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Social Distancing – the perfect time for a hexies quilt pattern

Social Distancing – the perfect time for a hexies quilt pattern

by Pam Voth

I decided to approach social distancing and this time of isolation with an attitude of gratitude. I have lots to be thankful for – that I had started my own stash of fabrics – some may call it a ‘hoard’ but, just like that, it went from hoarding to being prepared!

I also decided to live in the learning/growing zone of this experience, expanding my learning from last month’s baby quilt and look for opportunities and ask myself, “When I look back at all, what do I want this moment to have been?”

Preparing for the final product – hexie flowers

Luckily, we have SO MANY ways to stay connected so, through the magic of Facebook messenger and Zoom and texting, I still managed to stay connected to my quilters and, now, my dear friends.

Staying connected – quilting mentors and social distancing

I had expressed a desire to create a spring table runner and prior to isolation, we headed out to shop for some spring fabrics. I have now experienced several ‘quilting group’ fabric shopping trips that include great advice, lunch, laughs and connection and friendship.

Fabric for my hexagon table runner with matching Gütermann thread

In a bit of pre-isolation wisdom, I even purchased a hexagon-maker I found NOT in the fabric section of the craft store (as we were chastised by the salesperson – apparently hexagons are not real quilting???) but instead, in the scrap booking/paper craft section. Today’s lesson: Don’t let anyone – ever – make you feel bad about your project. If you use batting, it’s quilting.

Paper hexies ready for Fabric with Fiskars Hexie Maker

So, with my fabrics, purchased and some from my stash, I consulted my online sources for ideas (thanks, QUILTsocial).

My quilting mentor guided me into the world of hexies, both a time consuming and satisfying way to spend days, weeks, months! At the moment, time is definitely my friend and besides – I was enthralled with this new project idea. I began by making cardboard hexies…using my hexi-maker.

I decided that I would make 10 flowers and use the butterfly fabric for the background. I picked 7 fabrics for the flowers and began cutting and ironing my fabric into hexies. I looked up on YouTube how to baste them, picture my sad face because I couldn’t just go over and ask my mentors to show me. Sometimes, however, it’s good to figure things out for yourself and then brag about it. 

Basting the fabric to the cardboard hexie

I think for most of us, we miss the physical closeness of the groups we had during ‘real’ life – although this is feeling pretty real at the moment…

I decided some online chatting and show and tell would help, so we had a sharing Wednesday morning meeting. I got to ask a few questions, like… How does one sew these flower petals together?

Basted hexie becomes a flower

I was also inspired by new projects that were being completed, started, and those considered.

Now, I find that when I complete a piece of a project or a project completely, I text a picture for feedback, praise and suggestions. Staying connected is the important thing and feeling grateful to have quilting as something to fill my days is a thought I have daily and often share with my quilting friends. Even if we are apart, the joy of our connectedness through quilting is still there.

Eventually, after a couple of tries, I figured out how to create my flowers without the threads showing through where I had sewn them.

Now, with the flowers nearly completed, I needed to figure out how to display them on my runner.  I texted for advice. I felt I needed to add a background to my flowers so they didn’t get lost in the butterflies and my quilting friends completely agreed, so now for cutting bigger sized hexies for the background with a different sort of ruler.

Cutting large hexies using my Fons&Porter Hexagon Ruler (Omnigrid) and Omnigrid Cutter

10 hexagons ready to attach to my table runner

With the hexie flowers stitched to the background, I was ready to sew them to my runner.

Auditioning a layout

Do you know that feeling when you find a piece of matching fabric that’s exactly the right size for the back of your runner? I do…because during a pandemic, you don’t just run out to search for a new piece of fabric!

Now, I find that I don’t have enough batting, so with spray basting and patience, I made a big enough piece of batting.

Spray basting the batting together

Background, quilt batting and butterfly front pinned together….now to add the hexies in a pattern.

It takes a LOT of attempts to figure out how you want to arrange your hexies on the quilt – that’s fine. It’s the balance between showing off the background and arranging them (using a ruler) to look appropriately spaced on the background. You can be the judge of my success with this!!

Sewing the hexagons to the runner using Gütermann thread

Now to quilt – machine quilting – thanks to my mentors and some confidence from doing it and doing it and doing it, I quilted around the large hexie shape…three times.

Ready to machine quilt

OK, now for binding…time to watch a video to remind me how to do it.

I cut the strip, pieced it together and ironed it in half. Attaching the raw edge to the right side of my runner, I sewed a ¼” seam to attach the binding to the runner. Oh, and just to be clear, I did NOT plan ahead so, it was a bit of a scramble to find a piece of fabric with enough on it to make the binding. Not to mention, cutting it the WRONG width to start with and then having to re-cut…just enough fabric…luck was definitely on my side.

Preparing the binding using clips and the iron

The final step…another project almost complete…picture me celebrating by text and Zoom with my quilting group.

I folded and pressed the binding around to the back of the quilt and the blind stitching began. I chose blind stitching because I don’t think I would be able to sew the binding on by machine to my satisfaction. I know, that’s pretty crazy but, the more I quilt, the higher my standards get.

Machine quilting around the hexagons

What is up next for me? The Dresden Plate…yes, I looked it up and it’s beautiful. I’m hoping that if it all works out, I’ll give it to my friend and mentor (although not a quilting mentor) for her 80th birthday.

Quilting allows you so many opportunities to connect with people – from the online conversations, the texts and the phone calls, to the opportunity to give your hard work and love-filled pieces to some of your favorite people.

The finished table runner

Fancy Stylized Table Runner

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