Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Hexie Lantern LAL - Part 1 & 2

We, at DQ, are strong believers in individual growth through community involvement. Here you will find expert quilters sharing their expertise generously with everyone and newbies finding support and constant encouragement whether in learning a new skill or improving upon an existing one. You will also find much warmth, laughter and lasting bonds of friendship.

In keeping with this principle of sharing and caring, DQs often share with fellow DQs quilting tips learnt the hard way and quilting secrets discovered in their own journeys. We call these LALs - Learn-Alongs and everbody's invited to join along on an adventure of fun and learning.

We have DQ Chumkie (she blogs at Chumkies Hobbies), who decided to design and make an Asian Inspired Wall Quilt and who, being the generous quilter-person that she is, decided to share the process from start to finish by way of a (an?) LAL. So,..over to Chumkie..

An Asian Inspired Wall Quilt - Part 1 
The Fabric Selection Phase

I've taken the first step in the creation of a quilt inspired by Japanese fabrics, the fabric selection phase.  A long time ago, before the year 2000, I made a Fan Quilt. At that time, I'd sent for a Japanese Fan Quilt kit from a mail order company. It came with numerous little rectangles of Japanese fabrics, and yardages of black fabric and printed fabric for sashing and borders.

Sashing and border fabrics

Craftsy's April BOM challenge was to come up with an alternative design for the English paper pieced hexagon shape. So I dug out the fabric kit and laid out a few of the pieces.

Rectangles of Japanese fabrics

These rectangles of fabric are just large enough to accommodate the 2" hexagon template.  Here are the templates I'd made for Craftsy's April BOM.  They're in 2". 1-1/4" and 3/4" hexagon sizes.

Hexagon Templates

I saved the parchment paper pieces I'd made from these templates.

Parchment paper pieces

However, I may not need to use them because I plan to use a unique technique I saw somewhere on someone else's blog to form the hexagons.  I will track down that blog, so that you too can try this technique!

So watch this space for the next phase of this project - the Design Phase.

An Asian Inspired Wall Quilt - Part 2
The Design Phase

My design wall came in very handy last night as I gave this quilt more thought.  After putting two and two together, this equation came to mind.  Japanese fabrics plus hexagons equals Japanese lanterns!  And because it has to be a quick quilt, I decided to create just six of them and frame them in a 12" block.

Picked out 6 fabrics for lanterns

Remember that fun and easy technique I told you about in Part 1 of this series?  I'm going to call it the Foil Wrapped Method for constructing hexagons, which eliminates the tedious basting step.  Here's how it's done!

I gathered the ingredients for this wrap, the first of which is aluminum foil, cut into 4" squares.

4" squares of aluminum foil

The second ingredient is the plastic 2" hexagon template. Uh-oh, I found that the plastic template is not heat-resistant!  Look what happened to it!

The plastic warps and shrinks when heat is applied to it!

So I used the paper template, provided by Craftsy (on page 7 of the class materials for the April BOM), and folded down the edges to make the 2" hexagon shape.  This template has to be accurate and sturdy.  The fabric that will be wrapped around it doesn't need to be cut to the exact shape.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Take a look at the paper template I created.

Back of paper template 
with edges folded down

Front of paper template

The third ingredient is a piece of fabric, trimmed to 4".

4" piece of fabric

To assemble the wrap, place the ingredients on the ironing surface in the following order:
  • 4" square of foil, shiny side up
  • 4" fabric, face down
  • paper template of hexagon, face down

Assemble the wrap

Now fold all the edges around the paper template.

Fold down all 6 edges

 Press the front of the foil-wrapped hexagon.

Press front with a hot iron

Press the back of the foil-wrapped hexagon.

Press the creases on the back

Undo the wrap, separating the 3 layers and press the fabric hexagon again.

Separate the layers of the wrap

See how easy that is?  No fiddling with needle and thread, or hand-basting all those edges down! English- paper-piecing (EPP) will be a breeze from here on!  I found the blog that demonstrated this method for constructing Super Circles (  Brilliant!

Now back to the design board.

Time to preview the six hexies

With the help of Clover bias tape in a black color,

Clover bias tape

and a little trimming,

Trim excess from lantern

the lanterns look lovely!

Pretty lanterns

Take a look at the lantern on the right of the last row.  It's upside down, but that'll be taken care of in Part 3 of this series, the Construction Phase.  Clover bias tape is re-positionable until it's sewn down, thank goodness!

So look out for the next segment in this series.

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