I've been teaching myself for years to tune into the quilts I make that I don't like, so that I can make more that I do. Mostly that tuning in comes at the end, when a finish isn't as satisfying as I hoped, and then I use that information to help guide the next quilt. Sometimes, while I'm making blocks, I take the effort to tune is as I go, see which blocks I like and which I don't, so I keep making more that I like.
Forming this ‘student-teacher’ relationship with my quilts has brought me to the point where I love most of the quilts I make these days, but very occassionally, I still finish the blocks, lay them out, and feel sick with disappointment.
That's exactly what happened in the process of making this hexie flower quilt. I had made over 100 lovely hexie flowers, laid them out, and realised, with that all too familiar sinking feeling, that instead of a wistful cottage garden feel, I had a collection of coloured BLOBS! I was so surprised! I loved my hexie flowers on their own, but together, in this layout, they looked flat and uninviting. Was it just the floor rug I'd laid them out on? Was it the shadows between the flowers? Sometimes you can feel uneasy about a quilt, but sew those blocks together, and the shadows away, and the the quilt shines. I knew that wasn't the case here though. I had such a clear vision in my head of how I wanted this quilt to feel, and this wasn't it.
In the past when I've reached this point in a quilt, I've sold the WIP in my shop to let someone else try to rescue it. Or, I put the blocks away because there's nothing quite like the passing of time to lessen the sting and either change one's mind about the level of catastrophe, or bring new inspiration about what can be done.
The Decision to Unpick
This time, however, the quilt I had in mind wouldn't let me go. It didn't make any business sense, and I argued as such the entire way through unpicking some flowers and basting and stitching others. You see, I keep a stash of 1" hexagons, and I'd asked my mum (actually, paid my mum!) to sew them into flowers so I could use them for a series of quilts using hexagons and hexie flowers. And, here I was undoing her work rather than just coming up with a different quilt that would suit them.
I'm so rarely an ‘unpicker’ with my unloved EPP blocks. I usually prefer to just discard them and see if they'll come in handy down the track, or include them and trust that they'll just hide in the scrappy quilt so I won't even notice anymore.
But, here I am, at this end of the journey, with the finished quilt I really wanted, and I just can't help but be so pleased with myself! It's EXACTLY what I had in mind. I'm so glad I took the effort to unpick and re-sew here. Sometimes, the quilt you wanted, and the joy it creates is worth all the 'wasted' time and money spent. And, I really love the way this quilt turned out.
A Modern, Classic Take on Hexie Flowers
My original flowers were each made with the same print around the centre hexagon. These looked completely lovely on their own, but once I'd laid them out and stood back, the seam lines between the petals disappeared, and they looked flat. You might be able to see that I kept some of these flowers, but mostly I made all new ones, or unpicked a collection of flowers made in similar colours and rearranged them into new flowers. Even as I write this, I feel a bit self conscious about completely remaking a whole quilt worth of blocks, but once I figured out the problem and started to make new flowers, I was driven with the energy that I was on the right track and would soon have the quilt I envisaged. It made all the difference that I can see the individual petals around the flowers, creating a feel of movement and light that you get in a real garden.
But, speaking of using the same print around the centre, there's one version of this quilt I'm dying to make, and that's this two colour, traditional New York Tile version. Have you seen tiles like this before? This pattern has always grabbed my eye when looking through Pinterest for inspiration, so when I imagined writing a pattern for Spring Whimsy, I new I needed to include the instructions and fabric requirements to make it. Which reminds me – the Spring Whimsy Quilt Pattern is now available in the shop!
Ready to make your own Spring Whimsy quilt?
Whether you have a scrappy stash of 1" hexagons that need a purpose, or you love the soft and sophisticated look of the New York tile design, this quilt pattern has something for you!
And, if you're in need of some fresh, 1" hexagons, this quilt uses the exact number of hexagons that are in the 1" Big Box, which comes in a beautiful recycled gift box that is just perfect for storing basting hexagons!
Click below to start your own!