I’m having a lot of fun with puns for my Heart Chakra Quilt. All joking aside, this is going to be a fairly major project.
Here’s the finished look of the top:
This is NOT a perfect quilt or a quilt for a perfectionist. I purposefully left mistakes in because this quilt is turning out to be a pretty good representation of me. The more I think of how my physical body interacts with the spiritual world (which is what the center star represents) the more I realize how bumpy and imperfect my path has been.
Since it’s not perfect, straight line quilting just won’t do. It would show the imperfections in a bad way. So I pulled out my free motion quilting foot for my Juki machine and decided to free hand the whole thing.
The center hexies deserved a little more planning, so I created this ‘flower’, printed it on newsprint and used it as a quilting template. After doing these initial lines, I pulled the paper and added more in detail.
Here is the back after I quilted the center – again… not perfect, but I really like the organic nature of how it came out.
Now I’m working my way out from this center piece and working on being okay with all the imperfections – this fully correlates to my life.
This quilt is kind of kicking my ass. It is mimicking my life in ways I would never have noticed if I wasn’t making this as a therapeutic tool. I’m happy for new perspectives, but they can be hard to mentally and emotionally digest.
For example, the center of this quilt features a 6 pointed star made of two triangles. One triangle pointing up to represent spirituality, and one triangle pointing down to represent physicality – and where they meet and overlap is the heart.
I decided to make the center out of hexies, because… hexies! I love them. So I start in the center with absolutely no plan on how to incorporate them into the rest of the quilt! Just like in real life, I did not plan this out well. I still don’t know how I’m going to sew it all together and still add a circle of 8 inner triangles and a circle of 12 outer triangles to finish the quilt per my original intention.
I find myself tripping up on math and I’ve made a few mistakes already with fabric calculations! Every mistake means a new decision to make – and each decision is like hitting a brick wall mentally. I can’t even work on other projects right now because I’m confused as to how I’ll finish this one. I hate making decisions – I always question myself and then question myself again. Then I get stuck in the ‘not knowing what to do next’ brain fog.
Decision-making seems to be a main theme of this quilt.
My dreams have been hard too. Not full on nightmares, but dream memories… ? Memories from childhood have been re-playing currently as dreams and they’ve taken on aspects of my old recurring nightmares too – but with new twists. This type of dreaming has been happening a lot and I wake up feeling more tired than when I went to sleep… so much happening in my dreams. I’m also having pain dreams… where you dream about a specific pain till it wakes you up. Like my new recent recurring dream is I’m tied up in a backless chair, and someone is cutting my back with razor blades – this is because my spine aches so much in my sleep. This is something I have to fix because when I become over-tired, I start getting paranoid about other little things.
So… I’ve been trying to sleep a lot and keep pushing forward on this quilt project – even though it’s really hard. I feel like scrapping it and starting something new, but if I do, I’ll never come back to it – so I’m going to follow through and push through some decision making!
I’m sewing some hexies together for the center of the Heart Chakra quilt project I’m currently working on. I’ve sewn a few whole quilts with hexies and I’m going to share with you how I sew my hexies together without any stitching showing on the front.
To start, these are the notions I use:
Needle: John James #12 Sharp
Superior Kimono Silk Thread #100
Thread Heaven (thread conditioner)
I’m starting with basted hexies. If you would like to see how I baste my hexies, please go here , or here for a full hexie tutorial. Be ready for lots of photos!
I start by laying out my hexies exactly how I’m going to sew them together. This layout is small, so it’s easy to layout just about anywhere. Sometimes I use a card table with batting stretched on top and taped down to layout hexies – the batting keeps them in place a little better.
I then sew my hexies together in rows. I start by knotting my thread with a quilters knot and pulling it up through my first hexie in the center. I personally think that sewing them with WRONG sides together gives the best results. I use a ladder stitch and sew to one end:
Then I flip the hexies in my hand and stitch back into the center:
Keep going… ladder stitch all the way to the other end.
Flip the hexies in your hand again, and sew back to the centerpoint.
Yes… this doubles the stitching. It may be overkill, but I like to use my quilts and I wash them as any other thing I own, so they have to be durable. Open the hexies and push the needle through to the back. The trick here is to avoid catching any fabric on the pass-through. If you do, you may see the stitch on top.
Then knot on the back side, close to where the needle came out. After knotting, slide the needle up to the next side to be sewn.
Knot here – one more time – this ensures that if a thread is cut anywhere, it will not unravel all your stitching. Pass the needle up through the center of the hexie, right on the edge.
Start your next hexie – just as before: ladder stitch to one end… and follow all steps again.
You can see that when you open your hexies after sewing this way, you don’t see any stitches on the outside of your work!
The running threads from one hexie to the next can be snipped when removing the hexie papers, or they can stay in place and you can pull the papers out around them.
Once I have all my rows sewn up, I sew them together using a whip stitch. I’ll do another tutorial on that as soon as I get there with this project.
As some of you already know, Craftsy.com has become Bluprint.com and they have changed their platform for selling patterns. I had a few patterns posted that are no longer available there.
I do have a small online retail store set up with all my quilt patterns here. If you need to re-download a file from a Craftsy purchase, please email me with the email used to purchase the pattern and I’ll send the most current file directly to your email.
I’ve been working hard over the last month or so to create patterns for all of my hexie quilts and projects, and I finally finished them all! I have them up at Craftsy.com where they might be seen a bit more than here. I’m really happy with the work I put in, I think they’ll be good.
It was interesting going back in time and looking at my notes to how to do certain things, and how those things evolved over time. I really do love working with the hexie shape!
Do you EPP? Which one would be your favorite? Leave a message below telling which pattern you’d choose and why. I’ll do a random drawing for a winner who will get the pattern of their choice in a digital .pdf format! Drawing will be on September 5, 2017.
Last night I did a trunk show at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting along with three other amazing quilters! I brought a mix of things to show how I work with color, and two of the quilts I brought were Hexie Quilts. The question I was asked most was: how do I layout my hexie quilts.
So I thought I’d repost a video from a couple years ago when I was working on the Jellyfish layout. This shows only 4 days of about 30 that I spent on the layout. It was the most time consuming part of the whole process!
I use a ‘design board’ made from rigid foam insulation with batting wrapped around it and taped to the back. It’s very lightweight and can be moved – however, I tend to leave my layout as is
until I have completed all the sewing. Yes… that means that thing hung out on my dining room
table for about 4 months.
It was such a great night, I received so much wonderfully supportive feedback from so many people, made me feel all super special! I love my quilty friends!!
I’ve also been working on a brand new quilt! I’m super excited about it – I’m about halfway done with the top – hope to have the whole thing finished in a month for an upcoming birthday. It’s going to be tough time-wise for me, quilts take a long time for me to finish!
The block I chose to use on this one is called Trip Around The World – a few years back there was a tubular technique I found here at Quiltville.com by Bonnie Hunter that makes the sewing go a little faster – I’m using that technique and it’s really fun!
This is a partial fabric pull – this is my main colorway, or the colors I plan to match to.
After cutting strips of fabric, this is a pretty pile of scraps I had – I can already tell I’m going to love this quilt!
I have all the strips sewn together, now it’s time to cut, press, and then back to the machine for a bit. This is my project for the weekend, along with doing some plant love in the yard (I hope it stops raining for a bit). What are you up to this weekend?
I just finished piecing together my second hexie hummingbird for a new quilt… and while it’s not the greatest photo, I just had to share!
It’s on my design wall right now – time to pick a background fabric to appliqué it onto. I was thinking something on the darker side, since a lot of the fabrics are pretty light – but seeing it on the light background here is making me rethink a little. I guess it will depend on what I have available!
This has to go on hold for the moment as I ready the paperwork for the annual major accounting for our business. It was a difficult year for us. There are many t-shirt printing companies online that use direct-to-garment printing or have automated equipment that can crank out t-shirts faster than we do on our manual press… and fewer people are considering quality as an important factor in their purchases. So it’s time to re-think the plan and see what we can do to increase the right type of sales. I have a feeling my time will be spent with these thoughts more than with fabric over the next week, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Nothing grows unless you nurture it.
The holidays can be a somber time for me, but this year we’ve been keeping the obligations very light and so far this has been a great period of time for us. I’m using the down time to sew and spend time with my daughter who is living with us and has some extra time off as well.
Yesterday I said I would show what I got done in on Hummingbird Hexie No.2 in a day, and this is it – five rows:
I try to stitch for 2 hours a day. Sometimes I can’t get to it because life can sometimes get in the way! 😉 But if I shoot for 2 hours as my daily goal, I know I will finish anything in a timely manner.
Here is my layout currently in process:
You can see two of the rows lined up on a “hexie-roll” at the bottom of the photo. I have a few more rows to do after I finish these two, then it will be onto sewing the rows together and starting to pick out a background fabric!
I’m currently stitching another Hexie Hummingbird Quilt (No.2) and right now it’s at the piecing stage. Instead of making flowers, I stitch individual pieces into rows then sew the rows together. I made an illustration of my stitching:
To sew the individual pieces together, some people sew with right-sides together. I was taught to do it a little differently by sewing with wrong-sides together! I also switched my thread up to a fine silk thread (Superior Kimono Silk #100) and the needles used are John James #10 Sharps – it’s what works for me.
I use a ladder stitch, and start in the center, work my way to one side, then back to the other side, then back to the middle. I try to stay on the ‘inside’ of the paper template.
This means it’s double stitched and I can easily ensure no large spaces between my stitches – they are tight and hard to pull apart. And when you “open” the row to see the front, you see no stitches at all.
My Sunday will be filled with more sewing while watching my nephews play with Legos and watch all the Star Wars movies. I think I’ll be able to get a lot of sewing done today!
Today we are getting ready for a visit from my In-Laws who are coming in from New York City. They’re arriving on Wednesday and I’m so excited to see them! They have always been super supportive of us, even helped us get into this house to begin with.
So, I want to make sure the place is looking good and clean. I’m a cleaning mad-woman today – so much dust accumulation, and so many things to move around to clean it. As I was cleaning, I snapped a couple photos – just to show when you collect plants and toys, dusting all of a sudden can become a big project!
My husband is the collector – but he is no longer adding to it… just maintaining the things he already has. *phew* Many records, comic books, toys, etc… it makes for fun still-life pics! Not to mention, always having something interesting to look at, read, or listen to.
As far as sewing goes, I plan on doing more hexie stitching later today. This was my kit and progress from yesterday:
I got 3 strips of hexies stitched together in 2 hours and 45 min. However, it was at Sew Day, so I was talking while sewing and I think that resulted in a much slower pace of stitching! I’m okay with that, at least I can get a little bit done while visiting – and, I think hanging with friends is really important right now.
Super excited to share my last quilt finish – the Hexie Hummingbird! This was a super fun project – especially trying to make-do with the fabric I have on hand. It’s a smaller quilt, finishing at 34″ wide x 39″ tall, perfect for a wall hanging.
When I last blogged about this project, I was trying to decide on a background fabric to appliqué the Hummingbird to… well, I think I found the best thing hidden in my stash. This is Petals in Violet by Alison Glass, and I think the hand-dyed nature of it makes the Hummingbird look magical. I also thought it was neat to use a hand-dyed fabric for my hand stitching work!
I had a small piece of Tula Pink’s Free Fall backing fabric that just barely covered the back of this piece, it was very dreamy to hand quilt. I only hand-quilted the Hummingbird itself – the background was free-motion-quilted with my Juki. I really loved how the hand quilting made a neat pattern on the back.
The hummingbird idea came to me while I was having cranial sacral work done, and I feel it has a deeper meaning than just an idea for a quilt. I know it’s a sacred totem for certain native tribes, but I do not know what exactly it symbolizes to them. For me, right now, I’m just seeing it as a good sign that I’m on the right path forward – where ever that may lead me.
I was able to finish up the binding at our PMQG monthly All-Day-Sew yesterday, which was really fun! I got to meet up with a quilter-fried from Minneapolis who is here visiting – we have many mutual friends, so it was really sweet to catch up. It also felt a little like worlds colliding, talking about people and experiences from years ago, all while happily quilting the day away. It was really grounding for me, and that is a good thing.
Lately, I’ve also been thinking and dreaming of making a yellow quilt, so I recently came up with a new design. At first, I wanted to try to make it monochromatic, but I decided it needed a little grey, white, and cream to make the yellow pop. The design is done and ready to go, but my yellow fabric supply is looking orange. Funny how yellow is… and then isn’t – as soon as you change the shade! I think it’s one of the hardest colors to work with, but I’m plugging forward. More about this quilt to come!
Last night we had our yearly PMQG picnic, and I was able to finish a quilt to bring for show and tell. I brought it because I wanted to share a ‘frustration’ quilt. I know we all have them from time to time – that quilt idea that never really came to fruition the way you pictured in your mind…
I started this quilt last year, and have added bits and pieces over time and every time I pull it out to work on it, I became frustrated by my placement choices and would put it away again for a while. I tried working on it a bit every month, but would get irritated by looking at it. Have you ever made a quilt like that?
Last month I decided to just get it done already!! I put it in my mind that it didn’t matter how it looks, I’ll just use it as a couch quilt anyway. So I finished the front and used my questionable pieces for the back making a 2-sided quilt, and was very unhappy about it until I started quilting it.
For some reason, quilting this piece, connected me to it and I started to appreciate the work… and once I was finished, I felt it was good enough for show and tell. At our picnic, I received some really nice feedback and now I’m liking it even more 😉 I’m definitely my own worst critic!
In other news, my hexie hummingbird is coming along nicely! Here is the backside of the piece – showing my stitching work before hiding it forever…
I’ve finished piecing the bird itself, and took out all the papers and appliquéd it onto a backing fabric – I’m in the process of quilting right now, but I wanted to show how I take the papers out of the piece before appliqué.
First I need two important tools: a seam ripper and a wooden BBQ skewer.
I work in rows so I don’t get confused – and I start snipping my basting threads with the seam ripper. I snip once on each hexie – then I use the wooden skewer to pull a basting stitch or two, then to pop the hexie out:
Before I basted the hexies, I punched holes in them for this very purpose – my seam allowances are big and cover the back of my small hexies… so it’s very important for easy paper removal. Once they were all removed, I pressed it well. At this point, I’m quilting this piece, and hoping to have it ready for our next guild meeting!
I recently finished piecing my Hexie Hummingbird together! It went so fast… not adding a full hexie background certainly helps in the time department. However, now I’m faced with a big decision: what to use as a background fabric?
This decision has taken days – I want to only use what’s in my stash, and I don’t have many pieces large enough (1 yard) to use. So I spent some time in contemplation, and I’ve settled on a great piece that looks a little magical to me. I’ll be sharing soon…
In the meantime, I’m working on a binding for a quilt that I’ll have finished for our next PMQG meeting, which is also part of the PNWMQG Meetup! I’m really happy there is one event where I can meet new quilty friends that is free. Will you be coming to town? Wanna meet up? Hit me! I don’t get to travel much anymore, and I love meeting new friends and talking quilts.
I’m steadily making progress on my Hexie Hummingbird! Currently, I’m stitching the rows to each other.
While I make the rows using a ladder stitch, I change it up when I’m sewing the rows together and use a whipstitch. I think it’s easier to work as a flat piece when the rows are coming together.
To start, I take the piece I’ve stitched together an place in on my design board exactly where it needs to be:
I check my layout to make sure it’s in the right place then pin the two sides where I need to start stitching:
From here I flip it over and start my stitch a little in from the edge:
The blue fuzzy thing I’m working on is a stuffed animal in the shape of a bolster pillow. I find by using this pillow on my lap while sewing, it helps me keep the piece flat while working on it, I can see my stitching better, and sew with less stress on my wrist… I can also wrap it around the pillow as it gets larger.
I start stitching here and work to the edge then back up the way I started:
I’m testing a fine silk thread as a double strand right now. Usually I use an all purpose thread, and that can be used as a single strand. I’m still undecided as to which way I like better.
I like using the whipstitch here because you can really tighten it up and make super strong seams – and you can’t see them from the front:
So this is my progress! I’m looking forward to the appliqué process – it will be a new thing to try for me! I just love how quickly this project is going – and it’s because I didn’t do a full hexie background. Food for thought!
Tonight is the PMQG meeting, and they’re having a mini-trunk show of all the quilters who had quilts show in the PMQG section of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Since I’m in that group, I’ll be bringing some quilts to show tonight, even my hexie quilts! I’m a little nervous, but really excited to be able to share my quilts again!
I’m working on a Hexie Hummingbird right now, and I sew in rows, and in my previous post, I show how I take my hexie-row sewing to go. In this post, I’m going to show you how I stitch these little guys together! *I feel the need to say: this is my own technique – it may not be the “right way”, but it works for me!*
First, you’ll need all your ‘tools’. For me, this is a well-fitting thimble, John James #10 needle, Superior Silk Thread, Thread Heaven, and a scissors.
After threading my needle, I run it through the Thread Heaven – this makes the thread easier to work with and last longer. I make a quilters knot in the thread – and start in the center of my first hexie, and tie a knot:
Then I push the needle up through the center, staying on the inside of the hexie:
Next, I take the hexie I’m going to add and make sure it’s nicely aligned to the first hexie, with WRONG sides together, and then do a ladder stitch to one end:
Flip the hexies over and ladder stitch all the way to the other end:
Flip the hexies again, and ladder stitch back to the center:
‘Open’ the hexies, then carefully send the needle through to the backside without catching any fabric (if you do catch fabric, you’ll see the stitch on the front):
Tie a knot on the back, close to where the thread emerges from the front:
From here, you can make a running stitch up to the top, where the next hexie will go, and make another knot – this way, if the running stitch accidentally gets snipped, the knots will keep the stitches in place:
Voila! Well stitched hexies… with NO stitches showing!
I have just finished sewing all my rows for the Hummingbird – next up I’ll be sewing these rows to each other.
It’s really going fast! It makes such a difference with the decision to appliqué this onto another fabric, rather than making a full hexie background. It feels real good to be able to get a hand-project done quickly!
I’m just about ready to start stitching my new hexie hummingbird design, and I thought I’d share how I take my hexies to-go with me so I can work on piecing anywhere!
I physically layout my whole design before starting to stitch. That means you need to have a layout space large enough for your project. The hummingbird is on the smaller side, so it fits on card table. For other projects I’ve used a 4′ x 8′ piece of foam insulation covered in batting and rested it on a table top.
Once you have your layout exactly how you want it… you can take your piecing on the go with a handy little roll:
Here’s how (get ready for a few photos!):
You’ll need • a long strip of batting about an inch wider than your hexie pieces, • a strip of fabric same size as the batting strip, and • a scrap of practice quilting
The scrap of practice quilting should be the same width as the fabric and batting. Roll it up and secure it with paper clips.
Next, start laying out a row of hexies – centered onto the piece of batting:
Continue lining up your hexies exactly as they are in the layout:
Leave a little space between separate rows, so you don’t accidentally sew them together.
When you run out of space, lay the strip of fabric over the hexies.
This piece of fabric will keep the hexies from sticking to the backside of the batting.
From here, take the pre-rolled quilted scrap and place it on the end where you just ended your layout. This piece will keep your hexies from getting bent in the roll.
Carefully roll it all up, adjusting the fabric strip as needed:
Now you can pin it on the sides to keep it all in place:
When your ready to stitch, place the roll in a small plastic container like this:
I put a spool of thread behind it for stabilization, because this roll is a little small for the container. Once in place, you can un-pin and carefully start to pull the batting:
Lay the batting over the edge of the container and pull as you need – it’s sort of like a Pez dispenser for hexies! It’s a great way to sew in rows and keep all your hexies exactly as you had them laid out.
Once you have a completed row stitched up, you can lay it back on your design table, and start on another row.
If you try this little hexie-dispenser idea, please let me know how it works for you!
It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a hexie project to work on – I really needed a little break, and I wanted to focus on some machine stitching – which was great, but I’m starting to really miss having a hand-project.
It took some time to figure out what I wanted to make next. I have a whole bunch of 1/2″ hexies basted, ready to use… but I needed a plan. Last week I saw my therapist (Shiatsu, Rolfing, Cranial Sacral, & Energy Healer) and while on the table in full meditation mode, I envisioned a hummingbird. No reason… but I came home and felt the need to make it come to life, so I spent a little time on the computer and laid out a Hexie Hummingbird!
Since I have so many basted hexies already, I didn’t want to make anymore – and just use what I had in my stash – which turned out to be much more difficult than I imagined. I wanted to share the evolution of this layout:
First I print out my design layout and use that as reference for hexie placement. This was my first layout:
It’s not bad… but it could be so much better, so after a day of rearranging, this is my second layout:
Wow… that just got super messy – but I really liked the purple wing and the orange tail feathers… I just needed to get that back wing and the head to read better. So this is my third layout:
Now that back wing is just driving me nuts… I’m about 4 days in at this point and about ready to dump the table and start over. I do really like how the face looks better a bit lighter.
I took a full day off of looking at it – sometimes you just need a break, this type of creative work can be exhausting… but the time invested always pays off!
Next time I worked on it, I spent another day picking and switching and changing my mind, then I came to this layout:
I’m really happy with this! I posted it on IG late last night and got a lot of great feedback, so I think this is IT! For this hexie quilt, I plan on just doing the main image in hexies, then I’m going to try appliqué and place it onto a solid background… and maybe add some hexie flowers too. I’m excited, because this approach should make this a fairly quick project.
I’m so excited to have this pattern ready to share!
I started the Squid quilt in 2010 after going to my first PMQG meeting and learning about English Paper Piecing (EPP). We practiced basting hexagons (hexies) and the possibilities I imagined in quilt patterns was so inspiring, I went home and designed the Squid that night!
It took 7 months of hand stitching, and a lot of learning to get it finished – but I was hooked and couldn’t wait to get started on the next one (The Wood Dragon).
Fast forward 6 years to now with 3 large hexie projects under my belt, I’m being asked often for the patterns, I finally sat down and wrote one up for The Squid. You can find it here on Craftsy.
As a bonus with my patterns, I’ve attached the Illustrated Stitching Techniques as a print out, and I set up the Hexie Portal with links to tutorials and other information on hexie stitching that I’ve written about here on this blog.
I hope I can inspire other people to become a hexie addicts like myself!
I was recently hit with the news that another old friend has passed away. He was part of the family I made for myself when I first left home in the late 80’s. Since me and most of my friends were homeless punk kids, we formed a certain bond that I can’t quite explain… tribal maybe, but it’s tight even after years of being apart.
There are so many people from this group lost already. I thought I’d be one of the first to go, and now I’m a few years shy of 50, and am still here. It’s surprising really… and I’ll always be the first to acknowledge my appreciation of aging, and be thankful for every grey hair.
I’ve been working on a few health issues and different modes of healing. Energetically, I’m working on my root chakra – which symbolizes our foundation, and family. Since my blood family disowned me due to religious differences, I depended on my friends to fill a family-type role. I’ve been steadily building a stronger foundation on my own over the years.
Losing one of these friends makes me feel like I lost a whole level of bricks.
So I’m going to focus on a new quilt. It’s how we quilters express ourselves… right? I’m going to channel positive energy, the color red, and family and hopefully I can express myself the way I’d like. More on this to come.
In the meantime, I do have a little quilt finish to share:
POP – hexie quilt
This is my first time using Y-seams, and bias binding. A test project really. All the prints in this quilt are designs I created and had printed at Spoonflower. So it was a really fun project to work on… and bright – just what I need right now!
As you may know… I’m a hexie addict, and when Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod contacted me about participating in her Mug Rug Blog Hop, I couldn’t say no! She has recently published the book: All Points Patchwork that is chuck full of all sorts of tips and tricks for English Paper Piecing (EPP). She covers everything you can think of… and then some. It’s a great book to add to your quilting library!
In this post, I’m going to show part of my design process, as well as my stitching process for an EPP hexie placemat. In the near future, I will have a full pattern available for this project – check back soon.
When I have created hexie quilts in the past, they have been larger projects with more pieces, allowing a more detailed imagery. A small mug rug or placemat bears some difficulty in creating a unique design.
I am a very visual person, so the way I design is by trial and error with a physical layout. For this project, I used a card table covered in batting as my “hexie play station”, and really just arranged and re-arranged different hexies until I was happy with a design! For this design in particular, I wanted to incorporate many bright colors together… without a rainbow effect and without it getting too busy.
If you have many different colored hexies, this is a really fun way to realize ideas. For my larger quilts, I layed hexie graph paper over a picture of what I wanted to create and colored in the hexies accordingly to abstractly represent the underlying image. Once I have the basic solid-color layout – I physically lay out each hexie and arrange / re-arrange the individual pieces until I’m happy. That usually is the hardest part of the whole process and can take months to do.
Here is a video of me beginning to lay out my Jellyfish – this was 4 days of work, and the actual layout I used took over a month to finalize. Even then, I feel like I could have reworked it a million times over. Sometimes… part of the design process is knowing when to stop.
Finished Hexie Top – 1/2″ hexies
Once a design is all laid out and finalized, I start sewing my pieces together. Some people like to sew these as flowers and piece them that way, but I like to sew the hexies in rows, then sew the rows together.
I have recently been introduced to Kimono Silk thread – and it works amazingly for piecing without the stitches showing!
How do I stitch my hexies? I use both a ladder stitch and a whipstitch. I worked on some illustrations to show my process. This is just the way I do it – everyone has their own style. In All Points Patchwork on Page 48, Diane explains how she sews these together… and on page 200 she describes a ‘skimming whipstitch’ which I use a lot!
To baste hexies I personally use either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch hexies, using paper templates from PaperPieces.com. I punch a hole in the center before covering with a square of fabric. This is a small size to some, and can be basted only on the back without going through the paper. With larger pieces, you may need to baste through paper. I love this size because it’s very easy to manipulate the fabric and hold it in place with one finger.
Once you have a bunch of hexies basted, you can lay them out as you like, creating a design that is pleasing to your eye. Then when you’re ready, you can start sewing the strips of hexies together. To sew the strips, I use a ladder stitch. I start in the center, stitch to one side, then the other, then back to the center. This keeps the knots from the edges and reinforces the stitch.
Make sure to catch the fabric on the inner edges, that way your stitch will virtually disappear when you ‘open’ your pieces. This was the first ‘trick’ I learned when I started making hexies – thanks for the insight, Rachel!
When passing the needle through from the front to the back, try not to catch any fabric – if you do, that little stitch will show.
I take a stitch and tie a knot right on the inside and run the needle to the next side to be sewn and tie another knot without snipping the thread. You can snip the running stitch between hexies when you take out the basting… or you can leave it there.
Then, when all the strips are stitched, you can stitch the strips together into rows. To sew the rows together, I lay them flat next to each other and whip stitch from one end to the other.
When I am sewing long rows of hexies together, I sometimes wrap my project around a bolster pillow to make it easier to work with. Since I’m right-handed I like to hold the strip I’m stitching on the left side using my left hand to hold everything in place while I stitch… I rest my left hand on the bolster.
Once all the pieces are sewn together, it’s time to start thinking about quilting and binding. Also time to pull those papers out! The tools I use for this is a wooden skewer and a seam ripper.
First I snip the basting with the seam ripper.
Then I use the skewer to pull out a basting stitch or two. This is when the hole punch in the center of the template comes into play.
The skewer then goes into the punched hole of the template… and pops right out! You can leave the snipped basting stitch as is, or you can pull the threads out too.
Personally, I like to pull all the threads out – it soothes my OCD tendencies, and I think it looks better! Also, if you pull the threads out, the paper templates stay fairly flat and are reusable after ironing!
I am currently out of spray baste, and don’t want to buy anymore since I don’t have a good place for glue basting at my house. So lately I’ve been thread-basting by hand. For a small project like this, it took me about 15 minutes. I use Sharon Schamber’s technique described here.
This way of basting is fantastic! It holds everything in place so well, and is very easy to work with compared to pins. It’s how I basted the Jellyfish too. From here I had to do a lot of thinking on how to quilt this! Since the pattern is busy, I decided to go loud and use pretty colored #8 Perle Cotton threads with bigger stitches.
I also made a hexie binding for this project. You just need to make a copy of your project and string together hexies to make the shape of it. I needed a printout to mark off as I stitched so I put the hexies together correctly… and still made a few mistakes!
Once the binding was complete, I pulled the papers out and pressed with starch to keep the folds as crisp as possible.
In hind-sight, I think I would leave the papers in until the binding is stitched onto the front. It would make it easier to stitch! But this was my first attempt at a hexie binding and I’m learning as I go!
Before I could stitch the binding on, I had to very carefully trim out the extra batting and backing. Take your time here – a wrong move could go South quickly! After trimming it up, I pinned the binding (right sides together) to the front.
I stitched all around the edges, making sure to avoid catching any batting or backing… and I also tried to take small stitches. Sometimes I back-tracked to make sure there were no large gaps in my stitching. When it was sewed onto the front, I turned the binding to the back and used my skewer again to pull the points on the hexie shapes.
I then double checked my stitching around the edges.
And lastly I stitched the binding down on the backside to finish.
Voila! My completed Hexie Placemat is ready for use! There are 324 pieces in the front, plus another 68 pieces for the binding, for a total of 392 hexies in this project.
The final measurement of this placemat is 15″ x 19″ using 1/2″ hexies. For a larger quilt, you could use 2″ hexies for this pattern, and make a 60″ x 77″ quilt! I will have this pattern available soon with step by step illustrations and hexie graph paper too.
For amazing instructional photos and information on paper piecing, check out All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. Her step by step approach makes it easy for anyone to jump in on the hexie train!
For even more inspiration and information, check out the other stops on this Mug Rug Bloghop:
Since I finished the Jellyfish Hexie Quilt, I’ve been making hexies out of random scraps of fabric that have been given to me by a few PMQG members (Thanks Sam, MaryAnn, and Cris!) So I have piles of crazy-colored hexies to play with.
I came up with a layout for a medallion for a larger quilt, and I’m stitching it together!
Hexie Medallion in Process
This is the first project that I’m using Kimono Silk 100# thread (thanks to Rachel!) to stitch them together with, and I am loving the results! From the front you cannot see any stitches, and even on the back, the thread is so fine, it looks really clean:
Showing the work
These are 1/2″ hexies. The size I used on the Jellyfish and the Dragon. It’s my favorite size because they are so easy to handle while sewing. No need to baste through the paper with smaller pieces like this either.
I also have a quilt finish to share… it is for the Game of Quilts Challenge, so I’m not posting pictures yet, but I’m very happy with my project, and can’t wait to share! For now, I’ll continue working on these hexies – I love having a go-to project like this.
The weather here in Portland has been unseasonably warm. For some reason, my body has much more inflammation issues in the heat than usual. I now have cankles, and my feet and toes look like sausages. That part isn’t so bad, it’s the sciatica (which gets ramped up with inflammation) that has been keeping me un-able to do much of anything.
However, my spirits are up – on our way out to dinner the other night, Gregg spotted a folding card table and 4 matching chairs with a free sign on it – we quickly made a U-turn and now I have a ‘Hexie Play Station’!
(and on a side note: My friend Kimberly turned me onto a new place to eat. Teote is super yummy and gluten free …and they have fried plantains!)
Hexie Play Station
I used some masking tape to attach batting to the table top – it can easily be removed. The batting really keeps the little 1/2″ hexie pieces in place… so even when Mr. Kitty jumps up there, they don’t slide around.
We set this up in our basement which has been staying about 10-15 degrees cooler than outside, and so now I have a project to keep me busy for a while… I have a lot of hexies made:
Bin and Bag of Hexies
I made all the solid bright hexies from a honeybun roll – there were 41 different colors and I made 28 hexies out of each 1.5″ strip of fabric. I have them all color separated in baggies for now till I figure out exactly how I want to use them.
Currently on the HPS (hexie play station)
FYI: it seems to be much harder to design a layout this way… as in: not having a plan. At least it is for me! I’m going to play around with this today – I’m interested in making a few smaller projects with these hexies. We’ll see what speaks to me once I get all the colors divided.
Lately people have been asking what I’ve been working on hexie-wise… and I don’t have a specific project in mind. I’m currently just making to make, with hopes that the right design will just show itself to me!
I am very, very fortunate to be a part of the PMQG where I have amazing friends, and some give me their fabric scraps. Sam Hunter, who is an amazing quilter and teacher, has been feeding me little bags of awesome fabric scraps for months now, and I’m starting to get through them!
Super cute hexies – Thanks to friends!
Look how adorbable!! Do you see the elephants? – Those are my favorites so far. Going through these little bags is like opening little treasure chests of awesomeness! Thanks Sam, and everyone else who has contributed to my little addiction 🙂 I can’t wait to start laying them out to see what quilt will be next!
On the machine front, this is what is on my design wall right now:
Design wall 5.19.15
Not sure what the plan is here yet… but I’m liking the colors. There are a few other quilt ideas I think I’d rather be working on, so this might get put away for a little bit, unless an idea strikes and I see where this one wants to go. Right now it’s WAY too symetrical and expected – this will take some work. At least when I get frustrated, I always have hexies to make! That always makes me feel productive, and feeling productive is a very good thing these days!
This is my current sewing project. What IS the project? I do not know… yet, so I’m just in the making mode.
I have been going through scraps and getting them cut down to size (1.5″ squares) so I have something to work on all the time. The solids are from a ‘honeybun’ roll of Kona Brights – I’m keeping them separately from my other scrap fabrics.
bin of random hexies from scrap fabrics
bag of solid hexies
There are piles of scrap fabric on my cutting table I still need to cut to size, so I have plenty to work on for a while (thanks Sam!)
So, at this point of making… it’s time to think about design. I am playing around with the idea of smaller projects like placemats and snackmats… projects that can be done quickly and that I can share with others.