Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tips for Successfully Hand Piecing Hexies

In my last blog post, I mentioned a hexagon project I have been working on for quite some time. I have found some things that make the piecing a bit easier and MUCH neater.

The first big change I have made is that I'm now working in rows rather than "rounds." I WAS piecing the hexagons together into the traditional "flowers"--a center with six hexagons around it.

Now I'm putting the hexies together in rows. Then, I'm piecing the rows together.

It is MUCH easier to keep track of where I am on my pattern, and I'm finding it easier to put the hexies together this way.

Now, for the "secrets" to hiding those stitches. You can see the stitches between the hexies in the picture of the hexie "flower" above. I did that BEFORE I knew the "secrets." If you take a close look at the stitching between the hexies in the row above, you will notice that the stitches are not visible there. I learned the "secrets" from Mickey Depre on The Quilt Show in Episode 1302.

Because of that show, I'm now using a neutral-colored silk thread to sew the hexagons together--("Secret" 1). Previously, I was using a neutral-colored quilting thread. I LOVE using the silk. It doesn't show and it rarely tangles. Another change I made is that I'm no longer holding the hexagons right sides together to whip stitch them together. This picture shows how I used to do it.

In the show, Mickey suggests that you sew the pieces together side by side (see pic below) rather than right sides together (like the pic above)--("Secret" 2). I have to say, it took me a little while to get used to this method. I didn't like doing it at first; but once I got the "hang of it," I like it a lot. Of course, I LOVE the way it looks from the front. This method keeps ALL the stitching on the back of the project.

Hand piecing little hexies is slow work. It is also a REALLY good project to take along. If you are like me, on the road a lot or waiting a lot (waiting to pick up kids, waiting for appointments, waiting on kids from athletic practices, etc.), a hexie project is a good one. You don't have to go all crazy like I have, but a small hexie project might just "fit the bill."
The picture above shows what I have pieced together so far (once I switched over to piecing it together in rows). I know the picture is a little dark, but I think you can get the idea. There are about a thousand tiny hexies in this section. Will I EVER get it finished? I don't know, but I am enjoying the work right now. One of my friends told me how bored she would be with this project. I really don't get bored. I like the slow pace of handwork; I find peace in doing it. There is also something about that connection to the past--I hardly ever saw my Grandma Helen without some hand piecing project. It makes me smile.


Monday, November 18, 2013

I Wish I Had Known

I have to apologize about not being very good about posting lately. My husband has retired and has wanted to do a lot of traveling. We have also have been blessed with a new granddaughter. She lives ten hours from us, so we have spent a lot of time driving back and forth to visit with her. Of course, I have to share a picture of her with you.

This is June Beth. She is almost four months old. I LOVE being a "Mimi!"

Since we are on the road a lot, I have to have a project I can take with me. This hexie project is perfect, but it is REALLY slow going. As an FYI--I'm using the English paper piecing method of hand piecing half-inch hexies together to make my design.

Has you ever worked on one of those projects that you think will never get finished--the on-going, FOREVER project? I am working on one of those. I figure, when I die, that my family will find this partially finished project (along with a lot of others) and utter that famous line, "What was she thinking?"

You have seen this project before, because I have been working on it since last Christmas. I have made some progress and have changed the way I'm working. I even have a few hints for you if you decide to work on a hexie quilt.

Here is a picture of the front of the quilt BEFORE I switched my method of stitching. I REALLY don't like this look.

Here is a picture of the front of the quilt AFTER I switched my method of stitching.

If you would like to find out what I changed, check out my next blog post.