I had an email from Diane. She printed out the hexagon template sheets from my blog and wanted to know if there is an easier way to cut apart the hexagons other than with scissors (e.g. a precision cutting knife or a rotary cutter and ruler). She also want to know when I remove the papers. So what does all of this mean? Time for a little demonstration.
How I cut paper hexagons
I print my hexagon templates on regular printer paper (20 lb stock). I know many people like cardstock and I've tried it but it is just too thick for me and I've found that when it comes time to join all the hexagons into a rosette or some other shape the cardstock is rigid and that makes sewing difficult. However, I am a firm believer in doing/using what works for you so if it is cardstock by all means use cardstock.
I like to cut out my hexagons with scissors. One of the tricks is to have a good paper of scissors that you use for this purpose. Personally I love the Fiskars Micro-Tip Easy-Action scissors. They have a lovely sharp point that allows me to get into tight spaces and they are spring loaded so they are extremely comfortable to use. They are particularly helpful if you have arthritis in your finger joints.
The first thing I do is cut my hexagon sheet in half horizontally.This yields two smaller more manageable sheets to work with.
The next step is to cut the sides from each of the two sections.
I cut on the vertical lines and extend my cut beyond the point where the hexagons touch (inside the red circle).
To cut the hexagons I make the cuts indicated by the red lines. notice that the red cut extends beyond the point. This makes it easier to manoeuvre the scissors so that I can make the cut on the green line. As soon as I make the cut on the green line the hexagons is completely cut out. I repeat this process with all four side pieces. I usually work over a bowl or a box so that the hexagons can drop into it as soon as they are cut out.
Now all that is left are the two centre sections. I trim the excess paper from the outside edges using the technique described in the previous step. I cut on the red lines with the red lines stopping at the exact point where the hexagon corners touch. I make the cuts on the green lines and you will see that the two hexagons are now cut out.
The last step is to make two cuts as indicated by the green lines and then cut around the centre hexagon on the red lines. Each time I cut on the line another hexagon drops into my bowl.
The hexagon template could be cut with a ruler and rotary cutter/precision knife but there is a lot of wastage. Instead of cutting the sheet in half as in the following picture one could cut on the red lines and then trim the hexagons. There would be less hexagons available per sheet.
There is another option for cutting out hexagons. You can find an excellent tutorial with easy tips for cutting multiple hexagons at Geta's Quilting Studio however the technique still involves some cutting with scissors. Geta's post also has a dowloadable pdf with six sizes of hexagons ranging from 1/2" to 2".
When do I remove my paper hexagonss?
First off I baste from the back because it is much gentler on the paper hexagons with means I can get multiple uses from each paper hexagon. To extend the life of the paper hexagon even further I
remove the paper hexagon as soon as it is completely surrounded by other hexagons. I have a bag of 1" papers that I've used to make four quilts. As soon as they get too soft to use they go in the recycling box!
That's it for today! I continue to work on The Meadery and I am making a class sample for techniques I will be teaching in London, Ontario in November. Lots of sewing to do and it is already sweltering and the cicada's are humming like crazy! I'm going to plop myself in front of the fan and try to do a little sewing! Until I post again, happy sewing!