Monday, 28 July 2014

New Nordic Mat

Hey fellow crafters!
Okay, I know that couple of posts back, I promised a flower key fob or something quite like it and I feel quite bad that I haven't made that yet - my mind has been taken off onto other tangents. But I do promise one day.....

Today it is all about hexies and new Nordic design (apologies to my Nordic readers...this is a red and white design with a kinda Nordic feel to it). This little mat is a handy thing to have around the house and it uses English Paper Piecing (EPP) which is a great method if you are out and about because it is very portable. 

I am not going to tell you how to make the hexies themselves, this post concentrates on using what you have already and I promise that all of my fabrics have come out of the famous scrap basket so I am still technically on track!




Firstly, go through your hexie stash...sorry, you don't have one yet?? 
A hexie stash is a must and it is just the ticket for keeping track of/storing scraps from your stash. To make one, get a small plastic box, some papers cut to size and dive into your stash. Make hexies in your chosen size (or several sizes) and then put them into the box. Occasionally, there is a need and the hexies will all be there waiting for you!
Some very organised people choose a flattish box and colour sort. I prefer the tumbled approach because sometimes colours rest next to each other and come up with new combinations that you might not have thought of yourself.

Anyway, put some hexies out onto your table and have a look at them...



See what I mean about the rough and tumble approach? But this time, I am thinking red and white. My hexies are all 1 1/4" at the moment but I have plans for other sizes.

Choose 16 hexies. Three of these will be cut in half. Here is what I fished out of the organised mess...



Now who would have thought that this was hiding in there! You see half the job is done already because the cutting of papers and the basting (tacking) of the hexies takes time. You do this sitting in front of the TV at night and then just put them into the box for later.

The next step is to sew them together. I favour a hand whip stitch from the back and keep those stitches small. 




When you look on the 'right side' the result is very neat this way.



Keep going like this and sew the pattern together using the third photo as a guide for placement. At the last moment (it is an exciting bit) cut the basting threads and remove the papers. Do this carefully and you can use them again.

Remove the threads and trim the edges of the block if you need to - sometimes the fabric doesn't 'behave' properly. your finished block should look similar to this now....



Press it to keep it flat. Cut a piece of  plain ecru fabric for backing and place the top and the backing fabric right sides together. Machine sew around the edge leaving a gap for turning out. Turn out and slip stitch the opening closed. Here is where we are at the moment....


And a view of the back...


As you can see, it is a bit yumpy looking. It is in need of some stabilising. This will be achieved in the next stage.

FAQ: So why plain backing? Plain backing is used to a) make the project a little cheaper and, more importantly, b) to really make the fabrics come alive. A plain, light background purifies the colours. Sometimes, a coloured back would make some of the more delicate fabrics muddy especially since we are not using wadding.

Outline quilt around each hexie. Now it will look like this.....



See how it is flatter and straighter? The problem with hexies is the bias angle. It stretches and there has to be a bias angle. this means that from one direction, the hexie is on the grain and easy to use and from another side, it moves and distorts.

The finished piece....




I do hope that you have enjoyed making this little mat. They are like money in the bank around the house! tTry appliqueing one to a felt base for a really luxe feel.
Thanks for stopping by!
Debs
xx