Friday, 21 February 2014

Hexagon honeycomb

A while ago I had a scrap bag of Moda strips from one of the Fig Tree ranges which I decided I really must use up - but what to make?  There wasn't a huge amount of fabric and it didn't really fit with other fabrics in my stash, but I had done my usual trick of buying on a whim at a show - it was packed in a brown paper bag (I'm a sucker for brown paper bags)....

To cut a long story short, I pieced the 1 1/2" strips into sections, three at a time, and used my Marti Mitchell triangle ruler to cut as many triangles as I could from the strip sets.

(Other 60 degree rulers do the same job and so do the 60 degree lines on the big rotary cutting rulers, of course; the purpose made triangle rulers just make the job a bit easier)

Each strip set gave me enough triangles to piece back into two hexagons and this little cot quilt is the result.

But that's not my finish for this week:  as you can perhaps see, the hexagons in the cot quilt are quite dinky (6" across the middle) and I wanted to offer the technique as a class so I thought I should make a bigger version.  Using just slightly bigger strips (cut at 2") made, I discovered, MUCH bigger hexagons - 9" across, and a much bigger quilt.

This is today's finish:

The fabrics are Lizzie by Anna Griffin from some time ago; leftovers from another quilt, needless to say, plus a bit from stash.  I always seem to buy far too much fabric for whatever I have in mind when I am in the quilt shop, and end up making two or even three quilts from the same range, but throw in something extra each time and it freshens the whole thing up.  A bit like cooking with whatever's in the fridge...

So I am delighted to say that all I have left now from this collection are a few strippy triangles for which I have plans, and some odds and ends which have gone into the scrap stash, destined for a truly scrappy final resting place.

The quilt measures 53" x 70" and I backed it with a Riley Blake design of tiny hexagons - they are in exactly the right shade of pink and aqua, and repeating the hexagon motif is just too good to be true!

I machine quilted both quilts with one of my favourite walking foot quilting designs which is a variation on wine glass/pumpkin seed, a very traditional hand quilting design.  However it is great for machine quilting too.

If you make a plastic template of a sort of leaf shape to fit the length of the 'radius' of the hexagon (or the length of one side of one of the triangles), you can mark curves on either side of every seam line, which you can then continuously quilt on the machine with the walking foot as the curves are quite gentle.

The brilliant thing about this technique is that you can start absolutely anywhere and keep on quilting till you run out of bobbin thread.  This means very few ends to tie in afterwards (a big plus so far as I am concerned) and you can choose which direction to go in to minimise the amount you will have to turn the quilt sandwich.

In effect you are quilting long serpentine 'S' shapes across the surface of the quilt top.  When all the lines have been quilted it creates the flower/circle effect.

This may not mean very much as described, but try enlarging the photo and tracing the design with your finger - you'll see how easy it is to travel across the quilt without lifting your finger.

So I am happy to share my finish with you this week.  I am up to date with all my class samples so now I can sew just for fun - and maybe tackle one or two outstanding projects from the back of the cupboard.

Have you finished something this week?  I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts who always has great finishes!

I am also happy to share pictures of the first real day of Spring: here in Surrey, after a very long wet winter we had blue skies and sunshine today.  Isn't the hellebore a wonderful lime green?


  1. You backed this hexagon quilt in the such a sweet little print:) The quilt is beautiful!!

  2. Thank you, Sara, I appreciate your comment.