An adventure in quilting hexagons: part 3 – cutting & arranging

So, this project had to take a little hiatus as it turns out it’s practically impossible to get a 10″ half hexagon ruler here in Australia! In the end, my solution was to get my father to make me one out of perspex.  It doesn’t have any grid lines on it or anything, but it’s durable and does the job:

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Having a ruler, and having chosen the fabric for this project already, it took no time to get around to cutting.  The cutting process is actually very fast if you make 4.5″ strips first and then cut hexagons from them, and it turns out this quilt is actually a great fat quarter project: if you cut your fabric wisely you can actually get four full hexagons (eight halves) out of one fat quarter!  I used some fat quarters, along with some other scraps, and ended up making around 100 or so full hexagons I think, so this quilt will finish up double bed size.  However, if you wanted to make a smaller quilt or table runner or whatever takes your fancy, it’d be a really quick project!

Next up was layout. I didn’t make many hexagons of each fabric – the yellow accent one has the most, the others are mostly around 4 hexagons per fabric, so I knew I wanted a random arrangement.  I find the best way to do this is to just lay the pieces out without thinking about it at all at first, then to stand back and look, rearrange to fix balance of colours and patterns, then look again and repeat!  You want to make sure you don’t have too many similar fabrics adjacent to each other, and that your lights, mediums, darks and accents are fairly evenly yet randomly spaced.  However, at the end of the day it’s meant to be random – when you get to the point where you’re just changing minor things, it’s best to stop!

Here’s what I came up with:

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Notice how it looks kind of complex, but because they’re half hexagons, it actually makes neat rows?  This is what will make it heaps easier to sew than the horrible Y-seams you get when joining full hexagons, which basically rule  out anything but hand-sewing.  Which is no fun, and takes forever!

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Speaking of sewing, I’m out of time at the moment so that’ll have to wait for a bit… so I’ve packed it all up neatly, ready to quickly lay out again for sewing to begin! I find labelling my rows is really helpful when I have to stop at this point, like this:

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Happy sewing!