Category Archives: hexagons

Pine Needle Retreat 2016

Talk about a room with a view!

Hood Canal

This photo of Hood Canal in Washington State — those are the Olympic Mountains in the background — was taken from the deck of the house I stayed in last week. I was in Union, Washington to teach at a four-day quilt retreat organized by the Pine Needle. The deck of the house I shared with Geri, the owner of the Pine Needle, was built right over the water. I fell asleep to and woke to the sound of water gently lapping at the rocks on the shore.

The retreat itself was held at St Andrews House, a retreat and conference center run by the Episcopal Church of Western Washington:

St Andrews House, Hood Canal
Isn’t that a serene setting for a retreat? Here are a couple of closer views of the building:

St Andrews House Hood Canal 1

St Andrews House Hood Canal 2

A covered deck runs the entire length of the house on the water side, affording spectacular views of Hood Canal (technically a glacial fjord) and the Olympics.

The pattern I selected for the retreat was Spinners, from the book On the Run Again by Heather Mulder Peterson (Anka’s Treasures, 2014). Spinners is one of 11 designs in the book, so participants got a bonanza of designs when they signed up.

One of the things I love about teaching is seeing what fabric combinations students bring to the sewing table. Here are the first few blocks:

Spinners first blocks
On our last morning, we had an impromptu show and tell of our projects. Unfortunately, our California girls (Candyce, Jan, and Janice) had to leave very early to catch a flight home, and a couple of other participants had already packed their projects away, so I don’t have photos of those. Still, we have plenty of examples to show you.

Diana came to the retreat planning to make one test block. She liked her first block so well she decided to make an entire quilt! Here are her first six blocks:

Spinners Diana

Linda completed her quilt top! She fussy cut the center hexagons. The narrow containment border and wider floral border set off her blocks beautifully:

Spinners Linda Lake

Sophia was very productive! Not only did she complete a Spinners top . . .

Spinners Sofia
. . . she also made another block from Heather’s book, the block called Happy Dance . . .

Sofia with Happy Dance . . . and this one called Chatter Box:

Sofia with block
Donna made a set of placemats using the table topper design from the book — and had enough fabric leftover to make a table runner:

Spinners Donna

Those placemats will add a lively jolt of color to Donna’s table.

Carol S. also chose the table topper design, using a delightful holiday fabric featuring poinsettias and holly:

Spinners Carol Stark
She made several, to be given as gifts. Lucky recipients!

Carol D. made kaleido-spinner blocks (my name for the Spinners block made with identically-cut triangles that surround the center hexagon) using a lovely stylized floral fabric:

Spinners Carol Dyer
Did you notice Carol’s Spinners blocks are on point? She is making a runner for a narrow table; her runner will be 13½” wide. If she had turned her blocks horizontally, the runner would measure 15½” wide.

Pam S.’s runner features playful prints spinning around solid gold:

Spinners Pam Snyder

I can’t help it; those fabrics make me smile.

Evelyn also made kaleido-spinner blocks. She’s making a quilt and is showing us the fabric she chose for the border. It’s going to look terrific next to the subtly textured aqua batik that surrounds the spinning triangles:

Spinners Evelyn Bonney
I can think of only one word to describe Tamara’s Spinners runner: elegant. Take a look:

Spinners Tamara Brockett
The touches of metallic in the triangles and light background fabric, contrasting with that rich burgundy, contribute to the rich effect. Tamara fussy cut her triangles from a fabric I wouldn’t have thought of for a kaleido-spinner quilt:

Spinners Tamara Brockett with focus fabric

Tamara will incorporate that fabric on the back of her runner.

Sharon fussy cut flowers for the center of her blocks from a beautiful fabric that looks like a watercolor painting. Here’s one of those blocks . . .

Spinners Sharon Justus
. . . and another:

Spinners Sharon Justus block 2
She’s using a different colored batik in each of the triangles.

Debbie H. chose fabrics for her runner that match the décor of her dining room:

Spinners Debbie

That creamy jacquard background fabric sets off her Spinners blocks so well. And her Y-seams are perfect!

Debbie S. pieced a king-size bed runner using lively tropical fabrics. She also made kaleido-spinner blocks:

Spinners Debbie ScroggyDebbie put her own spin on the design by incorporating two fabrics in the top and bottom blocks (that stripe!), omitting the sashing strips, and adding an accent strip around the blocks. Debbie is a professional longarm quilter (AllQuilted LLC). I will be very interested to see how she quilts this vibrant runner.

While the retreat featured the Spinners pattern, the participants were free to work on whatever they wanted.  Helen was finishing the binding on two spectacular small projects . . .

Helen with Convergence

Helen's project
. . . and she was also working on her version of Shadowbox (pattern by Mountainpeek Creations):

Helen's quilt

Colleen worked on her 6″ Farm Girl Vintage blocks, designed by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet:

Colleen with Farmgirl Vintage
That block on the far right has over 50 pieces in it. I can only imagine how many pieces the finished quilt will contain.

Thank you, Geri, for organizing a fabulous retreat filled with laughter, games, good food, and some very productive and creative sewing. Thank you, participants; you made teaching a pleasure. I hope to see you all again when we convene at the Pine Needle in October to show off our finished creations.

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, hexagons, kaleido-spinner, table topper, update, wall hanging | 13 Comments

WanderLust, Quilted

Yesterday morning when I looked at my Instagram feed, I saw something familiar, a photo on Coleen Barnhardt’s Instagram page very similar to this one:

WanderLust, quilting detail 1

Oh, joy! It meant Coleen, an award-winning longarm quilter (the Quilted Thistle), was working on my quilt WanderLust, made from Heather Peterson’s Spinners pattern (from the book On the Run Again).

Later in the day Coleen let me know she was finished, and off I rushed to claim the quilt. It’s actually a king-size bed runner (measuring 20″ x 88″ after quilting) so it was a bit difficult to photograph. Here are a few shots taken on my back lawn yesterday afternoon:

WanderLust

WanderLust front and back-001

I liked the floral fabric so much (it’s from Joel Dewberry’s Wander line, which is how this quilt got its name) that I made the bed runner reversible. Because of that I won’t put a label on it — but I may write some information on the back in very tiny letters.

Coleen’s free motion quilting is spectacular! Here are a few closeups:

Wanderlust quilting detail

WanderLust quilting detail 4

WanderLust, quilting detail 3

WanderLust, quilting detail 2
Coleen and I chose a pale khaki thread with sheen. Because the quilt is reversible, I asked her to use the same thread on the back:

WanderLust, quilting detail, back
The fern-y batik I used on the front of the quilt is all but gone from my stash. Fortunately, I have enough of the dotted batik from the back to use for the binding:

Wanderlust, binding fabric

Getting this bed runner bound is top priority, as I am teaching the Spinners pattern at the Pine Needle retreat this weekend, and I want to show a finished quilt. After that, I am sending WanderLust off to my sister Reigh, as it will look perfect at the foot of her king-size bed.

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, family, hexagons, update | 10 Comments

A Different Spin

wander horizontal
Moon Garden in the Midnight Palette

Recognize this fabric? It’s called Moon Garden, from Joel Dewberry’s line Wander. I’ve used it in small amounts in the bed runner I showed you yesterday, the one I made using the pattern Spinners by Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures:

spinners bed runner 20.5 x 90
Bed Runner Measures 20″ x 90″

“Ho hum,” you must be thinking. “That’s old news.” Yes indeed, but since bringing that beautiful floral fabric home earlier this month I have been fixated on using it in Heather’s pattern in a different way. I hinted as much in an earlier post about this fabric.

You already know that I am, to put it mildly, fond of kaleidoscope quilts. I’ve finished at least 10 quilts containing kaleidoscope blocks. All of them were made of eight 45° triangles forming an octagon. Until today I had never made a kaleidoscope block composed of six 60° triangles forming a hexagon.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Spinners block contains six 60° triangles. Instead of meeting in the middle to form a kaleidoscopic image, however, the triangles “spin” around a center hexagon. That didn’t stop me from testing my idea that six identical triangles placed in a Spinners block would produce an interesting effect.

Before I show you my Spinners block, take a look at the kaleidoscope blocks I could have made. Because the triangles are equilateral, any of the three points can go in the center, providing three different outcomes.

Here’s the first one:

Kaleido Spinner block a

The second one:

Kaleido Spinner block b

And the third one:

Kaleido Spinner block c

I like them all but am partial to the first one. A quilt made of these blocks and more would be very striking, to be sure. The floral print lends itself beautifully to kaleidoscope blocks. But we’re headed in a different direction this time. Take a look:

Kaleido Spinner block
Block Measures 15½” x 13½” Unfinished

A new spin, both literally and figuratively. I’m calling it a “kaleido-spinner” block.

I placed the block on a piece of dark blue fabric so the block would stand out and I like the effect so well I’m going to use that fabric. I’ll make a couple more blocks before deciding whether to make a wall hanging or keep going to make a quilt.

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about it!

 

 

 

Posted in faux-kaleido quilts, hexagons, kaleidoscope quilts, table topper, update, wall hanging | 6 Comments

Cutting it Close

The three-block table runner I made several days ago (and wrote about here) has expanded to a five-block bed runner:

spinners bed runner 20.5 x 90It now measures 20″ x 90″ — long enough for a king size bed. I was going to size it for a queen bed but I had just enough of the batik background fabric to make it longer. Someone very dear to me loves this color combo, and I have a feeling this bed runner will look wonderful on her king size bed.

When I say I had “just enough” fabric, I wasn’t kidding. This is what was left over:

spinners background fabric

I would have liked to bind the bed runner in the same batik fabric. It’s been in my stash for a while so I doubt I could find more of it now. Oh well. I’m just glad I had enough to complete the top.

Next up: I need to make a backing and get the bed runner quilted. Before it is sent to its new home, it will be used as a class sample for a retreat I’m teaching at in June.

The hexagonal block in this bed runner is called Spinners. Designed by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka’s Treasures, it appears in her book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014). Heather shows Spinners as a one-block table topper and a three-block table runner or wall hanging. I converted it to a bed runner and have been also playing around with some settings for quilts.

Measuring 15½” x 13½”, the Spinners block is the perfect size for a placemat. Another idea for my retreat students to consider. Or me!

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, hexagons, table topper, update | 3 Comments

WanderLust

In my last post I showed you a floral from Joel Dewberry’s Wander line for Free Spirit Fabrics and mentioned I would be using it in a new project. Here is the first block from that project:

Spinners block
Isn’t that pretty? The pattern, called Spinners, is from Heather Mulder Peterson’s book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014), a collection of 15 runners and table toppers. (I made a table topper from this design back in June 2014 and wrote about it here.)

You may be wondering why I have embarked on a new project. After all, my list of WIPs and UFOs is long enough without adding another to the mix. I actually have a very good reason, and I’m excited about it: In June I am going to teach at a retreat for the Pine Needle Quilt Shop.

Spinners is the pattern I have chosen for the 24 students coming along with me. They signed up for the retreat before they knew what the pattern would be! The “big reveal” was held last night at a special meeting for the retreat participants, which is why I had to wait till today to share these photos.

Here is the runner I made using three blocks:

Spinners runner horizontal

The spinning hexagons include two other fabrics from the Wander line along with fabrics from other lines that work well with the floral. The batik for the sashing and setting triangles came from my stash. I extended the setting triangles so the blocks would float.

Right now the runner measures 20½” x 49½” — but I’m not done yet. I’m going to add two more blocks to make it a bed runner. It will be about 81″ or so in length, the perfect length for a queen size bed. With wider strips at the ends, it could be sized for a king size bed.

Look again at the photo above. Don’t those hexagon blocks look great on point? They would be beautiful arranged this way in a quilt, an option I have presented to my students. They can choose to make a table topper from a single block, a table runner or wall hanging from three blocks, a bed runner from five blocks, or a quilt with 12 blocks.

I have one more idea to bring to the table. (My students got a preview last night.) I will let you know very soon what that idea is. Here’s a hint: it involves using that fabulous floral print in the Spinners block in a much more prominent way.

wander horizontal
I’ll post a picture as soon as I carve out some time to make another block.

Linking up with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation on Needle and Thread Thursday (NTT).

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, hexagons, table topper, update | 8 Comments

Spinning Away

My little Spinners table topper (from Heather Mulder Peterson’s new book On the Run Again) was a breeze to make. What took me a while was cutting out the pieces. The pattern calls for a 60° triangle ruler, which I don’t have (note to self: buy one!), so I cut out each triangle separately using the 60º marking on my favorite 4″ x 14″ acrylic ruler and the lines on my cutting mat.

Here is my top with the six triangles sewn to the hexagon in the middle:

Spinners topper in progress

So far so good! Here it is with the outer border:


Spinners top

The more I work with these Kate Spain fabrics (from her Sunnyside line for Moda Fabrics), the more I like them. Happily, I have quite a bit left of the fat quarter packet I started out with, so I may use the fabrics for another project in Heather’s book. I’m not sure what company makes the aqua solid, since the fat quarter didn’t have any selvage information, but I have enough of it to bind the topper.

Now comes the hard part: how to quilt it?

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, table topper, update | 4 Comments

Topping it Off

I know I shouldn’t start something new but — I just can’t help myself! Heather Mulder Peterson’s newest book, On the Run Again, arrived in my mailbox a few days ago, and ever since then I’ve been oohing and aahing over the table runners and toppers pictured inside. Take a look at Granny Square Stars, the runner on the cover of the book:

On the Run Again book cover
Featured runner: Granny Square Stars, 18″ x 56″

Copyright Heather Mulder Peterson. Used with permission.

Wouldn’t that be fun to make? What a great way to use up scraps! I see it with dark stars in the centers. Granny Square Stars is definitely on my list but the one I am going to make first is a little table topper called Spinners:

Heather's Spinners Topper
Spinners, 18 1/2″ x 20 1/2″

Copyright Heather Mulder Peterson. Used with permission.

Anyone who loves hexagons as much as I do needs to make this design! As soon as I saw it, I knew what fabrics I would use. A few months ago I bought this combo of prints in the Sunnyside line by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics:

2014-06-04 11.13.08

The way the fabrics were cleverly packaged by the shop, Pioneer Quilts, was a selling point. You can see why I can’t wait to get started!

If you’d like to see more of the charming toppers and runners featured in Heather’s new book, check out her blog, Trends and Traditions, which happens to be one of my very favorites.

I hope you’ll check back soon right here at First Light Designs to see the progress on my version of Spinners. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, table topper, update | 2 Comments

“The Biggest Outdoor Quilt Show in the World”

Saturday, July 13. A perfect summer day in Central Oregon: temperatures in the low 80s with a light breeze. Thirteen hundred quilts hung just for the day on the fronts, backs and sides of buildings in the tiny town of Sisters. Dozens of other quilts hung inside businesses all over town. Thousands of quilt lovers and other spectators strolling the streets taking in the sights and sounds of the 38th Annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS).

I was lucky enough to be there for the show and the week leading up to it. For the last seven or eight years (we’ve lost count), my quilt group, the Quisters, has rented a house for the week leading up to the quilt show in order to participate in Quilter’s Affair, a week of classes organized by the Stitchin’ Post Quilt Shop in Sisters. In addition to the talented teachers living in Central Oregon, instructors come from across the country and overseas to share their expertise.

This year I opted not to take any classes so I could continue to work on my ever-growing stack of Works-in-Progress. I was sorry not to have taken at least one class, especially after seeing how excited my fellow Quisters were about the ones they were taking, but I did come home with three completed projects — WIPs no longer! — and the show itself provided a plethora of ideas for new ones.

There was something for everyone at this year’s show: beautiful traditional quilts, edgy modern quilts, and everything in between. Below, in no particular order, are a few of the quilts that caught my eye:

Mid Century Modern by Brita Kimmerly of Seattle WA, 52 x 60
Mid Century Modern, 52 x 60, by Brita Kimmerly of Seattle WA

 

Glacier Star by Pam Nichols of Powell Butte OR, 98 x 98
Glacier Star, 98 x 98, by Pam Nichols of Powell Butte OR

 

In a Spin by Gill Miller of Cambridge UK, 30 x 30
In a Spin, 30 x 30, by Gill Miller of Cambridge UK

 

He Watches by Janie Adams of Bend OR, 56 x 62
He Watches, 56 x 62, by Janie Adams of Bend OR

 

Spring Surprise, 41 x 57, by Beth Rietveld of Corvallis OR
Spring Surprise, 41 x 57, by Beth Rietveld of Corvallis OR

 

What You See by Kathy Doughty of Sydney NSW, 47 x 67
What You See, 47 x 67, by Kathy Doughty of Sydney, Australia

 

anns quilt
Cascade Kaleidoscope, 38 x 42, by Ann Richardson of Sisters OR

 

Two Color Mystery, 53 x 67, by Karen Shadley of Sisters OR
Two Color Mystery, 53 x 67, by Karen Shadley of Sisters OR

 

The Portland Modern Quilt Guild was represented by several beautiful quilts, including these three:

Spring String, 48 x 64, by Gail Weiss of Portland OR
Spring String, 48 x 64, by Gail Weiss of Portland OR

 

Sticks and Stones, 36 x 42, by Rachel Kerley of Hillsboro OR
Sticks and Stones, 36 x 42, by Rachel Kerley of Hillsboro OR

 

Gray Improv I by Cris Pera of Portland OR
Gray Improv I by Cris Pera of Portland OR

 

Every year the Stitchin’ Post Quilt Shop issues a challenge to its employees to make a quilt based on a theme, and all of the quilts are displayed on the side of the Stitchin’ Post building on show day. This year’s theme was “Streams of Color.” This shot captures most of the quilts:

challenge quilts made by staff of Stitchin Post
Challenge Quilts Made by Staff of the Stitchin’ Post

Two of my favorites are this one, incorporating hexagons . . .

one of the Streams of Color challenge quilts
made by Jean Wells, owner of the Stitchin’ Post and founder of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

. . . and this one featuring New York Beauty blocks:

Streams of Color challenge quilt
made by Paige Vitek, employee at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters

Continuing on with the show:

The King -- Elvis, 82 x 90, by Randall Cooper of Madera CA
The King — Elvis, 82 x 90, by Randall Cooper of Madera CA

 

J'Adore Paris!, 41 x 42, by Kristin Shields of Bend OR
J’Adore Paris!, 41 x 42, by Kristin Shields of Bend OR

 

Barbara's Baskets, 68 x 80, by Janet Storton and Barbara Fergusun
Barbara’s Baskets, 68 x 80, by Janet Storton and Barbara Fergusun of Sisters OR

 

Parallel Lives, 44 x 52, by Patty Six of Santa Barbara CA
Parallel Lives, 44 x 52, by Patty Six of Santa Barbara CA

 

Forest Path, 53 x 68, by Patty Six of Santa Barbara CA
Forest Path, 53 x 68, by Patty Six of Santa Barbara CA

 

IMG_0283
Green Orphan Blocks, 42 x 42, by Colleen Blackwood of Pendleton OR

 

Random Windows, 46 x 28, by Hilde Morin of Portland OR
Random Windows, 46 x 28, by Hilde Morin of Portland OR

 

Oh my! I just realized I’m not even halfway through my photos. I think I will end today’s post here and present another batch of quilt photos in the next day or two. I hope you will come back for more.

 

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, Portland Modern Quilt Guild, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), Sisters OR Outdoor Quilt Show, update | 11 Comments

My First Quilt Market

Today was the final day of the three-day International Quilt Market, held right here in Portland, Oregon. It was open to the trade only, and as the owner and sole proprietor of First Light Designs I qualified for entrance as a “cottage industry.” So yesterday I spent the better part of the day at the Oregon Convention Center.

As much as I enjoyed roaming the aisles, admiring quilts on display, looking at new fabric lines and publications and notions and patterns and threads and all of the other accoutrements of the quilting and crafting world, the highlight for me was meeting some of the quilt and fabric designers I admire whose blogs I have been following.

Heather Peterson of Ankas Treasures

Here I am with Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka’s Treasures. Her blog, Trends and Traditions, is one of my favorites. Heather is so talented: she sews, quilts, designs patterns, designs fabric for Henry Glass, publishes books — and she knits the most beautiful sweathers you’ve ever seen. All of the quilts you see in the background are from her latest book, Angles with Ease, and were made with her new tool, the Triangler, which makes all kinds of shapes including two of my favorites, kaleidoscopes and hexagons.

Here is Emily Herrick, showing her latest fabric collection, Technicolor, for Michael Miller Fabrics:

Emily Herrick with new quilt design

I don’t remember how I discovered her blog, Crazy Old Ladies, but it’s lively and fun, just like Emily and her quilts. I’m crazy about the quilt on the right, made from Emily’s newest pattern, Boomerang.

I was delighted to see fellow Portlander Mo Bedell, who designs fabric for Andover. One look at the fabric samples on the wall behind Mo will show you why I like her designs and fabric lines so much:

Mo Bedell

Both Emily and Mo won Best Booth awards, given for excellence in design and the over-all look of their booths. Congratulations, Emily and Mo!

Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts was kind enough to pose for a photo with me:

Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts

Joanna’s blog, Fresh Figs, is always full of gorgeous photos of quilts and other crafted items made from her patterns and her fabric lines for Moda. We had a nice conversation about the new Moda Honeycombs — packs of 6″ hexagons. On the table behind me are a few mini-purses made from her new pattern, Hexies, and a pack of Honeycombs. Yep. Those are on my list now, too.

And what a delight to meet Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs, who blogs at Bunny Tales:

Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill

Anne is well known in the industry for her quilt designs featuring appliqué, and she also designs fabric for Moda. When I introduced myself and told her that my friend Colleen and I are huge fans, she gave me a big hug.

Starstruck? Oh, yes. But you know what? These superstars of the quilting world are real people, just like you and me. And the ones I had the good fortune to meet yesterday were incredibly gracious and kind.

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, kaleidoscope quilts, Quilt Market, update | 1 Comment

Hooked on Hexagons

Yes, it’s true. These little six-sided beauties have me enthralled. Why is that? First of all, they are simply charming, especially the smaller ones like these, which measure a mere half-inch on each side:

hexagons galore
Hexagons Galore

 

Fussy-cutting small prints can yield wonderfully whimsical results:

hexies 006
Fussy-Cut Hexies

 

ready for my close-up mr demille
“I’m Ready for my Close-Up, Mr. De Mille”

 

There’s more to their appeal than that, though: hexagons are made completely by hand. I fantasize about being a good hand quilter but find myself — at least for now — unwilling to invest in the amount of time it would take to become one. That would mean time away from my sewing machine, time away from designing quilts and home sewing projects, time away from reading quilt magazines and blogs, time away from the non-quilting aspects of my life.

But in little more than an hour, I can whipstitch together seven little hexagons and produce a thing of beauty. So satisfying! Trouble is, I don’t have a project in mind. When the mood strikes, I simply take fabrics I love and turn them into hexagons. I have a little plastic baggie of hexagons-in-the-making, all packed and ready for the road (or just an evening at home). They’re oh-so-portable, making them great take-along projects.

A traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt is most definitely in my future. In fact, it’s already started. I have a few larger hexagons (1” per side) made, although they need another row:

hexies big and small
Hexies Big and Small

(I stuck that baby hexie in there just to show you the difference in sizes.)

The idea of doing something a bit more modern with hexagons is also appealing. Fortunately, inspiration is close at hand:

Jaynette Huff’s book

 

Jaynette Huff’s book, Quilts from Grandmother’s Garden: A Fresh Look at Paper Piecing (That Patchwork Place, 2005) is chock full of ideas for “fabric floral arrangements” made with hexies, and one fine day I may actually get started on an arrangement of my own.

Are you hooked on hexagons, too?

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, update | 3 Comments