This is part of the Hexy MF quilt along series. For more details check out the previous posts (below). Feel free to jump in at any time and please share pics in our flickr group!
Now, we’ve covered basting by both glue and thread and you should have made a good start on basting your hexies by now (some of you may have finished basting altogether!). We now ned to start sewing the individual hexies together into flowers.This bit is rather satisfying, as a stack of flowers looks like you’ve really achieved something rather than just a stack of never ending hexagons basted and sat in a tin (which looks beautiful, but I find I start to go a little crazy after basting!)
First up you need to select a needle you’re comfortable with. I like to use the clover black gold needles, they’re thin and sharp. Other people I speak to like straw needles (I love these for binding actually), and I have another friend that swears by tiny applique needles. It’s personal preference, but you need a needle with a sharp point and that is really quite thin to make stitches that you won’t see too much from the front. Then you need to select a thread that is neutral – you could change your thread every time you sew a different fabric, but why make life difficult for yourself? Choose a neutral that is barely visible – something like a grey or off white is usually a good choice. I am using Aurifil 2615 in 50 weight. It’s a great grey. In fact, all of the greys are great greys and I use most of them an awful lot.
Take a centre hex and matching 6 ‘petal’ hexies and start by placing the centre hex and one petal hex right sides together, aligning the edges. Take your threaded needle and poke the needle in at one edge and pulling the thread through, leaving a short tail (I am left handed, so I start at the left side, and sew to the right, but either corner is fine!) under the fold. Either do a couple of stitches in one place to hold the thread, or knot by sewing through a second stitch.
You are going to whipstitch along this first edge, using stitches that are every couple of mm or so. A whipstitch loops over the top of the edges – a handy video tutorial for it can be found here (with reference to hemming, but it’s the same principle). Not too many stitches or you’ll create a ridge, and not too few or you’ll leave holes. Just catch the edges of both sides, missing the papers. This should be quite easy to do, if you are struggling to miss the papers you have basted a little tightly so bear that in mind for next time!
When you get to the edge, finish with a quilters knot, or over stitch a couple of times to prevent unravelling and cut your thread off. Always finish the edge off like this – don’t be tempted to just move on to the next hex – if you make sure each seam is secure you will have a much stronger finished piece. If you use just one length for the whole of the flower and don’t tie off or knot, imagine what will happen if just one stitch breaks later on and your quilt is all finished? Disaster would strike.
Your stitches will be barely visible from the front side. They may be a little visible, but that’s ok. You are not a sewing machine, you are not expected to do microscopic stitches. Just do as tiny as you can do comfortably and worry more about consistency and neatness than if they are visible. (if you click through to any of these pics, you can view them full size and see the stitches up close for a better idea of stitch length and spacing).
Continue onto the next side of the centre hex. Repeating what you did the first time. Do this for all 6 of the petals, so they have sides attached to the centre but not to each other.
See…the centre is attached at every side but the petals are still floppy!…
To sew up each petal edge pinch 2 sides so they are right sides together and working from the edge closest to the centre hex, whipstitch along the seam. Just as before – taking your needle in through the corner and knotting, and all the way to the edge, and knotting and cutting off.
Do the same for each of the edges. Working from the centre out.
From the front your seams will look like this.
And like this from the back.
And that is it!
Carry on and do the same thing over and over and over again until all of your flowers are assembled. Some people in the flickr group are well on their way with this – but don’t they look amazing stacked up?
Before I go – I just want to tell you about a great new feature Brenda and Jeni have started at Pink Castle fabrics. I love this idea. It’s a stash stack club. Read all about it over here. And whilst we are on the subject of Pink Castle fabrics, if you need to go shopping for Hexy MF fabrics (or any fabrics!) use KATY15 on checkout for 15% off orders over $35 (excluding shipping). That coupon works on all fabrics – including those in the sale section as well.