The Storybook Hexagon Quilt is Finished!

This quilt serves as a caution against mindlessly window shopping at online fabric sites.  I had no plans to make this quilt, but as I was clicking through SuperBuzzy’s website during Christmas break, I spotted a fabric…and in a glorious instant I saw this quilt in my mind’s eye.  I quickly closed my web browser and ran away from temptation, telling myself that I had no time for making a quilt like that because I was committed to two other quilts for my children already, both seriously overdue.

But the fabric wouldn’t leave my brain.  I stewed about the idea for two whole weeks, all the while reminding myself that I did not have the time to add another quilt to my to-do list.

But then my heart got involved and started pleading with my brain to reconsider.  It was going to be a beautiful quilt, and it would be like creating art, and if I didn’t give my heart what it wanted, it refused to care about anything else.



There are three different fabrics used for the fussy cut hexagons, all of which are from Superbuzzy.  The music-themed one is Trèfle by Kokka, and then there’s a November Books print by Kokka, and a folksy print by Cosmo Textile Company.  My selvages are pretty sliced up on the last two, or I’d give you more information.

Everything else, besides the solid blue, came from the stash.  I think the gray polka dot on the back is a Riley Blake print, and the roses print is years upon years old.  (I’m tremendously helpful, aren’t I?)

The quilting is a mix between free motion and walking foot.  I stippled the string blocks, outline quilted the hexagons, straight-line quilted the white stripes, and then did FMQ scallops around the white stripes and borders of the quilt, with some feather hearts in the corners.

I’m super happy with it.  I still stand by the opinion that I did not have the time to make this, but it’s OK in the end.  Sometimes you just have to give your heart what it wants, despite logic and logistics.  My heart is pleased.

Pattern:  “Cat Tails Quilts” from Hexa Go-Go by Tacha Bruecher.

January = Cutting and basting hexagons
February = Piecing hexagon blossoms
March = Piecing string blocks, appliqueing hexagon blossoms to string blocks
April = Assembling quilt top and back (I could have gone faster on this, but I burned out a bit at this point.)
May = Quilting & binding

And that’s how you make a fussy, fussy, my-heart-won’t-settle-for-anything-else quilt.

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The Perfect Project to Kick Off Memorial Day Weekend!

Presenting the beginnings of Junebug’s quilt.  I had different plans for the quilt pattern when I committed to the project, but she got it into her head that I was going to do a “hexagon quilt” for her as well, so here I am, once again cutting out little shapes to hand stitch.

She thumbed through my various quilt pattern books and fell in love with the Travel Quilt in Quilting On The Go*, which is a big bunch of 60 degree diamonds arranged into stars and…blob box things.  (Oh yes, I’m terribly technical in my crafting descriptions!)  The top will be entirely hand pieced, which is rather intimidating; but I keep running into the problem of not having a portable project, so maybe this will be rather fantastic for me.  The Rocket Age quilt blocks are just a touch too big to tote around anymore.

Junebug loves all things American flag, so when we saw the “Star Spangled” fabric line** we were unhesitatingly sold.  I love that it is patriotic, but not in a military officer sort of way.  She’s wanted a red, white, and blue quilt all along, but I couldn’t really find a suitable array of fabrics until this line popped onto the radar.  It’s so perfect for a little person–more “summer holiday fun” whimsy than “united we stand” seriousness.  (Both of which are good, but the latter is just a touch heavy for a kindergartner’s bedroom.)  I’ve also thrown in some random fabrics from the stash, and am on the hunt for some more low volume with blue and/or aqua.

After cutting out the diamonds, I laid them out a bit to see if the idea in my head translated well into reality.  I was worried that using prints on the white stars would be a little too much, but I think we’re going to be OK in that regard, especially if I heavily quilt the colored blob-boxes and outline quilt the white stars.

Junebug is so, so pleased.  I guess it’s a rather perfect summer project.  (I call the time from Memorial Day through Labor Day “Patriotic Season” because of all the flag-flying holidays that happen during that time.)

Now for lots of basting and piecing.  Onward into summer!

*Quilting On The Go is a great book if you’re interested in learning more about English Paper Piecing.  You can also check out the author’s blog, Life Under Quilts, for more EPP inspiration.

**”Star Spangled” is designed by Doodlebug Design and distributed by Riley Blake Designs.  (I think I’ve developed a little crafting crush on Riley Blake, and their new sister line, Penny Rose Fabrics.)

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Rocket Age Hexagon Quilt Progress

I’ve been toting this project all around town–I’ve stitched at the park, I’ve stitched at Bluebird’s softball games, I’ve stitched in the car and at doctor’s appointments.  All twelve of the hexagon blossoms are complete, and I’ve moved on to piecing the string-pieced foundation blocks.  I’ve only sewn up two full blocks to applique the hexagon blossoms to, so when that second one is done I’ll have to sit back down at the sewing machine and whip up more string blocks.  Seeing that I’m actively avoiding my sewing machine in order to spend more time outside before the weather climbs into the volcanic range of temperatures, I’m not sure the next string blocks are going to happen anytime soon.  We’ll see.

I didn’t use any of the “advertisement” or “mini figures” prints in the hexagons, so they look extra special in the string piecing.  I love, love, love this fabric line!*  With Michael being the rocket scientist that he is, and doing his best to instill that love in his children; and my love for vintage and retro furnishings, this quilt is going to be so perfect for my little Monkeyboy.

It makes me laugh each time I look at the little rocket boy, stabbed in the head.  Sorry not sorry.

With the size of the full string blocks measuring in at 16.5 inches, I’m feeling a little conspicuous when I’m stitching them in public.  This might become more of an at-home project in the future.  So cute!

*The fabric line is “Rocket Age,” designed by October Afternoon and distributed by Riley Blake Designs.

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Storybook Hexagon–Final stage!

I’m going with a red polka dot binding.  It’s stitched on the front, and right now I’m pressing and pinning for its second stitching.  I’m leaning towards machine stitching the second time, rather than my usual hand stitching. I’ve not done that before, but I keep telling myself that it’s not cheating and that it will look just as good done by machine.

I think I might go back in and add another row of quilted scallops in the border.  Too much unquilted space for my liking.

I’m not a big fan of being tied to my sewing machine when the weather is nice, so this part is taking forever because I keep avoiding it so I can go outside instead.  Perhaps hand binding is in my future?  Hee hee.

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Quilting the Storybook Hexagon Quilt

I know, I’m throwing a different project at you each week!  I kept busy over the winter with a couple of things, and this little beauty is one of them.  I started piecing the hexagons in January, after I came across the ridiculously cute fabrics and couldn’t resist the idea of making something with them.

The hexagon blocks are interspersed with string-pieced blocks, and it’s really just so pretty that I waste a good five to fifteen minutes each day just gazing at it and running my hands over the quilting.
Quilting-wise, here’s what I’m planning upon doing:
  • String blocks:  Stippling with pink thread.  (Finished yesterday)
  • Hexagons:  Outline quilting with cream thread.  There’s twelve hexagon blocks and I’m finished with five of them so far.
  • White borders on hexagon blocks:  Straight outline quilting with white thread.
  • Blue outside borders on hexagon blocks:  I’m thinking about doing scallops, maybe with some sort of loop inside them to give the effect of eyelets?  I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to quilt that with blue thread or white thread.  I think the white thread would make it look more like eyelet lace coming off of the white borders.  But white thread would call attention to my quilting, which is mediocre at best…blue would hide the inconsistencies much better.  (You only get better with practice!)
  • Blue borders around perimeter of quilt:  No idea.  Blue or white thread, leaning towards blue.  Feathers?  More stippling?  Meandering flowers?  Interlocking scallops?  So many choices!
  • Maybe doing something with the blue background around the hexagons.  Blue thread, stretchy loops extending from hexagons out the edges.  If I have time and decide it would be good.  I don’t want to overdo the quilting; leaving that alone might make the hexagons “pop” a little better.

This is the first time I’ve quilted something I truly cared about, so it’s been a little nerve-wracking.  I’m still very new to free-motion quilting, so I’m forcing myself to keep soldiering on and not fret over every little imperfection.  “Done is better than perfect,” is my mantra, which I’ve adopted from Christina Cameli, whose book First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting infused me with the knowledge and courage to tackle this skill.  I’ll get better as I practice more, and this quilt is very nice with my skills where there are right now.  Just be happy.  🙂

ETA:  Silly me!  Some of you are asking for a full shot of the completed quilt top, so here it is, via my Instagram account.

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