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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To Quilt or Not to Quilt.....

Someone asked yesterday about how to do mini quilts. There are many ways. I thought I would throw in my favorite.

Let me explain. I prefer doing it like the blue and white one that I showed you the other day. That is, I like doing it with stitchery. If I have to do it the real way, I like English paper piecing. So here goes.

Here are a couple of hexagon blocks that I did this morning to show you. The one on the left is done with some material that had stripes of the blue alternating with stripes of the roses. So theoretically you only need one piece of material to do this one. It would end up looking kind of like a lattice work piece. The other one is two compatible materials that would end up looking kind of contemporary, considering the patterns.

This is the pattern that was popular back in the depression and called Grandmother's Flower garden. If you do it in the traditional pastels it would look totally different from either one of these.

I prefer not to follow that pattern because the original hexes in that pattern are only about 2" across. It would look way out of scale. I have done these with a 3/8" hexagon that came from a template that is used for drawing diagrams of furniture by designers in 1/4" scale. It is actually for a lamp in the layouts. As you can see, I drew a bunch of the hexes side by side so that it would be easy to cut them out.

After you cut them out, you cover them with fabric by putting a spot of glue stick glue on one side and laying it on the back of your fabric. You have to allow enough space for about 1/8" inch of fabric all around each piece.

By laying the template over the fabric you can pick and choose what you want on each piece.

Here you can see that I aligned the pieces so that they would form a pattern. You need to keep the grain of the fabric straight. That is, you need it running from point to point or flat side to flat side. Otherwise you will have trouble with fraying.

Now you baste the fabric over the back, folding the points under as you go. The top mostly white piece shows the seam allowance. The second one is the back after stitching and the bottom one is the front.

Starting at one corner, whip stitch the edges of one side together. Do this with the patches facing.
Next, one piece at a time, yo will add the next four pieces. Whip stitch two sides. You will have to bend the center piece to do the second side.
The last patch is added by sewing on three sides. Again you will have to do a bit of manipulating to keep the sides together as you sew. To finish, you will pull all of the paper pieces out. When you do, you will be surprised at how "quilted" it looks. You can back it with fabric or if it is not going to show you can simply iron on a pellon backing.
Now for the good news. You don't have to do hexagons. You can do squares for a nine patch or long strips to do a log cabin.
If you decide that you don't want to do it by hand, you can opt to use a machine and do foundation piecing. If you are interested in that method, try this site. It goes into much more detail than I could here.
I am going back to finish the blue and white quilt now. Then I am going to make a bed. It will need a home. See you tomorrow.

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