29 January 2014

Green Tea and Sweet Beans

Embroidery seems to have taken over my life these last few months, and as much as I am enjoying learning, I miss quilting. The problem was what project to work on? I have been quilting for more than 15 years and I think I have got into a quilting rut, making the same kinds of quilts over and over, I had become bored. What I decided I needed was a challenge! I want to try different methods for things I know how to do, and in fabrics different from my usual antique/reproduction favourites. While browsing for inspiration I came across this quilt - Green Tea & Sweet Beans by Jen Kingwell
It is perfect! Lots of different blocks and hopefully lots of opportunity to try different techniques. I first saw this quilt a few years ago when it was offered as a BOM by some of the Australian quilt shops. I admired the versions that were springing up around blogland at the time, but ordering a BOM from Australia was one extravagance too many for me. It has now been published as a pattern booklet and even better is available here in the UK! I knew exactly which fabrics I wanted to use...
A friend gave me some 1930's fabrics for my birthday 18 months ago and I bought a few more at a quilt show, I have pulled them out of the drawer to look at several times but didn't really know what I wanted to do with them! Since this quilt is all about learning new things, working with fabrics outside my comfort zone is perfect! They are bright and cheerful and the perfect antidote to the constant rain!

So now I have my fabrics and have ordered the pattern, the problem was I am not good at waiting! I really wanted to start this quilt now, straight away lol! Since I don't even know how big the quilt is, there was no way I could figure out any of the blocks was there? Luckily I found a photo of the hexagon panel with the finished size - yes! I could piece hexagons, but first I needed to work out how many I would need, lots of head scratching later I think I have a plan...
I decided to piece 1" hexagons since I had some pre cut papers in that size. I don't know how big the ones in the pattern are, but looking at the photo I think they must be slightly larger. I had bought a starter pack a few years ago by Sue Daley so that I could try English Paper Piecing using a glue stick, but of course I never got round to it! I like the accuracy of EPP but hate basting though the papers, this new method sounded really good.
You rotary cut your fabrics using the acrylic template in the pack, and then baste the fabrics onto the papers with a sew line glue pen. I couldn't believe how easy and fast it was! Sue has some videos explaining her technique on YouTube, they are well worth watching, you can find the first one HERE
It took me just over an hour to cut and baste all these :) I will definitely use this method again.  I put on an old episode of Miss Marple and spent a happy evening piecing...
Hopefully the pattern will arrive before I finish and I can find out if this is anywhere near the correct size lol! I don't mind if it's not, I have plenty of fabric (!) and I can always make this into something else. The important thing is that I am back quilting, learning new skills and loving every minute of it!

EDITED: My pattern just arrived :) I only ordered it yesterday afternoon! Brilliant customer service from The Running Chicken quilt shop, will definitely order from them again!

16 comments:

  1. It doesn't matter what size the hexes are as long as your finished block of them is the right size. I like my repro fabrics too and it's hard to change.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What fun! I think the 30s fabrics will be perfect for this quilt. I'm going to enjoy watching this one grow. I hope you don't have to wait too much longer for the pattern to arrive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Elaine I love the 1930 quilts and your fabrics look so happy. Your hexagons have come up so cheerful. Sue is a wonderful teacher and has done so much for the quilters around the world who love to paper piece. I made her first hexagon quilt she called This Goes With That about 7 or 10 years ago, I have made all the hexagons but still need to finish joining them all together. Your Green tea and Sweet Beans looks like a lot of learning and fun. Cheers Glenda. PS Sue uses long 11 needles this is where I learnt to use them!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this quilt pattern and am so tempted by it too. I'm definitely not skilled enough to tackle it yet so I'll enjoy watching you put it together.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have seen that pattern to and thought it very nice. I have to stick with the patterns I have right now though, I have to have some finishes and then start new!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I want to make that pattern someday too! And yes, I love the glue basting -- it's a miracle! lol! Looks great so far!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love that pattern and am using it as inspiration for a sampler quilt. Whenever I wish to try a new technique or make a little block I use my bright fabrics and hopefully someday I can put them together into something similar. Just a tip about the EPP. I too love to use the glue for basting but I put a hole in the middle of each template, using a hole punch. This makes them much easier to remove when you are finished! Love your start with those pretty fabrics.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a happy colorful quilt it will be! Perfect pick me up to this winter season!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I saw Jen's patterns at the Road to California Quilt show last Sunday and fell in love with them. There are five of her's I'd like to make - the one you picked being one of them. Tell us if you picked the right size of hexagon - just curious. I joined Block Lotto for the same reason you started this project - learning new ways to do old ones. Block Lotto suits me because I can make a block, tried something new and haven't added to my ufo pile. Thanks for sharing, Elaine. I'm off to become a follower.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have been looking at Jen's patterns too, this one looks like fun.

    ReplyDelete
  11. one inch hexies...omg! I don't know what size mine are...I think 2 inches or better. I know I put the 3 inch box full up for sale in my etsy shop.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can feel your renewed enthusiasm well done !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Look at all those wonderful hexies!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Looks like a wonderful project! I combined the embroidery with hexagons. =)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for linking to Hexie Friday last week! We'd love to see your progress on this wonderful quilt as it grows. I saw one today at another quilt show and it too was done in 30s fabrics. Gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ive got some of that range of repro fabrics too, it suits your hexis so well I may have to try some myself with it lol !

    ReplyDelete