Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hexagons: An Epic Quilting Project

Hexagon (n): a polygon having six angles and six sides.

Oh, dictionary.  If only it were that simple.

I was introduced to hexagons in fabric form in the spring of last year by a co-worker. She was making piles and piles of tiny little hexagons for a project that even she wasn't sure about yet, and I got a little obsessed--first with her project, then with starting my own.

Actually, I got a lot obsessed.  I made a few of my own hexagon templates and started down the rabbit hole.  With fabric scraps from my stash, I made a tiny little cluster of hexagons.  Then another.  Then another.  Then I made a larger cluster. And it was love.

A few months into this obsession, my sister-in-law announced that she was pregnant with her fourth child.  It seemed like fate that she should be pregnant at the same time I was obsessed with hexagons, and I figured that the universe was telling me it was time to take this experiment full-scale.  I decided to make a hexagon quilt.There are a lot of things that I wish I could go back and tell naive, beginner Beth, like: "that's going to be a lot more work than you realize," and "your fingers will bleed," and "maybe you should do bigger hexagons so you won't be spending hours and hours on end doing nothing but sewing hexagons."  Yeah...let's just say that I'm a lot wiser now. 

It started with choosing the fabric.  Since my sister-in-law made the decision to be surprised by the baby's gender, the color palette had to be neutral.  I went digging around in my fabric stash and found two fat quarters from the Tula Pink Hushabye collection that I had picked up in 2009 (top two on the left of the photo below) .  Yes, I know I have a problem; we try not to talk about it.

I had an idea in my head of a very classy, sophisticated quilt that didn't scream baby, but still had an element of whimsy to it.  I spent hours looking at fabric, swapping out fabrics, agonizing over patterns.  When all the decisions were made, I had ten different fat quarter fabrics from three places: my stash, Ben Franklin Crafts in Redmond, and my local fabric shop, West Seattle Fabric Company (I love it there.  I'm going to see if they will just let me move into the back room and live happily amongst the lovely bolts of fabric.)

Here's what I ended up with: very neutral tans, browns, creams, and whites, with a dash of green and Tiffany blue thrown in for color.

The first step was to cut up I cut all of the fat quarters into squares to prepare them for the paper piecing process. So. Much. Cutting.