Saturday, December 31, 2016


My  hand piecing was on a limited basis before I met my internet Australian Friend Jennie.  The picture on the right is of a grandmothers flower garden which I began and then became disenchanted with.  I used bits of clothing which showed no signs of wear or fading.  This was what I decided would be my criteria.  

When I make quilts of my own design I set parameters to follow.  They are guidelines which can be broken (It's my prerogative to change my mind, LOL).

The GMFG was my first foray into hand piecing.  I found a pattern in a book of quilts made in the 1800's.  The hexes were 3 1/2 inches.  I thought, "Great, the quilt will go together fast."  As I worked on it, it did go together quickly, but I wasn't impressed.  I hadn't wanted it to look like all the other GMFGs I'd seen. I wanted it to look like a pasture with the flower blossoms strewn all over in mass confusion.  Well, it does, but it doesn't have the charm of the older quilts made with the tiny hexes placed in an ordered design.  I have about 4 feet square completed.  There are another 20 + finished flowers waiting to be attached.  The suitcase has found a spot in a forgotten corner.  Maybe It will be brought out some cold winter's day (when Hell freezes over).

Grandmother's flower gardens are hand pieced but not the traditional way.  Mine was pieced with templates made of ex ray film and cardboard pieces.  You leave them in until each hex is totally surrounded then you pop the enclosed hex out.   You whip stitch the units together.

If you are interested in trying to make a GMFG, the following is a blog with very good instructions:

Hand piecing with a running stitch provides no difficulties but there is finesse involved. You can sit and sew willy nilly but the following Tutorial says it better.  The information contained in it, is the same as taught to me by my friend Jennie when she was visiting in the USA.

 Jennie and the quilt she made for her daughter, Jess.  It is totally hand pieced and quilted.
Jennie never used a sewing machine.  She could hand piece as fast as anyone could machine piece!  Every time I hand piece I remember my times with her.  Jennie's Birthday would be coming up January 4th.  The world lost her to Breast Cancer.

The following two blogs are the first quilt I made under Jennie's tutelage:

This blog is about the beginnings of the second quilt.  It is  "Treasured Time, Too":

I am currently working on this quilt top while watching the "Cardinal's"  Baseball.  (With a few movies interspersed).

Here are my hand piecing hints:

I don't use a lot of pins and if I do use pins I use the thinnest I can find.
I do not stitch into the 1/4 inch seam line.
I back stitch at the beginning and the end of each seam.  If the seam is over a 2 inches, I back stitch every inch.

When I come to seams I have to cross, I do not stitch through all layers, I lift the seam "flap" and sew under it through the seam.

When choosing fabrics, overly starched fabrics and fabrics with painted designs are wickedly hard to stitch through.  This makes the enjoyable hand piecing process, tedium ad in-fi-ni-tum.

I have an extensive stash of older fabrics and I want to say hand piecing with fabrics older than the fifties is a lot easier than piecing with the current days fabrics. This is because the fabrics weren't as closely woven.  A reason  hand piecing with fabric from used clothing is easier is the washing softens the fabric making it a breeze for the needle to glide through.   ( my opinion '60/'70 fabrics are usually horrendously over starched).

My time working on these hand projects are "Borrowed Time" which I normally would not have a record of.  These quilts are a journal of the time I relaxed, Time I borrowed from the fast pace of our life.

Other blogs by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle

Blogs about our pair of pitbulls.

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission