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Some Dazzling Designs

Last year I had the opportunity to make yet another of Violet Craft’s stunning paper-pieced patterns and this one turned out to be the most challenging yet. Having already made the elephant, unicorn, and lion I had plenty of experience with her patterns. This new pattern - Honeycomb - was the largest of the four, used the most fabrics, and was the most labor intensive.

After receiving several packages of print and solid fat quarters from my customer I was ready to match them up with the pattern. For the nine sets of bee, flowers, and leaf blocks I needed three different shades of the solid fabric - light, medium, and dark - that coordinated with a print for the bees wings. Next I had to match the print fat quarters with the 39 hexagons on the top. I made a color copy of the pattern, assigned each hexagon a number, and then marked each fabric with that number using a sticky note. I also wrote that number on the back of the paper-pieced pattern after I stitched it so that I would know where those colors would go when I constructed the entire quilt. I was hoping that this attention to detail early on in the process would save some time later on and that proved to be the case.

I started by stitching one set of the paper-pieced bee, flowers, and leaf blocks while keeping track of my time. One set took 13 hours! Much longer than I had originally estimated. Now I have done a lot of paper-piecing in my many years of quilting and have found several shortcuts that make this technique more efficient. Yet even with using those shortcuts one set took 13 hours. And I had nine of those sets to do. It is a good thing that I enjoy paper-piecing!

During July and August we babysat our grandson in Omaha while his daycare was still under construction and his parents needed to return to work. This was the perfect opportunity to work on the larger hexagon pieces since I could do that while he napped. So I loaded up my sewing machine and tools and set up “shop” in the downstairs guest room. This gave me a chance to use my roller to “press” the pieces so I didn’t need to take along an iron and ironing board.

Once the quilt top was finally done I deliberated for quite awhile on how to quilt this project. I had done a custom design on the other Violet Craft patterns but just could not come up with a good design for this quilt. I just kept seeing an allover design looking the best so decided on a nice swirl pantograph called Outside In. My initial thought about thread color was white but ultimately went with a tan thread called Putty - a So Fine #50 thread from Superior Threads - which blended with the background fabric and took on the color of the other print fabrics.

My customer also requested a few king-size pillow cases. Since the majority of the fabrics was in fat quarters I only had a few fabric choices to use. Luckily I had plenty of backing fabric as well as the solid pink binding fabric to use.

The next project was to make a scrap quilt from the left over fabric. My customer requested a queen size quilt and I found a perfect pattern called Scrappy Rectangles designed by Jo Parrott in The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts published by That Patchwork Place. Since there was quite a variety and quantity of fabric to choose from I looked for a pattern that could easily accommodate those parameters. And this pattern seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.

Stay tuned to this blog to see what else I have been working on and what may be in store for the future!

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