Little Hexagons and Patience


Cathy is jumping up and down, doing her happy dance.  It’s hard for a sleepy kangaroo to get any rest around here.  Yesterday she put the last stitches on her little hexagon quilt that she started 2-2/3 years ago (September 2008).  She’s been hauling it around with her on all the tours, working on it during the long drives, in hotel rooms, at her weekly quilting bee (when she’s home), and showing the progress of it to her audiences.  Once in a while, she’ll post something about it here in the blog, too.  The bigger it got, the longer it took each row to be added. 

The quilt is a reproduction of an 1840 quilt from the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.  She picked this pattern because it was on a small postcard that fit perfectly into the little basket where she keeps her hex supplies.  She says she doesn’t much like the colours, nor the fabric (she’s not into Civil War prints).  She had to buy fabric for this project (but not large amounts of it) because she didn’t have anything in her stash with a small enough print. 

The quilt is made up of 2,955 separate 1/4″ hexagons.  The fabric is folded over the little paper templates and basted down.  Then the hexagons are whip-stitched together by hand.  Once a shape is surrounded by other hexagons, the basting is removed and the paper inside.  It’s tedious work, made better only when sewing in the car, since every time you look up, there’s a different view. It helps.

Everyone Cathy has shown this quilt to has thought her mad.  “I’d never have the patience for that!”  This is a common comment about quilting in general, I’ve found, and it’s usually made by non-quilters.  There’s a saying that Patience is a Virtue.  I don’t know about that, but I do know that patience comes when something that takes a long time is worthwhile to the maker.  Cathy says if you love something enough to want to make it, then that can teach you patience.

She’s got a lot of patience, just now.

The work on this quilt is not over yet.  The original quilt (not a miniature – it’s a large bed-sized quilt) was not quilted, but Cathy is going to finish this little one with three layers.  It’s too bad, actually, since the back of the quilt is really cool – it looks like Chenille, because all the papers have been removed and the seam allowances are all fluffy. (Someone asked a couple of nights ago if Cathy was going to trim all the seam allowances to 1/8″.  Not a chance!) There’s more fabric on the back of the quilt than there is on the front!  Cathy has decided to “quilt” it with Colonial knots in the centres of the “flowers”, and then do the edge as a facing (that’ll mean another row of hexagons, folded over to the back, and appliqued onto the backing fabric).   It might get done before July, when we get back to Victoria, but I doubt it. 

At this point, Cathy thinks she’ll call it “Insanity in a Bag”. That’s what the founder of the company “Paper Pieces” (whose templates Cathy used for this project) called the 1/4″ hexes.  She’ll take suggestions for alternative names… she’s not quite insane yet.  She’s actually thinking about the next couple of hexagon projects!  What a glutton for punishment!

That’s all from Kass, in Massachusetts.

9 Responses to “Little Hexagons and Patience”

  1. Janet Rothwell Says:

    Cathy – congratulations on getting the top finished! A true labour of love. Janet

  2. Kelly Smith Says:

    Oh Cathy, it’s beautiful! I’m not much into Civil War fabrics either, but I do like the finished product when someone else turns them into a quilt!

    What are the measurements of the quilt? Are you planning to enter it in any shows?

  3. Chris Ridley Says:


  4. Jennifer Says:

    Isn’t that top gorgeous! I remember seeing it when it was much much smaller……

  5. Patrice Baker Says:

    Congratulations Cathy on a tedious project well done. Mark off that UFO!
    I am glad I got to see it in person when you were at our guild meeting in Clifton Park, NY. Those little hex’s are REALLY small.

  6. Jindi's Cottage Says:

    Kass you’ll just have to build a bridge and let Cathy have her happy dance…you can sleep later…as that is one awesome achievement and she deserves every step…The quilt top looks fantastic…I love the centre design. Congratulations.
    I am enjoying Kass’ travelogue (yes, you cheeky ‘roo, don’t let it go to your head). I hope he doesn’t hop over the water too quickly and sticks around on his USA and Canada travels for a while longer.

  7. Antje Says:

    Beste Cathy,
    You have a very beautyfull hexagonquilt,sorry for my bad english!
    I from the Netherlands…

    greetings Antje

  8. Jan Says:

    Hi Cathy – just hung up from talking to you and went to your site and now your blog – beautiful beautiful beautiful!
    I love your quilts…I’ll post your blog on mine – I know folks will be interested. I might even chat ya up – I will ya know!

  9. kaholly Says:

    I just returned from your performance in Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and of course I had to check out your site as soon as I arrived home. I saw this little quilt in person, and it is a beauty. I still can’t imagine tacking the fabric around those tiny little templates, but the effort it must have taken was well worth it. Great performance today. I’ll be checking back every so often to see ‘what’s up’. ~karen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: