Hand piecing

>> Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So I've tried it out and it looks like I'll be hand-piecing the single girl quilt. I didn't sew the pieces together in the order it suggests in the instructions since I wanted to see a finished square and see whether I was happy with using the muslin for the background fabric.

Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl quilt instructions suggest sewing all the first quarter rings first, then all the second quarters etc. It makes a lot of sense to put together batches at a time and then you could also chain piece as well and save time and thread.

Part of the reason I went ahead with a full ring was that I had laid out the whole quilt and made sure I was happy with the prints in each ring. Mainly I was checking that there were no duplicate prints in each ring.

The rings are mainly all the same, except you substitute in a few different prints so the overall effect appears random. I had done that and spent some time making sure I liked the placement of my random prints. So I want to keep all the pieces for each ring together as I go along.
Now that the first square is done (11 more to go!) I'm really happy with the results. When I sewed my last quilt I quickly machine pieced it and while I was fine with the way it turned out in the end I was a bit bothered by the way some of the squares didn't line up perfectly. In retrospect that was also about cutting out imperfectly - some of the little pieces of fabric I had were just slightly too small and I wanted to make them work.

So as I was methodically hand sewing my ring together I found I was able to line up the quarter rings almost perfectly. And I was thinking of a saying that my grandfather used to say from time to time: If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well.

This simple phrase haunts me. Anytime I do something in a rushed, haphazard way and I know it's not going to turn out as well as it could I have a sort of guilty feeling. I question whether it's worth doing, and if so why am I not doing it well?

So in this case I'm slowing down and I think it will be worth it in the end. Not that I'm against machine piecing! Not at all. I may very well go back to it for my next quilt. Which I'm trying not to think about so that I can focus on this one. But I will say the next one is going to be made up of yellow prints. I love yellow.


Anonymous,  February 25, 2009  

You had/have a good wise grandfather - what a true saying. Although sometimes my impatience gets in the way!

sew nancy February 25, 2009  

i agree with your grandfather
and how nice it is coming along.
you inspired me to try my hand on this quilt
i've got the pattern but right now my mind is full with making spring/summer clothes for the baby but, this quilt is definitely going to make it's way to the top of the pile at some point.

Jessica Hanley February 25, 2009  

I love how your quilt is looking. And what your grandfather said reminds me of what one of my favorite grandmotherly friends was fond of saying, "If you can't see the mistake from the back of a running horse, then it doesn't matter." And she would hold up a quilt block and run around so we couldn't see the mistake. I like that saying, too, because there are times when I get so frustrated if something doesn't come out perfectly that I am apt to give up on it all together. She helped me move past those times.

Gailavon February 25, 2009  

I know the feeling.

What you have done looks beautiful and I look forward to seeing the completed quilt.

Anonymous,  February 25, 2009  

Congratulations on taking the hand piecing plunge!! It's addictive because you can take it anywhere and incorporate quilting into other parts of your life (like waiting, bus riding and telephone chatting).

It looks fabulous!

Kate February 25, 2009  

Your grandfather is right, of course, and this is a lovely example of why doing something right is important - your quilt is divine!

distelfliege February 26, 2009  

your first square looks great - I love your choice of colors and fabrics.
as for the slow philosophy :) I think I like both things, going slow and doing something well is very different from whipping something up in a creative day of chaos, and both things deserve being present in life.

I love the saying of jessica's grandmother too! lol

Sarah J. February 28, 2009  

I love the prints you chose, it looks absolutely gorgeous! And I never would have thought of using simple muslin as the background but it really works :)

Can't wait to see the finished product!

Jill March 01, 2009  

I'm interested to see how this goes - I was looking at making the baby sized quilt for my soon to be niece or nephew. I just love this pattern! :) How long do you think this will take you? I've never made a quilt before.

Betsy March 05, 2009  

excellent words to live by.
your rings are perfect.

Anonymous,  March 08, 2009  

sometimes you make things just for the fun of making, other times you are so excited about the outcome that you can't wait to see the final result. It seems that the second is what is going on. Try to enjoy the making of the quilt. Handpiecing can be so relaxing!

Anonymous,  March 08, 2009  

I did my first quilt entirely by hand and I certainly felt more in control of how the pieces went together and a huge sense of accomplishment when it was complete. Now I'm using a machine and while I love the ease and speed with which everything is coming together I didn't feel that same sense of ownership with the machine doing so much of the work.

Anonymous,  September 12, 2009  
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