Saturday, June 1, 2024

Hexie Harvest Quilt

This is the story of my Hexie Harvest Quilt - which was finished mid June 2023, almost 12 months ago. I was delighted when Jodi of Tales of Cloth invited me in September 2022 to be one of her volunteers to share about this beautiful sampler quilt for her 2023 quilt-along.

The pattern (one of many from Jodi's Hexie Handbook) calls for seven each of 15 different block designs, although I must admit I included more of my favourite blocks and fewer of others. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the different block options and seeing how well they played together. 

Work in progress, I found the templates very useful too

So many beautiful block designs to stitch

Experimenting with colour placement in my Lilly Pilly blocks

Plenty of opportunity for fussy cutting in the Rosemallow design

As the design is somewhat busy, I opted for the version which incorporated joining triangles, allowing some space between each block, as well as selecting mostly light-mid saturated fabrics, including many solids. Each block finishes as a 3" hexagon.

The Hexie Harvest Quilt proved to be a fun quilt to make with lots of opportunity for exploration and plenty of variety to maintain interest. I let myself stitch blocks randomly, rather than completing all seven of each design together, making the experience more playful and all around enjoyable.

When it came time to quilt, I chose to hand quilt, using DMC Perle 8 thread in white. Initially I outline quilted inside each triangle only, however after binding and washing I decided it needed to little more to so I hand quilted a little circle in the middle of each block, using a small lid as a template.

After much deliberation, I decided to use the same fun eucalyptus print for the binding as I had for the backing. I didn't want to choose just one colour for the binding as I felt it may set the tone of the quilt.

I finished my Hexie Harvest Quilt at 11 rows of nine blocks each, slightly smaller than Jodi's 11 rows of 10 blocks each. Measuring 55" x 57.5" (140cm x 146cm), it's a very useful lap size quilt, one to brighten any day.

The Hexie Harvest papers, templates, triangles and pattern are all still available in Jodi's shop as I write this.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Gradient Baby Quilt #1

2023 saw our family enter a wonderful new season with the safe arrival of our first grandchild. With our five oldest 'children' now married (2017, 2019, 2020, 2021 and  2022) it came as very welcome news that a grandchild was to be expected in May 2023.

Baby quilts are an inviting size to make - not too big, not too small. After much consideration I settled on making a gradient I spy quilt, inspired by the amazing quilts of House of Taiga. This quilt would be both machine sewn and quilted with the intention that it would be heavily used and frequently machine washed. In addition I hoped it would be of ongoing use and interest (tummy-time fun) to the baby/child while also being pleasant to look at. The plan was to choose a design which can be used as a base idea for a quilt for each future grandchild - yet also allow for adjustment according to baby's gender and each new family's uniqueness of lifestyle and passions.

Soon after a gender reveal on Christmas Day 2022, I began searching through my current fabrics, our local Spotlight (fabric and homewares shop) and various online shops for suitable 'boy fabrics'. I was soon busy cutting 5" squares, and I thought I may as well cut four squares while each fabric was on the cutting mat, simultaneously creating a little stack of squares for next time. Over the course of several weeks, I reached my goal of a minimum of 99 different fabrics.

With ironing board butted up against our dining table, the layout was fine-tuned, producing the desired gradient effect. Eleven rows of nine squares. Each row was carefully sewn together, then the rows into pairs, then pairs together etc, until the quilt top was complete. The actual construction was very quick at this stage - compared to my recent quilts which were all larger and completely hand sewn.

For extra security I machine quilted along each seam as well as diagonally each way. I must admit I was somewhat fussy with thread colours, switching threads several times to blend with the fabric squares, even it meant changing threads midway through a quilting line. It just added that little bit of extra love into an otherwise rather simple quilt design.

The quilt was finished in time to gift on the day of our daughter's baby shower in early March - and has been well loved by the new parents as well as Baby B, which makes me a very happy quilting Nana 😊

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Blue Hexagons Quilt 💙

Three years ago (November 2019) I began thread basting some favourite fabrics onto 11/4" hexagons, a wonderfully relaxing way to play with fabric. Soon I had quite a collection, and despite experimenting on several occasions with various arrangements, I couldn't settle on a design which felt right. My beautiful hexies were relegated to a container for safe keeping while I worked on other projects.

Early June 2020 Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts shared her finished Hexagon Stash Buster Quilt in Blues. It looked so good - and I was instantly inspired to start something similar with the blue hexies I already basted. Searching through my fabric collection I soon discovered I had more blues than any other colour, which was a bonus for a quilt like this.

I quickly put together a compact kit to keep me basting and stitching. Following the same technique as Rita, I was constructing interlocking blocks of 16 hexies each. I  use a traditional hand whip stitch when joining my pieces together on an English Paper Piecing (EPP) like this.

I worked on these blocks intermittently, with added enthusiasm following the addition of any new fabrics. However I found the random nature of the blocks not so enticing, so instead I more often gravitating to my other sewing projects.

Then in February this year Rita shared her version of the Treehouse Hexagon Quilt Project, a quilt designed by Emma of Treehouse Textiles. This design has a wonderful balance of structure and freedom. Varying slightly from Emma's original design, I reimagined my blue hexagons quilt and have thoroughly enjoyed stitching many blocks, each with their own differences amongst a basic structural criteria.

A couple of times I thought I had completed all blocks needed, however on closer inspection the colour balance needed more aqua. Following that adjustment, I conceded that it really needed to be longer to become a useful bed quilt for either a full/double bed or a queen size. Two more rows of blocks were created.

Then it was time to create the lighter coloured half-sized blocks to give provide pleasing edges topped bottom.

Now it was time to finish sewing the blocks together and pop the papers out from the back.

For the batting/wadding I selected Quilters Dream Cotton batting in white. It is a lightweight batting, making it more suitable for our warmer climate and less bulky to wash. It is the only cotton batting I have found which is truly white, something I was particularly looking for to support the white base of this quilt. 

After a long-time debate with myself about how (by machine or by hand) I should quilt this large quilt, especially as it was spring by this time, I decided to hand quilt with DMC Cebelia 'crochet cotton' 30 thickness in white (B5200). This is the same thread I chose to quilt my most recent finish, Fresh flowers Quilt. By outline quilting each centre, hexie flower and around each block, it has highlighted the quilt design and created a subtle texture. A mostly cool spring has made the quilting a joy.

And now finally, it is finished and ready to be used on a bed. I had no idea my initial hexies would end up looking like this - and I am delighted! 

Quilt Details

Blue Hexagons Quilt

Design eventually based on Treehouse Textiles Hexagon Quilt Project 

90" x 77"

228cm x 195cm

Tentatively started November 2019

Completed November 13th 2022

1 1/4"hexagon papers

Thread basted

Quilters Dream Request100% Cotton Batting in White - queen size

Hand quilted with DMC Cebelia 'crochet cotton' #30 in white (B5200) 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Fresh Fields Quilt


Motivated by the desire for a portable holiday project, and a hope for better times ahead, I settled on a one inch hexagon English Paper Piecing (EPP) quilt. This was December 2013, mid-summer. The cool colour palette was refreshing in the heat and inspired by the paint scheme of a home which has since been demolished to make way for the new Grafton Bridge.

Each summer since then, I have gravitated to this long term project - it was easy to pick up again and always seemed appealing on long hot days. With no plans for the finished size, I kept stitching and adding new fabrics to the mix.

Eventually it was time to start stitching hexie flowers into trios, which fitted perfectly into plastic pastry storer containers. In time, they were sewn into rows, which could be safely kept wrapped around the cardboard from empty fabric bolts.

It seemed to be the never-ending quilt, and over the years since 2013, our older five children have all left home and my husband's health has had many monumental twists and turns. In 2018 life brought major changes and we are now very happily located in a delightful coastal area. In many ways, the name of this quilt has been prophetic, as we now find ourselves in fresh and pleasant fields in many respects.

After completing my Sunshiny Day Quilt in August I decided it was time to focus on this quilt and bring it to completion. I set a deadline of trying to have it ready to use this summer. It took a lot of determination to finally piece it together, filling in the gaps and edges, removing and relocating some hexie flowers in the process, to create a cohesive, usable rectangle. With the addition of an outer border, it would become perfect for our queen size bed.

For batting/wadding I chose Quilters Dream 100% cotton in white. The white batting keeps the cool white/blue tones of the quilt top true to colour. Being a thin cotton wadding, it would be easy to hand quilt and create the perfect weight for a summer quilt. 

Following much mental debating, I decided it deserved to be hand quilted, hoping to make considerable progress before the heat of summer made hand quilting unpleasant. It took less than one ball of DMC Cebelia #30 in white for the quilting. Primarily marketed as a crochet cotton, it is smooth, shiny and most importantly, very strong. When I had quilted the EPP centre of the quilt, I trimmed the edges and attached the binding, enabling me to finish the border quilting lines exactly at the binding line. It also made the large quilt much more conducive to handling.

Yesterday I finished the hand quilting. This brings nine summers of casual stitching to a satisfying finale. Fresh Fields now looks delightfully at home on our bed, ready to serve us well for many summers ahead.

Quilt Details

Fresh Fields Quilt (my own design)

90" x 86"

228cm x 218cm

Started December 2013

Completed November 2021

1" hexagon papers

Sewline glue pen for basting

Quilters Dream Request 100% Cotton Batting in White - queen size

Cebelia #30 DMC cotton in white used for hand quilting

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