Turkey Tracks: November 18, 2013
I’m obsessed with hand sewing. I have one project going and two more planned. And I can’t wait for dark to fall so I can settle in and hand sew while watching something fun on the television. Though just at the moment I’m hand-quilting the clam shell quilt which is, as yet, nameless, but not homeless. And, I’m putting the binding on the Winding Ways/Wheels of Mystery quilt which I’m naming “Earth.”
I think my obsession all started with Bonnie Hunter’s numerous posts on her hexie projects. Hexies are all the rage in quilting these days, which I’m sure most quilters know. And these projects are NOT your grandmother’s flower garden variety.
Or, maybe it was seeing the gorgeous quilt that Rhea Butler of Alewives quilting, in Damariscotta Mills, Maine, from Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke’s MATERIAL OBSESSION 2 book. (Those gals are from Australia, the home of fantastic quilting.)
I did a hexie project a while back–a challenge to depict a grocery store product–I chose Green Hive Honey, a local raw, unheated honey. That quilt was called “A Thousand Flowers” since that’s what it takes to make a ridiculously small bit of raw honey. (You can search for it elsewhere on the blog.) I found sewing the hexies tedious–especially the whip stitching that joined them. And the stitches showed in a way I didn’t like.
BUT, But, But! There is a better way to do this whole process. And I began to discover that only recently with Micky Dupre and Bonnie Hunter’s book, RING AROUND THE HEXIES: A Collaboration Celebration.
You can English Paper Piece the hexies and then the way you join them is NOT with whip stitching. I’m posting a video from Leah Davis that’s a close-up of her hands piecing hexies in the “new” way in a separate post. (Ask and you shall receive from the universe.)
So, Bonnie makes a pieced quilt, leaving, in the above case, blank black squares on-point. Micky pieces a hexie formation–and she manipulates the hexies to get interesting color changes–and appliques her arrangement onto the quilt. They are beautiful. The resulting quilt is beautiful.
But, I think my own obsession stemmed from Rhea Butler’s quilt from MATERIAL OBSESSIONS–hanging in Alewives. And somehow I did not take a picture of the whole quilt.
That quilt is made of large hexies–all constructed from a kite-shape (a quadrilateral) that when combined forms a hexie.
Here are some examples of those bigger blocks. You can see the “kite” in the dark, outer prints with circles–it takes two “kites” to form that dark patch. The outer neutral fabric is also made of the “kite” shape. The red dotted fabric is used to link a line of blocks together–it’s a large diamond shape.
And, here hyou can see the kite shape a bit better:
These big hexies are joined with interesting geometric shapes and lavish, BIG borders from contemporary fabrics.
Here’s fabric for my first try at these blocks–and you can see the kite template. The dark fabric will be used on the outer ring. I suspect the peach fabric will form the inner ring.
I was going to do these by hand, but Rhea says they sew well on the machine, too. So, I’ll play around.
BUT, if I’m not going to hand-sew these, what is going to occupy my fingers?
This project I suspect:
Take a hexie and pull out the sides, and you get a “honeycomb” hexie. And back in the day in England, a woman named Lucy Boston used that shape to construct the most amazing quilts. Rhea Butler was already playing with this honeycomb hexie when I saw her last.
Here’s the book, done by Linda Franz, and a packet of honeycomb papers. One varies the block by varying the fabric color within the block.
Whatever I do I’ll pull from the stash.
So, on to Leah Day’s excellent video.