Monday, June 3, 2013

More tips for making hexagon blocks!

Today is the last day to vote for your favourite quilt at Quilting Gallery's Show and Tell.My quilt is called Stars in the Loft. If you would like to vote for your favourite (it doesn't have to be my quilt) you can do so here.

Close-up of centre medallion in Stars in the Loft

Ove the past several days I've been showing you how I made the pieced hexagon blocks in Stars in the Loft. It is super easy, don't you think? I've got lots more ideas and patterns for blocks but I thought what I would share with you today are a few tips.

First, you can turn the simple flower motif (six hexagons surrounding a centre hexagon) into a diamond by simply adding a hexagon to the top and bottom. The following block uses the simple T hexagon. A hexagon of background fabric to the top and bottom turns it into a diamond.

Again, a hexagon aded to the top and bottom and you have a new block! You can imagine that simple changes in colour placement could produce very differnt blocks. For example you could use four shades of a single colour and start with a dark centre and end on the outside with the lightest colour. Or start with the lightest shade in the centre and work out to the darkest colour!

I cut my own paper hexagons. I keep a binder of masters and I make copies for cutting up. I can tell it is a master because of the pink dot. I like to write the size of the hexagon on each hexagon on the master. If you are only ever going to use one size it isn't a problem but if you use different sizes it is important.
Cutting up the hexagons is task for those days when you don't feel like doing much of anything. Just keep the cut up hexagons in a clear plastic bag so they are ready when you need them.
When basting the hexagons I don't use my good thread. I go to the fabric store and buy large cones of serging thread. I can get a cone that contains thousands of yards for about $2! And it lasts for years. And here's another tip for when you are going to do a lot of basting. You will go through thread like crazy so unwind a little thread from the spool and thread a dozen needles or so. Take the first needle and draw out a good length of thread. When you cut the thread, leave the other eleven needles on the thread on the spool!
I don't like to pin my hexagons to the fabric because I am forever losing pins and I usually find them with my bare feet! Instead I use a little dab of inexpensive glue stick to hold the paper hexagon in place. I like UHU stick.  Again, if I need something mindless to do, I'll glue papers to the fabric hexagons. If they are the path between the motifs they all go in one bag for basting at a later date.
I've got more helpful tips but they will have to wait for another day. Until then I leave you with some pictures from the garden yesterday evening.
Wisteria and yellow flags

Heavy rains knocked some of the yellow flags into the pond

Forest Gumby - his happy face

White gas plant
Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. I love all your ideas of doing hexies. I never thought of using serger thread, but I have a lot of it - cones, in fact, so that is definitely a bonus. I've never heard of using a glue stick. Is it hard to get the papers out afterwards?

    1. Cheap thread is great for basting because if you are foundation piecing the hexagons the thread will have to be removed. The serger thread seems to be the cheapest around so it is terrific for all sorts of basting!
      I just use the smallest dab of glue to hold the paper in place. The glue goes on the paper. When the papers are to be removed they just pop out! If a bit f paper sticks, a little moisture (aka spit!) will loosen it!

  2. How many hexagons do you have glued to fabric??
    Do all the fabric co-ordinate?
    Does your cat have a happy face?

    1. If I am prepareing the background hexagons I might prepare more than 100 at a go.
      I don't precut fabrics which is to say I don't start cutting until I have an idea in mind. I usually start with the motifs and then consider what fabric will be used for the background (or path as it is sometimes called).
      I try to chose fabrics that work together but they don't have to coordinate. My process is a little long for a comment so maybe I'll write about how I do it in the days to come!
      Re the cat - if you look closely you'll see that he is deliriously happy!

  3. I am enjoying seeing how you do things. I print my sheets of hexies off from my PC. I have not tried glueing the fabric to the papers, I might try that next :-)

    1. Thanks Kath - I'm glad you find it interesting! All you need is the tiniest dab of glue to hold the paper in place. I also use glue to hold the first piece of fabric in place when I foundation paper piece the hexagon.