Hexagons in Spring

This is my only slow-burning project. I’m not really a slow-burning kind of girl; hence this has been a lesson in patience and process rather than product. But the thing about slow-burning is you don’t really realise how productive you have been.

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I’ve posted about this a few times before (links at the bottom) – it’s an English-paper-pieced quilt top in the making, made of 1″-sided hexagons. I have to say I thought I might get to about 200 and turn them into a cushion, but I had that hankering, you know, the one which says “I will be a real quilter if I can do this”. That one. Even though you ARE a real quilter if you put front, batting, back and some stitches together. (Real, albeit maybe not astonishing.) Doesn’t matter though, we are our own worst critics, and sometimes we feel we should put ourselves through a rite of passage.

Apparently this is mine.

My all-time favourite designer is Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts for Moda, and this will be a homage to her work – hexies, hand sewn, kept as collections. I realised that although I wanted a scrappy feel, I also didn’t want a bright mish-mash, which I’d rather keep for a hard-wearing machine-quilted picnic quilt. But a hand pieced hexie quilt of my favourite designer’s collections? I’m being buried in this. I am NEVER letting it go.

honeysweet

This is “Honeysweet”. I just love how all these florals feel traditional but not dull or stuffy.

Avalon/ buttercup

“Avalon”. Isn’t it amazing how that random navy blue can somehow fit into a hexagon quilt with no other blue in and you accept its scrappy nature? Or I just refuse to even contemplate that it doesn’t. It WILL fit. It will.

Buttercup

That’s “Buttercup”, so pale and floaty…

strawberry fields

And this is “Strawberry Fields”, an earlier collection which I can’t find anywhere now – I got this single charm pack from Australia. This quilt has definitely NOT got a small carbon footprint… I love this collection; so much nicer in real life, fresh, vibrant, mellow, pretty, perfect.

Fig and Plum/ buttercup

“Fig and plum”.

tapestry

“Tapestry”; this is one of my all time favourites – you can tell by the number of quilts I have made with it!

Fresh Cottons

This was a cheat because at the time of taking this picture a few days ago, it wasn’t sewn in – it is now though, along with some more. It’s “Fresh Cottons”. I’ve always been underwhelmed by this collection, but once it’s together it is nice and does work. It’s not my favourite; I’m not keen on the minty green somehow. It made the cut though, unlike “Mirabelle”, a more recent collection which I really didn’t take to at all.

I think this is about 1100 – 1200 hexagons sewn together. I was aiming for 1400 (about 60″ square), but it may be more like 1600; mainly because there are other and new collections which I love too. The nice thing is you can buy a charm pack and get the full collection and 160 paper-pieced 1″ hexagons from it, so it’s not like I have to buy a lot of fabric to get the collection. I have some “California girl” to go in:

California girl

Some “Somerset”

Somerset

Have ordered some “Aloha Girl”:

Aloha girl

And the release of this beautiful collection in September will make the end of the summer bearable:

Farmhouse

That might be enough. But if she keeps making such beautiful collections I might just have to keep going! Turns out slow burning is OK after all.

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And the best bit? Spring’s here, the sun’s out, and I can sit out in it whilst still sewing. Bliss.

Till the next time,

Poppy

xx

p.s. you can find the three previous posts about this quilt here:

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/63599622305/hexagon-crazy

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/74315915679/sexy-hexies

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/84367443052/the-1000th-hexagon

sexy hexies

I admit, only someone who has sewn 450 1 inch fabric hexagons could write that title and not immediately delete it. And I was close. But, darnit, I needed a little motivation to keep me going now that I am 1/3rd of the way through my hexagon quilt, and laid what I have so far on the dining room table. And so, yeah, I’m willing to see this as quilty porn if only for a few minutes.

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Maybe it’s no Daniel Craig stepping out of the water in Casino Royale. Or Aragorn being, well Aragorn at any moment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But compared to where I started, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going.That photo is about 470 hexagons, about 300 or so sewn together, and the rest laid out.

I first blogged about it here: https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/63599622305/hexagon-crazy, where I’ve put a wee outline of how to make a hexagon. I was totally unsure if I would like this handsewing-hexagons-round-paper-and-then-handsewing-them-together malarky. It all seemed like the most enormous faff. But then my friend brought round a gorgeous vintage hexagon quilt she’d got from Ebay, wrinkled and worn, with some of the hexagons frayed and torn but glorious, with just the right amount of fading, all in blues, neutrals, reds, a few pinks, all rather understated but so beautiful together. It was love at first sight for me. And made me want to make a hexagon quilt SO MUCH! And there it began.

Alison came round today where I showed her how to make hexagons so she can repair her quilt and start using it – they are very easy, but she was hooked and proud just as I was when I made my first one! And AGAIN did I not forget to take some photos of her quilt? I might have to take some next time and dedicate a full on post to it.

After a lot of thought about scrap quilts, random fabrics, bright, crazy, fun hexie quilt, I decided that really I might not love the result in my house and after all that work I’d want to have it out every day. So I have decided on collections from Fig Tree Quilts – I call it my Homage Quilt, as I just adore their collections. It’s actually really nice to keep them together.

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The above is “Honeysweet”. I love this collection, it’s so feminine, with a vintage feel and yet fresh modern colours. I could stand looking at a lot of this in my quilt.

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And that one was “Fig and Plum” – the first collection from Fig Tree Quilts that I saw when I first made the jump from sewing to quilting (about 3 years ago). I have a quilt in this collection already – must be a good sign that I like it! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/8625084929/in/set-72157630302286578)

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This is Butterscotch and Rose, a gentle, cottagey, warm and yet rich collection which I completely adore. I made myself a sofa quilt in this which adorns our living room sofa and looks lovely! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/8807380614/in/set-72157630302286578)

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The above is Buttercup – I have made a few baby quilts with this, but not a quilt for myself – it’s just a bit sweet for our house. It is nice though and I thought I’d like the light spots that it and “Avalon” will bring to my quilt, but looking at the whole picture, I’m not as sure anymore, when the rest of it seems so rich. I might have to rethink the buttercup, a shame, but easier to do at this stage!

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And last but certainly not least, my favourite so far is Tapestry. So lovely. Grown up, classic prints but still modern – how does that amazing Joanna Figuera do it? This has been my favourite bit of the quilt to make, so much so that I have bought myself another layer cake, to make another throw for the living room (it’s a big room and a big sofa, and looks good for the colour). It’s gorgeous!

I had intended to make all the patches a lot bigger and use about 10 collections. I’ll see but I might end up with smaller patches and more collections – an expensive quilt though, because I am cutting up a charm pack for each collection… And all to make a quilt not a lot bigger than a layer cake would yield! Sigh. Quilters are insane.

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Okidoki guys, I’m off. To sew more hexies, having been re-inspired. 2/3rds to go. Ugh, that sounded awful. 1/3rd in the bag – yay! Seems I’m a cup 1/3rd full kind of girl.

Whatever you’re up to hope you’re having fun,

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Hexagon Crazy…

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:

From Blog: http://luannkessi.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/hexagon-text-quiltborder-fabric.html

and from quilthaven.co.uk this:

From : http://quilters-haven.co.uk/blog/2013/02/show-and-tell/heaxagon-quilt-2/

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:

and 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,

Tapestry,

Buttercup,

Avalon

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,

Poppy

xx

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):

http://www.cddesigns.com/PaperPiecing/number.html