project: hexagon striped towel
Here's the thing about English paper piecing hexagons: they are lovely to make and you want to make lots, but to construct a whole quilt from them is an overwhelming thought. While I'd like to think that I'll do that someday, I'd like the gratification of putting my hexies to use sooner than when I reach retirement age. Projects like this are the answer!
With a handful of hexagons ready to go (my towel uses nine), you can stitch up a set of towels for yourself or as a gift!
You will need:
A dish towel
Hexagons (see how I make mine here)
NOTE: Towels and fabrics will shrink in different ways, so pre-wash to avoid unexpected results. Or...live on the edge!
To start, lay out your hexagons along the short side of your towel to determine how many you'll need to go across the entire width. Next, you'll join all of them to form one big stripe.
There are several methods that folks use to join their hexies, and I've always been a whip stitch gal. Recently, however, I read a post which suggested running stitch for joining, and I think it's a winner!
Hold two hexagons with right sides together. Using regular thread, knotted at the end, stitch a tiny running stitch along the edges you are joining. Stitch very close to the edge so that you catch the fabric, but not the paper inside the hexagons. It can be tricky at first, but once you get used to how it feels to only stitch the fabric, it goes very quickly. Secure the end with a knot.
If you're joining these into flower shapes or other formations, you can keep on stitching without knotting at each side.
As you work, you can see how the stripe is forming as you open the stitched seams. The gratification is already starting!
Remove the paper from the hexagon on one end, then pin the hexie in place, making sure that the stripe is straight. Continue removing papers and pinning, working across the row. I find that working one hexagon at a time makes it easier to work with.
You can see the difference in shape between those that are pinned and those with the paper still inside. A bit of pucker and "relaxation" is normal, but you can help combat this with some ironing and extra pins.
Using running stitch and three strands of embroidery floss, stitch around each hexagon shape, securing the thread with a tight knot. Towels get washed a lot, so you don't want these coming undone!
Simple, but effective. This is the kind of thing I like. And fortunately, you can't even see that coffee that I spilled on my towel! Yes, really. Right in the middle of making this. Ugh.
By the way, someday I may right an entire post on the topic (or maybe I already did a while back?), but this is one of those projects on which I make no claims to originality. Although I didn't look at them before making this project, there are plenty of posts and Etsy listings for towels with hexagons sewn onto them. Try different arrangements to make this your own!