100 Days of Hexagons: Blocks 1-10 and Fabric Choices

Every year in early April many people in the creative community launch a 100 day project simultaneously.  Prior to this year, I had never participated in the event because it typically overlaps before my personal 100 day project ends.  This year that overlap was only two days, and with current social distancing efforts, I thought that it may be helpful to me to have a project that rewards continuity.  It is also fun to be working on a project that has the same timeline as other peoples projects.

Awhile back, a friend mentioned that one of the “quilting rules” she had once heard was to only use yellow fabric sparingly. I’m not one to believe in these mythical rules, so of course I got it into my head that I needed to make a yellow quilt. I initially thought that I would do an improv project, but I wanted to give it a bit more structure than my 100 Day Improv Log Cabin Quilt.  I contemplated a lot of different shapes, and as soon as I considered the hexagon, I knew it was perfect- A yellow honeycomb! There is still a lot of improv within each 4″ hexagon, but I always know the size and shape that I am going for.

My stash is reasonably well balanced among all colors (except brown- I rarely use brown!), but yellow is a smaller stack than the rest.  There tend to be fewer yellow prints that I like, so I actively seek out fun yellows at every quilt show I attend. To start this project, I went through my yellow fabrics and cut a strip approximately 3″ wide to use for hexagon production. I also picked out the yellows from charm packs and mini charm packs to add more interest to the quilt.  One of the best parts about using charm packs is the fact that they contain prints that I wouldn’t necessarily choose to buy yardage of, but have more personality than my go-to tone on tone prints.  They really help to break things up and keep your eye moving around the design.

I hope you’ll follow along with me as I construct these 100 blocks in 100 days! Here’s some of what’s coming up:

If you would like to see the block I make each day, check out my Instagram at cassandra.beaver

To see more 100 day projects from a variety of artists and makers, take a look at #the100dayproject

Favorite Color Palette

Today the prompt for the 31 Day Blogging Challenge was our favorite color, and it will come as no surprise to most of you that my go-to color is pink. The exact tone of pink that is my favorite varies over time, but it is always pink!  This year Pantone agreed with my aesthetic and made Living Coral the 2019 color of the year.

Pink appears frequently as a key color in my quilts, and I thought it would be fun to see how I’ve used it in the past year.  I used the Pantone Living Coral color in a dominant manor in two quilts, The Value of Coral and Forward and Back.

 

Hot pink is another favorite hue, and I used it in the Row by Row design I did this year.

It also appeared in the wall quilt version of the block, Ice Cream on the Beach.

I even managed to make a couple animals in my Zoo Family Portrait quilt bright pink!

Pink plays a dominant role in one of my matchstick quilting panels as well.

And pink in a huge range of specific hues played a role in creating my Stripe Club quilt.

Did you have a color that dominated your personal palette this year?

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Most Used Quilting Tools of 2019

Tools are the topic of the day!  Fabric (deservedly!) gets most of the attention, but good quality tools can help make it even more fun to sew! Here, in no particular order, are some of the go-to tools that help my quilts come together.

  1. Straight Stitcher longarm quilting ruler:  The groove down the center of the ruler gives you even more control while stitching, but my favorite part of this ruler is having measurements on both sides of the machine foot as you stitch.
  2. 50wt Aurifil: My go-to thread for the majority of my quilting and piecing!
  3. 12wt Aurifil: Great for hand stitching and machine quilting that you really want to pop!
  4. Spiral Eye Needle:  These are the best needles I have found for quickly burying thread tails
  5. Duo marking pens: The marking pen gives an easy to see brown line, and the eraser pen takes out the mark easily and instantly.
  6. Wool pressing bar: This is fabulous when you want to press a seam open or if you would like you seam lifted off the main pressing surface a bit.  Its a great companion to a wool pressing mat which is another favorite of mine!
  7. Clover Clips:  I love these for binding and bag making!
  8. Stiletto:  The perfect tool to guide fussy piecing or thick layers found in bag making
  9. Scissors: Spring loaded Gingher Shears are great to reduce hand fatigue when you are cutting a lot of fabric.  These small snips are very inexpensive (about $3), sharp, and lightweight.  I keep a pair with every machine and one in my purse.
  10. Rotary cutters: A Gingher rotary cutter and an Olfa
  11. Seam ripper: This one is sharp and has a fine blade.  I try to replace my seam ripper every year.
  12. Add a Quarter Plus and Add an Eighth Plus rulers: These are amazing for foundation paper piecing.  I used to do without, but now I consider them must-haves!
  13. Quilter’s Select ruler:  This brand of ruler has thin black lines that are easy to see and a coating on the back that makes them non-slip.  My cutting, which was always pretty accurate, became much more accurate when I switched to this type of ruler.  I have been gradually replacing my old rulers with these, and I currently have the 6″x24″, 3″x12″, 8.5″x8.5″, and 12.5″x12.5″.

What are your favorite tools?  Did you discover any new notions this year that you wouldn’t want to be without?

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Sewing Space Tour

This month I am participating in the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and each day has a prompt to get us started.  Some days, like today, I will use the prompts, and other days I will be using other topics.  Today’s theme is our sewing space, so I thought I would give you a quick tour.

This is my main sewing area where I use my domestic machine.  I sit facing the center of the room with my design wall behind me.  (The photo above is from a few months ago, so the projects on the wall are further along now!)

My main sewing space is a large IKEA table with a set of drawers on either end.  One set faces the side I sit to sew. The other faces the center of the room and holds all of my 50wt Aurifil and longarm supplies.

Most of my go-to sewing supplies are in the top two drawers of the first drawer unit.  The top drawer has sewing machine feet, some bobbins, machine tools, marking tools, etc.

The second drawer has mostly 12wt, 28wt, and 40wt Aurifil and the coordinating bobbins.  It also has some specialty threads that I use on rare occasions.

My sewing machine is a Bernina 1008.  I bought it about six years ago, and it is an absolute workhorse.  It does everything I ask it to do.  I love a mechanical machine!

The longarm in the center of the room is an A1.  We upgraded the computer system a couple years ago so now it has an android tablet screen, and DIGITAL channel locks.  This is seriously the best feature! We can lock in any angle!

My fabric stash is right next to my sewing machine and design wall. Unless I am working on a pattern I am designing, I tend to pull fabric for a project as I go along, so easy access is a must.

The ironing and cutting tables are old library tables, and I have an industrial gravity fed iron.  If you have a place to permanently set up your iron, I can’t recommend an industrial iron highly enough.

Thank you so much for taking a brief studio tour with me today!

Polar Bear Block Pattern

In last year’s block of the month quilt I designed for Dabble and Stitch, I created a foundation paper pieced polar bear block to represent the Columbus Zoo.  I liked the block so much that I made a cushion with it, and many people who came into the shop loved the design.  This design is now available as a stand alone block pattern!

Polar Bear Block

I made a few adjustments to change the block from a rectangle to an 18″ square block, and I made it up in a new color way that is available as a kit with Painters Palette Solids by Paintbrush Studios. (shown above) For this version I used Aurifil Monofilament so the thread would blend with the fabric color.  The straight line quilting was done with a walking foot on my domestic machine.

First version of the polar bear pillow

It was good timing to release this pattern last month, because the Columbus Zoo welcomed a new polar bear cub on Thanksgiving, and this design was based on a photo I took of another cub at the zoo.  You can read more about the development of the original block in the original post.

Original Block of the Month Polar Bear Block

The pattern is available online or in store at Dabble and Stitch in Columbus, Ohio.  You can choose between the print pattern, a PDF, and a kit with a print pattern included.

Print Polar Bear Pattern

Print Polar Bear Pattern with kit

PDF Polar Bear

Polar Bear Block made into a pillow

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, so I will be blogging a lot more this month!