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Hexie Diamond Pillow


Back in August, Sew, Mama, Sew kicked off a new series of posts on Slow Sewing. And I got all excited because these days I am all about the slow sewing. I've come to treasure the quiet pace and close focus of English paper piecing as a form of meditation and healing.

…And so I emailed Beth and said "please, please, please let me do a post for this series please, please, please." (Paraphrasing there.) And she welcomed me into the slow-sewing fold, and so I made this pillow!


Hexie Diamond Pillow


I used 1" hexies, which are perhaps the least demanding, most relaxing-to-use shape for EPP. And I got to employ some wonderful scraps I've been hoarding. I had a lovely time making this baby!

You can get my full how-to over at Sew, Mama, Sew. And be sure to peruse the rest of the Slow Sewing series. It's awesome reading.

  


My No-Particular-Destination Project



I've been showing off a lot of finished projects lately, but today I wanted to share this one – which may never, ever get finished, and that's a very good thing.


My No-Particular-Destination Project


I started making these half-hexie stars back in March, as an airplane project on my way to and from Craftcation. At that time, I had a finished item in mind: a kind of freeform table topper. But I had so many other projects going on at the same time, once that trip was over I didn't make much progress.


My No-Particular-Destination Project


As the year progressed, I found myself picking up my bag of stars-in-progress only rarely, for long train rides or rare afternoons off. For a while I berated myself about not moving faster toward my table-topper goal (we all know how that goes).

But slowly, something else happened. I realized that these stars had become the project I turned to when I needed a respite from all my other projects. They were, in fact, my form of doing nothing – as "nothing" as it gets for an extreme Type A.


My No-Particular-Destination Project


And so now, instead of berating myself, I find myself fiercely loving my little WIP that will probably always be "in progress."

Every time I get a scrap of fabric in these Froot-Loopy colors, I chop it up and add it to the bag. I might make 15 more stars or I might make 500. I don't really care – this is much more about the journey than the destination.


My No-Particular-Destination Project


A lot of my making time is spent operating on two tracks at once: making the things, and meta-thinking about the making so I can translate it into clear processes for others. That's always interesting and challenging and I love it, but too much of that dual state will fatigue you on making altogether.


My No-Particular-Destination Project


…So I'm very thankful for this one little act of pure craft without any endgame.

Do you have a no-particular-destination project in your stash?

Hexie Sewing Set English Paper Piecing Pattern


So, this pattern is born of my penchant for starting and abandoning hexie quilts. I'm the proud owner of quite a few pieces of random English paper piecing in various shapes and sizes. They sit neatly folded in their ziploc bags, silently reproaching me for my lack of follow-through. I'm sure at least some of you can feel this particular pain, right?

Anyway. I finally decided early this year that I was going to take these pieces of patchwork and make things with them, thereby letting myself off the hook from completing them as quilts. And this Hexie Sewing Set is the first result.

The three pieces are: a needle book, a scissor case (custom-sized to your favorite scissors), and a pin cushion. The PDF pattern has complete piecing and construction instructions for all three, and it's loaded with step-by-step photos and diagrams. It's also extremely beginner-friendly. If you can sew a straight seam on your machine, you can make this set.

You can get the PDF (and details on sizes) over in my shop.


Hexie Sewing Set English Paper Piecing Pattern


Never feel bad about abandoning your hexie quilt-in-progress, my friends. There's always something good to make with whatever you ended up piecing!

  


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Crafty Football Blog HopWhen Catherine and I started up this year's Crafty Football Blog Hop, I knew only two things about the project I wanted to do: I wanted to use English paper piecing (but just a little bit), and I wanted to use Denver Broncos colors. Then, playing with shapes, I came across this elongated hexagon, which practically begged to become a little patchwork football. And it all fell into place.

This is a super easy scarf to wear with your full fan get-up when you go to those chilly-weather games. Even with the hand-sewing, it makes up in no time. And as a bonus, you get to play with a little fabric paint!


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


You'll Need:

  • Downloadable EPP football templates
  • • Fat eighth of solid quilting cotton in each of your two team colors
  • • 1/3 yard solid fleece in your team's third color (or white) – if you want to do a simple low-sew scarf like mine. You could also use an 8" wide readymade scarf.
  • • Washable fabric glue stick
  • • Contrasting thread for basting
  • • Coordinating thread for sewing
  • • Paper scissors
  • • Fabric scissors
  • • Masking tape
  • Marvy Uchida DecoFabric paint pen
  • • Hand-sewing needle (sharp or quilting needle in a size you like



Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


As I mentioned above, I'm using an elongated hexagon template here – although I did tweak the two end points outward a little so it could be a bit more football-like. You can download a page of templates to print and cut out right here.

You'll need to make 10 football patches in total – 5 of each of your team colors.


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


These patches baste somewhat like a regular old hexagon, with one important difference: see how the two points at the ends are finished? I'll show you how to do that bit here. For my other basting basics, just watch this video.

Start by pressing your fabrics and placing them wrong side up on your work surface. Apply a little glue stick to one side of a football template, and stick it to the wrong side of the fabric. Then trim the fabric with scissors so it's about 3/8" larger on all sides. (Seriously, a generous seam allowance is your friend for this project. Don't skimp!)


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Start basting at the point where one long edge meets one point. Fold the fabric over the template along the long edge first, and then fold the fabric over the adjacent edge. Take a tack stitch at the point where the edges meet. (Again, the video linked above walks you through that.)


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial

Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Now you're at one of the end points. First, fold the tip of the fabric over the tip of the template, as shown in the first photo. Then fold the two sides of the fabric over, as shown in the second photo.

FInally, take a tack stitch over the point where the two sides meet. You can see this in the photo below.


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Continue along like you would with a regular hexie, taking tack stitches at each corner. Then when you get to the other end point, fold the tip of the fabric over and fold the sides in, like you did on the other corner.


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


With your patches basted, it's time to add some white accents. I used a Marvy Uchida DecoFabric paint pen in white – make sure you get the kind labeled "For light and dark fabrics."


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial

Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


First I used masking tape to mark two straight lines across the two tips of each patch. Then I added a third piece of tape that was centered between the other two. That created two nice open lanes to make paint stripes on my footballs.

Burnish that tape down firmly.


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


The paint pen works like a magic marker; just color on the fabric. But because you're putting white paint on saturated color fabrics, it's going to take a few coats. Just color one coat in, let it try for 15 minutes, and apply another coat. If it's still not opaque enough, wait another 15 minutes add a third coat and that should be fine. Then remove the tape.

Paint all 10 footballs in this manner.


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Then of course, you need to add some laces! You can use a dimensional fabric paint for these, or the same paint marker you used for the stripes. (I love the look of the dimensional, but admittedly, it's kind of a pain to press around the laces, and pressing over them melts them. So use a pressing cloth!)

I just freehand drew my laces. An official NFL football has eight laces, but you don't have that kind of space here. Just make 4-5 and be happy.

(Also, I think it's fun to vary the placement of the laces as you go.)


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial

Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Let all the paint dry thoroughly, and then you can stitch your footballs together. I alternated the colors on mine, so one end of my scarf has three orange and two navy footballs, and the other end three navy and two orange.

Whip stitch them together side by side in groups of five. This video shows you how.


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Quick note: as you're stitching through the little stripes you painted, you might find it hard to stick the needle through the dried paint. If that happens, just pass your needle through the fabric just outside where the paint is. You'll only need to make 2-3 stitches this way, so it won't have any effect at all on your seam.


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Now, cut your fleece so it's 8" wide by about 29" long (which should be the width of fabric minus selvages; check the bolt end when you buy yours).

Press your football strips well, and then peel out the paper templates. (Leave those basting stitches in – they'll make your whole applique strip behave very nicely.)

Pin a football strip at each end of the scarf strip, lining it up so you can see roughly 1" of the end of the fleece sticking out below the footballs, as shown above. (Use lots of pins so things don't shift around while you're sewing.)


Football Fringe Scarf Tutorial


Stitch 1/8" from the outer edges of the football strip. Then, I like to also stitch in the ditches between the footballs.

Lastly, carefully trim the fleece so it matches the bottom edges of those footballs. And you're all set for the stadium!


Check out what my fellow Crafty Football Blog Hoppers made! (New links will appear each day of the hop.)




Today, I'll share a nice time-saving method for basting hexagons. You start with fabric squares that you've cut with your ruler and rotary cutter, and then you baste those squares right to your hexie templates.

This method is useful for projects where you need to make a whole lot of patches – and you can use it with really any shape, not just hexies.

To be honest, this isn't my favorite basting method, simply because it results in a slightly bulkier patch. (Although for most projects, this extra bulk wouldn't present any problems. The only time I think the bulk would present issues is when you wanted to do a lot of intricate quilting on a project.)

…But I do know a lot of EPP-ers who love to baste this way, so I thought I'd share it. If there was ever a "to each their own" craft, it's EPP!

Happy Stitching, and Happy Weekend!

  


Pumpkin Patch Snack Mat


I have sketchbooks filled with EPP ideas, and I spend a lot of train and bus time doodling shapes. There's a page in one of these books where I simply scrawled: "OMG, hexie pumpkins!"

Well, after further noodling, I decided that octagons were ultimately more pumpkinlike, and also a great shape for showcasing interesting Halloween fabrics. And so this Pumpkin Patch Snack Mat pattern was born.


Pumpkin Patch Snack Mat


This piece is 10" x 10" – that's plenty big enough for a hot cider and pumpkin muffin, or you can place a small pumpkin on it and use it as side-table decor.

It's also a very easy project, with simple quilting and (if I do say so mydangself) a pretty smart, foolproof backing method. If you've only done EPP with hexies, you'll love working with octagons. And if you start this now, I know you can finish well before Halloween.


Pumpkin Patch Snack Mat


The pumpkin faces are my favorite detail. The nice people at Tsukineko/Imagine Crafts sent me some samples of their Memento Luxe stamp pads to play with, and I carved some dead-simple stamps from a dollar-store eraser I had on hand. The ink gave excellent coverage on the fabric, and with a little heat-set from my iron, is now nice and permanent.

(The pattern, incidentally, gives you full instructions on stamp-cutting, and has eight face templates you can follow if you like. Or, make up your own!)


Pumpkin Patch Snack MatThe pattern is available as a PDF in my shop, and it's replete with photos and videos to make the whole process of piecing and assembly crystal clear.

So, Happy Halloween Snacking!







  








Skull1


Today we have a guest project and a really cool new magazine from Rebel Craft Media. I'll let Shannon take over and share the works…

Hello! My name is Shannon Miller and I’m a co-founder at Rebel Craft Media. We are a brand new small crafts publisher, and are thrilled to have launched our online store and premiered our new digital craft magazine, The WhipperCrafter, just last week.


Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 7.14.42 AM


The WhipperCrafter is a bimonthly, web-based “mini magazine” that will contain about 10 projects per issue. Our first edition is themed “Toil & Trouble” for Halloween, and inside you’ll find a little something for just about every kind of crafter – from a Poisoned Apple mini quilt and a simple skull bracelet to a paper witch hat fascinator and even seasonal party ideas (including cocktail recipes).

One of my favorite projects is the ultra-creepy Haunted Portrait collection – with glowsticks taped behind their cutout eyes, they would make anybody jump. I also may or may not have consumed about 15 of the delicious Broomsticks with Poison Apple Butter at our photoshoot (and the instructions are so easy, I think even my kitchen-challenged self could make them).


Skull2


In celebration of The WhipperCrafter – and all things Halloween – I’m so excited that Diane has invited us to share this exclusive mini sugar skull embroidery design just for the CraftyPod crowd. Here are some simple instructions, though many of you will just need the printable design, which you can download here. Enjoy!


What you need:

  • • Mini Sugar Skull embroidery template
  • • Background fabric, at least 5" square
  • • White embroidery floss
  • • Basic embroidery supplies (transfer pen, needle and scissors)
  • • Mini embroidery hoop
  • • Craft glue



How to make it:

1. Press the fabric. Use your preferred method to transfer the embroidery design onto the center of the fabric. (Diane's note: Wendi has a useful video on transfer techniques.)

2. Hoop the fabric and embroider the design as desired. I used 3 strands of white floss to backstitch over the lines, lazy daisy stitch over the petals and made French knots over the dots.

3. Remove the transfer pen markings if needed. Press the fabric and frame your finished design in a mini embroidery hoop. Trim away the excess fabric from the back of the frame and glue down any remaining fabric.


WC-OctCover

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 7.15.54 AM


This fun, simple sugar skull project is a small sampling of the type of projects you’ll find inside this and future issues of the magazine.

If you enjoyed it, we hope you’ll head over to the Rebel Craft shop and check out The WhipperCrafter “Toil & Trouble” issue; and stay tuned for more sewing pattern releases coming in October, including a geometric baby quilt and a duffel-style travel bag. We’ve got lots of exciting things up our sleeve, and we’d love to have you along for the ride!

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