Monday, January 9, 2012

About face

This is where I like to quilt, at the breakfast table while I'm waiting for the girls to get up, while the coffee pot is boiling - in those little scraps of time that crop up during the day - waiting for the pasta pot to boil, talking on the phone, waiting outside dance and music classes, sitting next to my daughter while she does her homework or 'reading' aloud to my younger daughter picture books that I know from memory. I have pieced during homemade puppet shows and have even pieced while wearing a crown and pretending to be a queen while my daughter played around me. This is the way I work.

My first quilt (top) was rotary cut and pieced by machine but it all went together so fast that I didn't realise that I didn't like it until years later when I began to hand quilt it. Hand sewing gives me time to reflect. The quilt that comes out at the end is always different to what I expected.

When I started piecing the shoo fly blocks in the previous post for Lori's quilt-a-long I thought I was going to piece the whole quilt on the machine. I only got far as one block - I wasn't enjoying the sewing machine, the steam iron, the rotary cutter and mat. Even for free-pieced quilts I just use scissors and the sewing machine, ironing just at the end of a session.

When I decided to go back to handpiecing for these blocks, what I enjoyed most was the silence. Yes it's slow, and I'll still be piecing well beyond everyone else in the quilt-a-long. Hand piecing doesn't get you anywhere fast - but I love it.

If anyone out there would like to see how hand-piecing is done, leave a comment and I'll put a description in my next post. (warning; hand piecing is addictive!)


  1. Alice,
    I have enjoyed this post. It made me smile reading all the different times you have used to work on your quilts. Life with kids! I like the quiet of working on a hand project too. Lots of hand stitching equals to a peaceful time.

    I would love to know how you hand piece!

  2. I am always interested in seeing how each quilter adapts and makes a skill their own. I enjoyed reading this post.

  3. Yes I would love to see how you hand piece its something I still haven't tried yet.
    great post....children sure dictate our sewing time.

  4. Wonderful post! I just learned to hand piece a few months ago. I started a spool quilt - thought I'd start with something easy. I do enjoy the quietness of it. I love hand quilting for the same reason.

  5. I haven't hand pieced in a long time but I do a lot of hand applique. It is a very different experience from machine work. EnJOY