I love quilts. LOVE them. In our house even the dog has a quilt (the only way he’s allowed on the furniture). When my 3 year old is tired or in need of comfort he lies on a sofa and demands and then covers himself in a quilt – which admittedly almost immediately becomes a tent, a flying carpet, an ice cream van, a snail house in quick succession – but that comforting cosy thought is there… And I love fabric. And squares. So, beautiful fabric, sew up squares, batt, back, quilt and bind. Not quick, but modern and compared to a lot of quilters’ amazing intricate quilts, if not instant gratification then pretty close. Like this one:
Typical of one of mine (on Flickr stream for more views), bright, squares, pleasing to my eye anyway.
Or our quilts which are most in use – dog on TV watching sofa – red, white and blue squares Rural Jardin quilt underneath, Butterscotch and Rose quilt relieved of duty now I’m up and photographing said dog, bit of random home decor fabric for dog’s quilt and high loft batting. He LOVES his quilt. And loves when we let him on the sofa with us. Hairy little rascal.
ANYWAY, so far so good. But suddenly I have been inexplicably thinking about HEXAGONS. Hexagons! Those tiny little 6 sided pieces which are really difficult to sew by machine, so you have to paper piece them. By hand. And then sew them together with tiny stitches. By hand. The shudderingly long process should have me quivering and running for the nearest charm pack to sew together in record time. But maybe it’s the idea of hanging out watching TV, on the sofa next to husband instead of locked away upright at my machine which appeals. I don’t know, and I’ve no idea how long this phase will last. But off I go, into the uncharted territory of English Paper Piecing…
I’m starting with this above picture – paper hexagons, 1” each side, Pretty small. And bigger fabric hexagons, 1.25” each side. you fold two sides of the fabric hexagon round the paper one and do a double stitch at the corner to secure, fold the next side and do another double stitch at the corner all the way round, the knot off.
It all started with the most beautiful vintage hexagon quilt my friend bought from ebay in need of some repair – but I haven’t been able to shake it from my thoughts. I must ask her if she’ll photograph it for me and I’ll post it here. Meanwhile, here is some beautiful hexie quilt inspiration from other (very talented) people’s blogs:
and from quilthaven.co.uk this:
And so it begins…
It’s easier than I thought, and more relaxing – it takes almost no effort (once everything is cut out) to sit with a pile of hexagon pieces, fabric, needle and thread and watch TV or continue conversations.
and then you end up with this perfect little hexagon. I think it’s something maybe only a quilter will really adore, you can’t look at a hexagon quilt and not see the work that has gong into it.
And then you hand sew them with tiny stitches to each other:
Some people will outline all these “flowers” with a row or two of white hexagons, called a “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” quilt, but it’s not the look I’m going for, so I’m aiming to have all coloured/ scrappy-looking quilt. I say scrappy looking, but I actually would rather have a coordinated quilt in practice in my home, so I will use collections probably.
They look like this at the back – but the papers just slip out (notice the middle one?).
I have a die cutter so got a die to cut the hexagons out of printer paper, but you can buy them from ebay sellers for just a couple of pound including p+p and you can reuse them. Some people use “freezer paper” apparently which can be ironed onto the fabric and make it easier to sew round them… may have to try it.
The flowers fit together like this:
I have chosen the brand new line from Fig Tree Quilts called “Honeysweet”. I love it. I adore so many of their lines – in fact, two of our sofa quilts are from their collections. These fabrics have a vintage feel but with fresh warm colours; they will always be timeless.I thought at least I wouldn’t tire of making hexagons out of all those different and beautiful colours. But then when I saw this:
… I realised that a whole quilt out of just these in tiny tiny pieces will look “flat”, like one piece of fabric and certainly not as though it has taken this long to make.
So I have decided to make the hexagons out of several different collections which I love (and actually some of which I have already so it makes sense!) all from Fig Tree Quilts collections. I would have LOVED to have Butterscotch and Rose in there, even though I have an entire quilt made from it, but I can’t find it anywhere – it is an old line. The good news for me is that the wonderfully talented Joanna Figuera who is the designer is prolific producing 2-3 lines for Moda a year!
So… I think I will also choose
Fig and Plum,
and one or two more. I going to try and keep the collections mostly together but try and work it so they mix nicely, which shouldn’t be too hard as Fig Tree collections often mix nicely. And the yellow/blue collections will be the brighter spots… fingers crossed.
I’ll have plenty of time to work it out though because I want a 60” x 60” ish quilt… which means 1400 HEXAGONS!!!
Oh my giddy aunt. What am I doing?
There is a pretty simple way to machine piece “almost hexagons” – half hexagons they are called, but the pattern gets disrupted in the middle so I’m not keen on the look except from a distance or with solids, or very tiny scale patterns, when it looks great, and very like the real thing. (You can google half hexagon quilts if you want to know more)
So on reflection, I think it’s GAME ON.
50 so far. 1350 to go. better get sewing.
Till the next time,
ps by the way, if you fancy making your own, here is a fabulous online calculator to work out how many hexies you’ll need (fewer if the hexies are bigger):