Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hexagons - Quick Tips and a Tool

Have you noticed the hexagon craze? They are everywhere; in magazines, books and lots of patterns. Most of these quilts are not the 'Grandmother's Flower Garden' designs that were popular in the 1930's. I wanted to make one of these newer styles and wanted to hand piece my quilt. I found a great pattern in Malka Dubrawsky's book Fresh Quilting and decided to use it as the basis for my quilt.
There are two shapes needed in additional to the hexagon so the quilt will have straight edges. I made the three templates included in the book and gathered a set of modern fabrics. I removed the seam allowances from my templates and then traced each shape on the back of my fabrics using the Sewline marker. When I cut out the fabric, I added the quarter inch seam allowance using a quilting ruler and my rotary cutter. This gave me the sewing line marked on each piece.  This is very important for someone like me who is fairly new to hand piecing. Marking the seam intersections made it easy to know when to start and stop my seams so the hexagons would be joined accurately.

My quilt top is now finished and I am thinking about the quilting. I would love to hand quilt it but don't know if I want to spend ANOTHER year on this project! 

When I was at International Quilt Festival in Houston last fall, I found a great tool for cutting hexagons. You Hexie Thing, by June Tailor makes cutting hexagons so much easier than templates. This slotted ruler allows you to cut hexagons in nine different sizes. 
You start with a strip of fabric; the instructions on the ruler tell you the width to cut your strip for the size hexagon you want to make. You cut in the slots on the tool with your rotary cutter to cut two sides of the hexagon, turn the ruler a quarter turn and cut the two opposite sides. Voila! A perfect hexagon!  That is, if you know what slots to cut in. 

I watched the YouTube video and tested on scrap fabrics first. The video showed me how easy it was!  Perhaps I'll make another hexagon quilt using this tool.   
 I definitely like having a portable hand-piecing project. I have another tool that I might try - for a quilt with a different shape. Stay tuned for that one!   

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