Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Technique Tuesday: Taking the fear out of hexagons!

Debby Kratovil of Debby Kratovil Quilts is here with another Technique Tuesday post! Up today: taking the fear out of hexagons. Debby will show you how to cut and fussy cut these six-sided shapes (and give you some ideas on how to use them!) Or as she calls it, "the joys of hex with BenarTEX Fabrics!"

Here's Debby:
The people on the bus go round and round . . .
September is for Back to School in most places. My grandsons are back in daycare, but they don't take a bus - yet! Did you miss these free patterns for the bus and all sorts of trucks and cars? Pam Rocco shares her via Quilters Newsletter.
Round and round . . .
And you can see all of my own renditions of Pam's patterns here: For My Boys

Hilary (the mother of my two grandsons and my 2nd daughter) told me about the first time Miles got to ride a city bus. He was totally spellbound; star struck. Can you imagine how he will feel next year on a school bus with a bunch of little kids like him?

But, hey, this is supposed to be about quilting and fabric and patterns, right? I mean, my motto is: All quilts. Only quilts. All the time! No discussions about a bunion surgery for 8 days in a row (with graphic pictures). And discussions about the re-do of my bathroom and pictures of all the junk spilling out of the old cabinets (including unmentionable female hygiene products). I'm not making this up - there are professional quilters who go off the quilt path like that!!


First the fabric from Benartex: Head of the Class Collection:

Head of the Class Collection by Benartex Fabrics
Were you ever the head of the class? I was in my nerdy years a bazillion years ago. It can be a lonely place . . .

What did I make with this fun group of fabrics? I pondered for several weeks about what I could create. I'm sure Benartex despaired that I would ever find something.

First, let's cut one 6-1/2" strip from most of the prints. I didn't use the cream with apples because I am using a white background fabric and it would be lost. I also fussy cut from the large scale print with the "School Rocks" words on that (more about fussy cutting later).

Using the Creative Grids 60˚ ruler and the folded 6-1/2" strip (fold side at the bottom), I cut whole hexagons - YES, I did! Formula? Half the FINISHED height of the hexagon = 3". Align the 3" horizontal ruler line with the top raw edges of the folded strip. Slice on both sides.

6-1/2" x wof strip folded to 3-1/4" x wof (fold at bottom)
 And can we see the whole hexagon?
Open up the cut shape to reveal a PERFECT hexagon
How many whole hexagons can you get from a 6-1/2" x wof strip? Five (5)
And what about the little triangles left over from cutting like this? Eight (8)

5 whole hexagons; 8 little triangles to be used in another project
And tell us about fussy cutting! First, what does it mean? Centering a motif in the middle of a patch (being "fussy" about making sure an image is exactly where you want it to appear within the confines of a fabric patch).

First, cut out a freezer paper hexagon the same way you did the fabric. This is your template.

Cut out freezer paper hexagon

Next, iron it (waxy side down) over the motif you wish to use:

Iron to fabric, waxy side down. Cut it out with scissors or rotary cutter
Here it is:
Peel off freezer paper and you have a perfect hexagon with "School Rocks" in the center!
Now, let's see all the hexagons cut from the strips:
5 hexagons from each of the strips I cut
Well, what are you going to do with them? Let me show you a few ideas I have floating around in my fertile quilter's mind:

One of my "GO TO" patterns, my Hexie Ring. Sew them into a circle, add triangles cut from a 3-1/2" strip (using the CG ruler) and add center hexagon (faced with interfacing) last, sewing with a small zigzag stitch and monofilament thread (you can see this in the Owl Be There post below).

This block is 18" high and could easily be a table topper or child's large placemat!

Sew triangles to hexies; then hexies into a ring. Add center faced hexagon last
Sew hexagons in sets of 3, along with two triangles on each hexagon.
Each hexagon is joined with two white triangles. Then they are joined into a half-circle. The two half-circles are joined into a ring. The center hexagon is faced with NON-fusible interfacing (to turn the raw edges). The block is "squared up" with 30˚ triangles cut from the same Creative Grids 60˚ ruler.
18" high block

And a simple set of hexagon rows here:

Hexagons and white triangles; trim sides or add more white
I hope you look at your 60˚ rulers a little kinder after this. Can you believe you can cut whole hexagons with that thing?

You can see this technique at an earlier post with Benartex fabrics here: Boogie in Hen House
And an even earlier post using the Owl Be There Collection
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  1. Great hexies and thank you for sharing the ruler technique.

  2. Took me a long time to understand I wasn't a round hole, and I wasn't a square peg. I was a hexie! Now I'm at peace with myself. ;}

  3. Thanks for the great tutorial and for the tip!

  4. Great tutorial...the fabrics are so colorful!

  5. Thanks for the fabulous tips and tutorial. Your colorful fabrics are yummiest,love them all!

  6. Wonderful tutorial. Love Hexies . Also loved your bathroom re-do story. Just starting on a bathroom re-do. Hope the bunion is doing better. My husband has those on each foot as did his mom, she has had surgery.
    Thanks for sharing- TJ

  7. I am addicted to hexies, thank you for sharing this way of cutting them.