Tending toward the surreal

I am a big fan of optical illusions, as a teenager I often traced or copied numerous pieces of M.C. Escher’s art into my diaries or just coloured in photocopies of them. I really can’t remember how many times I have played around with the devils and angels metamorphosis.┬áIt isn’t just Escher’s work though I have always loved looking at images that create optical illusions. Some work on me some don’t because of the whacked out focal problems I have with my eyes but to me all are fascinating… the way that the brain can take a set scope of information and twist it and interpret it in different ways.

What does this have to do with anything… well since falling down the rabbit hole of quilting I have toyed with the idea of doing a tumbling blocks quilt, there are a number of beautiful examples that can be found here. I also had in my mind that the next quilt I did I wanted it to be in reds/ greys and blacks and be predominantly made from a single repeating block. So skip to a few weeks ago (ok maybe longer) with a need to procrastinate from a number of other things including tackling the mitred corners on my sampler quilt border and it became imperative I play around with quilt ideas NOW!

I had a puzzle box template and a variety of different templates for pieces hexagons from when Sharon and I visited the Australasian Quilters Convention so I decided I could feel good about my purchases and start using them. I played around with the scanner and photoshop trying different layouts for hexies until frustration drove me to coloured pencils and some old school cut and paste. I think it really was essential to map out how this design was going to look on paper first as the effect is all in the shadings of the fabrics and the way the pieces come together.

Sharon and I were set to have a sewing day so a detour to GJs for some retail therapy and stash enhancement saw me determined to select fabrics for my design. It took a long time and eventually I came home without two of the colours I needed (the lightest grey and the mid tone red) thankfully a quick rummage through my stash sorted out that problem by providing the perfect light grey batik and a blood red fossil fern that was exactly between the other two I selected at the store.



After seeing them together I am really happy with the colour choices. The hexies are ~6inch final size once pieced (including seam allowances on each outer edge) and I have decided to do what I think will be a 10 x 12 hexie quilt. 120 in total and so many corner seams to line up will be tricky.

I’ve started cutting the pieces and have decided to cut everything out before starting to ensure I have ample of each of the fabrics. Last thing I want is to get almost to the end and discover I don’t have enough and the fabric is no longer available. (I have already ordered an extra yard of the light grey as I only had 1 yard in my stash and it was short by about 20cm from what I needed).

The Beginnings

As you can see in the above picture I did sew one hex together to see how my fabric selections worked. It was a tricky beast and I will need to figure a few things out if I am going to be happy with the results.. you can see on the bottom point where the red and grey join that one of my seams is not quite right… something to work on. The colours though I am super happy with and think it will make a really impactful design once all 120 are tiled together. The 3D effect will hopefully be truly visible giving that optical illusion I was after.

As of today I still have quite the ways to go with cutting. The light grey pieces (240 of them ) are completed with about 100 of the mid grey done and 55 of the mid red. Holding the templates and cutting makes for very sore hands after a while, about 120 pieces in one cutting session is my limit so there is a long way to go before the construction of the project really gets going. Yet another very long term project to add to my collection. I guess I’ll need to stop procrastinating on finishing that sampler top and deciding on some quilting designs to get it all finished in between hexie hell.


  1. Comment by Sharon on July 4, 2013 4:36 pm

    Oooo that block photographs quite nicely!!! The whole quilt done in these is going to look amazing and you know it :p Sure it may take a while to cut everything out but once that’s done, you can just sew and sew… I’m looking forward to seeing the end result

  2. Comment by Adam on July 4, 2013 6:29 pm

    I love everything about this. Pattern, colours, giving Photoshop the finger and breaking out colored pencils… everything.

    You can tessalate my fabric any day!

  3. Comment by Nic on July 6, 2013 5:13 am

    I’ve always wanted to do a quilt in these colours too. But I don’t think I’ll come up with something as stunning as this! I love it. Everything about it.

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