Yes, yesterday I finished the last details I needed to do to prepare the top for quilting. The tasks required were:
Saturday was a busy day, because I attended the CQFA meeting. I stayed after the meeting to sew with Sonja, Angela and Rhonda. It is good for me to hang with others and talk sewing. I am tending to work alone lately and am trying to get out of that rut.
During the sewing time, I worked on finishing some buttonhole stitching on one of the stockings and making progress on applying the sleeve to the Original Bullseye top. When I returned my mind was buzzing with an idea using the technique that Caroline taught based on Susan Carlson’s book, Serendipity Quilts. I worked on getting the design to the size that I wanted. That was about all I had energy for before I needed to go to bed. In the process, I ruined the cropping tool on Photoshop Elements. I know there is something I clicked, but I don’t know what it was and will have to take some time to find it and undo it. Ergh! All this is to say: 1) I didn’t work on the Attack of the Hexies on Saturday and 2) I have an idea for a new, small art piece, so stay tuned.
Yesterday morning, I had big plans to get up early, go to the gym, take a shower and get going on Attack of the Hexies by 10am. Famous last words! I didn’t get up until nearly 9 and I felt creaky. I have been dealing with a cold. While I am on the downslope of it, I am stilling fighting it off. I didn’t sleep well a few nights in a row and am trying to make up for that lack of sleep. I cut myself some slack.
After writing in my journal for awhile, I went upstairs and started sewing. I had to add a bit of fabric to one half of the back before I could sew the whole piece together. I did that and had to trim the whole back so that the piece was essentially square.
The line of bricks on the horizontal in the center of the back used to be hexagons, but I cut the leftover hexies up into rectangles and used them to add a little interest. The rest of the back is leftover yardage from the Flower Sugar line of fabric. I still have at least 5 yards of yardage left from that line. Not sure what I will do with it, but it will go into the stash and will show up again. There are two pieces that I really like.
Next, I made the binding. I used one of the pinky-reds from the line to provide a frame for the entire piece. I also made it a straight of grain binding. A lot of the border is on the bias because of the way I placed the hexagons as I added them to the piece. Basically, I didn’t pay attention to the grain line. I should have, but didn’t. I don’t do straight of grain bindings very often, because they tend to get kinks and near-folds in them as I hand stitch them on to the quilt. I like the ‘give’ that bias bindings have. It makes them very easy to apply by hand.
In this case, I want the edge to be stable. I don’t want it to get out of whack when it is quilted, thus, a straight of grain binding. We’ll see how it goes.
Finally, and I don’t know why I did this last, I trimmed the border. It wasn’t straightforward, but I had to trim half of each hexagon one by one. I used the lines on the Clearview Ruler I discussed in the Hexagons Follow-up post to keep the who piece as straight as possible.
It wasn’t straightforward, because of the bias, so I just did it slowly and as carefully as I could. The piece will not be as straight as the Quilt Police would want, but they never made this quilt and I am happy with it. As you can see from the photo above, the border looks a little odd, but I like how it looks different.
The piece is now ready for quilting. I’ll take it to Colleen for quilting as soon as I can. I look forward to getting this completely done.
As I mentioned, all of a sudden, I am working fast and furiously on the Attack of the Hexies (Flower Sugar Hexagon). I spent all weekend trying, in vain, as it turned out, to finish the top, back and binding of Attack of the Hexies.
As I have said, Y seams are not hard, but they do take time. I decided to put a border on the piece and I needed to do it using hexagons. I don’t know another way to piece fabric into a hexagon piece without using hexagons. I could have cut off the hexagons on the edge, but I have always disliked that look for my own quilts and didn’t want to do that for this piece.
I also didn’t want to buy new fabric. Fortunately, I had enough of the Art Gallery solid Linen to use for the border. I didn’t even use all that I had, though my stock is significantly diminished.
The border is on the piece. I intend to trim it so the edges are square and still need to do that. I am all for wonky borders (Case in point: the Zig Zaggy Quilt), but not in this piece. I want the border to be square and subtle so that the center looks like it is floating on the border.
I am partway through the back as well. I lounged around for a long time on Sunday and didn’t have enough time to finish it. I had big pieces left over, so I didn’t have to piece a lot of small pieces together.
For months I didn’t work on the Hexies project, then on the first I just dove in and added rows. I am not sure why except that it didn’t require cutting. The hexagons were there, the piece was there and I needed something to sew.
I got my head around the Y seams and did it. I didn’t want to sew one hexagon on at a time and I had a row started, so I finished the row and worked on sewing the whole row on at a time. It was a lot of stopping and starting, but I just did it. I developed a system and kept at it.
Things I have to figure out:
How big to make it. It seems small now, but I know that if I fill my design wall it makes a pretty big quilt.
Whether to unsew a section where I sewed two of the same fabrics together.
How to finish the border – to square it off or leave it jaggedy. I am not sure I can face all those mitered binding corners
I plan to just work on it until I am done with the top.
The last time I seemed to have written about this Flower Sugar Hexagon project was way back in 2011. I didn’t think that much time had flown by, but Pam has made two hexagons, so I guess it has.
My design walls have been empty for several weeks while I work on small projects; the 3D items not needing much design wall space. I also love piecing so much that I didn’t want to be tempted away from the small projects that have been on my list for awhile.
My mom came over for a visit with the Young Man after being on vacation and down with Grama for several weeks. When I arrived home from work she told me that she had raced upstairs to see what was on the design wall and was so disappointed to see NOTHING. She looked a little worried as well. I felt bad.
This hexie project has been on my mind and it occurred to me that I could put it up on the design wall and see what I saw.
The only other photos I have of this quilt is laying on the floor. Laying on the floor is different, for me, than hanging on the wall. I seem to be able to see so much more when pieces are vertical. It must be the perspective or the angle.
I found the piece and put it up on the portable design wall. Looking at it after not having seen it for awhile, I noticed some interesting things:
My balance of different fabrics is pretty good.
The piece is tiny. It is less than half the size of the Swoon. I have a lot of hexies to cut
This piece does cheer up the room.
As I said in one of the previous posts,Adrianne of Little Bluebell, introduced me to the cutting technique I used for these hexies. You can find the cutting instructions on her blog.
I hope I won’t think too much about sewing more pieces together. I still need to work on small projects.
As you may have inferred, I got two quilts back from the stand-in longarm quilter last week, so I had two quilts to trim and bind. I don’t enjoy these steps in the process, probably because I don’t have a good set up for dealing with them. Colleen usually machine applies the binding and trims the quilts for me, but I didn’t feel like asking the new person since I don’t know her that well.
Friday, before the weekend, when I was at work, I made a list of tasks I wanted to accomplish during the weekend and trimming and binding these two quilts were among them. All of the tasks I wanted to accomplish were what I call ‘finishing tasks’ – making backs and bindings, trimming, applying bindings. Unsatisfying tasks, IMO. Of course, I like the finished products and I don’t mind hand stitching the binding, but getting to that stage is an uphill battle for me.
I buckled down and did the tasks and in between I added hexagons to the Sugar Flour Hexagon quilt top. I am not sure I will make a thousand hexagon quilts, but I making this one is really fun. The pieces are large enough so that it is not misery to machine sew the hexagons together.
I also enjoy the fabrics and, thus, the color placement. I thought of adding the hexagons in rows, but adding rows wouldn’t allow me to control the placement of the color in the same way.
I had fun with the blob, but want to make it more square, in anticipation of it actually being used for a quilt like purpose. I don’t know how large I will make it – I have plenty of fabric so that isn’t an issue – but I think, perhaps making the width in the neighborhood of how large I want the quilt to be would be a good idea.
Adding the hexagons was a really nice treat in between making the back, and binding and trimming Pavers and Stars for San Bruno #2.
She asked “OK–you said sewing in a circle. What order do you do the seams, then? Sew piece 1 (center hexie) to piece 2, then piece 1 (center) to piece 3, then adjoining seams of 2 and 3?
I’m not positive I’d be able to keep track of my design if I sew in circles/chunks rather than rows. It’s sort of a mosaic-y thing. Once I get everything laid out, I’ll be able to tell better. It’s not a problem with method, just me knowing how best to make sure I get pieces in the right place!”
My response, slightly edited for clarity, was: If I understand what you mean, remember that the goal is to have no hexagon edges raw. This means that each side of the hexagon will be sewn to another side of another hexagon. This may be different on the edge of the quilt, depending on what the designer (you!) decides to do about borders, but for the middle, you want each hexagon edge to be sewn to another hexagon edge.
Remember: no sewing into the seam allowances!
I am going to show you how to do this with 3 hexagons to start. Go get 3 hexagons, I’ll wait.
Put them on your design wall or on your floor and gaze at them. See the V formed by the top of the 2 bottom hexagons? Pay attention to that. You will need it later.
First, you sew two sides together. These will be two separate hexagons that you have already marked. Remember, you can mark with the Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer and a Sewline pencil or with your favorite ruler and marking tools.
Put the first 2 hexagons right sides together and sew between the marks. Don’t sew into the seam allowance. If you did sew into the seam allowance, rip out the stitches outside of the marks.
When you open those pieces you will have 2 hexagons sewn together. YAY!
Second, for the third piece, you have to do a Y seam eventually (hope I explained clearly enough in the post how to do it). Remember that I told you to pay attention to the V? There will be a V where the two already sewn hexagons meet and that is where you will place the 3rd hexagon.
You will need to sew 3 seams total to completely add the third piece to the first 2 already sewn pieces.
Third, you line up the third piece with piece 1, right sides together, so that one side of piece three will be sewn to one side of piece 1. The side of piece one to which you sew should be one part of the V referenced above.
Fourth, once you have sewn one side of piece three to one side of piece one, you fold the neighboring side on piece three right sides together to the adjacent side of piece two. You will fold it on to the other side of the V.
Fifth, sew the second side of piece three to the second side of piece two.
Now you have 3 hexagons sewn together. AND you did a Y seam. That wasn’t scary, was it?
Sixth, press from the back so all of the seams twirl in the same direction.
In terms of keeping track of the pieces, because you want to sew them in a certain order, you need to lay the pieces out and look at them as you sew. I understand that many people don’t have a design wall. A design floor works just as well. You may need to pin your pieces together in the order you will sew them and take lots of photos. I also have pinned numbers to my patches or blocks so I know what order to sew in.
Let me know if you have further questions about the hexagons.
This is not a scary process. Just slow down a bit, follow the directions and you will be fine. You can do it!
Pam’s recent podcast about her hexagon project is posted on her site. she is very funny in calling this a Point and Laugh-a-long, which makes me laugh.
Sandy also posted a much more helpful and informative post that had actual content about how to do the project (not that Pam’s post was not helpful or informative, because it was) rather than just blathering on about process, which is what I tend to do. In Sandy’s most recent podcast she talks about the practical aspects of cutting hexagons and how she had success on the Kaye Wood method.
Here are a couple of different takes on hexagon quilts. This one from Random Thoughts do or di won’t work with the method we are using unless you figure out how to put the sashing in between the hexies. if you do figure that out, then you can use the directions all of us have posted to put the piece together. I don’t know if the sashing is more complicated than sewing a strip around the outside. This is a question I would ask TFQ about.
Did you follow the directions for cutting your hexagons? Did you watch the video? If so, you are ready to prepare to piece. If not, you can find the directions and information on my previous post.
Note: my hexagons are 7″ unfinished. We are preparing to machine sew the hexagons using Y seams. Leave your fear of Y seams at the door, please. This is a relatively quick method after you do the step outlined below. However, you won’t be able to chain piece.
Quarter inch foot
rotary ruler a bit longer than one side of your hexagon (I like the Creative Grids 4.5″x8.5″ rectangular ruler)
thin sharp black pen like a Pigma Micron or a Pilot Scuf or a Sewline pencil
You will be working on the wrong side of your hexagons at first.
The photo of my piece (above) is similar to what your goal should be. Note that the piece I show is not the final product. I don’t know how large my final quilt will be. That is just how I roll on certain projects. You should check Sandy’s blog and podcast as she has provided some information about sizes and amounts of fabric.
I don’t think in rows, so I don’t always sew in rows (remember the Chunking it tutorial?). This project lends itself to sewing in a circle, which I find very calming.
Take your cut hexagons and turn them right side down (wrong side up) on a surface you can draw on. I do this step right next to my sewing machine just before I sew. Take your rotary ruler and position the edge a quarter inch from one edge.
For example, pretend you were going to slice off a quarter inch and position your ruler that way. Note there is no rotary cutter on the supply list so no cutting, please. The goal is to end up with an X at the 60 degree angle spot on the patch.
On the wrong side of your fabric, take your pen and draw a light line where a quarter of an inch should be.
You won’t see it on the front if you are careful, so using one of the pens mentioned above is ok. You will be doing this at the 60 degree angle/where the corner of the patch is, if the patch had a corner.
When you mark the second side, you will have one X and 2 lines.
Do the same thing at each of the other angles.
If you draw lines all the way around so you have little X-es at every angle of your hexagon. No groaning. I didn’t promise this would be a fast project, but it also doesn’t take that much time. If you are rolling your eyes, go buy the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, because they have a method of doing this piecing in rows. Seems everyone is on the Hexagon bandwagon these days.
If the above process is just too horrendous for you to contemplate, consider the Perfect Piecer by Jinny Beyer.
The 60 degree angle on the right side is perfect for making dots (not X-es) which you can use to sew between. Those circles are actual holes through which you can mark. I bought this to use for my Flowering Snowball and realized it would work with this project as well. I pushed the Sewline pencil lead way out of the pencil and was able to use it with this ruler.
Once you have done the marking, go to your sewing machine.
Do all the normal thread and needle checking stuff necessary for your machine.
Put your machine on the setting for stopping with the needle down. If you don’t have a needle down setting, adjust your sewing so you can stop with the needle down. This isn’t an absolute must, but really helps.
Position the needle right above the intersection of the x. Sew into the intersection of the X and sew all the way across using your quarter inch foot. STOP at the intersection of the second X. Do NOT sew into the seam allowance. Backstitch a couple of times.
I backstitch, because there are no seams crossing one another.
Remedy for sewing into the seam allowance: rip out the number of stitches into the seam allowance. Don’t rip out the whole seam, just rip out the stitch or two that went over.
Take the piece out of the machine and reposition the next unsewn side.Same deal: Position the needle right above the intersection of the x. Sew into the intersection of the X and sew all the way across using your quarter inch foot. STOP at the intersection of the second X. Do NOT sew into the seam allowance. Backstitch a couple of times.
Take your piece over to the ironing board and lay it face down. Yes, I know everyone says to press right sides up. Not this time, sweetie. Face down. On the ironing board. You are going to make a swirl with the seams near each other. Look for how the other seams connected to the new ones you just sewed are pressed and press the new ones in the same direction.
If you follow these directions, you will get a little flower at the intersections of the seams. That is why you don’t sew into the seam allowance. The quilt will lay flatter and the seams will be in order.
This is reposted from Pam (Hip to Be A Square)’s Flickrstream with only slight revisions/additions:
Srsly guys. They are EVERYWHERE.
Sandy at Quilting for the Rest of Us, Jaye from Art Quilt Maker, and I are loosely doing a hexagon-along quilting type thing this this summer. Sandy and I will be sharing our process and pitfalls on our podcasts, while Jaye will share on her blog.
You can find Sandy all over the web. Click on the link and it will take you to her podcast, Flickrstream- just about everywhere.
You can find Jaye at https://artquiltmaker.com/blog/ (where you are now!) (for her blog) or on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/artquiltmaker
You can find me at www.hiptobeasquarepodcast.com for my blog & podcast.
Feel free to grab this button if you want to show some solidarity. The current size is 277×277 pixels, but it can go down to 180×180 without distortion.
Recently, I talked about my adventures with hexagons. The adventures continue and a few people are joining in, something I didn’t know, or think, would happen. There seems to be something about hexagons that intrigues people.
The above photo shows what I did to test out my hexagon theories.
The test kind of grew.
Now I have to admit that this hexagon piece is no longer a test. This will be a real quilt at some point. At this point, I am just sewing hexagons to each other as a kind of treat for myself in between other ‘must finish’ projects. The hexagon piece really helped me get through the pillows. The colors are cheerful and fun. I am trying to keep it even on all sides, but the edges keep creeping out into long lines of hexagons. I don’t know how big it will be – perhaps as big as the amount of fabric I have?
It is good to look at the piece in a photo format, because it helps me see where I need to put the next colors.
The ruler I used is a Clearview Ruler from Alicia’s Attic. They are a bit hard to find, but you can find them at the Granary. I am pretty sure that if you call them they will send you one. Why do you need this one? Because you need the tip. Any 60 degree ruler will work as long as the tip is not blunted.
I started out using my beloved Pyramid ruler from Fons & Porter and my hexagons came out kind of squashed looking. I love this ruler, but it doesn’t work for this quick cutting hexagon method. You MUST have the tip to use the quick cutting method described in the video by Kaye Wood, which is on Little Bluebell’s blog.
You can, of course, use a hexagon ruler. You don’t need to make hexagons using the quick cutting method described by Kaye Wood.
I bought the Fons & Porter hexagon ruler for the Spin Wheels project. I didn’t start out using it for the hexagon project, so I am not using it for that project. If you plan to do a scrappy hexagon, this ruler (or one like it) is the way to go. The Kaye Wood quick hexagon cutting method uses strips and if you aren’t using strips, there is no reason to use that method. I have an Easy Hexagon ruler by Sharon Hultgren, but it is too big for me and I am getting rid of it. Check Quilt Trader’s Newsletter.
I have 150 or so hexagons cut. I am sure I could figure out how big that would be, but where would be the fun in that? I just want to make sure it doesn’t get too big. 😉
Dear TFQ and Little Bluebell,
This is all your fault.
Now that I have that out of the way, yes, I seem to be hooked on hexagons. The test piece is much larger. If you want to cut hexagons, like I am doing, check out Little Bluebell’s cutting directions.
I am also interested in the Spin Wheel design by Fons & Porter. I was watching, what I thought was a Kaleidoscope episode and it turned out to be the Spin Wheel episode. I took notes again so I could do a test block.
I went looking for examples people have made and only found a few. I found a tutorial, which is good since I don’t have the magazine. BeckyF also did the pattern in fun colors, which I found on Flickr. There is one on Webshots that is done more in the colors the Fons & Porter ladies like. I like this progression/gallery of photos making the Spin Wheel. Also, the blue and yellow are cheerful.
This has nothing to do with the Spin Wheel, but Daniel Rouse has put up a really cool hexagon quilt on his site. I like the small and large.
I am also starting a scrap project using the Twirling Triangles pattern, which is, ultimately, a hexagon.
Oh, of course, FOTY 2011, too. Yes, I have a thing going. Obsessed is probably a better word.