Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Hexagons - with a twist

Hexagons are not my thing - 

but here we are, ankle-deep in the little blighters,and loving them!

It's taken a while to fall in love with paper-piecing,
but the penny finally dropped when I saw this lovely
little twisted hexagon block in the internet

Now I know why so many people love hexies -
they're the ultimate stitch-on-the-go, stash busters
- and there's so much more to them than Grandmother's Garden!

Cutting papers was very easy with Coler's 37.5mm metal hexagon  

Take a sharp pencil and some thick paper
and simply run the pencil round the inside of the hexagon frame,
moving the template round the paper until it's filled.
You'll need one whole hexagon for the centre of the block,
and three more hexagons cut in half to make your
scrappy half-hexie 'twists'

A helpful tip...

For the centre hexagon I cut my calico
into 3.5 inch squares, not hexagons.
This made them so much easier to handle,
and any excess fabric was easily trimmed down later

Pin and tack, keeping the corners neat

Helpful tip 2...

The sharp corners of half-hexies can be tricky to fold, 
so try cutting your fabric with a slightly wider
seam allowance - it really helps!

With right sides together, pin the long edge of a half-hexie twist
to one edge of the centre hexagon, as shown below.  

Don't worry! Only half of your first half-hexie will
fit on the edge of the centre patch
 - and that's how it should be.
It looks odd now, but all comes clear in a minute...

Sew the patches together with tiny stitches,
catching just a few threads at a time. 
Pull the thread tight enough to help the stitches disappear,
but not so tight that it puckers the fabric.

This is how your patch will look when it's opened out

Looks odd, doesn't it - but that gap will be filled!

Now to add the next half-hexagon...

See how the pink patch fits neatly onto
the side of the previous blue block and the calico centre?
With right sides together, stitch as before,
making sure the points line up.
After that it's easy to see where the next patch will go.

Fig.1. In progress

Continue to add 'twists' to the side until
the calico centre is surrounded, and the
last piece tucks its tail neatly into the little gap left at the start.
Just stitch that little tail in place
and - voila! - your first twisted hexagon block.

Fig.2. Finished block
Just to say...

You'll notice from the picture above that the twists
flow round the block clockwise, 
but in the one before the pieces are being added

How did that happen?

In fig.2 I lined up the LEFT corner of my first half-hexie twist
with the LEFT corner of the calico patch.
As a result, all the twists were added to the left, clockwise. 

In fig.1. I lined up the RIGHT corner of the calico hexie
and the RIGHT point of the twist, forcing all the other pieces
to be added to the right, sending the flow anti-clockwise

In a scrappy quilt I don't mind mixing the two,
because it gives the pattern movement,
but it may make a difference if you're
using a smaller range of fabric.
If in doubt, make them all turn the same way.

Coming soon - an easy border for a small hexie quilt