For the Love of Hexies

Hexies, flowers, petals, and templates!
Hexies, petals, flowers, and templates!

I have been asked many times what hexies are. Actually, what I am making at the moment are hexies flowers.

A hexagon is described as a six-sided polygon. The total of the internal angles of any hexagon is 720°”.

This is exactly what a hexie is. In quilting, however, they have been combined in different ways and configurations to create beautiful quilts and other items. This six-sided flat shape is what has been used for generations to create flower garden quilts as they are called. Hexies are created and used in different sizes. There could be a 1/2 inch hexie, a 3/4 inch hexie, a 1-inch hexie (this is a very popular size), a 2-inch, a-3 inch etc. One method of creating hexies for quilting is to make a template with paper, card stock, plastic etc. and place it on the wrong side of the fabric, cut out around the template leaving a seam allowance of at least 1/4 inch extra beyond the template. The seam allowance that is left is folded over the template and it is hand basted in place. Alternatively, there are fabric glue sticks that are used as well to secure the fabric around the template. These little individual pieces that are basted/fabric glued are called petals if you are making a hexagon flower.There is a center hexagon with six petals sewn to the center piece. Many books of ideas and patterns on how to put them all together in a pleasing manner have been in existence for many years.

Barbara Brackman reports in Clues in the Calico that the Grandmother’s Flower Garden was the most popular pattern after 1925. She tells us, “…many women who never made another quilt finished a Grandmother’s Flower Garden.”

Now we are seeing ingenious designs being intricately sewn within a single hexie petal. Tiny little pieces are created in the same manner with templates and mostly hand sewn together into a hexie. We will show examples of these more intricate flowers in another post.

They are not so elusive now. It seems like there are people all over the world making hexies. This has made a huge comeback. People are trading them. I am trading them. It is so much fun to go to get the mail and find an envelope that I know comes from a needle worker much like me from mostly other countries. I have received from one individual only in Canada. Some have arrived from Guam, Scotland, England, Denmark, Germany, many from the United States of America, from Australia, New Zealand and from Tasmania. I also enjoy that a little card or a note of some kind comes with it. In this day of technology, email, phones and ipads, it is nice to go to the mail and find a little gift exchange in there with a personal note. It brightens the day. I have joined a couple of hexie swap groups on face book. These are both closed groups where like minded individuals are exchanging hexies. These are all signed and dated with country of origin written in the center of the hexie. I will put mine all together to make a friendship quilt of those wonderful people all over the world who share the same love of piecing hexies.

Author: Karen Monteith

Karen is a writer, needle artist, nature lover and gardener who loves to share such information and to encourage the needle arts.

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