Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hexagons

I have always wanted to do a quilt project by "hand".  I know, I know, CRAZY!  Why would I want to do a project by hand when I have 2 perfectly good sewing machines!

Well, to start off, there are a lot of hand sewers out there. I've always wanted to see what kind of woman or "gumption" I would have to have to do this type of thing.  Trust me, you really have to LOVE hand work to do this.

I have always felt drawn to hand work. Since I was little, my mother taught me to embroider and crochet.  Later I would pick up counted cross stitch,  knitting and quilting.  By the way, the cousin who taught me to knit was left handed, so I knit left handed.  It throws a lot of knitters off when they see me.  As one lady commented a long time ago when I was younger -- "What ARE you doing??"

I love to hand quilt my quilts.  But, in my quilting history I had not made an entire quilt by hand instead of the sewing machine. I do a lot of applique, but I usually do piecing. I also wanted a project to do on the road while we travel back and forth from this great state to another.  Applique was out of the question for me because of the finesse needed and my failing "old" eyes.  So, I decided on hexagons!

At first, I decided to start with just a long skinny scarf for my dresser.  But, when I saw how nice it was starting to look, I upped the size to a crib size and then to a double bed size.

Once I decided to do this project, I was overwhelmed by the many choices of methods to do this labor intensive project!

One of the first things I had to decide which template do I use for cutting the hexagons.

I know that I sell pre-cut or die cut hexagon fabrics either alone http://avelisquilts-ivil.tripod.com/id9.html or in kits http://avelisquilts-ivil.tripod.com/pieced_quilt_kits.html (scroll down for hexagons).  I also sell precut Hexagons in freezer paper either precut  or printed on freezer sheets http://avelisquilts-ivil.tripod.com/id165.html.

The problem was that I was like Goldilocks. . . the 2" was too small and the 4" was too big.  I needed something "just right". What I wanted was about 1/4 inch bigger all around the 2" size so that when I sewed them, they would end up being 2".   So, either of the sizes I sell were not "just right"!

Also, remember I couldn't use the freezer paper method, as a template for cutting, because I was going to be in the car and an iron was unavailable. So I went ahead and manually drew the 2" size by tracing around one of my freezer paper die cut pieces on a regular piece of paper.  I then used the freezer paper piece to draw a copy on a piece of milk jug plastic with a permanent marker.  I heartily recommend using this plastic for templates.  It saves throwing the plastic into the landfill, its economical and it endures. Yes, you still have some plastic left over that can't be used.  But, it's a lot less than what you started with.  Just make sure you have a heavy pair of scissors when cutting it because of the thickness.

Another thing I like about milk jug plastic is that the inside of the milk jug is rough textured, not smooth like the outside.  The rough side when placed against the fabric helps to grip the fabric.

I now had a 2" drawing on regular paper and a 2" drawing on a large pieces of milk jug plastic.
Next, I used my ruler and drew an additional 1/4" line all the way around the paper 2" drawing. I now had the size that I desired. I cut this out on the last line that I drew, not the inside line. I used this piece of paper as a template to draw another hexagon on the milk jug plastic.  I now had two hexagons drawn on the milk jug plastic.  one was 2" and one was 2 1/2 inches.  I cut both of them out, punched a hole in the middle of both.  I was ready to start drawing on fabric!!!

WAIT! No I wasn't!  What was I going to use to mark on the fabric??  With all the choices of marking tools now days. . . . Well that's another day's blog entry!

Stay tuned for further adventures in sewing Hexagons and follow my progress!  Meanwhile, back to quilting!!!