Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hexies and Nine-Patches

I have made (almost) three more of the hexie diamonds. I say "almost" because the rows in the pink diamond have not yet been sewn together.

I have temporarily stopped working on "The Two of US" BOM because I have a deadline project to finish before Wednesday. I mentor in the public schools and recently visited the art teacher's classroom, drawn in by the vibrant projects posted on the wall outside his classroom. Turns out the students have been reading "Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt" as part of the curriculum for Black History Month. The art teacher learned how to quilt as a child and wanted to pursue the idea of making a freedom quilt with the students but until I came along, didn't think he could do it by himself.

I brought him 2.5 inch squares in light and dark values. The squares I had at hand, thanks to Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User's System. I made up some samples - one with four light and five dark, one with four dark and five light, and one totally scrappy, governed only by color to keep the nine-patch pattern evident. I instructed the teacher to have the students lightly affix their selections to paper with a glue stick. I would then take the papers home and sew the squares together and return them to him next week (Wednesday).

So far, so good. Here are some examples of what the students made:

And here are two completed nine-patches:

Most of the students were able to follow the pattern and their teacher's instructions. There were a couple of hiccups, though. Five of the approximately 40 blocks did not follow the pattern. You can see one of them in the top photo. I fixed that when I sewed the squares together. Others are going to need more help than that:

I am pretty sure that these were made by the youngest group - there being first to third graders in the mix. Since I don't want to leave anyone out of the finished quilt, I will be fixing these so they can be used. Their teacher said that no matter how much he explains, some children just do not comprehend the notion of pattern.

The alternate blocks in the quilt pictured in the book are map blocks:

The boys did not want to make the nine-patches, but their teacher is hopeful that they will be more receptive to making the map, star, or house blocks. Our idea at present is to have them draw with fabric markers, crayons, or acrylic paints onto solid color fabric squares. A friend, who is a retired art teacher, says that all of these substances wash out eventually. The quilt will probably not be washed at all, or maybe just once after I have quilted it, so this may not be a problem.

The second problem was that the students used white glue rather than glue sticks to affix the squares to paper. A dot of white glue for each square would have been enough and some were done this way. Several, however, were glued down to within an inch of their little square selves and could only be removed for sewing with most of the paper still adhering to them. This necessitated soaking in a basin of warm water to get the paper off and in two cases, washing with detergent in the washing machine to get all the glue off. Lesson learned. Be very emphatic with the teacher that the students know to only use a tiny bit of glue. After sewing the completed blocks were put back on the paper (which had the maker's name) with ONE staple.


  1. love the diamond hexies. So good the children are learning quilting and hope the boys take to it too

  2. LOL, I enjoyed your story about the classroom quilt effort! I will be interested to see the final result. :)