Hexagon Table Runner Project

This hexagon table runner project was inspired by a number of things.

hexagon table runner project

First, I was just itching to play with my fabric stash. After several years of working solely on cross stitch and needlepoint projects, I wanted to play with the colors and prints of fabric again. I do love my stitching projects, but my heart really sings when I see fabrics juxtaposed in interesting combinations.

All Points Patchwork - coming soon!Second, I had never tried English paper piecing (EPP) before. When my friend Diane of Craftypod released her latest book, All Points Patchwork, I was intrigued by the technique. I was too busy with other projects to participate in any of the EPP blog hops at the time of the release, but working with EPP had been lingering in the back of my mind ever since.

Third, I wanted a table runner! I thought that a pair of my wood file cabinets could use a splash of color on top. With those three inspirations in mind, I set out to make my own EPP hexagon table runner.

Before I go further, I should explain that I had not yet purchased All Points Patchwork when I created this project, and I sure wish I would have. It is a treasure trove of all things EPP: tools, techniques, tips for creating with each shape, and design ideas. Further into this tutorial, I’ll share some things I would have done differently if I had read the book first.

Design

The design of this project was adapted from this “Modern Hexie Table Runner” project by Laura Hartrich. I liked her use of multiple background fabrics and a hexie layout that created gaps in the pattern to reveal the background. Her project is great; however, where her hexie layout was asymmetrical, I wanted to create a symmetrical arrangement. And where she used a simple applique technique to attach her hexies individually to the background, I was wanting the full EPP experience to join my hexagons together before appliqueing them. laura hartrich modern hexie table runner

I knew I wanted to use 1-1/2 inch hexagons so that this first attempt at EPP wouldn’t become too hard to manage. I also knew that the top of my two file cabinets measured just under 43 by 19 inches, and I didn’t want this project to overlap the edges of the cabinets at all. After some experimentation I ended up with this layout:

hexagon table runner project dimensions

1-1/2 inch hexagons “on their sides” as shown (rather than arranging the points at top and bottom) measure 2-5/8 inches high, so 5 rows add up to a total of 13-1/8 inches. A single 1-1/2 inch hexie measures 3 inches wide; however, 3/4 inch of the width of the NEXT hexie overlaps with the first hexie. Therefore, every column of hexies adds only 2-1/4 inches of width to the project. The seventeen columns of hexies shown here adds up to (3″ + 16 x 2-1/4″) 39 inches.

IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I would have used hexagon graph paper from the beginning. Regular graph paper just didn’t get the spacing of the hexagons correct. This led to quite a mess that I didn’t catch until much later in the project when I removed the templates behind the hexies. I had to take out a bunch of seams, re-insert templates behind eight of the hexagons, re-position and re-attach five hexagons, cut all new pieces of background fabric, and I was left with barely enough backing fabric to do a wrap-around binding for the quilt. Lesson learned: use hexagon graph paper!

Fabrics

hexagon table runner project fabrics[Note: this photo shows the hexies BEFORE I sewed them together!]

The design was pretty well established so then I scoured my fabric stash, looking for candidates. I’ve been on a light blue kick for a little while now so shades of blue feature prominently. I also knew that this runner would be on a stained wood surface, so I wanted a few browns in the mix. From my collection, I ended up using fabrics 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 9. Then it was off to my local fabric shop to find prints for the background and the backing. There I found fabrics 3, 6, 7, and 10. I think it’s a good and slightly funky mix!

Background

I used fabrics 3, 6, 7, and 10 in the pattern you see below (10,3,7,6,10,3,7). I knew that 6 was going to be my backing and binding fabric, so I used only one piece of it in the center as opposed to the two pieces each of 3, 7, and 10.hexagon table runner project background

The background pieces were cut at 13-1/2 inches tall by 6-1/2 inches wide. That left enough for a 3/8 inch seam allowance between the pieces and an overall usable width of just over 40 inches. It turns out that I needed every bit of that 40 inches as the combined width of the hexies sewn together was 40 inches, one inch wider than the 39 inches I calculated. I think next time, I’d cut the pieces 14 inches tall by 6-3/4 inches wide, just to be safe.

I knew I was going to applique on the edge of the hexies and I knew there was some probable un-quilted space between the hexies and the edge of the runner. I also knew I wanted to anchor down the background a bit before I appliqued the hexagons. So at this point I layered my batting and backing fabric, pinned the layers (you can just see the white pin heads in the photo above), and quilted in the ditch between the seven pieces.

Templates

hexagon table runner project templatesTo create my own hexagon templates, I used Incompetech’s graph paper generator to make an original template on normal office paper. I cut out a hexagon and then traced it repeatedly onto manila file folders to make the templates. This tracing probably made the hexies a smidgen larger than they should have been, and this may be why my sewn hexies together measured 40 inches wide rather than the 39 I calculated. IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I may have followed Diane’s recommendation that beginners use precut templates; however, with so few hexagons necessary for this project, I might still have created my own. Next time, I would make them with much greater precision, possibly printing the Incompetech hexagons directly onto the file folders.

Hexagons

hexagon table runner project fabricsThe layout calls for 38 hexagons. Although I made some (11) hexies from the background fabrics, I made the remaining 27 from the other fabrics. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Fabric 1: 5
  • Fabric 2: 4
  • Fabric 3: 3
  • Fabric 4: 5
  • Fabric 5: 4
  • Fabric 6: 2
  • Fabric 7: 3
  • Fabric 8: 4
  • Fabric 9: 5
  • Fabric 10: 3

Fortunately, even before Diane published her EPP book, she uploaded videos to YouTube that perfectly explain how to create hexiessew them together, and then remove the paper templates.

hexagon table runner project first hexieAfter watching these videos, I started basting my own hexies with ease! Once the fabric was cut, it took me less than three minutes to baste a hexie. I couldn’t believe it was so easy, and I felt silly for not having tried EPP before. At right is a photo of the first hexagon I had ever basted – it was a proud moment!

 

 

 

 

After all the hexies were basted, I laid them out on the background and played with their arrangement. I didn’t want any of the fabrics to overlap themselves in the background, and I wanted to balance out the location of the dark and light fabrics. This was the result:hexagon table runner project hexie layout

From here, I sewed the hexies together using Diane’s video instructions. After a good steam pressing, I removed the templates and was ready to applique the big piece of EPP to the background.

Applique

I took a great deal of care to lay out the EPP on the background: noticing where the pieces in a column lined up with the background seams, making sure that the top and bottom edges of the pieces were horizontal, and ensuring that the extreme left and right points were centered vertically. I then pinned the everlasting crud out of the EPP to make sure that it wouldn’t shift as I appliqued.

I first sewed around the seven gaps in the EPP and then sewed down the entire outline in one long take (see the red lines in the figure below).

hexagon table runner project applique

IF I HAD READ THE BOOK FIRST, I would have appliqued about 1/8 inch from the edge. As I did it, I appliqued about 5/8 inch, and I’m seriously considering whether I should resew it at the recommended 1/8 inch. The table runner looks fine as is, but if I were to wash it, some of the fabric on the back of the hexies might slip out and that would be a hassle to fix. I also think it would look a little better with the 1/8 inch distance when viewed up close.

I cleaned up all my thread ends and then buried the tails between the layers of the quilt.hexagon table runner project thread ends before and after

Binding

Last, I did a wrap-around binding (where the backing fabric becomes the binding) with a blind stitched finish on top. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave myself much fabric to do the wrap around, but I did manage, barely, to make it work. Just don’t look too closely at those corners, please!

Here is my new table runner in it’s new habitat, on top of its file cabinets, mere moments before it was filled with all the debris of modern life.

hexagon table runner project 2

I love it, and I’m looking forward to making more in the future. Maybe some holiday-themed hexagon table runner projects will follow!

Water Themed Crafts – Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of this series on healthy water themed crafts! This series of posts compliments the release of BeMores Set 3 which encourages us to be more “Moderate” and “Healthy.”

There are a million crafts that encourage us to be more healthy! These range from crocheted fruits and vegies to building organic planters, from quilted exercise mats to contemplative rock gardens, and even crafted puzzles to keep our brains challenged.
Water in well in PuruliaConsidering that humans are roughly 60% water and the the surface of the Earth is roughly 70% water, I’m going to concentrate on water themed crafts – crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Water Themed Crafts in Crochet

Stainless Steel Water Bottle Sling Free crochet pattern bag cozy aluminum kleen kanteenTo encourage us to drink more water, CrochetConcupiscence has already rounded up this post with 10 free crochet patterns for water bottle holders. I think of all the patterns, I’m most partial to this stainless steel water bottle sling from Moogly, but the sock monkey one is pretty darn cute as well.

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts part 1 - ocean waves throwThere are hundreds of patterns for afghans, but these next two links seem particularly suited for representing water. First is this pretty and traditional Ocean Waves pattern from RedHeart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Wobble Afghan :: free #crochet pattern on mooglyNext is this Vintage Wobble Afghan pattern (with a lovely story behind it) from Moogly. With these colors and an ombré stripe pattern, the vintage becomes a modern classic!

 

 

 

 

 

crochet fish and ocean bookmarkOn a smaller scale is this cute water bookmark made from a nice looking wave pattern from CrochetSpot.

 

How to crochet charming, double sided PurseI adore this crochet bag pattern from AboutGoodness. The broomstick stitch beautifully represents the sea, and you can easily see the sand and shore grasses through the rest of the pattern. Just lovely.

 

 

Crochet Coral ReefAlthough I’d like to concentrate more on water itself rather than the creatures that inhabit the water, nothing is more indicative of clean water than healthy coral reefs. The Crochet Coral Reef Project is a beautiful and colorful way to raise awareness of the plight of coral reefs. The Maine Reef blog has many of the patterns used to crochet and knit these coral creatures.

Water Themed Crafts in Quilling

There’s plenty of watery quilling inspiration! First up is this piece from ACanofCraftyCuriosities, the last of a series also including fire, air, and earth.

 

 

 

Next is this gorgeous piece by Jackie Huang for the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. The post also shows the very interesting progress photos on this creation.

 

 

 

 

 

quilled-wavesThis post from AllThingsPaper features some pieces by Natasha Molotkova of PaperGraphic. A few of her pieces have water, but my favorite has to be this gorgeous wave that was used for a graphic in a magazine article.

 

 

For a bit of freshwater quilling action I found this waterfall project by AJourneyIntoQuilling. This page also features a link to tutorials for basic shapes and how to use them.

 

 

Canvas on Edge - Over Land and SeaFinally is this article, again from AllThingsPaper, about Stallman Studio Gallery who work not with paper but with artists canvas on edge. Their works are not strictly considered as quilling, but some of the shapes are similar and result in absolutely stunning pieces.

Water Themed Crafts in Woodworking

 Java with StyleThis post on WoodturningOnline links to four different tutorials on how to combine turned wood and stainless steel inserts into cups. What a constructive and attractive way to encourage drinking more water!

 

 

healthy water crafts handcarved kuska cupNext is this tutorial from JonsBushcraft on how to carve your own Kuska cup. Kuska are also known as Guski, and originally come from northern Scandanavia. A well made and maintained Kuska can last a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

AleutesqueKayakers and canoeists certainly appreciate clean water. These next three links are to sites with information, DIY instructions, kits, and plans for building watercraft. The first is KayakBuilding.com,

 

 

healthy water crafts - sea rider kayakthe second site is Yostwerks.com,

 

 

 

 

 

Nya kanotenand the third is BearMountainBoats.com. As you can see, some of these boats are gorgeous!

Water Themed Crafts in Lace and Tatting

healthy water crafts - lace with a spiral that looks like a waveThis spiral in this very old German lace pattern from YarnOver closely resembles a wave.

 

 

 

 

 

This post on Martha’sTattingBlog describes her working with patterns from a pre-1862 book. One of her experiments turned out as you see here – I think it’s very much like ripples in water.

 

 

 

Tatted Sea Shell JournalHere’s a little-bit-of-a-wave-like tatting used in combination with lace, fabric, and shells to make a pretty sea-themed journal cover.

 

 

 

Water Themed Crafts in Weaving and Tapestry

Saori Weaving ClassSimilar to quilling, there’s lots of watery weaving inspiration out there! First are photos from SaltSpringWeaving of a SAORI weaving class including this project,

 

 

 

and there’s this Weaving Waves project by MessMuddleandFun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then from FrontiersMagazine is this article about the “Between Tides” exhibition of Ros Bryant and Janet Clark’s tapestry works in Stromness, Orkney. The exhibition continues through September 14th 2013 (as of the time of this posting, there’s still time to go see these beautiful tapestries).
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Water Themed Crafts in Mosaic Tile

Here’s a quick DIY from Shelterness on making a pretty sea glass/mosaic tile serving tray.

 

 

 Cool Garden Paths That Are Off The Beaten PathAmong other great ideas on this page from BuildDirect is this stunning garden path. The pebbles on edge look reminds me of entrances to houses I’ve seen in Laguardia, Spain.

 

 

 

An idea inside the home is this powder room remodel on Houzz,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bathroom with blue mosaic tiles 12 Tropical Bathrooms With Summer Style interior design and then there’s this bathroom covered in STUNNING mosaic tile. So gorgeous! There are other great ideas for modern bathrooms in this post by IonDecorating, but this one is by far my favorite.

 

 

As for ideas on water and wave tiles you can purchase, there is this pattern from New Ravenna (via Houzz),

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts bubble tilethis fun bubble pattern (among others) on Vizimac.com,

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - oasis waveform tileand this Silk Road Oasis Mosaic also from New Ravenna. Just lovely.

 

 

 

healthy water crafts - water mosaic tile piece by lauren trueThere are some beautiful mosaic art pieces out there. This piece, entitled “Two, Water” is by Laurel True through the True Mosaics Studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

090924_SJVCS-Mosaic-of-Mary-09-mosaic-tiles-wavesThis is a detail of a piece made for a Catholic church. I’ve looked at a lot of mosaic tile waves, but I don’t think you’ll find any others quite like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I’ll share this Pinterest page by Taina Suomalainen of Art Mosaics.healthy water crafts - pinterest collection of art mosaics

healthy water crafts - croydon fishpond mosaic tile trompe l'oeil by gary drostleIt’s a wonderful collection spanning from the Ancient Romans to modern pieces. Not all the pieces have a water or ocean theme, but many do. One of the most remarkable pins is this trompe l’oeil piece by Gary Drostle.

 

 

 

 

 

That wraps up this first post on healthy water themed crafts, covering crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tile! Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Stay tuned for the next installments in this series, featuring knitting, embroidery, jewelry, gardening, glass work, polymer clay, chainmaille, basket weaving and a whole lot more!

[Update: Here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 in the series!]

Persian Flower Needlework Pattern

This Persian flower needlework project is another favorite of mine:This Persian Flower Needlework is based on a very small element from a historical design book.

Years ago, I bought three separate but related prints from a vendor at the Metrolina Expo in Charlotte, NC. Two are studies of Persian carpet designs, and the third is a study of Japanese ornamental patterns. I didn’t find out until years later that they originally were in two books: L’Ornement polychrome (1869-1888) and L’Ornement des tissus (1877) by A. Racinet and M. Dupont-Auberville. The books are now published by Taschen in one massive volume as “The World of Ornament.”

I have loved these prints from the moment I saw them. It bugs me that they were part of a book that was destroyed in order to sell the plates individually. If I had known that at the time, I’m not sure I would have purchased them. However, they hang very beautifully on my dining room wall and I admire them constantly.

In one of the three prints on my wall, this one Persian flower measures about 3/4 in at its widest. Something about this tiny flower caught my eye, and I always thought that it would lend itself to a big needlework project. It turned out absolutely stunning!A series of photos that show the progress on my Persian flower needlework project

Above is just a thumbnail of the progress on the pattern done as a needlepoint project. Click on the thumbnail(s) to go see the entirety of the interesting progression on Flickr. The pattern (and sometimes kits) are available on Etsy.

Geometric Patterns for Cross Stitch and Needlepoint

Many of the projects I have designed are big and complex. With these Geometric patterns, I wanted to have some fun with colors on a smaller scale. I got out my toolbox filled with all 454 colors of DMC floss and had a blast mixing them up.

I also wanted to experiment with the idea of transparent layers in needlepoint, so I designed some areas where there would be two and even three different colors of thread in the needle at the same time. These are the rather cheerful results:

geometric patterns with circles, squares, triangles and diamonds

I stitched the circles first, followed by the squares, then the triangles and lastly the diamonds. You can see the progression of the stitching on Flickr – that’s a pretty interesting series of photos. The patterns, needlepoint and cross stitch kits are all available  at my Etsy shop.

One thing you can learn from these Geometric patterns is the importance of keeping all your different flosses organized correctly. This was especially true on the diamonds and triangles – you have to keep a very close eye on which flosses combine in certain places.

The biggest thing I learned from these is that the backstitching on top made ALL the difference in every single project. I love ’em, they’re bright and funky!