Monday, January 31, 2011

One World One Heart 2011


Hi! Welcome to my One World One Heart Giveaway!

My name is Miss Mary, and my blog exists to document my handwork while putting it in the context of a long line of women who sew. My blog is named for Lillian Catherine, my great-grandmother. One of her hand-stitched quilts hangs on my wall, and one of her quilt tops serves as the background image of this blog. Recently I encountered a picture of her I'd never seen before and was struck by such a familiar profile, even before I learned it was Lillian.

For more information about me and what kinds of projects I enjoy, see the label cloud in the sidebar.

Now for the giveaway!

I am giving away quilter's cotton:

1 fat eighth of zebra print
1 fat quarter of seafoam dot
40 five-inch charm squares ranging from blues to browns and including some walnut-dyed print

To enter, please leave a comment by February 17.

In your comment, please tell me something you are doing now that you never expected to be doing, or tell me something you are doing or have done that you thought was impossible!

Personally, I am looking at going back to school and studying some conglomerate of neuroscience, math, possibly physics, who knows where the adventure will take me. Meanwhile I am excited about doing something I never would have imagined for myself and turning something seemingly impossible into reality!

Make sure you either include your email address in your comment or your email address can be found through your blog profile. The giveaway is open internationally, and will select my winner.

Thanks so much, and click the image at the top or in the sidebar to enjoy the OWOH ride!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sock Imp

At my school, older children learn to knit socks. One child brought in a book about making sock creatures. I was intrigued. I'd seen something like this via a dudecraft sponsor, Neuron Rebellion. (These days I've got neurons on the brain... ha ha!) After an evening spent ogling Neurons and laughing at their stories (favorite look: Aubrey; favorite story: Lunchpail), I decided it was time to clean out my sock drawer and make my own.

So I did! This is my sock imp, created from a knee sock that lost its mate who-knows-when.

He's stuffed with Poly-Fil, cannot stand on his own and enjoys making faces from his perch atop my sewing supply drawers. And the best part? He's done in one sitting :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sleep Peas-fully

Amid the hexagons and rhombuses I've had time for a side project or two.

When I learned the subject area teachers were putting together a Princess and the Pea play set for our school's annual fundraiser gala, I nigh begged to make the mattresses. Great way to use some scraps of batting and play with the affordances of my walking foot!

I didn't realize the mattresses represented most of the color spectrum until they were stacked and ready for quilting. Lovely effect, though!

Eleven mattresses and even a scrappy doll-sized quilt for the top!

After "doodling" with my darning foot it was fun to try more geometric shapes with the walking foot.

The rest of the play set consists of a knit doll, a handmade wooden bed, a needle felted pea and a calligraphed story. I am excited to contribute to something of such high quality! Hopefully the set will garner a high price for the school.

Another "project" here at the end: I organized my sewing space!

As you can see, it's quite small. Hence big quilting projects come to my parents'. But I love having a corner of my room as a studio space, and I find it's all quite sufficient for my needs otherwise :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Since I wrote a tutorial I figure I ought to have a plan for this thing!

I laid out stars and hexagons into large hexagonal "blocks" consisting of 12 hexagons and 7 stars each. I took measurements, then sketched. To help visualize the plan, I arranged a few hexagon pieces until I had a pleasing shape.

Oh my. I believe I've begun a several-year hand sewing project!

Piles of what I have cut so far. Now to iron more scraps, trace more pieces and cut! It's an adventure, right? :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Geometry Quilt--A Tutorial!

What do you call the quilt I'm working on? Rhomboidal Stars and Hexagons? Six-Pointed Stars and Six-Sided Scraps? How about "The Geometry Quilt". Here's how I did it!

First we must establish a connection between two words:

If a = {math concepts} = fun and b = geometry, then if {b} is a subset of {a}, then geometry = fun! Hooray!

Our goal is the creation of two polyhedral templates with sides all the same length.

You will need the following (plus scissors and tailor's chalk or a marking pencil). Research situates mathematical reasoning in the parietal lobe of the brain, but I was unable to discover whether the visual-spatial nuances of geometry involve other areas of the brain. Anyhow, you'll need to know your brain is designed to complete this task well!

Let's start with my original rhombus (diamond, lozenge, parallelogram, etc.)

Geometry Lesson 1: A rhombus is essentially two equilateral triangles stuck together. Thus each side is the same length, and if you draw lines through the center to connect points, you will have perfectly perpendicular lines! Also, your shorter crossed line will be equal in length to each of the sides.

I wanted my diamond to have 1.5 inch sides. For this tutorial, I aimed for 3 inch sides!

I built my rhombus from the inside out. I started with a pair of perfect 90-degree angle perpendicular lines.

I took my final side length (3 inches) and divided it by 2 (1.5 inches). Then, starting from where the lines crossed, I measured that length (1.5 inches) and made a mark on the horizontal (shorter) line on either side of that cross point. My total distance between marks was 3 inches, and the vertical line perfectly bisected my marks.

Next, I placed my ruler at one of the marks and pivoted it around, looking at where the ruler would cross the vertical line. I wanted the ruler to cross the line at 3 inches as this was to be one of my sides. My 3 inch line now connected the two perpendicular lines.

I followed the procedure for each side. Ta-da! A perfect rhombus!

Once the final 3 inch rhombus was drawn, I needed to add my 1/4 inch seam allowance. I simply made marks 1/4 inch from each point on the rhombus and connected the dots.

I ran into a bit of trouble, either from sloppy drawing or measuring incorrectly. I let it go, though, and cut out my template. (In my original rhombus, my measurements and lines were more accurate than these!)

A month or more had elapsed between the creation of my original rhombus template and my hexagon. Playing with the rhombuses prompted the idea of adding another element to what was emerging as a quilt, and the idea of the hexagon was born!

Geometry Lesson 2: There are two ways a rhombus can fit inside a hexagon, provided that the sides of each figure the same length. If three rhombuses are nestled together, all sides touching, they form a hexagon. This is the basis for Tumbling Blocks quilt blocks. If one of the rhombuses is removed from Tumbling Blocks and pivoted around, then two rhombuses will fit snugly inside a hexagon as well. (In this way, two equilateral triangles are also created, but we're not interested in those.) This two-rhombus form tells us that the height of the rhombus is also the height of the hexagon and that if we can imagine two rhombuses side-by-side, we will have our hexagon. An easy thing to do would be to trace our rhombus twice and connect the dots.

But I was having too much fun (geometry = fun!), so I went for accuracy!

To make my hexagon template, I first measured the rhombus template side. (3 + 1/4 + 1/4 = 3 1/2 inches)

I began with a long horizontal line, then marked 3 1/2 inches in the middle of the line.

I drew two lines, each on the hash marks and each perpendicular to my long horizontal line.

Now it was just a matter of drawing two rhombuses! This time, I included the 1/4 seam allowance in my measurements. Including seam allowance, my rhombus side was 3 1/2 inches. I divided that by 2 (Bueller? Bueller? 1 3/4 inches!), placed my ruler at the cross point of one pair of perpendicular lines and marked 1 3/4 inches on the horizontal line. (Don't be distracted by the fold in the cardboard pictured below.) I did the same thing with the other set of perpendicular lines.

Then I pivoted the ruler again, connecting dots and lines to form sides 3 1/2 inches long.

I cut out my template and compared it to the rhombus. I am glad I made a hexagon from scratch. My sloppiness on the rhombus became apparent!

Not every side was inaccurate, though. If you make your own, you'll be more careful!

After checking for accuracy, thank your parietal lobe for all its hard work because you're done! Next comes the fun part--fabric!

Iron some scraps and trace your templates.

Six rhombuses sewn together creates a star.

Iron flat.

Arrange with your hexagons.

Hey, guess what?


See? Geometry is fun!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stelliform Scraps

Starry, stellar, stelliform, stelliferous...

Now that school is back in session, it's nice to have a bit of handwork with your vocabulary lesson!

I was looking at the projects I had underway and decided that Aunt Bess ornaments would fit the bill. I'd made several rhomboidal hexagons already, but then I'd talked to my aunt, the one who requested them, and realized we had a misunderstanding. What she meant as inspiration I took as "please make for me". So what was I to do with the hexagons I'd already pieced?

Make stars, of course!

I attacked my scrap bin with the cardboard template I'd made (I had a TON of fun figuring out the geometry!) and traced and cut more rhombuses, then pinned them in sets of six.

After a bit, I had several six-pointed stars! I love their scrappiness!

Speaking of scraps, my colleague just got engaged, so I've started setting aside snippets for a wedding gift to assemble with her class. Have you ever seen a group of eight-year-olds playing with tiny bits of fabric? I haven't, either, but I look forward to it!

Stars are lovely but I felt I could further utilize my scraps by making hexagonal "spacers". Hooray! I got to make another geometrical template!

And I figured I'd cut some more rhombuses while I was at it.

I couldn't help laying everything out.

Currently I'm at 20 stars. Ten have been assembled, ten await piecing. Who knows where this will take me? I have no plan, but I already love this quilt! To give you an idea for scale, each side of each shape is 2 inches long. Few of the stars are constructed of just 2 fabrics. In most cases I am intentionally adding a third or fourth fabric, either because rhombus yield per scrap is not necessarily a multiple of 3 or just because I like the feel of an "imperfect" star better. :-)