12 August 2011
Hand-piecing hexagons is - for me - the natural way to do it.
Occasionally (rarely, but it happens) I get impatient and feel that I 'need' to move forward faster, and that is when machine-piecing comes into the picture.
BUT, machine-piecing hexagons seems to me to be a cruel and unusual way of doing hexagon-blocks. My sewing-machine and I like each other well enough - most of the time - but we are not on what you might call intimate terms, and me doing inset seams of any kind on the machine is not a sight to be soon forgotten (no matter how fervently you might wish that it was, and that your ears would stop burning)
Hybrid-piecing to the rescue !
Machine-piece the straight, not-inset seams, and then hand-piece the 'troublesome' inset seams. And because that sounds complicated (but isn't) here is a small description, with pictures.
I would like, at this point, to apologize for the quality of the pictures. I am not a professional photographer, and getting clear pictures when doing closeups like this, is - frankly - a bear to do. Know that I did it as well as I could. If you have trouble seeing how a picture could possibly illustrate the point I'm trying to make, double-click on it, and it will open 'on its own' in a (much) larger size.
Lay out your block (in this case, a double GFG-flower). I prefer to lay it out with the back up.
(and yes, eagle-eyed reader, there is a number on one of the hexagons. That is because it is printed from the CD. These hexies have been around for a loooong time)
Machine-piece into what might be called hexagon-strips.
Piece edge to edge (!)
When cutting the pieces apart, trim the thread on both sides, so that no ends 'stick out'. On the picture (right), you can see that one side of the seam has been trimmed, the other hasn't.
Trim them all.
Doing this means, that you can 'open' the seam when hand-piecing the strips together, but it still leaves just (!) enough thread to ensure that the whole seam doesn't unravel on you. If you feel iffy about having only 0.25" of thread-end between you and an unraveling seam, clip the thread a little bit further out, and then, with your needle, unpick one stitch at each end. You can do that while piecing.
If you want to press as you go, this is the point where you press the strips.
It isn't necessary, because the rest of your stitching will be by hand, so you can just leave well alone and press it all when the flower is finished. If you really want to press, press all seams the same way. Yes. Same way. It will work out and will press up a treat in the end.
Once all the strips for the flower has been machine-pieced, the hand-piecing part comes.
Since your pieces have been prepared with Inklingo, use a plain running-stitch.
At corners, take a backstitch, so you get both of two pieces anchored to the same match-mark on the single-piece (click on the picture if you have trouble seeing the back-stitch ... I do). Do not break the thread, but 'pass' from one hexagon to the next until the whole strip has been pieced.
Then move on to the next one.
When all the hexagon-strips have been joined, press your double hexagon flower.
It will press flat a treat, and all the intersections will open beautifully.
One of the (many) Inklingo 60-degree hexagon-collections.
1 flower-centre hexagon
6 inner-flower hexagons
12 outer-flower hexagons
Repeat as desired :-)