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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It Begins: Rocket Age Quilt for Monkeyboy

We finally broke down and bought a bunk bed for Junebug and Monkeyboy, and I have it perfectly pictured, in my mind’s eye, how I want their room to look when it’s clean and prettified.  (Hint:  Not like how it looks now!)

Part of that ideal look includes handmade quilts on each of their beds, made by their loving mommy.  Here’s the first half of that dream, in progress:

I need to make twelve of these little hexagon blossoms, and so far I’ve made…nine, I think.  (Writing this post during recess, there’s no time for details!)  I am head over heels in love with English Paper Piecing!  It’s my new knitting–it’s portable!  That’s always been my bone of contention with quilting–you can’t take it places with you.  BUT NOW I CAN!!!

Isn’t the fabric the cutest?  (I adore the little squat robot!)  It’s the “Rocket Age” collection distributed by  Riley Blake Designs.  I’ve also thrown in a few scraps from Riley Blake’s “One for the Boys,” and scraps from Michael’s worn-out work shirts.  I’ve wanted to make a quilt from his old work shirts for FOREVER.  So happy, happy about this project!

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Storybook Hexagon Quilt Update

The kicker about a craft blog is that you need to craft in order to have something worth blogging about.  When I’ve come upon some free time over the past month, I’ve asked myself, “Get ahead on the quilt, or write about the quilt?”  I’ve chosen getting ahead each time.

And it’s been working quite well for me.  I’m in the home stretch of finishing the top!  The twelve blocks above are, as of this morning, complete and sewn together, and I just finished sewing the first strip of sashing to one side.  Unfortunately, I noticed a little twinge of pain in my left wrist as I was helping the bulk of the quilt top along the side of my sewing machine, so I decided to take a break and let it all rest for the rest of today.  And that, my friends, is a great time to start writing about the quilt!

At one point of assembly I got so tired of messing things up
that I started posting reminder photos of the measurements
I was aiming for on my Facebook page.  I imagine my
non-crafty FB friends think I have issues.

I counted up all the different fabrics being used–there are twenty seven different fabrics at play in this project.  The hexagons hail from three different prints I picked out at superbuzzy.com, and everything but the powder blue background fabric are bits and pieces from the stash and random fat quarters I’ve bought as I’ve found them appealing.  The design of the top is almost word-for-word the cover quilt of Hexa-go-go, except with some serious shrinking down–the “full” blocks of the cover quilt measure in at 16 inches, while these are 11 inches.  The hexagons are one-inch hexagons, lovingly hand-basted and stitched by yours truly.

I really should have just bought the entire bolt of the powder blue fabric when I found it, four stores into my quest.  Powder blue is not an easy color to find in shops right now, all the light blues lean towards aqua and turquoise.  I’m being exceptionally frugal with my limited amount of powder blue fabric, despite having already made a second trip to the fabric store and knowing that I could return and get more if I ran out.  It’s become a “thing” now, and I’m dedicated to the idea of NOT needing more powder blue fabric.  I’m even going to do a pieced back in order to conserve some powder blue.  There’s lots of red and pink strings leftover from piecing the blocks, so I’ve pieced a long row of them to break up the back of the quilt.  Depending on how much powder blue I have left, I might piece together some more rows.

Wanna see my favorite photo of quilt progress thus far?  Here it is:

My kids have learned what the term “photo bombing” means, and so now they take any opportunity to try it out, especially when it involves crafts.  (I think they’re trying to send me a message.)

One of my friends stopped to chat with me on the sidewalk this past week, and she mentioned that she absolutely loved watching for update photos of the quilt on Facebook.  She then told me that she had no idea how I was going to be able to choose which one of my girls as owner of the finished project, and that, if it were her, she’d just frame the thing and put it up on the wall as the art it was.  Talk about flattered!

What’s funny about it all is that I was having the same thoughts about it!  Not about who to give it to, because that was already decided when I started, but the thing about it being “art.”  When I saw the fabric at superbuzzy.com, a vision of this quilt appeared in my mind’s eye, and I was a goner.  I tried to talk myself out of it because I knew it would be time-intensive, and I already have some big ol’ time-intensive projects geared up to go in the queue, but I just couldn’t shake this project from my heart.  I had to make it.  So I plunged into it with boldness and a giddy sort of fearlessness that comes to me but rarely.  I feel like an artist, painting broad swathes of color across a blank canvas and being utterly enchanted with the result.  This has been a joy to create.  I totally love it.

Which is good, because the next quilt on my list is this all over again…but on a bigger scale.  I’ve learned some good things working on this rendition that will make the next one have neater seam matches, which I’m glad about.

So I while I feel I should apologize for the severe lack of blog posts that are happening on this lil’ blog o’ mine, I feel like it would be silly and insincere.  I’m busy creating art; which takes time, concentration, and applied effort–which are in short supply whilst juggling the demands of life.

How blessed we are to be able to do the things that bring us joy.

Linking Up!
Monday Morning Star Count

Storybook Hexagons!

 

I am utterly smitten with this project.  I came across some super cute fabric with storybook and folksy prints at Super Buzzy, and I could not contain myself.  I had to have it.  So I bought it, with plans to make fussy-cut hexagons for a child’s quilt.

I love this fabric.  There’s three different prints in these photos: a storybook print with stamps and German words, a Scandinavian folk art-style print, and a print of music students with little berets–so French!  It’s a multicultural hexie extravaganza quilt!

I finished piecing the hexagon “blossoms” this morning, and I’m spending whatever free time I can find cutting up fabric for the rest of the blocks.  I’m leaning towards a red, pink, and aqua color theme–definitely feminine, but not in-your-face with the pink, because a lot of moms don’t like that for some reason.  (I’m not one of those moms, but I do also enjoy a non-traditional take on “girl” colors.)

I do not currently possess any fabric that I like for the background of the appliques, so my hands are tied until I can make a trip to the fabric store.  I’m cutting strips for string piecing until that time.  I am so excited for this quilt!

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Mom’s Dance Party of Horror

I was doing so well yesterday.  I was teaching, I was answering questions, and I was engaging in witty banter with my beloved offspring all while trimming down some hexies to baste.  Voila!  Lots of  hexies, and school going along on schedule to boot.

My inner celebratory dance spasmed into consciousness, knocking over the can of Diet Coke I had been enjoying but a moment beforehand.  Knocking over the can directly onto my fresh-faced hexies.  Knocking over the can so violently that the carbonation went out of control and spewed Diet Coke all over everything in its vicinity.

Hexies, chairs, worksheets, notions case, everything in the notions case.  Tidal waves of Diet Coke surging outward and destroying everything in its path.

Good feeling gone.

I didn’t freak out; I calmly dealt with the offensive can of explosive horror, wiped everything up, and then commenced with watching my once-starched hexagons curl up and peel away from their freezer paper templates throughout the remainder of the day.

This is what happens when moms dance, even just “pretending” in their heads.  Heed the warning.  Lock it up.

Hopefully Diet Coke washes out, and hopefully freezer paper re-adheres…everything was going so well yesterday.  Until it wasn’t.

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Green & Pink Hexie Applique

The long sides of my little bag are pieced, and now I’m working on appliqueing the teeny hexie strips to their proper places.  I decided to go with the hopscotch print for the main fabric of the bag because I just love it so much, it should be the main fabric, right?  Let’s just hope my girls don’t think that the bright pink earmarks it as only appropriate for the under-thirty crowd.

I do my handwork while listening to my kids recite their various school facts, or else I go insane sitting and listening to the things I recited as a young school child.  (The brain can only take so much–when you start in on the third kid’s schooling, you’re just kind of done.)  BUT, during my second grader’s math lesson, these little hexagons came in handy:

It was a lesson on angles, and she’d forgotten how many angles a hexagon had.  Hee hee.  Crafty teacher mama for the win!

Linking up with the Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts, and Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Pink and Green Baby Hexie Strips

I’ve stumbled across the Monday Morning Star Count over at Jessica Alexandrakis’ blog, Life under Quilts, and I couldn’t resist sharing my little hexie project-in-progress:

They’re little, teeny half-inch hexagons that will embellish the side of a project bag found in Hexa Go-Go by Tacha Bruecher.  (Sorry, Jessica, for name-dropping on someone else’s hexie book–but rest assured, your hexie book is on my shopping list!)  The fabric is just completely random scraps I found in the bottom of a stash box.

It was the Life Under Quilts and A Few Scraps blogs that first introduced me to the idea of English Paper Piecing/hexagon quilting last year.  (Ironic that my first hexie book wasn’t Quilting on the Go…)  The idea’s been sitting in the back of my mind since, and then I saw Hexa Go-Go at the fabric shop I visited with my bestie over Christmas break, saw the author’s little blurb about how hexagons were “quilting’s answer to knitting,” and I decided that it was time to learn.  Lack of portability has been my main reason to avoid sewing and quilting all these years, and portability is one of the reasons why I love knitting so much.  I’m no stranger to crafting in public, and I’d love to include sewing and quilting in my arsenal of portable crafting!

Making hexies is fun.  It’s super simple and they come together really quick, and they’re way, way cute.  I’m planning to make my son’s upcoming “big boy bed” quilt with some sort of hexagon design element because I love the technique so much.

I’m trying to decide on the fabrics for the rest of the bag, so my sewing desk looks like this:

Too much cute!  (And can you tell that I mostly make things for little girls?)