Friday, May 14, 2021

Returning to My Ombre Hexagons / Beauties Pageant 129

I’m fairly motivated by nature—I like being busy and crossing items off my to-do list—but every so often I need a push to get a particular WIP over the finish line. So when I learned that Curated Quilts was looking for gallery submissions for its upcoming polygon issue, an old hexagon project came to mind. Do I think this quilt will get into the fall issue’s quilt gallery? Probably not, but that’s not the point. This call for submissions gives me a deadline—June 10!—to finish something that might otherwise languish in my closet for another year or two.

I last worked on this quilt top in late 2019, setting it aside at the time to tackle higher priorities. Most of the hexagons here were paper-pieced, and all of them were subsequently machine-pieced. (Machine-piecing hexagons is easier than you may think. Check out my tutorial on it here.) All of that is to say, this is not the fastest project to chip away at, but I may be able wrap it up in the next month.

I was thankful to discover that Past Michelle put me in a good position to get back to these hexies. (I love it when Past Michelle helps me out!) She numbered different sections of the top and took ample pictures of the layout, so I was able to re-create and immediately start piecing what had already been cut out and decided upon. Now I need to make some decisions, and I’m hoping you’ll help me ...

This project started as a way to play with ombre fabric, using its color gradations to mimic how light is reflected on gemstones. It’s an experiment that worked. I was reluctant, however, to create a top that was just row after row of these pretty fabric gems. I omitted a stone here and there and have laid out the hexagons so that some will sit at the edge of the quilt and others will extend beyond it. What do you think of that plan?

Also, I’m hoping to use the quilting to make this project a special one. I have some Aurifil 12 weight on hand in white, gray, and blue. I’m thinking of machine-quilting in the white lines between the gemstones with the white thread. (I’ve never done this before, but I understand that I should use a 40 weight in the bobbin when I use 12 weight on the top.) That’s just to stabilize the quilt top. Then I’m thinking of adding hand-quilting detail to the individual stones, further playing up the idea of light reflecting off of them.

And then the plan is to bind the project with one of the blues above. If I’m feeling brave, I may even finish off the binding with a chunky running stitch in blue 12 weight.

Do you have any other ideas on where I can go from here with this project? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! (And please refrain from telling my husband that I’m working with a self-imposed deadline. He hates when I set rather random target dates for projects, quilty or otherwise!)

For more from me on machine-pieced hexagons, check out these posts:


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  1. Your hexies are so pretty, happy stitching!

  2. I like the ombre look - past me gets me into trouble

  3. I like what I'm seeing so far on your hexie project. Will you leave open spaces or fill it all in with color?

  4. I think that 12wt would be a beautiful compliment to the quilt. 40 or 50wt in the bobbin is definitely a good idea, and make sure to test out different needles. A 100/18 works best for my current machine with 12wt.

  5. Happy to hear your Past You helped out :) Hope you can make your self imposed deadline. And I am wondering why he dislikes it if he is not even affected - or will he be? Also thanks for the heads up. For some reason I never signed up for their newsletters *duhh Fixed that immediately. xo

    1. My husband argues that my self-imposed deadlines *always* affect him! He especially dislikes when I use an upcoming visit from friends or family as an opportunity to repaint a bathroom, wash all the windows, or redecorate the guest room. I have kitchen window treatments to sew, and I've been putting them off ... Who wants a weekend in New England to help me make them happen?! : )

  6. Those hexagons look amazing! I love the layout plan you have going and I think 12 wt thread hand quilting will suit it perfectly.

  7. Those ombré hexies are totally awesome!


  8. I think you're on the right track with those ombré gemstones. The fabrics you chose photograph very well, and simulate the effect of "glow." I like each idea you've suggested - highlighting with white for a special gleam - and the combination of machine and hand quilting. My only suggestion is just to reassess after each step. While your step-by-step plan may work out, something else might arise that's more appropriate than you originally intended. But definitely, go full steam ahead! Time is short! I admire you for tackling this CQ challenge. I'm passing on it. :-)

  9. Gosh, Michelle! This is one beautiful project that has languished long enough. I really LOVE the purposeful white missing gem stones, and your quilting plan sounds like a good one to me. I have to agree with the step-back-and-assess comment because the quilt will tell you what to do. Now, get to it girl! June 10th will be here in a blink. DH will just have to deal. ~smile~ Roseanne


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