Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hex'd and Blue

Patchwork blocks are....very square and predictable. Sometimes I like working in other shapes and the Hexagon is my current favorite. Most quilters say, "Hexagons--those little six-sided things? You mean Grandmother's Flower Garden, right?" Nope. I mean BIG hexagons. These are fun to sew either by hand or machine. No, I don't do English-style paper piecing (over templates). My Hexie templates are large and I cut the shapes using a rotary cutter. Here is a recent Hexie quilt.

The Blue Hexie Quilt allowed me to use some of my wilder blue prints. There are no repeats in the fabrics. Also, seven hexagons that are solid blues of various shades float around in the patchwork. The fabric that fills in at the sides of the rows and is the final border is a printed mosaic-looking patchwork.

About that border: printed patchwork fabrics got a bad rap when quilters started to refer to them as 'cheater patchwork.' According to that opinion, patchwork prints were only used by those who didn't have the skill or inclination to make a "real" quilt-yikes! Time to get off the soapbox!

I adore a pretty printed patchwork fabric. They're a nice addition to lined prints (stripes and checks). Sometimes you just get bored with swirly florals! Especially if the patchwork effect is subtle and color-coordinated, I think this category of print will gain in popularity. Not so much as a poor man's substitute to making patchwork but rather as a welcome fabric print alternative.

True confessions: I haven't always worked in this bold a scale when using hexagons. In 2002 I did a line of blue fabrics for Michael Miller. At Quilt Market (the trade show where the line of prints was introduced) I set up an elaborate diorama of a doll's bedroom. Stuffed toy kitty in a blue nightgown, pictures on the wall, a patchwork/parquet floor, and of course a miniature quilt on a tiny bed. It was blue too.

The hexagons in this little baby only measure 1/2" on a side and the whole piece was sewn by hand.
Come to think of it, I'm sure that's why it took me ten years before I did another blue hexagon quilt!