Hand Piecing Madness

People who know me know I’m not afraid of a challenge when it comes to quilts, and I’m always looking to learn something new. Two years ago, when I was very new to quilting, I decided to start a needle-turn applique quilt. I made about 6 blocks and became distracted by all of the other projects swirling around in my mind that I’d be able to finish MUCH faster than any needle-turn applique project. I love hand-sewing, but I just haven’t made it a priority.

This past summer I visited my “aunt” in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My aunt is not really my aunt. She is one of my mom’s good friends that we visited often throughout my childhood. After college I continued the visits and always have the best time because she is one of a kind in the best ways possible. She grew up in the hills of Kentucky and isn’t shy about letting you know her opinion. I absolutely love sitting and talking with her and miss those long weekends now that I live so far away in Texas. She was a quilter back in the 70’s and 80’s and used to do ALL HER WORK BY HAND. I’m talking piecing and quilting. I’m sure I saw her quilts at some point when I was younger, but it wasn’t until the trip this past summer that I was able to share my love of quilting with her. She doesn’t have the internet so I took my iPad with several photos of my quilts and made sure we took time to look at her quilts before I left. Sadly, she has terrible arthritis and can no longer quilt, but we had a lot of fun going through her quilt chests looking at her work.

I love the feel of a hand quilted quilt. After going through my aunt’s lovely hand-pieced and hand quilted quilts, I knew it was something I had to do at least once. Here are a few of my favorites from her collection (We went through more than a dozen queen sized quilts. She made 3 or 4 double wedding rings, several grandmother’s fans, among others):

Patriotic

Grandmother's Fan

Hand Pieced Double Wedding Ring

Lonestar

After much deliberation, I finally decided on a pattern over Christmas break that would be my first attempt at hand piecing. My goal is to piece 15 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. I have absolutely no clue how much I can get done in that timeframe, so this project could indeed take 100 years. After I finish the queen size quilt my new goal will be to hand-quilt at least 15 minutes a day. The pattern I decided on is called a golden wedding ring. I had come across some vintage examples on Pinterest and  fell in love. I scoured Ebay and Etsy for the pattern and realized it was included in a set of Spinning Spools patterns my mom had given me a year earlier. It comes with templates and everything! I ordered my fabric, which came last week, and I’m in the process of pre-washing. My mom is visiting for Quiltcon, so I’m going to wait until she arrives to start the actual piecing. She knows how to hand-piece and I’d rather learn from her versus the internet. Okay, here is a quick mock-up of the quilt, in my colors, that I did in Illustrator over the holidays:

Golden Wedding Ring 2015 - Must Love Quilts

I hope to post my progress as I go along, and perhaps some tips and tutorials for what I learn about hand-piecing. When I first started quilting I had NO desire to hand-piece, but now I think it will be a fun way thing to learn. 15 minutes a day seems pretty doable. 🙂

13 thoughts on “Hand Piecing Madness

  1. Wow, what beautiful quilts! And all hand done! 15 min will fly by, I am sure you will find more time than you realized to quilt. I learned hand quilting a few years ago, and I would highly recommend Jenny Beyers book Quilt making by Hand. It is what I used and she is the queen of hand piecing! I has sample projects and everything to try. Happy piecing, I can’t wait to watch the progress!

  2. Jenny Beyers is indeed a master of hand piecing. She still pieces her quilts by hand and says she can sew faster by hand than by machine. You are going to enjoy this process. There is nothing like a needle and thread in your hand.

  3. Those quilts are incredible. I love the design that you’ve chosen for yours! I have a big hexie quilt on the go that has taken me a really long time, but I do like having that kind of handwork on the go, even if it’s in the background of doing other things. I hope you will have fun with it!

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