Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hexagons and Handwork

Our LQS is having an affair right now with English Paper Piecing. We are currently in the hexagon phase....we're making trivets (above) and small wall hangings (below).

The shop display is 2-sided, with all sorts of fun ideas to get you hooked, too. They are featuring a hexagon color of the month. This month is pink, and the display was so empty looking I didn't take a photo of it! The little quilt in the photo above is called an apple core. It can also be made with the little paper templates.

It's amazing how many books, pamplets and patterns there are right now on the subject. (Just google it and find out!)

That's Linda and the shop owner, Ann Banks, loading the Accu Quilt cutter with a hexagon die cutter. We found out it works best with 6-8 layers of fabric, the idea being that if you layer 6-8 different fabrics, you'll have enough cut for a good sized quilt in no time. We even talked about different ways to glue the fabric around the hexie paper. The best way is to use a glue pen (longer and slimmer than a glue stick), fold over only one edge and glue the fabric to the fabric. Then move around the hexie, folding and gluing each side. You don't glue the paper pieces at all. And no more time-consuming basting!

I decided I'd get out my collection of 30's fabrics and make some hexies. I tried 2 different sizes, the 1" hexagon and the 1.25" hexagon. I think I'm going to stick with the 1.25" hexagon. (The pink and blue pieces are 1.25". The paper pieces to the lower left of the bobbin ring are the 1" hexies. Hexies are measured by the length of one side.) 

You need to assemble a small hexie kit. I couldn't resist buying the bobbin ring full of bobbins of every color. It's called the "Super Bobs Donut" by Superior Threads. They are 60 wt. bottom line polyester thread and are very nice for hand piecing. My little polka dot scissors was $5.00 from Joann's. You'll also need some hand sewing needles (size 8 or 9 sharps), a little needle holder/container, a thimble and perhaps a needle threader. Everything (exept the bobbins) fits nicely in my little Snoopy lunchbox from the Dollar Store.

And you need some inspiration/eye candy--a goal to strive for. Unless you're one of those super creative types that just designs as you go. The book I chose is English Paper Piecing by Vicki Bellino, from That Patchwork Place. I like it because she uses all sorts of differnt fabrics from 30's to plaids to red and white to country/primitive colors. She also includes projects of many different sizes, wall hangings to a bed size quilt that combines aqua and brown log cabins with a starflower block that is made with diamond-shaped paper pieces. And it's not just about hexagons, she includes the diamond-shaped starflower, petal flowers, dresden plates, pentagons and larger hexagons made with pieced fabric strips. It's possible to make the 12 different projects from this book, using the same technique of paper-piecing but creating 12 entirely differnt looking projects.

I hope you'll give it a try! English paper piecing is very portable, too. So if you find yourself spending time in doctor's offices or at soccer games, and you want to keep your hands busy, this could be for you! (Or if you just want a portable project to work on while you're watching tv.)

Till next time, keep stitching!

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