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Thursday, June 13, 2013

English Paper Piecing - Hexagons

Seems like all the quilters are back to making English Paper Pieced hexagons. A fad from the 1800's is back with a vengeance.

As someone who has regarded "hand" as a four-letter word, I have avoided sewing hand work until the past year. I was finding that I was spending close to 20 hours a week waiting at various events - doctor's office, children's music lessons, watching TV, ....   So I picked up some hexagon cardboard templates from Actually, I got my first ones from one of my on-line fabric purchases, they had the 2", 1", and 3/4" hexagons available, around $3 a package.

So here is a photo of some of my hexagons from the past year. I started using 5" charm squares to make 2" hexagons. Just the right size for my large hands and first attempt and hand sewing, though I had recently learned to hand sew quilt bindings. My daughter wanted a quilt using sunset colors - reds, oranges, blues, purples, yellows, ...   So she went through a box of charm squares and picked out fabrics.

Using some binding scraps, the 2 1/2" strips I was able to piece the 1" hexagons, and I did enough to make a flower with the 7 I made.

This will be a long term project. I may have enough 2" hexagons for a bed quilt, I don't know yet. My plan is to applique down the flowers, I am not making a traditional Grandmother's Flower Quilt!

But, I broke down to try some smaller hexagons. After seeing that people make quilts using 1/4" hexagons, I got more templates : 3/8", 4/8", 5/8", 6/8", 7/8", 1", 1 1/8", 1 2/8", 1 3/8", 1 4/8" and 2". Might as well mix it up a bit.  I am having a really hard time with the smaller sizes, I need to leave an extra large seam allowance, and then trim after I have basted.

What size hexagons do you like to make?

Garden Maze Quilt Top shaping up

Here are the first 24 blocks of my garden maze blocks done with Japanese Taupe fabrics.  I need to get the block layout finalized and start to sew the rows together, and add a border. Maybe I can get to quilt this quilt top before year end and not have it be one of my endless UFOs.

Garden Path Quilt Blocks - Fujita Maze from McCall's Quilting Magazine.

Garden Path quilt block from McCall's Quilting. Pattern available online at :

Also called "Fujita Maze".  The first two blocks Are done in Japanese Taupe fabrics. This is the first quilt I am making using Japanese Taupe fabrics. After making 30 blocks in a 5 x 6 layout (still to be sewn into a quilt top) I started on using some floral FQs I had laying around, as a maze is an age old garden design. Quite a different look with the very same block.

block details: Finishes at 14", center square is 6"

Here are some other Japanese Fabrics that I am using in the quilt. This are what some shop owners call "Top Shelf" Japanese Fabrics, as they are woven and not printed.  The top two fabrics are light taupes with some woven threads, they are very nubby and have a great texture.

The bottom two fabrics have much more woven design using multiple colors. I especially love the red and purple threads randomly places in the black fabric.