How Do I Make a Hexie?

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 I often find that I am working on several projects at once…usually projects that require the sewing machine.  However, there are times when I need a portable project.  At this time of the year, we spend a lot of time waiting…at the airport, in the car, while the holiday ham bakes, for holiday programs to start.  Why not put all of that time spent waiting to good use?

Hexies are the perfect portable project.  They take very few supplies to complete.  Everything needed can be easily stored in a small container, ready to grab and go.  Once you’ve learned the technique, each hexie can be completed in less than a minute.  If you have a five-minute wait in the car, you can complete five hexies…more than half of the hexies needed for one of the projects I’ll show you later!

They are also the perfect starter project for someone who’s never sewn before.  If you’re looking for a fun holiday gift for either a new or experienced quilter, create a hexie project box.  My sister-in-law, who has no sewing experience, has found herself forced to take it easy for a while.  She’s going a bit stir-crazy and contacted me, asking for a craft project that is easy and doesn’t require expensive tools.  I immediately thought of hexies; the items shown above are for her new hexie project box.

Now, how exactly do you make a hexie?  Gather the following items and you’re ready to start!

Hexie Tutorial

Fabric pieces, either scraps or small yardage cuts

A package of hexagon paper shapes (I use 1″ hexies)

One Wonderclip

Small scissors

Needle and Thread

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A few notes about hexies:

Photo 1:  Hexies come in many sizes.  The paper pieces used in this tutorial are 1″.   Hexies are measured along the side, not across the width of the entire piece.

Photos 2-3:

Most precut hexie pieces come as shown in the second photo.  I have found it very helpful to punch a hole in the center of each one with a paper punch.  This will make them must easier to remove when you’ve completed the hexie.

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The first step is to prepare your fabric.  If you’re planning on using the hexies as a grab and go project, it’s important to have your fabric precut and ready to be used.  If you’re using 1″ precut paper pieces, 2.75″ squares of fabric work best.  As mentioned before, you can either use scraps left over from other projects or use yardage.  If using yardage, cut a strip that is 2.75″ x width of fabric (WOF).  Cut the strip into 2.75″ squares.  If you have one of Quilt Expressions’ 2.5″ x 6.5″ rulers, this is a very simple process.  Lay your fabric strip straight on your cutting mat.  Place the ruler along the short end, as shown in photo 1.  Because the ruler is 2.5″ wide, simply move the ruler over an additional 1/4,” creating a 2.75″ square.

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For my sister-in-law’s hexie box, I chose five prints from one of our new collections, Walkabout by Beth Studley for Makower, UK.  To get her started, I cut one 2.75″ x WOF strip from each of the five prints.  I was able to cut 15 squares from each strip, resulting in 75 squares.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 1:  Gather one fabric square, one hexie paper piece, and a threaded needle.  Place the paper piece in the center of the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 2:  Holding the paper in place, fold one side of the fabric over onto the paper piece.

Step 3:  Fold over the adjoining side, creating your first corner.

Step 4:  Secure the two folds with a Wonderclip.

Step 5:  Tack the fold together with two slip stitches.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 6:  Fold over the third side of the hexie, secure with the Wonderclip.  Stitch.  Repeat along sides four and five.

Step 6:  When you get to the last side of the hexie (photo three above), carefully fold fabric toward the center as before.  Be sure that both resulting corners are still tight against the edge of the paper piece. Hold in place with the Wonderclip.

Step 7:  Stitch the last two folds in place.

Step 8:  To secure the thread once all of the folds are complete, I find it easiest to wrap the thread around the end of my needle twice (photo 5) and pull the thread tight, resulting in a small knot.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 9: When the hexie is complete, it will look like the first photo above. To remove the paper piece, insert a pencil (or any pointy object) into the hole in the center of the paper piece.  Very gently, pull the paper piece out of the fabric hexie.  I find it easiest to pinch a corner of the fabric hexie and pull the paper piece out corner by corner.

Step 10:  Once the paper is out, reshape the hexie if needed and then press.  (The paper hexie can be reused over and over.  When pressing the fabric hexie, I also press the folds out of the paper hexie and add it back to my bag of hexies paper pieces.)

Step 11:  Repeat…repeat…repeat…

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Once you’ve completed the hexies, what do you do with them?  What I love about hexies is you can make 1000’s and make them into a quilt, or you can make 10-30 and add them to a small project as embellishment.

Della added just nine hexies to a pouch made using the “Perfect Pouches” pattern by Lazy Girl.  They sure add a bit of personality to an otherwise plain pouch.  The pattern is available at Quilt Expressions and also happens to be the perfect size to hold all of your hexie supplies!

I had a scrap of grey Dottie fabric left over from a project and added 24 hexies to create a small table topper.  The tutorial for the topper can be found here.

If you’re looking for additional projects using hexies, simply search for “hexies” on Pinterest.  There are many, many ideas using either a few hexies or 1000’s.

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If you’re creating a hexie project box to be given as a gift, gather all of the supplies needed and put them in a container.  If the recipient doesn’t have a rotary cutter or cutting mat, precut the fabric squares for them.  Add the link to this blog post, and the recipient will have all they need to get started.  Be sure that the container is large enough to hold the completed hexies.  Snack size disposable bags are perfect for storing the completed hexies inside the container.

{One Hundred}

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When you work at a quilt store, your customers become like family.  They share with you the projects they are working on, tell the stories behind the quilts, and you learn when and why they started quilting.  The employees at Quilt Expressions are often asked for their opinion on which quilt pattern to use, help finding fabrics that work best together and help determine which quilting design will work best with the quilt top.  We have the honor of admiring their finished projects before they are wrapped up for gift giving.

This morning, we had the privilege of recognizing a milestone with one of our friends, Phyllis.  Phyllis is a familiar face at Quilt Expressions, spending the majority of her time on the long arm side of the store.  New customers often take a peek at what our long arm customers are working on, and Phyllis always greets them with a smile and is willing to answer any questions they might have.

Like many of us, Phyllis started sewing when she was in the seventh grade in her school’s Home Economics class.  As an adult, she sewed most of her three daughters’ clothes and created handcrafted gifts from the scraps.  In 2008, after retiring, she was able to dedicate more of her time to making quilt tops.  She sent a couple of tops in to Quilt Expressions for us to quilt.  In 2012, her daughter gave her a gift certificate and told her that it was to be used for our long arm class.  Phyllis took the class in August 2012 and came in to quilt her first quilt top one month later.

Today, 26 months after taking the class, she quilted her 100th quilt.  That in itself is an accomplishment.  However, what makes her story so inspiring is what she does with her quilts.  Most of her quilts are either donated or given away as gifts.  Last year, Phyllis donated 45 quilts, and she already has 25 completed quilts in her donate pile for 2015.

Donating quilts to those in need is an endeavor that is dear to Phyllis’ heart.  When her daughter was just twenty five years old, she was diagnosed with cancer.  She was treated by and later passed away at St. Luke’s Children’s hospital.  A good majority of the quilts that Phyllis donates are to the hospital.  She makes lap-sized quilts for the older boys and girls, from 9 – 23 years of age.  As she makes each one, she thinks of her daughter.  Sewn into each quilt is the generosity and care of a mother’s love, with the hope that the recipient will find comfort beneath it’s folds.

Thank you, Phyllis, for your inspiring spirit of giving.

“Whatcha Doing?”

It’s November 30th….can you believe it?! 

For those of us who enjoy making handcrafted items for holiday gifts, it’s crunch time!  November 30th is our signal that we might need to sleep a little less, let the housework go just a bit, and put someone else in charge of meals because there are just 25 more days until Christmas!

Just in case you’re still looking for some ideas that are fast and easy but will be well appreciated, I thought I’d catch you up on what I’ve been working on.

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Do you remember way back here in August, I last posted on the progress of my Super Six?   I started this quilt just after I was hired at Quilt Expressions, in the summer of 2013.  It quickly became a project that I’d work on here and there, in between other projects. I am happy to report that it is finally finished and in use!Doesn’t seem like a fast project, right?  If you’re able to commit a day or two to just this project, you’ll have it finished in plenty of time for the holidays.    The finished size is 76″ x 88,” with a maker it bigger option that will result in a finished size of 90″ x 102.”

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The center is made up of three different blocks, followed by two borders.  My {very} bright Super Six is for my daughter’s daybed.  Because the bed has just one mattress, I left off the second pieced border.   That left me with a nice-sized pile of squares to play with…they will likely become pillow covers for her bed.

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Table runners made a fantastic gift.  They can either be holiday-themed or made to match the recipients color scheme.  This table runner goes together quickly and is perfect for highlighting a favorite focus fabric.  You might recognize the pattern from this post.  The table runner looks great in so many styles of fabric.  The pattern is “Waffletime” by Atkinson Designs.  We have both the pattern and the Batik kit at Quilt Expressions.

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I’m a firm believer that one can never have too many aprons…especially aprons with plenty of pockets!  Our Utility apron goes together quickly and is handy for anyone on your list who enjoys crafts.  There are three pockets, along with a pen slot.  To view the tutorial, click here.

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If there’s a little one on your gift-giving list, consider our Quick Baby Stripe pattern.  This pattern goes together quickly and is small enough to quilt on your home machine, if needed.  Add soft cuddle to the back, and it’s the perfect baby gift.  The pattern is available at Quilt Expressions, along with the dinosaur kit and the pastel floral kit.

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On my design wall right now is quite possibly the fastest quilt you’ll ever make.  This one is for a gift, so I can’t show all of It.  The photo on the left shows my finished blocks.  With just two more seams, this quilt top is complete!  It’s the perfect size for children.  However, I’ve discovered that it’s also the perfect lap-size for an adult.  This pattern is called Building Blocks.

So that’s a little of what I’ve been working on over the past several months.  Please feel free to leave a comment with your favorite finished project or work in progress.

If you’re looking for a few more fast ideas, please click here to view last year’s blog series “30 Days of Gift Giving Ideas.”  Click on the photo to go to the post for that item.

Happy crafting!  -Katie

International Quilt Market 2014 ~ Day Four

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We’ve left the sights of Houston behind for another year and returned safely home.  We spent a good portion of Monday traveling home, but we did get to visit Market one last time.  After a short delay due to technical difficulties, here are the photos from Monday.

{All photos were taken at International Quilt Market; to view a larger image of the photos, click on the collage.}

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Thanks for joining us on our trip to International Quilt Market.  We hope that you’ve enjoyed traveling along with us.  Visit us at both the store and at quiltexpressions.com for new products coming soon!

International Quilt Market 2014 ~ Day Three

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I remember “reading” picture books to my kids when they were little.  There were no words…just pictures.  The goal was to tell the story as you saw it in the photos.  The series of photos above remind me of those picture books.

“It was early in Houston, TX.  The sun had just started to rise on a warm, muggy morning.  Karen, Della, and Katie made their way down the street to the Convention Center.  Along the way, they passed a delightful sight.  Starbucks!  After they had finished their delicious, hot cups of caffeine, the day just seemed so much brighter!”

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Day three of Quilt Market is a busy one!  We spend the day before walking down each aisle, looking at all of the products and services offered.  When Market closes for the day, we sit down, pour out the multiple bags of literature we’ve collected and decide what we want to give a second look to the next day.  Very few purchases are made on day two.

We started day three with a list of booths we wanted to visit.  We met with some of our reps, who showed us collection after collection.  Photo #2 above shows the pile of collections Karen looked through in just one booth.  Decisions are made and out come the order forms.  It’s a strange feeling because, for the most part, we aren’t buying anything that will arrive in the store in the near future.  Most of our purchases today won’t arrive at Quilt Expressions until sometime between January and June 2015.  We bought a couple of Halloween and Christmas lines…for the 2015 holiday season.

As we walked through the aisles today, I tried to focus on the textures created with fabric.  As you look through today’s photos, pay close attention to just what can be accomplished with fabric and/or quilting.

(All photos were taken at International Quilt Market; to increase the size of the photos, please click on the collage.)

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I spent the last half hour of Market today next door at the Quilt Show.  They are celebrating their 40th year, and they are doing it in style!  I’m including a few photos of the gorgeous quilts I saw in that short period of time.  Not all of the quilts can be photographed…I wish I could have shared all of them with you.

market7When you walk into the show, this is the first sight that you see…beautifully made red and white quilts from the floor to the ceiling.

market8One of my favorite uses for technology in the store is using the camera on my cell phone to take a photo of a customer’s fabric collection.  When you try to look at a group of fabric, you also see all of the other colors around you in the room.  With a photo, you can crop out all of the other bolts of fabric, finished quilts, etc., and really see how those fabrics will look together.  Another great way to use cameras in quilting is to take a photo and then change it to black and white.  It’s a fantastic way to see if you’re obtaining the contrast you’re striving for.  Just for fun, I changed the original photo to black and white.  Even devoid of color, these quilts are amazing!

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These are a few quilts from the “Reflections” display.

market13 Finally, as the doors were closing, I passed a wall covered with large photos of quilts displayed on buildings or monuments with historical significance.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today.  We hope that you are enjoying sharing our Market experience with us.  Tomorrow, we’ll spend part of the day at Market and then head to the airport.  We land just before midnight, so the final Market post might be a day late.

I almost forgot!  Our Fitbit total for the day was 35,780 steps.  There’s a whole lot of walking going on!

International Quilt Market 2014 ~ Day Two

Good evening!  We hope that you all had a fantastic Saturday.  A very sincere thank you to those who posted your comments either on the blog or on Facebook regarding what inspires you to quilt.  You all receive an A+!

Alrighty then, let’s get down to business!  Yesterday, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for pictures.  Hence the long, wordy post and the homework assignment.  Today?  I might have taken a photo or two.

First, a photo without a quilt, pattern or fabric collection.  Remember last year’s “Day Two” post?  You were treated to a photo of our walking shoes.  This year?  You get to see our Fitbits.

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As of 9:30 tonight, we’ve walked down 24 aisles, looked at 633 booths, saw an amazing number of quilts, patterns and fabric collections, consumed six cups of coffee…and walked 38,351 steps between the three of us.

So, tonight, no long, wordy posts.  No homework.  Just pictures…lots of them.  Enjoy!

(All photos were taken at International Quilt Market.  To increase the size of the photos, click on the collage.)

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Left: the Quilt Expressions’ crew. Center: Jane (our Moda rep), Della, Katie, Karen, and one of our friendly table mates. Right: Katie with her favorite book authors, Barb and Mary of Me and My Sister Designs.

International Quilt Market 2014 – Day One

All photos were taken at International Quilt Market.

It took some pretty good planning on Karen’s part, but her plane from Michigan and our plane from Boise landed within minutes of each other in Houston Thursday evening.  We were met in front of the airport by our favorite taxi driver, Bernard.  We spent the drive to the hotel catching up on his life and being entertained by stories of his children.  He’s been the driver of choice for several years now, and we consider him the friendly face that greets us in Houston.  A bit of unpacking and a restful night followed, and then it was time for school.

School?  Yes, the first day of Market is called Schoolhouse.  After a much needed cup of coffee, we headed to the Convention Center to sit through fourteen sessions.  The topics vary from new collections, patterns and books; marketing strategies; trends; block-of-the-month programs and, yes, how to run a successful long-arm business.

With so many sessions to attend and topics to discuss, it’s hard to condense it in a quick blog post.  However, there is a reoccurring theme that comes to mind as I think back on the day:  What inspires you to quilt?

Our inspiration can come from so many places:  patterns, fabric collections, quilt shows, our local quilt store, or show and tell between friends and/or guilds.  We can receive inspiration from what we see around us, whether it’s something in nature like the colors of a sunset or something we encounter in our daily life, like the tile pattern on a motel floor.  We can also be inspired by how quilting makes us feel.  There’s something so special about working on a quilt for a loved one; we put such thought and care into choosing the perfect pattern, fabric, quilting design.  They are never far from our thoughts as we work on the quilt.

So, since we attended school today, and, in Karen’s case, taught it, I thought I’d give you a small homework assignment.  Just a question….what inspires you to quilt?

Please feel free to share your answer either here or on Facebook.