Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 45: Hexagon Quilt Front

 Last week I got started on a baby quilt for a friend of mine.  I had some issues with geometry, but I flexed my math muscles and ended up with a bunch of hexagons and triangles that were ready to be fit together into a quilt.
 To start piecing, I added two triangles to each hexagon, making parallelogram blocks (more math!), like above.  When piecing a quilt together, you always want to work with straight seams like the ones I have above.  The triangles fit onto the hexagons with a straight seam, and the two blocks above will fit together with a straight seam...

And when I line them up like below, and sew all of those straight seams...

I end up with rows that can be sewn together with straight seams. (This concept has come to me gradually.  Being a person that usually makes her own patterns rather than buying someone else's, I've had to do a lot of problem solving.  Believe me when I tell you that sewing around a corner to fit a block in is NOT FUN.)

I made six rows like the one above, each consisting of six hexagon blocks. 

I didn't even notice that this pattern ends up making lots of Star's Of David, until my mom pointed it out.  

Perhaps I should have used more math planning... because two sides ended up looking like this... NOT lovely.

But not to worry... I used my rotary cutter to get rid of all the extras, with a few nice quick swipes.  (Have no fear. Most of the extras will get used in the quilt back, so they aren't all wasted.)

Four straight sides.  So much better. 

Lastly, I added some strips of chevron, and some gray rectangles to the borders to make it look more clean and finished.  

Next up: backing, quilting, and binding...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hexagon Quilt Math

 I'm making a baby quilt! Baby quilts could quite possibly be my absolute favorite craft. I mean babies: ADORABLE, quilts: BEAUTIFUL, baby quilts: PERFECT.  

I had a vision for this one.  A vision of hexagons and triangles.  But no pattern.  Which is cool, because I hate patterns. But I knew that the hexagons and triangles needed to be perfectly regular on all sides, and at every angle, and I knew I couldn't free hand that.  

So I sat down and tried to problem solve some sort of geometry equation that would help me with this challenge.  It turned out I didn't remember enough from my 9th grade geometry class. 

Lots of math comes next.  Most people don't think math is pretty, so I'll inject some gorgeous fabric shots to keep it appealing.

After doing some brief internet research I learned more about hexagons, and came up with a plan for making one that's perfect... 
I learned that every regular polygon (or hexagon) has two circles related to them, an inner and an outer.  The outer circle is called the circumcircle, and is the one that could help me. The radius of this circle is the distance between the center point of the hexagon, and one of the corners.

So, step one was to make my own compass:
 I used a pencil, a pen, some twine, scissors and a measuring tape. 

 I tied the twine to the pencil, and decided on a 4 inch radius.  I cut it a little long, and then tied the pen at the 4 inch mark. 

I figure we're in need of another beautiful fabric break.   Ahhh....

Ok.  Back to the math.  I used the pencil to make the center point, and swung the pen around it, drawing a circle on some tag board (I wanted something sturdy that I could cut around).

As it turns out, a regular hexagon has side lengths equal to the radius.  So the next thing I did was stretch the pencil and the pen apart on the line circumference and draw dots that were the same distance apart as the twine. Then I drew straight lines between each dot.

 Pretty, pretty, pretty.

Now for the triangle: I knew the triangle had to be equilateral, and that each side is the same length I've been using, so I started with an edge of the hexagon, and used the twine to pick a third point.  I had to try a few different ones before finding one that was exactly 4 inches apart on each side.  

Now wait.  I thought I had figured it all out. So I cut.  Bad idea.  This isn't exactly right. Don't cut yet.  I'll show you. 

I cut all my beautiful fabrics. (wrong)

Unfortunately I planned for the triangle sides and the hexagon sides to be exactly the same size.  And once seam allowance was accounted for,  I had triangles with bases much smaller than the sides of the hexagons. Big gaps mean that the hexagons all overlap each other by an inch on each side.  I only wanted them to kiss at the corners. GRRR.  How'd that happen?

OK. Look at the angles on these two shapes, when laid together to make a seam. Draw an imaginary seam line straight across the top, about an 1/8 of an inch down. See how the triangle's side gets shorter as you come down towards the point?  Now look at the hexagon.  Because the hexagon's angles go out rather than in, the hexagon's side length just keeps getting bigger. UGH.  One got bigger, one got smaller, and I got MAD.

Let's call it a learning experience.  I re-cut all my hexagons, cutting a half an inch off of each side.  Now the triangle has longer sides, but at the seam line, they have the exact same length.

And when I sew them together they make beautiful straight lines.
More later!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alan's Apron

I may have been in a crafty slump for the past few weeks, but Alan has been quite productive.  So I figured it was time for another round of...
Crafts From His Couch!
*Disclaimer:  We no longer have a couch. All crafts come from the table, the floor, or a cozy chair.  Diana and my mom have both been harassing me about the title of the blog.  I'm not changing it. 
As may be obvious by the picture, Alan not only got into apron making, but modeling as well.  He's a man of many talents I tell you. 

For his best bud's birthday Alan crafted this outrageously gorgeous apron.  His friend had requested something handmade, or something thrifted.  With this beauty he managed to give her both.  See if you can spot the reporposed/garage sale fabrics.

Also, Alan learned the art of ruffling for this project.  Aren't they beautiful? Can't you feel the love?

He added some store-bought ribbon (the only purchased element) for the neck tie and the waist band. He was very pleased with the sweet little x's he made to add flair.

I made a flower and button pin out of some scraps, because I just couldn't resist this adorable apron, I HAD to have a part in it.
Then he had a fabulous time modeling the apron in all sorts of apron wearing situations:
pulling something delicious out of the oven...
and pouring tea from the world's most adorable kettle.

Lori, birthday girl and this blog's #1 fan, recognized all of the fabrics right away:
The floral on the top half came from the piano bench we bought and recovered,
The ruffle of yellow and orange flowers came from a vintage sheet,
The white ruffles are from a curtain we garage-saled,
The bottom ruffle came from the fancy napkins I made.
And the rest of the fabrics came from our scrap stash.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week 44: Pillow Covers

 I have NOT been feeling crafty lately.  Sometimes I happily juggle 5 or 6 crafts at a time, eager to work on them with every free second.  Other times all I can do is stare at my sewing machine and pile-o-half-finished-projects with disgust. This is one of those times. 

I blame it on the fact that all of the projects I should be focusing on are LONG and time consuming, and some of them are boring (I may puke the next time I sit down to add ruffles to the stupid shower curtain I've been working on FOREVER). 

Also I've been feeling slightly under the weather.  Maybe that's it. 

But tonight, I forced my self up to tackle a short little job that would allow me a gold star in the craft-a-week column, without too much time and sweat.  In fact, I got this project done, while doing the dishes and folding laundry (I was sharing the sewing machine) in about an hour. 

 I made some pillow covers to cover this disgusting garage sale find, and his equally hideous twin.  I'm sure the people we bought them from are lovely and clean, but that doesn't make we want to lean my face on their cast-off pillows.

I started by cutting up the left overs from a garage sale curtain that we used to cover our dining room chairs and bench. It's such a nice neutral color, as well as being a super soft velour(?).

I cut three pieces for each pillow: 
  • one the size of the pillow with an extra inch on each side for seam allowance. 
  • and two that were the pillow's width (plus 1), but only 2/3 of the height. (The two shorter pieces in the back are going to be a fold over opening so I don't have to sew on a zipper.  I HATE zippers.)
For the two shorter pieces, I cut so that one of the width sides was the side of the curtain so that it was already hemmed. 
 Then I got real busy, and forgot to take pictures. Sorry. 

To sew, I started by attaching the three pieces so that they made one long panel: short piece, long piece, short piece. (Of course, sew with right sides together, making 2 seams, one connecting each piece.)

Next I folded one of the short pieces onto the longer piece (right sides facing) and sewed down the sides to make part of the pillow's side seams.  It wont reach all the way to the end, but it isn't supposed to.

Now fold over the other short piece and sew those side seams.  It should cover the opening that the first short piece left, and again only make it 2/3 of the way to the other end.  

Flip. Insert pillow.
 That was a bunch of jumbled garbage that only one who can read my mind or studies how pillow covers are made (like me) would understand.  Sorry.  Does the picture above help? This is the back of the finished pillow.  See the opening? Should I do some more pillow making and actually take some pictures?  Should I do some diagramming?  It's too late for tonight, but maybe tomorrow...

 Anyway, thank God for clean and pretty pillows I can get cozy with. 

And for a project I could do in an hour. 


Total time and cost:
Time: 1 hour
Curtain: Left overs 

Total: 50 cents!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 43: Tin and Twine

 A quick and easy craft this week, and a way to turn some tin cans into something special.  I'm not sure what's up with me lately, but I just cant get rid of tin cans.  I like how shiny they are, and their bumpiness.  I love that they come in so many sizes, and of course, I love that they're free when you buy food.  Oh how I love free stuff. 
 To fancify my new faves, I used to of my old faves: twine and hot glue.
 Also, I protected my table with the left overs from my absentee ballot.  
Did you vote yet?
 Basically, I started at the base of the can, added a little glob of hot glue to the seam, and wrapped the twine around a few times, covering the glue. Repeat.
 One little can.
 One medium can half "dipped" in twine.
 And one jumbo can striped with twine.
 Three in a row.
 Filled with plants, pencils, silverware... lovely and free. Yipee!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Week 42: El Dia De Los Muertos

 Happy Halloween/ Dia De Los Muertos/first day of November!  This was supposed to be a Halloween post, but I was in a exhausted-zombie state last night.  I barely made it to dinner before throwing myself into bed. 

As it turns out though, today is a more appropriate day to post pictures of these skull planters, and the festive section of my living room. :)

My sister is a Halloween baby, and decorates some parts of her life (like her leg) with Dia De Los Muertos skulls. I saw an idea for skull decorated planters on the internet a while back, and stored it away as a gift idea. I made my planters out of tin cans, cus I had some.
 This one is hanging out with Turkish-gourd-Alan (one of our wedding cake toppers), and a skeleton. 
And a mini pumpkin stuck in a pot.

I got the skeleton garland at the dollar store, the one store where I still buy random crap I didn't go in for. 

This guy is sitting on my FAVORITE pumpkin ever/Alan's most hated pumpkin. It's called a peanut pumpkin because it looks like it has peanuts growing out of it.  I think it's the most beautiful thing ever.  I may be the only one. 

Turkish-gourd-Erin made it to the party too! As did the photo booth sign from our wedding, because every good table display needs some old wood.

My favorite skull.

A stack of old Reader's Digests added some depth, a butternut squash and an empty bottle of pumpkin cider add some height.

Spiky hair skull is sitting next to two more beautiful pumpkins.  Who am I kidding?  I love all pumpkins.  SO MUCH.  They're all beautiful.

The pumpkin behind this skeleton is called "One Too Many."  Not sure what they mean by that.  Cus no amount of pumpkins could be too many.  Right?

Just loving this spooky little place.