Six Ways to Blue, Deconstructed


This is a further discussion of the quilt I recently made for the quarterly challenge in our Four-in-Art group. I let this theme of “I’ve Got the Blues” simmer in my mind, thinking about all the blue connections, from mental health to water to ice to music and then just decided I wanted to explore that hue–just wanted to play with the shifting and changing of blues.


I went to Nicole Dacksiewicz’ site, Modern Handcraft, to catch her tutorial for how to make this.  I’d seen the original quilt at QuiltCon and always always wanted to play with this.  She even shows you how to baste your hexies, so you can’t get it wrong.


I used a 1″ hexagon, which yields a 2 1/4″ measurement across (we measure one flat side of the hexagon to get the name).  I searched for a free printing pattern, and found these tips for cutting out hexagons.  I used Geta’s hexagon sheet (had to give up my email to do it) and she was right.  Cutting out all those hexies did go quickly! (Sorry for the pink nighttime photo.)


Then I started playing by pinning them up on my design wall so I could get perspective.

six-ways-to-blue_construction6I moved it to my work table and kept playing.six-ways-to-blue_construction7

When I was happy with it, I glued them down, following Nicole’s hints, and later went and purchased her pattern, as I like to donate to the talented designers who share their ideas with me.  One major tip from me is not to do it on your cutting mat, or you’ll have little bits of glue that don’t really scrub off, but doesn’t impact the use of the mat.  Maybe lay it down on some wax paper?   Guess how I know this.


When the glue was dry, I layered the top up in a quilt sandwich, put a few pins here and there and drew in quilting lines with my Hera marker.  Another major tip I’ll pass along —  and why I want to re-do this — is I put the hexies too close together. I only discovered this when I started stitching. She suggests 1/4″ apart and mine are about 1/8″ apart.  Not all the hexies are perfect (because I am Not.A.Machine, she says, in her best robot voice), and by putting them so close together, and “outlining” them with stitching, it really plays up their imperfections.  I did, however, have fun stitching the straight lines, over and over, catching the corners and stitching in between all the hexagons.

I loved playing with the theme of the blues, and love my new quilt.  I made this one larger than the ones I’ve done in the past, and it measures about 21″ wide and almost 20″ high.

Sunset in Kansas City, September 2016

Our next overall yearly theme is Light, and Catherine, of Knotted Cotton came up with our first quarterly challenge of Shimmer.  I already have an idea (I’m not telling) and am excited for this new year.

Happy Quilting!

[Note: The cute clothespins are from a shop in Copenhagen, called Notre Dame.  Link to the clothespins is *here.*  I wanted to carry home buckets of these, but alas, I travel with a small suitcase these days and could only bring a few.]

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200 Quilts · Four-in-Art · Quilts

Six Ways to Blue, a Four-in-Art quilt for November 2016


Six Ways to Blue
Quilt #169, November 2016
19 1/2″ high by 21″ wide
#4 in the Color Series: I’ve Got the Blues

Blues can mean too many things, all at once.  Peacefulness, depression, sadness, the thrill of a line of music (a wailing saxophone), my favorite crayon in the box and the color of my husband’s eyes.  I could think of references to blues six ways to Sunday and never run out of things to link that color to: ocean, sky, geysers, crystals, ice, flowers.


Blue also has a powerful connotation to mood.  The other day when I was feeling a bit blue, my blue-eyed son surprised me with a FaceTime call from London, just before he was calling it a day (having traveled through the blue skies and over the big blue ocean to get there). We chatted about his recent travels to Madrid, our travels to Lisbon last year, where we together with my blue-eyed husband saw the azulejos (blue and white tiles) of that country.  It lifted my spirits, and I was thankful for his true-blue devotion and caring.

The only ancient people who had the word blue in their vocabulary were the Egyptians, largely because they had developed a blue dye.  In 1858 a scholar named William Gladstone, who later became the prime minister of Great Britain studied Icelandic sagas, the Koran, ancient Chinese stories, and an ancient Hebrew version of the Bible. Of Hindu Vedic hymns, he wrote: “These hymns, of more than ten thousand lines, are brimming with descriptions of the heavens. Scarcely any subject is evoked more frequently. The sun and reddening dawn’s play of color, day and night, cloud and lightning, the air and ether, all these are unfolded before us, again and again … but there is one thing no one would ever learn from these ancient songs … and that is that the sky is blue.” (from here)


Wikipedia notes that the clear sky and the deep sea appear blue because of an optical effect known as Rayleigh scattering. When sunlight passes through the atmosphere, the blue wavelengths are scattered more widely by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules, and more blue comes to our eyes. Rayleigh scattering also explains blue eyes; there is no blue pigment in blue eyes.


We’re not the only artists inspired by the blues.

Untitled Blue Monochrome (1960)

Yves Klein (1928-1962) was a French artist who worked with a chemist to create a startling Ultramarine Blue when he mixed powder with synthetic resin.  He patented this as IKB: International Klein Blue, and became known for his use of this color.


When Klein came to California to work as a visiting artist, Edward Kienholz “gave him this kit as a welcome gift, providing Klein with tools to create…while away from his home studio.”  The valise, which has a tag that reads “resident of the universe,” includes “such things as a spray can of IKB paint, a page of instructions, [and] a jar labeled GRIT” (text taken from National Gallery of Art label next to painting).

“Klein’s attraction to blue was rooted in his belief that it was the least material color: ‘All colors bring forth associations of concrete ideas, while blue evokes all the more the sea and the sky, which are what is most abstract in tangible and visible nature.”

I love blue in all its variants, and enjoyed bringing the abstract to the tangible in cloth and thread.

tiny nine patches

We will begin again next year with a new challenge, going on our fifth year.  We have people who join us, leave us, but a few of us keep going on.  Please visit the other members of our group and see how they interpreted this challenge:

Betty         on Flickr








We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

FYI: The next post talks about the construction, the pattern I used, and the next challenges,
and why I want to make this all over again (because some parts really bug me).

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