Flower Garden Finish

Last night I finished sewing on the last of the white spacers along the edge of my hexagon quilt!  I love it!  It was a long journey to get here and I am so proud that I really did manage to finish it.

I took a picture of the first five flowers I stitched together back in February 2010.  I was sooo  proud of them.  I felt like I had made so many!  How naive I was. There are 132 flower blocks in the finished quilt so I had a bit more to go.  :)

In the fall of 2010, I had finished about a quarter of the quilt.  That cute little girl started kindergarten this year!

I kept chugging along.  Sometimes months would go by without any work on it and sometimes I would make flowers obsessively.  My favorite time (only time, really) to do handwork is after the kids go to bed.  I love to just sit down and watch some Hulu or Netflix and do English paper piecing.  If I worked fast I could get one flower done an evening.  Let's not even start to think about how much TV watching this quilt represents, ok?  ;)

Early on I found an online offer for twenty-five 1930's reproduction fat quarters for $25!  Sweet!  In retrospect I should have gotten two packets - there is a lot of fabric in this quilt!  The spacers are Kona Unbleached PFD.  It is more cream than Kona white and more white than Kona Snow - the perfect white in my opinion.  The flower centers are Kona Corn and the hexagons are 1 inch a side.

I love the texture on the back!

I got the idea for using three white spacers between the blocks instead of surrounding the blocks in white from the Paper Pieces picture page.  I was afraid if I surrounded each flower in white that I would get bored and give up.  I like how the spacers still give the flowers breathing room, but how I didn't have to stitch as many white hexagons.  Plus it makes it a bit different from other Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts.

I give my husband a bad time about always having to build stuff so sturdily, but I am just as crazy about my sewing.  After making a couple flowers I had my own system for joining the hexagons together which included laying the tail of the thread under subsequent stitches to hold it in place, reinforcing the corners with extra stitches, averaging 18 whip stitches per inch and knotting off the thread at the end twice - once at the end of the stitching and then again back 1/4 inch.  That thread isn't going anywhere.  ;)

Now I just have to decide if I have the guts to hand quilt it.  The part that makes me the most nervous is the fact that where the fabric folds back on itself to make the hexagon shape, I could have 6 layers of fabric plus batting to stitch through. That does not sound easy or fun.  Any advice?  Will quilting this be horrible?  Should I just send it out to be quilted?  (I don't trust myself to machine quilt it after so many hours of work.)

I also have to decide whether or not to applique on a bit of a border or just trim the edges straight.  Binding around each pointy hexagon is not an option, in my opinion.

Hopefully it won't take another 2 1/2 years to finish quilting because I would love to see it on my bed much sooner than that!

I am linking up to the Festival of Hexagons (lots of fun hexie projects there!) and At the End of the Hallway.

If you want more info on how to English paper piece, you can check out this tutorial.