For the past few days, I've been hunkered down over my beading tables, tables currently cloaked with the top to my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt, removing basting stitches from more than 4,000 hexies, a job that took about 24 hours.
Here's how it looked last evening with all the stitches finally removed. After taking the above photo, I ran my fingers lightly over the surface of the quilt top, looking, like a person reading braille, for any basting stitches I might have missed. They were there to be found, I assure you. I also found something else.
Do you see what I see? Oooops. How on earth did I get five hexies of one fabric and one from a different fabric in the same flower? See it, the one at center bottom? It's a slightly lighter blue print, one with little white flower, not little red flowers like the others.
Thinking I may have switched hexies in "stacks" for two different flowers, I located the flower made with the "little white flower" print. Ah, no problem there. It was as it should be. I guess it will always be a puzzlement to me how just one wrong hexie got into just one of the flowers.
Back to the problem flower, "to fix, or not to fix" questions buzzed through my thoughts. Would it bother me forever? Would I always notice that one hexie petal, the petal that didn't match its mates? Could it remain as a sign of humility, of acceptance that I am an inexperienced quilter, who like everyone else makes my share of mistakes? Would I offer apologies for it to friends looking at the finished quilt? What if I tried to fix it and cut the fabric of a neighbor hexie as I was removing it? Would it be difficult to replace?
As I do many time when facing a quilting question like this, I talked with my friend, Lunnette, who has been quilting much longer than I have. She too has been making a hexie quilt, although hers is not traditional like mine. One reason I like to consult with her is because she never seems to TELL me what to do. As usual, she just offered a few comments, telling me how she replaced one of the hexies in her quilt, finding it a fairly easy process, mentioning how she couldn't "live" with the way the original hexie looked. She reminded me that we knot at the beginning and end of each little seam, so that ripping it out wouldn't cause unraveling of adjacent seams. She told me how she lifts a stitch in the center of the seam with a pin so she can get the point of the scissors into it without risk of cutting the fabric, unraveling the seam from there with the pin or a seam ripper.
OK! Searching through my 30's reproduction fabric stash, I found the correct fabric, cut a new hexie, basted it, removed the problem hexie following Lunnette's method for ripping the seams, and stitched it in place. Here you are! All better!
Truth be told, I probably would have been fine with it the way it was; after all, even after stitching the flower, stitching the white hexies around it, and stitching the quilt top together, I hadn't previously noticed it. But, I'm glad I decided to fix it, because of the value of the learning experience. What would you have done and why?
Next step? Turn it over and remove all 4,000+ paper pieces from the back side, another tedious and time-consuming job, one that I completed today!
My next post will be all about Tips for Hexie Quilts, things I've discovered, mostly the hard way, things I don't want to forget if I ever decide to do another one of these, things that might even help you if you're making a paper-pieced hexie quilt.