This post is especially for Aswathy (Trueblue). She mentioned that not too long ago she had a new addition to the family, and that she had started a quilt but was switching over to doing it by machine since she wasn't very patient.
I really have to laugh. I hand-piece (sewing the pieces of a quilt together by hand) because I am very impatient. I spent a lot of time sitting in doctor's offices, waiting for my daughter to get done with track or cross-country practice, or...the activity of the moment.
While I enjoy reading, sometimes I have to DO something. I keep the compartmentalized sewing kit packed. All I need (and then some) is in there--thread, small scissors, needles, pins, pencils, markers, and pieces of an unfinished project. When I go out the door, I grab it and go. Sometimes I work on it, and sometimes I don't, but I have it. I even worked on a piece when I was stuck in a terrific traffic jam back in September.
Sewing by hand is terribly relaxing and you can get a lot accomplished in not a lot of time. When my daughter was little, I often took her to the park, or to some playground and brought my quilting along with me. I pieced and she played with the children. As she got older, there were gymnastics and swimming classes that I pieced in (although sometimes I did applique).
The quilt at right is one I finished last year. Most of this was pieced in the car. We often drive to Connecticut, or elsewhere, and I try to take a piece of handwork with me. It is also a godsend to work on when flying.
This particular pattern is a one-patch pattern. If all the pieces were made up using different fabrics for each piece, then it would be a "charm" quilt. Two common names for the pattern is applecore or axe head.
Working on applique by hand (where you apply an image on the top and sew it down rather than sewing pieces together with a seam) is not so good to work on in the car or on an airplane as the subtle bouncing interferes with me making fine stitches. However, I am able to get a HUGE amount of work done when we're driving....as long as someone else is doing the actual driving.
The hand project I have been working on lately has been a double wedding ring quilt which was started by one of the ladies in the Batty Binder's Quilt Guild in Troy. Jeanne Seifman started this quilt in 2008. She cut most of the pieces and got some of the "melons" done, but she had a heart attack and died in September, 2008.
She wasn't very old, and it was unexpected. Several of the women in the Guild have been working on finishing it. The pieces in my kit are hers. I was getting a little upset as I couldn't get the pieces to fit together correctly. One of the women discovered she had cut some of the pieces wrong and that's why it wasn't working.
I've made a double wedding ring before. It is a really popular pattern which only dates back to the 1910s or 1920s. I don't find it very difficult and sort of fun. Curves, generally, in quilting are more difficult than straight piecing, but gentle curves are easier than tighter curves. I like to work on curves by hand as it is easier to get it exact.
This last picture is of a double wedding ring I pieced in 2005. It is presently a U.F.O. (Un Finished Object), but I hope to quilt it soon.
The other trick I wanted to point out is that not all quilts have to be made bed sized. Sometimes small, like this little double wedding ring is just right to work on and complete....and how many bed quilts does one need anyway?