Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crazy Hexies

Last Saturday, as part of my LQS's 1st anniversary celebration, I demonstrated the Hickory Nuts rulers/templates from  Hickory Hill Quilts.   Hexies are a popular shape these days and I ordered the large Hickory Nut with, admittedly, some hesitation.  I like rulers, but I'm not a big fan of buying rulers that have a single function, especially if I can do the same thing with a ruler I already have.   I wondered why I couldn't just cut hexagons of 2 different sizes, and save the money.  It turns out that the nested quality of the rulers is important--or, at least very useful, in making these self-bound hexies.

The instructions come with the ruler, and there are some nice videos on YouTube, but I added a step that I think might be useful to some, so I'm going to outline the steps here. (And it may serve as a reminder to the folks who stopped by the demo last week.)

Using the center template, I fussy-cut the focus fabric and a piece of batting.  I like to use a thin batting, a good thing since I have plenty of thin cotton batting floating around the studio.

The outer template is for the backing (which is also the binding).

The outer template is also a placement template for the focus fabric and batting, so they are perfectly centered on the backing--important for the binding step coming up.

However, I add an extra step that makes the binding more even and consistent (at least, for me).  I use the center template to cut a piece of oak tag (or manila file folder).  Using the outer template placed over the backing piece, I place the oak tag piece in the center of the back and pin it.

Then I use the oak tag piece as an edge so I can press creases on all six sides.

Remove the oak tag, and again use the other template as a placement tool, this time to center the focus fabric and batting.  (You can see the batting peeking out a bit.  I did that on purpose when I set up the photo, so you could see that it was there.  :-)  That's my story.

Then the rest is simply a double-fold binding, done one side at a time.  The pressed crease serves two purposes here:  1) it provides a crease against which to line up the edge of the fabric for the first fold, and 2) it IS the fold for the second fold of the binding.

Just make your way around the six sides, double-folding as you go.  I have used some clips here to prepare a couple sides ahead of my stitching, but I have also done it by simply folding a side just before top-stitching it.  Oh, and the nice thing about binding this way is that you don't have to worry about that awkward angle at the corners--the miter takes care of itself.

The hexies in the photos are made with the Extra Large Hickory Nut, and they would work fine on their own as mug mats or a trivet on a table.  If you want to join hexies, as I have done with some Large hexies for this table mat,  you can just butt the edges up against each other and zig-zag with a matching thread--or a contrasting thread and a decorative stitch. I like the effect of the binding all around the hexies--it adds another dimension, and looks as if you spent a lot of time putting mitered borders on each one.

I decided at almost the last moment before the demo that a crazy quilt hexie quilt  might be kind of fun.  I pieced a crazy hexie on a muslin background cut just a bit larger than the center hexie template, did the stitching and beading, then trimmed to the correct size and followed the procedure outlined above to finish it.   I will eventually (maybe by the time I'm 116) make a quilt but, in the meantime, I can enjoy this as a small, standalone piece.

I'm thinking about doing a four-seasons crazy quilted piece, using batiks, and with a hexie for each season.  There is at least some hope that I'll finish that in my lifetime!


  1. Your crazy hexie is fabulous! You are very talented. I think I may need to try this for myself. Actually, I was looking for a reason to NOT buy the Hickory Nut template, but you weren't an effective detractor - LOL.

    1. Thanks, Taronna! (Sorry to be so long responding--I somehow missed the alert, and I'm not the world's most regular blogger.) I really did fall in love with the hexies you can make with the Hickory Nut. I had to buy a few sizes, don't you know. ;-)