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Starting My Dream Quilt

A few weeks ago a friend of mine showed me a project she was working on--a hexagon quilt made from a bunch (thousands) of quarter-sized hexagons. She had a little plastic craft box that she kept in her purse for when she had some down-time she would work on English paper piecing hexagons and stitching them into little seven-hex flowers. She made three or so flowers a month and planned to just collect them for years until she had enough to make a king-sized quilt. It was super cool-and she agreed to teach me English paper piecing so that I could make my own hexagon quilt:

 The Catan Quilt!

 I've wanted to make a Catan-themed quilt for a very long time. The game Settlers of Catan holds a very special place in my heart and means a lot to my family and my group of friends. It was one of the first "euro" board games that we got into, so much so that my best friends Tiffany and Tom have matching Settlers of Catan tattoos and a collection of over 200 board games! When I was in college Tiffany and I lived together and our boyfriends (now husbands) Tom and Gunnar lived across the hall. Most evenings the boys would cook dinner and Tiffany and I would set up the Catan board. This might seem like an unequal exchange, but when we set up a Catan board, we went ALL OUT.  Between the four of us we had two copies of the base game and two copies of the "Seafarers" expansion and we would fill up the entire table with Catan hexes. We would calculate number placement and randomization and plan scenarios ranging from the infamous "gold island" to "across the desert" to "four continents." It was epic and amazing, and a cherished memory. (Tiffany and I also cleaned up dinner while the guys cleaned up the game when we were all done.)

So what stopped me from making a Catan quilt before? Well, I tried making a Catan pillow and it turned out AWFUL. I had no idea how to sew hexagons, I used mostly just scrap fabric that I had lying around, and my background fabric (the water) was WAY too literal. Here it is, many years later...or what's left of it:

 So I put plans for the quilt on hold until I could find the perfect fabric and learn how to sew hexagons to do it justice. Over the past few years I've built up my quilting skills with all these baby quilts and t-shirt quilts. I also started collecting fabrics. It was tricky; I want a balance between Obviously Catan Theme  (cartoony pictures of bricks, sheep, etc) and just a regular old hexagon quilt.  I searched long and hard and finally found some beautiful Batik fabrics on Fat Quarter Shop that struck the right note for me. nature themed, but in a Catan style color pallet. Wohoo!

I cut up my fat quarters into 4x4.5 in rectangles and got started. A rough calculation tells me that I will need about 1,300 hexagons to get a queen sized quilt. That' s 185 flowers. Not that many, in the scheme of things. My hexagons are MUCH bigger than quarters!

Can you tell which hexes are brick, ore, wheat, sheep, and wood? 

I also put together a little on-the-go box for myself so that I can make hexes and flowers while I'm watching t.v. ( Venture Brothers and now Luke Cage) and so far I'm enjoying having something to do with my hands while we watch Netflix! I tend to over-snack or else feel guilty when we binge shows instead of working on my sewing or writing, so I'm hoping that this project with help with those things. 

Plastic pencil box for portal hexagon-making. Kit includes snack container for scraps, container for binding clips, scissors, small pincushion with two needles, spool of thread, cut squares, paper templates, and an actual Catan hex. 

So. This is the beginning! I'll post updates occasionally, but I expect this to take me a year minimum. I expect I will need more fabric, and I'll need to play with the design. Do I want continents with water between? One giant continent with ocean around? Rivers? Islands? 

One comforting thought is that this is the first quilt that I am making just for me! I've made tons of quilts for other people, but never have I made one just for me. I guess it's about time!