Friday, June 22, 2012

Quilting for the non-commital by Heather Inspiration Cafe IV

Hi everybody!  Thanks for visiting the Inspiration Cafe this week.  My name is Heather fromBeating Hearth and I am the contributor who's in charge of inspiring you all to sew.  I pretty much do it all, from quilting to crochet to embroidery to pillow cases and clothes.  So, hopefully I can inspire you a bit to try one of the stitching arts and get crafty with your bad self. 

My Crew

I am the sole non-redhead in the bunch.  Yes, you can cry for me.

Today I am going to try and get all you folks who are non-committal (and with good reason as getting equipped to quilt can be spendy!!) about quilting, to make a quilt.  Come on, I don't want you to fully commit and get married to quilting or anything, but maybe just go on a blind date with quilting.  Just see if maybe it's something you might be a bit more interested in.  Quilting is quite handsome (or beautiful), and fun, and smart.  Maybe a little different from what you've done before, but once you quilt, you'll never go back. 

This is what I want you to least it's the beginning of something I want you to make.  These little beauties go by many different names, Hexies, hexagons, Grandmother's Garden, English Paper Piecing...but the great thing about them is you don't need much to make them.  They're quick and easy to make and darn cute! 

Here's the gear you'll have to buy...

This is it!  Here are the supplies need: Quilting Betweens (these are needles), thread (probably not bright turquoise), scissors, pencil, thimble, pins, English Paper Piecing patterns (You might have to buy these from a quilt store, or online...they are the only thing that might be a little harder to find...but not by much) and fabric.  So, go buy these items, you'll only be out 10 bucks and a few yards of fabric.  Don't worry about buying enough right now, you are just going to have fun.  You need 3 to 4 different fabrics for this project.  Have fun fabric's one of the best parts of quilting.  Pardon my racing heart beat.  Love me some fabric.

In fact, shopping for your supplies may be the hardest part of making these beauties.  Let's get started!

1.  Put your hexi on the backside of the fabric.  Now take your pencil and trace an approximate 1/4" around the edge.  Don't get your rulers out for this.  Just guess.  You are going to fold the fabric edges over so you want to make sure you make enough of seam allowance...but don't make it huge otherwise when you're quilting'll be sad.

2.  Cut out your fabric pieces right on the lines!! 

3.  See that...that's what you want.  Now make sure to put the hexi pattern on the backside of the cut out piece (not on the front like I'm showing you here) and then you...

4.  Pin the actual pattern piece right to the fabric, making sure to center it.  You are going to sew with these English Paper Piecing patterns as your guide to get the perfect hexagon shape you are looking for...don't worry...your quilt won't be crunchy and filled with card stock.  They get removed later.

5.  So, you take a long length of thread, tie a knot at one end and you are going to make a basting stitch (Term of the day, Basting Stitch: A larger than normal, temporary stitch used to hold something in place) right through the paper!  Just do it.

6.  As you bast you are going to need to fold down the corners.  Don't stress it, just fold them down and try and keep your fabric centered.

7.  Now, once you've got your middle hexagon basted and 6 outer hexagons basted, you can get to work sewing them together.  Put your center piece and one of the outer pieces front sides together.

8.  You are going to be using a whip stitch to hold your pieces together.  Basically this mean, tie a knot at one end, insert needle and pull through and then you come back around the top of what you are working on and insert needle back on the same side as before.  So the thread is going to be wrapping around the top of your fabric.  I always do about 3 whip stitches right at the beginning and end.  Also you are only catching the very, very top bit of fabric.  Try not to stitch into the paper pattern at this point.  If you's okay.

9.  You are going to use the whip stitch across the entire length of one of the sides.   This is what it'll look like.  I would say my stitches are 1/10" apart.  It really does go quickly once you get the hang of things.  Use your thimble here!  You don't want to hurt your finger.

10.  Now you need to sew on all the other sides.  So, just do the exactly same process, only on another angle.  Make sure front sides together, whip stitch and all good!

11.  Once you have sewn completely around the middle piece (really, any piece if it is surround on all sides, this applies too) You get to remove the middle pattern piece.  Just unpick your basting stitches and it should pull out easily.  Don't mind the holes this piece now has, re-use it until it dies.  You'll know when that is.

12.  Now you have to sew all the outer edges together.  Just line them up front sides facing and whip stitch until you have a completely sewn piece.

13.  Now, make another one.  You are going to start stitching your sweet little pieces together.  This step, is really the only tricky step, if I'd call it that because of all the sides on a hexagon, you need to make sure you start stitching with the correct two sides touching.  So, line them up right sides out, so you can see how they'll look when they're sewn together, and then very carefully, flip one over, making sure that the angle it lined up with before, is the one it is sitting on top of now.

14.  Simply whip stitch the proper angles together and when one of your hexagons is completely surrounded, remove the paper, and continue sewing until you have reached the last angle.  You will repeat this process again and again until the quilt has reached your desired size.

Here's the Grandmother's Garden quilt I made for My Oldest's crib.  I put the same yellow fabric in the middle of each one and mixed it up with different green fabrics,  So, yellow in the middle, two rows of green and then a white row.  Then I stitched the white rows of two different hexies together.  Oh yeah, and don't be afraid of the occasionally ugly fabric.  It makes things interesting.

My beloved Sister, who doesn't quilt, is making one.  As you can see she is using a rainbow of fabrics, all with a yellow center.  You can do whatever you want. 

Here's mine again.  As you can see I am doing a different pattern with my hexies from the two above.  That's because they are very versatile and you can mix them up as you like.  Want to see what inspired my pattern?!?

Ahem...that would be the bathroom floor at Disneyland.  And yes, I am that crazy lady who is looking at the bathroom floor, while at Disneyland, thinking...what an awesome quilt that would make!!!  Snap.   You can find inspiration everywhere! 

A few more words on why you should make a hexagonal quilt.  Very little equipment required.  It's fast and easy.  In fact, if you're lucky you can get your spouse to trace out and cut your fabric...that makes it go even faster. You can get fabric with cute little images and have those be the focal point. It's portable.  If you're like me and are going camping and want something to do...bring this.  You can pre-cut some fabric, put it in a baggie and take it with you.  If you're at the Doctor's office...this is perfect, you can stash it in your purse and bring it out and have an enjoyable wait. 

Thanks for reading, and I really hope those of you who have thought about quilting but didn't know where to start, will make this quilt. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email or message and I'll help you the best I can.



  1. I love those and you make it sound so easy that even someone like me could do it! I am your newest follower from the Blog Hop. If you get time check out my blog, I'm haveing my first giveaway right now

    1. Thanks for checking it out, and I definitely think you can do it. I'll be sure to check out your giveaway!

  2. You picked quite the time investment project. Those little pieces intimidate me too. I love the travel project idea! I love the Disneyland bathroom (I might do that too, but never follow through). Hmmm... I might have to try a little one with those hexies.

  3. Do you really get hubby to help you cut? He is the best husband EVER! I am glad that mine tolerates my stuff everywhere ; )

  4., my beloved doesn't help me cut out my pieces...but if he did...then I'd be in some serious business!! You should try making one, it is a bit time consuming, but I don't mind a long-term project, just means I always have something to do when I'm out and about.

  5. Thanks for the very clear tutorial. I have wanted to try quilting but have been intimidated. This looks do-able! Thank you for sharing.

    1. thanks Maureen, definitely give it a try. I think you'll really like what you can accomplish and once you've practiced a bit, you'll really get the hang of it quickly!

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  7. This looks great! Awesome job. :)

  8. Not new to quilting, but I do have a Grandmother's Flower Garden I need to finish. A friend gave me a quilt her mother started years ago. The fabric looks 1950's -1960's ish to me. My friend told me to do anything I wanted with it except finish it and give it back to her. I finally finished the top, but then it went on "the pile" to wait to be finished. Guess I should dig it out and finish the thing, huh?

  9. My Mom is a quilter. I being her first born got a quilt made with ladies handkerchiefs. She turned the handkerchiefs into butterflys. She sewed every sticth by hand. My siblings, my kids, my nieces and nephews all get quilts but sewn with a sewing machine. She has tried to teach me off and on but...disaster. This Winter I will try your technique. It would give me no end of pleasure to be able to give a quilt to my Mom.

    1. Debra, I really hope you give it a try. To make it even easier on yourself, I would say buy the hexi pattern pieces now...and probably buy a couple of packages, and just set them aside until you're ready to start. Then, when you're ready you can just get going. Good luck! Your mom will love it!


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