Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hexagon Patchwork Fun...

It's nearly the end of the month and I just completed the April block from Craftsy's free block-of-the-month project. This time we made "Hexagon Stripe" using English paper piecing. This is the method that often seems to get confused with another popular quiltmaking technique. I think that's because we quilters often use the term "paper-pieced" when we refer to "foundation-pieced" blocks. Originally the term "paper-pieced" referred to the English piecing method, also called piecing-over-papers. At any rate, we only needed 13 of the hexagons for this block. There's a second block for April, also using hexagons, but I ran out of time to complete it this month.

Instructor Amy Gibson provided three sizes of hexagons, which I printed out and glued to cardstock as pattern pieces. Then I traced the pieces onto the dull side of freezer paper and cut each hexagon out on the marked line. Next I ironed each piece to a fabric square, placing the shiny side to the wrong side of the fabric square to adhere it. I trimmed the fabric slightly more than 1/4" beyond the edge of the freezer paper to create a seam allowance. The seam allowance on each side was folded over the edge of the paper and basted in place. And finally, the pieces were whipstitched together in rows. After pressing, I removed the basting and gently removed the papers to preserve the sharp crease on the edges of the 13-piece unit. That unit is appliqued to a background square and any excess was trimmed off.

Then I saw a tutorial on Tallgrass Prairie Studio for sewing hexagons entirely by machine with no marking. Of course I just had to try out this method, too. When it comes to quilting, everything interests me. The hexagons in the photo are large... 2" on a side. The machine sewing method worked quite nicely and the tutorial has excellent photos and step-by-steps.

I pressed the seams open on my sample and it seemed to help the piece to lie flat.
And last, but not least, here's Lily with her very own patchwork ball which also used the English paper piecing method. I made this for her with some pieces from a fabric charm pack and a pentagon paper shape. I'd always wanted to make one of these, and Lily confided that she'd always wanted to have one. The ball was completed a couple of months ago, before re-visiting the method in the Craftsy project. I'm not sure, but I think I've had enough of the method. I'll wait and see if any interest surfaces for making the second hexagon block from April. But these small projects leave me with an even greater admiration for quilters who've completed large Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts or other similar designs with this technique!


Robbie said...

Isn't this technique one of the most relaxing to do! I love hand work and the English paper piecing is perfect! Kitty looks so happy! HA

jacquie said...

i'm interested that you pressed your seams open...i'm going to try that on my new hexie quilt. thanks for the tip and for giving it a try!