Quilt Projects

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Little Detour

I'm going to take a short hop, skip and a jump away from the Potholder Saga today for a couple of reasons. First of all, I've been so busy with garden harvesting that I haven't been able to even get into my quilt studio to do any more work on the potholders.

Secondly, a blog reader asked me a couple of questions that I felt deserved to be answered in more space than I would have in the comments section.

To paraphrase her, she asked if most of my miniature projects were hand pieced. She said she finds it very difficult to machine piece small blocks, but has never tackled hand piecing a mini quilt.

I do very little hand piecing myself. As a quilter, my strongest skill is piecing . . . by machine. I love to piece and it seems to come easy for me even when working with very small pieces of fabric. Matter of fact, I enjoy it so much that I steer clear of foundation paper piecing and freezer paper piecing which are touted as an excellent way to get accuracy when working with small pieces. I personally find those two techniques difficult to work with.




My Tiny Bear Paws wall hanging is 17" x 22".



Each individual bear paw is 1-3/4" square.

To accurately machine piece small pieces, I feel you must (most importantly) sew with a constantly accurate 1/4" seam and not hesitate to use pins to hold pieces together. I don't pin as much as I did when I started quilting, but I still find the pinning I do saves a lot of time in obtaining accuracy the first time rather than not pinning and having to rip and do it over again. And again. And maybe again.



This wall hanging is 10" x 22-1/2" and is called Thanksgiving Flight Home.



Each of these Flying Geese blocks is 1-1/8" x 5/8".

I suppose the reason most of us piece with a sewing machine rather than hand piecing is plain and simply time. Hand piecing is slow. But having said that, I believe it is also easier to get accuracy by hand piecing.

I know a quilter who does nothing but hand piecing. She never sews with a machine. Big quilt, small quilt, all of her work is done by hand piecing. And I so admire her for that. That is true quilting. It's what our foremothers did and some of the work they turned out was amazing.

So if you have a desire to construct a quilt, be it full-sized or miniature by hand piecing, I say jump into it with no hesitation. I, for one, will be humbled by you.


2 comments:

Vivian said...

Thanks for the blog entry today, Mama Pea. All I can say is WOW - you are GOOOD! I have a miniature Maple Leaf quilt partially pieced (by machine) that I got so frustrated with that it has been put aside for almost 2 years! I don't have an expensive machine, just a decent Singer and I have the 1/4" foot, so usually have no problem with accuracy on larger pieces. Perhaps I may drag that poor mini quilt baggie out and dust it off again - you have inspired me to forge ahead. Maybe I will move over to my featherweight and try again there. Anyway, thanks for the input. As a bit of further info about me (f you care??), I had a needle and thread put in my hand at a very early age. My grandmother taught me to embroider (pillowcases - you know the HIS/HERS, YOURS/MINE routine, LOL) crochet and she also always let me help her quilt in the winter when I visited - there was almost always a quilt in the frame from Oct to March. I have many old wonderful family quilts from my grandma and great grandmother, too. I did a few projects when our sons were young, then for many years two boys kept me waaaay to busy to sew much for my own pleasure. I took up quilting again a few years ago when the boys got grown and moved out and away to school, etc. Now it keeps me sane on long winter evenings. Like you, I prefer the machine - I can't create things quickly enough by hand ;-/ I digress so will hush for now, but do keep up the blogging - I really enjoy it and I'm sure I will learn much along the way.

Mama Pea Quilts said...

Hey, Vivian! Thank you so much for your kind words. I think when you love something as much as I love quilting, it comes easily. (Well, okay, with practice, a seam ripper, and some bull-headedness!)

You have a featherweight?!! How cool. I've never sewn on one but they have a fantastic reputation among quilters.

How I envy you your ancestry of quilters. And your collection of family quilts! What a treasure.

I don't know how much I have to teach anyone but I'm more than willing to share anything I can.

Here's hoping we can spend a long time quilting "together!"