Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Do I Hand Piece??

The first quilt class I took was a class on Hand Piecing.  We did a sampler quilt and each block we learned taught us a different technique.  We learned straight line piecing with the various star, nine patch and card trick blocks.  We learned curved piecing with Drunkard's Path piecing, and then learned to arrange our blocks to our satisfaction.  Mine look like headlights.  We learned freezer paper applique with Rose of Sharon; applique with construction paper on Bridal Wreath; and ironing over a template with fabric sizing on Dresden Plate.  I found the hand piecing to be relaxing, and found that I could get perfect points with hand piecing.  During that class, which lasted one year, I made two queen-size quilts. This first one was the one that the quilt shop owner helped me choose fabrics for.  The colors were not at all like me -- but when I started to look at fabrics, they called out to me.  After having it long arm quilted by a professional, I gave this quilt to daughter Pat.

This is the second quilt top.  The blocks were constructed primarily with fabrics I had received in a grab bag.  When I started to sort and put these fabrics away, it occurred to me that they would make a beautiful quilt.  So, as I learned from my class, I would make two of each block, one from each fabric.
After this quilt was completed and long arm quilted, I gave it to daughter Pam.

Then I decided to make one for myself, and used scraps from the Be Attitudes quilt I had been working on.  I ordered extra fabrics for sashing, background, and borders.  And finished that quilt in no time.  I have never taken a picture of that quilt, and need to remedy that situation.

Hand piecing projects are "take-along" projects.  I trace my blocks, add the seam allowance, cut them out, and put them in a zippy bag along with a photocopy of the finished block so that I know how to finish them.  I just love my hand work.  So when I joined a brown bag swap, it seemed only sensible to hand piece still another sampler quilt.  I love the sampler quilts since you only do one of each block.  And, there are so many blocks to choose from.  For this quilt, I decided to try some blocks of a greater difficulty.  One that I chose was Quilter's Cache's Celtic Sunrise.  The directions said to "paper piece" this block.  I've never done any paper piecing, but figured if I pasted the templates onto template plastic, cut them out, and added the seam allowances, it would be OK.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  There are a bazillion pieces in this block.  And, now that it's all put together (almost) it's horrible.  It is puckered, doesn't lay flat, and just isn't what I expected.  It's a beautiful block. . . I picked great colors. . . but, it's nasty looking.  So I am asking myself "Why do I Hand Piece".  For the time being, the block has been put aside.  Maybe at some point, I will take it apart and try to fix it.  Or, maybe I'll just start over and try again.  Or maybe I'll just do something different. But for today, I'm using the "Scarlett O'Hara" attitude that I won't think about it today. . .  I'll think about it tomorrow,.


Pat said...

Sounds like you picked too difficult a block as your first paper-piecing experience. I hope it doesn't sour you on ever doing paper-piecing again.....just be sure to try something simpler the next time. I like the two quilts you showed in this post today!

Lindabee said...

I didn't paper piece. I just hand pieced it, and I think I goofed with the diamonds.