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Here's what I did, simply because although I theoretically liked the idea of hexies for handwork (it's VERY portable!), I wasn't sure if the reality of hexies was going to float my boat.
So, I got a BIG hexie template ... like 2" along a side. (Note: the way to measure a hexie template is along one side. NOT top to bottom. Not point to point. I got royally messed up with my first set of templates because they were measured incorrectly).
When you look at a 2" hexie, you'll see that it really is big. And because you join SIX hexies in a ring, around a center hexie .... all the same size ... that 2" hexie results in a HUGE flower unit. The advantage of this? That big flower unit covers a LOT of real estate and it doesn't take very long to to make.
The steps to English Paper Piecing hexies (which is the method I use .. there are others) is:
1. cut the fabric to size. Some people cut hexie shaped fabric .. that's a waste of time for me. I cut a big enough square of fabric. True, it doesn't look neat and tidy on the back of the template, but when you've made your quilted item, NO ONE is going to see the back. I don't have enough time to spend on cutting hexie shaped fabric pieces.
2. wrap the fabric around the template. Secure the fabric in some manner. Note: there are MANY ways of doing this. Some people glue the fabric, some sew *through* the (paper) template, some do a back-stitch on the overlapping corners. There are pros and cons to each method. Find a a technique that feels good to you otherwise, you'll quit. There is no Quilt Police .. any technique is fine.
3. Keep the template in the fabric until the hexie is completely surrounded by other hexies. The template gives you a firm edge to stitch against. Once a hexie is completely surrounded, you can remove the template.
4. repeat, repeat, repeat. :-)
Then ... templates are reusable! They aren't "use once and toss". Even the paper ones. I make my templates out of copy paper (because I have a lot of waste from my printer) and even when that paper gets "less firm", I STILL use it. :-)
When I was first experimenting, I discovered that I *did* like the entire process and eventually stopped making my 2" hexies. With the ones that I did make, I created a table runner with a whole bunch of them stitched together and some placemats with the singletons. Then I "got serious" and started using smaller templates. The work was faster, simply because you're working on a shorter side length but the downside is that you need to make a LOT of smaller hexies to make something usable. :-) But, boy, does this make for an excellent Forever Project™!!! :-)
Push come to shove, if you just Do Not Like the hexie process, I'm sure that one of the ladies from your guild would be happy to give yours a new home. :-)
Thank you for the instructions! I may try to get some templates made and fabric cut for the meeting this week. I love the idea of a table runner with the big flowers. Just curious...how do you secure the fabric to the template?
S'funny. In my infinite wisdom, long, long ago, I actually filmed myself doing exactly that. Twice. Because, ya know, once just wasn't good enough. :-)
So, here's a 6 minute YouTube video that explains (in excruciating detail) the hows & whys I do this particular method: https://youtu.be/xBtqvwBL3UY
and then here's the 1.5 minute wrap-up. I have NO idea why I didn't just film the wrap-up along with the 6 minute version, but there it is. Further more, the 6 minute version is Part 1, which makes the 1.5 minute version Part 2, but did I *name* the 1.5 minute version Part 2? Of course not. Gosh, I had losing my mind. Part 2: https://youtu.be/6AgluZFngUY
AND THEN ... for whatever reason, I filmed **just the thread basting part** and not all of the explanation. This is 3 minutes long and I thread-baste a hexie in real time: https://youtu.be/mxrMEtD5cpw
I think watching the video will be more helpful than reading a lot of verbiage. :-) If you have any question, please feel free to fire away.
Oh, and the reason I thread baste is because I can leave the thread in and not have *yet another step* of removing the thread. If I baste *through* the paper template, I absolutely need to remove the thread; I'm too lazy to do that. If I glue the fabric seam allowance to the template (either paper or plastic), I need to somehow, gently release the fabric from the template without distorting it. Again, this is an extra step that I'm Just Too Lazy to do. But lots of people like doing that that, so it must have some advantage that I'm unaware of.
Ultimately, YOU should use a technique that feels good to you. The end result ..using ANY technique .. is a piece of fabric wrapped around a hexagon template that is then joined to other shapes. It just doesn't matter how you get there.
Oh, and if you can score/borrow the Fiskars hexagon hand punch, your life will be SO MUCH EASIER. The punches come in 3 sizes, 1/2", 3/4", and 1". You can punch multiple layers of printer paper or single layers of stiffer paper (such as those darn mail inserts).
You can certainly find/buy a document that you can print with hexagons on it, which you then manually cut out. I'm too lazy for that. Fiskars is easier.
You can also buy pre-made templates that are very sturdy but I'm way too cheap to buy them. :-) Fiskars is easier.
But if you just want to experiment to see if you even like the technique, by all means, just cut out a bunch of hexagons yourself. You'll need one template for each hexie .. and I like to keep the template IN the fabric until all sides are stitched to another hexie. Only when a hexie is completely surrounded will I take the template out. So, yeah, you're going to need a lot of templates. You could cut a bunch at once .. say 25? .. and see if that's enough for your experiment. If not, cut some more. :-)
adding to what Pirate said....
I just had a class in using the Apliquick rods (and other stuff by Apllquick!) and I bought a set of 500 hexies..now...these are NOT reusable since its a fusible wash-away interfacing template..but it does offer some bennies....you stick em down with an iron...then cut a seam allowance around and use the Apliquick rods and glue stick to turn the hexies - and that process is PDQ. I will be experimenting with these soon...
Also..investigate the different stitches you can use to join the hexies...traditionally you whip stitch...but you can also do ladder stitch or running stitch or my favorite, flat back stitching..the advantage of the flat back stitch is you DO NOT SEE IT at all on the front...
Plus..you can stitch em by machine, if you want...this is where the Apliquick ones really shine - you use a narrow zig-zag and invisible thread ...if you cannot tolerate the hand stitching...maybe this technique would work for you. I think it can be done with the paper forms as well, I haven't done them this way but I did see the gal at Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Shop machine join hers...it might involve more tugging to get those forms out if the zig zag catches them.
Suze (casuzenn) said:
you can stitch em by machine, if you want... you use a narrow zig-zag and invisible thread ...if you cannot tolerate the hand stitching...maybe this technique would work for you. I think it can be done with the paper forms as well, I haven't done them this way but I did see the gal at Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Shop machine join hers...it might involve more tugging to get those forms out if the zig zag catches them.
True about the paper forms .. the zig-zag would sure penetrate the paper even when you used a really skinny width stitch.
However, I don't think you could do that same technique if you were using plastic templates! Lordy, you sure wouldn't want the sewing machine needle to be going through the plastic! You'd *never* get the template out!
I didn't know about the fusible templates .... that sounds intriguing. You'd need to fuse them to your fabric before taking them to-go, since it's tough to iron in a car or on a plane. :-) If the fusible was *also* water-soluble, that would be a real winner, since the first time you laundered the quilt, the interfacing would disappear, leaving the quilt less stiff.
In fact, I do use fusible, water-soluble stabilizer for some of my needleturn shapes simply because you can get *so* precise. I never thought to use the stabilizer for hexies. Hmmm.
I started another quilt a couple of days ago..My DH wants a specific scene and I am trying to interpret that into a quilt..The drawing looks good, I did the cartoon and templates and turned the pieces using glue stick and the Apliquick rods...its stuck down to the sky fabric and I have commenced stitching the pieces down...using Apliquick's invisible thread (by hand ... its kinda like working with a spiderweb!!)
It's a birthday gift for him... a week til his birthday...we shall see how far I get...at least it looks kinda like a quilt at this point! - and he said he likes how its coming along! I hope to have the base done...the details may take a while to concoct....we shall see how far I get! I am envisioning lots of tiny work along the way...
Pirate (PIRATE_SR) said:
If the fusible was *also* water-soluble, that would be a real winner, since the first time you laundered the quilt, the interfacing would disappear, leaving the quilt less stiff.
yup...the Apliquick ones are water-soluble...
and you are SOOOO right about the plastic templates not being machine sew-able!! I have never used those so they don't even come up on my radar but I guess they are out there!!
Shelley, that's gorgeous! <3 You have some amazing patience with those things!