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Friday, May 14, 2010

Finishing Your Hexagon Quilts Tutorial


Two tutorials in one week. I'm on a roll. After posting photos of my hexagon quilt border progress on flickr, I had a few requests for a tutorial. I suppose this is the long overdue part 2 of my english paper piecing tutorial that never made my sidebar for some odd reason. Probably and very likely due to the vast spelling errors throughout. I'll fix that soon too!

The original tutorial will be useful for reminding you about whipstitching, ladder stitching and making hexies. It will also help as a guide to my diagrams below.
As a reminder, I have zero formal training in quilting. I made this method of finishing hexies up myself, so it may not be kosher-quilting or nana-approved. It's working well for me and I like the results. Hurrah for that!


I am calling this the border method. It gives your quilt with a hexagon shaped border instead of straight binding. It also means you don't need to make partial hexagons to square up your sides. It could equally be called the why am I torturing myself with even more hexies method.

Step 1 [Optional]: Lightly baste the batting and backing to your front hexagons to keep it from slipping later. I skipped this step because my hand quilting held my batting and backing in place

Step 2: Count the number of hexies that make the outer ring of your quilt and baste this many to paper as you did with your original hexagons for the front.


Step 3: Using the same technique as you did for piecing the front, create a ring with your basted hexies to match the shape of the edge of your quilt. In most cases, this will be the same as your quilt. If your quilt is assymetric, it will look like the mirror image of the front when you view the right side of the fabric.


Step 5: If you haven't already, trim away excess batting and backing fabric to make sure the outer edges of batting and backing fabric are even with the front of your quilt.

Step 6: Lay your hex loop on top of your quilt with right sides facing. You should now see the papers in the back of your border.


Step 7: Using your prefered technique (whip stitch or ladder stitch) sew around the outside of your quilt attaching the border to the front hexagons. Ignore the back fabric and batting at this stage. Just attach your border loop to the edge hexagons on your quilt. Only attach the outer edge. Work your way completely around the quilt.
Whip stitches will be much stronger and more durable at the edge of the quilt. I opted to use ladder stitch though because I am faster at it. It's really up to you, but for durability, whipstitch is probably the way to go.

Remove all of the basting papers from the front hexies at this step, if you haven't already. If you've basted through them, you may need to trim a few threads to get them out.

How seriously daggy is my sewing and basting? I'm all about embracing the imperfections.


Step 8: After completing your loop, flip the border over onto the back of the quilt. You will create a little sandwich with the backing fabric and batting between your hexes.

Pretend that giant hole in the middle of the sewing of the green hexagons isn't there. I rushed a bit for the tutorial and will be fixing it.


When flipping the border right side out, make sure all of the triangle bits are poked out. Also make surethe batting and backing fabric is smoothly tucked in.


See how terrible my running stitches look on the back? Particularly up close? They are horribly uneven. That's my reminder that you need to think "big picture". It doesn't matter if a stitch or two or thirty are bad. The overall effect will look good. Just look back at the first image to see what I mean.


Step 9: Now sew your hexagons to the backing fabric to permanently affix them. Sew them one at a time so you can remove the stabilizing papers as you go. For this, you will likely need to use ladder stitch or any other magical technique you have for affixing binding. Keep a pair of tweezers handy to help remove the stabilizing papers. If you basted your batting and backing fabric, remove the basting stitches now.



Enjoy! Happy Crafting!

Do let me know if it's unclear and I'll try to answer questions. As always, if you try one of my tutorials, I'd love to see the results. You can always share in the (tiny) badskirt flickr group.

106 comments:

  1. wow! that quilt is absolutely beautiful! and you are so clever! that is a pretty way to finish the quilt! thanks for sharing!

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  2. Awesome! Thanks for sharing! =)

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  3. Very nice! Thanks for the great tutorial. So far I only have 1 flower done (and the label) for my One Flower Wednesday quilt. This was very helpful in considering how to complete my quilt.

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  4. I have been trying to bind mine with very little success - I think this idea could actually help me finish this thing!
    Thanks so much.

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  5. Wow! I don't even want an all-hexagon quilt — I just want one that looks like the back of yours. Very nice!

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  6. I totally agree with your thinking Amy! Why get stressed about the little imperfections?, think big picture! This is a great tutorial, but one I will probably never use since I very rarely have a needle in my hand, they belong in a machine :). Now watch me eat my words next week. :/

    p.s. I do love the sashiko look of your quilting.

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  7. I am just trying to finish piecing a grandmother's flower garden I've been working on for years and was starting to panic about how to finish it! I like this method much better than anything I've seen...what a darling way to finish and to give the back a little character. Thanks so much for posting this!

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  8. that is a genius way of facing a quilt with hexies!

    i will file your idea away in my head! thanks so much for sharing

    shannon

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  9. What a super cute little quilt. I have been resisting paper piecing hexies because it looks so time consuming and I am a lazy crafter, but this may turn the tide.

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  10. I LOOOOOooooVE this way!! i'm soooo on it!! :)

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  11. I love love love your collection, so gorgeous and unique.
    Come and check out our corner at "my little jedi" and spread the love xx
    http://mylittlejedi.blogspot.com/

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  12. Amy, this is FABULOUS! A hex quilt is definitely on my radar, and I'm definitely finishing it like this. SO lovely, thanks!

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  13. Hi-

    Saw this project on One Pretty Thing and had to come see the details. I am not a quilter, but I adore what you did to this quilt. I wish I had the time and patience to make one just like this - so unique.

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  14. You are one amazing quilter! Japan again?!! Have a great time checking out those otters ;)

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  15. Gorgeous end result, and what a sneaky way to get there. Bravo!

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  16. Oh dear! you must REALLY like to sew. This is waaaay to complicated and exact and fiddly for me. I do love seeing your handiwork though...

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  17. What a neat technique! I'm just starting out making hexagons (about 100 finished) and have enjoyed the process. I really like the look of this binding, and how you don't lose any of the front. Super!

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  18. Oh! This is wonderful! Thank you VERY MUCH for sharing.

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  19. I really love this. It is looking so wonderful!

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  20. Thanks so much for the explanation of how you did the back. I LOVE it! I also have "no formal quilt training," but I think it just means that us learn-it-your-selfers are that much more creative in our methods :)

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  21. You have saved my life with this fabulous tutorial! I have been working on a very mini tree skirt for ages and not only have i been dismayed that I can't get a perfect circle but i had no idea how to finish it! You have provided help for both dilemmas. And I thank you. Excellent tutorial.

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  22. wow! that must have taken hours and hours! absolutely beautiful quilt, though. good job!

    thanks for the tute, though i may never torture myself by trying to make it. the 'sew the border hexes to the backing' was pure genius.

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  23. Hey. This is a really great design and I love your use of colour.

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  24. be s*t*i*l*l my beating hEaRt...
    Amy, this is GENIUS!!!

    ...thank you
    ThAnK yOu...
    THANK YOU!!!
    you are AWESOME!

    I hope you don't mind me linking you from my blog?
    I have some Hexi-maniac-sisters who would go Ga-Ga over your border!
    Please, let me know, yes?

    Valentina in faraway Cyprus

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  25. I love your adorable quilt! However, I am a little confused from re: the tutorial.

    Did you piece together the entire quilt by hand (i.e., using the ladder or whip stitches)? Or do you only handstitch the hexies when making a "flower", but the flowers are then machine sewn together to make a quilt.

    I hope I am making sense with my question.

    Thanks!

    Ruthie
    ruthiema@gmail.com

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  26. Just working on a hexagon quilt and loving it, but am pondering on how to finish. Will I applique it to a border, or will I do all those half hexagons to even up. I like your idea.....thanks for sharing that with us.

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  27. this is a wonderfu idea,thanks for sharing,susi

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  28. Question - with the backing and fill, did you just have a square the same size as the front piece and then do your running stitch quilting thing to attach it or did I miss something?

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  29. Thanks for the tutorial, I am new to making hexies and am making a table runner.. and this is a cute idea.I like how on your quilt it adds interest to the back of the quilt.Thanks again,Amy

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  30. Fantastic - and now, consider it nana approved - awesome, except of course for the extra coupla hundred I will now need to do ... it's a big quilt ;-p thanks for sharing this great idea.

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  31. I have been searching and searching for the perfect way to finish my batik honeycomb and can now complete it with your wonderful technique. Your design emphasizes the beauty of the hexies without the pain of decapitating them or the agony of a thousand miters in binding...you are truly a genius!

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  32. Fantastico,muy bien explicado
    saludod,,Barcelona

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  33. I love your binding technique for this hexagon quilt. I will definitely try it. Thanks. BTY, your quilt is great.
    An added tip: to help remove the paper templates, punch a hole in the center of the paper before using them. Then you can use a chopstick to slip thru the hole and under the template to remove them from the finished quilt.

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  34. I am so thrilled to find you and your lovely technique, just finishing a table runner for my daughter 754 half inch hexies in a scrappy pattern, looks like mosaic tiles, quite modern and wanted to keep the sawtooth edges. this is my very first project quilting project, love the portability and of course am totally addicted. I am self taught and live in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, You are a saint.

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  35. wow! that quilt is absolutely beautiful! wow

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  36. OMG...so many hexies, so little TIME! Beautiful. I am truly inspired.

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  37. I love love love your technique. I'm determined for my 2nd attempt at quilting to be a hexi quilt, and I wanted the hexi edges. Thank you for the tutorial. I was wondering, what type of colorful floss/thread did you use on the back of the quilt? It's so whimsical. Again, thank you for inspiring me.

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  38. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I knew someone had to figure out how to have an easy hexie edge. I loved it and now I have to teach my friends how to do it. I am giving you all the credit.

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  39. Thank you SO much for this tutorial!
    I've bookmarked it for the day I finish my hexagon quilt. Hopefully sometime in 2012.

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  40. BRILLIANT! I couldn't see how to finish my hex quilt and your way is GENIUS! So pretty. Makes even the back look near as special as the front. Definitely something to be proud of!

    (And I LOVE your laid-back attitude to quilting! That's me too. Getting them done is MUCH more important than getting them perfect!)

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  41. Do I cut backing edges in hexagon shape to stitch loop to?

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  42. I LOVE this - what an adorable idea!!! This is such a great tutorial too - great description and great photos - I'm starting one now with the intention of finishing it this way - I will link to a photo if I ever manage to get it done!! I'm so excited about this project!!!

    Thanks again for this great tutorial and your great tut on the paper piecing - great little refresher!

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  43. Love this idea - maybe I can finish my 2 GmFG quilt's. Also wonder if it could be done on the Yo-yo coverlet that I inherited from my mother? She'd sewn them on to an old sheet that has gotten stained and discolored. But first the flower garden's.... Robert, from northern Iowa.

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  44. This is way, way cool! I'm going to have to try this technique. Thanks for sharing!

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  45. Amy - you've just discovered Hand applique! Or at least that' how I'd sew those hexagons to the back of the quilt...Though I would sew them to the edge with my machine.... the old fingers aren't as good at all the hand work as they used to be, so I try to limit it whenever possible to just what's essential. A nice tutorial and a great idea!

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  46. Like-you - are-AMAZING!!!!! This is brilliant! Thanks ! I am almost done a hexie top and was putting it off due to uncertainty about finishing. Magically I checked out your tutorials! So simple yet so wonderful!!!

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  47. My mum has used your quilt as inspiration for a quilt for my daughter, she wanted to have a plain rectanglular edge until I showed this to her, even though (in her words) it's about 10,000 times the work. I've also persauded her to trim some curtains in a hexie border using this tutorial.
    Thanks so much for posting this.

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  48. Found you on Pinterest.
    thank you for this tut...love it and will try it one day.
    Julia ♥

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  49. Thanks so much for your tutorial, it 's great!!!!!!! I'll do it in my hexagon quilt and when is ready after all this hard work I'll post in my blog. Congratulations for your idea and marvelous solution.

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  50. I'm very late to the game in finding this tutorial, but I must say, it's awesome! Thank you so much for sharing it. I have some hexie project in progress and I didn't want to square them up, but I also didn't want to bind around all those turns. This is just ideal!

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  51. Thank you Thank you. I finished a flower garden guilt from my Grandmothers stash of hexes. She had hand cut them. I hand gone as far as piecing the king size top and then quilted it. It has been setting there waiting to be bound. What to do, what to do? Now thank to you I know. Trim the backing very carefully and then piece the back row on as you discribed. 10 years in the making and finally.

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  52. Ay, DIOS MÍO!!! I love you...i just finished my first hexie quilt. If you ever come to Argentina, I will get you to an "asado" pay back your tip!

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  53. I WISH I HAD SEEN THIS BEFORE I FINISHED OFF MY GRANDMOTHERS FLOWER GARDEN FOR MY GRANDDAUGHTER. IT KILLED ME TO EVEN THE EDGES TO BIND IT BUT I DID NOT KNOW ANOTHER WAY. IT IS BEAUTIFUL. THANK YOU

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  54. You are a genius!! I have an antique flower garden quilt and was debating on how to finish it as I hate like heck to cut the edges straight!

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  55. What a great tute. I'm almost finished with a small hexie runner and have been wondering how to finish it. Now I know! Thanks.
    BTW I'm *pinning* this so I don't loose it.

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  56. What a clever girl you are! I like it. I love hexies and have a small project in the works. This just might be the way it gets finished.

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  57. This is wonderful - the answer to all my unfinished hexie quilts!!

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  58. I love the way you've finished off this quilt! I've been working on and off on a Grandma's Flower Garden quilt (Hexies) for a long time and have been mulling it in my head about how to finish it off. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  59. I have been putting off finishing a quilt top I bought on e-bay for several years, but thanks to your tutorial I am inspired to get on with it. The pattern also has diamond connectors like the one in your header and is made out of feed sacks and hand pieced. Thanks for your great idea and for sharing it with the world.

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  60. Awesome, thanks for the 'how to' :o)

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  61. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I have completed a full size Grandmother's Flower Garden top with purple flowers and white background, but have been stuck with how to quilt it for several years. I really wanted to keep the hex edges but did not know how to do it. Maybe I will finally get this quilt finished for my step-daughter.

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  62. This is perfect. I just finished a king size GFG and didn't want to lose the pretty edge the hexagons make. Thank-you for this tutorial.

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  63. Thank-you This is perfect for my king size GFG. I love the pretty edge of the hexagons and all the methods I have seen you have to cut them off or add a piece thus losses the wonderful shape.

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  64. What a brilliant way of finishing a hexie quilt. I was wondering what I was going to do. Problem solved. Thank you so much!

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  65. what a great way to finish a hexie quilt. Love it. Was wondering how to finish one I am working on. Problem solved so thank you so much!

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  66. What kind of thread did you use to do the quilting? Sew Peacefully

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    1. This was done with Perle 5 which is just slightly thicker than Perle 8.

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  67. Is there a way to do that quilt as you go so its not so big to make the outside circle? I have mine 40 inch by 80 now I'm getting there slowly haha

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    1. Hey Cathy-

      I just sewed the back/binding hexagons to the quilt one-by-one. I write about my process on my blog, here: http://byov.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-hexagon-quilt-binding-step-five.html

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  68. Is there a way to quilt as you go? That will make it easier & not so big or circle outside. I have mine 40inch X 80 inch now.

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  69. Hi Amy, I've just come across this tutorial, and I love it so much, what a great idea. I also get stuck in the straight edge binding, this is so so clever. Thanks!

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  70. This is so lovely! I have a suitcase of hexagons that I inherited from my grandma and I'll keep this in mind when I start on it.

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  71. I used this method for a long-drop queen-sized quilt. Like Cathy is asking about, the quilt is too large to make the reverse-outside circle ahead of time. So I just sewed the back-hexagons to the front of the quilt one-by-one. Occasionally, I'd have to remove some hexagon templates and reshape a hexagon to make sure it fit its neighboring hexagon, but that's not a terribly big deal.

    I also use a different hexagon-basting technique so that I don't have to remove the basting stitches on the hexagons, and the paper templates slide out at will. So, pros and cons.

    Anyways, I've written up my approach to this non-traditional hexagon finishing on an over-sized quilt up on my blog, here: http://byov.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-to-hexagon-quilt-binding-step-five.html

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  72. This is one awesome technique! I kinda wish I had seen it BEFORE I started on the partial hexies to create a straight outer edge. BUT .. be that as it may, my current hexie quilt will have straight edges but my next hexie project will have the hexie border on the back for a faced backing! :-)

    Thank you so much for publishing this. It always nice to have alternative ways to do something.

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  73. Yes, I am thrilled as I am going to finish my hexi quilt with an un-even edge....and so did not want to make it straight with binding!! Thank you so much.

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  74. This is an inspiration. I am a long time quilter and this will work great. What a great idea. Pinning this idea for future use. I have a box of hexies calling me.

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  75. Hi Amy it is now May 2014 I have spent the last 40 mins searching how to do this, I wanted this to finish a 1930 grandmothers garden quilt I brought on line 15 years ago from the USA that is 3/4s quilted around each flower but no binding as yet and I would love to keep the pointed edges and at last I found my way to you via another quilters blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to make this tutorial 4 years ago, isn't the internet wonderful. Kind regards Glenda Australia www.patchworkdreams.com.au

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  76. Wow, I love this binding technique. I am new to hexi's, and am really enjoying the hand sewing. Very relaxing compared to always at the machine ! Thank you !

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  77. just fond a link to this tutorial thank you so much

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  78. I like your border method. It's great.

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  79. Sometimes the best things come when you come at the problem with *no experience* at all. Your idea is totally genius. I love it.

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  80. I have been putting off finishing my QS hexi quilt because I didn't want a straight edge and hadn't got round to working out how to do this style of edge. Thank you for saving me all the trouble. I now have no excuse not to sandwich and quilt my top.

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  81. This quilt is absolutely beautiful! I have been thinking of doing a hexie quilt for quite some time now, and I now know what I'll be doing! I just have a few questions, if you don't mind answering them. Where did you get the template for your hexies, and how big are they? Also, where did you get your fabric, and how much did you use? And finally (sorry for so many questions!) roughly how big is your finished quilt? Thank you so much for the amazing tutorial, I can't wait to get started!

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  82. you're genius! beautiful stitching btw! thanks for sharing! :)

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  83. wow. I've been looking for a way to finish a diamond hexie top that I have made and this is it. Thanks so much.

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  84. Thank you sooo much. This is absolutely brilliant. I have my top about half way finished and I have been wondering how I am going to finish it. I really LOVE this method. You have explained it very well so I will be able to remember how it is done. Thanks again.

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  85. This tutorial is going around on facebook this week ( 5-1-15), so glad I got to see it! What a very clever idea and I like how it finishes both the front and the back. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Sewing

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  86. Great Post! Very helpful, I'm finishing a quilt for someone and this is the most helpful post I've seen from all around the web :) Thanks!
    Shayla M.

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  87. Have just found this tutorial. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I have lots of small hexie projects laying unfinished as I didn't know how to keep the triangle edge. This is brilliant. Hexi quilt has been started now but will try out this method on one of the other projects first but you're instructions are so clear I don't think I will have any problems. Thank you again.

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  88. I have been wondering what to do to finish my king size Grandmothers Garden hand sewn quilt. What a wonderful idea, I love it and it will look so special. Thank you.

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  89. Major like! I've been working on a hexie runner not knowing how to do edges. This is it, thanks!!

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  90. Thank you for this genius idea!! I am making a hand-pieced/sewn hexie quilt at the moment from vintage Laura Ashley fabrics (so it's more about colours and patterns than an overall design) and was pondering on ways of finishing the edges, think I will definitely do this. I like the idea of using running stitches in embroidery thread too, makes the quilt look more interesting on the reverse, also serves the purpose of anchoring the whole quilt. Brilliant!

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  91. Thanks ! ! I've been wondering how to finish this quilt. I love your idea. Thank you again. Jane in NH.

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  92. Are you putting batting in all your hexies or just your last row? I have never seen this technique before and it looks interesting. I am always searching for a way to finish my epp backs.

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  93. Can’t believe this post is 9yrs old, loving this boarder so glad I found it, it’s perfect for my baby quilt thank you for thanking the time to post it. Stiching around the world, hello from Ireland

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You are a rockstar! Thanks so much for your comments!