Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hexie Bug Has Bitten

I'm not usually what is called a "late adopter" in the behavioural science arena, but there have been a few times where I've pondered, and pondered again, and resisted starting projects that everyone seems to be on the bandwagon of.  I've preferred to stay with my current projects, leaning towards scrappy quilting but enjoying a variety of styles and methods, and not adding yet another new project to the pile.

The Accuquilt GO cutter was one of those things I resisted thinking it was just a gimmick (and yes now I have one and love it!).  English Paper Pieced Hexies is another one, and Dear Jane quilts yet another.  While I am still firmly entrenched in the "I'll never do a Dear Jane Quilt" camp, I am now among the thousands of people worldwide who are working on a hexie project.

By way of background...I am the proud owner of this antique quilt:

I think this was the beginning of my love affair with the hexagon.  I found this one in an antique mall in North Carolina. I cherish it.  It is all hand pieced, hand quilted and threadbare in places.

My next foray into hexagons was this quilt which is an original design:

And then a One Block Wonder which I started in 2013 at a Retreat but not yet finished:

And my Wild Child quilt:

Seeing a common theme?  All of the hexagon quilts so far are done by machine.  I guess I just never considered that I would have the time or patience to work on a hand sewn quilt project of that magnitude.

But then, in a twinkle of an eye, and more to do with the fact that I'm awaiting hip surgery and needing a sanity project not requiring a sewing machine during recovery, I converted.

It also has to do with the fact that I love the thought of slowing down and enjoying the rhythm of contemplative sewing.  Keeping my hands busy somehow releases my mind and heart.  I get some of my best insights while doing something else, be it driving, walking (when I could walk more than a block) or sewing.  It's just the way I'm wired.  And I'm good with that.

Here is the quilt that captivated me enough to consider the EPP (English Paper Piecing) hexie world:
Grit has offered this pattern free of charge on her blog:  La Passion Hexagon Quilt and it is nothing short of amazing.  And there is a facebook group where there is all the inspiration you could every need or desire:

I love Grit's blue and green but decided for my colours to use lots of different ones to look like a mosaic tile floor.  My idea was inspired by this hexie project by Brigitte Schlomer of Germany.  I saw hers on the facebook page.

There are as many approaches to hexie quilting as there are hexie quilts (ok maybe not THAT many approaches but you get my idea!).  So I asked my friends, as some of them will be doing La Passion as well.  My friend Kelli suggested buying the Fiskars hexagon punch because buying the papers is extremely cost prohibitive.  $7 for 100 around here and there are 17,250 hexagons (I think that's what Grit counted) in this quilt.  You do the math.  Can't afford to spend that much on just the hexagon papers.  I'd rather spend it on fabric.

Back to tools.  Then I saw this:

Pure genius!  Way to go Accuquilt!!  The top six hexagons on this die are for cardstock (2 stacks at a time) and the bottom six are for fabric.  And bonus - the top six hexagons are the exact size of business cards, so if you have any outdated business cards, that you've already paid for (!!!) then the paper is basically free.  And that is cool.

I think I prefer the Fiskars punch for the papers when you are doing a bunch to make a I did for a recent trip.  In fact, I cut two kits, one for me and the bigger size for my sister, who I am trying to get hooked on this as well (mission accomplished by the way).

Here are a few photos of my progress to date:

Cutting the bigger hexagons from card stock for my sister's kit

The centre starting point of my quilt

Oh so much fun!!  I did these individual flowers before attaching them to the centre piece.  Most of these were done on a flight home from the East coast of Canada to the West coast where I live.

I know it's a huge project and yes, it's quite daunting but this is a project with no deadline.  If it takes my entire remaining lifetime to get it done, then so be it!  Then what will remain is an heirloom for family and that's what's important to me.   Kinda of like the antique quilt I bought in North Carolina, maybe someday someone will have mine after I'm gone and will cherish it as much as I cherish the one I found.

Until next time,


1 comment:

  1. As to the papers, I was taught that once all the seams were sewn in a hexagon you could remove the paper. So, unless you are cutting and basting the entire quilt at the beginning, you won't need nearly as many as you figured.
    I took a sampler quilting class in 1985 and the teacher suggested using old greeting cards for the pieces. I used them in that quilt, then made a twin size all hexie which is waiting to be hand-quilted. I still have the papers in case I want to do another one.