100 Days of Hexagons: Blocks 41-50 and Fussy Cutting

In what seems like a blink of an eye, we have now reached the midpoint of this 100 Day Project.  Occasionally I like to add a little something different to my process, and for a few blocks in this set I included some fussy cutting.

Fussy cutting is when you select a specific section of a printed fabric to highlight in the block.  Novelty prints are particularly conducive to this style, but any fabric that has an area you want to feature can be used. For this project, I am tending to use one section of each fabric, but you can also combine multiple fussy cut sections of the same print for an amazing effect.

Since yellow is my featured color for these blocks, either the background or featured portion of the print needed to include a yellow as a significant part of the design.

In this fabric, the yellow sloths are the only yellow in the print, so I tried to minimize the use of the background in the piecing. I also included a print in the surround that incorporated a grey triangle. The grey sloth background becomes less jarring if grey appears elsewhere.  This grey also appears in small amounts in prints throughout the design.

In my initial fabric pull, I went right to my stack of yellow fabrics, but for fussy cutting the search went deeper into my stash. I don’t have a huge collection of novelty prints, and this Cotton and Steel jacks print was one of the first that I pulled out for the fussy cut portion of this project. I like that fussy cutting allows you to distill a multi-color print to a couple of key colors.

I allowed a little more of the cream background to appear in this block since cream and white appear frequently in the overall quilt design.

This flying geese fabric wasn’t in my initial pull of novelty prints, but at some point in my search, the edge of this fabric ended up sticking out a bit from the surrounding fabrics. When I looked up at my stash from my sewing machine, a section of the print with two yellow triangles caught my eye.  I couldn’t wait to include them in my next hexagon.

The flying geese are fairly small in this print, but I was excited to improv piece a couple more flying geese to go with the initial pair.

This floral print is one of the only prints in my collection that has a distinctive print and a yellow background.

The coordinating background color allowed me to cut a larger section of the print to include in the fussy cut section.

I’ll probably be including more fussy cutting a I work through the second half of the hexagon blocks. It is sometimes helpful to break out of my natural piecing tendencies by having a distinct starting point.

Here is the view of the halfway point in the whole project.

I hope you’ll follow along with me as I construct these 100 blocks in 100 days! Here are the previous posts and some of what’s coming up:

100 Days of Hexagons: Blocks 21-30 and Improv

Another ten hexagons are finished and joining their friends on the design wall!

So far, the hexagons for this project have all embraced improv piecing, so today I’m giving you a brief behind the scenes look at the construction process.  For this project, my interpretation of improv is going into the day without a specific plan and sewing pieces of fabric together until I have a composition that I like for that day’s hexagon. I do use a ruler, but with the exception of the 1/8″ wide slivers, it is mostly a straight edge instead of a measuring tool.

For these blocks, I sew a pieced section of fabric first, before placing and trimming the hexagon shape. My process for creating the pieced fabric is:

  1. Select a palette of fabrics from my preselected cuts.
  2. Choose two of those fabrics and sew them together.
  3. Press the seam allowance to one side.
  4. Decide which side of the composition you are going to add to and trim that side so you have a straight edge. (This line can be straight or angled. It could also be curved, but I haven’t done that so far on this project.)
  5. Sew the next piece of fabric into place.
  6. Press the seam allowance to one side.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6, adding 1/8″ sliver inserts as desired, until the composition is large enough to contain the hexagon template.

Once the composition of sewn fabric is an appropriate size, I place the card stock hexagon template on top of the fabric.  To make sure the placement is pleasing, I hold it up to a light and rotate the template until I like the positioning.  I then trace the template with an erasable fabric pen.

After tracing, I make sure that I still like the position of the hexagon shape before trimming it with a ruler and rotary cutter. The larger pieces that are cut off go into a bowl of scraps to be included in future blocks.  The pieces that are too small for that are discarded.

And here are blocks 1-30 shown all together.  I’m amazed at how quickly this is growing!

I hope you’ll follow along with me as I construct these 100 blocks in 100 days! Here are the previous posts and some of what’s coming up:

Sashiko Mug Rug: Mini Quilt #30

Hand quilting is something I haven’t done in many years, and I have never given Sashiko a try, so I thought that this would be a fun thing to experiment with for this mini.Sashiko Mini Quilt

The central hexagon was the first thing I have cut using my Hex N More ruler.  I have much bigger plans for this ruler, but I was still excited to take it for a spin with this project!  Sashiko Mini back view

The quilting is the real star of this mini.  I chose simple prints with the hope that the stitching would be visible, but any uneven stitches wouldn’t be glaringly obvious.  When I first learned to quilt it was OK to machine piece a quilt top, but actual quilting stitches were done by hand.  You were supposed to aim for 10-12 perfectly spaced stitches per inch.  For me, part of the challenge in Sashiko is allowing myself to take larger stitches.  To help accomplish this, I chose 12wt thread and a slightly longer needle than I would normally quilt with.  Sashiko Mini detail

There is blue variegated thread in the outer portion of the quilt and orange thread throughout this mini.  The orange binding of this quilt helps the orange quilting thread to “POP!”

Quilt Stats

Title:  Sashiko Mini

Size:  7-1/4″ x 8-1/4″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Sashiko

Quilting:  Sashiko style hand quilting

Fabric:  Prints from Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe and Botanics lines

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with 100wt InvisaFil by WonderFil in light grey; Quilted with 12wt Cotton WonderFil in orange and variegated blue

Binding:  Orange “Botanics” print cut on the bias in a 2″ wide strip, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

What was new?

Sashiko stitching

First hexagon cut with a Hex N More ruler

Quilt 30 / 50

Quilt 30 / 50

Goal #7 is finished!

Goal #7 is finished!