Gentle readers, it’s that time again … time to design and begin a new hexagon quilt.
It goes without saying that it takes time to hand-sew a hexagon quilt. I really enjoy the process that spreads over months, but I also enjoy the planning and designing of a new hexagon quilt.
I’ve enjoyed making different types of hexagon quilts over the last couple of years.
First, there was the ‘everything all in together’ quilt …
There there was the ‘grandmother’s garden’ phase …
Then there was the ‘diamonds’ phase …
And then there was the ‘oh goodness, whatever will I do next’ phase …
And now I’m trying something a little different, working with diamonds … and it’s such fun!!!
In this tutorial I will share my process for how I go about deciding on a design for a new hexagon quilt.
Step 1 … I spend some time looking at images of hexagon quilts online. I basically Google or search Pinterest to see what comes up with the very general search terms ‘hexagon quilt diamond’ or ‘hexagon quilt grandma’s garden’. I scroll through until I see a design that inspires me or speaks to me. It is obvious from the hexagon quilts that I have sewn to date that I respond to ‘organized’ designs, rather than ‘hot mess’ designs.
Step 2 … once I have decided on a design, I construct a ‘block’, measure it, and from that measurement, decide what dimensions my quilt will have, and calculate how many hexagons I will need to construct.
Step 3 … now I can work out how much fabric I need. Let me share the stats for my next quilt.
I was inspired by this image, which is from Pleasant Home here …
What I loved about these little blocks were the white stars … many other quilts had coloured stars and white ‘edges’, but I really like the white stars bordered with the coloured ‘blocks’.
So … I made up a block with 1 ½ inch card die cut diamond templates which I purchased from pbpatch on Etsy, which you can find here … My finished block measured 5 inches across. (Incidentally, I did try working with 1 inch diamond templates, but found the size too small for me to work with. I couldn’t get any ‘speed’ up while constructing the diamonds, and was getting very frustrated in the process, and hey, this was supposed to be fun, so I moved up to the 1 ½ inch templates.)
This quilt will measure 60 x 60 inches, so I need 144 finished 5 inch blocks, 12 x 5 inch blocks down and 12 x 5 inch blocks across.
I need 6 white diamonds and 6 coloured diamonds for each block, so I need 864 white diamonds and 864 coloured diamonds.
A little experimentation lets me know that I need to cut my strips of fabric into 3 inch strips across the fabric, which are then cut into sections 2 inches wide. A diamond will fit nicely on a 3 x 2 inch block.
So if my fabric is approximately 42 inches wide, I need to cut at least 42 x 3 inch wide strips of white fabric.
And for my coloured diamonds, I can use scraps or mini charm packs or jelly rolls … all I need to do is make sure I have at least 864 coloured diamonds to make the corner blocks between the stars.
For this quilt, which I am calling *stars in my eyes*, I am using 6 mini charm packs of Fancy by Lily Ashbury (253 coloured blocks), and 6 mini charm packs of Color Me Happy by V & Co (253 coloured blocks), and lots of bright scraps left over from other quilts (358 coloured blocks). You can often buy the mini charm packs cheaper if you buy six or more at one time.
Next, I pin the card template to the mini charm or rectangular block, and trim a rough ¼ inch shape around the template. I am making sure that I am not using ‘low volume’ fabrics for these corner blocks, as I want them to ‘read’ as solid colours, not wanting them to ‘blend’ into the white stars.
So, let’s summarize what I need to construct this quilt …
* 1,728 x 1 ½ inch diamond templates
* 42 x 3 inch strips of white fabric, cut into 3 x 2 inch blocks. You need 864 white blocks.
* enough scraps or mini charm packs or jelly rolls to make 864 coloured blocks.
* backing and binding fabric for the 60 x 60 inch finished quilt top
* little plastic bags to store 6 white/6 coloured blocks plus templates for each block
Of course, you don’t have to make a large hexagon quilt … you can adapt the hand-sewing process to make a cushion cover if you wish, or a mug rug, or wall hanging, or a pouch or table runner. This is the glory of a hand-sewn hexie project, it can be as big or as small as you desire!
What I love about this creative process is that I can pop two small plastic bags with templates and fabric tucked away neatly inside them, a small pair of scissors and a roll of cotton along with a needle into my cute sewing case and know that I have at least three to four hours of hand-sewing with me. There is much joy in seeing my pile of beautiful little star blocks growing on a daily basis, and it sure makes my twice-daily bus trip so much more enjoyable.
As I sit with the man at night, I sort out my coloured and white blocks, pin them to templates and trim around them, and then they get carefully popped into the little plastic zip-lock bags, ready for their work-day drive in and out of the city. It is a very calming process, making hexagons, and quite addictive. I love my hexie hobbie … so who’s with me? Cassie, what are you going to make?