Last week, I attended my first class in Quilt Making by Hand at Purl Patchwork. I took their Machine Piecing and Quilting Class last year while I was pregnant and I really enjoyed it. Both classes are taught by a wonderful teacher, named Cassandra.
So, why do I want to hand sew a quilt over using a sewing machine? I am finding less and less time that I can sit in front of the sewing machine. Especially now that my sweetie pie can roll over onto her tummy and raise her chest with her arms. I swear, she seems like she is going to be crawling any minute now. She claws the ground with her hands, but doesn't realize that she needs to use her legs to crawl. So, she ends up crying in frustration and then I have to flip her back on her back again. Then she does it again and we repeat ourselves over and over again all-day-long. Gone are the days where she would lay on her back and play with her toys that dangle above her.
Anyway, I wanted to learn hand sewing so that I can have small portable projects while watching her. During our first class, I made the 4 Patch Squares in the above photo. I had a lot of fun learning to hand sew a quilt square. I thought it would take forever, but once you get going, it doesn't really take that long. At first, it was hard sewing a straight running stitch and keeping the stitches even length, but you soon learn it doesn't really matter when you flip it over to the good side and iron it. Practice does make everything better. After a couple of squares, my hand stitching looked a lot better.
We didn't get any homework, but she did encourage us to keep making squares when we got home because that is the only way to improve our hand sewing. She said that we could continue to make the 4 Patches or start a different design as long as there wasn't triangles involved.
So, you start off by drawing your design on Quilter's Graph Paper. You draw the exact size that you want and you don't add in seam allowances. That's one of the differences between machine piecing and hand piecing. The design is then transferred onto a plastic template and then you cut it out. The above photo shows how I used the template to trace rectangles onto the fabric. A piece of sandpaper on the back of the fabric really helps with the tracing. You have to leave a little room for the seam allowance but preciseness doesn't matter. Then you cut out the pieces with scissors.
The reason why you don't need to add in seam allowances when you make and cut out your template is because you sew on the drawn pencil lines. So if you want a 6 inch square, your template would be 6 inches and then when you trace it onto the fabric, you leave room for the seam allowance. For this particular quilt square, I wanted the finished square to be 6 inches, so the rectangle template is 1.5 inches wide by 3 inches long.I think that it's pretty cool that you can make quilt squares with just scissors, fabric, thread and a needle. No machine necessary! And I find that the running stitch used to sew the squares is similar to the garter stitch in knitting, very meditative. I can't wait to see what we will be learning this week.
On the machine sewing side of things, I have pieced all the squares together on this quilt that I blogged about a few weeks ago. All that is left for the quilt top is to piece the border pieces together and then sew it to the quilt.