Friday, January 17, 2014
Making Hexagons for Quilting and Crafting
Since taking the Craftsy 2012 BOM class, I have been fascinated with hexagons and have spent plenty of evenings basting them with the thoughts of someday making something special with them. One difficult thing for me however, is cutting out all the paper templates so my fabric wraps around it and sews up accurately. One night hubby was surfing the internet and found these and told me to go ahead and try them. They are Fiskars Hexagon Punch tool. Currently they come in three sizes; Medium 159070-1001 0.50" on each side, Large 159080-1001 0.75" on each side and Extra Large 159090-1001 1" on each side. Maybe if enough quilters like them we could encourage Fiskars to make them in some even larger sizes as well. Currently Fiskars promotes them as crafting/scrapbook notions.
When I make hexagons I use freezer paper to make the paper template, iron it waxy side down to the wrong side of the fabric and then cut them out leaving a 1/4" seam allowance on each side. You can trace your own sizes on the freezer paper out of the roll that is sold at the grocery store or from freezer paper that is made to go through the printer so that the template will be printed out for you and then all you have to do is cut them out and then iron them onto fabric etc. It is the tracing of the template and cutting them out that becomes difficult for everyone I am sure, and especially difficult for those of us with arthritis in our hands.
When I got the Large and X-Large punches in the mail the other day, I set out to see how they worked and if they would make nice and exact templates. I ended up with a minimal amount of 'hanging chads' on two of the sides, but each side was precisely cut (or bent--those sides with the chads) and the 'chads' could be worked around. Then hubby got involved and discovered that if you put freezer paper doubled over with the two waxy sides together, you would get a nice clean punch out with no 'chads' and to top it off you would get two punches for the work of one! I also tried to see if the punch would cut through fabric, but it didn't and it had not been advertised saying it would be. While the punch itself felt somewhat heavy and sturdy in my hands, it was easy to squeeze the punch and have the templates pop out.
These punches will really move along my hexagon making as it cuts out so much wasted time. If, like me, you use freezer paper as a stabilizer for other projects, leftover bits can be punched to make templates from the odd sizes, thus eliminating waste. I had a spare minute last night and a leftover piece of freezer paper just begging to be put to good use and in that minute, I had about 12 templates punched out! It would have taken a lot more time than that to cut them out manually.
The only problem with these punches is they don't go up to large enough sizes. While there are several different acrylic templates for cutting 2 1/2" strips into hexagon fabric pieces, you still have to cut out a paper template, so a punch that handles that size of template would be fantastic. If you like these punches write to Fiskars and encourage them to make larger sizes. How will companies know what we want unless we tell them? I bought my punches on line and they can easily be found. Do price comparisons to see if you can get a bargain (as they are all made by Fiskars). I found mine for almost half off.