Category Archives: Orange

Five Flowers for Eleni

Flowers for Eleni HPI decided to also do yellow and white flowers.  They’re wrinkly because the papers are still in.

Flowers for Eleni Back HP

I’m really happy with how they came out (I think I did a pretty good job of choosing hues in each color that worked well with one another), and I hope they fit well into the quilt(s) that Jodi from Tales of Cloth and her helpers make for Rachel and her family.  Here’s the latest from Rachel.  I wish the auction hadn’t been Instagram-only.

Even though I’ve been doing EPP for months now, this is the first project where I actually removed the basting and papers.

Flowers for Eleni Removing Papers HPIt was a little scary at first, and I didn’t realize just how much thread went into the basting stitches until I was cutting them at every corner, but just feeling the fabric drape like fabric again was wonderful.

Flower for Eleni Papers Out HPYou can see that I used a thin light grey thread on the colored parts (Aurifil 50 wt, which I am in LOVE with), and a thicker dark grey thread on the parts connecting with the black.  You can see both sets of stitches a little on the front, but it’s HANDwork, so I like to see it.

I was worried that the seam allowances weren’t behaving, but I put all five flat into a padded mailer, smooshed between pieces of paper, and I think they’ll get to Jodi in Australia better than they left here.

Some people were appliqueing their flowers onto background fabric, per Jodi’s assembly plan, but I just don’t have a deep enough stash to have made that viable.  Also, since I had two light flowers, I wanted her to have some leeway on how she backed them (inverse for those?  Light flowers and dark background?  Or not).

I also didn’t trust myself to do the machine applique and I had no time at all for hand applique.  I hope she can use them and that they play well with other people’s flowers.  This was my first attempt at contributing blocks to a quilt.

I can’t wait to see what she and her helpers do with them and I hope that Rachel’s family can take comfort from them.

Flowers for Eleni

Rachel from Stitched in Color, who teaches the Handstitched class that I’m taking, delivered her baby over the weekend.  Things did not go as expected.  I wanted to offer my support, but I couldn’t comment on her blog post with just my name and I didn’t want to email her my sympathies.

A classmate let us know about Jodi from Tales of Cloth’s Flowers for Eleni 1″ hexagon flowers project.  It’s a very small way that I can come together with our community and let her know that she and her daughter and husband and other children are in our thoughts.

Flowers for Eleni 1 HPI dropped what was on my hand-sewing agenda (aka Midnight Garden) and basted up some 1″ hexagons.  (I made that sound easy, but I agonized, as usual, over the fabrics in each bunch–do they go together, are they balanced, etc.  I want to send her my best and not mess up what everyone else is doing.  I checked the Instagram hashtag and I think what I’m doing will fit in.)

Depending on how fast I can sew these together, I’ll get them mailed on Saturday to Australia(!).  If not, I’ll make a couple more and mail them next weekend.  A yellow would be nice.  Maybe a white-on-white.  For the centers, I used my silver-speckled black fabric, which I love and which I think makes very nice flower centers.

I hope doctors can soon find a diagnosis for Eleni, and I hope it’s one with a good prognosis.

First Orange EPP Hexagon Diamond

I’ve been playing around with 1/2″ hexagons and I made this:

Orange Hexagon Diamond Front

I used tiny (no bigger than 1.5″ square and many smaller) offcuts of the oranges I’d amassed for Sec’s pumpkin quilt and my planned ongoing scrap quilt projects.  It’s curvy in the picture because it needs ironing.

Let me flesh out the background that led to this little orange hexagon diamond, since I’m pretty sure now that I’m serious about EPP:

I’ve been attending a scrap quilting class for the last few months at my local fabric store.  Each class has two projects.  The first class’s second project was English paper piecing (EPP) over two large (3″ on a side) hexagons to make whatever.  The instructor just wanted to introduce us to the technique as it’s a great use for scraps.  (I learned later that she’s totally into EPP, so there’s your “why”.)

I thought that it was a terrible idea.  Who has time to hand sew anything?  I was there for machine piecing!  And hexagons make the Grandmother’s Flower Garden and I hate that pattern and have no interest in doing one.  But I saw a tutorial for this pillow and, though I’d never make that particular pillow, I did admire how it went together.

I sat with the idea and it grew on me.  Part of my problem with it was that those hexagons, both in the class and in the pillow, were just too big.  Three inches on a side and six inches across for the class hexagon–why, I could machine piece those, if I had any interest in doing so.

I bought some 1″ hexagons but they were also way too big.  It would have taken too many stitches to join those together, though that size is definitely too small for machine piecing with my meager skills.  I settled on the 1/2″, mostly because that’s the next-smaller size that the store carried.

After working with them for a while, I think they’re perfect.  They baste quickly, they’re super-portable, and the 1/2″ sides go together without too many whip stitches.  They’re small enough so I can have a very scrappy effect, but not so small that a 1/4″ or 3/8″ seam allowance (I don’t know which I prefer yet) overlaps on the back and gets messy.

Speaking of the back:

Orange Hexagon Diamond Back

Keep in mind that these are my VERY FIRST hexagons.  They’re not neat at all.  I cut the fabric with scissors (gasp!) and no template.  I’m considering a template, especially if I’m going to fussy-cut a lot of them.  I showed the diamond to Prim (my oldest son) and he said, “I like the tree,” so I think there’s a lot of fussy-cutting in my future.

What am I going to make with these diamonds, which I envision doing in various colors?  No idea.  But it’ll take me a while to make a bunch of them, so I don’t have to decide yet.  I do think I’m going to do a minimum of six in each color, probably not all at once, so I can get different fabrics mixed in, so I have plenty of time to decide what it’s going to be.

Wall hanging?  Pillow?  Quilt?  All maybes at this point.  Part of what will guide my decision is how much I like cutting, basting, and sewing the hexagons.  We’ll see, but I did order the big package of 1/2″ hexagons from Paper Pieces (I like supporting my local fabric store, but the markup on the small package of pieces was unreal), so it’s a good bet that I’ll end up at least at wall-hanging size.

Orange Hexagon Diamond Front with Spares

See that cat fabric in the upper right-hand corner?  It was a scrap gift from my only sewing relative.  I don’t love it in bigger cuts, but just one cat face is cute.  I don’t know if it’ll work for this diamond project, since it’s so stark, but I’m debating having a second, very scrappy, 1/2″ hexagon project going at the same time.  I’ll probably just baste those hexes and throw them into a box and think about them later.

Future me, they’re your problem!

Orange Hexagon Diamond Progress

Orange Hex Diamond Progress

I decided on a layout for the (first) orange hexagon diamond and was able to work on joining the hexagons together.  I say “first” because I think I’ll need at least six of each color for whatever this ends up being.  Maybe a quilt?  Maybe a wall-hanging?  Maybe a wall-hanging that’s a quilt?  Dunno.

I also learned not to use the flash to take photos like this.

Anyhow, the whip-stitching is going far better than I thought, though I think I need a smaller needle.  The papers fold easily and I must have basted right, since the edges and corners are lining up.

More when it’s done!

English Paper Piecing

Well, now I feel a little silly.

Remember when I was talking about how no one has time for hand sewing and blah blah and why was it covered in the scrap class?

I guess the reason was to plant a seed, because I came across this pillow tutorial at Sew Mama Sew and I realized that I didn’t like the hexagons from the class because they were too big.  If I’m working with hexagons three inches on a side, I might as well machine sew them.  It would involve Y seams (which I’m not interested in trying yet), but those pieces of fabric are being enough not to get chewed up by the machine (even mine).

That, and I didn’t like the idea of basting through the paper.  It seemed somehow inelegant to me.

The pillow also showed me that hexagons aren’t all about Grandmother’s Flower Gardens, which is a pattern I’m aware of and don’t love.  You can do diamonds!  And other things!  Plus, that pillow got me thinking about a Settlers of Catan pillow, since the game tiles are hexagons and that would look awesome.  We have the game somewhere in the basement and I could either print the fabric at home or use Spoonflower–I’ve been wanting to try them but haven’t had a good excuse.

In short, I think I’ve been bitten by the EPP bug.  I went by the local fabric store and got some 1″ hexagons, but when I got them home, they seemed too big.  I went back and got some 1/2″ hexagons, which seem perfect.

Hexagon Sizes HP

I’m not sure what I’m going to use them for yet, but I’ve started playing around with the orange fabrics I got for Sec’s pumpkin quilt, and the few orange scraps from the eBay scrap boxes, just basting them around the 1/2″ papers and seeing how I like it.

Orange Hexagons HP

This looks like a possible layout, but I’m not sure yet.  Prim walked by and said that his favorite part was the tree (on the lower right), so I may do more fussy-cutting, though the orange fabrics I have don’t feature much in the way of tiny motifs, besides what you see here.

I do think I like the idea of being comfortable not knowing what I’m going to make (besides single-color diamonds in this size)–and knowing that the making will take a long time.  I’m excited about the project, but also relaxed about it so I can enjoy seeing how it turns out.

Orange Fabrics

Seeing a distinct lack of orange in the scraps that I bought from eBay, I decided to buy some.

Orange Fabric Goodness WM

Pretty, right?  I needed way more oranges for Sec’s pumpkin quilt, and now I have them.  Most of them are half-yard cuts, except when I got the bolt end.  But buying these (and the rest from that order, which is not pictured as it’s not orange) was tedious, time-consuming, and frustrating.


I’d ordered some fabric once before from (they don’t get a link because of my awful experience with them–keep reading), so I went with them again since I already had an account.  I spent a good amount of time putting fabric into my cart, but I wasn’t able to checkout.  When I hit the “checkout” button, the cart jut reloaded.  I restarted my browser. No dice.  I tried a different browser.  Nope.  I even restarted my computer, even though the problem clearly wasn’t on my end.  Of course that didn’t fix it.

So I contacted their customer support, spent a lot of time on hold, then explained the problem and said what I’d done to fix it.  She couldn’t deviate from her script, which was frustrating, since it meant she couldn’t discuss the problem with me.  She asked me to take a screenshot, even though I told her that it would just show the cart looking like the cart, but she insisted.  So I took a screenshot of the cart and emailed it to her.

A day later, after clicking on that stupid “checkout’ button a lot more and getting progressively angrier, I got a canned “we’re kicking it up to our engineers” email, but I knew it would go nowhere.  I would have abandoned the whole thing, but I’d spent a lot of time picking those fabrics, most of which were on sale.  Other online retailers had some of the prints, but not all, and I just wasn’t interested in looking through my lengthy cart and finding all of the fabrics somewhere else.

I was ready to write the whole thing off, but I tried one last time and the transaction went through.  I saw what the problem had been right away.  Whatever module or system or service they use to calculate sales tax had broken, which made the whole transaction fail.  This is ridiculous, since the sales tax was eighty cents or so on a very large order (which almost didn’t get placed).

Any real ecommerce company would have let the transaction complete and eaten the sales tax.  I did let them know that I was able to complete my purchase, but I never heard back from them.  Once I contacted them about it, a good company would have apologized and given me a discount or a coupon or something, anything to make me less angry at them for wasting my time over their problem.

I’m used to fantastic customer service because I buy almost exclusively from Amazon online.  I wish Amazon sold fabric by the yard.  Or precuts.  Amazon needs to buy, like it did with could use Amazon’s cart technology as well as its “You bought this on <some date>.” technology.

Anyhow, that’s the tale of why I don’t like shopping with  Storytime’s over.

UPDATE (19 Nov 2014):  I’ve been getting’s “deal” emails for a while now (because even though I said I’d never use them again, I have an account there already and inertia is a powerful force) and they very seldom have sales for more than 15% off, but they almost always have a 15% off sale going on, which in my eyes is like the electronics store perpetual going out of business sale.  (Which is illegal.)  Bottom line, avoid  There are better online fabric stores (like Fat Quarter Shop and Connecting Threads), especially for quilting cotton.