Thursday, September 12, 2013

Update: what's been going on

Sit back because this is a LONG post!

The California Poppies needleturn applique project

I have been working on an applique Forever Project for a while.  It's one oversized block of California Poppies.  I love poppies and so I snapped up this pattern since it also came kitted up.

Well, I'm falling out of love with it. 
I'm pleased with the way the needleturn applique was done on the teeny-tiny leaves and stems.  There were some VERY tiny curves involved and I believe I did a fairly decent job with them.

Look at those tight curves!!  The ends of the leaves aren't supposed to be pointy, although I think that having pointy ends would have been easier to do than the rounded ends.

Then I started the flowers.  These flowers are supposed to look more-or-less realistic and have some depth to them.  The fabrics you use provide this aspect and was one of the compelling reasons I bought the kit in the first place ... the critical orange-y fabric for the poppy flowers was already picked out for me.  Granted, they were NOT the same fabrics as on the photo of the finished block, but they appeared to be close enough.

But as I work on the petals of the flowers, I'm just not feeling the love.  It's discouraging because the sample in the vendor's booth was simply wonderful.

I'll finish the block, just so it doesn't remain a UFO, when in reality it shouldn't take me very long to finish it up ... if only I would focus on it.  As a result, *this* project is coming along Very Slowly.

The Fusion Project

While I was busy being discouraged by my California Poppy block, I decided to indulge myself and start another Forever Project.  The rationale being that if I wasn't terribly interested in working on the California Poppies Forever Project, I would need something else to take its place.

Enter the Fusion Forever Project.  I read about this on a blog and it sounded SO intriguing!   Another blog had more inspirational pictures.

You sew a small-ish reversible block (two charm squares sewn right sides together, all the way around, leaving a small opening for turning) then *crochet* one or two rounds along the perimeter.  That's the fusion part ... sewn fabric blocks and crochet.

Well, I didn't want to do the sewing part because I have on hand  a whole BUNCH of fleece leftovers.  I thought that I could substitute a square of fleece  and crochet around the perimeter of the fleece.  My main reason for this particular Forever Project is because I was given a whole BUNCH of perfectly nice balls of yarn by a neighbor.  I figured I could put that yarn to good use in this project.

But, it kinda backfired on me.  The yarn, while not bulky, isn't fine, either.  The fleece square, being only one layer, is very thin.  The crocheted rounds for the border resulted in a very lopsided block ... it seems to me that the crocheted border rounds were really too heavy for the single layer of fleece.   First I did two rounds, but I think that is *really* non-proportional.  So, I started a block with just one round but I'm not thrilled with that look either.

I even tried different types of borders ... within my limited crochet knowledge, of course ... but I was never quite happy with the unequal weights of the border vs the body of the block.

I suppose I could use two squares of fleece, but then I'd need to align the holes along the edge of the fleece squares in order to crochet the foundation row.

But mostly, I'm unhappy with the weight disparity.  So this is another project that I've put in the  "stalled" category.


So, I'm STILL looking for a Forever Project to work on when I'm away from home.  I've been seeing that hexagons are a Big Hit right now, so maybe I'll give that a whirl.  Only ... I'm not going to be making those teeny-tiny hexagons.  I want a project that has a reasonable possibility of being finished within my lifetime.

I had previously purchased some time ago, a hexagon template that incorporated several different sizes.  For no good reason at all and without anything for guidance, I chose to make a fairly large hexagon.  Making a large size will give me more bang for my buck in terms of seeing rapid progress.   I'm not sure what the proper protocol is for stating the dimensions of the hexagons ... some give the length of a side, others give the widest width.  The size I chose was 3-1/2" along the widest width .. or .. 2-1/4" along the length of a side.

This was the Forever Project that I brought along last month during our family vacation.   I brought along the foundation papers and  precut widths of fabric to cut the hexagons from.   All I did was make the individual hexagons and I managed to use up all my precut and prepped fabric. 

Not having any instructions on how the hexagons are sewn with the foundation papers, I first used a washable glue stick to hold the folded over seam allowances to the paper. Continuing to not know what I was  really doing, I also hand-basted the seam allowances.  That was probably over-kill.  :-)

I found out later on, when it was time to remove the papers,
that the glue sticks quite nicely, thankyouverymuch.  Then I realized that the hand-basting would work well all by itself.  But I still would need to remove the hand-basting thread, since it was *through* the papers.  THEN I read how to put a couple of back-stitches just in the corners and drag the thread from corner to corner ... the thread wouldn't even need to be removed!  I'm all for not having mini-projects within a project!

Once back home, I had to decide what to DO with the hexagons.  All I could think of was the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden, which does NOT float my boat.  In thinking about *why* I don't care for Grandmother's Flower Garden, I have concluded that it's the double circle of hexagons that I don't particularly care for.  

Searching with Google/Images was enlightening ... there were a lot of projects that simply butted the hexagons up against each other, all willy-nilly .. no regard for color or design.  It was just a scrappy top.  And I didn't care for it.  Not because it wasn't pretty!  Oh my no .. they were gorgeous!  It's just that *my* sense of creating random color arrangement is dismal and I knew that I really wouldn't care for my outcome.

Then I saw some 'modern quilting' samples of using strips of hexagons as a design element on a base fabric.  These were mostly solid colored hexagons. 

Well, as it so happened, I had a number of solid fabric hexagons that I had made.  So, I assembled them into a strip.  Eventually, it will be appliqued onto base fabric that will become (yet another) throw pillow.

Other solid fabric hexagons were assembled into a lozenge-shape that I *think* I will back with felt and make into a table runner for my dining room table.  Unfortunately, because I didn't think ahead or plan colors (because I didn't know I was going to be making a table runner), the colors in the potential table runner have absolutely nothing in common with my dining room.  ::sigh::  But, I may do it anyway.  I may also make some placemats with hexagons in a strip down one side .. mainly to coordinate with the table runner.  Maybe.

But, I still had a whole bunch of non-solid fabric hexagons that I needed to do something with.  For a small amount of time, I even considered giving the entire bunch away simple because I couldn't figure out what to do with them.  And *then* ... I read this blog about a terrific, alternative arrangement!  (She has a series of blogs on this particular quilt.)

Ah!  Here was an arrangement of hexagon flowers that didn't look like Grandmother's Flower Garden and one that appealed to me.  I  liked the staggered arrangement of the flowers rather than all the hexagon flowers being arranged in a tic-tac-toe grid. 

I had a LARGE amount of medium green Fossil Fern yardage that I had purchased for a different project that never panned out.  It was this Fossil Fern that is being used as the background/filler hexagons.

So, this Hexagon Flower Forever Project is the one that I'm currently using as my portable project away from home and also when watching a TV show with Mr. Pirate when I don't want the sound of the sewing machine intruding on the show.  It's rather satisfying to sew together the hexagons into flower units then make the background/filler units and sew them both together. 

As I complete each flower unit, I'm assembling them into columns on my design wall.  One advantage of this large size hexagons is that the top is going to go together quickly. 

I'm not sure, at this point, what size the top is going to be.  Using approximate measurements, I figure a twin will take 6x8 units, a double will take 7x8 units, a queen will take 8x9 units and a king will take 9x9 units.  In the photo on the right, the leftmost column has 4 flower units in it (the 5 green hexagons on top of the flower hexagon is one unit).  The last flower hexagon in the right column doesn't have its green hexagons yet.


  1. I really like your "yes/no" approach to your "stalled" project(almost typed "staled"...guess that word would work also..). After all, experimentation sometimes shows results beyond the original intent and is worth the effort.

    Translation: You didn't like, so you moved on....

  2. Your hexies are just beautiful!

  3. Thank you, Rosa! With them being as large as they are, I quickly get a real sense of accomplishment. :-)

  4. So many nice hexie project. Thanks for showing us.

  5. Beautiful hexies. I love what you are doing with them.

  6. I like your idea of limiting the hexies in each flower to 7 total. My sister who is ten years younger than I, also chose 7. I like the seven, but I wanted a little more "action" in each finished flower. So, I chose 19 hexies a made them vibrate!!