Friday, February 8, 2008

My way

I'm quilting (and will be for a long, long time) the Stash Dash Quilt in 15 minute increments to save my poor neck and shoulders. It's 67"x79" and I'm getting a lot of exercise pushing that sandwich through Bernie's little throat.

I thought I'd share my method for making Grandmother's Flower Garden hexagons today.
When I first contemplated making this quilt, the thing I dreaded most was having to cut hundreds of little hexagon templates out of cardboard or paper and then getting them to stay in place while I basted around the edge. Then one day I had an "Aha" moment as Oprah would say.

I print the template on freezer paper which I cut to letter size and then feed into the printer like a normal sheet of paper. Remember to print on the non-waxed side. I used this template.
To save even more on the cutting out time, I staple a blank sheet of freezer paper to the back of the printed one, allowing me to cut out two hexagons at a time. I tried adding more sheets (I'm lazy I tell you), but they slide, so two seems to be the maximum that can be done with accuracy (which is VERY important when making a hex quilt).

The next step is to iron the little hexagon templates to the wrong side of the fabric. Remember that you're going to need a 1/4" to 3/8" seam allowance when you cut them out so leave space between the hexes. Don't be scared to really iron them on so they don't come off too easily.

Let the fabric cool down flat before continuing to the next step or the hexagons will just pop off.
Cut out the hexagons leaving a 1/4" to 3/8" seam allowance around the edge.

Now, because the freezer paper template is stuck to the fabric, it is much, much easier to accurately fold the seam over and baste around the edge to keep the shape. Baste only through the fabric, not the freezer paper and make sure to get the corners down securely. I normally double-baste at the corners. I "press" the fold with my nail when I fold it over to make sure it's a sharp edge Make sure you secure the corners well.

Voila, we're ready to whipstitch!

(For some amazing inspiration check out this Flickr group)

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18 comments:

  1. What you need is a hexagon paper punch. I am amazed by hexagons. I just can't comprehend the work that goes into one of those quilts.

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  2. Excellent tutorial. Thank you! I will pick up some freezer paper on my way home from work today. Unfortunately, with this tutorial in hand, the other items on my weekend list may suffer.

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  3. You make it sound so straight-forward, I've been finding excuss for years but I may just have to give in and make a small one after all.

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  4. Oh my goodness, all the work that goes into that!

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  5. I just checked out the flickr group, I'm sold...now I want to make hexagons! Be sure to show us pics as you whipstitch, I want to see the whole process, thanks!

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  6. Thanks for the tutorial. I had no idea how you made those little shapes. I feel enlightened.
    Thanks for taking the time to teach us.
    Have a happy weekend!
    Joni

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  7. using freezer paper and printing them out on the printer is pure genius, not lazy.

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  8. Some call it lazy some call it very clever! Thanks for the tutorial! I wonder how you put the hexagons together though. Right sides of hexagons together and making slipstitches?

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  9. I've been wanting to try this out for some time. Thank you for all the links, the Flickr group is GORGEOUS.

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  10. This has got to be the best quilting tip, EVER! Thank you so much. I have 22 GFG blocks that I have been holding on to for,um, 12 years. I am going to start working on that again. I so want to finish it. You are an inspiration!

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  11. I've always used thin card for this method - you know recycling birthday and christmas cards, that sort of thing - I never thought of using freezer paper which is actually THE best quilting invention this side of the North Pole, I might give that a go

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  12. What a clever idea .... have printed off the template .... it's now or never time to make something with hexagons.

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  13. OK, I love the hexagons, especially after seeing the flikr pictures - but I can't figure out how you would put them together? I'm just a novice, you see... I love the look, but shiver at the 'how'!

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  14. have you tried using the pre-cut hexagon papers? i just made my first hexagons today and that's the method i used. i'll have to give the freezer paper a try though. if i decide to do an actual hexagon quilt, having the BEST method will be of the utmost importance!!!

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  15. If you want the shapes to be a little stiffer, iron two sheets of freezer paper together before cutting them out. It makes them just a little thicker and stiffer so they are easier to baste.

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  16. Have you ever heard of a product called "Quilt Patis"? It is soooo much easier than cutting out all those paper templates. They are a plastic template that can be reused over and over and over again. No going back and having to remove the basting. If the price is to high you can always make them out of margarine lids, cool whip lid, etc. I used my hubbies drill to make the center hole. I have been working on my flower garden for about a year now, I wish you much luck in yours. If I have any advice it is to make sure you really, really love the fabric you are using, because you are going to be looking at it ALOT!

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  17. I would love to try a hexagon quilt one day in the far, far future when I have the time. I really want to try just a small sample piece one day sooner than later though :0)

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  18. I'm ready to put my diamond hexagons together and have started putting the path pieces on. I used the freezer paper and loved this method. First I tried graph paper then scanning and trying to print on freezer paper that I had cut to size, but the freezer paper jammed in the printer so I went back to tracing around a template. I even used freezer paper from the meat dept. This worked really great. I love making my little hexes & then making them into the diamonds because you can do this while watching TV. DOES ANYONE HAVE AN EASY WAY OR KNOW THE CORRECT WAY TO SEW THESE DIAMOND TOGETHER? i WOULD REALLY APPRECIATED SOME HELP!!!

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