Badlands Quilt Talks!

We have all known that quilts tell stories, but did you know they are able to talk too? Some even SHOUT! My Badlands quilt is a screamer!

Way back in the early 90’s when my children were very young, I thought it would be adventurous and educational to drive cross country in our brand new minivan, following my sister-in-law and her two kids back to their home in San Diego from our home in New Jersey; just two adults and five kids, visiting the National Parks and camping along the way. It was a trip of a lifetime with many wonderful stories to recount 30 years later.

What I remember most about that trip was how awed I was with the Badlands. Visions of wagon trains pioneering through that beautiful yet treacherous terrain made my head spin. Set with perseverance and determination quite a few of them made it through to the other side. Many others were not as lucky.

Speed ahead thirty or so odd years to the summer of 2017, and I find myself back at that very same spot, and just as awed as the first time. Except this time I am alone, with only the ghosts of the trails to keep me company.

I began this cross country trip for two reasons, one to spend some of my retirement years enjoying all our country has to offer, and two, more importantly to arrive in Seattle for the birth of my grand daughter. Driving, listening to books on tape, pulling over for any interesting attraction that caught my eye, and marveling in our vast lands were the only things on my agenda… until I heard a voice while staring off into the Badlands.

It was quiet at first. It was female, she was humming contentedly, rhythmically as if keeping in time with a hand quilting project as the wagon swayed with the pull of the horses. Immediately I felt the urge to make a quilt.

The odd thing about this decision was that I was already collecting fabric on my travels. I had no intention of doing so, but the moment my car crossed the New Jersey state line into Pennsylvania I made the conscious decision to stop each day at a locally owned quilt shop in whatever area I was in, not to purchase fabric necessarily but more to soak in the talent and creativity of others. OK… so who am I kidding, what quilter can walk into a quilt shop and not buy at LEAST a FQ (that stands for a Fat Quarter to you non-quilters)?

Normally I gravitate to bold clear colors and lots of graphic design elements like polka dots and stripes, with bright white backgrounds as I am considered a ‘modern’ quilter. However, at this particular moment I chose to purchase some creams and tans with small tone-on-tone florals. Recently while flipping through a quilt book at a friend’s house, I had seen a quilt with those colors and took a quick photo for future inspiration. That vision stuck in my head as I paid for the fabric.

Now, a few days into my trip and another fabric purchase of tans and creams tucked into my trunk here I am standing in the Badlands with this woman’s humming in my ears and the urge to make a quilt. So guess what I did? Yup… I made a quilt.

It wasn’t easy. I felt like a pioneer woman with no pattern, no idea other than a photo from a book in my phone, no rulers, rotary cutter, self-healing mat or sewing machine. All I had was a pair of small scissors that I keep in the car for emergencies, a pencil, and a few pamphlets of where I’ve been. That night in the hotel I pulled out my fabric and meager supplies, and began forming a plan. Folding and cutting the pamphlets I made a rough pattern, drew around it with my pencil, and began cutting the fabric, little tiny snips at a time. It was laborious!

By the time I got to Seattle the quilt had been cut out and was ready to be sewn. Thankfully I gifted a sewing machine to my daughter-in-law for Christmas a few years back. Working around the joyful delivery of my grand daughter, tiling the floors of the condo, and dog sitting 2 big black dogs, I was able to sew the main top of the quilt together, in addition to the half square triangles needed for the border.

Each time I made a mistake, noticed a wobbly seam, or ACK sewed a fabric backwards, the calm female voice told me to leave it alone. “This quilt is not supposed to be perfect. It’s meant to have all the lumps and bumps and mistakes. Keep on sewing, don’t stop to fix it, just enjoy it”. Let me tell you how stressful that was! Really? To see a mistake and NOT fix it goes against every fiber of my being!!! Doesn’t the voice know that we current day quilters are JUDGED by other quilters and THEIR standards??? I sighed and continued calmly on.

Packing the quilt away in the back of my car, I headed straight home without another thought. Five days later I tossed it over the back of my sewing chair where it has happily stayed, until I got the flu four months later.

Feverish, achy, coughing, and fading in and out of consciousness, the quilt began to speak to me.

“Hey, wake up, I want to be finished”.

“No”, I said to myself.

“Yes. Now”.

“No. Go away”.

“NOW! NOW! NOW! I want to be finished NOW”!

“Ugh”.

It took three days, but I hauled myself up off the couch long enough each day to sew a little bit at a time finishing the border. Laying it down on the floor and placing the border around the edges I stepped back to take a look at my work. Something was wrong. The quilt looked sad. It wasn’t speaking. Maybe it was just this stupid flu playing tricks on me. I went back to bed.

The next morning the quilt was still on the floor, looking sad. I kicked the border around a bit and I swear I heard the quilt giggle. I moved the border around a little more creating an off center kind of thing, and again I heard giggles, then laughter. YES! The border was the problem; it was too predictable, too traditional, too planned. With a few more snips of the scissors, a couple of new seams, and turning some upside down, I recreated the border and sewed it on. I now have a happy quilt.

Happy Badlands Quilt

All that’s left is the actual quilting and binding. I’ve got the binding under control… it’s the quilting part that’s speaking to me now. My original plans were to hand quilt the entire piece, just like the women on the wagon trains did many years ago as they passed through the Badlands… but this quilt is insisting on being a bit more current day and wants a hint of machine quilting along with the hand quilting. Ah…. She wants it all! Typical female!

Check back while the story continues as the quilt gets ready for the ball (Quilt Fest) in April 2018.

Happy Quilting!

Deb

O!M!G!

Helllloooooooo…..

It’s been so long since I posted a blog that I totally forgot my password… AND how to even WRITE a post!!! LOL!!!!

I’ve been using Instagram (#uniqueandnovel) for the past year, and automatically linking to my FaceBook page (Facebook.com/deb.hunter). It’s fast, easy, and INSTANT.

Well… I’ve been doing so many new things lately that you might be interested in seeing, and require more explanation than just a photo and caption. So it’s time to dust off this blog, update it a bit, and get back to writing!

Some of the things I want to share with you is, my adventures in learning how to marble fabric, taking a year long art journal class by Joanne Sharp, my travel quilts, cooking disasters, mixed media with my new Cricut Explorer, and sooooo much more!

Thanks for checking in while I’ve been gone, and I hope you continue to follow my escapades.

First up… I’ll be writing about my ‘Standing at the Shore’ quilt… and working with a local long arm artist. Check back in a few days for the full story!

Here’s a sneak peek…

Flag Quilt Made From Scraps Reflect My View Of Americans

A funny thing happened on the way to The Guggenheim Museum. I decided to make a flag quilt instead.

Flag Quilt www.debhathaway.com

 

Living in New Jersey, it’s a quick train ride into New York City. For years I have thought it would be awesome to spend a weekend or more in the city and really get to know my way around. With decent hotel rates costing more per night than my monthly car payment, that trip was always a pipe dream… until now.

I had the amazing opportunity to ‘house and dog sit’ for 10 days in (be still my heart) the Garment District of New York City. As if having every fabric, thread, zipper, and bead store right out side my door wasn’t enough, the homeowner is a quilter!!!

Museums were my number one destination while in the city. MoMA, The Met, Whitney, Neue and so many more were calling my name. On the morning I planned to visit The Guggenheim I first visited a friend for a chat. On my way out the door she mentioned that in the house I was ‘sitting’ was a large bag of fabric scraps, and to feel free to rummage through and use what I wanted.

If you know me at all… then you know I didn’t make it to the museum that day. Instead of turning left towards The Guggenheim, I turned right and went right back up the elevator, and headed to the big bag of fabric scraps. Without a second thought, I dumped the entire bag out on to the huge white table and began sorting through all the colorful confetti. I was in heaven!! And that’s how my flag quilt began.

Flag Quilt scraps www.debhathawy.com

Truth be told, I already had the idea of the flag quilt and had a nice pile of red, white, and blue scraps sitting on my dining room table back home. As luck would have it, I needed to return to NJ for a day, so I grabbed my pile and added it to the NY pile.

Where to begin? The blue pile was the smallest, so I started with that. I loved the way it turned out so much I could barely sleep that night. My mind would not shut down. I dreamt of how to piece the red stripes. After walking the dog I hit the red scraps next.

I made my own red fabric yardage by haphazardly sewing a bunch of scraps together… and adding more, and more scraps until I had a large enough piece to slice into 2 ½” strips.

This is when I really THOUGHT about what I was doing, and what this flag quilt represented to me. Here I was, mixing all different colors, patterns, and fabric weights… and the result was beautiful. Even though a lot of scraps weren’t red at all, some were orange, others were pink, and even a purple thrown in, it all looked harmonious. It made me think of us as a nation. We are all different colors and come from varied backgrounds, but when put together, we are awesome! We blend. We belong together. I was filled with excitement as I continued grabbing another scrap and adding it to the patchwork.

If you take a closer look at the flag quilt, you will notice the white stripes aren’t plain white. Some are a white-on-white design, while others have a colorful print, and one is a pale, pale grey. Another reminder of different colors blending so well they fool the eye into thinking they are something that they’re not.

There are 3 different styles of quilting on my flag quilt. The white stripes were ‘free motion’ quilted by machine in a wave design, reminding me of the freedoms we have in this country. The red stripes were hand quilted in a running stitch of red thread… binding us all together. Finally the ‘field of blue’ was studded with 50 white shirt buttons and hand tied with white thread, just as quilters many years ago tied their quilts.

Flag Quilt sewing www.debhathaway.com flag quilt sewing www.debhathaway.com

I am proud to hang my flag quilt over my mantle. I am proud to be an American.

The Guggenheim visit will have to wait for another day.

Finished Flag Quilt www.debhathaway.com

Creative 2017 is Now in Session! Won’t you Join Me?

It looks like 2017 is going to be an extremely creative year for me. I’m only 3 days in and so far I have been working on a quilt, drawn a neighborhood home, started Joanne Sharpe’s 2017 Artful Life Class, and have a knitting project on my needles! All this… and so much more either in the design stage, or further!

The Quilt – I fell in love with Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s Star Storm pattern and have been busy choosing fabrics for mine. I am blogging about the process… so you can read all about it HERE and HERE. Deviating from the original color scheme is certainly exercising my creative brain!

Star Storm creative Fabric Selection

House Drawing – My neighborhood is an eclectic mix of homes at the Jersey Shore. From sprawling mansions to tiny bungalows and everything in between, we have it all. As I walk around I am humbled by some of the amazing homes. I want to draw and paint so many of them!! One of my favorites is one that has so much character and texture it SCREAMS for me to look at it as I pass. The stained glass window on the front door is a spider web!!! So AWESOME! Taking a break from the quilt and some computer work, I spent this rainy day finally drawing this house. I still have to pull out my water colors to finish… but that might have to wait for another day. Working from a quick snapshot taken this summer, I had to take creative license on some areas I couldn’t see well.

creative Ink drawing

2017 Artful Life Class – I signed up for this online class the moment I heard about it… grabbing the ‘early bird’ pricing. I have been following Joanne Sharpe for a few years now, purchased her books, read her articles in magazines, and have even taken an older class or two. I love her easy style of teaching… and the positive atmosphere she creates in her classes. This particular class runs the ENTIRE YEAR!!! One of the main reasons I signed up for her class was to document my life in a fun and creative way, while learning new techniques on a regular basis. I highly recommend this class to ALL of you… even if you don’t think you can draw! Seriously! Joanne makes it sooooo easy to follow her!! More information can be found HERE!

Creative Lettering - 2017 Artful Life

Knitting – In reality I have TWO projects on needles. The first is a hat for my grandson in Florida. Obviously it will be lightweight as the temperature doesn’t drop that low. It won’t take long to complete… maybe a day or two. The second project KILLS ME!!! The scarf that took me THREE YEARS of off and on again knitting… and had to be ripped out and re-started FOUR times (post of progress HERE)… was LOST!!! I only got to wear it TWICE!! I was wearing it when I hopped on the PATCO High Speed Line, and by the time I walked the many blocks to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia… it was GONE! AAACCCCKKK!!! I can only hope that it is keeping some homeless person a little bit warmer this winter, and they needed it more than me. I quickly purchased new yarn (on sale… SCORE!)… and am ready to start all over again! To satisfy my creative side, and not feel I’m knitting the same thing over again, I purchased a different color.

Other Projects – First up, I have another card table play tent to sew for my daughter’s business… Posted Fete (formally Bash Box). Last time was a Luau theme… this time it’s camping. Fun! It will debut next month. The creative design stage is complete… it’s now time to get this thing on the sewing machine. Secondly… I’m working on a super secret project due soon. As soon as I am able to share it with you, I’ll post.

Working on the computer, checking in on high school classmate’s parents, staying in  touch with family and friends, and finally eating and sleeping round out my day. The big question I have now is… WHEN did I ever have the time to work full-time job????

Here’s wishing you a happy and creative 2017!!!

 

 

Star Storm Quilt Making and Helpful Hints Continues

The Holidays have finally wound down and I’m ready to dig in to this Star Storm Quilt!!! What am I talking about?? Catch up by reading my previous Star Storm post HERE. The adventure into using a quilting pattern continues.

I have read, and re-read the Star Storm pattern directions. My head is swimming, but I think I understand the process. It’s time to choose fabrics!!! Fun!!

Oops… not so fast. To fully understand this pattern I decided I had better cut and tape the pattern together. Unfolding the large paper patterns freaked me out with all the lines… veering off in all directions! Some were solid, others were dashed, and some were BOTH! Circled numbers were all over the place!! I took a deep breath in and slowly let it out, grabbed my scissors and quickly came to the conclusion that this wouldn’t be so bad. After all it was only paper… if I made a mistake I could always tape it back together.

Star Storm Pattern

It wasn’t bad at all. The Star Storm pattern was clearly marked with where to cut and where to tape. Keeping ‘even’ with ‘even’ and ‘odd’ with ‘odd’… and ‘A’ with ‘A’ and ‘B’ with ‘B’ is all I had to do. The crazy numbers and lines running all over the paper don’t come in to play until later.

Back to choosing the fabric!! Yea!!!

Rummaging through my stash I pulled all the fabrics that screamed BEACH to me. Oh, and I pulled all the neutrals, purples, greens, and yellows for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery Quilt Along while I was at it. Hey, that’s great time management… right? Back to the beach fabric! Concentrate!!! Once gathered, I pulled out any fabrics that were glaringly out of place, and assessed what is missing. The vision in my head wasn’t jiving with my fabrics. If I had my way I would simply go out and purchase all new beautiful fabric. Alas, my wallet doesn’t agree with that logic… so I re-thought the vision in my head to align with the fabrics in front of me.

Unless you want to drive yourself absolutely crazy… stick with ‘all over’ patterns on your fabric!!! I disregarded many of my chosen fabrics because they were too linear, heading in the wrong direction, or worse… on a diagonal!! I already had one wide stripe fabric, adding another would have competed.

I came to the conclusion I needed one or two accent fabrics to really make this Star Storm quilt POP! This is where the line divides a designer from a hobby quilter. If I were a designer I would have bolts of my own fabric line to choose from, cut a strip and audition it. Not good? Choose another strip from another bolt. As a hobby quilter I needed to stop the design process and hop in the car to drive to my local quilt shop… in my case it’s an hour drive! Even with swatches in my hand I found it difficult to choose the two accents. At $10 and $12 a yard I really wanted to be certain I chose correctly!

How much yardage to purchase?? Great question!!! I’d love to say, “Just purchase 2 yards of everything you like,” but that isn’t practical. Before leaving for the store I did a little calculating. Laying out my fabrics in the order I THOUGHT I would use them, I scrutinized the photo on the front of the Star Storm pattern and guessed at the placement I needed the accents to be… then followed the recommended yardage provided. Needless to say, once I got home and really laid things out, I was a little off the mark. Sigh.

I don’t have a design wall. More accurately… I don’t have a blank wall to PUT a design wall. My small bungalow was built in 1918 and between an open floor plan, the free-standing fireplace, windows, windows, and more windows… I only have ONE blank wall, and that’s where the TV was placed. So I use my floor to design. It’s not perfect, but all the bending over keeps me active.

Star Storm Fabric Selection

I cut 2 pieces of each fabric measuring 4 ½” by WOF (width of fabric) and began to lay out the strips for color placement. I urge you to really LOOK at the star pattern on the front cover and understand WHY the design WORKS! Pay close attention to where the bold fabrics versus lighter fabrics are placed. Trying to capture a real beach feeling, I chose fabrics to represent sand, water, shells, and sunset. My breath is always taken away with a stunning sunset, so I decided the fullest star shape would be of that fabric… then worked around from there. Sadly, the fabric I purchased to represent mussels didn’t make the cut. Oh well… I’ll have to use that fabric in something else. I also realized I didn’t have enough fabric of another one I purchased… but was able to pull a co-ordinate from my stash.

Also take note of the use of coordinating fabrics in this design. If each ‘round’ were the same fabric, the quilt wouldn’t be as interesting. I encourage you to ‘mix it up’ a bit!!

At this point I feel my Star Storm quilt is headed in the right direction, but am not 100% satisfied with my color placement. It’s time to walk away, and wait ’til tomorrow for a different perspective. I’ll keep you posted as I continue my Star Storm adventure.

Want to check in more frequently with my progress??? Follow me on Instagram @uniqueandnovel… using #debsstarstorm.

What’s my next BIG project? A Star Storm Quilt!

It’s time to kick my quilting UP a notch… and make a quilt for myself!

My usual way to design and sew a quilt is to look at a pretty picture and say, “I can make that.” After a few hours of sketching, calculating, scrabbling through my stash, and making a run to my local quilt shop… I’m ready to sew. Scissors snip, fabric flies, the sewing machine hums. It’s a beautiful thing.

That’s when I’m in my happy place, barely coming up for air. My insulated TERVIS glass is filled with Lipton’s Berry Tea and ice, and placed AWAY from the machine and fabric! The thought of food is secondary, as I only stop sewing when I feel faint with just enough energy left to pop something in the microwave.

Now that I seem to have more time to sew these days, I don’t feel I have to do everything all in one sitting. Soooooo… I”ve decided to make my very first quilt just for ME, and to plot, plan, and take my time making it.

My next quilt project! Victoria Findlay Wolfe http://www.vfwquilts.com

I fell in love with Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s quilt STAR STORM. I actually GASPED when I first saw it. I just KNEW I had to make that quilt to hang over my bed, but in different colors. So while in NYC yesterday I stopped by her shop and purchased the pattern… and some fabric 🙂

Although I am considered an Intermediate to Advanced quilter, I am a total beginner at using patterns. I’ll admit, a bit of panic set in as I read through the 5 pages of instructions. Then I unfolded the oversized paper templates… all four of them. EEK! There is even a sheet of paper ‘tags’ to label each strip of fabric so as not to get confused. Here I was, staring down into a design that came from someone else… not me. What an eye-opening revelation!!

“OK… I can do this,” I say to myself. The first thing to do is to change the color palette. Although I LOVE the bright colors of Victoria’s quilt, and her fabric line… my home is more ‘beachy’. I have decided to replace the bold black and white stripe in the design with the same fabric, but in tan and white. I kind of wish her pattern came with a black and while line drawing so I could audition specific colors of my own. I guess that’s where I’ll begin my project… drawing and sketching, just like I do with my own design.

I plan on posting my progress as it moves along at it’s own pace. If you care to follow how it’s going, feel free to check back here about every other week or so. You can also follow me on Instagram… @uniqueandnovel. Use hashtag… #debsstarstorm to see my posts.

Finding Joy with a Sharp Pencil

pencilI have recently become obsessed with how sharp my pencil is. Is this something you think about, at all? Most people don’t give it a moment’s thought. I didn’t either, until now.

A few years ago, a friend who was supporting my search for a new vocation sent me this link on a guy who considers himself a ‘Artisanal Pencil Sharpener’… just to prove opportunities, no matter how trivial, were viable ways to earn a living. Who knew that pencil sharpening was an ‘art form’ needing to be left to the professionals??

In reality this guy has made a living with his ‘tongue-in-cheek’ videos, writing a book, and becoming a spokesperson for a pencil manufacturer… proving the point (pun intended) that becoming a perceived expert in your field is the best way to earn an income.

I am certainly NOT interested in sharpening pencils for my livelihood… NOR insane enough to send mine out to a professional, HOWEVER, I have recently been in search of the perfect pencil for my sketching hobby. The right tools make all the difference!

 

A regular #2 pencil we all took standardized tests with basically is all you need. Inexpensive, widely available, feels comfortable in the hand, comes in a huge variety of colors and designs, and erases easily. The only con is that it quickly becomes dull. I thought I solved this problem by purchasing a mechanical pencil. No, that wasn’t the answer as the ‘lead’ doesn’t work well with the paper… plus the point breaks with pressure. I even broke down and spent hours in an art store trying out all the hard leaded ‘art’ pencils. I didn’t like them.

Continuing my saga, going back to the drawing board (groan) I took a closer look at the basic #2 again and came to the conclusion the pencil wasn’t the problem, keeping it sharp was. So I began a hunt for a decent portable sharpener. You wouldn’t have thought this would be such a difficult task, would you? Let me tell you, once you begin exploring all your options, you become confused and overwhelmed. There are so many to choose from, honest!

In the end, I purchased a 2 step portable sharpener, named (are you ready for this?) The Automatic Long Point by Kum (really!)… and couldn’t be happier! Step 1 shaves down just the wooden barrel. Step 2 sharpens the lead to a fine point. Perfect! Only $6.99, and it fits in my tiny purse! Score!

I have found, it’s the little things that make life so enjoyable.

I hope you all find your joy today!

Have Sewing Machine… Will Travel

Two weeks ago I found myself in an odd predicament. I had to make an emergency purchase… of a sewing machine! Really! Who does that??? Who wakes up in a panic and runs out to purchase a new machine? Me… apparently.

Since sewing comes as naturally to me as breathing… I take on a few projects to help make ends meet. I was working on a very large project when I realized I was running out of time. Although the deadline was a few weeks away, I had a flight to catch to the west coast in two days… and this project would not be finished by then. My brain went into ‘think outside the box mode’ to figure out how to possibly get the project finished AND make my flight.

Checking with the airline on the cost to switch my flight made me gasp for air! I didn’t pay that much for the original ticket!!! I rationalized I could always take the project with me, finish it out there on the opposite coast, and FedEx it back to the client with a few days to spare. This plan would work, as long as I had a sewing machine at my destination.

My sewing machine is too heavy and too large to take as carry on… and there was no way I was going to allow the baggage handlers to toss it around. Visions of my machine arriving on the carousel in tiny pieces… held together by shipping tape danced through my head… knowing that marking a bag ‘fragile’ ensures it will be thrown across the tarmac and run over by a baggage cart, and that’s AFTER elephants stepped on it and gorillas played with it.

Knowing there was a sewing machine I could use at the other end of my travel, I happily packed yards and yards of fabric and all my sewing notions in my suitcase, instead of my clothing and toiletries. Eh… who needs all those outfits any way? I can always wash and re-wear.

suitcase filled with sewing

With a plan in motion… I set out on my trip. The first day was spent getting situated instead of sewing. No big deal… I would get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed and be ready to go. That’s exactly what I did! I woke up, had a good breakfast, pulled out all of my sewing supplies, set up the loaner sewing machine, sat down at the machine, positioned my fabric under the needle, reached for the knob on the right to set my stitch… and THAT’s when I noticed I had a problem. This particular machine was designed for a beginning seamstress. I should have known, because I purchased it for my daughter-in-law as a gift two years ago. It doesn’t have the ability to do the more advanced sewing I need to do on this project. Crap!!! There’s also no way to ‘fudge’ it either.

The only viable solution I could come up with… was to purchase a machine that would do what I needed. Seriously… that was the only way out of this mess. With time (or lack there of) a huge factor, I drove to the closest sewing and vacuum shop according to Google… AFTER checking my bank balance to see what I could afford. It was there, at Quality Sewing and Vacuum in Northgate, Wa that I met the most wonderful sewing machine sales associate EVER… Esther! She listened to my plight… and showed me the best machine for my project and abilities in addition to a lesser model… giving me options.

I’ll be honest… I have been saving for a new sewing machine since my ‘work horse’ is beginning to hiccup. However… the one I have my heart set on is over $1,000. THAT was NOT happening this day. Oh no! Not only was it not in the budget, it is overkill for what I needed at the moment. So… confidently throwing down my debit card at the register, I purchased a new machine. But the story doesn’t end here.

I went back to the house, and finished the project. It was the perfect machine and ran like a dream… but I wasn’t happy. I already have 3 perfectly decent machines at home. One is a vintage Singer Featherweight (I hear all you quilters drooling), another is a Baby Lock on a mid-arm frame (for quilting), and the ‘work horse’ commonly known as a Janome Quilter’s Companion, which is over 20 years old, only speaks German and it sews everything I push under the needle. So you see, I didn’t really need another machine. AND… if I were to purchase a new machine… it would replace the Janome. This new one doesn’t even compare. Sigh.

So here I am… a bit ticked that I spent $400 of my accumulated cash on a machine I don’t really need, all because I didn’t plan ahead appropriately, AND now have the same problem of getting it across the US to the opposite coast. as I did originally. Double sigh!

But wait!!! A silver lining appears (that’s actually a pun as Esther’s last name is Silver). One of the selling features of this particular machine is that it is small enough to be considered ‘carry on’ for the airlines! Whoopie! I begin the hunt for a padded bag to protect it as I stuff it in the overhead compartment. No luck. As much as I abhor shopping online as opposed to shopping local, I had no choice. Thanks to Amazon I found the perfect bag. I ordered it on a Sunday evening… and it arrived at my door on Wednesday morning… 15 minutes before I had to leave for the airport. Phew! That was cutting it close!

Purple Sewing Machine Bag

I’m a bit happier now… as this machine is perfect for traveling! Not only on planes, trains, and automobiles across the country… but to sewing retreats, quilting classes, and clients homes if necessary. In the end… it was the PERFECT choice.

My savings for a larger, more stable and sturdy machine that actually speaks English and has a large harp to fit quilts through, is back to zero. Honestly, it’s in the negative… but that only makes me work harder to earn enough for the machine I REALLY want!

Afterall… a girl can always dream.

Here’s a sneak peek of ‘the project’. A professional photo shoot will be available in late October of the entire project… along with another similar project. Both are absolutely ADORABLE!

VW

Church Window Hexagon Quilt Challenge

Happy National Quilting Day!!!

In honor of National Quilting Day, and to all the fabulous and creative quilters out in the world… I give you… my very first Quilt Challenge.

Last month a small group from my local quilt guild (Jersey Shore Modern Quilt Guild) attended an exhibit at the Michener Art Museum (as in… the author, James A.) in Doylestown, PA. ‘Blanket Statements’ was a Kaffe Fassett exhibit of antique English quilts and his modern-day interpretation of them.

The antique quilts were amazing. To think woman over 150 years ago used needle and thread with such complexity!  Although we didn’t agree on which quilt was our favorite, we found ourselves gathered around one particular quilt commenting how we would have designed the modern version differently than Kaffe Fassett. Each idea was creative, exciting, and totally unique. Eureka! A quilt challenge was born!

Before we start… let me take a few moments of your time to explain the coolness of this particular block. If you look closely at the antique quilt top after reading the write up… you marvel at the fact it was all paper pieced… BY HAND!!! And as amazing as that is, you look closer and only then realize the hexagon shapes are mostly done in stripes… and they are MITRED!!! O!M!G!

Paper pieced antique quilt, Church Window Hex

         Paper pieced antique quilt, Church Window Hexagon Top

Now… let’s take a look at the modern interpretation.This one has taken the current day mantra of ‘git her done’ to heart by using rotary cutting and machine sewing… not to mention the bold, bright patterns and colors Kaffe is so known for.

Church Window Hexagon Quilt Challenge http://www.debhathaway.com

      Modern interpretation of Modern Church Window Hexagon

Now it’s YOUR turn to re-invent this design. I’ve done the easy part for you and created the basic pattern and tutorial. You, as the creator get to put YOUR spin on it. Will you make it a ‘scrappy stash buster’ or all in one fabric designer’s line? Will you use prints or all solids? Fussy cut centers perhaps? Oh… I know… how about all the hexagon shapes the same color?? Oh the choices are endless. I think that’s why this specific quilt captured our attention. Oh! What would happen to the design if all the small corners were the same color… would they look like polka-dots??? Hmmmm…

Challenge RULES:

1. Have fun with this! Use your imagination and creativity. Feel free to use my tutorial and pattern instructions as a GUIDE by changing up the width of the strips you cut. Hand sewing, paper piecing, machine sewing, embellishments and more are all accepted.

2. Finished item must be in quilt form… top, batting, and backing… bound. There is no minimum or maximum finished size requirement.

3. Must use a minimum of 12 blocks clearly depicting the creative journey you are on.

4. Challenge begins 12:01am March 19, 2016, National Quilting Day, and ends at midnight September 192016. Feel free to jump in at any time!

5. When completed please post a photo of your quilt on our Facebook page… Church Window Hex Block Quilt Challenge.

PRIZES…

Yes, there will be prizes. In addition to simply seeing all the inspiring quilts there will be pop-up prizes for those who post photos along the way. Things like, a signed copy of Denyse Schmidt’s book Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration… A fat quarter bundle of Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s new fabric line Mostly Manor… and more. To know what prizes will be awarded when, and what you need to do to be in the running… you will need to join or follow our Facebook Page.

Here’s the basic pattern and tutorial…

Church Window Hexagon Block

*Following is the standard size I have designed for this challenge. Please feel free to use this as a guide and switch it up. You will notice I have included a few other size options below as well. Let your creative muse be your guide.

For EACH block cut the following:

Fabric A   – (1)   2 ½” Square

Fabric B –   (2)   2 ½” x 6 ½”

(2)   2 ½” Squares

Fabric C –   (4)   2” Squares

Church Window Hexagon Block Challenge

   Pink is Center square, Green is Hexagon, Yellow are the corners

 

Fabric A… Pink.  Fabric B… Green  Fabric c… Yellow.

Assemble:

Step 1: Using ¼” seam… Sew each Fabric B 2 ½” square to opposite sides of the Fabric A 2 ½” square, creating a rectangle. Press seams out, away from the center square. Set aside.

Church Window Hexagon Quilt Challenge http://debhathaway.com

                  So far, so good… center of block is complete.

Step 2: Using a pencil and a straight edge, mark a diagonal line on each Fabric C square. Following the photo… place a Fabric C square on each upper corner of the 2 Fabric B 2 ½” x 6 ½” rectangles… right sides together. Sew ON the pencil line AFTER double-checking the direction of the diagonals. Trim seams to ¼”, then press resulting triangle up.

Church Window Hexagon Quilt Challenge

                          Pencil lines drawn on diagonal.

Step 2b Church Window Hexagon Quilt Challenge

Step 3: Finger press the rectangle made in Step 1 to find the center from side to side… and repeat with the 2 pieces made in step 2. Matching centers, sew the unsewn side of Step 2 pieces to the top and bottom of Step 1 piece, right sides together. Press seams away from center square.

Finished Church Window Hexagon Block http://debhathaway.com

                     Ta-Dah!!! Just press and you are finished!

Size: 6 ½” unfinished, 6” finished

Additional size options:

For a larger center square (see Solid block example below)…

Cut: Fabric A – (1) 3 ½”

Fabric B – (2) 2” x 6 ½” rectangle

(2) 2” x 3 ½” rectangle

Fabric C – (4) 2” squares

Still results in a 6” finished block (6 ½” unfinished)

Large center square

                                Notice the larger center square?

For an even smaller quilt block cut all 1 1/2″ squares and strips, 2 strips being 1 1/2″ x 3″. The finished block will measure 3″ square.

*** Please note that the small squares (Fabric C)creating the hexagon shape are NOT necessarily on the seam line in the main directions. This is by design. If you look closely at the Modern interpretation of the antique sample, you will see they chose NOT to line them up either. If this bothers you… simply cut 2 ½” squares and proceed with directions.

*** When assembling blocks into finished quilt, rotate them so seams alternate from horizontal to vertical for added strength. See modern interpretation photo for clarity.

Questions??? Leave a comment below, or email me at deb(at)debhathaway(dot)com.

Can you understand why I’m OBSESSED with this block??? It’s so versatile!

I am so excited to see all the different variations of this quilt you all make!! Each one will be special and oh so beautiful!

This challenge is open to EVERYONE. The pattern is GREAT for beginners as well as the more advanced quilter. Please SHARE this challenge with your fellow quilters. The more participants, the more variations we get to see.

Share your process on INSTAGRAM using #churchwindowhex or tagging me  @uniqueandnovel.

Again… JOIN the Facebook Page to be kept up to date on all the fun. Pop-up prizes, Special Surprises, inspiration, and motivational cheerleading will all be posted there.

I will finish up this post with one final photo… the 2 quilts side by side at the exhibit that rocked my world and started this entire challenge.

Old and New

*Photo Credit for the Quilt photos at the museum goes to Brandy Borden. Thanks Brandy!

I hope you all enjoy this challenge as much as I had putting it together.

Happy Sewing!  Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Quilt – Underneath the Same Stars

Phew! Now that all the hub bub of baby showers, first birthdays, and flying AND driving up and down the east coast is over… I can finally post about the super secret baby quilt I made.

My oldest daughter is pregnant with her first child!!! It was decided the baby shower would be a ‘gender reveal’… meaning I had to keep my mouth shut for WEEKS on the sex of the baby!!! It also meant I couldn’t post any photos of the baby quilt I was making so as not to give it away.

It’s a BOY!!!! My second grandson is due in May and I couldn’t be happier!!

With a nursery theme of ‘Underneath the Same Stars’… and color scheme of Gray, White, Navy, and Teal I set my creative juices in motion.

‘Underneath the Same Stars’ came about because my Son-in-law serves in the Navy. Although he will be away from home a lot of the time, he will always be beneath the same stars. When you think about it… that really brings things into perspective… doesn’t it!

While scouring a multitude of quilting resources, I came across a pattern named Hunter’s Star. Well… isn’t that just PERFECT??? Our family name is Hunter… and it’s a star pattern. This was just meant to be! I was delighted!

My personal stash of fabric, which seriously could stock an entire store, didn’t have any of the colors I needed. Sooooo… I hit up my favorite fabric haunts. YIPPIE!!! Shopping for the color teal was not as simple and clear-cut as I thought it was going to be. Some were too green, others too blue… and if the Navy was too dark it looked black, and others too Royal. Gah!!! Eventually, as if by magic things all started to pull together.

Once the fabric was washed, dried, and ironed… Like a mad crazy person I began cutting it all up according to the pattern. Isn’t that nuts? We quilters buy fabric, cut it up into many pieces, just to sew it all back together again. Who thought THIS was a good idea???

Any way… there came a time when I had to trim about ¼” from every square, resulting in what I affectionately call ‘fabric worms’. The way the sunlight streamed through the near by window made them glow. Mesmerized by the scene, I stopped cutting to take s few photos, then realized I COULDN’T POST THEM! But now I can! I get excited over the craziest things!

Pile of Fabric Worms

                 Pile of Fabric Worms

Here’s the finished quilt, and a photo of her opening it up during the shower.

Finished Baby Quilt

                                    Finished Baby Quilt

 

Gender reveal Baby Shower

                              Gender reveal Baby Shower

I followed the Missouri Quilt Company tutorial as a guide… which you can find HERE.

If you want to see this quilt up close and personal, it will be on display this weekend at The Quilt and Sewing Festival held in the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ. Then it will be mailed to it’s new home in Florida where it will await the birth of my grandson. Two of my other quilts will also be displayed… The Periodic Table quilt I made for Grandson #1, and Bye-Bye Boogieman, the quilt that started this whole passion of making quilts (okay, okay… obsession) in the first place.

Stop by the Jersey Shore Modern Quilt Guild booth and drool over the other member’s fabulous quilts too. I will be there most of the time and would love for you to visit!