Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn the secret to machine-piecing hexagon rows.
When joining hexagon rows, set-in seams are required. Though the positioning of the pieces is unusual, sewing hexagons together by machine doesn’t have to be difficult; just take it one seam at a time, pinning and sewing carefully from dot to dot. (Be sure to transfer dots from patterns to templates, then to fabric pieces before you start joining pieces.) Follow our step-by-step photos, below, to guide you through the process.
1. To join hexagons in vertical rows, adjacent rows need to be offset. (Example that follows shows top hexagon in Row 2 already trimmed to make a half hexagon.)
2. With right sides together, place first Row 2 hexagon atop first Row 1 hexagon. (In this example, Row 2 begins with a half hexagon.)
3. Push a pin through each pair of dots to align pieces, then pin pieces together.
4. Sew from dot to dot, locking seam ends with backstitches or tiny (0.5-millimeter-long) machine stitches.
5. Open up pieces and reposition Row 2 over Row 1. Align and pin next seam.
6. Without catching seam allowance in stitching, sew next seam from dot to dot.
7. Open up pieces and reposition Row 2 over Row 1. Align and pin third seam.
8. Sew third seam from dot to dot. Do not sew through seam allowances. Continue in same manner until all seams are sewn.
9. Press first seam intersection counterclockwise, forming a tiny hexagon on the fabric wrong side. Press next seam intersection clockwise. Continue alternating the direction you press as you continue down the row.
See Jill’s first blog about her Round Robin experience here.
Would I do it again? Yes…with a bit more time between projects. With the holidays and travels during the round robin weeks, it was a scramble at times to meet the deadlines. It was delightful to see each quilt center and what the others had added. It was challenging to add to the center and other borders while complementing the original design yet not distracting from the original intent. I liked using a different technique on each border. I’m thrilled with my piece and treasure what each of my co-workers added to the center.
Round 1: Jill
She says: I’ve always been fascinated by spools of thread: luscious colors, interesting textures. The spools I’ve stitched for the center of the little quilt top show off a lively stripe that I’ve always liked. I used this stripe in a big quilt and have always wanted to add it to a smaller one. I like the way this uneven stripe works for the thread…each spool looks a little bit different. I’m not one for symmetry and I’m kind of a minimalist, so it will be fun to see what each other quilter adds to the center.
Round 2: Jody
She says: I drafted two Flying Geese foundation pieced patterns; 2×8″ for the sides and 2×12″ for the top and bottom borders. Jill provided a box of full of dots and solids in bright, cheery colors. I decided to use a white background and six dot fabrics in green, purple, and aqua for the “geese”. I repeated the same six fabrics in the same order around the first border. After removing the foundation paper, I stay-stitched a seam 1/8″ around the exterior to add stablization for the next border.
Round 3: Elizabeth
She says: When I got Jill’s quilt center from Jody, I knew I wanted to incorporate more assymmetry in my round. I decided to bring the colors of the quilt center out again and make border corners that somehow incorporated more of the colors in the “thread” on the spools. I also decided to move the quilt center and make larger assymetrical borders on the bottom and left.To keep with the funky feeling of the black-and-white stripe, I decided to use improvisational piecing to make a curvy strip set. Then I cut the border corners from this. This was a very fun round to do!
Round 4: Nancy
She says: Jill’s quilt is so much fun! I love the way she incorporated the striped fabric as thread on the spools. The borders added by my team added more structure and a bit of the off centered whimsy I love. I wanted to pull the sewing spool theme back into the last round. I experimented by laying the quilt top out with various tries for the border. I went with an asymmetrical three-sided addition to the border and added a small spool to the bottom right. I thought the extra spool was like having one spool out of you sewing kit.
Once a month, we highlight blogs our staff is reading right now!
A self-described fabric-aholic, designer and author Lee Heinrich regularly updates her blog with gorgeous pictures of her works in progress. Her fresh style is not only fun to look at, but also completely inspiring! She gives great tutorials, free patterns, and has quilt alongs we’re dying to try!
Crazy Mom Quilts
Amanda Nyberg, one of the authors of Sunday Morning Quilts, makes us look like slackers! As her blog title suggests, she’s a busy mom, but also an amazing quilter! Her quilts are modern, fun, and colorful. She has such unique designs and easy-to-follow tutorials. And the best part is, if you fall in love with one of her quilts, she sells them on her blog.
Red Pepper Quilts
Rita Hodge is an Australia designer and her blog is pure eye candy. From beautiful photography to fun designs to quilts we wish we had in our homes, her blog is page after page of happiness. Plus, she always has great giveaways and some helpful tips.
Well, we’re almost two months into 2014, so I’m checking in on my quilting to-do list. (In case you missed my resolutions blog, read it here.) I’m still wishing I had more time to quilt, but I’m happy with my progress. It’s a little overwhelming at first to work on five projects at once, but it’s motivation for me to get my butt moving and finish one of these up soon!
On my to-do list this year:
- Tula Pink‘s City Sampler (I’ve made a few blocks in 2013. See them here.)
- American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt Along (Read more about it here.)
- Pat Sloan‘s Globetrotting Block of the Month with Free Quilt Patterns (Get details here.)
- Finish my Passion 48 (See our staff’s Project 48 rules here.)
- Quilts and More Welcome Home wall hanging series (in Quilts and More Spring)
I’m 20/100 blocks into my City Sampler quilt. And I have all fabric picked out, which was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Sometimes it’s the little things that keep you from working on a project, and fabric choice was one of those things for me. Now that I have that off my mind, I can get started on cutting and sewing! (See my blog about it here.)
My progress on the American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt Along is a little slower. I have about half of the fabric cut for the whole project (and if you’ve seen the materials list…there’s a lot of pieces). I’m trying to pull fabric from my stash so it has a very scrappy look, but I may have to bit the bullet and buy a fat quarter bundle to get this moving!
I have the first two blocks for the Globetrotting Block of the Month done and have all fabric picked out. This is my first BOM and the anticipation of waiting for the next block is killing me! I usually have the block finished on the first day of the month because I’m so excited!
I bought all the border and backing fabric for my Project 48 quilt. And I’ve started on the binding. I’m doing it very scrappy so it’s taking mea bit. I can’t wait to get this crossed off my to-do list. I’ve been working on it for more than a year and am ready to hang it up!
The spring wall hanging from the current issue of Quilts and More is coming along! I just need to finish appliqueing, add a border and some embellishments, and get it quilted! There’s another one coming in the summer issue, so I’ll start on that as soon as it comes out!
I have some tips for making process on your own quilting to-do list. (See my tips for making your list here.)
1. Resist the urge to add. There are always more projects that come up that I would love to add to my to-do list, but I know if I do, I won’t get the ones on my list done. And my goal for the year was to complete projects, not start more UFOs. I save the projects, so I can add them if I get really ahead on my list, but right now, I think of them as part of my to-do list next year!
2. Overcome obstacles. If you’re not making as much progress as you like on a quilt, think about what’s holding you back. Is it choosing fabric? Is it sewing blocks together? Is it calling your quilter? Once you identify the problem, set aside time in your schedule to work through it. When you overcome the obstacle, it should be easy quilting and a much more enjoyable process!
3. Set mini goals. At the beginning of the month I write down the least amount of process I want to make on each of my goals this month. Sometimes it just involves cutting all the fabrics and sometimes it’s making 40 blocks! No matter how small or big the goal is, I work toward the mini goals each day. It keeps the to-do list feeling attainable!
Happy quilting in 2014! Share your own quilting to-do list in the comments and make sure to check back to see my progress.
Every month, we highlight a trend in quilting and show you how you can add this hip style to your projects!
Solid fabrics and solid lookalikes like tone-on-tones are becoming a popular way to add texture and interest to a quilt! Use them as backgrounds and borders to make prints stand out or use them in blocks as a way to show off quilting and beautiful piecing. See how to add this hot trend to your quilting.
Solids for your shopping list:
- ColorWorks from Northcott (top left)
- Spring Couture from Michael Miller Fabrics (top right)
- Bella Solids from Moda Fabrics (bottom left)
- Kona Cotton from Robert Kaufman (bottom right)
And now that you have the inspiration, browse our collection of free quilt patterns that feature solids! See them here.