and once the orange star has all its white diamonds, I’ll have 19.   I like this project; it’s easy prep, very portable and simple stitching.  I can see more EPP projects in my future!

I’m linking up to the Monday morning star count over at Life Under Quilts and also to the Small Blog Meet at Lily’s Quilts, so many new bloggers like me out there.  It’s great to see all the beautiful work everyone’s doing!

 

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