Wednesday, January 21, 2015

To Turn (or not to turn) That is the Question

I really love the fact that some of the modern sewing books that have been published recently are embracing the art of sewing from the core of it's very humble beginnings... stitching by hand.

I've always had the utmost and highest respect for the hand quilter. For me, WOW, goes without saying. When I look at almost everything that Anna Maria Horner puts her hand to, digging back to her generational roots, it really makes me realize that this woman really has it in her to the very core of her being! Carolyn Friedlander's new book Savor Each Stitch, really encourages just that, and in her recent book, Applique, the Essential Gudie to Modern Applique, Alison Glass even subtitled her "Fountain" quilt, "this could take a while". Isn't it refreshing that such modern designers, who have been told by today's society that being domestic is not "in", make such efforts to not only preserve the art of handiwork, but take it to the next level?

While my appreciation for the "art of doing it by hand" goes deep, I unfortunately belong the microwave generation. If you want something hot it's very simple... one short minute... ding... eat! With that being said, the very thought of needle turn applique has been haunting me since I started my "Facing East" blocks.

I know that there are two sides when it comes to quilting: machine quilting vs. hand quilting... and EVERYONE who quilts usually has a strong opinion about one or the other. Perhaps my previous statement might be a pretty good indication of my opinion of the topic. This also comes from a girl, who has never even hand basted a quilt binding (I know, I know, big cringe for some of you)

So I looked for a compromise to my dilemma... how to make the center circle for the Facing East blocks using another method other than needle turn applique? At my husband's encouragement, I decided to make the center circles slightly smaller. It was kind of fun pulling out school tools for the task.

I then I remembered a tutorial by the "queen of do-it-by-hand" herself... using this great little tutorial that Ms. Horner came out with back in the Chocolate Lollipop days. Make a circle template, place the template on top of fabric, wrap it up in foil, and iron it in place.

I attached the centers using a blind stitch on my sewing machine, and DING... ready for the next one.

What about you, do you like to savor the WHOLE process of quilting, including quilting by hand, or is the microwave version more your thing? Linking up with WIP Wednesday this week found here.


  1. The result speaks for itself. Microwave! Off to see if my machine has that stitch - I fear it does not.

  2. Blue Moth, unless you are working with a really old machine, many of the newer machines have at least something that is simliar. On my Bernina, mine is actually in the programmed decorative stitches section, and even though it is not named "blind stitch" it works the same as a blind stitch. Yeah for microwaves!

  3. I love this quilt pattern. Your version is awesome! Thanks for inspiring me to keep thinking about putting it on my want to make list. Maybe I will do as you say and conquer paper piecing with this one.

  4. I am not a very good sewer to begin with, but I can't imagine sewing something as large as a quilt with all it's pieces from hand. I am not sure who would have the time to do such a thing. Though I do admire the idea and I am sure the quality of stich must be better.

  5. Wow love the fabrics and the pattern. I'm definitely a microwave girl without a doubt!

  6. Vote: Microwave! :)
    Like your solution
    Liebe Grüße

  7. If I get to this quilt, I am probably definitely trying your method haha.

  8. This is looking lovely! It's funny to me that you mention microwave sewing, because that paper piecing had to have taken a dang long time ;-)

    I love hand-quilting - both the act of doing it, and looking at it (and petting it....) BUT my life doesn't really afford me that luxury right now, so most of my quilts have a mix of both machine and hand quilting & that seems to work perfectly for me :-)
    I need to make a few circles in the next couple of days, so I'll be sure to check out that tute - thanks for sharing it!
    Happy stitching (whether fast or slow) ~ Tracy
    p.s. love your fabric choices!

  9. Tracy, now that you mention it, that is an interesting irony that you point out... yes, the paper piecing did take a long dang time! There are some things that I seem to have the patience for (like sewing on the machine, and even paper piecing) and ohter things that I do not (like hand sewing). I think it might be because once I sit down on the couch, it is to rest and relax and I am too tired to sew. But with all that being said, I will probably at least hand stitch the binding on this one when I get it finished.

    P.S. I can see why you don't have the time to do much hand quilting with a big group like yours!


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