It has been awhile since I’ve discussed hand-piecing so I thought it was time to trot out my reasons for loving it (insert angelic music here). I have heard many reasons why hand-piecing is not a desirable sport – it is tedious, takes too long, requires too much prep work, etc. If you have tried hand-piecing and find something like that to be true, well, stick with that. Don’t try to force it. But if you have never tried it I beg you to put aside your resistance and give it a little go. You don’t have to make something big. A potholder, a mug rug, or a doll quilt are all small managable projects. One easy way to jump in is to use the Clover yo-yo tool. It makes yo-yos quick and easy and you can find it in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Drumroll please: my top ten reasons to hand-piece:
10. It makes my favorite pastime portable. I have spent many a swim lesson or dance practice piecing up a storm.
9. It gives me a glimpse into the past. I’m sure my skills are abyssmal compared to the skills of just about any woman who sewed before 1900. But still – I get a little vignette of what it was like to perform a very specific task (quilting! My favorite!) long ago.
8. Most quilters today don’t hand-piece: I’m unique!
7. It gives me the feeling that I am connected to a long line of women (and occasionally men) who suffered hardships and disappointments – but still managed to build their lives and give us the world we have today.
6. It can give you better control over the seam allowances. You are not restricted to the direction you can press them when a block is finished because they are always hanging out free-flappin’ style.
5. Yes, templates and using a scissors to cut out fabric is tedious. But did you know some shapes can be cut with a rotary cutter? You can also use precuts, too.
4. In some cases it actually is faster to piece by hand. Jenny Beyer claims she can piece just about any block faster than someone can make it on a machine. While I would not go that far I do think I can piece a curve nicer and faster than someone using a machine can.
3. My piecing is always more accurate when I do it with my hands than when I do it with a machine.
2. Creating it with my own hands instead of a machine gives me a little zing of 2-year-old-independent pride: I can look at it and think I made that all by myself.
1. It really is a zen thing. Getting my stitches going and developing a seam can be really soothing and calming. Look out, stress! Here comes my quilt!