Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hexagons: Bonnie Shows All!

If you don't already follow Bonnie Hunter's blog, you've simply got to click over to her tutorial on paper piecing hexagons. It's the best one I've ever seen. Bonnie has a real knack for combining words and photos into easily understood instructions. I already use the same basting method she does (where you sew only through the fabric, but not through the paper pieces). However, Bonnie has an interesting way of basting a hexagon and then adding it to the project without ending the thread. And I really appreciated seeing the order in which she adds new pieces and how and when she ends her threads. I think I may revise my modus operandi a bit.

By the way, even if you're not interested in paper piecing as such, you should look at her tutorial just to see her incredible hexagon project. It will knock your socks off. I wish I could show it to you, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be kosher to repost her photo here.

Work on my own long-term hexagon project has been picking up lately. Fillius and I have gotten back into the rhythm of reading aloud every evening. So I hand stitch while he reads to me. He's just finished reading They All Laughed by Ira Flatow, a collection of the stories behind some of the great inventions that have changed the way we live today. Would you believe that the very first fax machine was invented in the early 19th century by an Italian priest? (But it didn't catch on.) And you wouldn't believe how many artificial sweeteners were accidentally discovered when early chemists tasted unknown substances!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unexpected Bargains!

For various reasons, I've been on a Do Not Buy Anything program for the past few weeks and I've successfully resisted all kinds of shopping temptations. But every now and then you stumble upon a bargain that you really can't afford to pass up.

The first one was at our church's yearly festival last Sunday. At the White Elephant booth I found a brand new plastic scrapbooking case for only a dollar. (They're usually $8.00 or $9.00 in the local stores.) I use them for storing sewing and quilting projects. As they are 14 inches square, 12-inch blocks, such as my string-pieced eight-pointed stars, fit perfectly in them. They're also handy for keeping together all of the sub-units of a particular quilting project, such as all of the 3 inch Nine Patches and Rail Fence blocks I've made for my Carolina Crossroads quilt. These cases also come in handy for garment sewing. They're perfect for keeping together the pattern, notions, thread and fabric for each project.

I found the second too-good-to-be-missed bargain when I was tagging along with my mum on one of her thrift store expeditions: an Ott-Lite floor lamp for only $10.00! For anyone in the quilting world who doesn't already know this, Ott-Lites are amazingly expensive lamps which shine full spectrum light upon your work. Not only is this handy when trying to choose colors, but it helps my poor, middle-aged eyes to see what they're doing when I stitch. Now I can sew in the evenings as easily as when morning sunlight is streaming through my window. Yay!