Creativity Is Back Thanks to Brinton Hall!

Good afternoon and welcome to the 100 Weather Club here in beautiful South Texas – Time for those Summer Doldrums.  Time to stay in the 70’s with the A/C running at full blast.

I started Brinton Hall Quilt (Quiltmania #107) this week.  Lu Ann (Loose Threads Blog) inspired me to make this quilt and become more proficient with English Paper Piecing (EPP).  I really am enjoying Diane Gilleband’s book – what a find!  (Thx again LuAnn) What fun I am having with this project. I want to share the process I am using to make the center Blocks because most patterns in magazines leave out a lot of information.    The greatest thing about the Blogging world is the inspiration that we received from the Quilt Bloggers.

For my quilt, I  decided to use a beautiful Asian print that I had purchased years ago and had just enough to fussy cut the 7 – 10 1/2″ squares.  (Batiks will be used for the hexies in the Medallion).   I placed my template on the right side of each 10 1/2″ square and marked the fussy cut blocks with my applique pencil.  I did NOT trim the excess fabric because I felt I would need something to hold on to when I appliqued the Hexie Crown onto the block.  LuAnn had posted that she had an issue with the fabric not laying flat so I tried to think of a way to stabilize the center of the block.  I cut a large circle of freezer paper and pressed on the back side of the fabric.  I thought that it would be large enough, but I still had about an inch or so that was not supported when I appliqued the crown and I had to be very careful in that process.   I also had some problems in sewing the hexies together in the right place.  Here is my first block:

Block 1 of Brinton Hall Medallion
Block 1 of Brinton Hall Medallion

Of course, if you have read my Blog before you know that I am the “Ripper Queen of Quilting” and usually make a test block to make sure that problems do not arise.  Before I started this project, I read Diane’s book (well part of it) and studied Karen’s method to fussy cut the 10 1/2″ blocks for the Medallion and the placement of the Hexie Crowns  (check out the tutorial .  In making the template,  I counted  the number of hexie’s that Karen had used in her picture; placed them accordingly; and taped them together with “non-stick” tape that is used for paper piecing.  Then I drew around that group of hexies on heavy drawing paper to make my template to fussy cut the Medallion Center blocks.

Fussy Cut Template For Centers
Fussy Cut Template For Centers

This morning I started on Block 2 – I sewed 18 gold hexies and tried to think of a better way to put the crown together and to stabilize the block when appliquing the Crown.  I traced the template onto freezer paper (same size as the fussy cut block) cut it out and turned the block over and realized that I had another problem with my idea – it is called “no lines to follow” – PLACEMENT STUPID!  So I ran a basting thread along the lines on the front of the block which provided me a line to follow when placing the hexies and appliquing them to the 10 1/2″ block AND provide guidelines for pressing my freezer paper stabilizer to the back of the block.  I did have to  cut 1/4″ off my freezer paper template because it would have been in the way of my applique!  Here are some visuals in case my verbage has you off in never-never land!

Freezer Paper to Stabalize  Block Back
Freezer Paper to stabilize Block Back


Top Basting Stitches
Top Basting Stitches Using the Template Markings
Block back with FP Template and Basting Stitches for Guides
Block back with Freezer Paper Template and Basting Stitches for Guides
Front of Block with Basting for Guides for the Crown-
Front of Block with Basting for Guides for the Crown
Block 2 Brinton Hall Setting Sample
Block 2 Brinton Hall Setting Sample

One of the problems I encountered yesterday when working on the Hexie Crown, was “placement” of the hexies.  I kept having to look at the pattern to make sure I was sewing the accurately.  By doing the basting thread on the lines I originally drew from Karen’s template idea, and pinning each hexie to its appropriate position, and using the clips I will be able to complete the Crowns much faster.  NOW remember I am new to this so many of you probably already know these secrets…. if not, then I hope it helps another newbie to this technique.   Clear as mud – right?

Have a great week – and enjoy your work.  EPP is so relaxing – just as much as embroidery!




Doing the Same Thing Over – Expecting Different Results!

Well, here it is 13 July 2014………..The time flies when one is having so much fun.  The weather is definitely Summer Time in the South!  We reached 99 degrees and 50% humidity yesterday – Lovely.  This is a good time to stay indoors and work on quilt projects – just like the Cold Winters in the North!

If you follow my Blog you know that I had been working on a Quilt called Enduring Love #270 using Judi Rothermel fabrics from Old Sturbridge Collection called Enduring Legacy.  Being a Type A Perfectionist and OK – Compulsive Obsessive Quilter, this project was doomed from the beginning – I just did not realize it!  After working on it on and off since late April, stopping at one point and redoing the entire quilt, I arrived at the border of 6″ Stars.

I will not bore all with my lovely trip through the vicissitudes of the life of a perfectionist quilter, so here is the bottom line.  Because I am chemically sensitive, all fabric is washed before bring it to the Studio.  I NEVER once thought that by washing this fabric some of the dyed pieces would have faded and that the fabric would have stretching issues.

All I will say is that the left over fabric (and there is a lot) is put up so high on my shelves that I doubt I will ever see it again – maybe the dust will cause it to disintegrate someday and I will never have to “make myself use it”.  Maybe I will give it to a quilter who needs some frustration in their lives!  (LOL) Once the fabric is washed it turned into a thinner more stretchy fabric that I did not realize UNTIL I had made 36 – 6 inch stars for the next to the last border…….So here is what I came up with and I am not pleased with it at all.  Without the Stars, the quilt does nothing for me and I am sure a Judge would run past it, therefore it is going to be a utility quilt.  I think that if anyone has purchased this line of fabric and pre-washes  they will have a mess on their hands.  The fabric fades and becomes very thin and stretchy – a lot of work that will be in vain because the quilt will not last.   Now needless to say, there were some errors I had made when making the quilt, but when I say it was doomed from the beginning it was and it was due to the pre-washing.  Learned a BIG lesson on this one.  (I wonder if I will ever get over the time I have lost in devoting to this quilt?)

Enduring Love #270
Enduring Love #270 – Modified

Now on to more positive things.  I have completed my Stars Across Texas embroidery project – I have decided to wait awhile before I design a setting.  There is something to say about hand work and that is,  “one can control the outcome”!

Texas Wreath
Texas Wreath


Texas Armadilla
A Texas Armadilla

Last year I became interested in Reproduction fabric and Australian quilts.   The Australian quilters love English Paper Piecing (EPP) and their quilts really pop and look great.  There is a lot of intense hand work in  their patterns and sooooo challenging!  I cancelled all of my US magazines and only subscribe to Quiltmania.   LuAnn of blogged about a quilt that she was starting that is in Quiltmania Magazine Number 107.  Be sure to go to her Blog – she does some great work.   Here is a picture of the quilt called Brinton Hall by Leigh Latimore (  Check out her Blog also.

Brinton Hall Quilt
Brinton Hall Quilt

I immediately knew that this would be my next project.  So off to the Stash to pull fabrics.  I am working on the Center Medallion now doing the EPP rings around a “fussy” cut Center.  I have missed working with my batiks this last year so I will be using them in this quilt.  Hopefully it will not be a disaster.

LuAnn also blogged about a book that is absolutely great when developing an in-depth understanding of EPP.  The book is called “all points patchwork” – English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts and Small Projects by Diane Gilleland.  Amazon has it on their website for about $12.00.  There are 220 pages of illustrations of “the many ways to use EPP as possible”.  (a direct quote from her Idea Book versus Project Book).  It is a great book!

I love the Blogging world – quilters share so many ideas and projects and they are all inspiring.  So with that, I am now going to go and work on EPP Hexagons.  I have covered up the sewing machine for at least 2 weeks and will be sitting here working on EPP watching some movies and resting my weary mind from the last quilt project that I want to forget.  Doesn’t this look inviting?

EPP Set up
My EPP Sewing Table and a TV – What more do I want?

Have a wonderful week, enjoy life, and always take time to take in some Sun (good Vitamin D).

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