Sunday, March 27, 2011

Work in Progress: Grandma's Flower Garden Quilt

Well here it is. I have had this quilt in process --making some progress for the last 10 years or so. It's been pulled out and put away so many times I really don't recall when I actually began working on it.
this type of sewing employs the English paper piecing method

I got the original plans from a long time friend, Anne, and have had some design changes along the way.

The real beauty of a quilt of this kind is you can do it anywhere--a great time killer while otherwise waiting for something else to happen (i.e. in the doctors waiting room).

The design is really simple. First take a hexagon (a shape that has 6 equal sides)

use this shape to make yourself a handy template.

print it out and glue to a piece of cardboard (I used an old cereal box) or quilters stencil plastic. The size hexagon you start with is relative to the size flower you intend to make. Meaning, you don't have to have a specific size to start with, only once you have the size you MUST keep that size for each "petal" for the entire quilt!

but size does matter a bit right?. if you make a 3 inch hexagon template you are gunna get a really big flower.

My quilt is made up of hexagons of about 1.5 inches. so if you measure from the top to the bottom along the center it is 1.5 inches. If you want to make yours bigger go for it, just remember that all the paper pieces must be the same size.

so I made my cardboard pattern. I then took plain copy paper from the recycling bin and folded it accordion style so that the entire card board piece fit with some room around each side--cutting to close to the folded edge will result in a connected line of hexagons--not what we want, here we want to cut many but have them all individual pieces so make sure you have some room to ensure each hexagon will be an individual :o)

I then set my cardboard piece on top of this and traced around with a pencil as many hexagons as would fit on the folded page (keep the page folded to cut multiples at one time). I then cut out the paper pieces.

then I took my desired color of fabric and did the same accordion fold but this time I cut the hexagon out with a 1/4 inch seam allowance along each of the six sides. you  could also make another cardboard template to accommodate the seam allowance, but I just eyeballed the 1/4 inch and it worked well for me.

This 1/4 inch will end up being the seam allowance.

so to plan what to cut you will need 19 paper pieces per flower. one center piece, 6 first row and 12 second row then 18 white for the flowers that need them.

the amount of fabric you need for each flower will be determined by how big your petal is..but this is a great stash buster quilt. As you can see from my pics I only use each print one time--never repeating any fabric.

you start with the center hexagon. I kept this a uniform color for the entire quilt. My Grandmother (Fannie) had given me an old yellow sheet she no longer needed and I chose that for my quilt center. pretty sentimental now that she is in heaven ♥.

To make the center and petals I took one paper pattern and one fabric piece-- placing the paper to the wrong side of the fabric and folded it over one side 1/4 inch and put a basting stitch in and continued turning the seam allowance down and basting until I had the fabric completely covering the paper hexagon. this technique I am told is called English paper piecing.

I did this technique and made up a flower group, one center, 6 first row petals, and 12 second row petals.

then beginning with the flower center (yellow in my case) and one first row petal, I put them right sides together and whip stitched one of the six sides. tied my thread in a simple knot and cut my thread. re knotted my thread and got first row petal number two ready. sat everything in front of me with rights sides up, lined up the second first row petal put right sides together and whip stitched this one on, you will have to do some funny turning on this one, but keep laying the flower down to ensure the correct sides of the hexagon are being whip stitched together.

*sorry I don't know how to do videos at this point--I know that would be really helpful right!

Also you will not be able to sew the petals all on without tying off and starting a new knotted thread.

when the flower was done I repeated the steps to add the white border on some you can see in this picture above I first decided to have 2 rows of white, but once I had about 20 flowers all sewn up--I hated it! so now I am ripping and restitching to get just one row of white and I like this new look a lot!

I have made this quilt to have 9 rows of 9...but a little clarification on that...since we are not sewing with flat squares we need to do some adjusting to make the rows even. To do this I made my first row 9 solid flowers, my next row is 8 sold flowers with 1/2 flowers on the top of bottom of each row.

another tip. if you plan to make up a bunch of flowers first then sew them together to form the quilt top, make sure you pay attention to those white hexagons. if A has them, B will not, but C will need them. Just take a long look at my in process quilt and I am sure you will see what I mean.

So my plan at this point is to have 9 rows by 9 rows, which in my estimation will amply fill the top of my king size bed.

and just a note of clarification--the paper pieces will need to be removed before you create the quilt sandwich and quilt it up. So my tip is to cut many hexagon paper shapes and reuse them. So I cut out enough paper templates to make 8 flowers then removed the interior papers and used to make more flowers. this way you will not end up with an entire quilt of paper templates to rip out in the end! ☺

I got lots of work to do!

I hope this post helps inspire many to attempt this quilt, if you have any questions or suggestions please send me a note and I will help clear things up! happy sewing :o)


sewcrazy said...

It's beautiful! Such an undertaking. I've been tempted to start one several times (I made the templates) and then chickened out< Maybe as you keep going I will be inspired. Would be a great cottage project for this summer!

Melodee said...

my current plan is to do a flower a night--as so far I have been pretty good :o) when I get farther along I will edit to add how to finish--cause you do need a plan to get all those papers outta the back--they don't stay in there. and I don't know how to yet but I will need to figure out how to quilt and bind it--but that is later so for now I will enjoy this part :o)