Monday, September 1, 2014

More about basting hexagons and more about quilting Good Golly Miss Mollie

Chantal left a comment in which she asked if the basting method I wrote about yesterday would work with 2" hexagons. I think that it would provided that the seam allowances were turned and finger pressed before basting but I'm just guessing as I've never worked with 2" hexagons. What would work is Missie Carpenter's method which uses freezer paper and starch. You can read about it here. I've tried it and it works beautifully so be sure to check it out!

James P left a comment and asked "when you're turning over your fabric edge to baste, how can you tell you are against the paper piece? Using normal paper I would think it is too thin to feel an edge". I'm answering the question here because James is a no-reply blogger. I reply to every comment so if you don't hear from me that would be the reason. Now as for the paper I use regular 20lb bond printer paper and I can feel the edge. If I am unsure I will pinch the fabric between my fingers to press in the fold and then lift the seam allowance to ensure that the fold is against the paper. Sometimes however the weight or texture of the fabric is more challenging so what I'll do is finger press all of the seam allowances before I baste. This is what it looks like once it has been finger pressed.  The basting goes easily and smoothly when the fabric is prepared in this way.

When I finger press I work in a counter clockwise position. For demonstration purposes I`ve pressed the seam allowances with my Dritz Petite Press so that there will be a nice sharp fold for the pictures but it isn't necessary to do this - a good pinch with your fingers is sufficient. To start I fold down the top seam allowance and finger press.

Working counterclockwise I'll turn over the seam allowance to the left and I'll finger press.

It will look like the hexagon in FIG 1. I turn the seam allowance at the bottom left (FIG 2) and finger press. I repeat these steps as shown in FIG 3 and FIG 4. At this point there is only one seam allowance to turn.

I fold the last seam allowance tucking it under the top edge and finger press.

Eventually you will get to know the feel of the fabric against the paper and you'll likely just skip the finger pressing!

I continue to machine quilt Good Golly Miss Mollie (my version of the Godstone Grannies coverlet) on my domestic sewing machine. There have been several comments about the small feathers in the 3/4" hexagons. I find the smaller shapes less challenging than the larger feathers. Try drawing a perfect circle that is 8" in diameter. Tough, isn't it? Now try drawing a circle that is the size of a small coin. Much easier! A wobble in a big circle is much more noticeable than a wobble in a small circle whether it is drawn or quilted. When quilting small I don't have to reposition my hands when I'm in the middle of quilting a shape makes for smoother quilting lines. Enough about this - how about some of the quilting in the hexagons?

I filled the following block with feathers, figure 8s, melon wedges and teardrops. To quilt the feathers in the pale yellow and those above and below the centre cross I drew lines for the spine.

In the following picture you can see a teardrop, melon wedges, figure 8 quilting and the feathers. The lines I drew for the spine have not yet been removed.

I prefer not to do any marking so I gave some thought to quilting designs that would not require marking. If the spine of the feather was going to be straight I would need a line but if I went for a curvy spine I could use the shape of my hexagons as a guide. So I quilted a curvy spine in the white round of hexagons and added the feathers. I start at the top of the spine and quilt down to the base. When I get to the base I quilted the plumes all the way back to the top. When I get there I come back down parallel to the spine to create a vein. I think it adds depth and dimension. I then started again at the top and quilted the feathers on the opposite side.

Here is a close-up of how I filled the centre four hexagons! I really like the texture that is created with this simple motif!

I used this same approach to quilt the odd shape in the taupe hexagons in this block.

Here's another example of an odd shape filled with feathers. I didn't quilt the other side of the spine and I think that it is needed so I will go back and add it to the quilting.

Phew! Lots of words and lots of pictures. Time for me to do some sewing so until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H


  1. Ack! Sorry Karen - thought I had the no reply thing all figured out; I did get an email reply from you. Anyways, will try updating my profile one more time....gotta love technology (and I work in IT - yikes!). Really appreciate you taking the time to respond - thanks again for all your fantastic blogs. Your work is amazing.

  2. It's great to hear all your basting tips. Your quilting is looking amazing! It's adds a whole new dimension to your beautiful piecing.

  3. Oh.....PS: I got lost on all that quilting. Thanks for the step by step photos of basting the hexagons. It was extremely helpful, as usual.

  4. beautiful quilting adding extra depth to the fabric patterning