A Whirl with Hexagons

December 16, 2014

Last summer, on an impulse, I decided I wanted to start quilting again.  I had gotten away from quilting when I went off to college, and a trip to a fabric store with a phenomenal selection of quilting cotton re-inspired me.  Having seen some lovely quilts with subtle tones, I decided I would give a low volume quilt a try.  This quilt is the result.

Cassandra I Beaver Low Volume Fail Full

Starting out, I knew that I wanted to do something improvisational, and I wanted to include hexagons.  The hexagons were the starting point for this project.  Each one was created by cutting a circle of fabric and folding the sides to the center to create the hexagon.  In the center of each hexagon I sewed a small fabric yo-yo.  Then each piece was embellished with hand embroidery and glass beads.

Cassandra I Beaver Low Volume Fail Detail D

As I worked on these hexagons, which I knew would become appliqués on the quilt, I began thinking of them as flower petals blowing in the wind on a spring day.  Now the big question:  How do I create a feeling of wind in a quilt?  I wanted to develop a sense of sweeping movement and an illusion of individual gusts rolling into one another.  After a great deal of sketching and brain storming, I landed on the idea of having individual segments of irregular shapes coming together to form a quilt.  I started with the section in the upper left section, and then moved to the piece spanning the bottom of the quilt.  At this point, I realized I was going to need to create a more defined plan to develop the rest of the quilt layout.  I took a snapshot of what I had completed so far, and printed out several copies on regular printer paper so I could easily draw on top of the image.  This composition was ultimately the one I liked the best.

C Beaver Low Volume Fail Process Sketch

I used a flannel sheet on a wall to do the layout for this quilt, and to transfer the shape of each piece to the design wall I safety pinned 1/4″ wide fabric twill tape to the fabric to create an outline of each major area.  Then I began piecing sections one at a time.  Each segment is improvisationally pieced, quilted, and bound with bias strips prior to being connected to the adjoining segments.  I used a walking foot on my domestic sewing machine to quilt each segment with lines reflecting the piecing of each area of the quilt.

Cassandra I Beaver Low Volume Fail Detail A

In keeping with the improvisational piecing, I chose to make the binding using a mix of fabrics cut into bias strips.  The bias is machine stitched to the front of the quilt and hand slip stitched to the back.  I used a very small hand slip stitch to connect the segments to one another.

Cassandra I Beaver Low Volume Fail Detail C

The hexagons were appliquéd onto the quilt following the assembly of the quilted panels.  I knew that it was important to me to further a sense of movement with the hexagon placement, so I arranged the pieces to bridge the eight main segments of the quilt.

Cassandra Beaver Low Volume Fail Detail E


Ultimately, I did veer away from my initial goal of a low volume quilt, but in the process I have achieved a pastel success.  Because of this, I have titled this quilt “Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win!”

Cassandra I Beaver Low Volume Fail Detail B


My only big remaining question is which direction the quilt should go.  I originally designed this piece to hang horizontally, but once it was finished, I began thinking that a vertical orientation may be more appealing.  What do you think?  How would you hang this piece?

Cassandra Beaver Low Volume Fail Orientation


Quilt Stats

Title:  Low Volume Fail, Pastel Win

Size: 66″w x 47″h

Techniques:  Machine Improvisational Piecing, Hand Appliqué, Hand Embroidery, Glass Bead Details

Quilting:  Machine quilted using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics: 100% cotton prints and batiks

Batting:  Warm and Natural cotton batting

Thread:  Cotton machine quilting thread

Binding:  Bias, cut in 2″ strips from fabrics used in the quilt.  Machine stitched to the front, and hand stitched to the back


This post is linked to “Let’s Bee Social” at Sew Fresh QuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric AddictFinish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts.  Please stop by to see all of the wonderful work shared there!

Sew Fresh Quilts



  • Reply
    Cynthia Brunz
    December 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Very lovely quilt Cassandra! Your workmanship is beautiful. I don’t think I have a preference on orientation but I do hope you have a place to display it.

  • Reply
    Lorna McMahon
    December 17, 2014 at 7:18 am

    This is such a gorgeous work of art. I am amazed! All the little details are quite impressive – with all those great close up shots. Really enjoyed reading about the process of the design. Love the blank spaces and how the hexies bridge those gaps. I prefer the horizontal orientation, but really think this would look wonderful as a table topper. The funny thing is… You see flowers on a breeze where I seen rough ocean waters and splashing water droplets.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

    What a great re-entry to quilting. About 15 years ago, a quilt shop got me enticed back after a long hiatus too. During my absence, the rotary cutter had been introduced. I like vertical better. The movement and depth feel more right that way.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Interesting project. I like the vertical way 🙂

  • Reply
    December 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Very beautiful quilt, your skills and creativity show thru in every stitch. Gut instinct on orientation is vertical. Both are lovely, but somehow I perceive more of a sense of depth in the central area with a vertical orientation. I don’t think you can go wrong with this beauty. I just started a blog too – but am hopelessly computer illiterate and am having problems getting it organized. Your blog is lovely !!!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Well that just blows me away…it is so intricate and beautiful! Fabulous job and I am in awe!!

  • Reply
    Terri Ann
    December 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Wow. This is absolutely stunning, you’ve really made a work of art out of this quilt. You perfectly captured the movement of wind and not only is your negative space perfect it’s REAL LIFE negative space, how stinking clever. I came across your post through NTT but excuse me while I stalk the rest of your blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Huey
    December 18, 2014 at 10:38 am

    What a lovely piece!! I prefer the horizontal view — don’t second guess your original intuition. And thanks for sharing your process — I suspect you are inspiring more quilters than you might think!!

  • Reply
    LeeAnna Paylor
    December 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I can’t get over this. I like improv piecing curves and hexies. You have it all right here, plus innovation. Kudos. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I commend you for your creativity, it’s quite impressive, I don’t think I ever seen anything like this. I like the horizontal orientation better but either way is fine.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Wow beautiful!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Ohhh my that is simply awesome!!!! I can’t stop looking at it, I think it projects just what you wanted.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Horizontal – I see a landscape of hills and fields and yes wind and trees. Lovely!

  • Reply
    Ruth Clapp
    December 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm



    • Reply
      December 24, 2014 at 10:07 am

      I’m with you Ruth, I see the rolling Alberta landscape dotted with trees.
      I would hang it horizontally.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Wow! This is truly an amazing picture! I love the quilt and the whole process is so interesting. You could hang it either way and it would be dramatic. I love the white and how it makes you feel like you are looking through a hole. This is such an interesting way to piece together a quilt. Wonderful job. K-

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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  • Reply
    August 16, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Congratulations Cassandra on your second place with at the AQS Quilt Show in Syracuse!

    I adore your entry, Petals in the Wind & I think it is one of the prettiest art quilts I’ve seen.

    I bet it would be accepted & WIN big at next year’s Quilt National Show in the Dairy Barn of Athens, OH. I was there last week & was very impressed…you should go if you haven’t yet seen the display.

    Sending you a round of applause from a fellow Ohioan!! Kudos & Bravo!!

  • Reply
    Kate Chiconi
    December 29, 2015 at 6:26 am

    I spotted your Petals in the Wind quilt on Pinterest, and knew I had to find out more about this exquisite piece of work. It’s a marvellous, evocative quilt – which I hope you’re hanging vertically – and I’m heading straight off to follow you after a further browse through your blog. With best wishes from Queensland, Australia! Kate

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    January 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    SO GLAD!!!

  • Reply
    Sonia Cipiti
    January 5, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Positively stunning! Your use of color, movement and embellishments are exquisite.

  • Reply
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