Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hexagon Thoughts :: Week Six :: Piecing in sections

There are many ways to piece your hexagons. I've found that piecing in strips is working nicely for me. In the photo above, I tried piecing in a flower shape (the end with the monkey), but since I'm working with a planned random* layout, I really find I like strips better. I attached strips to my flower and now it looks like a jellyfish!

*In my planned random layout, I'm trying to make my quilt look random while avoiding having like colors or prints touching one another and maintaining a nice distribution of colors.

I've been sewing strips together and then attaching them to my largest piece once I've created a small section. I like this method for a couple of reasons. One, it's portable. I can sew strips together just about anywhere that type of thing isn't frowned upon. And two, I find that the more I handle my work, the more the back of the hexagons ravel. By piecing smaller sections and then attaching them to the larger piece, I'm handling the larger piece as little as possible to keep the back nice and neat.

Above, I sewed the top two rows together (I'm alternating strips of 10 and 11 hexagons) and then laid out the next three rows trying to get a nice color distribution.

Once I have them laid out, I stack them in the order I'm going to sew them together,

and tuck them into my box. Although I'm not making a color spectrum layout, I've been sorting my hexagons by color to make it easier to pick the color I want when I'm laying them out or sewing them together.

Another reason I like the idea of sewing them together in sections is that I can distribute similar fabrics throughout the quilt. This week, I started making hexagons with a few new charm packs and if I attach all of those now, they might end up clumped together in one section of the quilt (i.e., all of my Hunky Dory could be in one area). If I make small sections, I can attach the sections together later and spread them out. I still haven't attached the section with the duplicate. I'm going to wait until I'm further along and I'll attach that section far away from the section containing it's duplicate. 

I wanted to issue a little disclaimer. I've been looking around online at English paper piecing. There are many different ways to baste and piece hexagons, so please keep in mind that this is just the way I'm making mine. I think that using squares rather than fabric trimmed into hexagons (paper plus seam allowance) and basting through the paper are both non-traditional methods. My only concern with using squares is the additional bulk on the backside when hand quilting. If you are planning to hand quilt and are concerned with bulk, you might want to try trimming your fabrics before you baste. I tried trimming away some of the bulk on the back of already pieced hexagons and it was pretty easy. I'm not too concerned with removing the basting stitches. Since I haven't tied any knots, the stitches come right out. I'll have more on that later.

It's really fun to see all the pretty hexagons everyone is making! I've made more than half of the hexagons I need to make a throw sized quilt and I've pieced 272 together. Now that I'm this far along, thoughts of making a larger quilt are creeping into my head. I need to perish that thought!

If you have a question and leave a comment, I'm unable to answer your question via email unless your email address is public (or shown) in your profile. I'm trying to reply to all the comments I can, but I'm a little behind! I really do read every one and appreciate the time you take to leave a comment.

Wordy Wednesday

My posts lately have been very hexagon intensive, so I'll save the hexagon post I prepared for tomorrow.
My first Spring to Finish 2010 finish! I finally finished my charcoal and orange placemats.

They are super crinkly after washing.  Super crinkly.

I finished my last four pinwheels for the pinwheel sampler. I'm seeing a pattern emerge here though. The next step is sashing and I have another project (the paintbox quilt) waiting for sashing. Sashing my be my least favorite part of the make-a-quilt process.

I picked up some fabrics my LQS last week.  I already had that Pez but I was taking photos earlier and thought this stack looked pretty.  It's  gradually grown over the week as I stacked newly acquired fabrics on top of the Pez.

I found some 1974 charm packs and a Recess charm pack online and they arrived today. The 1933 pack and the Tweet Tweet packs came home with me yesterday. I don't have plans for any of these yet, but I'm hoarding the 1974 and Recess.

I hope you are having a happy Wednesday!  See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hexagon Charm Quilt Piece-Along :: Roll Call

Are you working on a hexagon quilt?
Share your blog address below and your fellow hexagon addicts can stop by to check out your progress!

Only the information you enter into the name field will display on the list, so use your blog name if you don't want to use your real name. I can't wait to see all the fabulous hexagon creations in the works!