Just a quick pop in post before I go back to my packing! I have had quite a few people ask me to share some tips on how I sew my hexagons. It took me a long time (months) to find a technique that worked for me and I encourage everyone to try several different stitches to find the one that works best for them.
First, I straight stitch along the edges of two hexagons, making sure to just skim the top of the paper inside. Making sure to pull my thread nice and snug. You want it to be as tight as possible without causing it to ripple.
Then once I reach the other side, I back (straight) stitch in the opposite holes of the original straight stitch...
When finished it will look like a solid line of stitches (please excuse my inconsistency, I am working on that part....luckily it doesn't really affect the outcome). The back stitch evens the tension of the original straight stitch and helps get rid of the tugs on the front of the hexagons.
And thats pretty much it. If you make sure your stitches are nice and tight it should look like this...
I do have to admit that it does add a little time onto making hexes when sewing this way. The whip stitch was much faster, but I couldn't get the tension on the fabric consistent enough not to tug on the front. The ladder stitch that Heather taught me was amazing, but I was WAY too slow at it to keep it up....but her technique is how I discovered that the tension on the fabric was the key (thanks again Heather).
Just a few extra notes:
I use a hand quilting thread (100% cotton by Gutermann) for extra strength. I kept breaking all the others when pulling tight to keep my tension right.
I use a quilter's knot in the beginning of all my threads. It is thick and strong enough not to pull through the fabric when pulling tight.
Last but not least...I only iron my hexes with the paper in place. Once you remove the paper ironing can pull on your fabric and stitches warping the end result. So once all my hexes are sewn together, I iron them one last time and then carefully remove all the paper.
Here is a block that I made in my down time this week for my son's quilt. I told him that the grey seeds prove my love for him!! I had a precious little of the FMF grey seeds for my hexagon quilt and sacrificed most of it for his quilt...now that is mother love or maybe just plain insanity!!