Monday, January 28, 2008

I think we have survived 'the crud' and now we are stronger for it . . . our immune systems are stronger anyway. Some lingering coughs and congestion, but nothing a good rub of Vick's can't soothe. Thanks for so many kind get well wishes and queries as to our condition. Over the weekend, there was a pretty big rain storm set to come our way. More reason to stay tucked inside all safe and warm. As a result, I feel as if I have made some nice progress on my hexagon stars.
After sitting down with a piece of scratch paper, I drew out a little diagram and now know that I will need 41 stars. My head is still not wrapped around the number of diamonds, but I think 70 will be a good goal to shoot for in the interim. This is how they look all stacked on top of one another. How many different views of this very slow project can I come up with? I have seen various hexagon and Grandmother's Flower Garden projects going on around 'blogland' and from comments it seems that there a few more that would like to give English paper piecing a try. It really is a lot of fun and generally mindless work that is very easy to take along. You can put in a few stitches wherever you are - traveling by train, plane or bus, waiting rooms, athletic fields (game or practice,) or just hoping to keep your hands busy and out of the potato chip bag . . . that's me!
I use die cut papers that I buy from PaperPieces. A variety of shapes and sizes are available but my favorite is 1/2". They use a nice weight of paper that holds up to the stitching and doesn't require you to baste through the paper and fabric. This means you can leave your basting stitch in forever allowing you to use up all that old, ugly thread that you have no other use for any more. Of course you can use the plastic patties or cut your own from card stock, construction paper, freezer paper, or old newspaper. Here is a brief photo tutorial of how I cut several hexagons at one time using strips. For 1/2" hexes, use 1 1/2" strips of fabric the length of a fat quarter - otherwise it becomes too thick to easily cut with your scissors. Lay your template on top of the strip with the 'pointy' end going up and down.
Next fan fold your strip from end to end making sure your template will fit nicely with room to cut all the way around. By putting the 'pointy' ends up and down, you won't have to make any cuts on the sides. Use good sharp scissors to cut through all the layers along the remain four straight edges of your piece.
Voila! A nice stack of hexagons all cut. I can usually get 12 from one length of fabric, but if the selvage is fat I may only get 11 and sometimes just 10. Notice they are not perfect.
It doesn't matter. Once you baste all of that disappears in the seam allowance on the back.
And on the front you have a nice, neat and tidy little hexagon.
Give it a try. Even if you just make one little flower to applique on another project, it's nice to have another technique in under your belt. And who knows, maybe you'll find you like it and we can sit next to each other in the day room at the old folks home, trading blogger stories while trying to finish up our projects.

28 comments:

Nancy said...

Help me out here, Libby, please. I've never tried this before. Do you just gather the fabric at the back? Do you leave the paper in? Or does it just stay in until you sew one hexagon to another? And is that all hand stitched? Much confusion on my part!

Deb Geyer said...

I'll see you at the old folks' home. I hear they have a couple of rocking chairs waiting for us!!

Thanks for the tutorial!

yellowfarmhouse said...

I'm glad that you are feeling better Libby and that the crud is behind you. Looks like you made a lot of progress on your project of hexagons.

Thanks for the tutorial. I don't think I'd have the patience for a big project with those but a little something for a pillow would be fun.

Hugs - Karen

Julia said...

Like Nancy, I am confused as to what happens next in this process. I have never seen it done, but it looks interesting. Could you continue the tutorial?

Glad that you and hubby are on the mend.

Beth said...

Wow, those are tiny! I have mine that I have been working on for years, but I'm using the re-usable Brandy's mylar templates, that I just baste, sew together and pop out. Your quilt is going to be adorable!

Wendy said...

That's a great tutorial for cutting the hexagons. This has been on my list to try for a while now...maybe I should see if I can find the templates I bought. I'll meet you on the porch....LOL

Rabbit Stitchings said...

Glad you all are feeling better!
I enjoy seeing the photos of your Hexagon project myself... no matter how many photos you put up LOL...

Lea said...

Oh,English piecing looks so fun.
I was going to get rid of my tiny scraps but you change my mind! *LOL*

Catherine said...

I love hexagons and made a king-size quilt using hexagons and elongated hexagons but I wouldn't have attempted it with English paper piecing! Have you thought about trying the newer way of doing them with Inklingo?

paula, the quilter said...

I'm so glad you are feeling better! The first GFG I made was the old fashioned way -- never again. The second GFG was done using the English paper piecing like you describe. O how much easier that was. I still have one more GFG to finish. Can you believe it? 3?

atet said...

You know -- I almost bought some Paper Pieces on Friday. Now I'm wishing I had! Glad you are feeling better -- now if I could just get rid of my crud!

Darlene said...

Libby, I'm so glad that you're feeling better. :-)

Sigh! Hexagons, GFG's, etc - I have my collection of flowerettes in a neat little hat box waiting to become a quilt but SIGH - I'm just too stupid to figure out how to put them all together. Maybe I should pull them out and try one more time. I swear I'm going to drive to San Diego just to visit with you for a few hours to figure out how to do this. Sigh! :-)

Patti said...

Very creative picture Libby - love it! Ok - if you never remove the basting stitches how do you remove the paper hexagon? I've done this a little bit, but have always basted through the paper and removed the basting stitches.

Glad you are starting to feel better. Sure seems like there's been a lot of sickness around this year!

Em said...

Wow, way beyond me for sure! What a great stack you have going on. Stay well! Em

Elaine Adair said...

A great tutorial, and also, a good encouragement to "try it" . but I LOVE the part about the old folks home! You never know!

Cheryl said...

Great tutorial. I have always wanted to try this method. Think you have given me the nudge I need.

Carole said...

Glad to read that you are feeling much better. Thanks for the tutorial! AGMG is on my list of quilts to do one day! Fons & Porter had an episode of english paper piecing and I also saw it in one of their magazine. Anyway, I cannot wait to see your version! Keep well!

Yvonne said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Love your blocks. :)

janet said...

I found your site through Cheryl on xanga...love the hexagon quilt made into stars! That's a variation I hadn't seen before. I love to piece with hexagons, but I don't use paper, just set in seams the old-fashioned way...quicker and easier for me! I also enjoyed browsing back through previous posts, especially about the quilt show. Loved the apron chronicles! I am hoping to sew up two aprons today that I've had cut out since before Christmas...wonder if I can remember how to turn on my sewing machine??? Come see me at www.xanga.com/ozarksfarmgirl.

Susie said...

Hi Libby,
Glad you're mostly over the "crud" Vicks was one of my Mom's favorite cure alls! We've had the really bad storms here too. I think we'll all be ready for spring this year..
xo

Guðrún said...

Are you using 1/2" in this project? It is somehow satisfying to stack them up and watch it grow bigger. Mine are always ready to go with me if there is some extra time to sew.

Stephanie said...

I agree--more info is needed.

And, why use scissors to cut the hexagons? Would a rotary cutter be easier to cut with? I seem to have things slip when I try to slide the bottom leg of scissors under a stack of fabric.

I have a tumbling block kit I bought years ago off eBay that uses English paper pieceing. I haven't finished making the diamonds, but don't know how to put those babies together after I do.

gwen said...

Nice to hear you are feeling better.
I use exactly the same method to paper piece. But I have never tempted to make such a BIG top out of it. You are very brave. Take care.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Man I wish I could make those. I've tried but they just dont work out for me. LOL!!!!
Glad your feeling better. Hope it's all gone soon.

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

I think I'll be at the Old Folks home with mine too Libby. I have done a little bit on mine this last week, but I can only do it during the day I'm finding. Mine is nearly all together so it's a bit unwieldy. One day it will be finished. Yours is coming on well - I like the photo of the quilt you are using for inspiration.

ohiofarmgirl said...

This pattern looks so difficult...I'm a beginner so I will watch and learn. Dianntha

Finn said...

Hi Libby, so glad you are on the mend, health wise.
I sent you an email a couple of days ago rather than add to number of comments. I'm wondering now if the roadrunner addy was the right one? Did you get a Happy Birthday email from me??? *VBS* Not that you ever need to respond, but I wanted to let you know I didn't forget you *VBS*
Love your hex-a-love. It's going to be a great looking quilt. And what fun way to get the fabric pieces you need, thanks! Big hugs, Finn

Erin said...

love the blocks! thanks for the info too!