Hexagons. They’re one of those quilting fads that seem to come and go. Popping up every couple of years or so, torturing quilters with the desire to make smaller, and smaller hexagons, or mixed levels of small and gigantic hexagons.
I was introduced to hexagon piecing through a quilt called the Grandma’s Flower Garden. I thought that it was beautiful in it’s simplicity, and I could immediately see the draw of using hexagons, something so similar, but so different to the standard square or triangle piecing pieces. It wasn’t until several years later when I was introduced to a quilt as you go hexagon that I fell in love all over again, and I made my first hexagon items.
Truth be told, when I picked up quilting again in my mid-twenties, I had high aspirations of becoming a quilting purist. Everything that I made would be hand-cut, hand-pieced and hand-quilted. About three months, I realized if I ever wanted to make things beyond nine-patches, or even get a single quilt top done before I was 80, I’d need to compromise on my quilter’s morals, give up the ghost, and break out the sewing machine.
Hexagons, though, provide me that much needed return to my lofty goal, and give me not only an outlet for hand-quilting, but also something to easily and mindlessly do when I’m bored. The first project that I finished was a baby I-Spy quilt. The center of each hexagon was fussy cut to include animals, letters, shapes. Once completed, you can use it as a blanket, a play center on the floor, and you can play the I-Spy game, “I spy with my little eye…”.
During the time I was making the I-Spy quilts, I inherited several hundred hexagons from a friend who decided that hexagons just weren’t her thing. Coupled with my own scrap pieces, I started putting together a throw. It didn’t take long for me to be lost in a mountain of hexagons, and six sides of overwhelmed. I still love this project; I’m still doing it all by hand. It’s just a project that I’ve come to realize can only be accomplished in small stints, but it does afford me the ability to feel accomplished, even little bits at a time.
Making these quilt as you go blocks is actually really easy, and they’re a great use of scrap material from your bin. Each block consists of a 5 1/2 inch hexagon of fabric, and two 3 1/2 inch hexagons, one of batting, and another of fabric.
Place the larger hexagon face-down. Stack the batting and face up smaller fabric hexagon so that the edges are in alignment with the larger hexagon. To create the “binding” you fold the larger hexagon in towards the small block. Each side will be double folded. The first fold takes the outer edge of the large hexagon in to meet the outer edge of the smaller hexagon. it helps to finger-press this fold, and it will make sewing easier once the block is complete. The second fold takes the fabric of the larger hexagon up and over the smaller hexagon.
Once the first side is pinned, move around the hexagon along conjoined sides completing the first and then second fold consecutively until all six sides are pinned. When I’m hand-sewing the edges I use a blind stitch to tack down the binding. I also blind stitch the hexagons edges to one another, however, you could use any method that you’d like to put the blocks together. I’ve seen a few quilts where the hexagon edges were sewn together with a quarter inch seam. This makes for an interesting honeycomb effect on the overall quilt. I’ve also seen them stitched down with a blanket stitch. Experiment away on what works best for your taste.