Posts Tagged ‘hand piecing’

How-To Blog #3 – Stars of Twilight Quilt Block

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Yay! Final How-To Part for the Stars of Twilight Quilt Block. This means you can kit up some blocks hopefully for yourself to retreat to and enjoy piecing after the fun and festivities of the upcoming holidays!

Let’s get started. We are on step #6 if you are following along with the instructions included in your Stars of Twilight Acrylic Template set.

It’s time to sew in Piece C (center) to one of the previous multi-piece units made in the last step. Now there are going to be a lot of roundabouts in this step. Don’t bypass any of them as they are important.

It’s time to sew in Piece C (center) to one of the previous multi-piece units made in the last step. Now there are going to be a lot of roundabouts in this step. Don’t bypass any of them as they are important.

Step #7 is a slightly longer seam that will bring both halves together as one unit.

Step #8 has you sewing in the final two four patches in the spaces created for them. Be sure to have them oriented correctly to match your other four patches. Trust me on this one…double check. Ask me how I know to make sure.

Ok we are in the homestretch now but it is very important not to loose focus. Make sure to read all the way thru this blog to avoid one easy “trip” as I call it.

First you need to piece 4 A/A units as shown in this picture.

Now here is where the tricky part comes in.

I have placed a pin in my center unit to help you see the orientation situation in each picture. Honestly either format is right for the block, it doesn’t change the end size. But it does change the look and lining up of pieces so if you choose to make your blocks using one center format (stay with me this will make sense in two more pictures) I would keep it the same for the entire quilt……or not…this certainly opens up some more design options.

Look at where

Look at where the pin is, the 12 o’clock position and the A/A units are place on each corner. The center C piece, brown square, is presenting itself SQUARE in the middle of the block.

Now look at the pin, located at the 2 o’clock postion. Just one twist of a four patch unit to the right…and the center piece C, the brown square, is now presenting itself as ON POINT.

So choose your orientation and be sure to be layout the corner A/A “brackets” in front you before piecing your first one to the block center. You can piece all four A/A brackets continuous around the block center. You should not be able to do it with one strand of thread (if so your thread is way to long and should be shortened in your needle to approx. 18-22 inches).

Pressing on this block can be individually decided but I tend to press one set of the B or Br pieces (which ever is lighter in color) flat. Meaning their seams fall into the other pieces. With the exception of the edge around the center square. The center square unit is also pressed flat with no seams towards it. The piece is to small and to many seams behind it will make it bulky and puffy in your quilt. Then let the block dictate what needs to go were in regards to seams from that point on, whether this is determined by how things naturally lay down or color shadowing behind the block.

Viola! A finished Stars of Twilight Quilt Block. And at 16″ it covers a lot of ground quickly in quilt making. Just 16 blocks, set 4 x 4 with some simple sashing (2″) and an 8″ border will make a 88″ square quilt.

I can’t wait to see the Stars of Twilight blocks start to appear online. Please be sure to share them either with me on the MDQuilts facebook page or the Piece & Hexiness facebook page. The later page is my “open quilt guild” type of page where you can share any and all your quilting projects or questions with one another. You are asked to join, this has kept that group troll free for years online, but you are not limited to just discussing my patterns, blocks etc. It’s your group….enjoy and share all you want.

If you would like to purchase a set of Stars of Twilight Acrylic Templates for hand piecing you can do so by clicking here and heading to the NEW category in my store or by searching Stars of Twilight I the store search engine. You will also find all the other blocks in the Mic’s Attic Picks series and several others.

And as always please feel free to contact me via email, or a message from Facebook or Instagram with any questions you may have. Note if you are looking for a lengthy replay I ask that you email me as it is much easier to answer via that format then the others.

Watch for the Facebook Live sessions for piecing this block to begin after January 1st. A bit delayed from the unusual format but I am sure you understand. If you are stuck and really want to do some piecing over the holidays don’t be afraid to send an email/message. I may not get to it immediately but I will get to it.

Enjoy your day,

How-To Blog #2 – Stars of Twilight Quilt Block

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Time for part #2 of the How-To series of blogs for the Stars of Twilight Quilt Block. 

Let’s start today’s How-To blog with the simple sewing together of a B/Br Unit.   

Place pieces B and Br on top of one another with right sides facing.   I place a pin (white)  at the beginning and end of each seam.  This pin is stuck thru both fabrics perpendicular lining up corners.  Then using Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Pins (which really are perfect for hand piecing) I pin thru both pieces of fabric directly on the drawn line. 


Start your line of sewing a thread or two outside the corner point towards the seam allowance.   In order to get back the thread or two in width lost when tracing (pen/pencil lines add width) you should sew your block together using the drawn lines as guides.  And sew hovering above the drawn lines.  Think of it as hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch.   NOTE: you never sew fabric edge to fabric edge in hand piecing as you would in machine piecing.  

sew your seam hovering above your drawn line

One done – repeat three times! 

Now join a B/Br unit to another B/Br unit as shown in the picture – twice.

The final step in today’s blog is to sew three 4 patch units to each of the B/Br/B/Br units just completed.   This will involve the Roundabout Technique in the convex  AND concave corners.  By doing this you will obtain nice crisp intersections.  

This is where we are ending for today.  You will need two units exactly like this finished before Friday’s blog to follow along.  

If your intrigued and what to join in on the Stars of Twilight fun you can find templates for hand piecing and papers for English Paper Piecing  (and EPP templates) in my store by clicking here.   Or just click the product link below and head to the NEW category in the store for everything mentioned. 

Enjoy the day and see you on Friday for the final part of this “How-to” series, 

Introducing – Stars of Twilight Quilt Block

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

Yes it is that time again! A new Mic’s Attic Picks block release.

Several years ago this quilt was found during a trip to a flea market in Wisconsin.  I spotted it and new I had to have it.  The use of yellow as the prominent color in the quilt and lavender as the secondary just called my name as I love this color combo.  It ticks all my 30’s Girl Fan boxes.

The quilt was marked $225 and I remember I talked down the seller to $175. My entire “quilt budget” for that day at the flea market. I didn’t care. The quilt was mine. A very rare purchase for me, a finished quilt. Not a top, not a stack of blocks…a quilt. I think I smiled all the way to the jeep and then home. The yellow and lavender quilt was safely tucked into my shelves of my collection. Someday I envisioned it on a bed for a granddaughter. (I can now hear the rolling of eyes by Fric ‘n Frac -those are my soon to be 28 yr. old twins for new blog readers)

I have heard the request for a larger block, with larger pieces,and no curves.  A block that I would consider very easy for a beginner. This 16” block checks off all the requests and provides many coloring/design opportunities making it also very exciting for all skill levels. 

The following information about the block is provided by the Encyclopedia of Pieced Block Patterns by Barbara Brackman.

The historical name given to the block is Stars of Twilight by Home Art Studios.
Home Art Studios – A mail order pattern source from Des Moines founded by H. VerMehren. Patterns appeared under the names Nancy Lee, Colonial Quilts, Bettina, Hope Winslow and others in periodicals during the 1930s.


Stars of Twilight is available in Hand Piecing Templates and English Paper Piecing papers and templates. There will be several information filled blogs over the next week or so and then the “How To” blogs covering hand piecing will begin on Monday, December 17.

 

The Hand Piecing templates/EPP papers/EPP templates are all available for pre-order at this time with FREE SHIPPING. The Pre-Order special will expire on December 10th with the first wave of templates shipping out on December 14th. Place your order early to get into the first wave of shipping and have them in time for Christmas. You can find everything in the NEW category in my store or type Stars of Twilight in the store search engine.

Due to Christmas the Facebook LIVE segments for this block won’t happen until after December 25th.

And by the way Happy December!  I can hardly believe it is December already…my this year has flown by. 

Watch for another blog on Stars of Twilight in a few days!

 

Tennessee Circles – The Block Name

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Hi Everyone, 

 

 

 

Just a quick post to clear up some questions I have been getting regarding the name of the latest block released under the Mic’s Attic Pics line. 

Tennessee Circles is the given name of this block in the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman.   I always research the blocks extensively and use a given name if found.  If I can’t find a block in any of the resource materials I have I will let you know when the block is released and on the eventual Mic’s Attic Picks page that is being developed for the website. 

Yes, I do love Tennessee but this block was not renamed by me as a tribute to my admiration of this great state. 

Also, yes there is a similar block by the name of Royal Cross, but it is different as the center square is many times larger in that rendition.  

And yes you can place an order for any templates or EPP papers during my time away from my office and they will be processed and shipped directly from my manufacturer. 

Ok back to watching the leaves turn for me, 

 

 

 

 

p.s. For those new to hand piecing you can find several “how-to” videos on my facebook page MDQuilts.  These videos will also be docked to the Mic’s Attic Picks page in time. 

 

How-To Blog #2 Tennessee Circles Quilt Block

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Let’s dive right in to the next steps in hand piecing your Tennessee Circles Quilt Block. This is truly a very simple block to piece. It is a skewed nine patch in it’s format.

We left off with the completion the D-E-D unit and the B-C unit four times each.

Now we want to sew those units together along the straight line indicated in the graphic to the right.

Note the Roundabout move (see previous blog for a step by step instruction of this technique) will happen at the intersection of C-D-E-D. This will be a FOUR fabric roundabout, take your time, move the needle thru two pieces of fabric at a time.

You will repeat this seam 3 more times between the remaining units to make a total of 4 units.

 

Next you will want to join Piece A between to of the units to make the long (corner to corner) center stripe of the block. Set this aside for now.

 

 

 

Each of the remaining units will be have a Piece B sewn to the corresponding long curved edge. There are two Roundabouts as indicated by the red circles in the graphic. After sewing each seam you will find making a few easement snips of the fabric will help making this long curve lay down nice and flat. Don’t clip to deep. Leave some intact fabric close to the actual seam so it can hold.

 

 

 

Sew F-Pieced Unit-F twice and lay your block out in front of you using the picture as a guide.

Just two long gentle curve seams to go. Each is has 6 roundabouts. Whenever I am sewing a long seam I always do so with a fresh length of thread (measuring 18-22”) in my needle to remove having to start a new thread anywhere along the seam line. Go slow. And clip a few easements after your done. Repeat for the second side.

 

 

After all pieces are sew together is it time to press. I press with the consideration of light fabrics needing seams pushed away so shadowing does not happen. And viola your Tennessee Circles block is done!

 

I hope you agree that this block really is simple to make and yet there are so many secondary design possibilities. If you missed my blog earlier this month going over a few ideas you can get to hit by clicking here.

 

 

 

And because it just keeps calling me I played some more with it and have this possibility to share with you.

The next Facebook LIVE segment on this block will happened tomorrow, Saturday Oct 27th at 11am cst.

See you there!
Enjoy the day,

How-To Blog #1 -Tennessee Circles Quilt Block

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

It is time to tackle the Tennessee Circles How-To Blogs!

I am going to skip the detailed marking your fabric instructions as I will be covering that in the first Facebook Live segment. And I have covered it many times in the past with the last being for Carolina Favorite block blogs that you can find just by scrolling back to the August blogs. I am working on a general “how to mark” your fabric video that is going to be on the Hand Piecing page that this being created for the website as I type. This page is going to host links to all How-to blogs for each individual design and a host of other info. But as a “one woman” operation here I can only create so fast. It will happen soon. I have the holiday season into January off and I have quite a list I am determined to see thru to finished.

So here are my fabric pieces and here is the general template identification graphic that is included in your instructions in your template package. Just remember when tracing your templates, both inside and outside lines, on the backside of your chosen fabric you want to be as precise as you can on the “inside” line. Tilt your marking pencil or pen, at an angle so that the tip is as close to the template edge as possible. I pretty much use a #2 pencil about 90% of the time for marking. I keep my lines fairly faint, but have stepped up the pressure on them for the blogs so you can see them. I also use a Sakura White Gel Pen for making fabrics with a dark color. Always test your marking tool on a small corner of your fabric to make sure it does not bleed thru to the front.

I usually spend a day tracing and then have a cutting fest in the evening with a good movie on Netflix. Individual block pieces are then stored away in sandwich bags at the ready for piecing at a moments notice. Prep work makes hand piecing happen frequently and thus blocks truly get done faster then you imagined.

 

 

Let’s start with the piecing of the corners on this block. The D-E-D unit.

 

 

 

Using two pins (white in my picture) you are going to line up your drawn sewing guideline corner. In hand piecing we never line up pieces by using the fabric edge as we do in machine piecing. This is because we are human and cutting on a hand drawn line with scissors. Sometimes we wobble. So we use the inside line that we traced from the template. The line that we took the most care to trace and did not cut. By doing things this way our accuracy improves greatly.

After lining up my corners with the white headed pins I then pin on the drawn line. I use Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Pins for hand piecing, they come in two lengths, 1” (seen here) and 1.5”. They truly have changed my hand piecing for the better. So lightweight and easy to sew around which will make more sense in a moment.

Check the back of your pinning to make sure everything is indeed lined up.

Now it is time to sew. I used a Hemming Milliners needle size 11 and Aurifil thread. You can use any needle you like, sharp, applique, milliners, even straw, just make sure it has a sharp point. Hand needles can dull out just like machine needles. And they bend. I have never found one that doesn’t. So if you needle is pointing in the opposite direction as your needle eye it is time for a new needle.

Back to sewing. A simple running stitch with a back stitch every 3 stitches is what I use.

And this is IMPORTANT>>>

I DO NOT SEW ON THE DRAWN LINE.

I hover a thread or two above it into the seam allowance. Think hand sewing a scant quarter of an inch. Because my templates are ¼ seams and windowed (so you can mark both outside and inside edge in one setting) we need to reclaim the bit of space that is lost by the width of whatever marking tool you use. You are also going to want to start and stop your seams a thread or two also into the seam allowance.

Now it is time to add the second triangle to the D-E-D unit. Again pin the corners to align them. Make sure your right hand pin is only going thru the new triangle and piece E. The first triangle should be pulled out of the way. Now it is time to tackle the Roundabout Technique for making lovely tight intersections of fabric in hand piecing. Since you don’t sew out the edge of your pieces as we would do in machine piecing you need to make a Roundabout every time three or more fabrics come together to interlock the fabric and not have pin holes at your intersections.

You do have written instructions for this in your template box and I will be demoing this technique on Facebook LIVE this week. Look at the three fabrics coming together from the top and envision that intersection as a circle and you are going to go around it -TWO fabrics at a time. That is the key, you only move your needle thru TWO fabrics at a time.

 

 

 

 

So here we go – stab your needle thru the matched corners (you can remove the white head pin while holding your pieces in place) Triangle 2 to Square. Pull thread thru

 

 

 

Now Square to Triangle 1.

 

 

 

And finally Triangle 1 to Triangle 2. Make a back stitch and sew across to the opposite end of your seam line. Remember to HOVER over the line! Knot off and clip your thread.

 

Finger press (I rarely press any block until it is completely sewn) and viola your first D-E-D unit is done! Repeat 3 more times.

 

 

On to the B-C units. These are easy-peasy. One straight seam each! Make 4.

 

 

 

 

Here is where you should be.

The first Facebook LIVE segment is going to happen tomorrow at 9am. Yes it is early but remember you don’t have to be there at the LIVE time. It will remain on my Facebook Page so you can search it out whenever you can get to it or need it. I will cover marking your fabric and the Roundabout Technique.

The second half of the How-to Blog will post on Friday, Oct 26th with another Facebook Live happening on the following Saturday!

 

If you haven’t ordered your Tennessee Circles templates yet you can do so here or ask your local shop to contact me for wholesale pricing! And Tennessee Circles is also available in the English Paper Piecing format!

Have a wonderful day! 

Tennessee Circles Quilt Block – Coloring Ideas & Quilts

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Just the name of this block makes me smile from ear to ear.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know that Tennessee is where we wish to retire. Someday the dream is to find us at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. It all began when I visited the area a few years back to teach at the Pigeon Forge Quilt Show.  I  came home and told Paul that he must visit this area with me. I knew he would love it as much as I did. We went back less than a year later and both were smitten. Every year we count the days to our next visit. We move around in our cabin choices so we can experience different views, proximity to town(s) etc. We are even beginning to move the timing of our trips around the calendar to experience different seasons. Some day soon we will buy that house and begin the big move.


When I chose this quilt for #2 in my Mic’s Attic Pics series I didn’t know the name yet of the block. I just new I loved this top when I purchased it years ago and I wanted to play more with the secondary patterns it could make. When I researched the name of the block and found it to be Tennessee Circles it was kismet.

I was originally drawn to the quilt top makers placement of the bubble gum pink in the blocks and the pattern it made while also holding together the scrappy blocks of her quilt.

By using the technology available to use today I am able to easily play with color placement and secondary pattern of this block.
Here would be what I would deem the traditional coloring of this block.

 

And here is it set side by side with no sashing. Can you see the secondary pattern. The gentle round circles even with no play in coloring. I love it.

 

Now let’s play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional block.

And what if we colored it this way?

 

Look what happens with 4 blocks are set side by side with a twist of each block so that the unique corner meets in the center. Oh yeah…this would be very fun!

 

 

And then I play some more, this time setting the block on point and playing with accenting the circles to determine the quilt center and border without piecing any other blocks but Tennessee Circles. You know I love my one block quilts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then again what if we mixed Tennessee Circles with Carolina Favorite? 

Yes this would make a beautiful quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I have only made a few blocks, changing up coloring and playing with many different fabric genres I can envision them in the settings I just shared. Especially that combo of Tennessee Circles and Carolina Favorite…that one may have to happen.

If you would like to give a Tennessee Circles Quilt Block a try you can find BOTH Hand Piecing Acrylic Templates and English Paper Piecing materials in my webstore under the NEW category. You can click here for an immediate link. There is special pricing good until October 10, 2018 with shipping of product to begin on October 12th.

Note items will be shipped in the order received so it may take a few days after the 12th to see “shipped” on your status the longer you wait.

 

If you would rather support your local quilt shop, and I am all for that! Please let them know about the templates and ask them to contact me and I will provide them with the links to make a wholesale order. I am really hoping to get more shops interested in carrying hand piecing items. There are MANY quilters who love the zen of piecing by hand along with sewing on their machines, all we have to do is ask out shops and they will discover this too.

I am also writing the “how-to” blogs this week for this block and they are going to begin the week of Oct 22nd.

Have a great day,

October’s Attic Pick Block is….

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

SURPRISE!   I woke up this morning and thought why wait to release when wi-fi and time (very early morning flight home on Sunday) may be a stumbling block to a easy Sunday morning release.    So YAY! for a Thursday release!

 

…introducing the newest block in the Mic’s Attic Picks series 

                         TENNESSEE CIRCLES QUILT BLOCK 

Oh I have loved this block and it’s spectacular secondary patterns for many moons.    This top has been in my collection for many decades and I am so happy to share it. 

 

The name Tennessee Circles was given to the block in 1931 when it was published in a Prairie Farmer periodical.  This periodical was published out of Chicago and sold mail order patterns.  This pattern appeared in issue #1. 

The hand piecing templates and English Paper Piecing papers are now available for pre-order.   Shipping of the product will begin on October 12, 2018.   You can order up to October 10th at the pre-order special on the templates but they are shipped in order of receipt so if you wish to have them early place your pre-order early.   FREE SHIPPING is standard on the Hand Piecing Templates and some of the packages of EPP papers. 

All domestic order of $25 or more on any combination of hand piecing/EPP products from my webstore is FREE SHIPPING, $75+ for International orders.   If shipping is charged – I had to keep shipping on some items in the store – please note it will be returned as soon as the order is processed on my end. 

If your order includes items other than hand piecing templates and/or EPP papers/templates shipping will be charged for those items (first class shipping is always an option). 

I will post a blog or two next week sharing some coloring ideas and quilt designs for this block.   And the standard “How-T0” blogs and Facebook LIVE posts will happen beginning approximately Oct 19th.   I am in a heavy travel time on my calendar but this will allow everyone who preorders to have their templates in hand and ready to follow along. 

You can find the Hand Piecing Templates here in my store.   And the English Paper Piecing items here

OR just go to the store and check the NEW category! 

 

Ok, that’s all for now,

Have a great day, 

 

How-To Blog #3 – Carolina Favorite Quilt Block

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Let’s finish the block!

You should have four of each of the “Half Square Units” shown in the picture to the left.

 

Sew them into squares down the center “half square” seam line. I always start from the outer corner and sew towards what will be come the center of the block. You will have two roundabout intersections (see detailed instructions for this technique here).

After sewing this seam a total of  four times, you will have four quarters of your block completed. YAY! Truly the hard stuff is done. The next three seams are all straight seams.

                                                                                  Layout the blocks as indicated in the picture.

Sew the vertical seam between the top two squares, and the same seam between the bottom two squares, to form two rectangle halves of the block.

 

One LONG straight seam to go!

Right down the middle. The most difficult part of this last seam is that you are starting and ending with a Roundabout. There are a total of 7 of them. Don’t worry you got this. Just go slow. Before you know it you will be at the center and then it’s coasting to the other end for the finish!

 

YAY! Look at that! The block is finished.

Now regarding pressing the block. I did a Facebook LIVE segment all about pressing this block yesterday.

Head over to my facebook page – MDQuilts and take a look at it. I will have it pinned to the top of the page for the next few days.
Eventually several if not all the Facebook LIVE How-to segments will also be available on a special page on this website. Working on creating that now. When it is done I will give you a heads up in a blog/facebook post.

I hope you enjoyed making your first of what will be many Carolina Favorite Quilt blocks. I would love to see yours so please feel free to post them on either the Piece & Hexiness Facebook Page. That is the easiest page for everyone to see them immediately. Otherwise if you post them to the MDQuilts page I have go thru an acceptance and sharing task to get them to public view (it is a first generation professional page that has it own special set of rules…ugg)
And if you haven’t joined in the Carolina Favorite fun you can click below and I will get a set of templates out to you pronto!

Piece & Hexiness,

How-To Blog #2 – Carolina Favorite Quilt Block

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Are you ready to piece?

The Carolina Favorite block is actually just an elaborate four patch block. Meaning it is composed of 4 alike units (pieced squares) that are slightly oriented differently around the center. This means everything we cover in today’s blog you will need to repeat a total of four times for the entire block.

I am going to follow the piecing sequence I provided in your instructions that came with the templates. When I write block piecing instructions I first look for any combination of seams that could be sewn in thread length. As a handpiecer it is best to sew as much as possible before knotting off and starting again. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you wish to look at it there are no long combo lengths of sewing that can be done on this block. So things will be strictly one seam and  start anew for all that is going to be covered in today’s blog.

This is what makes this very complicated looking block actually very easy to hand piece. So see that is the fortunate part. It just may take a few minutes longer then if you could sew a long a winding path combining several pieces together in one thread length. That is the unfortunate part.
First up you will want to sew Piece C to D. Now here is the magic of my pinning method. Normally if we were machine piecing we line up our edges and let whatever tool we have on our machines help guide us to the perfect quarter inch. And for many that is how they have tackled hand piecing in the past.

I want you to ignore the cut edge of your pieces and use the drawn inner line to line things up. And this is how you are going to do that.

Using any pin that is at least an inch in length poke the pin straight thru the corner of piece C and also the corresponding corner of piece D. Your pieces will be right sides together. Normally I would just poke straight thru and push the pin down to the head and leave the pin dangle. That works on a straight line of sewing. But this is a gentle curve so I do bring the pin back to the front as you see in the picture, back thru piece D and then C to just hold it in place.


Now do the same on the opposite end of your seam.

Next you will want to use the finest pins you have available to you. I use Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Pins for my hand piecing, you can find them in my store or check your local quilt shop. Remember no shop can truly carry everything but most put in weekly orders for supplies and if your willing to wait a bit I am sure they will be happy to order them for you. We must support our shops! (in fact please them about my templates because they are available for wholesale orders for shops!)

You are going to gently maneuver the edge of piece C until it looks to be about right, and then pin directly on the drawn line. You will check where the pin falls on piece D and make any corrections you need to so that it also falls on the line.

These pins are short and so two are needed. I actually would like you to use two pins regardless of the length you have as it will make it easier when you are sewing. Repeat this process with a second pin. Use my picture as a guide.

 

Right now your piecing should look a little like a porcupine. That is normal. Now load up your needle with 18-22” of thread single strand, knot one end. I like Aurfil Mako 50wt. Be good to yourself and use a good quality thread when hand piecing. It will make a world of difference in your experience. The needles I use are Hemmings Milliners size 11. The milliners needle is going to be a tad bit longer then a sharp but not as long as a straw needle. If you are more comfortable with either of those needles then use them. I have had students use quilting betweens because they were comfortable working with that length of needle. Use whatever helps you be successful.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT! You are not, I repeat NOT going to sew directly on the drawn line that you pinned on. You are going to sew a thread or two above that line, or a scant quarter of an inch. This will compensate for the thickness of your marking pen and the fact that no one/thing can get a line drawn beneath the inner edge of the template. This is also why you want to make sure whatever you are marking with does not show on the front of your fabric.

I begin with a backstitch slightly above and one or two threads to the right of the first orientation pin. You will want to remove this pin at this time but keep a firm hold on your pieces to keep them in place until you can get a few stitches made. It is a running stitch that is used in hand piecing with a back stitch every 3-4 stitches is my style. If you stitches are longish at this time, based on your skill set (note they will get smaller and you will get faster the more you stitch) you may wish to bump up your backstitch to every other stitch. Basically you want a backstitch in every quarter inch of stitching.

 

Since I am using very fine pins I can actually leave them in and stitch past them, I am hovering above them. This is a great reminder to stay off the line! Stitch across following the gentle curve until you reach the opposite orientation pin. End as you began, a thread or two into the left hand side seam allowance and always end with a backstitch.

Knot.

Clip you thread.

VOILA! You first seam is done!

Since this is a curved seam you will need to clip some ease into the seam. Three or Four snips about slightly over half the width of the seam allowance should do it. Open and finger press. Look how nice that curve is.

You did it! Be proud!

 

 

 

Ok on to the next piece. No resting. Your fingers are warmed up.

 

 

Pin your seam following my image as a guide.

 

 

Don’t catch the seam allowance of the intersecting seam in any of your pins.

 

 

It needs to be free to allow you to make the roundabout move (RED CIRCLE in illustration) . This move is what will make all your points nice and sharp in the block and no pin holes at your intersections.

You have a page of general instructions included in your templates and I have been and will continue to demo the roundabout move on Facebook LIVE for the next week or so. I am going to dock one of those instructional videos onto a special page on my website so it will available to you for viewing whenever you need a refresher very soon.

 

Sew this seam. Make your easing clips. Finger press.

The final part of making this unit, UNIT 1, is adding piece A. You will see in my next image I lost my mind and actually added it to UNIT 2 (which is the mirror image of UNIT 1). It really doesn’t matter which unit you put A on just make sure 4 of them are sewn to one or the other.

 

 

Get yourself to this point where you have 8 “halves” totally, 4 left and 4 right, with the A piece sewn somewhere and we will tackle the rest of the block in Sunday’s blog post.

Piece & Hexiness,