Thursday, August 8, 2013

Okay, I made some hexagons. Now what?

I hope you've had a chance to look at my hexagon booklets, Easier Than Pie - English Paper Piecing for Beginners and Easier Than Pie and Beyond - Where Foundation Piecing Meets English Paper Piecing. There will be at least one more to follow! I've showed many friends how to English paper piece and I think there is agreement that it is addictive. But then the question is "what do I do with all of these hexagons"?

It helps if you have an idea of what you want to make. In Chop's Pick I knew exactly what I wanted to make - a quilt of diamonds surrounded by a striped border to create the effect of a Persian carpet. And I stuck to that plan.

Chops (he was a really great cat!)
This is what happens when you use a design floor instead of a design wall
I had previously written about my friend Barbara's quilt "What the Hexagon". Barbara made a stack of hexagons and she had another stack given to her. While it would be possible to assemble them all into one quilt, connecting them to one another would involve a lot of work and planning and Barbara didn't want to invest that kind of time. So the solution was to cut squares of fabric and appliqué the hexagons to the squares. The squares were sewn together into a quilt top and the odd sized hexagons were appliqued over intersections. This is a great option for beginners and it works up relatively quickly and easily.

What the Hexagon. by Barbara C,  2011

Most of my hexagon quilts do not have much of a plan. In one quilt I drew inspiration from a fabric. I really love the print fabric I used to make Flora and Fauna and I thought it would be great for fussy cutting diamonds. And I did just that. Once I had a stack of them and arranged them on the "design floor" the design plan gradually evolved into a quilt I called Mom's Flower Beds. I haven't shared the quilt with you yet but will do so in the future.

Yet another quilt started out as an idea and as I started making the pieces the plan changed. The original plan was to make a large assortment of hexagons and then just join them together randomly. Again once they were arranged on the design floor and looked at them, a new plan evolved. I called the quilt Hexagreens. I've not yet shared the quilt but will do so in the future! I really can't show you everything at once!

I am currently working on a quilt that is made up of  hexagons and stars that are appliqued. The inspiration is an 18th century folk art quilt that was displayed at the 2010 Chicago Quilt Festival.

I love the muddy colours in this one but had seen some variations of this quilt made by others and they used bright colours. I decided to go the bright route and fussy cut fabrics to make the stars and hexagons so mine will be made of bright colours.

The outer corners of the folk art quilt are pieced blocks but I decided I wanted to repeat the flower baskets.

Other quilts start with no plan in mind. I just make a hexagon block from fabrics I like and work out from there. This one is a work in progress. I love the fabric in the centre. I used my foundation pieced hexagon method to make the star and then started adding to it.

There are loads of antique quilts and modern quilts to inspire. Have you dropped by The Great Hexagon Quilt-Along, a blog dedicated to hexagon projects? If not you should! Google "hexagon quilts" and you'll find all sorts of delightful images to tickle your fancy and give you ideas.

Get yourself some design sheets (you can download them for free at and pencil crayons and start doodling and drawing and colouring. You might just come up with something fun and interesting!

Or just make one REALLY spectacular hexagon piece and applique it to a lovely square of fabric; it can become the feature of a medallion quilt. Add several rounds of borders and you are done!

Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. I love your hexagon and star quilt Karen - have you just appliqued the shapes on randomly? The addition of the butterflies is fab! :)

    Thanks so much for the hexagon booklets, by the way, they are so informative. It's really good of you to spend the time and effort to share all your hexie knowledge.

    P.S. I book marked your blog for a friend yesterday - she is paper piecing 1" hexies at the moment! Warm wishes Natalie x

    1. Hi Natalie and thanks! The hexagons and stars were not appliqued randomly. I'll explain how I did it tomorrow. I like the butterflies too! I was going to applique hexagons but when I found the butterflies in my stash I knew they were the perfect choice!

      And you are very welcome for the booklets!

  2. Your quilts are so amazing I will print your little booklet, so much to learn. I have a one block wonder quilt that has to be quilted and I will get it done this coming year. You have inspired me after looking at yours.
    I always love coming to visit your Blog.

  3. lot's of lovely ideas, thankyou. I think I need to make the time to sit and doodle. Meanwhile I am making hexy stars and adding them to the pile while I await layout inspiration.