(This quilt was started on May 29, 2019)
This quilt is currently a work in progress, so please be prepared for a lot of loose threads *wink*.
It started with a batik jelly-roll I found the roll in a discount home goods store. I fell in love with the colors, but I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I’ve made jelly roll quilts before. They are fast and easy. But I wanted more of a challenge this time. I bought the roll and searched through Pinterest and Google Images for ideas. I found lots beautiful quilts, but nothing that spoke to me.
One day, I was invited to my friend house for her sewing circle. Some of these women are teachers too, so these are my people! I FOUND MY TRIBE!
While there, I showed everyone a quilt that Mama had recently gifted me. I am planning to restore it:
*More on this quilt at a later time*
The women in this sewing circle commented on the stories that it must hold and offered their help and expertise in the restoration process. It was at this time that I noticed many were working on quilts with paper all over them. Confused, I asked about them and they told me about EPP (english paper piecing). I hadn’t heard of this before, but it’s been around sine the 1770s. I had to try it, and I could use what I learn from hand stitching everything to help restore the above quilt.
For now, the antique quilt is ‘folded up’ and put away (although you might catch glimpses of it in other photos).
Inspired by my new found tribeswomen, I decided to so some EPPing. I chose to use the batik jelly-roll. I chose to do a quilt entirely from hexagons. I knew it was going to be a very long
arduous boring process, but I was down for it! I found this hexagon template from The Willow Market. The template is labeled as a 2 inch hexagon, but I believe it is actually a 1 inch hexagon??? I could be wrong. This became an issue later…
In the beginning of EPPing I was stitching the fabric to the paper, but when I returned to the sewing circlea few months later, someone tossed me their glue stick and said, “here this will save you some time.” Which it did! I went from stitching 5 hexies in 20 minutes to gluing 20 hexies in 20 minutes! PRODUCTIVITY, PEOPLE!!!
Making great strides in quantity production, I began to think more about the layout.
Now, I LOVE Tetris and I’m a master at jenga-ing the camping gear into our car, but this puzzle of a quilt was tough to figure out. Maybe it was because I had too many possibilities? As I prepared more and more hexies, I tried various layouts:
My first thought was to keep all of the hexies from the same cut together. Maybe I could create a watercolor effect? But once I completed enough strips, I realized that some of the colors of the hexies just didn’t lend themselves to color cascading. I could make 4 of the sides work, but not all 6 sides. I could make those edge pieces, but that’s more edge pieces an inner……*voice trails off*
Maybe the watercolor design would work, and I just needed to be patient and keep prepping hexies? I dunno.
“Just keep prepping, Just keep prepping. Prepping, prepping, prepping….”
Organization was another thing to consider. I’ve seen people keep them nicely organized in a box. But I needed a way to keep them organized by the fabric without confusion. Again, I’m not a fan of using so much plastic. But I needed something durable enough to be handled and moved around. Plastic sandwich bags kept all pieces safely enclosed, and I marked the outside with #of hexies, and tried to arrange the hexies in order from where they were on the original strip.
A little further along in the hexie prep and I decided to try another layout:
I guess, but it still wasn’t working for me. I didn’t have the same number of hexies for each row. I would have to “borrow” hexies from other baggies because the color worked. But in most cases (along the ends), there are “filler” hexies. Meh. Not impressed. But Let’s reserve that “borrowing” thought for a later time!
Batik fabric was proving to be an issue with the layout. Due to the nature of the fabric, I would probably have to do some serious
reconfiguring “borrowing” of the hexies to get a decent design. But I didn’t want a decent design, and I didn’t want to just toss them all in a bag and attach them at random. I wanted a sense of purpose for this design… a sense of flow…
How about a serpent-y type movement of color? A spiral design was also suggested:
As I was wrapping up prepping the hexies, I was getting curious as to how close I was to having a good sized quilt. I believe I had around 600. At this point I had more than 1,000 hexies! I found a website that helps calculate the number of hexies needed for whatever size quilt you want. I set the calclator to use 2 inch hexies (remember…?) and found out that for a twin bed size (28x75in) quilt, I needed (drum roll)….only 260 hexies??? Wait… that doesn’t seem right. Let’s try plugging in the numbers for a 1 inch hexie…yep, that’s more like it, 1,069 hexies needed.
Guess I had more prepping!
At this point, I was leaning towards the spiral design and wanted a contrasting fabric to make the colors pop. I should have just bought 1 “solid” batik, but did I? Nope. I saw this other jelly roll, and before I knew it was was chirpily in the checkout line.
I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if it was 2 serpents??? YEAH! Have there be a colorful serpent and a grayscale one coiled together!!!” *wide eyes and huge grin*
*looks down and shakes head disappointingly* Oh, Shannon, why do you make things so difficult for yourself? ˙ǝƃuǝllɐɥɔ ɐ ǝʞᴉl I ǝsnɐɔǝq
For a reference I pulled out my “Crumbs on the Stairs” quilt and jotted down the measurements (47×47 in).
With over 1,000 hexies, I’m still not convinced I have enough for a twin sized quilt. I have a feeling it will end up being around the same size as “Crumbs on the Stairs”. Which is still a good size (47x47in). But whatever, I didn’t want to get too wrapped up in dimensions. I was more concerned with honing my hand-quilting skills.
Now that the hexies are all prepped, I can finalize the layout!
As I began to move pieces around I found out that I didn’t like the spiral idea. It just wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t feeling. I was too stuck on keeping all hexies from one cut together. I put it all away and left it on a shelf for a couple of weeks.
As I continued searching for a layout, I found this one and I said, “Ahoy! ‘hoy! There she is!!!”
“Hex on the Beach” by Tula Pink. Tula Pink is UH-MAY-ZING!
Check out some of these other “Hex on the Beach” quilts:
I didn’t need the kit, just the overall idea. I hope Tula Pink is OK with me borrowing this quilt idea. Mine isn’t going to be exactly like hers, but I think it will still work.
Satisfied with my new layout, I set to work actually laying it out!
Closer! I the idea is there ,but it needs some polishing. I love the design, but the colors just aren’t working where I am puttting them.
I had recently watched this video from Just Get It Done Quilts. I had always wondered about color theory, how to use a color wheel, and how this information can improve my fabric selection for quilts and clothes.
I downloaded her Color Wedges and made sure my printer had full cartridges of ink (don’t let low ink distort the color wedges).
After printing, I opened the bags of hexies again and reorganized them base on color:
Let’s try that again:
Now we’re cooking!
Time to move to the floor.
There we have it! I love it!
Now, how to get it off of the floor so I don’t have to kick my family out of the living room for the next 2 years?
Starting at the bottom of the quilt, I labeled each row in a red washable marker from 1-32, and each hexagon going across the row 1-24 or 25 in blue.
I assume from here on out it is going to be much of the same thing, row after row. I will try to take pictures occasionally so you can be updated on the progress of this quilt!
“Just keep stitching. Just keep stitching. Stitching. Stitching. Stitching….”