Saturday, December 29, 2012

Official Hexagon Sign ups Begin January 1st!

Hello. My name is Kathleen and I live in Lewiston, Maine. I’ve been a swap hostess on the HGTV Quilting boards for several years and I am excited to be hostessing our FIRST of hopefully many hexagon swaps!
In collaboration with the great ladies at (see more information below under resources), we will offer you the opportunity to join a fun swap with other quilters and save 20% not only on your precut shapes of English paper pieces, but for all other merchandise on their website! Please note this discount doesn’t include the shipping charges. They offer an extensive collection of hexagon books to spark your interest and especially recommend “Piecing It All Together” and “English Paper Piecing”.

This a fantastic bring-along project while waiting in the doctor’s office, sporting events, watching TV, etc. The hexies just about make themselves! Check out the site for lots of motivation, books and patterns!
We will be swapping 1” hexagons (Paperpieces item # HEX100). Please note that these measure 1” on each side. Each “set” will be of six of the same fabric with the papers left inside. This will allow you to make the outside edges of a flower and use your own center fabric to bring consistency to your finished project. The maximum number of “sets” you will be swapping will be determined AFTER our sign-up close and you can swap out as many sets up to the maximum you wish.

Due to the amount of work to swap out, we do need to have a 30 player limit for this first swap. If I get an overwhelming response, I am open to offering another swap with a staggered playing date. It is my hope to have additional swaps offered during the year. If so, I will offer a poll so you can vote on your favorite themes, such as certain colors, holiday prints, florals, etc.
This FIRST swap will be for STASHBUSTERS—using fabric you already have in your stash. Below you will find what seems like a copy of “War and Peace”, but I run my swaps with open communication so there are no surprises and complete consistency from all swappers. Follow the guidelines? Great! Don’t follow the guidelines? Your swap will be returned. I need to be fair to all swappers who play. And I know what you are thinking and yes, I am a type A personality, lol!

Still interested? Please read on….




*PLEASE SHIP IN PLENTY OF TIME AS ANY LATE PACKAGES WILL BE RETURNED BACK TO YOU UNSWAPPED AT YOUR EXPENSE!*  I will be sending out a “gentle reminder” notice two weeks before the swap is due.

This swap is for either washed or unwashed fabric. HOWEVER, if you use reds or indigo colors, please take the time to wash with a color catcher to ensure no bleeding fabrics in our finished projects.

THE NUMBER OF SWAPPERS SIGNED UP WILL DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF SETS YOU CAN SEND IN. Some exceptions may occur and will be firmly determined at the swap sign-up deadline. For instance, if I set the maximum amount of sets you can send in to 50, you can send in anywhere from 1 to 50 sets. If possible, I will try my best not to send you any duplicate sets.

As a member of the HGTV Quilting boards, you are invited to join us by clicking on the HGTV registration link on right side of the blog page. After you sign up (this is free!), you can join us on the “Quilting & Needlework” board. Any problems, just contact me. I will have a running discussion there if you want to communicate and share with the other swappers.

To sign up, please email me at with your HGTV board name (if you have one), real name, address, phone and email address. I will forward you the same. All information sent to me is confidential and will not be shared. DO NOT SIGN UP ON THE PAPERPIECES WEBSITE OR THE HGTV BOARDS—only emails to the above address will be officially considered signed up! Remember, first come, first served! You will be notified by return email once you are officially a player.

I will also send you the coupon code for the 20% discount so you can order your paper pieces from These are fantastic as they are precision cut and just the right weight to allow the needle through the paper.

While I advocate using Paperpieces papers (#HEX100), you can also take magazine subscription inserts or lightweight card stock and cut your own. You cannot use regular computer paper or cardboard for this swap as they are subsequently too light and too heavy ensure a sharp point when turning corners and will be returned! If you do use your own inserts, be sure they are consistent while cutting. I will be doing a spot check to be sure they are not too small or too large and that once you sew down the corners they are not pulling up the tips.

Your swap guidelines on how to make of the hexagons will be the same as the tutorial on the Connecting Threads website (the link is listed below for more step-by-step directions). If you use the tutorial on the link from Connecting Threads, please note you need to add ¼” to your fabric for seam allowance and press your hexagons when finished. Be careful NOT to use steam if using printed inserts as the dyes may come off on the fabrics! Yes, we will be sewing through the paper, but as you see in the video, it will be easy to remove the papers for reuse once you sew your hexagons together and remove the basting stitch.

As mentioned before, each set will be six-1” finished hexagons of the SAME print with a single knotted basting stitched down the middle and brought back up with a 1" tail (doesn't need to be knotted) to hold each set together (with papers left inside each piece). You can only send in 10 sets of the SAME print! (Total of 60 hexagons of the SAME print) to ensure a nice variety of prints. I found cutting 2 ½” strips of fabric and sub cutting them into 2 ½” squares work perfect for this project.
We do, however, want to keep the prints to SCALE so that we have a nice visual when the hexagons are sewn together. A couple of rules of thumb for this swap:

*Use only 100% cotton fabric.

*NO homespun, glitter, novelty print, children prints, flannels, thin or plastic-feeling fabrics.
*NO large prints, prints with a lot of open background, batiks, check, plaid or stripe fabrics.

*NO solids, WOW (white on white), COC (cream on cream)--we want prints for our flowers!

*Be sure when cutting directional fabrics they do not end up looking off-bias or wonky once the hexagon flowers is put together.

*Be sure to REMOVE your selvedges BEFORE cutting your fabrics. Check fabric for flaws, such as runs or stains. Since the sets will be stacked and tacked by a thread, I will not be able to double check your work. Remember the golden rule of swapping—do not send anything in that you wouldn’t want to receive in return.

*Pictures of “naughty” and “nice” prints will be posted on the blog so that you can use that as a guide. If you have a question on a fabric, please do not hesitate to contact me or post a picture on the HGTV discussion board.

NOTE: I know life sometimes throws you curve balls, but it has happened that people get excited and want to play, only to wait two months later when the swap is due in a day or so to say they didn't have time. By that time you should have already been ready to mail the package. That leaves me hanging to replace your swap with my stash and totally unfair IF you know you cannot make the deadline to begin with. I give you ample notice so you have plenty of time to make an informed decision. Also, another player may liked to play in your place. Be honest with me up front, or a repeat offender might not be able to play in the future The success of this swap depends on your ability follow through your commitment to our group of players. Thank you for your understanding!

By all of us being honest and accountable, I'm sure we will have a great 2013 swapping year! I really do enjoy hostessing and want to continue to enjoy it, so by coming up front with any issues is not really a complaint, but a way to correct it so my frustration level (and blood pressure!) stays at an even keel. Probably the MOST important thing I can say about a successful swap is the high level of communication between all parties. Without that, we are setting ourselves up for failure.  Be prepared for me to contact you several times during the swap for an update on your progress and invite pictures of your hexies to share with other swappers!

 I’m allergic to dogs and cats, so please do what you can to control the fur. Some packages come in with so much pet hair that they look like they need to be brushed! For health reasons, I cannot handle them and they will be returned untouched at YOUR expense. My health depends on it and I thank you in advance for your understanding.

POSTAGE or POSTAGE money must be included in your package. Be sure to add a stamp or two to your stamped envelopes if not going priority mail flat rate boxes. They also seem to weigh more returning than coming in! If you are a frequent swapper, you can also send in $20 or so and I can keep it on “account” and deduct your postage from it. This was worked nicely with some swappers in the past and that way you don’t have to worry about sending in money each time. Once the swap is complete, I will PM you your postage balance on account for your records. If you wish your extra postage money returned, I can certainly do that also.

If you wish to include a self-addressed mailer for the return trip back to you, remember NO metered postage or ACP postage on the return mailer. Stamps only. Our post office will not allow more than a 13 oz. pre-stamped mailer in any mailboxes nor can mail carriers accept them (since 9/11 our East coast mail guidelines have been modified). While your local p.o. may say it is okay to use metered or ACP postage, our p.o. will not accept anything that has been pre-dated. I’m just trying to make it as easy as possible for all concerned. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Also, let me know if you want a delivery confirmation.

For Priority mail packages, I have plenty of mailing envelopes and boxes here so there is no need to send a new one. I do, however, try to recycle the boxes if possible. IF YOU ARE SENDING YOUR SWAP IN A MANILLA ENVELOPE OR PADDED MAILER, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE TO SEND IN A RETURN ENVELOPE. If you do not use priority mail without a delivery confirmation, you are on your own!

PACKING YOUR SHIPMENT-Please put your sets in a plastic Ziploc bag with your HGTV board name (if you have one!), real name and address, phone number and number of sets in the bag AND a separate piece of paper with your mailing address in case the package is damaged in shipment so the post office can still return it to you.


Paperpieces:       (Use the search box to find the HEX100)

Call toll free in the US: 1-800-337-1537
Tutorial for English paper piecing:

Hexagon Swap blog:

HGTV Registration:  (Once you sign up, go to the “Quilting & Needlework” Message Board)


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Basics for the Hexagon Swap!

Below you find find samples of fabrics that will and will not be suitable for our first hexagon swap.

These are NOT suitable fabrics-no large prints, stripes, novelties or holiday prints
We want to see consistent sizing is comparison to the size of the hexagon.
These ARE suitable fabrics-small prints with little open background shown

These ARE suitable fabrics-a nice all-over print in small scale.

Paper Pieces hexies HEX100

You can also cut your own using magazine inserts or card stock, but no computer paper or cardboard

If needed,use a straight pin (silk pins are good) to hold the paper piece in the center of the fabric square. Do not use ANY glues or adhesives!

With a knotted threaded needle (use a contrasting thread color) and fold over the first corner. Beginning at the front of the hexagon, insert the needle for the first stitch. This will be your starting and ending spot. I use a double strand of thread--you can use a single strand if you wish. I prefer you do not use any red thread for basting your hexies.

Fold in each corner and take a stitch through each corner and through the paper.

This is what your finished hexie will look like.

Here are one set of six hexies, ready to be stacked and tacked. No, we will not be sewing them into a ring. Just showing you how the six hexies look from the back

Front of the hexies (not sewn together!)

I add a single basting stitch from the back to the front and back again. Do not knot the thread. This complete set is ready for swapping!

If you wish to pre-trim your fabrics before making your hexies, just be sure to leave at least a scant 1/4" seam allowance on the back as shown.

Here are MY piles of sixes ready to be done

...and here are some finished sets, tacked and ready to swap!