Glorious Hexagons: Table Runner

I decided that it was time to start putting together some of my Glorious Hexagons to create the first finished piece in my series from the fabric of The Embracing Horses collection.

As I was assembling large hexagons I noticed that there were some blocks that got passed over time and time again. I thought it might be a good idea to try putting these together to make a table runner which I will use on the chest of drawers in the master bedroom.

I worked on this project throughout the day of the January 21st Women’s March on Washington D.C. I felt unable to attend the march myself so I had made a donation to allow a college student to obtain a ride to the march for free. To that extent I felt as if I was represented, yet I wanted to feel even more connected to the event. So I worked on my needlework while the women marched and watched the event on YouTube. Every time I look at this finished piece I will be reminded of how it had its inception during the Women’s March.

I started by laying out some of my “reject” blocks. Actually there was nothing wrong with any of the blocks. They just had not been chosen to play with others up until now.

I sewed the blocks together and then considered how I was going to flesh out the edges. My first thought was to appliqué the entire piece to a solid background of brown. There was no point in making border pieces because the width of the runner was so narrow that very little fabric would be saved by cutting border pieces, and much work would be created. Unfortunately, I felt that appliqué would have been difficult because I had used glue to baste my pieces and wasn’t sure how I was going to handle maintaining the crisp edges for appliqué as I removed the paper pieces. I got the idea of finishing off the edges with more piece work, but using thread basting for those paper pieces.

Having made that decision I was able to add brown half hexagons to begin fleshing out the edges. These pieces were glue basted because I only needed to have one piece of thread basting between the glued work and the finished edge in order to achieve my goal of removing papers with crisp edges intact.

Next came the thread basted pieces which would make up the finished edge. I needed an edge wide enough width to accommodate binding without the risk of it touching the edges of blocks. The path I chose turned out to be rather labor intensive as you can well imagine from viewing the photo above. Part of what I needed to do was to baste diamonds in both clockwise and counter clockwise directions in order to tame the tails. I also needed to be aware of how tails were positioned on the other pieces. In the photo above you can see that I had not yet learned those lessons, but I figured it out quickly after having to hide tails in the section above.

This is how the border looks after the basting threads have been removed, and tails have been hidden.

The piecing actually provides a bit of interest on the border.

One thing I noticed while doing this first piece with Glorious Hexagons is that you simply CAN NOT screw it up. When the pieces are placed next to each other they look good almost miraculously even if they are pieces that had been previously passed over time and time again. Then when they are sewn together they look even better. I had noticed that with my large hexagons, but it was even more obvious with these random blocks.

I’m nearly done with the borders. I’ll report back soon with the finished top.

I feel as if I have learned a lot help me decide how I will handle borders moving forward with future Glorious Hexagons projects.

My Year In Review

2016 Was a busy year.

I started out working feverishly on the Farmers Wife Quilt. I was pumping out about two blocks a week. I was printing the blocks onto card stock, cutting my own paper pieces, thread basting, and doing the entire quilt with the English Paper Piecing technique. I used a two color theme of violet and green Kona solids. The Farmer’s Wife project is pictured in part below. It was not long, however, before I found a new obsession.

A month into the new year I discovered a group on Facebook for the Glorious Hexagons project. I tentatively dipped my feet in the water with a couple of blocks using a piece of fabric I had hanging around from the Embracing Horses Collection by Laurel Burch. Before long I was all in. Little did I know that the Embracing Horses collection would become as much of an obsession as the Glorious Hexagons project. I have spent a lot of money searching for this out-of-print collection online.

The previous year, 2015, I had gained a lot of positive feedback by being a part of a group that posted their weekly English Paper Piecing progress on the website of the author of a book about EPP. Her weekly sharing was called the “Monday Morning Star Count”. I had found it highly motivating to participate in the star count. However, for personal reasons the star count was discontinued by its creator, and I needed to find a new way to interact positively with others in the quilt world. For awhile the Farmer’s Wife Facebook group served that purpose.

My new found obsession with Glorious Hexagons provided me with a new means of interacting with others and of gaining positive feedback. It is a smaller group and more welcoming to individual blog posts. I started to create content for my blog that I thought would be of interest to the group and posted links to my posts. They were well received. I found myself posting each and every individual hexagon I created to the Glorious Hexagons Facebook group, and I found myself commenting on many hexagons that others had created. It was, and still is, a very rewarding place to hang out.

Eventually I started to join my hexagons, I found myself posting each and every combination of seven hexagons to the Facebook group. I call these combinations my large hexagons. It is a method of construction that some of the other group members are also using.

My addiction to the Facebook group has served me well in terms of positive reinforcement. It’s been great, but one thing that has suffered just a little bit as a result is my posting here to my own blog. There’s more effort involved in writing blog posts, and there is less feedback. Now I know why people like Instagram. It is quick and easy. Yet, blogging is a more permanent record of my achievements, and for that reason I must continue to publish. I have tried to keep up with it, but it is not easy. One of my goals for 2017 is to blog more often.

My mother died in March. I managed to visit with her shortly before she passed, and I took this picture during our last visit.

During the election cycle I changed my profile image on Facebook to the image above. This image is based on one of my favorite large hexagons, and I thought it was a good way to show my support of Hillary Clinton.

Post election my blog posting fell off dramatically. I haven’t been here very often. One of the reasons that my posting came to a fairly abrupt halt was my sense of despair at the results of the United States presidential election. I’ve never felt this kind of despair about a political outcome. I can’t make sense of it. I had loved Bernie, but after he lost the primary I campaigned for Hillary.

I thought for sure she would win, and I can’t imagine a world in which Donald Trump is the leader of the free world. I imagine that some of my readers might be Trump supporters, and I respect your right to have made the decision to vote for him. I can respect it without understanding it. Here, in the world of quilting, we can agree to disagree and move on with our needlework. It’s what keeps me sane these days.

What does the future hold for me this year?

I’m hoping to quilt two quilt tops that are completely pieced. I have my Diamond Quilt top finished and also my Batik Flower Garden quilt top finished. I’m planning to send out the Diamond quilt top to be professionally quilted, and I am planning to hand quilt the Batik Flower Garden.

I am attending QuiltCon for the first time ever this year. That will be in February. Amazingly, 17 members of the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild will be in attendance. Two other members of the Lambertville Ladies with be at QuiltCon, and at least one other member of the Glorious Hexagons group will be there as well.

I’ve signed up for Mid Atlantic Mod in April, and I have just committed to attending a gathering of Slow Stitching Movement people who attended the first ever Slow Stitching Movement Workshop with me in 2014. It will be great to see some of these women again. We are planning to meet in April.

As for Glorious Hexagons? Here are the stats for 2016. 328 hexagons pieced. 217 of them joined into large hexagons to form 31 large hexagons. 110 hexagons remaining to be worked with and much more fabric to cut into.  My plans for Glorious Hexagons for 2017 include piecing a queen sized bed quilt joining 21 large hexagons with brown triangular pieces as shown below. Notice the cool brown stars that emerge.

I plan to keep making more large hexagons and to join them into another queen sized quilt but without the triangular joining pieces as shown below.

I’ll think about how to make use of the remaining hexagons after I’m done with the two quilts. perhaps I will simply join them side by side without any joining triangles as shown below.

I hope your 2016 was good, and I hope your 2017 is even better.


Glorious Hexagons: Progress at CJMQG Retreat

Last weekend I attended a quilting retreat that was put on by the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild. It was a wonderful experience, and this was my third year in attendance at this event.

It turned out that I was the only person in attendance who did not happen to bring along a sewing machine, but I was pleased to see that one other attendee brought her Glorious Hexagons work with her, and that she spent some time working on it. She is using Kaffe Fassett fabrics exclusively, so the feeling of her work is very different from mine. I loved seeing the beautiful blocks she had created and the way they worked together as she was assembling them. She had put together the entire quilt design on a design wall before coming to the retreat and was working on assembling portions of the design. I definitely must obtain some Kaffe Fassett prints and must do another quilt using his wonderful bright colors.

It has been a long time since I have shown the overall progress of my work. The last time I did I only had 15 large hexagons to show. Now I have 26 of them. I took the opportunity to place them randomly on the floor at this retreat. Here they are.

I also took the opportunity to lay out the single hexagons I have made so far that have not yet found a home in a large hexagon. Here are those hexagons.

Having taken these photographs I came to to the realization that I especially enjoy seeing the green and blue stars in the centers of my large hexagons. That inspired me to spend my remaining time at the treat putting together a few green and blue hexagons to serve as centers for large hexagons.

Below are the hexagons assembled during the retreat. Some of them are duplicates owing to the fact that they are Kim blocks cut from six layer stacks.

The above blocks will be introduced individually in a future blog post.

Glorious Hexagons: What Goes on in My Head

It  might be a little egocentric to think that anyone really cares what goes on in my head, Be that as it may, to explain that phenomena is exactly why I blog. I do it to share my process as I tackle a particular project.

The other day I found myself wanting to put together a big hexagon composed of blocks that had a bit of green in them. I had a limited number of blocks of that nature and found myself feeling that my proposed arrangement just wasn’t cutting it. One of my blocks seemed out of place. It was drawing too much attention to itself for a block on the periphery of a big hexagon.

Which block feels out of place here?

It is the one to the far left of the configuration. It just seems to be “trying too hard”. It wants to be in the center of a big hexagon, not along the periphery.

I decided to pull it out. This meant that I needed to go back to one of my layer stacks from the panel fabric to find a cut that would make a block that would play well with the others. To use a musical metaphor, I wanted a block that was willing to sing backup.

I searched for an area of the panel that had some green. I found a slim area of green between two honking big horse heads, and there I made my cut.

Above you can see a basted kite piece inserted into the space from which it had come,

and the resulting Doris block attempting to hide in its natural environment.

Another delightful Doris is born,

and auditions for her part.

Here is the big hexagon sewn completely together and photographed on the front porch in my usual staging area. The audition photograph above that was taken on the back deck. I needed to do that because the morning sun makes taking photographs on the front porch impossible. It’s good to know now that I have a place to take photographs regardless of the time of day during sunlight hours.

I didn’t want the block I had pulled to feel rejected, so I set about immediately making it the center of attention in its own big hexagon

The two large hexagons above are numbers 25 and 26. Up to this point I have only displayed big hexagons 1 through 15, so I definitely have some blogging to do to get the rest of these pieces out there.



Glorious Hexagons: Big Hexagons 11 through 15

Here are the next five big hexagons.

The fabric for the central star was chosen to harmonize with the orange emphasis of the central hexagon. For the hexagons on the perimeter I chose to alternate blocks that had a rust colored emphasis with blocks having a blue colored emphasis.

The fabric for the central star was chosen to emphasize the rust color in the cuts of fabric used in the central hexagon. For the hexagons on the perimeter I chose to alternate blocks that included the same green as is used in the central hexagon with blocks that are primarily brown in hue.

The fabric for the central star was chosen to emphasize the color of the diamonds with the horse eyes making up the outside shapes of the central hexagon. For the hexagons on the perimeter I chose to alternate blocks that used a good amount of the mottled yellow fabric with blocks that were primarily rust colored.

In retrospect I would have saved the bird block that appears in the lower right for a different large hexagon. That block seems slightly out of place, not because of the subject matter, but because the block is significantly darker than the other blocks in this large hexagon.

The fabric for the central star was chosen to harmonize with the darker elements in the central hexagon. In retrospect I think I might have been better off matching the lighter elements for the star. I’m not completely pleased with the result.

For the hexagons on the perimeter I chose to alternate blocks that had a blue/gray emphasis with blocks that are primarily rust/blue in emphasis.

This is probably my least favorite large hexagon so far. It may not make it into the final quilt after I have many more large hexagons to choose from in the final layout.

The fabric for the central star was chosen to harmonize with the lighter elements in the central hexagon. That particular hexagon is one of my favorites with its nearly perfect circular ring of horse mane fabric.

For the hexagons on the perimeter I chose to keep the color and value of the hexagons very close to each other. There is a bit of alternation taking place. Alternate blocks are linear in nature.

I really enjoy the high contrast between the light value of the central star and the consistently darker value of the surrounding hexagons along the perimeter. Find this large hexagon in the image below. You will see how the central star really pops when the large hexagons are placed side by side.




Glorious Hexagons: The 23rd Decade

Here are Glorious Hexagons 221 through 230.

#13 Judy

The hexagons in this Judy were cut from a scrap portion of a layer stack. It isn’t a cut that I would have made by choice. I think it worked out rather well, however, paired with the mottled yellow fabric to finish off the block.

#13 Judy

The hexagons for this Judy were also cut from a scrap area of a layer stack. I joined them with some diamonds for the central hexagon that would bring in more of the light blue color into the final block. Diamonds with ark swirls on the rust yellow fabric finish off the background allowing the light blue circle to take center stage.

#23 Dawn

I love the way the Hexagon Thirds work with this Dawn block. I especially like how the cheek and eye nestle in one half of the shape. I also like the way the rust color melts from the central hexagon into the adjoining outer shapes. I also like the white mane circle. Dawn has become one of my favorite blocks, especially using the Hexagon Third shapes for the the center.

#9 Doris

I really like using the Doris block to show off the various horse heads in the Large Horse Head fabric. In this block I like the blue circle in the background. I also like the way the horse snouts become a decorative element in the center of the block.

#9 Doris

This Doris is similar to the one above. There will be more Doris horse head blocks in the near future.

#54 Kim

Here I am back to my favorite block of all Kim with the horse head mane airplane propellor effect taking center stage on this block.

#23 Dawn

The outer shapes of this Dawn are cut from one of my favorite parts of the Panel Fabric. This block is going to be matched up with two other similar looking blocks in a large hexagon unit.

#23 Dawn

What is interesting about this Dawn is that I was forced to use triangles to make the central hexagon for the block. I had wanted to use the Hexagon Third shape, but the birds in this fabric are so densely spaced that it was impossible to place the template without overlapping part of a bird.

#1 Marie

All the little birdies go, “Tweet, tweet, tweet.” The Marie block is composed of three hexagons and three diamonds. In this Marie the hexagons are made up of two half hexagons facing each other. I was going to make the triangles out of the yellow background of the fabric, but decided instead to use additional birds. The block ends up with a a vacant center and three swarms of birds circling in the thirds of the block.

#10 Kelly

I had initially planned to face the pieces that make up the thirds of this block in the same direction. Then I got the idea of facing them toward each other with the blue stripe on the outside. I like the result. This block is likely to be used along with the similarly colored Dawn three blocks above.


Glorious Hexagons: The 22nd Decade

Here are Glorious Hexagons 211 through 220.

#8 Marena

#2 Carol

There is a story behind this Carol. I had originally put this block together in a different way. It was nagging me though, because it was very reminiscent of a German Swastika, albeit one with six rather than four legs. I didn’t want any block of mine to conjure up that vile image though, so I ripped it apart and put it back together in much nicer way.

#1 Maria

The hexagons get lost in this Maria, and a triangular element emerges and takes center stage in this block.

#34 Christie

The Christie block is going to be a nice way to show off the various horse heads in the large horse head fabric.

#10 Kelly

When I first made a couple Kelly blocks, much earlier in the project, I didn’t really like the block that much. It just didn’t speak to me. That all changed when I combined these two fabrics to make this Kelly block. I see more Kelly blocks in my future. This is one of my favorite individual blocks. I really like the way these two fabrics play together here.

#23 Dawn

If I had this Dawn to do over again I would have chosen a brown that more closely matches the background color of the outer shapes. Those shapes are cut from one of my favorite portions of the Panel Fabric for the collection. I feel that the color that I selected for the center dominates too much and draws attention away from the outer shapes. This block may actually get ripped apart and redone.

#10 Kelly

Moving forward with those Kelly blocks… Initially I was planning to make the horse heads in the diamond shaped thirds of the block face in the same direction. Then I got the idea of flipping them. I like the way the cheeks appear to grow from the necks of the facing horses. This is a little bit bizarre, but for some reason or another when I look at this block I am strangely reminded of the Sistine Chapel. I know it is weird. It must just be me.

#2 Carol

Each large triangle of this Carol is made up of four small triangle segments cut from the Birds on Black fabric. Initially these six large triangles were going to be paired with another Birds on Black hexagon to make a star in the center of a big hexagon. I thought that the end result was too busy though, so I repurposed the triangles into another Carol block which will become the center of another star in another big hexagon.

#38 Sonja

I like the way the Mane Fabric swirls and the way the horse cheeks become the dominant elements in this Sonja block.

#35 Sharon

This Sharon is very dimensional. I like the Sharon block, but I have not made that many of them. I am planning to make more. Taking advantage of the sharp edges of some of the stripe like elements in the Panel Fabric seems like a good way to do this. That division down the center of the diamond shapes makes the final design really pop.


Glorious Hexagons: The 21st Decade

Here are Glorious Hexagons 201 through 210.

#9 Doris

I like the little smudge of light blue that adds a bit of an organic feel to an otherwise hard edged geometric block.

#9 Doris

This is the kind of low contrast block that will fade into the background and allow other blocks to shine in the finished quilt.

#9 Doris

I like the blue star in the center

#9 Doris

#9 Doris

This one almost looks as if it doesn’t have seams.

#9 Doris

#23 Dawn

The center of this block is Kona Indigo. It does not quite match the black that makes up the body of the horses in the outer shape. I am hoping that it won’t pop out too much in the final arrangement of the quilt.

#23 Dawn

#29 Bev

I love the way the horses circle behind the star.

#11 Susan

I love this block. This Susan is destined to be the center of the star in one of my large hexagons.

Glorious Hexagons: The 20th Decade

Here are hexagons 191 through 200.

#48 Jeannie

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the contrast between the lighter sections of rust in the center of the star and the darker sections of rust fabric that make up the points of the star. I think I might have been happier if they matched more closely, but the contest is growing on me.

#48 Jeannie

I like the way the horse heads grow from the points of the star.

#48 Jeannie

#48 Jeannie

This is one of my favorite Jeannie blocks. I really like the way the diamond patterned mane sections create a circle just outside the star. I also like the way the rust colored area of the outer shapes reaches out to form another softly shaped star.


#13 Judy

This block has great circular motion.

#13 Judy

I like the way the horse heads peak out in this block that is primarily geometric.

#13 Judy

#13 Judy

This Judy needs a little bit of repair before she gets incorporated into a large hexagon unit. If you look carefully you will see that the lower left outer diamond was put in backwards. I’m too lazy to make that change right now, but I will be doing it soon.

#13 Judy

Note to self: hexagons that are divided evenly in half make cool Judy blocks.

#9 Doris

Note to self: Cut kites so that a linear element is perpendicular with one of the outer edges of the kite for interesting results. The circle created by the little triangles was a surprise.

Glorious Hexagons: The 19th Decade

With 30 more hexagons to share, here are the next ten hexagons, numbers 181 through 190.

#54 Kim

#54 Kim

#48 Jeannie

#48 Jeannie

#54 Kim

The last five blocks in this post represent the first five blocks that I completed while I was on vacation in Boston at the U.S. Go Congress a couple weeks ago. I completed 30 blocks while I was away. I had prepared bags of basted paper pieces ready to sew together into hexagons.

#48 Jeannie

#48 Jeannie

#48 Jeannie

#48 Jeannie


#48 Jeannie