Saturday, July 29, 2017

Is It Finished?

I have been working on a 1/2" hexagon quilt off and on for approximately four years. I did a lot of the work on it when my husband and I were traveling. It has accompanied me to Niagara Falls, many times to Arkansas (where my son lives), Tennessee, New Orleans, Virginia, Colorado, New England, Chicago, Lake of the Ozarks, numerous quilt retreats in numerous locations, St. Louis, and MANY other places. This week I FINALLY added the last pieces to the original design.
You think I would have been anxious to finish this piece, but I was surprised to find that I really procrastinated on finishing this quilt. I think I didn’t want it to end. Why would that be? Well, I have given this some thought and have found a couple of reasons.

Maybe it is because the quilt is an "odd" shape, and I really don't have any idea how to do the finishing. (The edges are VERY irregular with big red spiky things sticking out on many sides.) Or maybe it is because this project has been my fairly constant companion for the last four years, and I'll miss working on it. (When I finish a BIG project like this, I find myself a bit lost. Do you?)

Anyway, it is time for me to consider what I need to do to “finish” this quilt. I’m thinking I have two options. At first, I was thinking of doing some more hexis to finish off the edges so they would be a bit more regular. I drew up a design to see if I would like it and have decided against this. I just didn’t like how it took away from the “simplicity” of the original design.

My second option is to appliqué the piece to a background. There are a few drawbacks to this option. I’m worried about there being too much "blank" space around the outside of the quilt because of its shape; although, that might be a nice place for some beautiful hand quilting.

Another drawback is the physical part of actually lining up this BIG (85” X 91”) project onto a BIG piece of background fabric—getting it straight, getting all the wrinkles out, actually finding a place large enough to lay it all out and work on it without hurting my already aching back.  Another concern is how to remove the papers from the edge pieces of the hexagons. I’m thinking that if I go with the appliqué option, I could cut the background from behind the pieced hexis and remove the papers then. Would that work?

Here is my last concern. What color background will make the piece pop? One of my friends says that she has always seen it on white (when I take a pic of it on my design wall—my design wall is white), and she likes that. I think I’ll try some fabric out on my design wall, rehang the quilt on those different fabrics, and photograph those to see what looks good with it. Any suggestions? I’m thinking I’d need to use quilt backing fabric since I don’t want to have seams to deal with. Would that limit my choices for a background too much? Is the quality of background fabric as good as other quilting fabric?

Please weigh in with some answers. I’d really like to get started on this new adventure!

14 comments:

Vicky aka Stichr said...

I would go with an orange as the BG fabric. That would let the edge hexies show up. Are the fabrics batik? [my first visit, from the Quilt Rat] so please excuse any ignorance about this fantastic work!!! A handdye would work nicely with it, and still let quilting show up.

Blue might work too, though it would stand out more.

You could hide a seam right down the middle, under the red motifs, and keep that width top to bottom.

Yes I have that 'loss of steam' after finishing something, though I am working a quilt that has been 'sitting' for 5 years and am excited to finish it. I think the steam ran out on that one.

Laura said...

I think a black background would be stunning, picking up the dark (black?) fabrics in the piece and setting off the other colors. What an amazing job!

Beth-near Louisville KY! said...

If you want to do it all by hand... I would suggest having a longarmer baste the Hexie part to the background. Then you could applique it down, and not worry about shift... Leave it basted, (except for where you need to break stitches for the applique) and hand quilt. Not sure about the background color. I think it depends on which colors you want to draw out- red, blue, orange, black.... Yes big long ongoing projects leave a bit of a hole, but like water... the hole quickly fills.

Lisa Greenbow said...

It is so exciting that you are finally at this point. I can't begin to give any thoughts about any technical work but I see a color for your background. Blue would be my thinking but of course I am going through my blue phase right now. It seems too that the blue that is in the middle would appear to be restarting the kaleidoscope affect of the hexies. Love this piece. It would become my blankie too if it were mine. I would probably never be able to let go of it.

Mary said...

What about red to match the center? Or black often makes a good background.

Robbie said...

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!! This is just fantastic!!!! I certainly can appreciate all the time and effort you've put forth on this project!!! And I agree with you, at times, I don't like being finished with a piece of work..my hex horses were that way for me! I guess we just enjoy working on the piece so much...
Why can't you just put a 'border' of fabric (or even hexes) to make the quilt a finished hex piece....I know I'm not explaining this properly...but that way your edges would be even and you can just bind it or face it...

As far as color of background, I'd have to think about it.

Quilter Beth said...

The red would blend in with the red spikes. (You might not be able to tell they are red in the pic.) I am definitely going to try black.

Quilter Beth said...

I'm going to give blue a test to see how I like it.

Quilter Beth said...

I will be checking to see if I can find a longarmer willing to take this on.

Quilter Beth said...

I definitely will be auditioning a black background.

Quilter Beth said...

Orange is my fav color. I hadn't considered it thinking there wouldn't be enough contrast between the orange and gold.

Debbie said...

I will be watching your finish with great interest! What a wonderful project!

Cathy Perlmutter said...

Great quilt!

Dana Kroeger said...

Wow! That was one project I wasn't sure you'd get finished with. So proud of you for sticking with it. Whatever color you choose for the BG I'm sure will be the perfect one for that work of art.