Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shapes and Pieces

As we come to the last day of March, I thought it would be best to get my second post of the month completed. For good or for bad, even with all of the other projects in my queue, I took on a new project for the year. Back in late January, I made a quick run to the quilt shop for a piece of fabric to finish a project. When all was said and done, I did leave the quilt shop with that one piece of fabric in tow. I also came out having signed up for a block of the week project. That's right - block of the week. Each week, I come to the shop (or send my husband to the shop) and pick up a fabric kit for a new block. By the time we get to the end of January 2016, I will have made 52 hexagon blocks. I haven't yet decided what I will do with them, but I am having fun putting them together and working with the different colors and designs in the fabrics.

These blocks are completed using the English paper piecing technique. Some of you may be familiar with what is often termed as the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt pattern that features hexagons sewn together. This quilt pattern often features 1930s reproduction prints and makes for a great scrappy quilt.
The basis of these quilt blocks is the English paper piecing technique, however, the finished hexagon is compiled of a combination of many different shapes which may include hexagons, triangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids.
This next picture illustrates the basis of English paper piecing. In the upper left hand corner, you can see that the fabric has been cut about 1/4 inch wider than the shape itself. The card stock shape is pinned to the fabric using short appliqué pins. These short pins do a great job holding the shape and fabric together, and their short length keeps them from poking you as you fold the excess fabric around the shape and then tack down the corners with a basting thread as illustrated in the lower left. The right hand side features five shapes that have been hand-sewn together to create the pattern.  

This next photo shows the front side of the block in progress. You can see that the fabric for the trapezoids has been cut in such a way that the pieces are as identical as possible and create a bit of a kaleidoscope pattern around the edge of the center hexagon.
 Some of the blocks have featured fairly simple, straightforward pieces to arrange together such as these two.
 Others have involved a combination of shapes and involved what is termed as fussy cutting. In this block, I fussy cut the hexagon on the right and the diamond on the left to feature the sunburst/flower pattern in the center. For the lower right hexagon, I fussy cut the hexagon so that the flower was in the center.
This next block also featured some fussy cutting to center flowers inside the diamonds.
I like the kaleidoscope pattern formed by fussy cutting the three center hexagons to feature the identical pattern. Centering the pattern over the hexagon shape for each piece was a bit challenging.
This one featured some elongated pentagons and equilateral triangles arranged around a center hexagon.
 I like the pattern formed by fussy cutting the striped fabric for the trapezoids in this block.
With Holy Week upon us, I will simply close out this posting with a verse reflecting God's gift to us in spite of the shape that we were in. A very blessed and happy Easter season to you all.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8