Sunday, March 11, 2012

Prepping Hexagons!

It hit me --- in the rooma-zooma of getting everything packed and ready to leave for today’s flight to Little Rock that I had told myself on my LAST FLIGHT that I “Need to cut more neutral hexagons, there are only the boring and repetitive ones left ---“

Did I remember? Hardly. Unless at-the-last-minute counts!

Someone tell that quiet little inner voice to speak up a little sooner, and to speak a LITTLE LOUDER please!

I have been rough-cutting my hexes out of 2.5” strips. If I tilt my plastic template on end, so the widest points are at the strip edges, I can trace hex-to-hex-to-hex so they share a common cut edge ---

Wait -- let me back track a bit and I'll show you the whole process!

First I needed to cut some more neutrals strips ---I have mostly “dark” neutrals left in the 2.5” strip drawer – I’ve cleared out SO MANY STRIPS with the completion of the Winston Ways and Midnight Flight quilts ---so I got to finally, wonder of wonders, pull in NEW FABRIC instead of “same old scraps!”.

Remember that 25 cent sale at Quilt Lover’s Hang out in Fort Meyers?

And how I used those pieces as “packing material” when shipping these boxes home that got busted open by Fedex?!

Those pieces of “packing material” have been sitting at the end of the ironing board staring at me, so instead of ironing them, folding them, and filing them away in with the fat quarters ((These pieces were at least the size of a fat 1/8 – some larger!)) I ironed them and took them straight over to the Accuquilt Studio to slice them into submission.

25 cents a piece! Could YOU resist? Well, it made me wish I had gone back again LATER because my friend Pati said that when SHE went back, they were marked down further to 6/$1.00!! I’m not thinking about it. I’m not going to dwell – seriously!

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Here I am loading up the tray – I can cut through 10 layers no problem…I give myself a smidge excess over the outside edge….and stagger lay them so that I don’t get all the thicknesses built up in one location.

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This is the outside edge after running it through. You can see there is NOTHING worth saving here! :cD

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I loaded the tray twice, but the second pass hardly was full at all --- all these 2.5” strips are ready to go. And in case the idea of “Waste” stops you ---

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This is the small pile of salvageable strings I got --- in here was ONE strip that I took to the cutting table and trimmed to 1.5” and put it in the 1.5” bin – but everything else? Right into the neutral strings box! A girl can never have too many neutral strings, you know? ;c)

Time to mark some hexes!

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I’ve got a plastic template that I use that gives me a hex that is just a bit OVER 1/4” larger all the way around than the size of paper hexes I am using. Do you see how they are traced on the fabric? There are 8 layers here. I only trace on the TOP LAYER, and I want my tracing to be on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric, using a pigma pen. This way, when I cut the hexes, only 1 in 8 has any pen markings, barely visible at all ----

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And since all of my seams are held OPEN by the basting stitches on the back of my work ---((Yes, the basting stays in! Check HERE for the hexie tutorial!)) any pen marks are going to be facing the batting on the inside of the quilt, not shadowing through the top. Does that make sense to you? I hope it does!

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I simply use a good pair of dress making shears to cut through all 8 layers in the stack. It goes really fast. "Rough cut" means they don't have to be perfect. I know some just use squares and let all of that excess just be bulky in the center of the hex – but I don’t want all that bulk in there if I am going to hand quilt this. I don’t think the work lays as flat with all that excess fabric from a square just left wadded up in the center. To me that is the same as leaving dog-ears on your triangles when piecing, and you KNOW how pet-peevish I am about that! ;c)

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In no time at all I had a nice stack of NEW VARIETY to add to my busy-bag for my trip. And a nice stack of 2.5” strips to add back to the 2.5” neutral strip drawer to re-stock that too.

This next trip is a longie --- with LOADS of airplane/airport time. Thanks to USAIR I leave Greensboro NC on a 15 minute flight to Charlotte where I sit to catch my flight to Little Rock. That’s not so bad ---just a 2 hour flight to Little Rock from Charlotte ---but get this…my next leg? I’m head from Little Rock, AR directly to Los Angeles, LAX!

Well, directly is not as direct as it seems ---

To get there on USAIR I have to fly from Little Rock BACK to Charlotte – ((Closest hub!)) And SIT there for 3 hours, 90 miles from my home – so I can catch a FLIGHT direct from Charlotte to LAX that gets me into LA at 9:45pm. Like I said ---always keep a busy-bag and keep it well stocked, because there is lots of “found time” for handwork on plane trips!

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Here’s the progress on the latest section I’m working on. This is corner fill-in #3. Doesn’t look like much I know, but would you believe there are 152 hexes here? I’ll show you a pic when I get home and we’ll see how much I got done ---

Here’s hoping we ALL remembered to Spring Forward our clocks this morning ---have a great Sunday everyone!


  1. Anonymous7:49 AM EDT

    Speaking of hexagons...I uncovered a shoe box full of precut hexagons. There are 50+ little cellophane packages of Grandmother's Flower garden blocks. What I can't figure out is the layout the original owner intended for these blocks. I placed some pictures of my flea market find on my blog. Perhaps some of you followers could offer some insight. http://quiltinbee.blogspot.com/

  2. I cut freezer paper hexies on my GO!Baby and then iron them onto 2.5" squares (and, I'll admit it), I just fold that excess over, baste and then whip into place. How do you plan to finish the edges??? That's where I get stuck every time....have a great sew-flight Julierose

  3. Loving the hexagons - I feel the need to make some soon

  4. Prepping hexies is a lot of work, but so worth it. Have fun in Little Rock, ARK (South Pacific is now in my head)


  5. At least you can sew on flights. UK airlines will still not let you take even a cross stitch blunt needle following 9 11. Last time I flew from UK to Florida I was bored out of my brain. I rang airline we were flying with and they said no to a blunt needle and no to a clover cutter. Your hexies are coming on great. I cannot wait to see the whole top. Safe journey Bonnie

  6. I love these tips. I need a pair of dress making shears. Great idea to cut through 8. I only cut through 2 at a time. I'm almost done with my grandmother's flower garden for my daughter's wedding. http://sweetwoodruffs.blogspot.com/2012/03/grandmothers-flower-garden-quilt.html

  7. Ok...I don't understand your flights at all! Sounds like you will have lots of time for your hexies. I am so in love with your hexie quilt. I need a lesson on sewing them together - or I should say sewing them together quicker! I did one diamond and it took me HOURS!

  8. The airlines make no sence... fly from charlotte to little rock and back to charlotte??? why couldn't you just wait in charlotte for the flight to come back and go to LAX????
    Glad you remembered and had time to cut everything.
    Looks like you'll have time to work on them!

    1. LOL ... I think Bonnie has a workshop in Arkansas, then she has another one in California. :o)

  9. How long have you had your Accuquilt Studio cutter, Bonnie and do you use it for other size strips as well?

  10. Have a great time In Arkansas !

  11. Bonnie, "smart on you" for getting that Accuquilt cutter! It allowed you time to cut all those hexies that otherwise would have had to wait til you had "more time" to replenish your busy kit. I went back and read the Fedex post, somehow I missed that one -- about your AARP letter? Don't worry, they'll keep sending them! They put me on their mailing list just before I hit 50; I've never responded, I guess I was a little put out that they were so "into my business" they knew exactly when I was eligible! I've been getting their mailings for 11 years now...

    1. And yet I'm well over 50 and never received a single letter from AARP! I consider myself fortunate in that respect.

    2. Anonymous6:02 PM EDT

      Ditto! AARP is NOT my friend. I'll never pay them a penny. Too invasive.

  12. Hope you have a safe trip. I'm disappointed I won't get to see you in LA this time!

  13. I think I would just wait in Charlotte. Sew Sew Sew.............:D

  14. I have just recently been tempted to do hexies and I am not sure on on one thing what to do. That is on ironing them I won a bag of plastic hexies that I can use as patterns and then pop out after sewing them together. Do I need to iron them to keep their shape and if so what point to I do that. Sorry new if this is a dumb question.


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  16. The latest section right :-) so we are close to a finish. I remember so good that you worked on it here :-)

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  18. Thanks Bonnie. I used to be intimidated by the hexagon quilts, but now - I know how it's done, and I'm off to look for some patterns.


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