Sunday 13 January 2019

'Hexie' Crib Quilt: Part 1

Hey folks. Thought I'd share a little (actually kind of big) project that I've been working on. I haven't formally announced it yet, mostly because I'm just not on top of these things, but we are expecting a second little person joining our family in June! I made this hexagon crib quilt for Eli before he was born, and thought I'd make another for this new little one.

* Disclaimer: The quilt top for this crib quilt is entirely HAND SEWN. Its definitely a tedious project, but also something you can do in front of the t.v., and is relatively mindless. Please don't get intimidated, its easy! *

I've set this post up in two parts. Part 1(this post) is just how to make the quilt top. Part 2 (when I get there) will cover how to put the quilt together. This project uses English Paper Piecing (EPP) as the main technique. If your new to the EPP world then maybe do some google searches or check out the book All Points Patchwork. Its pretty modern and full of amazing EPP projects, both large and small.

What you'll Need:
* Sharp scissors
* Fabric in various patterns/designs of your choice (I picked up the Amalfi Charm Pack by Rifle Paper Co for Cotton + Steel and used a variety of matching solids from my local fabric store).
* Thread (any colour for basting, matching colours to your fabric for sewing the quilt top together).
* Hand sewing needle(s).
* Good quality card stock to punch out your hexagon shapes.
* Ideally a fiskars hexagon punch (I think I used a 1.5 inch punch) - you can also use a template or pre-cut inserts.

Step 1: Punch out/cut a bunch of your hexagon templates on the card stock.

Step 2: Cut out a piece of fabric to cover your template completely. Make sure you cut a big enough piece. It will only get frustrating when sewing the fabric to the paper if you try to save fabric as you go.

Step 3: Fold the first edge of your fabric over your hexagon template and hold it in place.

Step 4: Fold the next edge of your fabric over your paper template and over top of your first fold. It doesn't matter if you fold your edges in a left or right direction as long as they consistently overlap.

Step 5: Start adding basting stitches (sorry the photo is a little blurry). Make a simple knot in your thread and use a colour that will contrast against your fabric so when you later go to cut these stitches out you can see them easily. Push your needle with your thread through the overlapping layers of fabric and through your paper template essentially binding the three together.

Note: A basting stitch is simply meant  to temporarily hold something together, and meant to be cut out once you put in more secure stitching later on.

Step 6: Continue folding down edges of your fabric overlapping as you go and sew your fabric down to your template only in the corners using a running stitch (where you push the needle up through a layer in one corner and then down through another layer in the next corner) repeating until all corners of your fabric have been sewn down. Knot your thread off once you made it all the way around. It doesn't have to be an unbreakable knot since you'll be cutting your basting stitches off later. Remember you still want to be able to easily get this thread out once your hexies are sewn together.

Step 7: After binge watching a couple shows on Netflix while putting basting stitches in your hexies you should have a whole bunch. Don't be afraid, but you want to aim for 265 hexies. It honestly goes so fast when you get into a rhythm. Remember, this is my second crib quilt and I absolutely finished the last one before Eli was born. I'm 5 months pregnant right now and I will for sure have this crib quilt done as well, while taking care of Eli full time. This is not a hard project. I promise. After Eli goes to bed around 7pm I'm usually up until 9:30pm and I get anywhere from 25 - 35 hexies done.

Step 8: Once you get all your hexies done up, with their paper templates facing the floor, lay out your hexies in a desired pattern or design. Try different layouts to get an idea of how you want your crib quilt to end up looking. I laid mine out in a random pattern as well as in an ombre-ish pattern to see what I'd like better. I went for the ombre option (second photo). Remember to take a picture of your layout, since your not likely going to leave your hexies laid out on the floor for the forseeable future until you're done sewing all the hexagons together.

Step 9: Take two hexies and place them together with their right sides facing each other so you can see their paper templates on the outside.

Step 10: Line up the edges and corners of your hexies and, using a slip stitch, sew your two hexies together along the edge. Try to avoid catching the basting stitch while sewing the two hexies together, otherwise it'll be more difficult cutting the basting stitch out later. Also, try not to sew through your paper template as these will come out as well once the quilt top is all sewn together (nobody wants a quilt with paper in it!).

Note: a slip stitch is sewing two pieces of fabric together moving from one side to the other and having your next stitch go through the same side and same direction as your last, but just a little ahead of your last stitch. You may also want to use matching thread to fabric if your worried about seeing the thread in the finished product. I do a very tight slip stitch and keep it right along the edge of my two pieces of fabric so I don't see it in the finished product.

Note: you also don't have to slip stitch this tightly and you can see that I totally caught my basting stitch. When I go to cut that basting stitch out I'm clearly going to have a task and a half trying to get it out of my slip stitches. This is why you should probably try to avoid this. You can do that by placing your basting stitches not right on the edge of your hexies when sewing your fabric to your templates. I'm just sometimes lazy and didn't fix the problem as I saw it forming. Future Katie's problem.

Step 11: Open your hexies back up to reveal the right sides. As you can see, my slip stitch thread is not visible on the right side, but I will still be able to easily cut away my visible basting stitches.

In a little while I'll post how to bring the whole quilt together with batting, backing, binding, and quilting in part 2. Until then, you and I have a lot of english paper piecing to do. And if you're working on other EPP projects please share them in the comments. I love to see what other folks are working on.

- Katie



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