Friday, April 25, 2014

Value Proposition: Constructing the Path

The Value Proposition quilt consists of 18 full blocks and 4 partial blocks (to fill in the sides of the quilt). I designed the quilt so that the blocks are separated with a triple path. Today I will explain how to construct the triple path and I will also describe a single path.

What is the difference between the single path and the triple path?
The triple path is three rows of hexagons that separate the 18 whole blocks and 4 partial blocks. The quilt was designed with a triple path. In the diagram below the path is made up of a white strip of hexagons on either side of the pink hexagons. I used two cream fabrics that were very close in value (the fabric in the center of the triple path was a very subtle shade darker).

You might prefer a medium or dark value fabric in the center of the triple path so that it is more strongly contrasted with the outer path. If you don't know what you want to use for the center of the triple path you can leave that decision until much later on (or even until the end).

Triple path

The single path is one row of hexagons that separate the hexagon blocks. If the triple path doesn't appeal you can construct the quilt with a single path however the final quilt will be smaller. You can compensate by for this by adding a larger border and/or multiple borders.

Single path

When should I start to construct the path?
The path can be constructed at any point. When I make a hexagon quilt with a path I like to work on the path while I work on the blocks primarily because the path tends to be made with a limited selection of fabrics and basting and sewing the same thing over and over can get monotonous. However it is your choice: you can work on the path as you go or you can wait until the end to decide on your path.

How much fabric do I need for the path?
To make the triple path based on my design you will require two fabrics. For the outside edges of the path you will need 2.25 meters/yards of fabric (I've added a little bit to this measurement to allow for cutting errors). For the middle path you will require 1.25 meters/yards of fabric. Another option is to use a single fabric for the triple path in which case you will need 3.5 meters/yards of fabric. If you use a single fabric you will lose an important design element which is that each block will be framed as a result of the darker fabric in the center of the path.

To make the single path you will need 1.25 meters/yards of fabric.

Cutting the fabric
You can use any method you chose but for me the most efficient method of cutting fabric for hexagons for the path is to cut strips of fabric from which I will cut the hexagons.  For Value Proposition I cut 2 1/2" strips across the width of the fabric. You can read about how I cut strips here. In that same post I write about cutting down the strips into hexagons as well as glue basting the papers to the fabric.

Helpful Tip: Depending on the width of your fabric you may need to cut an additional strip or two of fabric to get the required number of hexagons so I recommend keeping your leftover fabric with your project in case you need another strip or two.

For the triple path you will need 27 strips for the outside edges of the path and 16 strips for the middle of the path. From the strips for the outside edges of the path you will be cutting 558 hexagons. From the fabric for the middle of the path you will be cutting 334 hexagons.

For the single path you will need 14 strips for the path. From the strips you will be cutting 292 hexagons.

IMPORTANT TIP: You don't need to count papers and hexagons. Just start cutting sewing and basting. Then you can then start assembling the path into the units that are described further down. When you run short on hexagons cut more!

Helpful Tip: Baste a hexagons whenever you have a few spare moments. If you have a short piece of thread rather than throwing it out, use it to baste a hexagon. When you do this the number of basted hexagons will increase quickly. When you have a pile of hexagons, sew them into pairs.

Sewing the triple path- outer edges
If you have decided to make the quilt as I designed it with the triple path, each of the 18 blocks will be surrounded by a round of 24 hexagons that will be the outer edges of the path.  I like to make the round of hexagons and stitch them to my block once it is made. My preferred method is to create what I call an "open donut". It simply means that I stitch the round of hexagons but don't stitch it closed. It looks like a long curvy snake. I find it is easier to attach to the block if it is left open. I sew it to the block and when I get back to the start point I just stitch the path to close it. I describe the method in my booklet Easier Than Pie - English Paper Piecing for Beginners. You will find it under the tab English Paper Piecing & Hexagon Fun at the top of this page. You can use whatever method works best for you.

HELPFUL TIP: For the 18 sets of outer edges of the path that surround each block I sew individual hexagons into pairs and the pairs into sets of four. Six sets of four can be stitched together to make the round of 24 that will surround each of the 18 whole hexagon blocks. This can be done in stages and is a good project when you only have a few minutes to sew!

In addition to the 18 rounds of 24 that surround each of the 18 whole hexagon blocks, you will also need to stitch partial units for the four partial blocks on the sides and some filler pieces for the corners and top and bottom. Assemble the hexagons into the units and quantities in the following diagram.. They can be made at any time. There is no rush to make them at the beginning. When all of the QAL blocks are completed I will explain how to attach the remaining units to complete the quilt top (minus borders).

Sewing the triple path- middle path
The triple path requires a middle path. Once your hexagons are basted they can be assembled into the units and quantities in the following diagram.  Notice that you will require 18 of the pink three sided units on the left. Each of these can be stitched to the 18 hexagon blocks after the outer path has been sewn all around the block. When all of the QAL blocks are completed I will explain how to attach the remaining units to complete the quilt top (minus borders). The colours in this diagram are a coding system that will be used at assembly time to help you place the units in your quilt; they do not represent the colours of your path fabric. I will be using a single fabric for all of my middle path hexagons.

Sewing the single path
Once your hexagons are basted you will assemble them into the units and quantities indicated in the following diagram. Notice that you will require 18 of the three sided unit in the upper left side of the diagram. Each of these can be stitched to the 18 hexagon blocks as we go along. When all of the QAL blocks are completed I will explain how to attach the remaining units to complete the quilt top (minus borders).

One final suggestion - if the use of a path doesn't appeal an alternative would be to just applique your blocks to a large background. Just some food for thought!

If you have any questions please feel free to a email me or post a comment. I send an email reply to every comment as long as you are not a no reply blogger.

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H


  1. Hi Karen: I have just rediscovered hexies and loving every minute of it! I have spent countless hours on your blog absorbing every bit of information. Just realized you are a fellow Canadian! Thanks for all the valuable tips, techniques and especially the inspiration!
    Simple Bird Applique

  2. Hi Karen,
    thank you for your work to show us all this tips.
    Greetings Grit

  3. Karen I love all this visual that you are giving us. I actually think I might be able to do this. I didn't go to the Festival so I went to Michaels craft store and bought myself the xl hexigons cutter by fiskers. With my 40% coupon it came to 18.48. And it is exactly the same size as those hexagons I had made. I like cutting the freezer paper for my hexies. I have made tons of them so will see how many nice blocks I can get together. Thank you so much for all your hard work.

  4. Clear instructions and great tips. You're spoiling us.

  5. I found the Fiskars 1 inch hexagon punch on Amazon, and it will be here by Wednesday! In the meantime, I used your template to do Block 1. I've been looking through the Value Proposition posts and didn't see anything about how much fabric we'll need for the whole quilt. Are we just picking as we go? Are we staying within one color family? I have a bunch of questions, but these will do for now. :)

    1. Hi Eileen - the blocks themselves are made with scraps so there are no fabric requirement for them. I used a wide variety of prints and I chose to repeat a few of the fabrics. You could stay within one colour family (I know that Julie is working with her large blue stash), or you could work with one style of fabric (e.g. Civil War prints) or one type of fabric (e.g. batiks). Or you can go completely scrappy and make each block different! The choice is yours.

      The only fabric requirement that I did provide is that for the path. Depending on whether you chose a triple path (that is how I designed it) or a single path, the fabric requirements will be different.

      Hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions! I'm here if you need me!

  6. Almost finished with the first block so glad to have the path instructions to keep me busy until the next block is ready!!

  7. you're a fantastic teacher for us!!! it's a real pleausure to read you....