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!

Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating – 2013

Once again following the lead of Diane and Tammy, I’m rounding up the “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating in 2013” as part of their “Share the Link Love” mission.

I started blogging in February of this year, and what an adventure it has been! I honestly had no idea of exactly what I was getting into, and to be honest, I still don’t as blogging seems to be constantly evolving (just read Diane’s post on the topic). Creating posts takes more time than I originally thought, but I’m happy to be writing again after a gap of many years. I’m also trying to emphasize quality of posts over quantity of posts, and that seems to keep me motivated and to be working. With all that in mind, here’s five posts I’m proud of (in no particular order):

#1 FIRST POST!

Hitting “publish” the first time was a pretty interesting experience. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling while I was being hopeful and curious all at the same time. It was also the result of a failure (but a fail-forward type failure).
Computer keyboard and touch pad

(Insert sound effect here: “Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!”)

[Photo by darrenleno via Flickr]

The first AncoraCrafts.com was an e-commerce platform that I had spent a lot of time and money on setting up, customizing, and maintaining. And after an extended period of time, I never sold a damn thing on it. Not one. Hardly got any views. Obviously, I had to make a change.

Moving my listings to Etsy was the easy part, but changing the .com to a blog took a lot of work, mentally and digitally. Switching to a new web host and learning WordPress were two big hurdles. But the biggest challenge was in making the commitment to blogging – a decision I did not take lightly.

I’m very happy to say that ever since I hit “publish” on the first post in late February, although it’s a lot of work, I’m having a lot of fun with this blog!

#2 Followup on my ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinI published an interview with quilt artist Betty Busby in June. I have been in awe of her work since I first saw it and I was so curious about her process. In August she was gracious enough to give me, my husband, and our dog Scully a tour of her home and studio space in Albuquerque. It was a real honor and treat for all of us, and I’m really happy that I was brave and took the chance to ask her if she was available.

#3 Making a Better Blog

The Better IdeaMost of my very early posts on the blog are about my own projects and products, and that was fine. But in May, after doing a lot of reading about blogging, I had a kind of epiphany about the direction of my blog. I’m sure it will shift again someday, but this post sums up my current bloggy path.

[Photo: The Better Idea by (the brilliant) Peggy Dembicer via Flickr]

 

 

#4 Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

As part of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May project, I put more information about myself out on the internet than I ever thought I would. Of all the 31 topics that month, I really enjoyed creating this post about my favorite books.Bill the Cat for President

 [Bill the Cat for President from Bloom County. Photo by tjosephson2 via Flickr]

#5 My Hexie Madness Series

I had done a few other crafty roundups before, but the hexagon series really stands out. I dug deep, spending days on the internet to find examples of hexagon crafts in all types of disciplines. I ended up finding some really outstanding hexies in interesting places. I tried to find as many tutorials and patterns as possible, but where those didn’t exist, I did find some excellent sources of inspiration. Love the leather pouffe and these popsicle sticks – so fun! [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

How about you? Share your “proud five” post over at CraftyPod!

Five Favorite Projects for DIY Crafty Goodness

I’ve been inspired once again this week by the Link Love post from Diane at CraftyPod and will share my five favorite projects (thus far).

Honeycomb Hexagon Wall @ Vintage Revivals-2#1 is this outstanding hexie ombré wall by VintageRevivals. First time I saw this photo, I was rendered nearly speechless – I mean HOW COOL IS THIS WALL!

 

 

Pin cushion tutorial#2 is this lovely and larger size pincushion tutorial from Lori at TheInboxJaunt. Love the ocean colors and the pattern in this small piece.

 

 

#3 is this tutorial from Jesse at NineRed that not only shows how to paint some awesome hexies, it also has great information about refinishing any piece of furniture, even if it’s ugly 70’s plastic!

 

 

 

Melted Bead Suncatchers#4 are these melted bead suncatcher projects from TheArtfulParent. These are so simple, fun, and bright, I can’t wait to try them out someday with the kids in my life.

 

 

hexagon crafts - scrapbook paper wall art by itsalwaysautumn#5 is this tutorial by Autumn at itsalwaysautumn. I knew this was something I wanted to try as soon as I saw it. It’s simple, inexpensive, gorgeous, and a great way to use and display some of your favorite scrapbook papers.

 

I’m going to give honorary mentions to two other projects – first is is this tutorial on popsicle sticks from LiEr at Ikatbag. These are great fun! Her kids did a good job…

 

 

Nicey Jane hexiesThe second honorary mention is this tutorial for bordered hexies (found through CraftyPod) that really makes me want to dive into making some of these little buggers!

 

 

I’ve made the last two links into honorary mentions as I showed the same photos in my link love post last Friday as well. As much as I love these projects, I just didn’t want to seem too repetitive.

You also might tell that most of my links here feature hexagons. Well, they’re from my four part series on hexagon crafts! Next week, I dive into a series on health-promoting crafts starting with good ol’ H2O – stay tuned…

Hexagon Crafts – Part 1

Welcome to this series on hexagon crafts, which should really be titled HEXIE MADNESS! Hexagon crafts are incredibly popular, and have been for years. It’s a trend I think and hope will be around for a long time. This is the first of four posts covering hexagon crafts ranging from crochet to cakes, pottery to popsicle sticks, and everything in between.
Hexagons

[Photo: Detail of a giant kite by Gerald Keller via Flickr]

Before I get into the specific projects, I’d like to share this story by Megan of SewingInCircles. While she was traveling, crafting hexies had a huge anxiety and stress-relieving effect for her:

“…we were stranded, flights were cancelled, next available flights were two days later….clearly a time when either alcohol or chemistry would be needed to calm the nerves.

“But never fear, the hexies are here!! (and a large glass of wine)

“By the time we actually boarded a flight, I was frazzled, I was like frazzle rock, or frazzle wrecked. But I pulled out my hexies and started to sew. The hexies were with me because I had no other handwork that was in a state to travel. But once again, handwork saved me on the flight from shaking the whole way.”

This is a great example of how crafts can benefit us all. So take a look at these great hexie projects, get inspired, and get crafting!

Hexagon Crafts in Quilting

Spoonflower-placemat-finished-2Diane of CraftyPod created this tutorial for Spoonflower for making these modern and bright quilted hexie placemats.

 

 

 

Nicey Jane hexiesThrough this link love post from also from Diane, I saw this tutorial for bordered hexies that, like Diane says, makes me “want to chuck my whole To-Do list out the window and spend my day making these things.” The colors and fabrics in this photo by Silly Lil’ Doe! are so attractive!

 

hexy mug rug tutorial 17Here’s a great tutorial from SewHappyGeek on how to sew a mug rug made of all hexies:

 

 

 

 

hexagon crafts - scrappy quiltAnd I love the vintage and scrappy feel of this quilt pattern available from BrigitteGiblin. This is a great way to show off some feature fabrics and get your hexie fix at the same time!

 

 

 

 

jeni baker color hex quilt patternIf you don’t feel like making a zillion tiny hexies, PinkChalkFabrics offers this Color Hex Quilt Pattern by Jeni Baker. Very fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hexagon NecklaceWild Olive takes the quilted hexie to the next level with this tutorial to make one into a necklace,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and MicheleMadeMe has this tutorial available on making this adorable fabric hexie headband!

 

 

 

Hexagon Crafts in Leather

POUF - leatherI found these two products that certainly could be used for some crafty inspiration! The first is this very fun leather hexie pouf by KSIA-Berlin.

 

 

 

 

Diane Von Furstenberg Tonda Hexagon Patchwork Leather Box Clutch in Orange (blush) - LystSecond is this elegant and colorful box clutch by Diane Von Furstenberg via Lyst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hexagon Crafts in Scrapbooking

hexagon crafts - scrapbook paper wall art by itsalwaysautumnI knew this tutorial by Autumn at itsalwaysautumn was a keeper as soon as I saw it. It’s simple, inexpensive, gorgeous, and a great way to use and display some of your favorite scrapbook papers!

 

 

 

 

Hex4Kelly Purkey on her It’s Me, KP blog has this very useful Photoshop tutorial on how to make hexagon photos without using a punch.

 

 

 

open hexagon explosion boxI had never really heard of an “explosion box” before I saw this hexagon box project by Karen on CraftsForAllSeasons. I imagine it would be a great present for someone who already has everything! Very clever…

 

 

When it comes to hexagons in real-live full-on-scrapbook pages, I’m going to direct you to this article by the GetItScrapped crew at DebbieHodge.com. The article covers using hexagon shapes, creating visual interest with hexies, using hexagon embellishments… covering just about every way hexies can be used in scrapbooking layouts. An excellent resource!

 

Hexagon Crafts in Weaving

hexagon crafts - woven hexagon by noreen crone findlayNoreen Crone-Findlay has a video tutorial on how to weave a hexagon using a Lily Speed-O Weave Loom. I can only imagine how warm a blanket made from these woven hexies must be…

 

 

 

Hexagon Crafts in Jewelry

Beadweaving Tutorial No 27 - Hexagon PendantHere’s a tutorial from Lynn Davy available on Etsy on how to make this fun, colorful, and sparkly crystal hexagon pendant,

 

 

 

 

and I found instructions to make these basic hexagon stitch beaded earrings from Chris Franchetti Michaels on About.com.

 

 

 

 

Honeycomb Necklace, Geometric hexagon jewelryYou might find some inspiration in this simple and elegant geometric honeycomb necklace by HyJewelry on Etsy,

 

 

 

Neon Statement Necklace, Honey Comb Hexagons, Modern Molecules Geometric Jewelryand with this bright and gorgeous neon statement necklace made of leather by BooandBooFactory. BooandBooFactory features a lot of hexagons throughout their shop – check ’em out!

 

 

 

Green Hexagon mosaic shell cuff (cuff button cuff links).For the sharp dressers, I spotted these beautiful mother-of-pearl hexagon cufflinks from CuffCuff.

 

 

 

 

hexagon crafts - hexagon earrings by india hicksAnd finally, once again not a tutorial, but I just ADORE these earrings by India Hicks that were available at Bloomingdale’s. They’re beautiful, and with the right outfit, they would be absolutely stunning!

 

 

 

 

 

That gorgeous note concludes this, the first of four articles on hexagon crafts. Is there anything else in these five crafty categories (quilting, leatherwork, scrapbooking, weaving, and jewelry) that you would like to add in the comments?

Stay tuned for hexie crochet, pottery, painting, needlework, stained glass, gardening and much much more!

[Update: here’s links to Part 2 (crochet, felt, lace and tatting, polymer clay, origami, popsicle sticks), Part 3 (sewing, pottery, knitting, quilling, woodworking, plastic and stained glass), and Part 4 (paint, cross stitch, embroidery, baking, lamp making, and gardening)]