The Common Threads Quilt Guild hosted the Mother’s Day quilt show at Ottawa’s RA Centre this year.   There were almost 200 quilts on display.  I volunteered to do a white glove shift.  I was one of the people who lifted the quilt if you wanted to see the back.  It was fun to talk ‘quilting’ with so many people.

There were vendors arranged around the outside of the venue and I actually bought some stuff this time.  Usually, I hold back.  The thing that got my money out of my wallet was a kit developed by Carla Klop, a very nice lady who spent considerable time making it possible for people to create a fabric version of the origami puzzle called a flexi-cube.  Here is a mercifully short (34 secs) irritatingly computer narrated video on youtube showing how this puzzle works.  Carla has  a website showing more information.  I fooled myself about the amount of work involved but if you think about it: 8 blocks = 12 edges each.  That’s a lot of edges.  Almost a hundred of them.  16 of the 96 edges are already ‘joined’ by cutting two squares together as a rectangle.  That leaves 80 edges.  Carla suggests sewing most of the remaining edges by machine and then after you put the foam blocks in, you hand-sew the rest.  Carla says it takes her 3 hours to finish one of these kits.

For better (looking) or worse (taking longer) I made the decision to hand sew all the edges.  This might be a mistake.  I soon found that to make the stitches as tiny as possible yet strong enough, I needed to put on stronger glasses (or as I do, a pair of reading glasses on top of my regular glasses – probably not a practice endorsed by opthamololgists).  I’ve been sort of pecking at this and not measuring the time but it’s been progressing slowly.  I’m reminding myself of all the folks in the past (and presently) engaged in working with hexies – those six sided shapes that make those old-fashioned looking quilts currently in resurgence.  And then there’s the zen of it.  Enjoy the process.  Yes, trying.

The kit comes with 6 fabrics.  You work with 3 and then the other 3.  Then you put the two halves together.  In the pink/yellow/gold picture, you can see the already mentioned reading glasses.  Near them, you see some squares and rectangle with the freezer paper ironed to the back, ready to sew edges together like their friends above.  The gold ones I haven’t touched yet.  The blue/green/purple picture shows how the freezer paper is not staying ironed on.  Love that.

Zen.  Zen is good.

I was thinking this was going to be the next gift for the current crop of babies in my life that have all gotten or will get quilts.  Beginning to rethink this.  Unless, it all turns out SO great.  Maybe I’ll try it again, machine sewing most of the edges like Carla suggests.  I wonder if the freezer paper will like that.

If you’re visiting from The Needle and Thread Network, welcome!  Or in the more unlikely case that you’re here for some other reason, go over to TNTN (see button on the right) and see what lots of Canadian thread and needlers are doing this week.

11 Comments on heard of flexi-cubes?

  1. Mrs.Pickles says:

    wow those cubes sound hard. but i am sure you will do great!

  2. I saw those cubes at the show. And although I was tempted, I suspected that they’d be a beast to finish once the foam was inserted. Good luck, Rita! I’m looking forward to seeing your final cube — it looked so cool!

  3. elle says:

    Whoa, that is quite the project. I hope you post the finish.

  4. Peggy McCall says:

    Ooooh….my obsessive compulsive nature could get into these! I’ll have to keep an eye out for them! So nice! Very nice! Perseverity is your motto here ;) .

  5. Susan Barker says:

    Wonderful! I think I must find one!

  6. Linda says:

    Very interesting!

  7. Laura says:

    It’s a lot of fun to play with these cubes, but I can see they are a lot of work. Much more work than the photo one I made once with wooden blocks. That only involved gluing. Good luck!

  8. Régina says:

    That sure looks interesting – and looooong. I wish you lots of zen.

  9. Cheryl says:

    Oh my gosh. I had to look at the video to get the idea but it’s really, really cool. Little guys would love these!

  10. HeyJudee says:

    OMG…I bought one too thinking I’d put it together as a gift for a future baby shower. And of course…it’s still in the box not started. Definitely gonna try the machine for as much as I can. Will be back to check on your progress as I will probably need some real encouragement to get at it.

  11. Carla says:

    Hi Rita
    You are very ambitious to try this all by hand… hats off to you! I suspect your problem with the freezer paper is that it isn’t waxy on one side. The white version of freezer paper is but Linda from Dragonfly Fabrics tells me that is not easy to get in Ottawa (she sells small pieces at her shop on Alta Vista). When you have the waxy paper, and you iron it on, the edges stick very nicely. Good Luck!

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