I have blogged since September 11, 2008 and on October 6, 2008 I wrote a tutorial about how to English Paper Piece hexagons using a glue stick and the freezer paper on the back of the fabric method. I had used this method for an appliquéd quilt and I thought that it might work for the Batik hexagon quilt I wanted to make. It had to be easier than basting the fabric to the paper templates. I made 42 1.5 inch hexagons this way – it was not easy and I certainly did not enjoy it.
That blog post “Hexagon quilt tutorial” receives the lion’s share of the hits on my blog – even today – 5 years later. I was curious to see how many hits it has received since 2008 and I printed out the list of stats yesterday. I was flabbergasted to find that there are 135 different ways that people have written hexagon and found my blog. Misspellings and foreign words were even able to direct people to the blog – amazing!
Here is a short list of the top 35 search terms that landed people on my blog – in order of the number of hits:
hexagon quilt, hexagon quilts, hexagon quilt tutorial, hexagon, hexagon quilt patterns, hexagon quilt pattern, hexagon patchwork, quilt hexagon, grandmother’s flower garden quilt, hexagon quilting, grandmother’s flower garden, grandmother’s garden quilt, hexagon quilting patterns, hexagon quilts pictures, hexagons, grandmother’s flower garden quilt tutorial, hexagon quilt designs, hexagon patchwork patterns, grandmothers flower garden (note there no apostrophe on grandmothers), patchwork hexagon, how to make a hexagon quilt, hexagon quilt images, hexagon flower quilt, pictures of hexagon quilts, how to make a hexagon, hexagon patchwork quilt, quilting hexagons, quilt hexagons, grandmothers flower garden quilt (again no apostrophe on grandmothers), hexagonquilt, hexagon quilt as you go, hexagon quilts patterns, hexagon quilts free patterns, hexagonal quilts, hexagons quilt.
And there are 100 more search terms!! Those first 35 search terms got a total of 17,360 hits – I haven’t added up the rest of the 100 search terms but there are many thousands more!
These stats show that lots of people want to make a hexagon quilt, and English Paper Piecing has always been the time-honored way to do it.
I have decided to update that 5-year-old post today and I will show you an exciting modern method of making a hexagon quilt.
In a word – INKLINGO.
The Inklingo site has lots more information – but here’s my brief description:
You don’t have to cut paper patterns or use templates, there’s no basting to do, you use a running stitch instead of a whip stitch so the stitches DO NOT show AT ALL on the front of the block!! And… last but not least – it is FAR more accurate.
My quilt group made a double sized hexagon quilt last year – 5 people (with various levels of technical skills) made the blocks and I am happy to report that it came together perfectly.
You print the cutting and stitching and lines on the back of the fabric which you have ironed to freezer paper so it will go through the printer. Any inkjet printer will do. I prefer to use the 8 1/2 x 11 freezer paper you buy in packages at quilt shops or from Jenkins – it is a bit heavier and longer lasting and not curved from being on a roll. I can use the same sheets MANY times – just rip the fabric off and iron another piece on. The supermarket Reynolds Freezer Paper is fine too – most Inklingoists use it. After it is ironed once it loses the curve.
I printed the lines darker than you would normally on light fabric so that you can easily see the cutting lines (solid) sewing lines (dashes) and pinning points (little vertical lines) and the cross hairs.
It’s so simple – essentially paint by numbers for quilting. As I am stitching away I often feel I am somehow cheating because it’s so easy to follow the dotted line from cross hair to cross hair. The tiny lines that indicate the pinning points make it so easy to get everything to line up perfectly.
I always wanted to own a real handmade quilt – but the only one in the family (a yellow Lone Star) was willed to someone else. I thought – I can do that – I know how to sew. I bought a bunch of quilt magazines and was instantly put off by the math involved – math is NOT my strong point. So many pages of directions and all those fractions – and templates to trace around – forget it!
Mind you – this was before the cutting mat and rotary cutter, jelly rolls, charm packs and strip piecing. I did manage a few simple baby and lap quilts – but I never attempted anything like the beautiful traditional patterns that had caught my eye.
Enter Inklingo. I’d heard about it long before I could ever buy anything because Inklingo wasn’t a PDF delivered to your computer in the early days – you had to buy a Windows only CD and I’ve always had a Mac.
After having made many quilts using a variety of Inklingo Shape Collections I can safely say that I’d rather give up my self-healing cutting mat and my rotary cutter than give up Inklingo – I’m serious! Inklingo has changed my quilting life. I am working on an Alabama Beauty now – which has 16 pieces in each block – ALL of them curved and 8 of the pieces meet in the center – try THAT without Inklingo cutting, sewing and pinning lines!
Inklingo has made it possible for today’s quilters to easily construct beautiful traditional quilt patterns that have fallen out of favor because they are so difficult to make. And I think it has helped to bring back the fine art of hand piecing. In today’s rush rush rush world of “Quilt in a Day” there is something to be said for relaxing with a hand pieced project.
Of course most patterns can also be made by machine if that is your choice. Even patterns without curves are easier and more accurate with the sewing lines and pinning points to follow. I machine pieced a Japanese + and x quilt (spool block) without Inklingo and then made another one with Inklingo – MUCH easier. I didn’t have to unpick a single seam – and I was constantly unpicking the first non Inklingo version to get the points to meet accurately.
If after checking it out – the concept of printing your templates on fabric doesn’t appeal to you – then you can still use Inklingo for printing your paper or freezer paper templates. There is always a no seam allowance option. You can print as many templates as you need when you need them.
I am not a paid spokesperson – just a very satisfied customer who wanted to share a modern way to make a hexagon quilt.
Try Tilde’s 15 Minute Challenge which is designed to help you print your very first shapes on fabric with the free Diamond, Triangle Square Collection.
If you like to make scrappy quilts you may want to read my “How I print Inklingo for scrappy quilts.”