book, quilt, quilting, quilts

Adventures in Hexagons Blog Book Tour

I’ve had my eye on Emily’s book for some time now and when I saw that her blog book tour was kicking off, I really wanted to be a part of it. Hexagons have been en vogue for some time now, and personally, I’m fascinated with all the great quilts that can be made from one shape. Hexagons are so versatile, incredibly fun, and really create dynamic, beautiful quilts.

Adventuresinhexagonscover

I’ve made one hexagon quilt (you can see it in the header image on my home page). I wish I could say I’ve made more, and will fess up to the fact that the only other EPP quilt I started to make (ahem) 8 years ago is still an unassembled mess of little hexagon shapes sitting in a box. I will get back to it, but I digress.

There are so many things that I like about this book. Emily includes instructions to machine piece AND English Paper Piece each quilt in her book so quilters have great versatility depending on comfort level, which method they prefer, etc. You can even mix methods if you are feeling wild! I like to machine piece, which explains the unfinished adventure in EPP from 8 years ago, but many of her tips and ideas work for BOTH methods, so you either way you win.

11177 Breclaw S'17

Confetti in Times Square (above) and Superstar (below) are my favorites! I love the elegant simplicity of Confetti in Times Square and in Superstar, I see something new every time I look at the quilt.

11177 Breclaw S'17

Right off the bat, I was learning things, like the difference between a rosette and a sprocket (page 4). I didn’t even know there were names for differently pieced hexagon shapes. And I like that there are quilt shapes called sprockets. I smile when I say sprocket.  Emily offers some great tips about measuring hexagons, kites, triangles, and other shapes, but my favorite tips show you how to string EPP pieces together, tie knots (much better method what I’ve done in the past), and how to cut shapes using strip piecing. It’s absolutely brilliant!

I also like how Emily discusses pressing the hexagon units. I use the same method, more or less based on the fabrics, and furling my pieces, but her rule of thumb is going to stick in my head for eternity. And that’s a good thing. It’ll stick in your head as well.

If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at making a hexagon quilt, this book is for you! If you comment on my blog you will have TWO chances to win. I will randomly pick 2 winners using random.org. One of you will get a copy of Emily’s book, and the other will get a copy of my book (continental US, only).

Be sure to check out all the blogs on the tour below. They each have some great giveaways!

July 24- C&T Publishing www.ctpub.com

July 25- Generation Q Magazine http://generationqmagazine.com/

July 27- Marti Michell https://www.frommarti.com/

July 28-Clothworks Fabrics www.clothworks.com

July 29- Cathi Godwin, https://quiltobsession.blog/

July 30- Paper Pieces , www.paperpieces.com

August  1- Mary Huey, http://maryhueyquilts.blogspot.com/

August 2- Linda Franz, www.inklingo.com

August 3- Patty Murphy, https://pattymurphyhandmade.com (you’re here)

August 4- Cheryl Sleboda, www.Muppin.com

August 5- Wendy Sheppard, https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/

August 6- Emily Breclaw, www.thecaffeinatedquilter.com

*C&T will send a hard copy to winners in the continental US and will send an electronic version to winners overseas.

quilt, Uncategorized

Feeling the Hex

Hex. As in hexagons. No witchcraft or covens around here.

I’m still (slowly) but surely making my hexagons. I have a gallon ziplock bag full of them and I’m loving the colors, especially since I’m giving my bedroom a makeover, but more on that later. The finished quilt will look great  – eventually. I’m currently deciding if I want to make it larger or, quite possibly, I’ll make three small quilts, all close in color – a little variation would be nice –  frame each quilt and hang the tryptic.

Here’s what I have so far.

 

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The Design Process

Design and art are a continual learning process. The longer I quilt the more I learn (obviously).  Lately, I’ve been trying to document my design process. I have always sort of known how my process works, but I’ve never really tried to document it – you know, how I get from conception to the finished product – on paper. Easy for someone else to understand. Something tangible for me to use to show and explain how I got there.

I have several hard cover, blank page books in my house. Most of them are pasted full of magazine clippings, how-to articles, quilts photos, recipes, you name it. I call these books my inspiration books. When I need a little inspiration I flip through my books. Some of these books have drawings in them, other quilt related sketches and design ideas. Unfortunately I typically have one drawing for any particular quilt and then I don’t document how I get from point a to point b to the finished quilt. I know how I got there but nothing is in writing. And that’s fine. Until I try to remember how or why I did something. My designs have always just come to me. I generally start with a vague idea in mind and the quilt evolves from there. No pattern, no real end product in mind. I might get inspiration from a quilt I see, some fabric or any other number of things  – the way the road curves, a rug, a photograph, a piece of art, a magazine cover – you get the idea – and often I incorporate the elements from different quilts into a quilt of my own.

I recently decided that I need to start drawing/sketching my ideas in one book so I could see how I get from beginning to end. Follow the process. Leave it as my legacy. It’s been interesting. It’s also helped get the quilt related “clutter” out of my head. Once it’s on paper I don’t really have to remember the various components I’m considering and my brain feels free.  Plus I can reference my little black book at any time. I keep it on my kitchen counter, along with the black fine point Sharpie pen, so I can just “get it out” whenever needed.

I decided that I wanted to make an English paper pieced hexagon quilt before Q man was born. I googled, looked at blogs, and other quilts to get some ideas. I spent endless hours searching and researching and I found this quilt. I immediately fell in love with it – how the colors played into each other and the quilt moved. And I LOVE Japanese quilts and fabrics!

This quilt was made by an 83 year old Japanese woman. Impressive! *

I went through my stash and pulled out all my grey, black, cream, slate and taupe fabric. I didn’t have a lot so that meant a trip to my favorite quilt shop. I spent a few hours there and ended up with about 40 fabrics in the color range I wanted. After washing and pressing the fabrics I cut a snip of each and arranged them, light to dark, on a piece of paper so I wouldn’t forget the order. I cut a million little paper hexagons and what seemed like another million little fabric hexagons. Finally! I could start my work.

I basted almost all the hexagons I’d cut and wanted to start making the parts. Each circle had a center with the next “darker” fabric in the middle.  I was happy that my sheet listing the fabrics was a good idea even though I didn’t know it at the time. My plan was to have the quilt move from one side to the other going from light to dark. Basically, I’d follow the same general design as the quilt above but instead of using blocks I’d use hexagons and they’d flow into each other which seemed reasonable since the colors moved from light to dark.

I had close to thirty of the circles made when a friend and I laid them out at the shop for the first time. I didn’t love it and I couldn’t figure out why. Sarah, the owner of Intown Quilters and lover of all quilts bright and wild not muted and neutral, noted that it was really drab. And it was. But that wasn’t what was really bothering me because I liked the colors, or so I thought.  I was getting frustrated but kept on making circles. I made a few more and laid them out on my living room floor one evening. I asked husband what he thought and he said “it looks like a bunch of little flowers”. That’s it! That’s what’s bothering me. I didn’t want all the flowers. I wanted the quilt to flow from color to color or blend and the flowers caused too much contrast. Back to the drawing board. Sort of.

I decided to add a hexagon to two sides of my circles, giving them a top and a bottom,  and making them into diamonds. After adding pieces to several more circles I once again laid the parts I had on the floor. I still didn’t love it and now I definitely didn’t like the blues and blacks.  I did, however, like the neutrals and how they played off one another when I took out all the other colors.  I liked how there wasn’t a lot of contrast between the pieces and knew that I’d really be happy with the quilt if I incorporated some very subtle pinks and purples and let all the pieces blend together.   This is when I admitted to myself that I didn’t want to make a drab grey, cream and taupe quilt.

I’ve now decided that I’m going to randomly piece the hexagons and let all the pieces blend together.  Kind of an English paper pieced scrap quilt if that sort of thing even exists.  I’m thinking once the center is finished I’ll use the diamonds along the border. But that, too, may change.

* these photos were taken by Jennifer from movinghands.wordpress.com – just making sure I give credit where credit is due –

quilt

To sew or not to sew

I haven’t had any time to sew lately. I miss my sewing room but know that this is a temporary state. When I have been so inclined to do some sewing I’ve been doing handwork. I can sew in the den at night  once the kids are in bed and I’m too tired to really focus on anything else. It’s enjoyable and relatively mindless. I now understand why my friend MLM started doing a lot of handwork when she had her second baby. He’s now in his mid twenties and she’s still addicted.

While I was pregnant with #2 I started working on an English paper pieced quilt. Ultimately the quilt will go from white to cream, blue, grey and black. I’m pretty excited about it.

I had the wherewithal to staple a scrap of each fabric choice to paper so I knew the general order I wanted them. I have forty fabrics and anywhere between ten and twelve hexagons per color. The hexagons are an inch and a half wide so the quilt won’t be huge. I couldn’t imagine making it any larger. Four hundred hexagons is a lot of hexagons.

Here’s a sneak preview.