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Archive for March, 2011

With my hexagon quilt top slowly chugging along I decided to turn my attention to the quilt back. Originally I was going to piece the leftover hexagons on a mostly solid background, however, there were two problems with that idea. 1) I don’t want to sew anymore hexagons together and 2) I don’t have enough of any one solid to cover the rest of the back.

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But I still had the challenge of using the hexagons and solid fabrics that I already own.

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I didn’t make it intentionally straight or wonky so it ended up mostly straight and when I had used up all the hexagon fabric I squared it up and added a cream border.

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Then I needed to cover the rest of the quilt back. The obvious solution was a single solid fabric with the pieced square placed slightly off center, I thought a dark red would have been very dramatic and made the colors in the pieced square pop. That is if I had enough of a dark red fabric in my stash which I didn’t.

I knew that I had alot of gray fabric left over from my brother’s quilt so I pulled them all out (four in total) and started piecing them together. I was so close to having enough gray to do it too! When I fell short I covered the remaining area with one of the fabrics I used for hexagons. I hadn’t cut it all into hexagons because it was one of the few from the original stack that I really loved and I wanted to keep some of. But it was also the best solution to the fabric shortage for the back of the quilt…

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Overall I really like how it turned out, the pieced back adds more interest then one solid fabric. I was also able to use up almost all of my original fabric (since I didn’t really like the fabric anymore this was one of my goals) and pull the remaining fabric for the quilt from my stash. While I found the hexagons tedious to piece, I really had to force myself to work on them, piecing the back was a lot of fun. I put as much time into the piecing half the hexagons together as I did the entire back but only really enjoyed the latter. To me that’s the difference between tedious and time consuming.

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I didn’t have a plan for the size of this quilt. Instead I cut 90% of the fabric up and started playing around with the hexagons on the floor. Since I had dramatically different amounts of each fabric I stopped when I felt like I didn’t have enough variety to continue. Initially I was going to do something on the back of the quilt with the remaining hexagons but having pieced 5 rows together I have no desire to piece any more hexagons then necessary! The remaining hexagons will go into the scrap bin or be cut into squares for a pieced back.

Deer Valley Hexagons

Don’t get me wrong Y seams aren’t hard, the only real trick is stopping 1/4 inch from each edge when sewing them together. The problem is that doing so makes the process quite tediuos. Normally when piecing straight lines the rows go together quickly and the quilt picks up momentum but with Y seams and hexagons piecing the rows together is actually more time consuming then sewing the hexagons into a row.

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I love making baby quilts, I get to use fun colors and interesting designs but on a much more manageable scale then an adult sized quilt. But until now I have never finished a quilt before the baby was born. Usually I shoot for finishing them before the baby turns one but I routinely miss that deadline as well… I “justify” it by saying that parents taste tends to change after the baby is born and that as the baby grows things that are cute when they are newborn are too cutesy even a year later so really I’m doing parents a favor by waiting. Plus babies gets tons of blankets when they are born so my quilts don’t get lost in the crowd if I wait. But really I just haven’t been able to get the time and creative energy to make a quilt before a baby was born even if I had seven months notice!

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So when my SIL announced her pregnancy at Thanksgiving and said that although they didn’t know the gender they were firmly decided on the colors I knew I needed to get working right away. My original plan was to make two quilts and then give her the gender appropriate one. Luckily for me I worked on the boy quilt first and while I was still working on it she found out she is having a boy. Unluckily for me once they knew the gender and started shopping they completely changed the colors of the nursery… I knew there were good reasons to wait!! But when she changed her colors the quilt was 2/3 done and TH really loves it and since it’s his sister’s child she is getting this quilt! I never expected it to be the crib quilt anyway so the dark brown of this quilt will lend itself well to being used on the floor so the baby can lay, roll, and eventually crawl around a bit. I also think though appropriate for a newborn it is sophisticated enough to be used for a couple years. But from here on out I think I’m going back to “waiting” (procrastinating) until babies are born before making a quilt.

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This past week that stack of fabric became this stack of hexagons

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I’ve been observing the hexagon trend for almost a year now and bought the plastic template about six months ago. The fabric is mostly Deer Valley by Joel Dewberry with some Del Hi thrown in to mix things up. Originally I purchased these to make a cross quilt from my husband but I could never settle on a design and he wasn’t in love with the colors so I threw that idea out entirely and decided to finally try out a hexagon quilt. Once it is done I’m going to donate it so someone else can enjoy the fabric and a handmade quilt and I can try out a new technique. I’d like to make more quilts for donation this year, hopefully six or more!

I also want to use more fabric from my stash. I don’t think my stash is to out of hand but I do have fabrics that were purchased months or years ago for a specific project and either I haven’t started the project or I started it and decided I didn’t like it so I stopped. Ideally I want all these “orphaned” fabrics to find their way into quilts before I make any more large fabric purchases.

I imagine this whole project is going to take me awhile since I’ve never tried Y seams before. The trick, apparently, is sew to 1/4 in from each edge so the seams lie flat. Since I’m not very good at eyeballing distances I’m actually marking half of my hexgons so I have a guide when I sew everything together. Let me tell you marking 1/4 in from each edge on a hexagon takes a long time!

What are you working on this week?

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I’m not a single girl and haven’t been for awhile now but I fell in love with Denyse Schmidt’s Single Girl Pattern shortly after I started quilting. I spent over a year collecting fabrics but when I finally got to sew it together it looked horrible! I tried to just live it with it and finish it but the Single Girl Support Group was the kick in the pants I needed to pull out the seam ripper and take this quilt top from this

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Back down to arcs and then reassembled to this

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See how much flatter it lays now? Instead of using the edge as a guide for my stiches I drew a 1/2 in seam allowance and then stiched along that resulting in a much better fit between the blocks that form the rings.

I have 11 of of the 12 rings assembled so now I just need to reassemble the rows. It was a lot of work but it will be much easier to quilt now and I feel much happier with how it is coming together. For a quilt that takes so much time I definitely want to love it when it is done!

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