Saturday, September 1, 2012

Flower Garden Finish

Last night I finished sewing on the last of the white spacers along the edge of my hexagon quilt!  I love it!  It was a long journey to get here and I am so proud that I really did manage to finish it.

I took a picture of the first five flowers I stitched together back in February 2010.  I was sooo  proud of them.  I felt like I had made so many!  How naive I was. There are 132 flower blocks in the finished quilt so I had a bit more to go.  :)

In the fall of 2010, I had finished about a quarter of the quilt.  That cute little girl started kindergarten this year!

I kept chugging along.  Sometimes months would go by without any work on it and sometimes I would make flowers obsessively.  My favorite time (only time, really) to do handwork is after the kids go to bed.  I love to just sit down and watch some Hulu or Netflix and do English paper piecing.  If I worked fast I could get one flower done an evening.  Let's not even start to think about how much TV watching this quilt represents, ok?  ;)

Early on I found an online offer for twenty-five 1930's reproduction fat quarters for $25!  Sweet!  In retrospect I should have gotten two packets - there is a lot of fabric in this quilt!  The spacers are Kona Unbleached PFD.  It is more cream than Kona white and more white than Kona Snow - the perfect white in my opinion.  The flower centers are Kona Corn and the hexagons are 1 inch a side.

I love the texture on the back!

I got the idea for using three white spacers between the blocks instead of surrounding the blocks in white from the Paper Pieces picture page.  I was afraid if I surrounded each flower in white that I would get bored and give up.  I like how the spacers still give the flowers breathing room, but how I didn't have to stitch as many white hexagons.  Plus it makes it a bit different from other Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts.

I give my husband a bad time about always having to build stuff so sturdily, but I am just as crazy about my sewing.  After making a couple flowers I had my own system for joining the hexagons together which included laying the tail of the thread under subsequent stitches to hold it in place, reinforcing the corners with extra stitches, averaging 18 whip stitches per inch and knotting off the thread at the end twice - once at the end of the stitching and then again back 1/4 inch.  That thread isn't going anywhere.  ;)

Now I just have to decide if I have the guts to hand quilt it.  The part that makes me the most nervous is the fact that where the fabric folds back on itself to make the hexagon shape, I could have 6 layers of fabric plus batting to stitch through. That does not sound easy or fun.  Any advice?  Will quilting this be horrible?  Should I just send it out to be quilted?  (I don't trust myself to machine quilt it after so many hours of work.)

I also have to decide whether or not to applique on a bit of a border or just trim the edges straight.  Binding around each pointy hexagon is not an option, in my opinion.

Hopefully it won't take another 2 1/2 years to finish quilting because I would love to see it on my bed much sooner than that!

I am linking up to the Festival of Hexagons (lots of fun hexie projects there!) and At the End of the Hallway.

If you want more info on how to English paper piece, you can check out this tutorial.

35 comments:

  1. Wow! What an awesome finish! Well done! I would probably send it out to be quilted out of fear!

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  2. Beautiful!!! I love it - one day I'll have one of my own! LOL

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  3. Oh my goodness, this is gorgeous! I love the little detail of the zig-zag edges, what about putting it together with the top & back right sides together, then turning right side out instead of the usual basting, quilting, & binding? That way you can keep the fun edges without having to try to bind all that.

    As far as quilting, if it were me I would probably want to do it by hand, just so I could say I'd done the entire thing by hand. Depending on how you do it, you could probably avoid the thick corners without too much trouble.

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  4. It's simply beautiful!!!!. Foe what it's worth, I finished a GFG - much smaller, I think - last year & faced the same dilemna about quilting. I went ahead & did it by hand using Perle 5. I had trouble until I visited my local LQS & the gal recommended, I believe, a tapestry needle. That worked great-I did need to use a thimble, but it was certainly doable. And I love how it turned out. It was certainly worth the effort.

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  5. Ficou maravilhosa,parabéns!Tenho algumas flores prontas que sobraram de outras colchas que fiz,acho que seu esquema é brilhanta.Obrigada por compartilhar.

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  6. Amazing!! It looks so fancy! I have no opinions about your questions though. I have seen enough to really know what would look good but I'm sure you'll come up with something good, you always do!

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  7. This is gorgeous! I just finished a small table runner and it took me forever, your quilt looks well worth the time (: If you don't want to keep the current edge I'd vote for adding a little bit of a border. I'd hate for you to have to cut off so much of those gorgeous flowers you worked so hard on!

    Good luck (:

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  8. I absolutely love this quilt! It is stunning. I love the spacers too. I have a hexie in progress and I think I am to try those spacers. I am weird in that I don't like anyone else working on my projects, so I probably would quilt it by hand.

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  9. Oh so gorgeous!! I was just working on my Grandmother's Flower blocks tonight.

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  10. That is incredible Leila, absolutely incredible. After all that hard work, I would send it to a long-armer ...I did with my 'never, ever again' quilt and it's the best decision I made. They can see ideas in your quilt top that you can't because you've spent too much time together!

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  11. wow!!!!! That's so amazingly beautiful!

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  12. Amazing!
    For my EPP project of star blossoms I already decided to make the edges straight with pieces of half hexagons etc.

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  13. Congratulations! What a fun journey. This is what I plan to do when I bind my hexagon quilt http://badskirt.blogspot.ca/2010/05/tutorial-finishing-you-hexie-quilts.html As far as quilting, I am not there yet, but I am scared of hand quilting it too.

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  14. This how quilts used to be made, slowly over time when life slowed enough
    for some quiet hand sewing. This lovely quilt is sure to be a family heirloom, someday that little kindergartner will be giving it to her grandchild telling her how it was made in precious found moments of her childhood.
    Congratulations on getting this far and good luck getting it on your bed soon.

    Happy Sewing on this beautiful quilt!

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  15. Your GFG is wonderful! I've never seen one with just the 3 spacers. That caught my eye right away and I love it.

    I think it would be hard to quilt it by hand, and after all that handwork I wouldn't send it out for machine quilting or do it myself by machine. Have you researched how most GFGs are quilted? Would it be sinful to tie it, maybe adding a button to the flower centers? Just a thought. Or maybe some big stitch quilting in the spacer 3's?

    Can't wait to see what you decide. This is an heirloom for sure!

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  16. I usually don't comment but your GFG is stunning! I love the 3 spacers, it really modenizes it without being irreverent. If that makes any sense. I usually figure that the quilter knows best what to do with their work of beauty but this piece stikes a chord with me so I found that I just had to put my two cents in. You've had some good suggestions too.....I agree with doing some research to try to find a way to keep your beautiful scallopped edge. I like the idea of trying to stitch front and back with right sides together and then turning. That way you get to keep the scallop AND you don't have to bind. As for the quilting I think it should difinitely be done by hand or tied in the center of the 3 spacers. Your hand work shouldn't just be mowed over by machine quilting. Congratulations and whatever you decide will be perfect.

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  17. All I can say is...LOVE IT!!!!!!

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  18. If you do hand quilt it, I hear wool batting is the way to go...

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  19. Leila--This quilt is a masterpiece. I'd love to see a photo with the little kindergartener in 2010, now that it is 2012 and she must be in second grade. I agree completely on the white spacers--perfect. Amy of Badskirt has, in her tutorial section, a thing on how she quilted, then finished up her edges of her hexie quilt. I repinned it to my Pinterest as I thought it was so great. (http://badskirt.blogspot.com/2010/05/tutorial-finishing-you-hexie-quilts.html) (Hope the link sticks!)

    I also like the way she quilted it too, but since yours looks bigger, you may want more quilting. Depends totally on your energy level, is what I say.

    Anyway, it's simply brilliant!

    Elizabeth E.
    opquilt.com

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  20. AMAZING! When I grow up, I want to be like you!

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  21. wow, wow, wow, respect! I'm doing a scrappy hexy project and promised my husband to finnish it queensize when we retire. That'll be some time, we're 35 now...

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  22. It is beautiful! I can't wait to see what you do with the edges. I have a hexie quilt top that I just can't figure out how to finish it up. I hate to slice off the edges but am intimidated by the other options.

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  23. I LOVE THIS :) Its so fun. I agree with people that the scallop edge looks great! I can't believe the patience it must take to make something like this.

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  24. My First response was, "I can't believe that!" What an amazing job you are doing on this quilt. Whenever I get to thinking that my project is hard I am going to remember this Quilt, it truly boggles my mind (perhaps I should put a picture up over my crafting are. hmmm...) Thanks so much for sharing!

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  25. What a fantasic quilt! When I did a hexagon quilt I had the backing bigger than the front, and folded it in under the front and appliqued the front to the backing with the wadding the same size as the backing. That way you don't lose the lovely shape of the hexagon edges but you have a straight edged quilt. I would tie-quilt it in the centre of each white bit.

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  26. incredible! i am in love with the quilt and your fortitude... :)

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  27. Absolutely gorgeous! Wow! I can't get over how beautiful this is! Good for you....I have been working on one for about the same length of time and only have 11 flowers! You should be very proud :)

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  28. Oh wow! Just beautiful! I love 30s fabrics and hexagons. So this is perfect!
    And, have you already decided how to quilt and finish it? I have the same thoughts about my hexagon quilt. But the top is not done yet...

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  29. This is just stunning! What a work of love.

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  30. What size hexagons did you use for this if you don't mind me asking?

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