Friday, March 12, 2010

A good mail week!

Here's what the mailman brought me this week.

I think I finally have enough for a quilt!  Sixteen fat quarters and five half-yards.

I took this hexagon photo yesterday, and since then I've added more scrap squares and sewn a few more hexies together.  I like where this is going!  I love the bright, fun feel.  I cut all of the little squares above from fabric in my scrap basket.  I can't wait to see who else catches the hex bug!

And since I don't have anything else to work on...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hexagon Links

For those who've asked, here's the hexagon graph paper generator I've been using to print my hexagon paper pieces. Enter 1" in the "Hexagon Size" box, and you'll get 13 useable hexagons per sheet.  I've just been cutting them out by hand because I didn't expect to enjoy doing this and assumed I would only be cutting out one sheet of hexagons.

Cutting out the hexagons is the only boring part of the process, so I can see how paying for pre-cut papers would probably be worth it. I found some hex paper pieces here, but they are a little expensive in my opinion. I'll just keep cutting them out by hand until my thumb gets too sore and then I'll cave in and order them.

Here's the cheat sheet for knowing what size fabric square you'll need for the most common hexagon sizes. I didn't realize that hexagons (at least in the quilt world) are measured by the length of one side, so a 1" hexagon is actually about 1 3/4" x 2".

This post at Sometimes Crafter is the most helpful hexagon information I've read and her photos are beautiful. Personally, I'm getting the best results with the ladder/slipstitch method of attaching the hexagons together. I think I prefer it to the running stitch because it lays flatter on the front. ETA - After sewing more and more hexes together, I think that the whipstitch is going to be the best stitch for longevity and I'm using it going forward.

I am no expert by any means, but here's what I've found so far regarding sewing the hexes together.
  • When using the whipstitch, take TINY stitches and pick up only a few threads of each fabric. Keep your stitches tight to prevent them from showing on the right side.
  • Don't sew through the papers. You'll be able to tell when you are sewing through the paper and not just the fabric.  This is another good way to make sure you are taking tiny stitches catching only the edge of the fabric.
  • Hand quilting thread is very durable and will allow you to pull your stitches tightly without breaking the thread.  I've been using YLI hand quilting thread, which is by the way, dreamy to work with.
  • I'm using a No. 9 Between quilting needle.  The tip of the needle is extremely fine and allows you to pick up only a few threads on each fabric.  It's too difficult to pick up only the very edge of the fabric when using a sharps needle.

Click on the photos above for a larger image.

If I've done my math correctly, it would only take 1,173 one inch hexagons to make a 50" x 60" throw. That's fewer than 100 hexagons a month for a year. I made 48 in front of the TV while watching House one evening. 

To make it even more exciting, I've been reading about the history of charm quilts. Anyone up for a piece-along?

I've lost count.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Believe the hex hype.

I was a skeptic.  I read this post yesterday at Film in the Fridge, but I just couldn't wrap my head around what could be so addictive about sewing little squares of fabric onto little hexagon shaped pieces of paper.  It looked tedious and boring.

I decided to try it just to see what the fuss is about.

Forty-eight 1 3/4" hexagons in one sitting in front of the TV last night.

I still have no idea what is so addictive about sewing little squares of fabric onto little hexagon pieces of paper, but, I. can't. seem. to. stop.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Three is a magic number.

This song from Schoolhouse Rock pops into my head sometimes when I hear the number three. When Cristin at Sewthisismylife mentioned that I could get three blocks out of a set of 'Map of the States' templates, I immediately thought, "and that's a magic number!"

My daughter and I like to sing along... A man and a woman had a little baby. Yes, they did. They had three-e-e in the family and that's a magic number.  I pulled scraps to make three blocks.

The only other time I've used freezer paper was to make a quilt label.  It's fun to work with.  I think I'll still be able to use this set of blocks a couple more times before they won't iron on any longer.

Hearing the number three made me think of "Three is a Magic Number", which reminds me that there are three in my family, which made me think... placemats.

I used Essex Cotton/Linen blend for the background and Bamboo/Cotton batting.  They washed up so soft and crinkly!

We used them tonight at dinner and just as I thought, Shea had to decide who got which color.  We don't actually sit in a row like that though.  I just thought it made for a better photo.

Check out Elizabeth's 'Map of the States" tutorial and give it a try if you haven't already.  It's a fun way to use up scraps.