Sunday, November 29, 2015

Testing, Testing...



Last summer I was working on my 1718 Coverlet and discovered there is a lot of hand piecing involved with some very weird shapes. I quickly found out that I need more (since I don't have any at all)   hand piecing experience before I can go any further on it. 

I thought a project where I repetitively piece the same pieces over and over again might give me some experience.   This was my first attempt at a Jen Kingwell pattern and, as you can see, my flower needs a little work.  I'm going to keep it but give another one a try. 


This is the book I'm using and this is how the flowers are supposed to look. 



For this first attempt I just used paper templates. I did not add the 1/4 seam allowance to the template. I traced around it on the back of the fabric in pencil and just eyeballed the 1/4 seam allowance when I cut out the shapes. Then I attempted to line up the pencil lines and stitch together on the lines.  I found my eyeballs don't know what 1/4 seam allowance looks like and that it was too difficult to keep those curved pencil lines matched up.    

So, I'm going to make two sets of cardboard templates. One set will be the template without the seam allowance and the other set will be with the seam allowance so when I draw on the back of the fabric I will have two pencil lines and maybe those curves will match up a little better. 

If that works out then I will have a new project to work on during my lunch break. I normally like to go out for lunch but not during the winter when it is cold and there is snow on the ground. So, a portable project is in order.    


And I've always got my circles to work on.  I blanket stitch around the edges. I usually catch up on them on Sundays. I've been making them faithfully since Nov. 4  I write in the white space something to do with the day.   This is my Black Friday circle.. "No Black Friday deals for me. I hate shopping and I especially hate shopping when there are crowds." If you want to know more about the circles project see the Quilty 365 link on the sidebar. 


I've been screwing around with my new laptop all day (windows 10 to replace old XP) and the graphics card is giving me fits otherwise I'd have a lot of Slow Sunday Stitching completed by now. But I guess I have the rest of the day. 

15 comments:

Karen in Breezy Point said...

Haha--the Grinch is perfect for your Black Friday circle! Your Jen Kingwell blocks look very challenging and very cool--it will be a fun quilt!

Deb said...

Love the Grinch circle, the flower quilt is going to look great, love the fabric of the flower. It may be a challenge but well worth it in the end.

Balmoral Quilter said...

Oh the patience it must take to piece the flowers! I really like the vibrant colours!

Angie said...

Your plan to improve your hand piecing sounds good, but there might be an easier way. When I hand piece, I mark the templates and eyeball the seam allowance. Then I use pins to make sure the stitching lines align. Take a long quilting pin and insert it into the seam line starting at one of the ends or corners. Line up the pin with the seam line for the piece you are joining - take a small bite with the pin, lining up a quarter inch or so of the seam lines on both pieces. Now take another pin and insert it into the quarter inch of aligned seam allowance - perpendicular to the first pin. Remove the first pin and repeat for the length of the seam you are stitching. Now your seam lines should be aligned and ready for hand stitching. Maybe this is how you stitched your flower and it just didn't work. If not, give it a try. If my instructions aren't helpful, I'm sure there's a Youtube video out there somewhere!
Love your Grinch for Black Friday - I feel the same!!

gayle said...

Oh, that Grinch circle for Black Friday says it all for me, too. (Too many years in retail to EVER want to go out shopping on Black Friday!)
Hand piecing is where my quilt journey began. Both my grandmothers hand pieced (and hand quilted) every quilt they ever made. I would put a pin in the beginning and end of the seam (and maybe a few in between if it was a really long seam), then stitch slowly, peeking every couple of stitches to make sure my pencil lines were matching up. Lots of patience is involved, but sometimes that's the only way to get some pieces put together at all. (I love my sewing machine, but wouldn't want to attempt that block with it!)
I love Jen Kingwell's work. That book is on my list of wanted treasures!

A Nudge said...

I use one set of templates(the finished size) and trace the shape onto the back of the fabric. I then cut the pieces out with a 1/4" seam. Then I make sure to align them as I sew them. Practice, practice, practice.
I, for one, like the first Kingwell block you made. Looks fine to me.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Ha! Perfect block for Black Friday. I hope to start Quilty 365 in January. Hope I can keep up with one block a day!

Ellen said...

I love the flower block it is so pretty. Boy, you sure did choose a challenging block to practice hand piecing!

Julierose said...

Whoa challenging is right!! But I'll just bet that your dual set of templates will do the trick for you. I am still working on stitching my Circles and have found that the exact template is of major importance--I pre-turn my seam around it and press the h**& out of it and then pin it onto the square and attempt to keep the edge well stitched....over and over and again....shades of piano practice...hugs, Julierose

Dasha said...

The methods above sound fine. When I hand stitch curves, I usually trim the seam to a little less than 1/4" and if the seam has a very deep curve, I also clip it to within a thread or two of the seam line, the same way you do in dressmaking.
These days I never EPP - I hand stitch all the seams on hexies etc.

TakeMeThereTotes said...

I understand about the hand piecing. I need lots of patience and practice. I also attempted the Jen Kingwell flower and my flowers were not so hot. I don't know if it was the pattern or me but I had trouble with matching the different petal parts. It might have been a little too ambitious of a project since I would consider myself a beginner and not normally a hand piecer. Hang in there. I know you will get better. Hand piecing is too slow for me at the moment. I do better with applique. Thanks for always sharing your projects. I think it helps all of grow and learn.

Monica said...

Blanket stitch will be a great way to finish those circles!

That flower pattern looks like a stinker -- it's pretty, but I didn't realize it was so tricky!

Bees Knees Granny said...

There's an easy way to add a 1/4" seam allowance to a template with curved edges. It is a brass disc, 1/2" in diameter, with a hole in the center for a pencil point. Just keep the edge of the disc in touch with the edge of the finished-size template, and the mark will always be 1/4" away! I can't remember the name of this gizmo, but perhaps you could make a substitute out of thick plastic, if you can cut an accurate, smooth 1/2" circle.
Keep on quiltin'. Cwoosley12@yahoo.com

audrey said...

Love that Grinch circle! And that Kingwell flower is one of my favorites. I too found out the hard way about the importance of a perfect 1/4" seam allowance years ago.:)

Stephie said...

Haha, the Grinch is brilliant! For someone that's not done hand piecing before you sure didn't pick an easy shape :D Yet another way to make a template is to make a 'window' template: draw your finished shape on a piece of thin card then draw the 1/4" seam around it. Cut the centre out, then cut round the outer line. You now have a window! Which means you can draw the shape AND the seam allowance all with one template - cheap, quick and easy :) Your flowers look great anyway, I love the fabrics you chose.