Monday, July 11, 2011

One Hen, Two Ducks-The Beginning

My mom and I are both crafty quilty people and decided in 2009 that we should go to quilt camp, AKA Empty Spools Seminars.  We recently went a second time since the first time was so much fun, and there'll be more on that along the way.  The seminars at quilt camp can be broadly divided into two semi-overlapping categories, 1) Make-A-Quilt, and 2) Design-a-Quilt.  While almost all the classes include both construction and design exercises, some are clearly geared one way or the other.  For the first time around, I chose a fabulous class in the first category.  The teacher was Maxine Rosenthal who has authored several books on the one-block wonder pattern, which was the focus of the class.

Before the class, we all selected a large, multi-colored print and purchased six repeats.  Is it any wonder that I chose this fabulous Secret Jungle panel by Laurel Burch whose color scheme can best be described as "bright"? I actually bought extra repeats so I could have a complete panel to put on the back of the quilt and one repeat I could cut up and use for accents.

The instructions for the construction of the quilt are pretty straightforward, and described in detail in the book, so I won't go into it here. Basically, you line up the six repeats on top of each other, carefully cut them into strips and then into 60 degree triangles.  The six resultant matching triangles are then assembled into two half hexagons which are pinned together.

Once the hexagons are all pinned together, the fun of arranging them begins.  It's amazing how much color and movement and variation can be created.   You actually get much more variation if your initial print has more contrast variation (lights and darks), but my panel was mostly all medium contrast so the main impact is the color.  Here's a picture I took in the class as I was organizing my hexagons.  The great thing is that since the half-hexagons aren't sewn together, once you have them arranged, they can be sewn together in rows with no set-in seams.

During assembly; see all the unattached half-hexagons at the bottom.

Rows once they've all been sewn together.

The traditional one-block wonder uses only the hexagon blocks cut from the six repeats, but you can also make and incorporate hexagons which look like solid cubes, open cubes, partially open cubes, etc., and by playing around with the placement of lights and darks you can significantly alter the perspective.

Finally, I decided to place parts of my original panel intact among the hexagons; the day part of the panel on one end, and the night part on the other.  See the intact zebras in the day portion and the bird in the night portion nestling amid the surrounding hexagons?

Once I'd finished sewing all my rows together, I was pretty amazed that it all came from one base fabric, but it seemed a little too chaotic even for me.  To finish the whole thing, I made several rows of black and incorporated some leftover hexagons and machine-appliqued cutouts from my extra fabric panels.  The leftover hexagons all had black edges since they had come from the edges of the panel which had a black border.  They hadn't really fit in with the rest of the twirling hexagons, but made lovely pinwheeling plants in with the rest of the black strips I added (sorry about the weird picture)

Stay-tuned tomorrow for the quilting and final pictures!