Sew hexagons, diamonds, more—by machine! (+ giveaway!)

From Hexagons Diamonds Triangles and MoreDrawn to quilts with hexagons, diamonds, and triangles, but fear an uphill battle when it comes to making them? You may think you need to be an A+ student of geometry to create 60° shapes in quilts. But when a self-proclaimed math geek supplies the answers to all of your questions—and shows you how to sew everything by machine—you’ll pass with flying colors!

Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles, and More is part technique book, part skill-building instruction manual. Inside, you’ll find solutions for making more than eighty 60° blocks as efficiently as possible. Mastering Y-seams by machine will add another valuable tool to your box of quiltmaking tricks. Start with two small projects for practice; then a gallery of stunning 60° quilt patterns will show you where you’re headed.

Today we’re thrilled to have author Kelly Ashton as a guest at Stitch This! to tell us about her quilting journey, which took a strong 60°-angle turn along the way. Welcome, Kelly!

Kelly AshtonI’m sure you’ve guessed, by my having written a quilting book called Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles, and More, that I love 60° patchwork shapes. I am unashamedly, unapologetically, crazy in love with them! I love studying antique quilts that have been made from them; I love designing new blocks and quilts using them. And, I love machine piecing them!

I remember when I first decided to piece a 60° quilt. It was the year 2000. I had a few years of patchwork-piecing experience under my belt, and I really wanted to make my own hexagon quilt. I was inspired by a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt that my paternal grandmother had made. Mamo’s quilt was hand pieced from little hexagons with 1″ finished side lengths. It was gorgeous, and I was mesmerized by it!

Mamo's Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt
Mamo’s Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt

Before beginning, there were a couple of things I knew for sure: I wanted to start with larger pieces than Mamo had used, and I wanted to machine piece my quilt top. I decided to use hexagons with 2″ finished side lengths, giving me a little more substance to work with for my first project.

Though there are some exceptions, the majority of blocks and quilts made from 60° shapes require set-in seams in their construction. Yes, that’s right: the DREADED Y-SEAM!!! (Y-seams are required when three or more patchwork pieces with angles other than 90° converge at one point.)  The challenge of sewing Y-seams, or set-in seams, was my biggest roadblock. Someone had told me that Y-seams were “hard,” “tedious,” and “impossible to sew on a sewing machine.” When my desire to make a hexagon quilt was greater than the trepidation I felt about Y-seams, I forged ahead, determined to give it a go.

Grandmother's Bouquet quiltRight: Kelly’s first hexagon quilt, “Grandmother’s Bouquet”

What did I discover? Y-seams have been given a really bad rap! I found sewing a Y-seam by machine to be neither hard nor tedious. I was immediately hooked. I had quickly added another skill to my toolbox of techniques, and in the process, I had opened up a whole new world of possibilities for myself! WOOHOO!

I am now a quiltmaker with a mission: to encourage today’s quiltmakers to explore 60° patchwork and to ease their fear of stitching Y-seams by machine. Once I took the plunge, it didn’t take many attempts until I mastered the Y-seam. Then, I began to play with other shapes in the 60° family—a total of 13 shapes, to be exact. That play eventually led to designing many, many quilt blocks and quilts, and writing a book.

Fiesta table topperLeft: “Fiesta Table Topper” beginner project

Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles, and More not only contains detailed instructions and illustrations on how to machine piece Y-seams; it also contains cutting guides, pressing tips, more than 80 block patterns, setting options, introductory projects, and a gallery of quilts for inspiration—everything you need to master 60° projects, one seam at a time!

Let me assure you, if I can machine-piece Y-seams, so can you! A block with set-in seams may take a little more time to make than a chain-pieced block, but only a little more! The interesting quilts created are SO worth that little extra effort. I can hardly wait to see what you create!

Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles, and MoreKelly, thanks for stopping by to tell us more about your new book—a bunch of us in the office can’t wait to try your techniques!

Have you sewn 60°-angle shapes—and did you sew them by hand or machine? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles, and More eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Patricia, who says:

“I have sewn those shapes by hand using the English Paper piecing method. Also larger hexagons using templates to trace the seam allowance and then sew them together by hand. I made a 96″ by 96″ quilt that way. It is beautiful.”

Patricia, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!


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