Tuesday, September 27, 2011

a hexagon fest

I have been working on some new hexagons lately which I hope to pull together for a new pattern. I have done plenty of hexagons before with the English paper piecing method. This is pretty much the same but with a little twist using a tip I picked up from Bari Gaudet (Sierra Cottons and Wool owner and Bareroots pattern designer). Instead of basting the fabric around the paper template with needle and thread, she has started using a little dab of glue at the corners. Something like this--

first, place the paper hexagon on the wrong side of the fabric which is cut about 1/4" larger. Fold over one straight edge and finger press the crease. Place a dab of glue on the corner and fold the second straight side over. I work clockwise, moving to the next corner with the glue. The key is to try to only get the glue in the area of fabric-to-fabric adhesion, not on the paper, so removing the paper later won't disturb all your work.

Pressing with a hot iron helps set the glue and crisp up the edges.

When you get 7 hexagons ready, they can be sewn together into a "flower", and sewn to other sets of hexagons. Use little stitches just through the fold of the fabric, not into the paper. You can add other shapes, like the white half hexagon shown above, to create a straight edge around the outside.

I read somewhere that placing the pieces side-by-side to stitch together is better than holding the 2 pieces flat, so I wanted to try that--

So far, this is not working so well, but maybe I just need some practice. Using the proper tools always makes the job easier, so here are my thoughts on that--

I have become a connoisseur of glues! No jokes about sniffing the glue, these are all non-toxic and safe for fabric and the gluer's health. These are what I have been testing for effectiveness with my hexagons. So far my favorite is the pink Sewline glue stick in the front. It has a smaller diameter than a regular school glue stick so it is easier to put the glue right where I want it. The Elmer's glue pen laying down is a similar size, but that glue seemed way too gunky. The bottle on the left is Roxanne's fabric glue, it has a fine point (large bore blunt needle) which I have problems keeping unplugged. The bottle of regular school glue has an altered tip on it to give a tiny bead of glue. That is a plastic mechanical pencil tip placed inside a chopped off standard glue nozzle. The things I do for some good glue! That sometimes plugs, too, so I am going to try the spiffy metal glue bottle tips from Bear Patch. The product on the right is also from Elmer's, and is my second choice. It has a fine tip on the end pointing up and a broad applicator on the other end. I have to be careful to not squeeze much and get too much glue.

My thread of choice is Aurifil 50 wt. cotton (on the orange spool) in a neutral color. For this type of hand sewing I love the Black Gold needles from Clover. They are slick! They look a little strange, with a black tip, but they make a difference especially when I was working with batik fabrics. And the one I was using on this project has a really little eye, and my up-close focusing isn't so great when I have my contacts in, so the little tabletop needle threader (also from Clover) handles that problem for me. All of the things here can be obtained at Bear Patch Quilting Co., by the way!

Is that enough about hexagons?? Oh wait, take a look at this quilt I finished this morning for my mom--

Do you see the hexagons? Do you see the stars? Do you see the cubes? Pretty cool, don't you think? These are not just diamonds any more!

1 comment:

MissesStitches said...

Thanks for the lessons here, Sis! Your quilting looks good, too. Great quilting for a great-looking quilt!