Last year a lovely friend commissioned me to make a dolls quilt for her little girl for Christmas. She had been inspired by my large scrappy hexagon quilt and was after a scaled down version. Naturally, I was happy to do this.
My friend had made a patchwork quilt for her daughter and so I asked if she had any fabric left over from that quilt and I would incorporate the prints into the dolls quilt as well. Knowing my friend was a lover of Liberty fabric, I also included some special floral prints as well as some other fabrics from my stash. I also pulled some fabric from the stash of scraps my friend had given me from her children’s clothing business Ecolier Kids.
I decide to use ¾” hexagons. This is a nice versatile size, the perfect scale for a quilt to go on a dolls bed, which measured 41 x 26cm. After I had pieced the hexagons to a size that would allow the quilt to hang slightly over the sides of the bed, it was time to quilt.
I chose simple quilting in straight lines vertically down the quilt that dissected the hexagons in half. I chose fabric from my stash for the backing in a lovely soft pastel brocade floral design.
For the binding, I also raided my stash to find a plain soft creamy yellow that went nicely with the backing fabric and didn’t overpower the quilt front.
Of course, I decided that you couldn’t have a dolls quilt without a pillow as well, so I made a ¾” hexagon flower using lovely liberty fabrics and appliqued it to a square of the same binding fabric. I made a two piece overhanging slip back from the quilt backing fabric. I then made a stuffed pillow that was sewn up all four sides to slip into the pillowcase.
My friend loved the finished quilt and the extra pillow. More importantly, her daughter loved it and has been busy putting her dolls to bed with their new quilt and pillow.
It is such a wonderful thing to create something so special and to know that it will be treasured for many years to come. I think it is a very true statement when someone explains that an item was stitched with love. I like to add that something was stitched with joy as well. Sewing gives me great pleasure and enjoyment, but the act of sewing something for someone else and seeing the joy on their face when they receive, well that’s one of life’s most beautiful and simple and pleasures of all.
Sometime after finishing my first Miniature Quilt ‘Garden of Patience’ I started what would turn out to be a long term quarter inch hexie project. I decided that I wanted to make a giant hexagon flower. Each petal would be a different colour of the rainbow and would be pieced from quarter inch hexies. Now I didn’t record the date I started this insane idea, but I’m taking a guess that it was approximately seven or so years ago.
This year I decided that I was going to finish all of my English Paper Piecing WIP’s because I have quite a few of them! I had a rummage through my WIP basket and came across a couple of finished and half-finished petals for my hexagon flower quilt. Straight away I knew this was one that I had to get finished. Over the next few months I pieced together the individual petals, finishing the ones I had already started and starting the colours I hadn’t yet begun. At last I had all seven petals pieced.
The project gained steam now as I could start to see it coming together. The petals pieced I began to sew them together, first attaching each petal to the centre white pieced hexagon, and then piecing the sides between each petal. That done I needed to decide how I was going to finish off the flower. Did I want to leave it as just the centre and petals? Did I want to square it off and add in a multi-coloured arrangement of quarter inch hexie flowers with borders? I spent a bit of time weighing up my options before settling on adding diamond shaped blocks pieced from more quarter inch hexies in white and cream fabrics. This allowed me to create one giant pieced hexagon shape with six straight edges.
The piecing complete, it was time to attach it to backing fabric. I did some stash diving and settled on a neutral pale cream cotton fabric. I used a large square of visafix to adhere the piecing to the backing. I then also did some thread basting along the sides to help keep the work in place and to try and avoid distorting the backing fabric while I hand appliqued around the six sides of the piecing on to the backing.
The applique complete I then had to decide how to quilt it. I knew I didn’t want to do any kind of visible quilting over the top of the pieced quarter inch hexies as I thought it would detract from the overall look and design. I didn’t want all of my painstakingly pieced hexies to be hidden under quilting stitches! In the end I decided to hand quilt very tiny stitches along the sides of each petal. I’m going to try and explain this as best I can. I would do a very small stitch in the corner of an individual quarter inch hexie piece, then bring my needle up in the next corner of the hexie piece. I would continue in this manner along the edges of each petal joint. What it created was virtually invisible stitches on the front and larger stitches on the back. It has had the desired affect though. The piece is not interrupted by quilt stitches, but it has done the job in connecting the front of the quilt through the wadding to the back of the quilt.
I then decided to hand quilt small visible quilt stitches following the outline of the whole pieced hexagon. That done the whole project sat for two months waiting for me to come back and finish it off properly. I had left a border of the backing fabric so I needed to decide how I was going to quilt that. I decided to machine quilt it and drew three lines of quilting following the hexagon sides and radiating out. The first quilt line measure a quarter inch out from the piecing, the next line measure half an inch from the first quilting line, and the third measures three quarter inch from the second quilting line. This has then left me with about a half inch of border fabric before the binding which measures quarter inch. I was pretty pleased with how that symmetry worked out.
The binding is hand sewn on to the back. I stash dived for both the backing and binding fabrics. I trialled a couple of different binding fabrics before settling on the neutral taupe colour.
And just like that my ‘Flower Power Mini Quilt’ is finished. I love it! It brings such a happy burst of loveliness to my studio wall. It feels great to finally get this piece finished. It’s really quite satisfying to see all the time and effort that goes into something for it to then bloom in front of your very eyes.
Without further ado, here are the quilt Stats:
Finished Quilt Size: Each hexagon side = 11.5” Width = 23” x Height = 20”
Finished Pieced Size: Each hexagon side = 8.5” Width = 17.5” x Height = 15.25”
Binding Size: ¼”
Hexagon piece size = 1/$”
Hexagon Centre and Petal individual hexie count = 127
Total Count (7 Petal Blocks) = 889
Diamond individual hexie count = 42
Total Count (6 diamond blocks) = 252
Grand Total Quarter Inch Hexie Count = 1,141
Hexie Prep = 7.5hrs (cutting out and basting the hexie pieces) (that’s pretty conservative really, probably a lot more time than that!)
Hexie Flower Piecing: Individual Petal = 15hrs Total for 7 petals = 105hrs
Hello Maker Friends! I hope this post finds you well? I’m back to share some reflections on my making life for May. It was a rather busy with lots of little & big things happening. The end of the month saw illness descend on our little family. First Tilly contracted conjunctivitis, which we are still trying to get rid of after nearly 3 weeks. Then I caught a cold, which I have since passed on to both Tilly & my Hubby. I am still not back to 100% & I am now battling the last stage, an annoying throat tickle & cough. Last time it took about 2-3 weeks for me to shift Mr Most Annoying Cough in the Whole Wide World! Hopefully that won’t be the case this time.
On a much happier note we celebrated Tilly’s 2nd Birthday this month. I still can’t believe I have a two-year-old. My little baby has disappeared. We had a small party with just Tilly’s Grandparent’s, her Aunt, Uncle & Cousins. We had a beautiful day playing with the twenty or so balloons I had blown up the night before to fill our living room floor. Tilly was so excited to see them when she got up she didn’t even notice the pile of presents on her little table. We had a BBQ lunch & enjoyed birthday cake. I made a Strawberry Shortcake – vanilla mud cake with jam filling & white chocolate buttercream frosting, covered in fresh strawberries & shortbread crumbs. It was delicious. One of Tilly’s presents was a trampoline which she absolutely loved. She must have bounced around in it for about an hour.
Among Tilly’s bought presents I also made her an amigurumi lamb. Not the funnest amigurumi toy I’ve made, I was well & truly over the bobble stitch when I finished it! I was also holding two yarns for the bobble stitch body & cap, a fake mohair with an 8ply acrylic, so that didn’t make it any easier. Still the finished effect is very lovely & fluffy which is what I was after. Tilly loves it. I used a pattern by Anatillea. I actually found the instructions for the bobble stitch a bit hard to understand & ended up using a tutorial by Sandra of The Cherry Heart to make the stitch instead. The pattern also calls you to crochet the body & head as one piece, but I elected not to do this & instead made them as two separate pieces & stitched them together as I normally would. Apart from those two things the pattern was very good.
Another gift make I finished was the crochet baby blanket I was making for my best friend’s new baby boy. I crocheted a ripple blanket out of Patons Big Baby 4 ply in colours 3911 (variegated) & 2582 (mint green)using Lucy of Attic 24 tutorial. I didn’t have the blanket done in time for when bub arrived, I actually just met him for the first time last weekend. I was pleased with how the blanket turned out, my bestie loved it also. I just wish I was a bit quicker at making crochet blankets. I’ve only been crocheting for the last 2-3 years & I find I’m still quite slow. Plus the yarn was quite splitty which didn’t help my pace much!
I’ve started work on another baby crochet blanket, this one is much smaller though. It’s for Tilly’s baby doll that we got her for her birthday. I started out experimenting with some treble & double crochet rows, working them in to the back & front loops, but this was a bit tedious I felt to do for the whole blanket, so I’ve reverted back to just treble rows. I also stuffed up a couple of times at the start of the rows so it’s not quite straight…I don’t think the doll will mind though!
I did a bit of work on one of my #makenine2018 projects for Tilly – the Granny Square Cardigan. I was thinking of using the blocks to make a poncho, but I’m thinking now I may just stick to the pattern & make it into the cardigan. I have been enjoying crocheting the blocks, they are quite quick to whip up & I make 3 to 4 at night. I think I need to strat weaving my ends in as I go though!
I went on a little adventure to the Autumn in Orange Fibre Muster with my Mumsie & a fibre friend at the start of the month. We had a wonderful time squishing lots of lovely yarns & rovings. I came home with quite a few goodies, some yarn, dyes & a hand turned drop spindle. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves & I loved being amongst so many fibre enthusiasts. The hall was pumping & the atmosphere was warm & friendly. As a thank you for driving us out there my Mumsie bought me a pottery mug with a little sheep on it. So stinking cute! Once we had finished, we headed back to Bathurst & had lunch at a charming Greek Restaurant with an awesome retro 50’s decor that had seen it’s last refurbishment done in the 80’s. So cool.
I have been steadily working on my re-branding…yes still. A complete overall of my entire business takes time! I have been re-thinking what items I want to focus on making with moving forward with Miss Leela Handmade. I have decided I will be launching a completely new brand/shop where I will sell my EPP supplies, as well as EPP kits & patterns, possibly fabric & hand dyed yarn. Miss Leela Handmade with then just be home to any items I actually make to sell, such as quilts & wall hangings etc. I have some ideas for pin cushions, needle keepers as well as project & notion bags.
As you will have seen in my previous post I received my copy of Flossie Teacake’s Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp. I was so excited to be apart of this wonderful book. I have also been working on another editorial piece behind the scenes this month…all will hopefully be revealed sometime this month.
I have been working on two EPP mini quilts this month. The first is my Half Hexie Mini Quilt (which at the time of writing I have just about finished) & a Granny Flower Mini Quilt made with quarter inch hexies. I will do a more detailed post about my Half Hexie Mini Quilt, but I have enjoyed working on it immensely & love how it has turned out. The Granny Flower project is one I started a while ago. I have finished sewing the flowers together, but I’m now stuck on how I want to finish it. I’m not sure if I should leave it as is or add some different design elements or borders.
I celebrated my second Mother’s Day Weekend. On the Saturday Mumsie & I went to our local Brown Owls meet up for some making & chit chat. We then met up with my Dad & Tilly for lunch. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep a two-year-old quiet & sitting peacefully when dining in a public place?! She isn’t too bad, but sometimes her behaviour just turns me off going out anywhere in public with her! She now pretty much refuses to sit in a high chair so usually that means sitting in my lap which makes it very awkward to enjoy eating any kind of food. Usually the only way to keep her quiet is by watching cartoons on my phone. I hate the amount of screen time she’s having, but honestly sometimes it’s the only way to keep me from losing my mind! On Sunday I stayed home & had a lovely quiet day playing with Tilly & doing some sewing.
So that was May. I can’t believe it’s now Winter & we are nearly half way through the year. I’m not sure about you but I feel I am very behind in achieving all the goals I set for myself this year. I think the second half of the year is going to be extremely busy if I want to get all the things done I wanted to!
Many years ago, I discovered English Paper Piecing. Very quickly I fell down a rabbit hole that would lead me to spending hours upon hours, cutting out fabric, carefully basting it to cardboard shapes & then painstakingly sewing them together again…by hand. I started with the quite respectable size of one inch hexagons and began to make myself a scrappy hexagon quilt (a project that is still ‘in the making’). Then I discovered something even more amazing. Mum and I made our usual yearly pilgrimage to the Sydney Quilt and Craft show. Here amongst the rows of quilts on display I came across a small wall hanging quilt that was created with quarter inch hexagons. I was immediately struck by it, so much so that it’s hard to describe just how in awe I was. I was amazed someone could sew such tiny hexies together, or that they even had a desire to work in such a small scale. Something about that quilt stuck in my mind and not long after I came across a packet of quarter inch hexagons in a local quilt shop. Quickly, I found myself purchasing them and thus began my foray in to the wonderful world of Miniature English Paper Piecing.
I set about making hexie flowers. The first couple of times basting the shapes was tricky, but I quickly discovered a method that worked for me. I have tweaked my paper piecing methods over the many years I’ve been doing this style of patchwork. When I first started I used to tack through the paper and fabric, whereas now I baste through the fabric only. My method of folding and adding basting stitches has changed, and I’m always adjusting what seam allowance to cut based on which type of shape I’m using and the size.
Once I had amassed a collection of hexie flowers I began piecing them together. I didn’t have a clear idea in my mind what size quilt I was making, I just kept making flowers and adding them in. Eventually I started to square the quilt up and decided I wanted to make it roughly A3 size to fit in an Ikea Ribba Frame. Once finished my first quarter inch hexie Miniature Quilt was made up from a total of 1,004 hexagons, with 129 flowers. I didn’t record the hours I spent making it, but it was many! I decided to name it Garden of Patience, very apt don’t you think?
I felt a great sense of accomplishment at the completion of my first Miniature EPP Quilt. It was a true labour of love. I discovered my passion in craft and making lied in hand sewing. The slow stitching nature of it soothes my soul and clears my mind.
Not long after finishing it, a friend invited me to show my quilt at her stall at the annual Springwood Quilt Show. I happily accepted and helped man her stall over a couple of days, marvelling in the incredulous looks of people when they came to look at my quilt. I got a lot of comments like “How’s your eyesight” or “You’ll go blind doing that” and “you’ve got too much time on your hands”. I was ‘crazy’ and ‘insane’ apparently for hand stitching something so tiny. One thing that was true of the comments from viewers was that yes, I did have a lot of patience. Comments like these don’t offend me. I’m always proud of my work and what I can create on such a small scale. I always tell people that sewing quarter inch hexies is no different to sewing one-inch hexies, I use the same small whip stitches, just less of them and the pieces are just smaller to hold between your fingers.
After unveiling my Garden of Patience Miniature quilt, I received a call from a lovely local lady who commissioned me to make her a version, and so I completed my second Garden of Patience, Issue Two. This time I did record the time it took me to create, 186.5 hours! I added more hexagons and hexie flowers to this one so that when framed the pieced quilt extends a little under the mounting board so that no backing fabric can be seen.
I don’t really remember when I started Garden of Patience Issue Three and Four. I know I completed my Four Seasonal Garden Miniature Quilts first. Again, I started out by making flowers. I knew I wanted two different colour palettes, one in fresh pastel spring tones, and one in more muted tones. I dropped in and out of working on these two issues. By the time I had started them I had begun experimenting with other shapes in miniature size, diamonds, triangles and squares. I had also started making my Miniature EPP Hoop Wall Hangings, my core design of these being my Hexie Hearts.
Garden of Patience Issue Three was finished sometime last year…or possibly even the year before. I didn’t record my time for this version, but estimate it to be around 180-190 hours. The hexagon count is a bit less than Issue Two, 1035 total hexagons and 130 hexagon flowers. This time allocation doesn’t include appliqueing the finished piece on to backing cloth for framing as I haven’t done that yet. Garden of Patience Issue Four was finished this year in April. It has the same hexagon count as Issue Three, and I would guess time to create it would be around the same also.
Will there be an Issue Five? Well maybe, if someone wanted to commission me to make one, I might consider it. I feel I am done with this particular Miniature Quilt though. Hexagons are such a versatile shape when it comes to creating patterns and designs. I have so many ideas bouncing around my head and I think I’d like to realise them in Miniature Quilts.
Until next time, don’t fear the humble quarter inch hexagon, it is worth the effort, and needle pricks!
Miss Leela x
Garden of Patience Issue Three and Four are for sale. I can sell them framed or unframed, so if your interested in one of these Miniature Quilt Artworks (as I feel they should be referred to), please feel free to contact me.