A Year of Hexies!

by Stephanie on March 23, 2011

in Hand Sewing and Quilting,Hexies!

piles of paper-pieced hexagon flowers

I don’t recall the exact date I embarked on the paper-pieced hexies journey last year, but my first post about it was on 3/25/10, so sometime around now, a year ago. Since then, I’ve put my evening TV time to good use making 107 hexie flowers and adding a row of assorted blue batiks around each one.

pile of completed hexagon flowers
These make me insanely happy!

I am using 3/4″ hexies, so each flower is 6.5″ across, and I’ve got enough for either a generous quilt for our queen bed or a large wall-hanging (haven’t decided which), final dimensions as yet unknown.

As you can see, I baste through the paper. Some folks say “don’t do that! it’s an extra step and hard on your hands!” but I like doing it this way. My paper is repurposed old biz letterhead with an outdated address, a heavy bond paper that’s hefty enough to hold its shape but easy to push a needle through. It was harder on my hands to cut out a gazillion hexies from the printed template sheets I made up. Which was an extra step, but also a soothingly mindless task that I did a sheet at a time.

As each flower was done I removed and reused the paper from the inner pieces. I’ve got some paper pieces that have been used 3-4 times, which is about the end of their usefulness, but a nice labor-saver. I enjoy the extra step of snipping the basting thread on all the finished pieces and pulling it free then popping the paper out the back. It delivers more cherished moments of accomplishment to what is a very long-term project.

107 flower units is more than I will need, but I always make extra of whatever block or unit is required, because when it comes time to lay everything out there are always some parts that don’t fit in as well as expected. The extras will go into my “orphans and extras” bin for evetual use in something else.

Finished up the flowers about a 10 days ago. You might think I’d be sewing them all together by now, but the plan is to connect them with some greens, like this:
variation on Grandmother's Flower Garden hexies layout

I came up with this layout after lots of fiddling around, but I’m sure others have taken this path before me, no illusions that it’s unique. The effect I’m aiming for with the blues and greens is of flowers and scattered leaves and the occasional petal floating on water. Sort of like this.

Next step is to add another 50 or 60 more green hexies to this pile, and sew them into triplet units with the ocasional extra “petal” (not green):

basted green hexagons

At this point I have in mind also adding a few rows of greens, including more darker ones, as a border. A creeping suspicion is arising that when I reach that stage I may decide not to bother. I have a lot of dark green squares cut, though, so when I need a break from sewing all the flowers together I might switch over to basting those, so they’ll be ready to go in another year or two.

Best guess is it will take at least another year of TV time to get the “leaves” done and this beauty sewn together. By then I might have decided whether or not I’ll hand-quilt it. Which could take a good part of yet another year. That’s okay, this kind of project is not about getting it done as quickly as possible. It’s about having something to do while watching so many hours of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance and Biggest Loser, plus all the stuff we rent from Netflix.

Once you get hooked on having something to keep your hands busy while slouched on the couch with the idiot-box on, it’s hard to just sit and watch. I’m already wondering what I will work on when this one is done. Fortunately I’ve got plenty of time to figure that out.


1 Mary March 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Holy crap, Stephanie! I just read this entire post with my mouth gaping open. This is going to be, no wait, this already is an exquisite piece of art. I am sure by now I must sound like some kind of crazy, sycophantic stalker chick to you, but, I kid you not, you inspire me with every time you post a picture.


2 Stephanie March 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm

If that kind of praise is your idea of “stalking,” please don’t feel you ought to stop. It makes my day when someone else likes my stuff as much as I do. Not everyone appreciates going off the deep end with color and fabric combos the way I do, so it’s nice to have a true fan!

3 Pieces of Sunshine March 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

This is beautiful Stephanie! I have had bit of a look around over the last twelve months at various hexie projects – yours is by far the prettiest, brightest one I have seen. I love it! I’m currently working on my hexies which I started about 15 months ago, that story is here http://piecesofcontentment.blogspot.com/2011/03/hexies.html
I have nearly reached a large lap quilt size (about the size I want it to be) and still deciding how I will quilt it. I hope to have it all finished and quilted by early May.
Yours are so pretty I am now tempted to think of making a similar quilt when I’m ready for another hand sewing project.

4 Stephanie March 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Your hexies look good, too, the colors look very rich together. I see all the random-layout hexie versions and think that would be a nice change of pace from this one.

5 Joanna March 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm

They, and you, are absolutely amazing! It is so refreshing to see someone loving and using color! You are a girl after my own heart. This is going to be the most gorgeous quilt!

6 Stephanie March 23, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Thanks, Joanna! I love the colors of the sampler quilt on your blog today… great use of polka dots, too! My stash is colorful, but sadly lacking in dots…. but I’m on a fabric diet until I get some projects completed.

7 Shelley March 24, 2011 at 10:53 am

I just love all the color! And all the Kaffe of course :) Kudos to you for sticking with a project that you know is going to take another year. Sometimes I feel like if I spent half as much time actually sewing as I do planning, thinking about, and buying fabric for sewing, I’d be a force to be reckoned with. But the planning is sometimes the most fun part… Beautiful work, as always.

8 Stephanie March 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Oh yes, the “planning and thinking about” factor. It’s what is keeping me so far behind on all my non-sewing projects these days. Even when I’m not in the sewing room, I can’t stop thinking about quilts/fabric.

9 Deb March 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I LOVE your fabric choices with the hexagons… they’re just BEAUTIFUL! I baste mine through the paper also… I’ve always done it that way. It doesn’t bother my hands and it keeps the fabric firmly attached to the paper.

10 Stephanie March 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Thanks, Deb! The flowers are all Kaffe Fassett fabrics, many fussy cut for best effect. It was a joy to make them from such beautiful prints, and they keep me happy through the long process of a hand-sewn quilt.

11 Jackie March 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Wow, wow, wow!! I love them. This so makes me want to get back to my hexies and quick!! I love the layout with the 3 in between. I think that I may try this with mine. However, I have so many more to go, only 26 flowers done.

12 Stephanie March 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm

With 26 done, you can’t stop now, Jackie! I wouldn’t be nearly so far along if I didn’t spend so many evenings watching Biggest Loser and American Idol and other guilty pleasures. The best part is that hexies turn those hours into productive time!

13 Wendi April 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Gorgeous! And aren’t hexies addictive? Can’t wait to see your finished quilt- or wall hanging – whichever! LOVE it!

14 kitblu February 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

First time I have seen your work. The colour play is interesting, nothing I would choose but it is stunning. I don’t have tv but I can see how this hand work could fit in my life. I take a book everywhere with me for times I have to wait. Sometimes there is interesting conversation during this time; that is when I would be better off stitching. Then I could take part in the conversation.
Is this what is called English paper piecing? I think it is not the foundation paper piecing that I have done and which not be so easy to do in the circumstance I mentioned.
I will be following you and your sewing/quilting adventures.

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