What’s up, April?

…And another month goes by before I post again.  Predictable, no?  Especially on the heels of a resolution to post more often.  Well, we’ll see what adding “Blog” to my to-do app on a repeating basis will accomplish.

I think part of why I haven’t been posting lately is that I’ve been working on a couple of projects that, until recently, were secret.  I still won’t post about one of them, because it’s a present for someone and she should really get to see it first, but my Pantone Color Challenge quilt has been out on Instagram for a couple of weeks now, so let’s talk about that for a while!

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The challenge was issued by the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am an enthusiastic member.  Pantone’s Color of the Year is “Greenery”, so those of us who signed up for the challenge were given a half-yard cut of Kona Lime, which was judged to be equivalent, and told to make a modern quilt with it measuring 18″ square.  I tend to think of myself more as a post-modern quilter; I like breaking categories and defining my own artistic space, but I also love rising to meet a challenge, and I decided I wanted to make something REALLY modern for this one.

After a couple of weeks of thinking about it, lying in bed one night, I came up with this:

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I’ve got a special love for hexagons, since they were my grandmother’s favorite shape to work with, and the hand-sewing in a small EPP project like this is a great way to unwind in front of Netflix.  The color mix was inspired by my much-beloved collection of Rowan shot cottons, which I acquired last year in a splurge of self-indulgence (along with some of their lovely woven stripes) and hadn’t used yet.  The column of geometric shapes, I planned to make three-dimensional, using the chopkey technique that I learned in a workshop with Rami Kim two years ago (more on that later).  The hexagons of diminishing size, I planned to make by sewing bands of green fabric around the edges, but I later decided that that would make them look like they were receding into the background, while I wanted them to float on top.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Once I had the design, my husband helped me do a fabric pull.

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Basically I just laid the greenery fabric in the bottom of the laundry basket, dumped my whole collection of shot cottons and woven stripes out on the dinner table, and the two of us went through and tried things next to the green fabric. When something worked, we threw it in the basket.  My husband doesn’t make things himself (except physics theories) but he has excellent color sense, and I often ask him to help when I’m making design decisions.

I then had to make a second version of the sketch.  The first one was just a free-hand thing and didn’t use the right measurements for regular hexagons, and since this project had to finish to a specific size, I needed to know how many templates to cut and what size they should be so I could actually fit in the whole design.

That produced this, which you will notice still does not have actual regular hexagons in it, but does have the right number of irregular ones to make an 18″ square.IMG_4188  And if I hadn’t done the second sketch, I wouldn’t have known that my column of geometric shapes would have to end in not an octagon, but a nonagon!

I decided where the colors should go within the design  and assigned each colored hexagon a letter, which I in turn wrote on the template piece that each color was basted to.  For the smaller floating hexagons, I followed an interesting technique that I learned from Modern Handcraft’s Modern Hexies Tutorial.

 

First, you cut and baste the hexagons to templates, just as you would for English Paper Piecing.

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Here’s my smallest one.

Once the hexagons are basted (with cotton thread), you press and steam them, to make sure they’ll hold their shape.  Then, cut the basting stitches, take out the template, position them on the fabric where you want them, and glue them down instead of sewing.  If you don’t apply glue all the way to the edges, they appear to float on the background!

I’ve been really happy with the results.

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Next time, chopkeys!

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