I never really told you how I was actually doing the preparation work for the blocks. If you aren’t familiar with hand piecing, this may be interesting, if you are a hand piecer, maybe you’ll find some new supplies to try.
First, I’m using the Hex N More ruler from Jaybird Quilts to cut my hexagons. I’m cutting the largest one possible with the ruler, but for those of you who may want to try this with a smaller hexagon (half hexagon, triangle or jewel shape), the ruler comes with instructions for four sizes and all four shapes. If you buy this ruler, safeguard your little instruction booklet that comes with it. I had misplaced mine and sent an email to Jaybird Quilts asking a couple of questions, but never heard back from them. Fortunately, I found the booklet days later. I’ve added little non-slip circles to the back of all of my rulers, this one included.
Once I have the pieces cut out, I then mark the sewing line on the back of each piece of the fabric. I use my Omnigrid ruler that I’ve had forever to get the 1/4 inch sewing line. Any ruler that is longer than the piece you’re marking and has a 1/4 inch line will work. I put the fabric on top of a piece of fine grain sand paper which I’ve placed on a cutting mat. I like to put it on the cutting mat because I can then turn the mat (or sand paper) without having to move the fabric to mark the next line, plus the sand paper doesn’t shift on the cutting mat like it might on a slick table. Then line up the ruler so that the 1/4 inch mark is lined up with the edge of the fabric. Hold it in place and mark with your favorite marking tool.
For this project, I’m using my current favorite, the Sew Line pencil. It comes with one color of marking “lead” when you buy the pencil, but you can purchase four other colors for refills. The five colors are yellow, pink, white, green and graphite. I believe the refills are ceramic. I’ve never had any problem with the markings not coming off the fabric when I want them too. I’ll have to admit, that I have not been as happy with the graphite colored lead as I thought I would. It came off on my hands, making them pretty dirty while stitching. Not what I was hoping for or what I had experienced with the other colors I’ve tried. The only I have not tried, so far, is the yellow.
After marking the sewing line, I pin two pieces right side together, using Clover fine patchwork pins. They are thin and strong and perfect for most projects. Then I thread the Hiroshima milliner needles with the Mettler silk finish thread using the Clover needle threader and start sewing! Mettler thread just happened to be what I had on hand. I have no favorite yet for hand piecing. I wanted something strong enough to survive my grandson and thin enough not to distort the blocks. This is what I came up with this time.
Sew with a running stitch starting at one end of the line and stitching to the other end of the line, being careful not to stitch into any of the seam allowances. You also have to stitch on the line on both the fabric facing you and the one in the back, so stop every few stitches to look at the back and make sure you’re still stitching on the line. I knot my thread to start and then I take a back stitch on top of the first stitch. After that, I take three stitches, back stitch and three more stitches, back stitch, continuing on until I get to the end where I back stitch and then knot. I learned to make the knot I use to finish a line of stitches in this youtube video. It’s fabulous! In fact, I wonder if it’s possible to start the stitching with the same knot technique? Something I’ll be trying soon!