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November 27, 2006, 2:57 pm betterhomesgardens
If you prefer to work by hand, you might like to try this traditional quilt. Constructed entirely from small hand-pieced hexagons, this form of patchwork, sometimes called English patchwork, might be time-consuming but it allows you to take your work with you, something you can't do with a machine-pieced quilt
1.9m x 140cm deep gold cotton; 2.4m x 140cm ecru cotton; 0.15m x 140cm light yellow cotton; approx 0.8m x 140cm (in total) of various plain cottons; approximately 1.5m x 140cm (in total) of various cotton prints; 4.3m x 140cm ecru backing fabric; 215 x 235cm quilt batting; tracing paper; thin scrap cardboard or thin template plastic; craft knife; pencil; basting thread; sewing thread; paperclips (optional); quilting hoop; quilting needles; ecru quilting threadHere's how
Note. This quilt is made entirely from hexagons which are pieced together to form patchwork 'flowers'. These flowers are then joined to each other with deep gold hexagons to form a rectangular quilt. This traditional English design can be constructed using the English method or the American method. In the former, each hexagon is constructed by basting fabric to a hexagonal paper template, then all the hexagons are stitched to each other by hand. This technique is time-consuming, but it allows great accuracy. In the American method, the fabric hexagons are not basted to templates, but hand-stitched directly to each other.
STEP 1 Trace the outline for the Grandmother's Garden hexagon template onto tracing paper. Transfer the outline to firm cardboard or template plastic and cut out very accurately with a craft knife or scissors for a template. For the English method, you now need to trace and cut a large number of hexagons from thin cardboard or firm paper. For the American method, you only need the original template.
STEP 2 Working on the wrong side of the fabric, trace the requisite number of hexagons from the template. For each patchwork flower, trace hexagons as follows: one from light yellow, six from a plain colour, 12 from a cotton print, and 18 from ecrucotton. Remember to add 5-7mm seam allowance around each outline when cutting.
Piecing (English method)
STEP 3 Following the diagrams and instructions for the English method (see box below), cover templates and stitch together into 'flowers', surrounding a light yellow hexagon with six plain ones, then 12 print ones, then 18 ecru ones (see flower motif below). You will need to make a total of 52 flowers in this manner. Remove basting and templates from inner hexagons, leaving the outer row of ecru hexagons intact.The paper templates can be used again, if desired.
Piecing (American method)
STEP 4 Place two hexagons together, right sides facing and raw edges even. Using a tiny running stitch, work along the traced seam line. Begin and end exactly at the marked points of the hexagon and secure with a back-stitch. Do not press the seams open: fold them towards one edge.To make a flower, stitch a plain hexagon to each edge of a light yellow hexagon. Then stitch each plain hexagon to the next, working from the centre outwards. Working in the same way, stitch the printed hexagons to the plain circle, then finish with the ecru hexagons (see flower motif below). Make 52 patchwork flowers in this manner.
Edge piecing (both methods)
STEP 5 In order to give the quilt a straight edge, you need to make half-flowers for the edges. Working in whichever method you choose, make four half-flowers for each short edge, using two plain, five printed, and eight ecru hexagons (see short half-flower below). For each long edge, make eight half-flowers, using three plain, five printed and nine ecru hexagons (see long half-flower below).
Constructing quilt top
STEP 6 You now need to trace and cut a large number of hexagons from deep gold fabric, to join the flowers and edge the quilt (see Grandmother's Garden assembly diagram below). Before sewing the flower motifs together, place them all on the floor and arrange them until you are happy with the effect. Leaving aside the half-flowers for the moment, and starting on one long edge, you should have four rows of seven complete flower motifs, alternating with three rows of eight complete flower motifs. Add the half-flowers to the edges to make a rectangle: eight along each long side, four along the top and bottom. (You might now like to number each flower motif on the back and make a rough placement diagram to remind yourself of how they fit together.)
STEP 7 Join the flower motifs together, as positioned, with a row of gold hexagons between each. Finally, add a row of gold hexagons around the outer edges. Remove all basting and templates.
Assembling quilt and quilting
STEP 7 Cut ecru fabric in half and stitch together to give a backing rectangle 215 x 235cm. Lay the backing fabric on a smooth flat surface, wrong side uppermost. Lay the batting on top, then the patchwork quilt top, right side uppermost. Smooth the layers carefully, then pin together. Work a grid of basting through all layers, working from the centre outwards, smoothing out any creases and tucks as you go.
STEP 8 Place the quilt in a hoop. Always quilt from the centre towards the outer edges. Using small even quilting stitches, outline each 5mm from the seam lines. Leave a 15cm from all edges unquilted.Finishing
STEP 9' Trim batting 5-7mm smalle quilt top. Trim the backing to the same size as the top. Turn under the narrow seam allowance on the backing fabric and cut diagonally into the corners so that the backing edge will match the front. Hand-stitch the edges together with tiny stitches. Complete the quilting of the remaining hexagons and quilt along the outer edge of the quilt, close to the seam.
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