Saturday, February 25, 2012
Hexagons Part 2
Using the advice/instructions from the bloggers I wrote about in my previous post, I set out to make my own hexagon mini quilt. (I realized I forget yesterday to add a link to a great tutorial from Amy of Badskirt that also helped me learn how to do this.) As I mentioned, I am relatively new to sewing and quilting with no formal training - I rely solely on the expertise to be found on the internet. I'm sure the way I am making the quilt is not the best nor the most efficient but it works for me. There are several time savers I recognize that I could employ but I'm in no rush to finish the project and I enjoy the process so I don't mind the extra steps.
After picking some scraps from my stash, I started cutting out the paper pieces. Although I did try to ensure that I cut all my hexagons the same size, next time I'll try harder since I think my errors in cutting will show in the final piece. (Now that I am looking at the pictures I'm putting in this post, my cutting errors are very obvious - yikes!)
I took one of the paper hexagons and using my kid's washable glue stick, I attached it to the wrong side of the scrap. Make sure to use the glue stick on the edges of the hexagon, not the center.)
I then cut a square around the pattern leaving about a 1/2 inch border (I don't usually use as wide a border as I did in the photo - that was surely wasting this beautiful fabric - I'll have to find a way to use the small cuttings.)
Then I cut the square of fabric into a hexagon (see I told you I take extra steps but through trial and error I've realized this was the best way for me to do it to get the finished product how I like it.) For this step, I would leave at least a 1/4 inch border but no more than 1/2 inch - if there is too much fabric, it is difficult to get a good fit around the pattern.
I then thread my needle using a quilter's knot. I don't know what type of needle I'm using - it is rather large so it is easy to use but I'm concerned about the holes it is leaving in the fabric so next time I would choose a smaller one. If you don't know what a quilter's knot is, look it up on You Tube - this is a great and simple way to make knots.
With the wrong side still facing you, fold over two edges of the fabric over the paper pattern of the hexagon. While holding the fold, flip over the hexagon to the right side and put your needle through a little less than a 1/4 inch from the edge. Make sure the needle goes through both pieces of fabric and the paper. And again, the knot needs to be on the right side of the fabric. Flip back to the wrong side and pull the thread through and then put the needle back in about 1/8th to 1/16th of an inch away and pull through. Go to the next corner of the hexagon and again fold the two edges of fabric over and repeat the needle directions above. Do this for all 6 corners and end with the thread on the right side of the fabric. I just clip the thread leaving about a 3 or 4 inch tail but you can knot it if you'd like. You are going to later cut this thread and remove it so if you choose to knot the end, don't pick up any the fabric in your knot.
Depending on what you want your final size/design to be, make about 10-20 hexagaons. For my quilt, I am just piecing the hexagons as I go so I didn't plan a layout. If that works for you, you can alternate between making the hexagons and sewing them together which for me eliminates boredom and fatigue. If you want a specific design layout, then you should make all your hexagons first.
Take two of the hexagons and place them right sides together. A quick note about using one or two strands of thread. I am using cotton thread to sew together my hexagons. For the first 10 hexagons, I used a quilter's knot and a single strand of thread without a problem. But for some reason when I was sewing them together last night, I kept breaking the thread about 3/4 of the way to the end (so FRUSTRATING since I then had to start again.) The third time this happened, I changed to using two strands of thread and used Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson! (one of my favorite sites) knotless start. I sometimes find when using two strands at once that the tangles get the best of me but I didn't have a problem last night.
I used a whipstitch to sew the hexagons together - trying to make small, tight stitches and only pulling up a few threads of fabric from each side.
When I got to the corner, I would always make a knot but for some corners I wouldn't cut my thread, rather I would use the same piece to attach the next hexagon to the next corner of the hexagon I just sewed (does that make sense.)
So, that's how I'm doing it. If anyone actually reads this post and has suggestions for making this a better process, please let me know in the comments.