Hand Stitching Hexies

Although I seldom do any hand stitching on my quilts, I like to have a hand  project available for traveling, etc.  I’ve searched for something that will hold my interest –  for years.  First I tried yo-yos. Then small collages.  Finally, I decided to revisit hexies (or hexagons.)

Hand Stitching Hexies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

These are traditionally used in English paper piecing, something I learned WAY back when.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to hand join the hexies together, but I found that I quite liked making them.  And don’t they look pretty when grouped by color?

After making a few, I began to experiment with how to easiest join them. They’re created on templates of card stock /”paper,” which is generally not removed until after they’re sewn together.  I wondered if there was some other way to stiffen them, so the card stock templates could be removed.  I tried heavily starching them, and they had plenty of body.  So, I gave it a try, appliqueing the hexies onto a plain background, and securing them with a zigzag stitch worked in invisible thread.

It worked really well, although all those passes to catch every edge took longer than I expected.

Hand Stitching Hexies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I did a lot of stopping and starting to avoid double passes with the stitching.  Next time, I think I won’t worry about that and it will be much more efficient.

Eventually it occured to me that since I wanted a hand sewing project, I should at least try hand joining them.

Hand Stitching Hexies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And, sure enough, it worked fine.  Templates are removed only after all the surrounding seams are in place.  The holes help when removing the “paper.”  You just stick a chop stick or dull pencil in there and pry it out. I made my own templates and used a hole punch to make the holes.

Hand Stitching Hexies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

So, then I wondered if I could hand stitch them without the templates, if I starched them heavily again.  I’m still working on the sample for that, and I think it’s going to work just fine.

Hand Stitching Hexies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Hand Stitching Hexies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I’m not at all sure what I’ll be doing with these.  I’m pretty sure I’ll use them in coordinating colors, perhaps as a background for a future design.  In the meantime, making them is a fun way to dip into my scrap collection.

This little project came in handy on a recent flight, (even though the tray table was TINY.)

Hand Stitching Hexies. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Just what I needed.

If you want to try your hand at these, here are a few tutorials and tips:
– An easy to cut template (that I used.)
– Making hexies
– Joining hexies

Ellen Lindner
P.S. I also tried making hexies from circles.  The technique is easy, but I found that they weren’t very accurate, which made joining them unfeasible.  They’d still work well for applique, however.

2 Responses to Hand Stitching Hexies

  1. Michele July 20, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    I’ve never been a fan of hexies (or many other rigid geometric shapes), but the abstract shape of the red orange piece is a bit of an “ah ha” for me. I never thought of creating an irregular shape to applique onto a design.

    Don’t take too long adding them to a project or two! I can’t wait to see what you do.

    • Ellen Lindner July 20, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

      It’s fun to consider all the possibilities, Michele. (I think it will be awhile, though, before I actually DO anything with them. We’ll see.)

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