Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shaping Up for Spring: Hexagons

A modern hexagon quilt top in progress by Julie Antinucci

Quilters have a special appreciation for shapes. We can walk into an airport, a doctors office, a zoo or the grocery store and see a combination of shapes that have an endless amount of possibilities. The hexagon has a special place in the hearts of many quilters. Whether it's admiring the grandmother's garden quilts (example below) from decades ago or appreciating the new modern hexagons that are being made today, we love our "hexies"!
Bertrand, Margaret Hahn. Grandmother. 1930-1949. From Arizona Quilt Documentation Project, . Published in The Quilt Index, Accessed: 03/23/2015

The technique of putting together hexagons is just as unique and varied as the quilts they make up. English paper piecing (sewn by hand) seems to be the "queen" of techniques, but there are also plenty of other options including large-scale hexagons pieced on your sewing machine. 

A new book by Katja Marek called The New Hexagon, published in October 2014, has been picking up steam and is taking the hexagon to an exciting new place! Participants of a fun new quilt-along started in January 2015 called the Millefiore Quilt Along use Facebook to share their progress on these intricate blocks. Here website also has more information on the quilt along. The results are amazing! Some examples are below!

Millefiore Participant Andrea Rudeman's Rosette #1 "Peacock" is complete!
Millefiore Participant Anna Koelewyn's rosette in all solids is a stunner!
A colorful hexagon rosette by the Author of The New Hexagon, Katja Marek
The quilt along follows the steps provided in the book to bring all of the blocks together over time.  These non-traditionally shaped blocks fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Katja has provided an image that gives insight into how each block is completed each month:
The hexagon grid in process of being filled in with actual blocks.

Many times, the hexagon is broken apart and made out of several other shapes.  There is much time, thought and effort put into the color, design, fabric choices and layout of each part of the design, but the results are worth it.  Here are some of the hexagons Katja has created throughout her design process.
Shapes within shapes. 
The hexagon has always inspired quilters! There are so many exciting and new options out there to break down the hexagon and rebuild.  And there are always exciting new quilts being creating using the traditional hexagon paper-pieced method.  As quilters, we love them all!!!