An adventure in quilting hexagons: part 3 – cutting & arranging

So, this project had to take a little hiatus as it turns out it’s practically impossible to get a 10″ half hexagon ruler here in Australia! In the end, my solution was to get my father to make me one out of perspex.  It doesn’t have any grid lines on it or anything, but it’s durable and does the job:


Having a ruler, and having chosen the fabric for this project already, it took no time to get around to cutting.  The cutting process is actually very fast if you make 4.5″ strips first and then cut hexagons from them, and it turns out this quilt is actually a great fat quarter project: if you cut your fabric wisely you can actually get four full hexagons (eight halves) out of one fat quarter!  I used some fat quarters, along with some other scraps, and ended up making around 100 or so full hexagons I think, so this quilt will finish up double bed size.  However, if you wanted to make a smaller quilt or table runner or whatever takes your fancy, it’d be a really quick project!

Next up was layout. I didn’t make many hexagons of each fabric – the yellow accent one has the most, the others are mostly around 4 hexagons per fabric, so I knew I wanted a random arrangement.  I find the best way to do this is to just lay the pieces out without thinking about it at all at first, then to stand back and look, rearrange to fix balance of colours and patterns, then look again and repeat!  You want to make sure you don’t have too many similar fabrics adjacent to each other, and that your lights, mediums, darks and accents are fairly evenly yet randomly spaced.  However, at the end of the day it’s meant to be random – when you get to the point where you’re just changing minor things, it’s best to stop!

Here’s what I came up with:


Notice how it looks kind of complex, but because they’re half hexagons, it actually makes neat rows?  This is what will make it heaps easier to sew than the horrible Y-seams you get when joining full hexagons, which basically rule  out anything but hand-sewing.  Which is no fun, and takes forever!


Speaking of sewing, I’m out of time at the moment so that’ll have to wait for a bit… so I’ve packed it all up neatly, ready to quickly lay out again for sewing to begin! I find labelling my rows is really helpful when I have to stop at this point, like this:


Happy sewing!


A recent ‘bracelet’ project

I mentioned in my last jewellery post that I was going to try to get back into beading. I started with simple, but thought this time I’d try something totally different and a bit more involved. I ended up with this:


I say ‘bracelet’ because that’s what it was meant to be, but I got a bit carried away with the beading and it ended up much more like ankle length on me, oops! However, I do have quite small wrists, so it may be more comfortable as a bracelet on some people! I would recommend though, if you use this pattern, that you keep measuring as you go because the full quantity of beads makes a bracelet far too large for me!

This now anklet is based on this ‘oriental’ bracelet pattern.  You will notice it’s not quite the same – I got part way through and decided it didn’t need any more ornamentation – I’m a fan of small, light, delicate bracelets – but if you wanted a bit more sophistication, you could of course keep on beading!

Also, please don’t be afraid of this project! It may look complicated, but I have very little experience in bead weaving techniques and I found this easily manageable! Have confidence in yourself :).

Here’s a couple more shots to show the front, and the back with the clasp as well: (ok, I know, not the best photos – I’m still learning!)IMG_3281IMG_3284

What do you think of this project? Are you a fan of the delicate and simple, or more opulent and fancy?

Create: Honeycomb card


This is just going to be a quick little post today, to show you a card I made. You can never have too many handmade cards, right? I think it adds the perfect personal touch to any gift, or even as a card alone, shows the recipient that you have thought about them, and that you really care.

Recently, upon searching through my collection of cards I’ve made and not yet given, I discovered I don’t have a lot of gender-neutral or more male appropriate ones – the majority of what I have left is on the feminine side of things. So I decided, for my next one, I had to make something a bit more versatile – and this is what I came up with.  However, you could use this idea and go with any colour scheme you like!

I decided a pentagon accent would be nice to maintain the geometric feel but create contrast and edginess (get it, it has one less edge than the rest?!)

You really don’t need much to make something like this yourself:

blank card + hexagon-print scrapbooking paper + acrylic paints (I used lemon yellow, ultramarine blue, lime green and gold) + a brush + scrap of green card + pentagon stencil + sticky foam (to attach raised pentagon) = an easy card!

It’s quick too, you just have to allow time for the paint to dry… so maybe not one you want to make the same day you intend to give it ;).

Here’s a progress shot or two, because why not:


An adventure in quilting hexagons: Part 2 – Choosing fabric for a quilt

(If you haven’t read part one of this post and you’d like to know about the inspiration for this project, you can find it here).

So, the best thing happened.

I quote Mum: ‘Use whatever you like out of my stash’.

Yes.  Just yes!

I want to make this quilt double bed sized, and so the naturally frugal student side of me was worried about how much the fabric will cost, whereas the spontaneous side was thinking ‘oh just buy the fabric already, you’d rather have a quilt than food, right?!’  I don’t really know which side of me was winning that war, but now it no longer needs to be fought, because I have all this:


Yeah, ok, I haven’t ironed them yet… ignore that please!

These are all standard quilting weight 100% cotton fabrics… apart from the yellow accent one, I have no idea what it is made of but it used to be a pillowcase, I think.  Why not upcycle if you can, right? (You may also be wondering why the accent is yellow… the border is to be yellow, so I thought it might tie in nicely).

Speaking of the border, I haven’t chosen fabric for it or for the quilt back yet, I want to do that after I finish the top. Eventually.

In the end, when I went through the scraps it turned out I only needed to buy a little bit of fabric (in all truthfulness, by my quick calculations I would have had enough, but I always like to have some spare in case of mistakes!).  I bought two half-metres of these Alexander’s Flower Blenders by M’Liss because they work really well with the other fabrics I chose.


Speaking of which fabrics go well with others, I thought I’d share some of my tips for choosing fabrics for a stash-busting quilt, using this one as an example:

  1. Think about the sort of colour scheme you want – one colour? A few coordinating colours? A crazy mix of random scraps? – and go through your stash. Unless you’re making a quilt from a kit, have a look at what you already have before you buy anything!  Grab out anything that looks ok and lay it out on the floor.
  2. Rule out any scraps that are too small – have a look at the pattern: what size pieces do you need to cut, and how many?  For this particular quilt, I need to start with 10″ squares, so anything smaller than that was straight out.  I intend to make it random, so my fabrics vary in size a lot – some I will get one hexagon out of, others maybe 6 or 7.  For this sort of scrappy quilt, that is fine – if you have enough variety in fabrics, proportions become unimportant.
  3. If you’ve noticed you have any really big pieces, maybe set them aside at this stage for the border or the back, if you like.
  4. Think about whether your pattern at all restricts the types of fabric you can use.  For example, here you have to cut the hexagons in half and rejoin them, so anything with really bold and obviously repetitive patterns is no good, as matching up the patterns would take forever (by all means, go for it if you like – I’m too lazy for that!).  Basically, the fabric below, although pretty, represents everything I didn’t want:IMG_3179
  5. Think about colour – put all your fabrics together, stand back, and have a good look. If there’s a fabric or two that stands out too much or looks otherwise out of place, take it out.  Also check that you have a good balance of lights and darks, and of each colour if you’re using multiple colour ranges.
  6. Finally (sorry, this is the mathsy part!), calculate whether you have enough fabric, and what/how much you need to buy.  It’s always a good idea to take some swatches of the fabric you already have when you shop for the remainder to make sure they match well, too!

So now the next step is cutting… once my half hexagon ruler arrives, which should make cutting hexagons a breeze!

Getting back to old hobbies (and a lesson in jewellery photography)

Coming to the end of my teenage years has encouraged me to reflect on where I was at the start of them.  As anyone would expect, I’ve changed a lot, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to reminisce and drag out things I used to love, if nothing else, for old times’ sake.

I hit teenagerhood (if that’s even a word) right around the time beading and jewellery making was a big thing.  I remember getting  a starter jewellery making kit from book club (yes, book club, remember that?!) in late primary school.

It completely, 100% had me in and I basically spent the next couple of years investing the entirety of my pocket money into jewellery making supplies, and making jewellery that I hardly wore, just for the fun of it.

It’s only now that I see that was a pretty big waste of time and money and that’s what inspired me to try to make an effort to wear some of the things I made, as well as to use up some of the big old stash.

I decided that a good place to start was to use up a whole heap of odd little beads – ones that have no matching ones, or that I don’t really like on their own, but actually work together really well.  There’s a mixture of glass beads as well as a few resin and plastic ones, which help keep the necklace light enough to wear comfortably.  (Please ignore how faded and dusty my beading tray is… it’s been a while!)


This is what I made.


This necklace is loosely based on a Katie Hacker design from her book 30 Minute Beading, but I’m sure I could give you a tutorial on the basic design, if anyone would like one!  The thing I like about it most is the fact that the toggle clasp is in the front, so it’s both functional and a feature of the design.  Here’s a close-up of the toggle, which also shows off its usefulness as a place to hang little charms…


Now, I did mention ‘a lesson in jewellery photography’ in the title for a reason… I’m no great photographer (I use my trusty iPhone 5S as my camera), and I found it really difficult to get good photos of this necklace.  There are so many shiny things for the light to reflect off, so I wanted to share a few tips of how I got this to work.

  1. Indoor photos.  In the shade.  There was too much sun outside to get anything without heaps of light reflecting.
  2. Adjusting the angle to help minimise issues with the light, and to move any shadows around until you’re happy with them.
  3. Try different backdrops to complement the piece.  The earthy amber tones in this necklace just happen to match beautifully with a lot of the natural tones around the house – I used doors, floors, cushions, furniture… basically I walked around and picked out anything I could find that looked like it may work and gave it a go.
  4. Especially if you’re an inexperienced photographer like me… take heaps of photos! I find it’s much less frustrating to take a whole bunch and sort through them later, rather than taking and retaking; agonising over one shot again and again.  Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, you’re bound to get some good ones eventually!

Warning, photo spam… here are some of the better ones I ended up with.

What hobbies did you enjoy when you were younger?  Will you go back to them?  And, would you like to see more jewellery here?



An adventure in quilting hexagons: Part 1 – Inspiration

Ok, I’m the first to admit that I don’t have a lot of quilting experience.  This quilt below is the first and only one I’ve ever made… It came as a kit from Spotlight a while back and it’s basically squares and rectangles.  So even as an inexperienced quilter, it took me no time at all to sew and I love it.  And so, because I enjoyed making it so much I decided (even though it’s really not good for the budget) that it’s time to make another quilt.


So why hexagons, you ask? Well, I’ve always liked hexagon quilts, but it was really this picture on Pinterest that made me want to give it a go.


Something about the simplicity of almost monochrome hexagons with a contrasting border drew me in and I knew I had to make a quilt like this one.

The only thing I worried about was how difficult hexagons would be to sew, which a quick google revealed is a valid concern as it really only works well if you sew them by hand.

That simply wasn’t going to happen. I hate hand sewing.

So when I came across this wonderful tutorial I knew it was the solution. Start with half hexagons so you only have to sew straight lines?  Yes please!


So it looks like this quilt is going to be a combination of two ideas: the colour scheme of the first, and the pattern from the second tutorial.

Now to choose some fabric…