Woven Hexagons

12 08 2016

Woven Hexagons is finished.  This quilt is the final product of the sewing project I had to start in Ashland OR, when I inadvertently left my sewing basket at home when I left on vacation almost two years ago.

Click here to see the full story, including details about the English paper piecing techniques used.

Woven Hexagons, 2016

                                         Woven Hexagons, 2016       

It was difficult finding a background for all these great blocks, and I was surprised that this really bold-printed pattern on black was the one that finally did the trick.

Frankly, working with this entire color palette put me way out of my comfort zone, so I am pleased that it is finished and that I like it so much.

Woven Hexagons, Detail

Woven Hexagons, Detail

The quilting is very simple;  it is hard to see as it is, so just enough quilting to hold it all together, including the fun circles in the middle of each block.

it’s a challenge to make a quilt using only fabric from one designer or fabric line without the final project being uninteresting, so using only Marcia Derse fabrics for this one posed some problems.  In the end, I hope it hasn’t turned out too boring.


More English paper piecing

5 10 2012
Mistakes ? ? ?

Some of the tessellated quilts in the previous post were made with 60° diamonds.  And I have another, currently stalled, EPP project-in-progress using these diamonds.  It has lost its momentum, and may be permanently abandoned.  Who knows??  This happens sometimes, and I’m trying not to feel as though I must finish all the projects I start:  too heavy a burden.  Feels good to work on the ones that sing to me.  These little guys are silent right now, and have been so for more than a year. 

I love all the vintage fabrics here, and I think I got stuck when I decided  I should have put sashing of some kind between the diamond units, but it is much more likely that I just ran out of gas and started something else.

A blog subscriber recently suggested that I include in this blog those items I considered “mistakes”, since we all make them and few of us celebrate them as part of our process.  Perhaps this one is a mistake, but it may be too early to tell.  Anyway, here it is.

Definitely not a mistake

Also made from vintage fabrics from my collection, and also using the EPP method, this time with hexagons instead of diamonds, this quilt is a current favorite.  I just kept sewing these one-patches together until it got to this size, and then threw on the borders.  The border in a button pattern was the only dark print that I had enough of to be able to frame this large piece.

Hexagon Charm, 2012
63″ x 75.5″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Through this blogging process I am beginning to see the body of my work take shape.  Previously it has been hard to wrap my visual brain around 215 quilts, so writing about them and showing the photos helps me do that.   As it stands now, I don’t see a consistent style, and wonder if that is necessary.  One of these days I may pick a style and stay with it.  Until then, I’ll  just keep dancing back and forth, in and around,  all sorts of styles, eras, motifs, techniques, etc.—doing what I’m doing.

Tessellations-Solving the puzzles

28 09 2012

I love puzzles, and especially the puzzles associated with putting fabric together.  There is a challenge to finding just the right fabrics, to using just the fabrics I have at hand, or to succeeding at some other Susan-imposed limitation that I think is necessary.  Whatever the puzzle, I am in!!

So it seems appropriate that the puzzle aspect of tessellations would appeal to me as a quilter.  I had seen many quilts by some of my favorite EBHQ quilters, especially quilts by Rebecca Rohrkaste and Mabry Benson, so I thought I , too, should try this fun game.  In addition to a small handful of baby quilts, here are a few of my favorites.


The first was this one, using some wonderfully complex fabrics and lovely colors, with just enough value contrast between the fabrics to allow each one to shine.

Tessellations, circa 2002

Tessellated Dots

After finding myself with piles and piles of dotted fabrics leftover from making Maggie’s graduation quilt, I put tons of them together in this huge quilt.  The colors are so cheery and bright that I love to have this hanging on one of the walls in our home.

Tessellated Dots, 2007
63.5″ x 76″
Photography by Sibila Savage

Tessellated Dots, detail


Tessellated Pinwheels

Still with a few more piles of dotty fabric remaining (helped along by subsequent purchases; I never met a dot I didn’t like) and pairing these dots with other bright geometrics, I started on this hand-sewing project that could provide me with hours and hours and hours of stitching during the TV times and the vacations and the road trips.  It’s an English paper piecing project using a design I found in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, which is full of gems if you are willing to take the time to pore over this tome.

I have given this quilt the subtitle “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”, because it did seem like lots of fun to keep making these really cute little pinwheels by putting six diamond around a hexagon, made relatively easy by using the EPP method.  Even while making many, many pinwheels, I did not realize the hole I was digging for myself until I decided it was time to start sewing the pinwheels together.   Had the idea of sewing them together occurred to me earlier in this process, this quilt would have been much, much smaller.  Twisting and turning the paper-lined patches to nestle next to each other in this pesky pattern was a difficult maneuver that had to be done way, way, way too many times.

Tessellated Pinwheels, 2009
60″ x 74″—Photography by Sibila Savage

The borders for this quilt were chosen for only one reason:  purple was the only color that was used so little in the quilt that other colors would show up when the pinwheels were next to it.  Also this dark purple was strong enough to hold all these wiggly, jiggly pinwheels in place.  Click on the photo and then click again to get a close up of the quilting, which turned into another unexpected nightmare.  I quilted each pinwheel individually using threads that matched the fabrics in the pinwheels, since there was no thread that could coordinate well with all these brights.

Turns out it was a good idea to make this quilt because I love it, but it was much more work than I thought I was signing up for.

Click here to see more EPP projects by others.

WIP update:

Remember those flowers from last week, the ones waiting to find a home onto which they could be appliqued—they have been multiplying!  Sometime I’ll stop–perhaps now that I realize that I am going to have to sew them all together. Oooops-Wasn’t that the lesson I was supposed to learn from the pinwheels.  Oh, well . . .

Photo Credit

Check out the new photo at the top of the home page.  It’s one of my favorite shots of ME, taken by my husband, Paul Hennessey.  Love those old-fashioned irons, too!!