Candy Hex Tutorial
Everyone has scraps, right? I can't be the only one with overflowing baskets of fabric that isn't quite stashable size but too big to just toss. Its high time I made some scrap quilts!
I love improv piecing for using up scraps. I'm working my way through a spider web quilt using a modified version of My Tea and Brie's Spider Web Block and the ability to grab a scrap, whatever the size, and use it up without fussing around with a lot of prep really speaks to me. Why not do the same thing with hexagons made from triangles? Bonus--the blocks look like candy corn (hence the name!)
What you will need for the Candy Hex:
- Scraps! On the larger size for this block (or you could piece a few smaller scraps together to get the size you need)
- A 60 degree ruler. I used the 8.5 inch Creative Grids triangle ruler which yields a triangle 8.5 inches high with 10 inch sides. You could use another 60 degree ruler if you have one or a straight ruler with 60 degree markings, you will just have to be a little more creative in the cutting process.
- washi tape
- basic quilting supplies (sewing machine, rotary cutter, mat, etc)
I didn't want the bulk (or nuisance of) cutting foundation fabric or using some type of foundation paper for these since I was looking for quick and easy here. So I grabbed the ruler I was going to use to trim the blocks down--the creative grids 60 degree triangle ruler, and made a washi tape outline of it on the table next to my machine to act as a guideline as I pieced the scraps.
Time to grab your scraps! You can use any color scheme you'd like. In my first version, I used low volumes with reds/pinks to help the ring created by the middle stripe of the triangle to really stand out. This time, I'd like to use more colors, so I'm going with a blue, gray, and aqua. If you'd like to use more stripes in your quilt, go ahead! I like bigger spaces for fun machine quilting, so I've kept my triangles to just 3 sections.
Here is my rough color layout for the quilt. I'll work from the base of the triangle up to the top, adding pieces as I go. First, I need a blue scrap.
Lay your first scrap over your washi triangle. You need to cover the entire inner portion of the triangle but I like to cover at least a little of the washi tape as well so I have more fudge factor when it comes to trimming the triangles down later.
Now, find a scrap of color two and lay it on the blue piece, overlapping the edges a bit to account for the seam allowance. Again, make sure this piece covers its section of the washi triangle. Then, flip the strip down and sew right sides together.
This is one of the very few times I don't use my 1/4 inch foot. I don't bother trimming my scraps down to have perfect straight edges. Instead, I line them up as best I can and use a slightly more generous seam allowance. Press it open. I usually press my seam allowances open but here I just press to the side--there aren't may seams that need to line up, so there isn't as much bulk to deal with.
Time to repeat with color 3! Find a scrap, line it up to make sure it covers the washi tape (remember the seam allowance!) and then sew right sides together, then press open.
Almost done! Last check on the washi tape--see how it covers all of the inner triangle and some of the washi tape? This looks great and is ready to be trimmed down.
But what if it doesn't cover?? You have two options: You can rip it out and replace this color with a larger scrap that would cover the space. OR, you can simply add another scrap to make up the difference. Quilters choice!
Time to trim! Since I don't trim my scraps to be perfect, my seams between the colors usually aren't parallel but I'm fine with the slightly wonky look. I just arrange the ruler where I like it and trim around.
Ta da! A perfect 60 degree triangle block. I would LOVE to come ooh and ahh over your own Candy Hex blocks on instagram! Use the #candyhexquilt tag so I can find you!
Now it is time to think about turning these fun little triangles into a quilt top! First, you need to decide on how many triangles you want to make. I use handy equilateral triangle graph paper from a math games website for kids. I use the 1 inch size but if you are planning a very large quilt, you might want to use the 1/2 inch size.
Now, measure your triangles. If you have been using the same 60 degree creative grids ruler I'm using, your triangles measure 10 inches (9.5 finished) on the side and 8.5 inches (8 inches finished) tall. I wanted straight sides to my quilt, so I drew a top and side guide in:
I had a particular size of quilt I was shooting for so I could use a silk batting I'd picked up. The batting was 60x60, so I wanted my quilt to be somewhere around 55x55. I mocked up a few arrangements. Since I know the finished size of the blocks, I just counted them up and multiplied to get the finished sizes.
The 47.5x48 size got me pretty close, so I decided to add some borders to round it out. I also colored in the arrangement for the triangles to fit together.
Now that you have a plan, time to make your filler pieces and get those triangles together! Count how many filler pieces you need and decide how you want to deal with them. You could simply use extra pieced triangles for this but you'll need a full triangle for each filler piece--you can't just cut them in half.
To make the filler pieces, go back to everyone's favorite ruler--the 60 degree triangle and line up your fabric with the line next to the center line to add the 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim around and you've got a half triangle filler piece. Pay attention to the orientation of the filler piece on your graph! Half of your filler pieces will need to be mirror images! If you cut two at a time with rights sides of the fabric facing each other, you'll end up with perfect pairs.
These triangle units are best assembled in rows. You can lay them out before assembling or just wing it like I did. Refer back to your graph paper plan to see how the triangles fit into each row since each quilt may be slightly different.
Sew your triangles together! I pressed my seams open to reduce bulk at the points. Once you have your rows assembled, sew the long seams. These triangle side seams will be slightly biased edges, so take some care when working with them. The bright side is that you can use that bias to help ease your rows together to get your points to match perfectly!
Once my quilt interior was done, I added my borders which were just 5 inch wide strips pieced together to match the length of the sides of my quilt. You can make your borders however wide you'd like or skip them altogether. Quilters choice!
I would love to see your color choices and finished quilts! If you post to Instagram, use the #candyhexquilt tag or post to my new Facebook page for Tiny Orchard Quilts!