Juline of the Hexagon, Portrait of the Artist as a hand sewist

In 2012, I am surrounding myself with creative, talented, driven artists and writers. I'm fortunate to have so many of them in my life. My dear, beautiful friend Juline is among the most wildly prolific. She is a dynamo of inspiration and a little machine of making.

A combination of wild fabrics
and carefully planned design.

Juline loves to hand sew, as do I. Here is an interview I did with her about her fascination with the hexagon and her gorgeous, entirely hand sewn and hand quilted (wow!) charm quilt. It is so much fun to speak to other makers about their process. And her attitude about trying new techniques and being fearless about it... it is the attitude all of us makers should have!

Juline's finished hex charm quilt, entirely hand-sewn!

What is it about the hexagon as a shape that captures your imagination?
My favorite shape is a spiral or circle.  I'm not sure if the hexagon really captured my imagination, but it's a shape that tesselates, so it's awesome for quilting.

Detail from her hex charm quilt.

Tell us about making your hexagon charm quilt. How did you get interested in making one?
I think you showed me the charm quilt-a-long and I decided to give it a try.  I love hand-sewing, so it seemed like a good project.  I also enjoy trying new things, so I decided to give it a go, and I fell in love with it.  Some craft things I try and don't go back to.

Me fondling Juline's chart for a new hex quilt.

Tell us about your process. How did you decide on fabrics? How did you decide on the hexagon size? Was this your first paper pieced project?
I started with fabrics I had, and then exchanged with friends, etc.  I ended up buying more fabric than I should have, but it was so fun and worth it. I used the size of hexagon that was being used in the quilt-along...I guess I kinda blindly followed.  It also seemed like a great challenge.  Yes, this was my first paper-pieced project.

That's a radiation symbol that I embroidered for her  quilt.
I'm honored to be stitched into Juline's work!

Tell us about a few of your favorite hexagons charms.
The one made by YOU!!!  Plus, I also made some out of sun print fabric that I love.  I put some of my old negatives (from college) on the sun print fabric, and have included these little contact photos here and there.  Some are pics of flowers, and there's one pic of my childhood dog, Tache, who has been dead for many years.  I like to find her pic on the quilt and remember how sweet and cute she was.

Such fun fabrics. Elvis!

The back. You can see Juline's hand quilting.

You hand quilted it, too, right? Was that very time consuming? What made you decide to hand quilt it?
Yup, hand quilted too.  Not too time consuming.  I finished the whole quilt in 4 months (crazy!) and I cannot remember how much of that was quilting.  I decided to quilt it by hand because I was nervous about sending it to a professional quilter with a machine.  I know these folks are pros, but I had put SO MUCH time and effort into the top that I didn't want to take any chances.  My little sewing machine wouldn't have been able to do the kind of job that I wanted, so the only option left was to hand quilt.  I love to hand-sew, so this was a soothing process.

Daisy peeking out from under the quilt!

Where does the quilt live now?
In a big crumpled pile on my big comfy chair in my den.  I made the quilt to use.  My dogs sit under it. I use it daily. For me, textile art should be practical and beautiful/meaningful.

More works in progress.

What other hexagon projects have you started since making your charm quilt?
Working on my polka dot hexie quilt now...1.25 in. hexies go SO MUCH faster.  I started on a pillow for a co-worker, but lost interest and it's still only 1/3 finished.  Maybe she'll get it for x-mas this year.  maybe not.

What the hexies look like as they're coming together.

You prefer sewing by hand to on your machine. What attracts you about hand sewing?
It's methodical and soothing.

Juline with the finished quit top at her family's beach house this summer.

45 records as necklaces, by Juline.

Aside from working with hexagons, what other types of crafts do you like to make with your hands?
Knitting, needle-felting, jewelry, and more.  I've tried a lot of crafts.  One thing I really like about myself is that I'm not afraid to try new crafts.  I'll jump in and get messy.  I don't feel pressure for the first thing I make with a new craft technique to be perfect.   

Lucky me and fabulous Juline, ready for anything!

How the hell did you get so awesome?
It's the cool people I hang out with that make me awesome by association.

God, I love me some Juline! For more images of her work (including 40 pzanky eggs made for her parents' 40th anniversary last year) check out her flickr stream.

Hex Quilt Photos on a rainy day

It is dreary and raining today.  I took a few photos of the current state of my hex quilt.  Luna is always demanding to walk all over it.  I can't imagine making anything without her sticking her snout or paws into the scene!  Last night she pawed a baby sweater that I was knitting, causing me to drop a couple of stitches.  Monstrous beast!

I ordered some more fabric from one of my favorite fabric bundle sellers on etsy, starlitnest. I bought the charm pack of Anna Marie Horner's Innocent Crush collection.

They look so delicious and I can't wait for them to arrive!

Here are a few close ups of some of the hexes.

Back to stitching!

Just stitching

I'm working on a huge, hand-stitched hexagon quilt that I started in May 2010.  I expect to finish is in 2012, if I'm lucky!  I'm participating (in a very laid back way) in the Hexagon Charm Quilt-Along started by the blogger Texas Freckles on her blog and in the Hexagon Charm Quilt-Along flickr group.

My incredibly talented friend JC inspired me to try creating a quilt by making an amazing quilt from 1-inch hexes that she somehow managed to finish (including hand quilting it!) in just a few months.  You can see photos of JC's gorgeous finished piece here.

JC is a hugely prolific and wide-ranging crafter.  She makes adorable felt jewelry of cool things like 45 records and sews quilts and knits... just to name a few of her talents!  And her house is filled with the most whimsical, cleverly designed pieces that she makes and acquires.  Clocks with vintage milk bottle caps instead of numbers, coffee tables with maps decoupaged on top.  She is such an inspiring soul!

JC and I swapped fabric scraps and embroidered special hexes for each other's quilts.  Here is a photo of a radiation sign hex I embroidered for her.

My friends Lisa and Katherine also swapped fabric and sent fabric scraps.  I love that I have fabric from so many of my friends sewn into the quilt, which I hope to, some day, hang in my living room.

Strangely, I'm not in any rush to finish the piece.  I'm still collecting fabric, slicing up squares and paper piecing the quilt.  So far I sewn together over five feet of 1 1/2 inch hexes.  I have a design plan, including a charcoal stripe with embroidery and a black & white border, but I'm taking my time with it.  I'm thoroughly convinced that the stitching is healing me by forcing me to slow down and take tiny steps.  2010 has been a rather dreadful year.  This quilt is one of the few highlights.

I think I'll just post photos from the quilt over the next few days.  But for now, back to stitching up these addictive little hexes!