Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hexy Stars Tutorial: Part 3 - Finishing the Top

Finally, Part 3 of the Hexy Stars tutorial...
See this post for the finished quilt and the introduction to this tutorial. This part covers piecing the Hexy's together, and finishing the top.


Start by trimming off the dog-ears, which are the "pointy" parts hanging over the sides of the hexagons.

When finished all 6 sides will look even.

For piecing the hexy stars together, you'll need to mark each of the 6 corners 1/4" from the edge, forming an "x" in each corner.  I used the same fabric marker mentioned in Part 1.

Begin a stack of trimmed and marked hexagons....

And, continue until all hexagons are finished.

Next, layout the hexagons on the floor in 8 rows of 6, as shown.  I made sure that the colors were evenly distributed and that 2 of the same diamonds were not next to each other, etc.  Just lay them out how you like them!


Next up is piecing the rows of hexagons together.  I started with 2 hexagons and placed a pin through the points of both, as shown below.  Then, I placed 2 more pins on both sides of that pin to keep it from moving when sewing.  

It is very important to start and stop 1/4" away from the edges when piecing these together, which is the center of the "x" that you marked above. 

When sewing I removed the center pin, but left the other 2 in place and sewed over them.  I know you aren't supposed to probably do that - but, that's what I did.  I just sewed very slow over the pins to avoid breaking needles, and had no problems.

Ensure that your points match up well.  If not, rip out the seam, pin, and try again!  (I only had to do this on a couple! Thank God!)

Then, press the the seam open on the back.

Continue this same process to form a row of 6 hexagons (or 5 hexagons and 2 half-hexagons).

Complete all 8 rows.  


I followed the same process to sew the rows together.  I matched up the one hexagon section with the opposing hexagon section of the other row.  I pinned through the center point of those two sections to match the points well.  I used 2 more pins on both sides of the center and then one at the end of each section to keep it lined up well since there is a bit more bulk.   

Sew one section at a time by starting and stopping 1/4" away from the edge - or at the "x".  Then, move on to the next section until the rows are completely pieced together.  I found it easiest to fold the completed sections, as you can see in the photo.  It helped line up the next section better.

Use this process to piece together the remaining rows.  I sewed rows 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 6, 7 to 8 - then 1/2 to 3/4, 5/6 to 7/8 - and finally 1/2/3/4 to 5/6/7/8.  The order doesn't really matter though....


I decided to square off my quilt and add a border.  I used some extra white background diamonds and sewed one into each "zig-zag" on the bottom and top of the quilt.  Then, I just trimmed the top and bottom so they were straight, and 1/4" away from points of the star.

I added an 8" teal border to all sides.  I wanted to make the quilt a little larger, but I think it would like nice without a border too.  

I had it quilted, added the binding - and that's all!  

And, that completes the Hexy Stars tutorial!  I hope these directions are somewhat understandable!  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Good Luck! ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hexy Stars Tutorial: Part 2 - Forming the "Hexi-Stars"

Continuing right along to Part 2 of the Hexy Stars tutorial...
See this post for the finished quilt and the introduction to this tutorial. This part covers adding the background diamonds and forming the hexagons.


Start by placing a white background diamond over one diamond in the star.

(sorry about the busy background fabric here - don't know what I thinking!)

Flip the star over, and sew along the edge of the diamond.  I found it easier to start on the left side of the photo below - 1/4" in from the edge - and stitch towards the pointy side stopping 1/4" from the end.  Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches.  

Then, fold the white diamond to match it to the other diamond that is part of the star (the red diamond in these photos).  Stitch from left to right (in photo below) - starting and stopping 1/4" away from the edges.  

Press the white diamond away from the star.

(Sorry, horrible and blurry photo!)

And, then press the seams open on the back.  I burned my fingers a time or two pressing the seams open - so be careful!

I probably got a little carried away with spray, but I always sprayed the seams every time I needed to press them open.  It just helped things stay put - and not stretch when piecing.

Continue adding the 5 other diamonds using the same method and rotating around the star.  When finished it will look like this from the top:

And on back:

Repeat until all stars have the background diamonds added to form hexagons.  The 8 half stars should be handled exactly the same - except you'll have to trim the excess white diamond fabric off to line up the edges.  The half-stars should look like this when finished.

When complete, you should end up with 44 hexagons and 8 half-hexagons.

Continue along to Hexy Stars Tutorial - Part 3!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hexy Stars Tutorial: Part 1 - Cutting and Piecing Stars

Here's Part 1 of the Hexy Stars tutorial!  See this post for the finished quilt and the introduction to this tutorial. This part covers cutting and piecing of the six-pointed stars.


From each jelly roll strip, cut 60 degree diamonds.  I used the 60 Degree Diamond Ruler by Darlene Zimmerman (EZ Quilting).

You don't need this special ruler though - you can just use a standard ruler that has a 60 degree marking on it.  Just line up the bottom edge of the jelly roll strip with the 60 degree marking on the ruler, as shown, and cut every 2.5 inches over.

Here you can see the two different rulers stacked on top of each other to better see that they will achieve the same thing. 

Each jelly roll strip will result in 14 diamonds.  After cutting and cutting, you'll have a big stack of colorful diamonds.

You'll also need to cut white diamonds for the background.  First cut 22 - 2.5" strips of white fabric and then repeat the steps above to form diamonds.  With 22 strips resulting in 14 diamonds each - you'll create 308 diamonds!  That should be plenty for the quilt shown.


Next is the glorious task of marking each diamond.  I only marked the diamonds from the jelly roll, not the white ones.  I used a fabric marking pen to mark an "x" in each corner 1/4" away from the edges.  It is a light blue line in the photo below (sorry, a little hard to see!).  This is a good project to do while watching TV.  It is a bit monotonous....well actually A LOT monotonous!

(Note: a woman at my quilt store told me to be careful with these pens because sometimes the heat from ironing will cause the ink to stay permanent.  She said it is good to add water to it before ironing - which would be kind of a pain, but good if it was going to stain your quilt.  I didn't do this and after freaking out after she said that, the pen ultimately came out fine in the wash.)

I then went through the diamonds and grouped them in groups of 6.  I just wanted different fabrics in each group that "went" together.  You could also keep all the same fabrics in groups of 6's and then the stars would not have the scrappy look I chose to go with.  It would look more like this quilt. 


I started by laying out the star in the order I wanted the fabrics.  It helped to visualize what the star would look like when it was finished.  For example, I didn't want 2 dark fabrics together, or 2 blues next to each other....instead, I wanted the star to somewhat have dark, light, dark, light, etc.  It doesn't always work, but that's what I was going for.  From the photo above, I took diamonds 1 & 2 and diamonds 4 & 5 and sewed them together first. 

Stitch diamonds 1 & 2 with right-sides together by starting at the center point of the star and working out, which means starting at the "pointy" side of the diamond.  Stitch from the outside edge of the diamond until you reach the 1/4" marking, back stitch 3-4 stitches, stitch forward again until you reach the 1/4" marking, and then stop.  It is important that you stop 1/4" from the edge to help with piecing the star together later.

Press the 2 diamonds with their seams open.  (Note: I always press down on the closed seam, iron one diamond away from the other, then turn it over to the back side and press the seams open, which helps "set" the seams.) 

I also used Mary Ellen's Best Press to spray the pieces each time I ironed.  It really helped and I strongly recommend it for these stars.  I have heard that Magic Sizing works just as good and is a little cheaper - so, when my Best Press runs out, I plan to give that a try.  Both just help with stretching of the fabric and piecing accuracy.

Repeat this process with diamonds 4 & 5. 

Then add on diamonds 3 and 6 to those completed pairs, respectively.  Add diamond 3 to diamonds 1 & 2 in the same way - start stitching at the center of the star (or pointy edge) and stitch until you get to the 1/4" mark, back stitch, and then stitch forward again to 1/4" mark (dot shown below).  

After you've finished stitching, using a ruler, rotary cut off the the "dog-ears," which are the points hanging off over the edges.  

Press seam open.  Spray with Best Press to get the seams to lay flat.  Repeat with diamond 6 and add that to diamonds 4 & 5.

Now you are ready to form the star by connecting the two parts.... 

To match up the two sections well, place a pin through the point of diamonds 1/2/3 (right-side-down) and continue through the point connecting 4/5/6 (right-side-up).  That will help form a good point when sewn together.  I then use two pins on both sides of the pin stuck between pieces, as shown.  That will get the seam to stay where you want it!

Then, start stitching at the 1/4" mark on one side (shown with dot) and continue stitching until the 1/4" mark on the other end (shown with dot).  

It might be difficult to stitch where all the points come together, so just stitch slowly over that part.  I left the pins in and just carefully stitched over them.  After stitching, check your point at the center of the star to make sure it lines up well. 

Then, press that seam open as well.  Using the spray will help to keep the seams pressed down.  And, by pressing the seams open, it will help eliminate bulk at the center of the star.  

I normally press my seams to one side and actually tried it on one star as a test.  I coordinated the direction to press the seams so that the seams would all rotate around.  It ended up much bulkier at the center point of the star - so, I recommend just pressing the seams open.

And there you have it....your 6-pointed star!  

All of the seams will be open 1/4" around the star as shown here.  They are supposed to be that way, so don't worry!

Continue to repeat this process until you have formed all the desired stars.  You'll want to leave 4 stars half completed for the sides, resulting in 8 half-stars.  For this quilt, I created 44 stars and 8 half-stars.  It is time consuming, but fun to do - and they look so good when you are finished --- well worth the time!!!  :) 

Good luck and enjoy! :)