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Fair Weather Hexagons

The weather has been nice, – in fact more than nice: really, really hot for these parts of the world.

That is when I pull out my ongoing hexagon project and sit in the shade, cutting, basting and sewing.


When making the shorts shown in the previous post, I ended up with a lot of odd shaped remnants, perfect for cutting up into hexagons. They have all been basted, along with a few other remnant pieces laying around my sewing area.


A few have been made into flowers, with a few background pieces added, ready to be attached to the growing top.


I am starting to think that this will become a small throw for the sofa. It is wide enough by now, but has only a third of the desired height, so I will need to add about a hundred new flower blocks, plus some half blocks to make the edges even.

I see I will need a lot of fine weather to finish this one 🙂 🙂   Bring it on!



Ukrainian Folk Costumes II

We have just celebrated the 200 year anniversary of our Constitution on 17th May, and as usual on the National Day, everybody who own a national costume, wore it to the festivities.

While I was enjoying myself looking at different dresses with a myriad of interesting details, I was reminded of the rest of the photos of the Ukrainian costumes that have been sitting in my computer for some time, waiting to make their way into this post.

Well, here they are at last.

The first one here is a costume from the  Transcarpathian flatlands. We are still in the era of the sewing machine, as can be seen on the vest. It has colourful ruffles made from a very thin fabric, which have frayed a bit over time. The shirt has fantastic smocking and embroideries on the cuffs. The photo of the skirt is sadly out of focus, but shows the multiple colours of the ruffle border.

I have been studying the belt, but cannot quite decide on the construction technique. I have been wondering if it might be made in the old braiding technique called “sprang”, but I am not sure. Maybe someone reading this will know. As I wrote in the first post, there was no information on the individual costumes other than the region they came from.

The costume above comes from the Lemko area. Again, the amount of detailed work is amazing. I like the dense embroidery of the head dress, which is also repeated on the cuffs, and I love the large pearl collar, – and not just because quilters are partial to hexagons.

When studying the embroidery on the skirt, you will notice that each motif is perfectly aligned with the pressed folds of the skirt.

I wonder how many pearls would be used for a dress like this.

Then we move on to Bukovyna, and here they had costumes for both men and women on display. The one above is for males, and it looks like they were not averse to wearing flowery decorations embroidered in many colours, – including hot pink.

The detailed work done on leather is impressive, and I love the woven belt. Also, I was surprised to see that the bottom of the trousers has a border of drawn thread embroidery. They show very little wear, so these trousers  must have been for very best use.

Above is the female costume, which, as a whole, appears less colourful than the male counterpart. The most impressive parts are the sleeves, which look unusually long, by the way, – and all covered in embroidery in three very different patterns. The edging on the vest with alternating dark and light fur, must have taken quite some time to accomplish. The belt has a similar pattern and colours as in the male costume, but seems to be narrower.


Now, this one from the Pokuttia region has everything: embroidery, fringes, pearls, handmade cords, – you name it, – and then some detailed leather work to blow your mind.

First, I love the head dress with the colourful borders. To wrap it around the head and make it sit correctly must be an art in itself. The shirt sleeves are also heavily embroidered.

But the most impressive part is the vest. I have no knowledge of leather work, so can only guess at how these things are done, but even to an untrained eye, there is no denying that a lot of work has gone into this piece. Just look at all those small pom-poms, – they look like they are felted. Anyway, each and every one of them have been fastened, – probably sewn, – to the leather along with an accompanying dark triangular leather piece.

The narrow checkered borders on both sides of the the front looks like narrow dark leather bands have been woven into slits in the light leather background. Then there is some cross stitch embroidery, and red and yellow twisted cords are couched on both sides.

The alternating pieces of dark and light fur on the edges of the vest, are even narrower than on the vest we looked at above, and there are also lots of small triangular leather pieces, looking like praerie points, on top of the fur pieces.


This women’s dress from the Hutsulian area is also rich in details, and colours.

The head dress is interesting, consisting largely of pearls, – but I wondered about the tinsel. I guess it must have been highly valued at some point to be displayed so prominently.

I love the pattern in the pearl necklace, – although there are repeats, it appears quite irregular.

The upper part of the shirt sleeves has a very dense, colourful embroidery.

The vest has similar decoration details as the one above, but they are arranged a bit differently. Lots of couched cords, and the edges of the dark triangular pieces are also couched in dark thread, – so much so the leather almost disappears. Lots of eyelets are also used as pure decoration. It also has a colourful embroidered border at the bottom, in style with the shirt embroidery.

Here it is obvious that the base leather is sheepskin, which I also suspect is the case of the vests in the photos further above.

In addition to a woven belt, there is also a woven band adorned with pom-poms wrapped across one shoulder, reminiscent of a ceremonial sash, some times used at weddings. Now, if this is a wedding outfit, maybe that would explain the tinsel, – just guessing here.


The corresponding men’s costume from the Hutsulian area is even more adorned than its female counterpart, minus the pearls.

The shirt front is richly embroidered in many colours and patterns, including numbers which indicate it was made in 1961.  The woven belt is quite wide and has stronger colours in it than the one on the women’s dress, – maybe it is newer and less faded.

The vest has similar decor elements and placement as the one above, minus the embroidered border at the bottom. This one has larger, dark triangles, and they are adorned with lots of eyelets and have their edges couched with green cord. The checkerboard strips are wider and have three bands woven into them.

The footwear is also similar between the two costumes.

This is a woolen cape from the same area as above. It has some embroidered decor around the neck, down the back, and along the seams.

The tip protruding at the back looks like it could be a hood, but  I have not been able to detect an opening for the head. It is a mystery to me why it looks like this, unless it is meant to cover a load carried on the back.

The last two costumes that were on display, are from the Podillia area. The men’s costume has a long shirt, with a wide embroidered border around the opening at the front. Stitches around this opening also serve as a strengthening of the fabric, which can easliy tear at the bottom of the split.

The decorative leather work on the west is more similar to the ones from the Bukovyna area than to the two shown directly above. This also goes for the belt, which seems to be woven in a jacquard technique.

The most prominent feature of the women’s costume from Podillia, is the strong decor on the sleeves. With two heavy, black and red pieces at the top, – not sure whether they are embroidered or sewn in fabrics, – and a wide, black zig zag ribbon sewn in a spiraling pattern around the sleeves, they sort of define the whole costume. The red colour is also repeated in a many stranded pearl necklace.

The vest is decorated in similar technique as the one above.


Seeing this exhibition, and then studying the individual photos afterwards, has been like a journey, – very interesting. People everywhere like to dress up, and being well dressed is always a way to show off either wealth or status.

A lot of these costumes has been very time consuming in making, showing that these people had time on their hands, and material, to spend on other things than just scraping a living.


The first post about the exhibition can be seen here.




Hexagon Season Again

In spite of having had very nice weather for a long time, – and nice means sunshine on this usually very wet coast, – spring is still some way off, it seems. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon, temperatures drop and the frost bites again.

sewing hexagons outside

But there are moments, – like this afternoon, – when it is possible, even enjoyable, to sit outdoors and sew.

I am working on my “let’s-find-out-if-it-is-possible-to-join-hexagon-flowers-without-folding-the-paper-templates” project. I have cracked the code on how to, but have not written up the instructions yet.

Since this is my out-of-doors project, it is slow going.


If the nice weather continues for some days, I should be able to get some more sewing done, as it is too early to do any gardening.


A bunch of snowdrops are blooming, plus three crocuses, – the rest is still under the snow at the moment.

The sunshine is nice, though, and if it could just stop snowing and freezing in between, we could have real spring in quite a short time.



Progress on the Hexagon Flowers

One of my projects for this summer was to join the hexagon flowers to the background pieces and sew them together. This is the kind of sewing I enjoy to do out of doors in good weather, and sometimes in front of the TV.

Well, we had a few fine days, and I sewed and sewed, and got quite carried away, – until the progress suddenly came to a screeching halt caused by a nasty inflammation of the shoulder. Not much one can do about that, except getting some medication and resting the arm; – so there was no more sewing for several weeks. A few books got read, and many crosswords solved, though.

As the shoulder got better, I have tried to sew a bit more, but I am very concious of not going “over board” again, so have limited my hand sewing to the equivalent of one hexagon flower a day. Since I use 1 inch hexagons, and there are 12 seams in one flower, that would be the same as a 12 inch seam. It is not much, and so far my shoulder has been able to handle that. But if the summer has now decided that this is it, – finito, – there will not be much hand sewing till next year anyway.

When starting this quilt, one of my goals was to find out if there was a way to join the flowers without having to fold the hexagon pieces with the paper templates still inside. I want to preserve the paper templates so I can use each one several times, so try to fold only the fabric pieces that have had their paper removed already.

I did find a way to do that, and will post more details on how to later. I made notes while I sewed the first flowers, and also took lots of step by step photos. However, my main computer where most of the material is stored, is in for repairs at the moment (2 weeks by now), and I think I will wait till I get it back before putting the material together. I just hope nothing gets deleted, or I will have to look in several backup storing devices to find everything again.

Till then: one flower a day (or less).


It is Hexagon Season again

We have wonderful spring weather just now. The sun is shining, and the south west terrace is out of the wind, so it is possible to sit outside for several hours without catching a cold.

Today I had my lunch outside, and afterwards spent a couple of hours cutting fabrics for the background hexagons for my experiemental flower quilt, which I also showed you in the autumn.

I have found seven different light fabrics, and cut one row from each, across the width of the fabrics. One row yields 16 hexagons, so now I have 112 light hexagon pieces ready for basting.

If the sun is still shining tomorrow (forecast looks good), and if my skin can tolerate more sunshine, I will start basting.

I am enjoying this 🙂


Hexagon Flowers

After making patchwork for more than 20 years, I have accumulated a few fabric scraps, – in fact, I think they are breeding like rabbits even as I write. As throwing out fabric is more or less a mortal sin, I have to find ways to use those scraps.

Making paper pieced hexagons is one way of dealing with them, but it is not a very speedy technique, so I will have to look out for something faster as well. However, hexagons are great for taking everywhere, and is what I have been doing while soaking up the sunshine at the end of this summer.

I did some basting last autumn, and brought out the project again and did some more a few weeks back. Then I made lots of hexagon flowers, – well, – some anyway.

I plan on joining the flowers with one row of hexagons in between each one.  I want the connecting hexagons to be all in the same colour, – or very similar, – so they will act like a background to the flowers.  I plan on starting with the hexagon flowers I have made so far, then add more if I feel like it.

So I have been auditioning fabrics for the background. Here I have spaced the flowers at the approximate distance they will have in the quilt. I think the flowers really pop on a black background.

However, I doubt if I will be up to sewing so many hexagons in black, – I fear that it will be very hard on the eyes, and I might be discouraged and not finish the project. So even if I like the look of the black background, I may settle for a light one in the end. If so, I think I will have to keep the other light fabrics in the centre of the flowers so they do not blend too much into the background.

I have two and a half yards of this fabric, but think maybe I should use several light fabrics from the beginning in case I will be short. There is no telling at this stage how large I may want the quilt to be.

One of my goals is to find a way to join the hexagon flowers without having to fold the pieces with the paper templates still inside.  I do not know if it is possible at all, but I will try 🙂