Monday, 9 November 2015

FAL Finish: Hexy Quilt


Back in July 2011, Lynne and Gayle started the Hexalong.  About a month later, I decided to join in and, just over four years later, I've finished the quilt!  (I'm not sure how many other Hexalong quilts have been started and/or finished but there are times when I've felt like the only one still plodding hexing along!)

This was my initial fabric pull, bought from various UK shops:

Hexie fabric has landed!

Not all of these fabrics made it into the quilt (second, fourth and fifth from left were culled) and lots more stash fabrics were added as I went along.  In the end, I used just over 60 different fabrics.

This was the first hexagon I made:

My HAL has started!

I found pieced hexagon patterns from all over (Lynne and Gayle's blogs, traditional quilt block books, my head) and decided what to make as I went along.  I took group photos at various stages to help keep me motivated (although that wasn't really necessary, I loved every minute of piecing these hexagons and was sad when I finished the last one):

My camera really doesn't like the colour of my carpet - it seems to make it bleach all the colour out of the thing(s) I'm photographing!
101 pieced hexies

Once they were all pieced (here's a post showing all the hexies in 'family' groups), I spent a few days arranging them on the floor on a fleece blanket (so it could be rolled up if necessary):

Arranging hexies 4

I started piecing them together and initially I made them into 'blobs' and then joined the blobs together but soon realised that it was easier to attach them one at a time to the main group:


Each hexagon was labelled with a number (I used a hexy map to keep me right!) and once a hexagon was surrounded, the label was removed.

Five months after starting to join the hexagons together (and about 21 months after piecing my first hexagon), all 178 hexagons (over 2000 pieces) were joined:

All the hexies are stitched together!

I added a couple of borders and the top was finished:

It's finished!

Quite a while later, the quilt was tacked and ready for hand quilting, I just needed to decide on a quilting design.  I knew I wanted it to be fairly simple, and I also knew I didn't want to have to go through the centres of the hexagons as some of them had twelve seams meeting which would make life difficult.  In the end, I decided on straight lines in a white Gutermann Sulky 30wt thread (thread weight/brand chosen after some testing).

I started the hand quilting (in Gutermann Sulky 30wt) some time in July 2013 and by December of that year had made a little progress:
Quilting progress

Progress was slow because some of the seams were difficult to hand quilt through; in the end I stab stitched through them and then did my normal 'rocking' stitch through the rest (I hand quilt in a hoop, using two thimbles - one on the top and one underneath).  I'm so glad I stuck with the hand quilting, though, as it gives a much softer look to the quilt than machine quilting would have done.

By July of this year I had finished the quilting, but I dithered about what to use for binding.  In the end, a planned catch up with Danielle (who was visiting family nearby) propelled me into action and I chose Kona Shadow.  Even that was not without its minor disasters: the first lot of fabric I ordered (from a shop I don't usually use) was stained right across the three-quarter of a metre cut but I didn't notice until I'd washed and ironed it and was cutting the strips.  That shop didn't have any more (and I wouldn't have wanted it anyway - I got a refund, eventually) but Justine and Lisa at Simply Solids (my usual port of call for Kona!) came to my rescue and my binding fabric arrived the day before I was due to meet Danielle.  I washed, dried and ironed it in record time and by 9pm that night I had the binding on the front, ready to stitch to the back while I chatted to Danielle the next morning.  A couple of nights later though, I discovered (when I only had about 40" left to stitch down) that three of the four corners were dreadful (as is this night time photo!):


I ripped off all the binding bar the one good corner and re-attached it the next afternoon.  A couple of days after that, the quilt was finally finished!


And with much better corners!


I've picked out a few of my favourite hexies and you can just about see the quilting lines, too (my camera doesn't really do close-ups so this is as good as you'll get unless you come to see it in person!):

A few of my favourite hexies
Flickr links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Quilt Stats:

Started: July 2011
Finished: October 2015
Piecing: by hand (NOT EPP!!!) (2221 pieces in the top!)
Quilting: by hand.  Straight lines, using Gutermann Sulky 30wt (I used almost 300m of thread)
Design: various traditional blocks as well as designs/inspiration from Lynne Goldsworthy and Gayle Brindley.  Information about the quilt which inspired the Hexalong can be found here.
Fabrics: various (60), both bought for the project and from stash/scrap boxes
Backing: Spot-on wide in aqua
Wadding: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 bleached (white)
Binding: Kona Shadow
Size: 67.5" x 84"

I'll be linking up with Adrianne when the time comes - you can find my Q4 2015 FAL list here.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Archie continues to seek out the sun whenever it deigns to appear:


As well as being diligent in licking out any packets (I thought he'd been a while!):


His tummy bottom still isn't right but I'm changing his food from teatime tonight and I'm hoping that's going to help - he's moving to a food designed for 'senior' dogs (which is for dogs over seven - I wonder if they do a 'senior senior' food?!) with sensitive tummies/digestion.  If that doesn't help then it's back to the vet (again!) to see if he needs some tummy protectors and/or a 'medical' dog food.  Please cross your fingers that the new food works!  He's fine in himself, though - still keen on food, fusses and walks, just as he always has been.  He's definitely a 'glass half full' dog!

Thanks for popping in!

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