Machine stitching the New Hexagon Millefiore quilt, tutorial part three: where I actually finish before February

What is the date today?  I believe it is NOT February.  It’s still in the Januaries.  And my rosette #1 is done.

DSCN5302

I’m not being braggy, I am making a statement that I did not believe would ever be true.  And if I had kept on with my turtle-paced, nay, snail-paced hand sewing, I sure wouldn’t have a finished rosette to show you now.

I have to give a big shout out to all who have sent me the encouragement and positive comments on the first two parts of the tutorial.  Especially Katja Marek.  I am so glad she is using her powers for good and not evil, drawing us in to this project that is making our world a more beautiful (and apparently hexagon-shaped) place.  Go see her at http://www.katjasquiltshoppe.com

Shall we finish up the tutorial now?  Let’s put the final round on the rosette.

There are 18 hexagons in the final row, 6 each of three different configurations.  (If I may point out the obvious, make sure you don’t mix up your mirror-image Maries.)  Using a bunch of of the blue painter’s tape, line up your first two  blocks.

DSCN5280

This shows Brandi and Marie taped to the second round.  We’re going to attach Brandi first; Brandi is the block with the two floral diamonds in it.   (The second block needs to be taped in place because Brandi is joined to it in the first seam.

DSCN5281DSCN5282

DSCN5283DSCN5284

DSCN5285

Same procedure as before, removing tape, pivoting, and lock stitching.  This is the same was each of the subsequent blocks will be joined, so tape on your next Marie and go for it!

DSCN5286

The stitching to join this block starts at the place where we pivoted sewing our first seam.  In other words, at the place where Brandi and Marie both meet the row below.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of the start of this seam.  The first photo below shows the pivot after the first part of the seam is shown.  Notice that this seam will have two pivot points.

DSCN5287 DSCN5288

Time to lather, rinse and repeat my friends.  I’ll wait here for you.

DSCN4670 photo 2

That was intermission.

To get the papers out of the back, just follow Katja’s instructions in the book.  I am always looking for a reason to use fun tools, so I love an excuse to get out my pointy little awl.

DSCN5290 DSCN5291DSCN5292

Think of this like paper dolls, the kind that punch out.  I always loved those as a kid.  The papers have been stitched in around the edges, but they are now perforated.  Gently pull on them, and if they don’t release right away, punch them out!

DSCN5293

What more would it take to convince you to try this?  Go buy that book.  Dig through your collection.  You know you want to.

Now go make something pretty!

DSCN5309

DSCN5312 DSCN5308 DSCN5307 DSCN5296

Machine stitching the New Hexagon Millefiore quilt, tutorial part one: for those of us who hand sew at the speed of a turtle

You can’t help but drool over all the eye candy that is happening in the New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-Along.  The Facebook group has more than 1600 people!  Holy cows!  And if you’ve been under a rock, head over to Katja Marek’s website, then meet the rest of us right back here.  We’ll wait.  http://www.katjasquiltshoppe.com

DSCN5233

Ooh, here’s an idea…how to make this project happen without spending every waking moment hand stitching.  Because, frankly, I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to avoid hand sewing.  I know I’m not the only one out here that wants to do this project, but NOT by hand!

DSCN5233 - Version 2

First, get all your pieces prepped.  Just follow Katja’s directions in the book.  She’s got this part on lock and load.  Count how many you need of each shape, each fabric.  Make them into little piles.

DSCN5204

Now lay out the hexagons.  This is block 12 from the book.  Just stack up all the sets you need, in this case, 6 of block 12, laid out just like they need to be joined.

DSCN5206DSCN5210

The next step is to determine your logical sewing sequence, which seams to join first to minimize the number of starts and stops.  In this case, joining each green hexagon to the purple diamonds above and below it.  Use blue painter’s tape to hold together the pieces to be joined.  Comes off without a gooey mess.

DSCN5209

The thread I am using is a smoke colored invisible thread, top and bobbin.  I set the machine on zig-zag, 1.5mm width, .8mm length.  Use a thin, sharp needle.  I’m using a size 10 Microtex needle.

DSCN5215

Use a foot that allows good visibility to the needle.  Anchor the thread with a lockstitch at each end, catching each side with the  zig-zag  stitch.

DSCN5219

Don’t trim the thread ends.  Think about the thread like little whiskers…if you cut them short they feel all pokey.  Leave them long and tuck them to the inside as you join more pieces together.

DSCN5220 DSCN5221

Two sides, ready for the middle.  Tape both of the center diamonds in place, double-checking your directional prints.  This part will be sewn in one big figure-8 shaped seam, pivoting at corners and ends.  Pivot with the needle down in the fabric as shown in the second photo below.  In this case, I am pivoting towards the navy fabric, so the needle is down in the navy fabric when I pivot.

DSCN5228DSCN5229DSCN5230DSCN5231

The third photo shows the stitching continuing down to the second diamond,  and then pivoting at the little pink point, the bottom of the figure-8, to return up the other side to finish.  Make sure you lock the stitching at the beginning and end of the eight.

DSCN5233

I tucked in all the little tails and the thread ends.  Let me just tell you that the entire stack of 6 blocks took only a half hour to stitch together.  One.  Half.  Hour.  That’s it, just a half hour.  It took that long for me to join the first two sections of the center.  And did I mention that the entire second round of my rosette #1 was stitched by machine?  Could you tell that when I posted the pictures the other day?

DSCN5195

Part two of this tutorial will include another example of utilizing a sewing sequence.  I’ll also show how the hexies are joined to the previous rounds.  Stayed tuned for that big pile of fun.

A special thanks today to Brandi.  And also a shout out to Doris, Marilyn, Maureen and Debbie.