Tuesday, April 13, 2010


One of the most interesting aspects about quilting is that there are many techniques that can be used to reach that ultimate goal of the finished work of art--a work of art we so modestly refer to as a quilt. The various approaches include: machine-piecing and quilting (including free motion quilting), paper-piecing, applique, art quilting, rotary cutting, using templates, hand-piecing and hand-quilting. This blog is about hand-piecing.

I do both machine-piecing and hand-piecing. A quilter must approach hand-piecing with a different psychology. It's not about getting the quilt done ASAP. It can't be. A hand-pieced quilt takes time. It's about communing with our female pioneer ancestors; it's about enjoying the color and texture of each fabric; it's about the meditative quality of stitching each block together.

There are some practical aspects to hand-piecing as well. Being low tech, a hand-pieced quilt can go anywhere. Take your quilt block pieces, a needle, some thread, and scissors and you're good to go. Then when you need a little quiet time at your relative's house or in the hotel after a day out in and about, you've got a some quilting on hand that just fits the bill. Hand-piecing is also a form of quilting that can be done in front of the TV when you're hanging out at home with family watching a movie.

I've also found that I prefer to do smaller blocks and blocks with curves by hand. Every curved seam, no matter whether it is to be hand-pieced or machine-pieced must be pinned. When I'm using the machine, I'm going for speed. Stopping to pin just seems wrong. But when I'm in the slow mode of hand-piecing, stopping to pin just seems like part of the process.

When the seam is short enough, I can just about hand-piece the seam in the time it would take me to position it on the sewing machine and sew it together. On a seam that's an inch and half long, the sewing machine just isn't that much of an advantage.

To that end, I've started yet another hand-pieced quilt. These are examples of the blocks I've done so far. I've made forty just sitting in front of the TV in the evening with my family. This way, I've got both a hand-pieced project going AND a machine pieced project going. Maximizes my quilting time.

All of the quilts featured below have been hand-pieced. It is my preferred method of quilting.


  1. jeanne aka nzlstarApril 13, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    i always love looking at your amazing hand pieced quilts. keep'em coming for the world to drool over.

  2. Wow, these are all fabulous! Makes me want to try hand piecing. The blue quilt that Charley has approved--LOVE!

  3. Gorgeous, Michelle! I love NYB blocks, anyway, and yours are just lovely. As for hand piecing, I agree -- it's contemplative and relaxing, rather like hand quilting. :)

  4. I'm impressed! Hand sewing and me...not so great together. I actually (briefly) tried hand piecing the other evening, just because, and...well, not pretty, unless pretty is a train wreck, cuz that's what it looked like.

  5. I especially love the quilt shown on the day bed! It makes my heart sing to know that there are still people who enjoy handwork. I love my machine, but there is also something so wonderful about just you, a needle, some thread, fabric and quiet!
    Thank you for stopping by my blog!

  6. I love your site...I no longer desire to sit at a machine and sew, due to my disabilities....sitting there hurts my back.....how can I join your site/community? I use a Kindle fire hd, not a laptop or desktop computer....Will this cause a problem?


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