Glorious Hexagons: 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35

Here are the next five Glorious Hexagons. It is a party of Sharon Blocks.

#35 Sharon

I continue to enjoy the Sharon block because it has only 12 pieces and it comes together quickly. In this Sharon I combined the large horse head fabric and the running horses fabric. I enjoy using the swirling horse cheeks as a motif.

#35 Sharon

This Sharon uses the large horse head fabric for the central diamonds. It uses the gold filler fabric for the outer diamonds. I fussy cut three areas with swirls and three areas with triangles for the outer diamonds. I chose the cut for the central diamonds to showcase the blue horse mane motif. I like the way it creates a circle in the finished block. At first I thought that the contrast between the blue and the rest of the block was too stark, but this has become one of my favorite blocks.

#35 Sharon

I selected two different horses from the jumping horses fabric for this Sharon. I like the circular movement created which is reminiscent of a carousel. Because there are a number of different horses in the jumping horses pattern I will likely be making a number of variations on this block.

#35 Sharon

This Sharon is one of my favorites. The central diamonds were cut from the running horses fabric. I really like the way that the top of the horse head appears to divide this diamond into two distinct triangles. Once the central diamonds were joined I auditioned them on top of a variety of fabrics to try to find just the right selection for the outer diamond cut. I decided to go with a solid rust area from a section of the large horse head fabric. As I was looking for an area to cut I came across a patterned section that would look as if it were growing out of the central diamonds. I’m very happy with the effect.

#35 Sharon

This is a modified version of Sharon. I divided three of the central diamond shapes into triangles and used the remaining three to create a large central hexagon. The result is the same, but the change in cuts was necessary in order be able to cut the three birds for the center of the star. The central pieces come from the bird fabric with the black background. The outside diamonds come from the running horses fabric.

Glorious Hexagons: 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30

Here are the next five Glorious Hexagons.

#31 Jacqui

This Jacqui block inverts pairs of half hexagons to create the hexagon shapes. So it is really a modification of the Judy block. The two cuts I selected were very different in value. The outside diamonds were selected to blend with the darker hexagons. Notice that each diamond has a slight change in value from light to dark. The light point of each diamond was placed next to the lighter hexagon while the dark point of the diamond was placed next to the darker hexagon. This allowed the darker hexagons to blend in with the background while making the lighter hexagons pop.

#1 Marie

The focus of this Marie is the circular motif created by the horse manes. The white manes create a bit of a whirlpool effect.

#2 Carol

Carol is a block that uses only one shape. It comes together quickly, and I anticipate making more of these than are required. The story behind this block is that I found an area of the large horse head print where I could include three eyes. How could I resist? The hard part was deciding which eye to face towards the center of the block. Blue eventually won the battle for dominance. One of the things I like about the Carol block is that even after the cut has been made you still have three possible arrangements to consider when putting the pieces together. Any of the three corners can be faced towards the center.

 

#19 Nicole

I am not a fan of Nicole, and it isn’t just that she takes forever to come together with such small pieces. She isn’t radially symmetrical, and from that standpoint she will probably not make it into the finished quilt. When I showed this block to my mother she said that she thought the elements looked like fish rather than horses. I kind of agree with her. One of the things I like about this particular Nicole is that she has very soft edges because I used the same fabric throughout selecting a portion of it for the half hexagons.

#35 Sharon

I really like the Sharon block. She has only 12 pieces, she comes together really quickly, and the large shapes allow for some interesting fussy cutting.

My Last Meeting With My Mother

On March 9, 2016 my husband and I drove out to visit my mother. What I didn’t know at the time was that it would be the last time I would see her. We sat together and looked at the hand work I had been doing. I had gotten into the habit of bringing my stitching to show when I visited because it gave us something to talk about. I passed Mom one block after another that day. As we looked at the pieced hexagons I had been making we talked about each block.

Only because I blog did I think of arranging the blocks on the floor and taking a picture of them with my mother that day. I thought it would  make a nice blog post, but it turned out to be a visual reminder of my last interaction with my mother. Because I had recently been revealing my blocks five at a time here, and there are blocks in this photograph that I had not yet revealed, I had been waiting to make the blog post with the image of my mother.

Two weeks and one day after our visit I got a call saying that my mother had peacefully passed. We were all surprised. I was happy to learn that my sister-in-law had spent two hours with my mother the night before she passed. Mom seemed healthy and was in high spirits, so it was quite a surprise when my sister-in-law called me the next day to deliver the news of Mom’s passing.

It has been a difficult month since then. It is a month to the day since Mom passed away, and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had driven out more often and called more frequently. I’ve been stitching as much as usual, perhaps more so, because it gives me comfort. However, I have taken a vacation from blogging. It seemed somehow wrong to celebrate anything, much less my stitching.

I knew that I could not return to the task of reporting on my day to day stitching until I had paid tribute to my mother with this post. That is what I do today.

Here is a picture of Mom from a little over four years ago. It was taken the day that she left her apartment at Dock Woods to enter the memory facility on site called Harmony House. Mom is holding the feral cat she took care of named Rusty who now continues her feral existence in the neighborhood where my sister-in-law lives. Rusty was transplanted a couple of miles, and she made a remarkable transition. Rusty didn’t turn out to have the temperament to be an indoor cat, but she does walk with my sister-in-law and several dogs around the neighborhood most evenings much to the amazement of those who witness it.

My mother happened to be very artistic. When I was a very young child she painted a few oil paintings. One of them was of my brother playing in front of a barn at the farm where my grandmother lived until I was about five years old. One of the paintings was the flower still life pictured above. Mom wanted me to have this painting, and I have given it a place of honor in my bedroom. I see it every evening when I spend time with my iPad before bed. I also see it every morning when I drink coffee in bed with my husband before starting our day.

I have a reminder set to go off on my Apple Watch every evening at 7:30. It says, “Bedtime Call”. I set it because that was the best time to reach Mom, and I didn’t want to lose track of time and be unable to call because it had gotten too late in the day without my realizing it. That reminder remains on my watch, and every time I see it I wish that I could still call. I may remove the reminder some day, but for now I enjoy it as a moment to remember Mom each day, and to wish that she could still be here.

Glorious Hexagons: 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25

Here are the next five Glorious Hexagons.

#27 Victoria

This is one of my least favorite block designs for the direction in which I want to take my quilt. In the first month or two I felt compelled to make every block presented to me, and so I made Victoria, and I made her more than once. Liza Lucy, one of the creators of the Glorious Hexagon project did a post about how she uses scraps to create her Victoria blocks. That idea is very impressive, and if I were doing a quilt with KFC (Kaffe Fasset Collection) fabrics it would be a great way to use up odd pieces of fabric. I do eventually hope to do a KFC Glorious Hexagon quilt, so I will keep that little trick in mind for when I do.

#27 Victoria

For this Victoria I tried to create a more dimensional look with light, medium, and dark horses to create a block that appears to be illuminated from the upper left.

#31 Jacqui

Jacqui blocks are like Judy blocks except that the hexagons are divided in half to create half hexagon shapes. Rather than pairing two different cuts of fabric together to create the pieced hexagons I chose to invert pairs of the same cut and invert one side so they fit together. I think it makes an interesting effect.

#31 Jacqui

In this Jacqui two different different cuts are pairs together to create the hexagons. Additionally, the hexagons are turned so the section of blue and white horse mane creates an echo of the blue and white section of horse mane that appear in the outter diamonds. The central hexagon is once again pieced from diamonds.

#1 Marie

Marie is a block composed of large shapes. There are only six pieces in this block. Each shape is repeated only three times, so this is a good block to create from a three layer stack. The manes of the horses in the hexagons match up with the manes of the horses in the diamonds. This is by design.

Glorious Hexagons: 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20

It is time to reveal the next five Glorious Hexagons.

#13 Judy

This is a modified Judy which uses three diamonds to piece the central hexagon of the block. I used the large horse head fabric for the hexagons and selected a solid area to cut for the solid diamonds. I like to piece the central hexagon of a Judy so it is radially symmetrical.

#13 Judy

Again I pieced the central hexagon shape from diamonds. The hexagons are selected from an area of the large horse head fabric that focused on the decorative overlapping of horse manes. I wanted to create an abstract feel for this block. Without knowing the fabric there is no way that you would think that this block has anything to do with horses.

You will see many more Judy blocks before this project is done. Each of the three packets so far has included enough pieces to make five Judy blocks. It looks as if that trend is likely to continue.

#32 Marilyn

This block uses the large horse head fabric for the central diamond. The remaining outside shapes were cut from the background area of the medallion fabric. This is my first use of the medallion fabric.

#32 Marilyn

This Marilyn utilizes the running horses fabric for the central diamond. It uses the gold bird fabric for the outside shapes. I was surprised that I was able to isolate two birds for each of these pieces without having to break up the shape and piece it.

#32 Marilyn

This Marilyn uses the bird fabric with the black background for the central diamond. The running horses fabric is used for the outside shapes. What I like about this block is the way the bodies of the black horses appear to emanate from the central diamond. If I were doing this block again I would cut the top and bottom pieces so they contain more of the black horse bodies so they would be more integrated with the central diamond as are the pieces on the left and the right.

The Month 2 packet contained pieces for three Marilyn blocks. These blocks go together quickly, but I don’t really like them. I am noticing a distinct preference on my part for blocks that allow for the creation of designs with radial symmetry. It is possible that I may decide to “boycott” certain blocks in the future based on this preference.

Glorious Hexagons: 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15

The numbers above are not the numbers that correspond with the names of the blocks in The New Hexagon book. They represent the order in which I have completed the blocks in the series. I have actually completed my 43rd block, but up until now I have been so busy stacking, cutting, basting, and stitching that I have presented only the first 10 of those blocks. I feel as if my blog has been ignored, for which I apologize. I hope to remedy that with some regular posts on the Glorious Hexagon project, and also on The Farmer’s Wife Quilt, which has become a distant memory to me now.

After careful consideration I have decided that the best way for me to proceed with the unveiling of my finished Glorious Hexagon blocks is to present five blocks at a time. I’ll make one post per week devoted to the individual blocks. That will allow me to stay a bit ahead of the game so I can continue to post with consistency. An additional advantage to this approach is that I will gain a bit of aesthetic distance on each block before I actually blog about. Perhaps this will help me to find something new to say about the blocks.

Before we get to the blocks I would like to say that one of the reasons my posts have been so sparse lately is that I feel as if I have found a new warm home on the internet in the Glorious Hexagons Facebook Group. The people there are very supportive and it is a really open atmosphere that allows for sharing of thoughts as well as images. It is a little smaller than the Farmer’s Wife Facebook Group, and so that is probably why the admins don’t feel the need to prohibit blog links and slightly off comment posts about previous hexie projects. I guess this fish likes a smaller pond. Now I understand when people say that they too busy with Instagram to blog. The nearly instant feedback is definitely addictive.

Anyway, here are the blocks:

#13 Judy

#13 Judy

I decided to modify the Judy block by using three one inch diamond shapes for the central hexagon. It gives a rather creepy feeling to the block. It also pulls the rust color into the center.

#13 Judy

#13 Judy

This is another Judy that is modified with a pieced central hexagon. This works well not only to create a symmetrically circular effect as in the Judy above it, but it also works well when I want to provide a solid center pieced from portions of the large horse head print. What is nice about using the solid sections of the print is that the tones are very subtly gradated as you can see above.

What I like most about this Judy is that I deliberately searched for an area of fabric with the white horse mane to use for the diamond shape, and I managed to line it up with the white mane portion in the hexagons which makes the mane look as if it is flying away.

#1 Marie

Marie is a block with large pieces that works well to show off the horse heads in the large horse head print in the collection. This block will also work well with the panel fabrics when I finally start to use them.

I managed to score twelve of the above panels, which should provide a great deal of variety. I have created a six layer stack of the two segments pictured above and will probably create three layer stacks as well to use with the blocks that use larger pieces.

Next week I will be unveiling the next five blocks. But if you are impatient you can always join the Facebook Group for Glorious Hexagons to see the blocks presented as soon as they are completed.

Glorious Hexagons: More Thoughts on Layering

After a happy experience with layering I decided that I wanted to cut and layer more of my large horse head print. Rather than isolate just one repeat I decided to do a slice clear across the width of the fabric. This would cut the drop repeat in more than one location.

Here is the resulting stack.

If you have enough yardage to allow for it, I believe that cutting clear across the width is the simplest way to cut pieces to layer. It is easy to understand. It eliminates the need to make vertical cuts in the yardage. It cuts down on wastage along the edge of the repeat which is where a good deal of waste resides. This method works especially well with a small repeat, like the one I am using, because there isn’t as much fabric to wrestle with as there would be with a larger repeat. I am not sure that I would try this with my Feathers fabric, which is a large repeat, but I might.

In assembling the layers, I started pinning at the center of the width of the fabric. I then added pins at approximately 5 inch intervals running to the left and right of my first pin. After that I put another row of pins along the top and also along the bottom.

In addition to creating the six layer stack pictured above, I decided to make a three layer stack as well. There are times when I really only want to cut three of a shape and would just as soon not have an extra three pieces hanging around waiting for a home. It will be nice to have both stacks to work with as I select cuts for future hexagons.

I have recently gotten interested in selecting cuts that create more abstract arrangements in the finished blocks, and am enjoying the challenge of making blocks from one fabric and making them uniquely different from each other.

A little trick I discovered to help with the placement of the initial two pins in the stack is to anchor the first pin with a piece of material designed to hold pins in place while doing machine quilting. These little devices are made by a company called Pinmoor.

You can stick the Pinmoor into the end of the pin as pictured above or you can actually catch just the edge of the pinafore and slip it up near the head of the pin to hold the layers more securely while allowing for a bit of movement. I found this useful to allow for adjustment of the vertical and horizontal orientation of the layers as I was adding my second pin. Adjusting the layers while adding those first two pins is the hardest part of layering, in my opinion. Anything I can do to make that easier helps me get started with my stack.

I’m really enjoying layering and fussy cutting. I am getting a lot faster at putting a stack together. I am now on the hunt for more Embracing Horses fabric, as it has become obvious to me that I am going to need a lot of it as I move forward.

Glorious Hexagons: Layering Fabric for Multiple Cuts

The key to creating great Glorious Hexagons is fussy cutting. This can be done one piece of fabric at a time. One can eyeball the remaining cuts to match the first going on to create multiples of 2, 3, 4, or 6 depending upon the effects desired. I started out eyeballing my fussy cuts, but I found that this resulted in pieces of yardage riddled with holes. It was also very difficult finding the repeats desired. After making a few cuts from a piece of yardage I found myself feeling as if I was on a hunting expedition to find what I needed. I also ended up with far more wasted fabric than necessary.

I knew about layering. It is explained in the companion booklet for the Glorious Hexagons project. But I was afraid to do it. I was afraid that I wouldn’t pin the layers accurately enough. I had six repeats of the large horse head print cut. I had even purchased extra thin pins to increase accuracy when layering. All that remained was to finally screwed up my courage to pin my repeats together.

I started out with one pin near the center of the repeat (as recommended) and worked my way out.

one pin

I found it helpful to pick really easily recognizable points to match in the pattern each time I added a pin. I started with the corner of the eye on the horse above. When matching points I slide the fabric all the way to the head of the pin before looking for the point on the next piece of fabric. Then I slide that one to the head of the pin and continue on in that manner. The first set of points is the hardest because the fabric needs to be aligned vertically and horizontally at this stage of the process. I looked to the edges of the repeat to see that I was doing this correctly.

two pins

Each time I added a new pin I slipped my fabric slightly off the edge of the table to align each additional point having all layers pushed up against the head of the pin, grabbing the fabric to hold it in place before pulling the head up slightly to anchor the pin in place.

three pins

four pins

five pins

After getting the pieces adequately pinned I was ready to begin cutting. I put a fresh blade into my rotary cutter and picked an area to cut out a hexagon shape. I focused in on an area where two horse manes overlapped to get a repeat with an abstract feeling.

Sometimes an area I wanted to cut had a pin in it. in that case I simply added more pins nearby and eliminated any pins that interfered with the cutting of the shape I wanted to make. Once the initial anchor pins are lined up it is safe to add pins without needing to align the fabric because the fabric is already in alignment.

I was skeptical about the accuracy of the layering, but you can see from the image above that it was quite accurate. The second piece from the top is slightly miss aligned, but only by a little bit. “Good enough for government work”, as they say.

Not bad if you ask me.

As I was cutting shapes I found that it was possible to place my cuts really close together to make optimal use of my fabric. I am really getting my money’s worth out of these pieces.

Cutting away shapes from the aligned fabric, and placing them close together, made me think beyond what I might have ordinarily cut. I was also no longer thinking about the next hexagon immediately at hand. Instead I was thinking of how to make the best use of my yardage, and looking for shapes that would do that. I was trusting that I would be able to use those shapes for future hexagons. As I was trying to get as much out of the fabric as possible I discovered that I could cut one inch diamonds of solid color by using the necks of the horses. I cut some shapes not even sure how I might use them in the future. I knew I would find a way to work them into some hexagon that would come along.

This is the same area as the photo above it but turned on its side. It shows how the one inch diamond fits in the solid area. I wanted to use some solids in my hexagons, but I thought it would be best if they came from the fabric rather than from some nearly matched Kona Solid.

These are the pieces that were left after I had used every possible area on my first set of layered fabrics. I know it looks as if I could get shapes out of some of the remaining fabric, but I tried. The 3/8 inch seam allowance takes up quite a bit of room on the small shapes, and does make for quite a bit of wastage.

Here are some sets of six waiting for their final destinations…

as well as some sets of three which remained after I used three of the shapes that had been cut.

My experience with aligning and cutting layers has convinced me that it is worth the effort to cut the repeats and pin them in place. With the large horse head print I want to cut and pin a few sets of fabric so I have more choices as I fussy cut for specific hexagon designs.

One thing to consider when cutting your repeats is where the repeat starts and ends. I don’t want to start and end my repeat in the exact same place for each set because that would make it impossible to cut parts of the design that correspond with the edge of the original repeat. If I start the repeat in another location I will have additional options.

If you are participating in the Facebook group for the Glorious Hexagon project consider trying layering if you have not already done so. The rewards are well worth the effort in my opinion.

Glorious Hexagons: All Together Now

Sail the ship.
Chop the tree.
Skip the rope.
Look at me.

Altogether now…

The above represents the pieced and solid hexagons that I have made so far. I wanted to place them next to each other to get a feel for what the finished piece will look like.

Here are just the pieced hexagons, and I think it is obvious that they need the visual relief of the solid hexagons.

Here are solid hexagons showing all of the fabrics that I have obtained to work with so far. The above nine fabrics are from the Embracing Horses collection by Laurel Burch. I will be taking these hexagons with me to the Pennington Quilt Works when I go shopping for some complementary tone on tone fabrics to use along with what I already have.

The collection comes in a couple more color ways that I was not aware of until I searched for more fabric to complete this project. They are very attractive, but would not combine well with what I have here.

I found a source online for these fabrics and was even able to obtain three panels like the one pictured above. Those panels should provide me with some interesting fussy cutting possibilities. I may even try to obtain four more panels, three to fussy cut, and one to put on the back of the quilt.

Great stuff…

and more great stuff.

I am not sure how I am going to make use of all of this fabric, but I am really excited about the project. Each block feels like a finished piece.

Glorious Hexagons: Jumping In

I had all the tools at my disposal to get started on my Glorious Hexagon journey. Plus my six yards of the Feathers fabric had arrived. I wanted to start, but I was afraid to cut into that precious Feathers fabric. In order to get going I decided to simply jump in with something I had on hand. I had some of the Embracing Horses collection by Laurel Burch, which I had used awhile back to make some containers. I grabbed some yardage from the largest print and got to work. Here are the blocks I made:

 

 

#54 Kim.

The first block I tackled was #54 Kim. All three of the blocks above are Kim. The first month came with enough papers to make three of these Kim blocks. They are the simplest of the pieced hexagons, so I thought it would be a good place to start my journey. I was still a bit concerned about pinning layers for fabric for fussy cutting multiple layers so I did my fussy cutting by eyeballing the pattern. I posted these to the Glorious Hexagons Facebook Group and they were well received.

#6 Delores

The second block I tackled was #6 Delores. All three of the block immediately above are Delores. Delores offers the same level of simplicity as Kim, so it was a logical second choice for me. I like to ease myself into the waters of the unknown. Fussy cutting is definitely outside of my comfort level since I had never done it before. The rest of the blocks I have made so far are shown below in no particular order.

#2 Carol

#13 Judy

Judy appeals to me because it is actually a Grandmother’s Flower Garden piece with some diamonds added to flesh it out. The flower garden part is easy, but adding those diamonds I found to be difficult. It seems that the first edge goes on easily, but then the second edge inevitably needs to be stretched a bit in order to make it fit. That doesn’t make sense to me, but I am doing it anyway. My first Judy utilized a decorative portion of the large horsehead print featured in most of the blocks above. If you look carefully you can see the mouth of a horse along one of the edges of the hexagons on the outside of the flower. This block also utilized the horse mane fabric from the Delores block as well as a nice gold filler fabric.

#13 Judy

This rendition of Judy is my favorite block so far. This is the block that forced me to consider the orientation of my hexagons in the finished quilt. I made that decision before I cut the bird for the center. One thing I especially like about this block is the way the blue and yellow horses are both shown as upright on the top and bottom of the flower. This happens because the yellow heads orient one way towards the center while the blue heads orient the other way towards the center.

After making this block I noticed that one could create a one inch hexagon for the center using three of the diamonds utilized along the edge. This would be a good way to allow this block to have a circular symmetrical effect like that found in a kaleidoscope without needing to revert to a solid (or tone on tome filler) for the center of the block.

#19 Nicole

Nicole is a bitch. There are no two ways about it. This block is not easy to do. I used four different fabrics for Nicole. For the first star I used heads from the Jumping Horses fabric. I thought I had all five heads the same, but you can see that the lowest head is actually a different head. Next time I will be more careful. I used birds for the bottom star. For the left star I deliberately cut five different portions of heads from the large horse head print. The blue head nearly melts into the border, which is an interesting effect. I used the Horse Mane fabric for the border. I am not altogether happy with the way the border works, but I think that when the block comes together with others that I will like it more.

Ten hexagons are done of the 28 for the first month. The first month is January, so I am already quite a bit behind, but I will not allow myself to stress about that. I am enjoying this journey immensely, and I feel much more at home with this project than I do with The Farmer’s Wife Quilt which I took on primarily as a challenge to my EPP skills. What I discovered is that I can stitch just about anything using EPP, which is comforting. I also discovered though that there is something vaguely unsatisfying about using EPP for a project that could be more easily done with some other method. This project, on the other hand, demands EPP. I like that.

I think I will find a way to bring The Farmer’s Wife Quilt to her logical conclusion and put my greatest efforts into Glorious Hexagons for now. The challenge will be to not allow the Farmer’s Wife Quilt to become a UFO. Perhaps the best way to do that is to allow it to be a wall hanging. We’ll see.