Easy Hexagon Star Quilt

I recently posted some snapshots of this quilt in various places… 9

…and I have gotten some great feedback and requests for a pattern.  So I thought I would put together a little tutorial.  This quilt is very simple to construct with no Y-seams despite being constructed from hexagons.

One comment I got a lot was that the photos make the quilt look big, but it’s not.  This pattern is for a baby quilt, but is easily adaptable to a larger size.  My quilt finished at approximately 40-inches square.

Materials:

2 Moda Honeycomb Solids packs (or 72 6-inch hexagons)

Cut 5 of your hexagons in half.  These will be used to finish of the edges of the quilt.

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Various prints cut into 3.5-inch equilateral triangles (23 groups of 6, or 138 total)

You can make all of the triangles different for a scrappy look or make groups of 6 matching triangles to get the star look that I used.

If you would like the star look I HIGHLY recommend laying out the entire quilt before sewing anything together.  You could also work from a sketch, but I think it is just easier to lay it out.

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7Now comes the fun part, construction.  This quilt is worked in columns (or rows depending on how you look at it), and can easily be chain pieced.  I place the top left triangle on the first hexagon (or half hexagon), and the top right triangle on the next hexagon down the column.  Then repeat this all the way down the column.

 

 

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Then stitch the triangles to the hexagons to form diamonds.  When you are stitching the triangles to the Hexagons make sure the corners of the triangle extend a ¼ inch past the edges of the hexagon.  Press the seams towards the triangles to aid in alignment in the next step.

Next stitch the diamonds together.  The seams where the triangles are stitched to the hexagons should just overlap; this will result in perfect points that meet in the middle.

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photo 1Press this seam open, to reduce bulk, and repeat for each column.

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Finally, stitch your columns together.

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See, wasn’t that easy?  Once you have your rows together you can baste and quilt.  I left my edges angled, but you can trim them straight or add extra triangles to make your quilt a little larger.  Once my quilt was quilted I trimmed the extra half hexagons to make my quilt square.

To finish this quilt I backed it with this cute Heather Ross frog print, and “straight line ” quilted wavy vertical lines.  If you make a star quilt of your own, please share it on Instagram or flicker and tag me.  I would love to see your creations!

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Long Distance Hugs

The hardest part of moving away from home is leaving behind friends and family. You miss the little things; afternoon coffee dates, girls night sappy movies, spa days for new haircuts after a crappy breakup. But you miss the big things too; 30th birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and baby showers. Well for me it seems like the last few years it has been a lot of the latter. I suppose I am just at that age where everyone I know is having kids. I would love more than anything to be at every single baby shower and to visit each and every friend in the hospital to see their new bundles of joy. (Although, as most of my friends know I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW ANY DETAILS. I think being pregnant is terrifying and gross).

Unfortunately, I have a demanding day job (and I don’t make millions, so I can’t hop on a jet for a day trip out-of-state). So into boxes I squish the best long distance hug I know how to give, a baby quilt. I spend hours picking just the right fabrics for the mom to be. I want to match her nursery, fit her style, and be cute for baby, but not too cute. I choose a pattern that I think will fit my fabric choices, but will still interesting for me to make (I do have to spend hours working on it after all; it may as well be entertaining for me). I spend even more time choosing a quilting design, and I will admit that I have used baby quilts to practice and expand my free motion quilting skills. I machine wash and dry each quilt once it’s done to make sure it will stand up to daily use. Then I carefully fold each quilt, pretty side out, place it in a box with tissue paper just like a real shower gift, and cringe as I drop it off at the post office (I worry it will get lost in the mail every single time). It may not seem like much, but each hour I pour into making each quilt, is my way of cuddling up with those cute babies.

Here is the newest addition to the baby quilt line-up.  This one is for a dear friend that I even tried to con into moving closer to me.  She did, eventually, in a round-about way, but she’s still too far to make girls night practical.  Personally, I really love this quilt.  It has a great sophisticated feel and I LOVE the three blind mice on the back.

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But this is all I have, a pretty picture of a quilt hanging on my wall. So wrap those babies up tight ladies and send me a picture, that’s my favorite part.

Out with the old, in with the new

What a whirlwind the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 have been!  Lots of gift giving, thus a lack of blogging.  Let’s recap.

  1. Made myself a fancy lace Staple Dress.  Now my favorite outfit.  Can’t recommend this pattern enough.  It’s simple to sew and fits/look great on all shapes and sizes.  (See front page photo).
  2. Finished a baby quilt for my cousin who has the cutest baby ever, Aidan.  This quilt is all black, off white, and red with just a bit of green.  I think the letter and number prints are perfect for a baby quilt.  The block design is from Fat Quarterly Shape Workshopphoto 1
  3. Started and finished a shop sample quilt for The French Seam.  This quilt was made using Moda’s newest precut the Slice.  The precut stack comes with the pattern for this great quilt, including the appliqued anchor.  I loved how fast this quilt top came together, I loved the colors (my parents live on their sail boat so the theme is perfect), and I practiced my free motion quilting again with a wave pattern that I filled in with some pebbling to look like bubbles or foam on the crests of the waves.photo 6
  4. Finished the quilt for my niece Laura (blogged about here).
  5. Got Engaged!  Like how I snuck that in there.  No plans yet, but we are very excited.photo 4
  6. Made a trip to our hometown for New Year’s Eve to see family, friends, and take in a show.
  7. Made bunches of Pink Chalk Studio’s Mail Sack bags.  This is a great pattern for a very useful bag.  I highly recommend it.photo 7
  8. Started and finished…let’s just say a quilt to be gifted.  A simple churn dash block made from a variety of prints from Riley Blake, Birch Fabrics, Botanic, and Lotta.photo 10
  9. Started and began free motion quilting…another quilt to be gifted.  photo 11
  10. Finished a quilt top for the lovely miss Brittany (still to be quilted) in exchanged for some lovely knit goods. This was made from some improvisational log cabin blocks I discussed here.                                                                                                          photo 8
  11. Started and finished a quilt top…to be gifted.  photo 9
  12. Started studying for the Professional Engineering Exam…big damper on my sewing productivity.

See.  Told you.  Whirlwind.  And I am sure there is lots that I am forgetting.

Goals for the rest of 2014:

  1. Pass the Professional Engineering Exam…boring, I know.
  2. Get a better set-up for photographing quilts.  No more floor pictures!
  3. Improve free motion quilting skills.
  4. Use the fabrics I have on hand.

Let’s get this party started.  What are your goals for 2014?

I love all things girly!

Many of my friends have recently had babies.  And it seems like all of them have decided to a) wait till their bundle of joy arrives to find out the sex, b) not tell anyone what the sex was until the birth, or 3) simply did not “want anything too girly”.   That takes all the fun out of it for me as a quilter.  Gender neutral quilts are boring.  I would much rather make a super girly quilt with pink and princesses.  Like this one!

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This quilt is for a very special little girl (my niece Laura, she just turned four).  I think it’s just the right size, not a “baby” quilt, but not a bed size quilt.  I know I like to have a quilt that I can curl up with and take naps with, and now she will have one too.

It’s made from the Masquerade Let’s Pretend collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.  I fell in love with this collection when it came out, and I was so glad to finally be able to use it for a girly quilt . The center block reminds me of Laura. And the mask print is to die for.

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The pattern is simple squares and half square triangles, and came together very improvisationally.  I was hoping it would look more like a star than a big X, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  and considering this was the pattern I was working from, I’m pretty happy.

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The back is a simple gray sketch print.  The quilting I decided to do in a light purple (her favorite color).  The quilting design is a simple free motion meander with stars scattered around.  I love how soft and crinkly it is now that is has been washed and dried.

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I am really starting to get the hang of this whole free motion quilting thing.  I really did dread the quilting process not that long ago, but I’m beginning to find it to be my favorite part.  If only I felt that way about binding…I don’t think that will ever happen.  The binding on this quilt is my standard continuous bias binding made from one of the light gray prints.  And I even added a hand embroidered label to the back.

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I hope she likes it, I know I sure do.

Baby Quilt Beauty

You may remember a few weeks back I pulled some random fabrics together and whipped up a baby quilt top just for fun.  These lovely fabrics…

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…were pulled together to create this lovely baby quilt!

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I decided to quilt this bad boy with some yellow variegated sulky thread, which is officially my new favorite obsession.   It has a beautiful shine and a lovely variety of shades.  In addition, I had no problems with tension or thread breaks like I have had with other threads while free motion quilting.  I am sure I will be using this type of thread in the future.  The quilting is a free motion pebble in the gray pieced areas, and I did some stitch in the ditch to give it a little more definition (especially for the back).  As much as I love pebble quilting.  I am not a fan of an entire quilt covered in it.  I like quilts to have some loft and softness, and I feel that a dense all over quilting pattern can make a quilt too stiff.  So for this quilt I left the other color areas unquilted.

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Because this quilt is small it really is just a baby quilt, but I didn’t feel that it was very baby friendly with its somewhat dark colors and angular feel.  So for the back I decided to go with this beautiful Fort Firefly print.

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I think it ties in nicely with the front and it softens this otherwise tough quilt up a bit.  But to be honest I love this quilt so much, I almost wish I could keep it and hang it on my wall to admire everyday.  Oh well,  off to its new life of baby snuggles.  

I’ve got a fever…

…and the only prescription is more long-arm!  It was recently announced, and discovered by the Indy Modern Quilt Guild (IMQG), that at a local quilt shop, Always in Stitches, was beginning to offer rental time on their long arm quilting machine.  In order to rent time on said machine, they require you to take a class to learn the ins and outs of using it.  This resulted in a resounding “sign me up” from the IMQG members.  After a flurry of Facebook messages, and calls to the shop I was registered for class on October 26.  Two other classes were also set up, four people per class.

The class was lots of fun and very informative.  We all took lots of notes, and our instructor, Christy, was very knowledgable and sweet.  The shop uses a Handi Quilter Avante 18 Long arm machine.  Christy does all the long arm service for the shop, and only sews free hand – no pantograph, rulers, or templates – so that is what the class focused on.

When we arrived at the store there was a practice quilt already loaded on the frame from the previous class.  So we jumped right in with how to sew.  The steps seemed similar to free-motion quilting on my home machine – bring your bobbin thread to the front, take a few stitches in place to lock your threads, and away you go.  Threading the machine however, was not like your home machine.  I will definitely be referencing the manual when I need to do that again.  At the end of the class we learned how to load the quilt layers onto the frame.  This was probably one of the most complicated and crucial parts.  If the quilt is not square and pinned to the frame just right you may end up with all sorts of issues like puckering and waves.  image

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I think I will sign up for my first rental time next month so I can put all my new long arm knowledge/skills to work.  I plan on beginning with a small throw size quilt that I will show you in a later post.  Stay tuned!  I figure that is a good way for me to gauge how long it will actually take me to get a quilt loaded onto the frame and quilted, so I can budget larger projects.  Can’t wait!!

A Quilt for Lena

The newest commissioned piece I made turned out a little differently than I had originally planned.  When I met Lucy (new mom) at Joann’s to pick out fabric for her new little girls room I was picturing a simple patchwork of triangles.  I thought they would complement the box pleats I had planned for the window valance, and crib skirt I was also planning to make.

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(I even appliqued little owls to the bottom of the crib skirt, which is made to adjust to the two different height settings of her crib.)

But when I got down to business, these owls were too cute to not fussy cut.

Michael Miller Fabric

It’s a Michael Miller print I found here that Lucy had ordered.  I decided I would cut out the cute owls and build some improvisational blocks around them.  I ended up with 9 blocks that are each about 14 inches square.  Each block was made consecutively with narrow white strips connecting them.  I LOVE the way it turned out.  I think it looks quite complex and has lots of movement, but was very simple to construct.

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I even had three little owl blocks I was able to work into the back of the quilt.

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When it came time for quilting I decided I wanted the fussy cut owls to stand out a bit, so I added a double layer of batting to each square, and stitched around the purple boarders.  Then the white boarders came in handy to separate the quilt into different zones of quilting.  Some sections are free motion quilted with big bubbles/pebbles, some sections have diagonal lines, and some sections have vertical/horizontal lines.  Again, I love how this turned out.

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Hopefully Lena will get lots of good snuggles out of this over the years.  What do you think of improvisational piecing?