Monday, June 13, 2016

Hexie Pillow Finish!

Do you wander around Instagram? 
I do because it is loaded with inspiration. 
Last week while making that cute Jelly Clip purse for an upcoming workshop sample, an idea drifted into my head for another EPP project sample using a slightly larger hexagon (1 1/4").

My head is currently swimming with dozens of images from Australian quiltmakers whose fabric style I've dubbed "Aussie Bohemian" -- it's fresh and exciting to me.  One thing I've learned in the past 40 years of quilt making is learning to work in a new fabric style takes practice so I'm experimenting with fabric I already own in hopes that I'll absorb some of the essence of this style's spontaneity and whimsy.  Once I accomplish that, my fabric shopping will shift to build up more flexibility.  I learn more via that "trial and error" route than I do buying kits with all the "right" fabrics.

A stack of Kaffe Fassett charms provided a quick starting point and I spent an afternoon cutting and basting my hexagons.  I did all my calculation for 1" hexagons and . . . . . 
then used 1 1/4" papers.
That's what happens when I get too excited. 
So too many hexies, but in the end it was fine as I had more flexibility in my design.   
I pulled out most of the cool color pieces -- another project?
My goals were not to exert too much control over the fabric arrangement (there is that mostly yellow hexie flower near the middle) and to use an edgy (for me) background fabric. 
It was fun to realize how many background options I owned!
In the end, I settled on this soft graphic print.
Once the band of hexies was appliqued in place, I spent a hot and happy afternoon with this box of silk embroidery threads my mother brought to me many years ago quilting the hexies.
Some of the thread choices contrast with the fabric and some blend into them.
I planned to machine quilt the background with simple straight lines and in preparing to do that realized that my band has gone slightly askew during the applique process. 
 It wasn't perfectly aligned with the "grain of the print". 
So doing straight lines on both sides wasn't going to work because the background fabric "insisted" on straight aligned stitching!!
It took a few hours but I finally realized that using zigzag lines to echo the opposite edge of the band would camouflaged it perfectly.  Once again, a mistake leads to a creative solution and a discovery!!
The finished product is a neck roll pillow and by extreme good luck, I was able to create a band that would connect continuously around the pillow. 
This isn't really a tutorial, more of a recounting of what I did -- it took a couple days to think through things and come up with a way to achieve it.  There was quite a bit of measuring and testing as I proceeded.

The fuchsia/orange and the upper half of the green hexagons are not appliqued in place yet.  After quilting, I trimmed the background, batting, and backing to allow a 1/2" seam allowance as seen here.  More seam than usual just in case it's needed!
The top edge (in this picture) of the center green hexagon will join to the other end of the band right on top of the seam needed to create the tube for the pillow, so I stair-stepped the hexagons at both ends because I "felt" it would be easier to merge them after the background was seamed.
I also trimmed the batting out of the seam and used fusible batting tape to attach it to the backing fabric so the seam would be less bulky.  This is a great idea from Marti Michell who sells the tape in 1" and 2" widths.  I explained how I use it in THIS TUTORIAL.
I was nervous about stitching that seam in the backing so I machine basted it first.  All my fussing paid off, the hexies aligned perfectly!  Now to applique everything in place and hand quilt the remaining hexies at the joining seam.
I lifted my sewing machine up to access the free arm easily and machine quilted around the tube with  lines echoing the edge of the hexie band.
Right side.
Wrong side.
I used my tutorial from last spring on making a neck roll pillow -- boy, am I glad that I wrote that out, it came in handy!!  It's HERE.  And what fun to find a twill tape tie from a fabric bundle in my ribbon stash -- the colors and the twill tape are perfect!
It's hard to send it off to the shop, but it will only be gone for six weeks.
And those left over hexies won't go to waste!  How about this?
Or maybe this? 
So what is the next thing I'm going to do? 
Why order a fat eighth assortment of new Kaffe Fassett fabrics that SHABBY QUILTS brought to my attention in an e-mail this morning!!

And then I better layer up a quilt and quit procrastinating all the FMQ staring me in the face!

Have a good week!

Mary Huey

P.S.  The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild has put out a call for help making heart blocks and quilts to cover survivors and victims' families of the massacre on Sunday.  If you are so inclined, follow this link to the blogpost with information and a link to a simple pieced block.

I documented how I finished this style of pillow last spring while making gifts for my grandchildren -- click HERE to revisit it!


  1. Wow, isn't that a genius idea! The result is really fun and you intrigued me about those Aussie Bohemian quilters. Will have to find out, but I'm not on Instagram.

  2. Wow, Mary, very impressive!
    I think Aussie Bohemian is a perfect description. I am endlessly inspired by our quilting friends 'down under' and how they've taken so many familiar quilting designs and fabrics and developed such unique work. I just received Margaret Sampson George's new book from Quiltmania. Although I buy very few quilting books anymore, I love her work and the quilts she has inspired among her students in AU ~ her book is fabulous!

  3. Looks like the hexie's have sucked you in!! Love it, I am starting to do a little EPP too.

  4. Hi Mary! Your pillow is super and cute and this post came to me just in time! I was thinking to make a purse with hexagons by connecting them at the bottom and on sides to be 'around'. But now the size feels to me too big, so I have tried to think what else the almost finished piece could become ... pillow of course! Thank you for inspiration! x Teje

  5. This is brilliant Mary! A wonderful way to try a new colour/print scheme and a manageable project to showcase those beautiful hand stitched hexies! I love your choice of background fabric and machine quilting. Your creative problem solving sounds like the way I approach projects too. Needless to say I think your hand quilting in silks is perfect - aren't silks lovely to work with!

  6. I love what you have done with your hexies on the pillow - it's finished so well!

  7. So many fantastic hexagons. I love them all. And I love how you appliqued them to the background.

  8. Looks a cute pillow and thanks for showing us how! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday

  9. What a fun and enjoyable project, and thanks for sharing your learning with us!

  10. I've recently returned to quilting after a long break and also discovered the clever flair of those Aussies. I think Aussie Bohemian is a very apt description and your thoughtful way to approach that is inspiring. I discovered your blog through Blossom Heart Quilts and can't wait to have a look around.

  11. I love this! I'm addicted to hexies.

  12. Wow, fabulous projects and a stunning rainbow hexies.

  13. Did you mean to link this post a second time? I see my comment in June!

  14. I am in love with the fabrics you used in the hexies!