Hand Piecing Project

One thing that I wanted to do in 2012 was to try making some of the quilt blocks that my grandmothers used in the quilts they made (if you haven’t seen the collection of my grandmothers’ and great-grandmother’s quilts, check them out here). Because these quilts were all hand pieced, they include a lot of blocks that are better stitched by hand instead of by machine. So, I figured I would learn to do some proper hand piecing.

I meant to start this project in January and aim for doing a different pattern a month, since it would require drafting a pattern and making templates and all that. Well, it was the middle of March (or later) and I still hadn’t started, so I decided it was time to get cracking.

I discovered that Quiltmaking by Hand is apparently THE book on hand piecing (hand quilting resources aren’t as hard to find, for some reason). I checked the book out from my library and got started.

For practice, I dug out this pile of 2″ squares that I had left over from the first mosaic quilt I made (and also used to make a laptop sleeve for my husband).

Stack of 2" squares

I thought these would be perfect to piece together for practice. I think these are the 10th and 11th seams I stitched. This is the front.

Hand Sewing Practice

And this is the back.

Hand Sewing Practice

I started feeling kind of ambitious at this point, and made myself a 4-patch. Not bad!

First Four Patch

First Four Patch

At this point I realized that one of those family quilts is just a basic nine-patch, so I thought, what the hey, why not make a nine-patch block!

First Nine Patch

And then the nine-patches sucked me in.

Second Nine Patch

Third Nine Patch

Fourth Nine Patch

And now I’m just making nine patches out of my stack of 2″ squares. It’s quite fun. I have no idea what I will do with them. I have no idea how big something could be if I used up all the 2″ squares I have cut. But it’s a good way to get rid of a stack of stuff in my stash, don’t you think?

This was what I had finished by last Friday night.

Hand Sewn Nine Patches

And these are the ones I finished Friday through Wednesday over the past week. One a day.

More Nine Patch Blocks

At some point I’ll graduate to drafting a pattern for one of the fancier blocks and making some templates and trying something harder. But for now I think this is excellent stitching practice, and a nice little activity to keep my hands busy.

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4 comments to Hand Piecing Project

  • Wow, I’m impressed with how much you got done in such a short period of time! Your blocks look great. At first, I thought this idea sounded like a lot of time and hard work. But after seeing your progress, now I think it looks like a fun project. It’s great having a hand sewing or knitting project to work on when you have some down time. Can’t wait to see your progress!

  • It’s been a long time since I first remember reading your desire to hand piece, and now you’ve done it! Your blocks look fabulous, and I hope you will continue to enjoy this relaxing technique, compared to sewing on the machine, which is fast but not calming.

  • These blocks look like fun! Can’t wait to see what you do with them.

  • Wow cool nice to have a sense of the feeling your great-grandmother might have had as she stitched away on those beautiful l old quilts. And in theory I think it might be kind of therapeutic to do some slow hand sewing-I just need to make more time and perhaps the habit!

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