Friday, December 19, 2014

Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt - The Path and Border Options

If you are new to English paper piecing (EPP) and have made the 22 blocks that make up the Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt you might be wondering how they are put together into the quilt top and then once you've got them together, how you finish the quilt. That's what today's post is all about!

This is my quilt top put together without any borders! I designed the quilt with a triple light coloured path. In today's post I'll write about:

  • Constructing the path;
  • Sewing the blocks without a path;
  • Two methods of adding borders and
  • Finishing the quilt without a border.
Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt by Karen H 2014 approx. 62" x 71"

Constructing the Path
If you haven't already done so now it is time to decide on the path fabric! I designed the quilt with a triple path. I chose two light fabrics but you should select fabrics that appeal to you and that suit your blocks! The outer path surrounds each block and the middle path which is marked in pink is between the blocks after the outer path is sewn to them. As I look at this picture I realize I didn't colour in the pink in the lower right hand corner! Good thing I'm cute; otherwise I would be fired! 

You will need 24 hexagons of outer path fabric for each of the 18 blocks. In addition to the 18 full blocks there are 4 side setting block and they will each have 13 hexagons stitched to them.

You will also need to construct units made of outer path fabric for the corners (see Outer Edges of Path Fillers in diagram below) as well as the Vs for the top and bottom (see Top and Bottom Fillers in diagram below) . These units will be sewn to the quilt after the middle path has been attached.

The original middle path diagrams were not quite right so I've redrawn them and colour coded them to make placement easier. My original post on this topic has also been updated with these diagrams. This is what you will need to construct from your middle path fabric.

Middle Path Colour Key

The following diagram shows where these units will be placed. Notice that there are 18 pink units. Each one will be attached to each of your 18 full hexagon blocks. The units coloured in blue, green, gold, red and grey will be used to fill the remaining spaces.

Sew the middle path to the blocks in the first row and then stitch them together. Add the filler pieces at the top and corner. Repeat the process for the second row and then stitch the two rows together. Continue in this way until the top is assembled.

Don't want to make a path so what do you do?
No everyone will want to go to the effort of making a triple path so there is an alternative option that is available to those of you in that boat. Consider the following possibilities:
  • applique the hexagon blocks to a piece of wide backing fabric or
  • applique the hexagon blocks to background squares set on point.
The applique can be done by hand or by machine with a tiny zigzag stitch and invisible thread.

If you want to use a wide backing fabric it should measure at least 62" x 71". Fold the fabric vertically and horizontally and lightly press. Next fold the sides and line up the outer edges with the vertical fold and lightly press. Finally fold the top and bottom and line up the edges with the horizontal fold. These folds will serve as registration lines to help you line up your Value Proposition blocks. This is a fast easy and effective way to finish and you'll have nice straight outer edges so you can add borders!

The second option is to applique the blocks to background squares. You will need a 15 1/2" square for each of the 18 blocks. The square will finish at 15". You will also need side setting triangles for the partial blocks and to fill the spaces at the top and bottom. For the side setting triangles cut 2 squares that measure 22 1/2". Cut each of them on both diagonals (each square will yield 4 side setting triangles). The last pieces you will need to cut are the four corners and for those you will cut 2 squares that are 11 1/2" and cut on the diagonal (each square will yield 2 triangles). This will produce a larger quilt that that with a path but it is a quick and easy way to finish your blocks!

Once your blocks are appliqued you can add borders (if you want them) in the usual manner.

Adding border(s) to a hexagon quilt
Once you've sewn the middle path and filler pieces you've got your Value Proposition  quilt top put together! You might be asking "now what?" It is time to decide how to finish your quilt top. Here are some options for your consideration:
  • applique the quilt top to a border fabric or
  • create a straight edge by trimming the top then add a border.
When I was designing the quilt one of the options I considered is appliqueing the top and bottom edges of the quilt to a chintz print and then straighten the sides of the quilt and leave them without borders. I've seen this type of finish in very old quilts and it is interesting so if that is the look that appeals to your aesthetic why not consider it? Alternatively you could omit the top and bottom and add side borders. A third option is to use wider borders on the top and bottom and narrower borders on the sides (or vice versa). How about using to different but complementary fabrics for the borders, one for the top and bottom and the other for the sides? Use your imagination to make your Value Proposition quilt uniquely yours! Borders will go a long way to change the look and feel of your quilt.

I am considering appliqueing my quilt top to this fabric. It is from Andover's Winterthur Museum line. I've had it in my stash just waiting for the right quilt and Value Proposition might be it!

This is the look it would create.

I wrote a tutorial that explains how to applique a hexagon top to a border. The zigzag edge of the hexagons is not trimmed; I applique the hexagons to a strip of border fabric in order to create a straight outer edge. From there you could add additional borders or just bind the quilt. You will find my tutorial here. I also provide instructions for creating a mitered corner. I think my method is pretty simple and straight forward so do read it over before you make your decision.

Good Golly Miss Mollie by Karen H 2014

If you prefer to eliminate the zigzag edge of the hexagons so that the quilt top is straight edges all the way around there is a wonderful tutorial on Jo Morton's blog. You will find it here. I would like to thank Jo for allowing me to use a picture from her blog. To do this you remove the papers from the outer edge, press the quilt, trim the excess fabric (in the picture below it is the white hexagons that were trimmed down) and then add your border fabric. Don't forget to measure your quilt top and cut the border fabric to fit the top. Never just cut a strip of border fabric and sew it to the quilt top because they will not lay flat!

Image courtesy of Jo Morton of Jo Morton Quilts

How about finishing the quilt without a border?
What if you don't want to add borders or straighten the edges? This is an interesting option that allows you to maintain the zigzag edge of the hexagon quilt top exactly as it is without trimming. There is a great tutorial by Amy of  Badskirt blog and I would like to thank her for allowing me to share a picture from her blog. Amy demonstrates how you would use hexagons to finish the edges of your quilt. You will find the tutorial here.

Image courtesy of Amy Gunson of Badskirt

There you have it - options for finishing your Value Proposition Quilt. I hope I've given you lots of food for thought! If you're working on  Value Proposition please be sure to post pictures of your progress on the Value Proposition QAL page on Flickr.  I hope that you'll post pictures of your completed quilt tops too! If you have a blog and post pictures on your blog let me know so I can visit your blog and send others over to see your masterpiece! 

If after reading along you are tempted to get started on my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt links to all of the patterns and instructions  are under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H just under the banner at the top of this page. 

Thanks so much to those of you who sewed along with me and also to those of you who read along! I appreciate each and every comment and email message that you sent to me. I replied to each one so if you didn't hear back from me it would mean that you are a no reply blogger and I have no way to contact you unless you leave your email in the comment. The safest way to do this is to replace the "@" in your address with "at" and you could replace the "." with "dot"!

Phew! I'm done! I hope you enjoyed this QAL! I'm thinking about another QAL for 2015 so if you are interested stay tuned! Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tutorial: Planning the construction of a hexagon quilt

Looks like there is some interest in learning about my plan for constructing Lozagons so that's what today's post will be all about! This is a picture of the original quilt that was published on Lorraine's blog, Granny Loz.

Picture courtesy of Lorraine at Granny Loz

I usually do a sketch of my quilt before I get started so that I have a road map. In so doing it helps understand the quilt and it allows me to identify the type and number of units that make up my quilt. It also gives me ideas about constructing the quilt in sections.

This is my sketch of Lozagons. I  sometimes colour in my sketch with felt tip markers. The top and bottom of the quilt will be the same but I didn't sketch the bottom portion.

There are three basic units in this quilt. The first is a medallion of roses surrounded by a white background and pink hexagons; it is the centre of the quilt. 

Rose medallion

The balance of the quilt is constructed from two units that I describe as passion flowers and  snowflakes (turquoise). This is my diagram for the construction of passion flowers. It doesn't look like much in the picture but it will when it is attached to the snowflakes. The centre of each passion flower is a solid fabric. The first round of hexagons is a print, the second a different solid, the third is made up of two prints, six of one and twelve of the other. The final round is made up of six turquoise (this will form the points of the snowflakes) and eighteen of a single print. 

Diagram of passion flower

This is a picture of a passion flower stitched together. All of my passion flowers are made like this except for six of them that will have only four turquoise hexagons. More on this in a bit!

Passion flower

To make the turquoise snowflakes I start out by making a pile of rosettes.


Each rosette will need three hexagons added to it to make a triangle. The remaining points of the snowflake are created by the turquoise hexagons in the passion flower blocks.

Snowflake triangles

Once I have my rose medallion, snowflake triangles and passion flowers  I am ready to construct the quilt.

To construct the centre of the quilt I will use the rose medallion and the six passion flowers with only four turquoise hexagons. I will also need to construct six "crown" shapes that are coloured royal blue in my diagram. They are made of eight hexagons. These crowns will fill the spaces between the passion flowers and the rose medallion.  I stitched it to the lower left edge of the passion flower (you can see the crown fits in one of the two spaces that did not have a turquoise hexagon. I've marked a red circle to identify those spots. A snowflake triangle coloured in turquoise was sewn to the right side of the passion flower. I constructed six units in this manner.

These are the six passion flower units arranged around the rose medallion. I will stitch the six units together to create an "open donut". It is the same technique that I use to construct the passion flowers and you can read about it here. This is then stitched to the centre medallion and the open donut is closed. I like to work in this manner because it provides long continuous seams and that minimizes the number of starts and stops.

The next step was to attach a passion flower with snowflake triangles to either side to create a large diamond shape. If you examine the passion flower with the deep pink solid on the far right side you can see I attached two snowflake triangles, one on the upper left and the other on the lower left. This unit was then sewn to the quilt. I made a second unit (the passion flower with gold solid on the left) and attached it to the quilt.

This is my plan for constructing the balance of the quilt. The unit shown above is labelled A on my diagram. I will construct section B and attach it to the quilt. Section C is next followed by D, E and so on.

To construction section B I will need two passion flowers. To the first flower I will attach a pair of snowflake triangles. This will create a large diamond.

To the second passion flower I will sew two snowflake triangles like this.

To construct section B I will place the two units like this.

This is what the two diamonds will look like when they are sewn together. You can see the passion flowers and the snowflakes starting to emerge.

I generally construct several units before attaching them to the quilt. The reason is that they are still relatively portable but once I start stitching them to the quilt it becomes less so. I'll share more pictures of the construction of Lozagons as it grows.

So there you have it! I hope that this was helpful and informative. If you have any questions please feel free to ask because I am always willing to share. I  reply to every comment so if you don't hear back from me it means you are a no reply blogger. No reply bloggers can always leave their email address in the comment; just replace the @ sign with (at) (for example faeriesandfibres(at) and I'll be able to reply to you!

I'm linking up with HeLP for Hexie-aholics over at Sarah Did It! Pop on over to see what others are doing with hexagons!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

No sewing today

The little stinker is putting his foot down (on my sewing)! Guess I'll go to a Christmas party instead.

Hope you have a nice day!
Karen H

Monday, December 15, 2014

Moving along on Lozagons

Today I'll share three more blocks for my Lozagons hexagon quilt.

The other day I showed you the centre blocks arranged on the floor,

I've now stitched them together and I've added a block on either side. This represents the width of the quilt. The balance of the blocks will be sewn together into strips and then the strips will be added to this centerpiece. It makes for very efficient sewing! If you would like me to share a diagram to explain just let me know and I'll do it!

Today and tomorrow I've got to go out and run errands so there won't be much more sewing done! Oh well, needs must!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt - The Reveal

Yesterday I published the last block pattern in my Value Proposition Hexagon QAL.

In all there are 18 whole blocks and 4 partial side setting blocks. I designed the pattern with a triple path and selected two fabrics, both of which are very light but the middle path is just a shade darker. The effect is very subtle but it appeals to me because it shows off the blocks. A darker fabric would have made for a very dramatic quilt. It's all about personal taste! So now it is time to reveal my Value Proposition Quilt before the border is attached.

I am very pleased with how my quilt top turned out and if you've been sewing along I hope you are equally pleased with yours! If you didn't sew along but wish that you had it isn't too late. Links to all of the instructions and patterns are available under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H.

I know many of you have used the Flickr page to post pictures of your blocks and I sincerely thank you for that. I am very impressed with what I am seeing. If you haven't taken a look here are three quilt makers who have taken pictures of their blocks.

On Friday December 19 my post will be about the path (for those of you who need the help) and also about finishing the edges of the quilt. Those of you who are new to English paper pieced hexagons are likely asking how to deal with the edges of the quilt I will have several options for finishing your quilt! This is one of the fabrics that I am considering for the border on my quilt.

It is from Andover's Winterthur Museum line. This is what it would look like on my quilt. I also have an aqua print that I'm considering using (if I can find it in my stash)! It is still up in the air but hopefully I'll have made my decision by next week!

I'm liking up with Angie over at Quilting Readers Garden where you will find more hexagon inspiration!

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Friday, December 12, 2014

Value Proposition Quilt Along - Block 18

Welcome to the 18th and  last hexagon block in my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along. I hope you've enjoyed making the blocks. This has been a fun quilt for me (it is hexagons so of course it is fun) to make and to share. I've got my border fabric selected so next Friday I'll share pictures of the fabric and how I will attach the border fabric to my quilt top. So let's get going on the last block!

Value Proposition Map for Block 18

Value Proposition Recipe for Block 18
  • Cut 7 Light identified as A on Map (1 for Centre and 6 for Round 2)
  • Cut 4 Light that are slightly darker identified as B on Map (for Round 3)
  • Cut 6 Medium identified as on Map (for Round 2)
  • Cut 10 Medium-dark identified as D on Map (6 for Round 2 and 4 for Round 3)
  • Cut 10 Dark identified as E on Map (for Round 3)

My Value Proposition Block 18

Once again I chose to use a striped fabric to add visual interest to my quilt. You could do the same or you could use "made" fabric! Make it your own!

This is my Block 18! In case you haven't guessed, it is one of my favourites! Once again you can see that I've used the muddy colours that I'm naturally drawn however they look just as good if not better done it other colours and fabrics.

And there is photographic proof of this on the Value Proposition QAL page on Flickr. Head on over and see what others are doing,. While you are at it why not add pictures of your own Value Proposition Hexagon blocks I hope that you'll post pictures of your completed quilt tops too! If you have a blog and post pictures on your blog let me know so I can send others over to visit!

All of the patterns and instructions for my Value Proposition Hexagon QAL are under the tab Quilt Alongs by Karen H just under the banner at the top of this page. Have fun making Block 18. Tomorrow I'll share a picture of my quilt top minus borders. I love it and can't wait to add borders and get it quilted. I have a feeling it is going to be a well used and well loved quilt!

Next Friday (December 19) I'll write about adding the path (for those of you who need help) and options for finishing the edges of the quilt including attaching borders! If you need information about construction the path you will it here

I hope you enjoyed my Value Proposition Hexagon QAL. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I send an email response to every comment so if you don't hear from me it means you are a no-reply blogger and I have no way of contacting you (unless you leave me your email address).

Until I post again, happy sewing!
Karen H

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gardens of a King - The Reveal

Those of you who have been following along know that Missie Carpenter of Traditional Primitives contacted me in the summer to ask if I would be willing to test a pattern that she was designing and drafting. I thought it would be an interesting challenge so I immediately agreed. Her design was inspired by the King George III Coverlet (maker unknown).  The original quilt is dated 1803-1805 and is made with many printed cottons. It resides at the Victoria & Albert Museum in England.

When we started Missie had drafted the pieced blocks and she had a rough idea about how the quilt would look but she hadn't designed the entire quilt. There were 16 pieced blocks and I was to make two of each. I think this is one of my favourite blocks - I love the colours! The print fabric used in the "eye" was a tiny scrap that I trimmed away from the backing fabric of a quilt I machine quilted for my Mom. In was in the can of scraps to go in the garbage. I fished it out and was able to fussy cut the four pieces!

Once the blocks were made they were reverse appliqued to background fabric. Missie planned to use a variety of light fabrics but I opted to use a single light fabric for all of the blocks. It is amazing what a difference the reverse applique made. The blocks looked so polished! A block like this

looked like this when framed with the background fabric.

The pieced blocks finish 6" across so that makes for some small pieces of fabric. English paper piecing was the method used to construct these blocks and instead of thread basting, I used Missie's English paper piecing method which uses freezer paper and starch. You can see her tutorial here.

Missie designed a simple applique design for the centre medallion. All of her applique work is done with wool but I decided to use cottons. The circle in the middle is not part of the pattern. I thought that my fabrics needed to be spiced up a bit so that was my first addition. Including little details like this is a great way to put your own stamp on a quilt while still maintaining the original design.

I still thought it needed a little more so I cut some circles from the gold fabric and appliqued them to the base of the fleur de lis. The background fabric in this block is the same fabric used throughout the quilt.

Here is the finished medallion.

If you look closely at the original quilt you will notice a pieced block with a face. It is one of the blocks that really caught my eye and I wanted to try it out so I drafted my own pattern (a dinner plate was my starting point) and I drew a face. I had thought about using it as my medallion but have set it aside and will find another way to use it!

The next task was stitching 12 fruit and flower blocks for the border. The applique technique I chose to use was back basting applique. You can see my tutorial here.  I love the cherries! Almost all of the fabrics used for the pieced blocks and the applique blocks were cut from leftover bits in boxes of tiny scraps!

Each of the 12 blocks was to be framed with crescents and I went with butterscotch and caramel colours because I think they add richness. And of course I added my own detail! Each of the blocks has an insect of some sort - there's a ladybug on the leaf in the cherries block.

When I cut the crescent shapes there were some scraps and I used them to make the periwinkle stars that are placed between the applique blocks in the border. I added the circle as my own person touch. It is a repeat of the fabric used in the middle of the centre medallion. Repeating fabrics in this way adds not only visual interest but it gives the quilt a cohesive feel.

The last blocks were four pieced corner blocks for the outer border. I so enjoyed making the faces that I decided to put one in a border block. I LOVE this sun face! Again Missie's plan was to use light background fabrics but I liked the effect of the green border in the original quilt so I pulled an old green print from my stash and I think it is the perfect complement!

If you have a sun you need a moon so I drafted a block for the opposite corner and added a moon face in the middle!

As I worked on the blocks I also worked on the shark tooth borders. Missie and I worked very hard on the math to get them just right! So everything was made and it was time to stitch it all together! That was the fast and easy part - just long straight seams with very few points to match! First I will share Missie's quilt top.

Gardens of a King by Missie Carpenter 2014

Now I am SOOOOOO excited to share with you my finished quilt top! It is the same quilt but it has a different look and feel.The green border fabric anchors my blocks and gives the quilt some weight. I also added my own personal touches like the circle appliques, butterfly and insect appliques and the sun face (upper left) and moon face (lower right).

Gardens of a King by Karen H 2014

Making this quilt was a great experience. It is definitely not a quilt for a beginner but it is a quilt that is manageable for those with experience hand sewing. If you are a fan of the Dear Jane or Nearly Insane quilts this one is for you!

Missie is posting tutorials on her blog to assist with the making of the quilt.  If you are interested in the pattern it is now available for purchase here. As a reminder I have no financial or other interest in Missie's pattern. I made the quilt and have blogged about the making because I thought it would be a fun and interesting experience!

Hope you've enjoyed following the making of Gardens of a King. If you are making the quilt I would love to hear from you. I reply to every comment so if you don't hear back from me it means you are a no reply blogger and I have no way to contact you unless you include your email address in the comment!

I'm linking up with the Needle and Thread Network where you will find interesting posts from great Canadian quilters!

Tomorrow is the final block in my Value Proposition Hexagon Quilt Along! Until then, happy sewing!
Karen H