How to Measure a Year: “What the Hex” Finished Quilt

One year ago I started working on a twin-size quilt for my friend, Rommy, as part of an art exchange. She selected a set of aqua and green fabrics I had in my stash to use for her quilt. This quilt was full of firsts for me. I used new (to me) techniques: cutting triangles, piecing hexagons and sewing y-seams.

Finished twin-size

Finished twin-size “What the Hex” quilt (photographed on a queen size bed)

Binding Detail

Binding Detail

While piecing did not take long, the actual quilting took a few months. Between the 1/4″ spacing, stopping and turning, each unique hexagon took approximately 2 hours to complete.

Quilting Detail

Quilting Detail

Border Quilting Detail

Border Quilting Detail

The backing fabric came from a cotton shower curtain I rediscovered on a trip back to AZ. I thought the feminine print was a nice contrast to the geometric front. While it was wide enough, I had to piece in a bit for the length.  The only quilting difficulty came from keeping it smooth enough and preventing fabric tucks.

Backing fabric upcycled from cotton shower curtain

Backing fabric upcycled from cotton shower curtain

I also now understand the appeal of whole-cloth quilting. I love how the back shows off the intricate quilting design.

Walking foot quilting detail

Straight line quilting done with walking foot

Straight line quilting border detail

Straight line quilting border detail

After finishing the quilt, I decided to make two coordinating pillow shams from the scraps.  Embracing the “work with what you’ve got” philosophy, I used scrap batting in both shams and a plain white pillow case for the backing. Don’t tell my husband that I’ve started scrounging in the linen closet to supplement my quilting addiction.

Scrappy Pillow Shams

Scrappy Pillow Shams

I also made a hand embroidered label, mainly to cover up part of the backing that creeped up while quilting. It was the first time I ever tried hand embroidery and the first time I ever made a quilt label.

For Rommy | <3 Carrie 2015

For: Rommy | ❤ Carrie 2015

This has been my favorite quilt to date and I am a bit sad to give this one away. I take solace in knowing it will be going to a good home and be well-loved (and used) by Rommy.

Now to not-so-humble brag. Linking-up like crazy to:
Needle & Thread Thursday @My Quilting Infatuation
Sew Cute Tuesday @Blossom Heart Quilts
Show & Tell Tuesday @I Have to Say
Too Cute Tuesday @Funky Polkadot Giraffe
Can I get a Whoop Whoop?!?! @Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Link-a-Finish Friday @Richard and Tanya Quilts
Thank God It’s Finished Friday @Simply Pieced
Finish It Up Friday @Crazy Mom Quilts
Quilt for Keeps

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Gallery

Bringing Hex-y Back

As promised, I have a WIP Wednesday update on my “What the Hex” quilt!

The back was pieced together in December using an old cotton shower curtain from either Cost Plus World Market or Pier1 Imports (it’s been so long since I purchased it, I can’t remember where it came from). When making the top I had no idea what I would use for backing. Then on a trip home to Phoenix, I discovered the (future) backing sitting in one of my craft boxes stored under the bed.

Turns out, just a little strip was needed to add to the length. The teal, green and blues in the damask design match perfectly with the aquas and greens in the top. I also like the bit of juxtaposition of a very feminine and organic pattern on the back contrasted with the geometric design of the front.

Quilt back from old cotton shower curtain

Quilt back from old cotton shower curtain

Superbowl Sunday was spent basting; my least favorite part of the process. Had I been smarter, I would have used our nice new big kitchen table. Instead I did it on the floor (and with the help of Berna).

My "helper"

My “helper”

As much as I think I have basted enough, I find my quilts can always use more

As much as I think I have basted enough, I find my quilts can always use more

Finally! The front basted together

Finally! The front basted together

Frustrating part, because this was a lightweight cotton shower curtain, manipulating the backing to be smooth under the batting was near impossible.  You can see one part where the backing was too loose and sewed a fold.

This drives me nuts to no end! But not enough to rip out the quilting and do it again...

This drives me nuts to no end! But not enough to rip out the quilting and do it again…

For the actual quilting pattern, I had sketched out some ideas but really had no set plan.  Still too scared to try free-motion quilting, I have been using my trusty walking foot and a 1/4″ spacing all around.

I started with a center hexagon and have worked my way out in a somewhat circular pattern. Each hexagon has been quilted with a different design using a white cotton thread.  Overall the designs blend well into the quilt top.

Center hexagon that I started with

Center hexagon that I started with

See how well the thread blends?

See how well the thread blends?

My favorite part of the quilt has actually become the backing. I love the texture that has developed as the quilting has progressed.

Love the texture that has developed

Love the texture that has developed

I estimate I am about 40% done with the quilting on this one.  I have been averaging a hexagon a day since starting. Hopefully it will be finished before the end of the month so I can get this project checked off the list and give it to its future owner!

On a somewhat related WIP Wednesday topic, my husband and I are in the middle of a puzzle of Monument Valley, AZ. I picked it out because it was a piece of home. It has also been a very challenging project and we will be happy to have finished!

WIP Puzzle holding our kitchen table hostage!

Holding our kitchen table hostage!

Gallery

What the Hex!


Like all quilters and crafters, I have a stash of fabrics and supplies that are just waiting for the perfect project.

Most of my fabric bundles come from a store called Tuesday Morning. It is one of those stores that is a last ditch effort by retailers to sell unpopular items (think a Ross version of TJ Maxx).  Luckily, they have a little craft section at Tuesday Morning that has hidden sewing and crochet/knitting treasures.  I have found many a fat quarter bundle for about $8 or so here, and they are decent fabric collections (albeit about 3-4 years old, but still good quality).

The first discovery I made was the Farm Fresh collection by  Riley Blake designs called Farm Fresh that I have used to make 2 baby quilts for friends & family.  When I am in AZ, I try to duck in every few weeks or so to see what they have to offer.

Farm Fresh by Riley Blake Bundle

Farm Fresh by Riley Blake

 

A few years ago I bought two bright and cheery packs of an aqua & green fabric collection (sadly no name on this set…) that I have been dying to use in a quilt. Only problem was figuring out exactly how I wanted to use them.  In comes the inspiration from Jay Bird Quilts and their hexagon quilt pattern.

Teal and Aqua Fabric Collection

Aqua and Teal Charm Pack

So with very little pre-planning and quite a bit of improvisation, I have begun to work on this twin size quilt as an “art exchange” with my friend Rommy in return for one of her oil paintings.

Setting up the cut

No fancy tools here to make the cut

Moving along

Moving down the line

Pieces Ready to Go

Ready to be assembled

I will admit, due to my lack of pre-planning (and not looking at all steps of the quilt-a-long), I have made this quilt a bit more difficult in terms of piecing the top together.

Half-Hexes ready to go

Should of stopped and planned here to sew along rows instead of having to later do Y-Seams….

IMG_20140730_185355_nopm_

First one done- many more to go. The more I do, the better they look.

There is a great explanation and demonstration on how to sew the Y-Seam in the Craftsy 2013 Block of the Month class online (for free!!). This is my first time tackling the dreaded Y-seam, so piecing the top has been slow going but I hope to have something finished to show in the next few weeks!