Wednesday 2 February 2011

The 10 year patchwork project

Not at all narrowboat related but something I plan to be doing while we cruise.
It is a project I started a year ago at my once a month quilt group.  I call it the Hexagon Star Quilt.

Alison, one of my fellow group members, and I saw this quilt in the book "Quilts of Virginia, 1607-1899" and fell in love with it.  It comprises approximately 25,000 hexagons and the original quilt is displayed on a bed at "Scotchtown" in Virginia, USA.

Quilt on the bed at Scotchtown

Close up of quilt

Alison and I excitedly began what we knew would be a very long term project.  These hexagons are small - the blurb beside the photo in the book says they are 1/2 inch hexagons.  When I first looked at the size of a half inch hexagon I faltered - it seemed insane to make a large quilt out of pieces so small.  But... carried along by the quilt group's enthusiasm I made a start.  Now I'm addicted!

A month ago I received a panicked email from Alison saying the hexagons we were using were too big!!  How could that be?!  Well, sometimes hexagons used in quilting are measured by the size of one of the six sides and sometimes they are measured across the entire hexagon.  There is a BIG difference.  The ones we are making are 1/2 inch along one of the six sides. We can't see the quilt in person and the pieces looked so ridiculously small it never occurred to us that they could be too big.

Alison and I held an emergency coffee meeting at my place and looked at her calculations.  If we made the exact same quilt it would be 5 metres long!  Hmmm... rather too large for our bed.  We are adapting the size to suit our respective beds (Alison is buying a bigger bed so she can make a bigger quilt!).  We decided to make one of the star blocks in the correct size hexagons and use it for a label on the back of our quilts. I'm going to write a message on the label explaining that this is the size pieces used in the original quilt.

The upside of our error is that I now only need to make 18,000 hexagons. What a bonus!

My first few blocks

The single hexagon has a paper of the correct size on top - much smaller!

The correct size hexagon isn't even the size of my thumb nail


Peter Berry said...

Hi Elly. I have been following a blog for some years which is now dormant as the author's canal adventure has ended, and the boat returned to leisure use only. But it may be of interest as the lady of the crew had an interest in patchwork quilting along the cruise. This is the website, the patchwork bit is a seperate page link at the bottom. You may already be aware of it.

Elly and Mick said...

Hi Peter,
Now I remember seeing that too a long time ago. I'll re-visit the blog and have a look!
Thanks for the reminder.