Friday, 21 May 2010


I have been itching to do a bit of hand sewing which coincided with a neighbour asking me to help her make a simple patchwork quilt. A rummage through the stash revealed loads and loads of pretty fabrics that I have been saving for just such a project. Now, I have to be truthful here...I have several quilts in the making, so I must be mad to start another I hear you yelling over cyber space. However, I have always wanted to make a hexagon quilt using the paper piecing method.
The history of this type of quilt dates back to the 1800's when fabric was costly and every scrap was saved. Small blocks were constructed and several were then sewn together until it was big enough to make into a quilt.

So, the sun was shining and a gentle breeze was blowing and into the washing machine all the pretty fabric went. A few hours later and it was all dry and smelling of spring.

Out with a hot iron and you end up with lovely neat piles of crisp fresh fabric already to use.

However, we are still not ready to begin because a template has to be chosen and the required number of hexagons cut my case 216 in all.
I can hear some of you groaning from here, you are saying that life is too short and just get the sewing machine out and have done with it! Go on, be honest. But, I really, really enjoy this method of quilting. I admit that the sewing is more fun, but this is all part of it. Sat under the dappled shade of the apple tree, a cool glass of elder flower cordial and the waft of wall flowers on the breeze. What could be nicer?

So, now all the papers have been done, it's the turn of all those gorgeous fabrics. I might say at this point that I use old leaflets and magazine pages for my templates. Ordinary paper is just not quite rigid enough and cardboard is too thick. The leaflets at supermarket checkouts are perfect...shhhh, don't tell tham I said that!

Then when all that is done, it's time to begin stitiching. For this quilt I am trying to make no more than 2 or 3 hexagons in the same fabrics, and in some cases like the lilac polka dot above, I only have enough material for for one single hexagon. I use cheap old cotton for the tacking/basting, which you do all the way around each hexagon. Here is what it should look like.

They soon pile up as each one only takes a couple of minutes to do. And soon my little pile becomes a small stack of bright jewels.

I am really enjoying the making of this quilt. I like the repetition of it and above all, I love the yummy fabrics that are finally getting used. All of them are 100 % cotton. I believe that it is important to do this and that you should wash all your fabric before hand, just in case of shrinkage and loose dye colours.

On the subject of yummy fabrics, here are my favourite, favourites at the moment. I still do not have enough material and so ebay will be my next port of call for some more.

I know that it isn't everyones cup of tea, but I love it!
Dev x


Sophie - Chez Sophie said...

Oh those fabrics are lovely, and it looks like you had lots of fun making those hexagones.
Can't wait to see the finished quilt.
Luv Sophie xxx

Toria said...

I love the look of this style of quilt & have a low priority plan to make one oneday. At the moment I'm just collecting pretty pieces of fabric for it, as they catch my eye. I don't think the pile is quite large enough (especially since I occasionally raid it for other projects!), but I'm slowly getting there. Maybe I should just follow your example & start with what I have.

I have also started making my paper hexagons. I opened Word, picked the hexagon shape & sized it to what I thought looked right, then copied & pasted it all over the page, then printed a stack of pages. I hope they work out okay because I've spent a lot of time cutting out a ziplock baggie full of them.

I think they are a great portable project, you can take just a few anywhere & not have to be tied to your sewing maching.

marigold jam said...

I tried this sort of patchwork once but it was too labour intensive for me I am afraid! I look forward to seing your progress and am sure it will look super in those lovely fabrics. Will you just join them in a random fashion? I have a small wuilt I bought in a charity shop and its done in sort of flowers but I am not sure I like it that much and wonder if it would have been better more random.

Good luck and enjoy your quiet time under the apple tree!


VintageVicki said...

Gorgeous - a proper hexy patchwork project is on my to-do list.

Think I might start with a cushion though.

Tabiboo said...

Love your fabric stash - there are some great patterns I spy.

I love hexagons though mine is still in the making....about six years on! I figure I can pass it on to the girls one day to finish off - maybe. You never know it could become an heirloom!!

Have a smashing weekend.

Nina xxxxx

ps. we've woken to mist, mist and more sodding mist - where's the heat wave???

melanie said...

I can not wait to see the finished quilt, the fabrics are so pretty, it will look gorgeous. xxx :)

Sarah said...

Great fabrics - like you, I enjoy the handstitched form of quiliting. I'm in the middle of a hexagon quilt cushion at the moment and trying to be random with my fabrics!
Looking forward to seeing your finished article!

the pig lady said...

Hi Dev! It's so lovely to be catching up with life in blog land. I am so in awe, I know full well that I simply don't have the necessary patience to make a quilt and those fabrics are sooo pretty, I can't wait to see the progress.

I hope you've had a lovely sunny weekend, hugs Debs xx

the pig lady said...

Hi Dev! It's so lovely to be catching up with life in blog land. I am so in awe, I know full well that I simply don't have the necessary patience to make a quilt and those fabrics are sooo pretty, I can't wait to see the progress.

I hope you've had a lovely sunny weekend, hugs Debs xx

the pig lady said...

I have clearly been away far too long as I can't even leave a message without creating a muddle! Sorry for the endless repeats, Debs xx

Anonymous said...

I love the photo of all the fabric hanging on the line! Very pretty!
Vivienne x

Anonymous said...

Like you, I love sewing hexagons, and many people have told me to just use a machine. There is no way, so far as I know, you could do hexagons on a machine anyway, but even if there was, it is something I would always do by hand, as there is something almost contemplative about sewing the squares, removing the papers and so on.... I use thin birthday cards or coloured drawing paper, the latter is extremely cheap coming from Tesco in a huge pad for a couple of pounds, and will last a lifetime! Looking forward to seeing it as it grows Dev.