I just finished up this new quilt that I am calling Negativity. Why Negativity? I feel like the focus of this design is the negative space, the absence of the pieced blocks, that forms a hexagonal shape, echoing the shape of the half hexie pairs forming each column of the quilt.
Once again, the quilt was designed using my improv paper piecing technique described in my book, Improv Paper Piecing. I improvisationally sketched my half hexie block in EQ7 and then started playing with layouts. I settled on this layout using tiny blocks, staggered columns, and selective negative space. I love using EQ7 for layouts. I was able to fill my quilt layout with my improv block design and choose where to place the negative space and knew just what it would look like before sewing. I like that reassurance, especially when making 180 small blocks! Here is my layout in EQ7 that I consulted as I sewed.
Because I have the Kona colors downloaded into my fabric library, I was able to try out multiple fabric choices and settled on the Kona Pickle with Kona Bright White combination.
I know I will be asked, why paper piece when you could make half hexies in other ways? Well, I like paper piecing. That’s the bottom line! Also, I love the improv shape of the pieces here. If I had made regular, symmetrical half hexies, I do not think that my design would have the same feeling of motion or the same degree of interest.
The quilt is small, measuring 28 3/4″ x 35″ after all that crazy quilting.
Let’s talk about that quilting! I decided on matchstick quilting so that it would even out the texture of the quilt top, which has lots of seams, focusing the eye on the shapes rather than the seams. I was having a hard time settling on thread shade but thanks to the help of some friends on Instagram, I went with Aurifil 50 weight number 5015. It is a little lighter than the Pickle but blended nicely and didn’t stand out too much on the white. I started by stitching lines spaces 1″ apart, then 1/2″, then 1/4″ and then filled in with a final line of stitching so that the spacing is about 1/8″. This was my first time matchstick quilting. I have quilted with 1/4″ lines quilt a bit but matchstick really takes it to a new level of crazy, right? I do love it though and could see myself doing it again, especially on a smaller quilt like this. I feel like the scale works with the small piecing.
I will often bind my quilts with the same fabric that I use for the background fabric so that the binding doesn’t create a hard edge. This time, I decided to try facing the quilt rather than falling back to that same habit. I consulted with my friend Krista who has done this a number of times and she sent me to this tutorial. The tutorial was very good and I would recommend it as well. Clipping the corners of the quilt was very helpful in getting the corners square.
I had to try this little window as a prop. Isn’t it cute?
I love the colors of this quilt with the sunflowers that I grew this year. Wouldn’t this make a nice palette for a future quilt as well? Hmm, the wheels are turning!