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.
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 My paper is repurposed old biz letterhead with an outdated address, a heavy bond paper that’s hefty enough to hold its shape but easy to push a needle through.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.
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):
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.