Monday, February 17, 2020

The Teeny Tiny Trip

Just shy of two years ago this week, I took a Small Hand Piecing class from Chawne Kimber at QuiltCon in Pasadena. Made completely and utterly by hand, what began with 1 1/2" unfinished squares, is now a 38" square quilt.

Obviously, I took my time, and honestly my love for this project experienced a serious ebb and flow. Due to the nature of the hand-piecing, every single square required hand-drawn stitching lines, which I can't say I loved, but it worked well. Probably my absolute least favorite part of the process was the swirling and pressing on the back side. I would do that every round or maybe two. Any more than that and things got seriously depressing.

When I started, I had in mind this thing would be indefinite and huge! But when the time between rounds turned into months at a time, I decided that wasn't the best idea, and that finished was better than size. I made quick work of the quilt back, piecing some coordinating lengths from stash.

As far as quilting, doing it by hand was the obvious tack. And considering I had plenty of that in my quilting history, it actually felt very good to be doing it again. Can't say I ever got really proficient at it, but I was comfortable with doing it at least. That in itself felt pretty good, though it still took me a few months, even on this small size. For thread, I used what I had on hand - Aurifil 40wt #2024 [White] - and paired with some Sew Fine thread gloss, it worked wonderfully.

SO when I finally was ready to bind, I machine-pieced a length of binding strips without even thinking, just out of habit. Then it dawned on me that there wasn't a machine-stitch in this thing, and questioned why I should start as I was finishing it. The main reason was I had never done that before! Was it even a thing? I couldn't help mention my dilemma to Chawne, and she eventually confessed that yes, she does bindings completely by hand all the time. I considered for a bit, and came up with a few reasons why I decided to do the same, including removing the machine stitches I'd already put in the binding seams:
  • Even hubby(!) said, "Well, you've done the rest of it by hand."
  • The texture of the little quilt was amazing due to the handwork, and I didn't want to risk jeopardizing that.
  • After nearly two years of fits and starts, now I wasn't in a rush for it to be done!
Gotta say, it worked ok and I'm super happy that this one was created by hand, right down to the last stitch. Considering how much I tend to rush through projects, it's nice to know I can occasionally just slow down. The texture, you guys, is indeed a delight. Yeah, I wish it was at least a little larger but oh well. Thinking another hand project might be in order.

This project was on my 2020 Finish-A-Long Q1 List!
Linking up with TGIFF!


  1. Congratulations on your wonderful finish! Teeny Tiny Trip is a beauty.
    Hand work is a whole different mind set isn't it?

  2. it's beautiful! good for you doing it all by hand. Thank you for teaching me how to do this. funny that the fussy steps that drove you crazy are the parts I love! I could spin/press seams all day long!

  3. I think hand piecing is extremely therapeutic, but understand your impatience with all the seam-marking. It's a necessary evil. And I say this having started TWO hand-pieced quilts, neither of which is finished! It's not that I didn't enjoy the process of making two large quilt tops, but that the design and style of the quilts just aren't "me" anymore. It makes me sick to think of the dozens of hours I put into each of them, and there they languish, unfinished. I'm glad for you to have realized your own lack of interest in making a large quilt, and called it done when it felt right to you. And then to add all that hand quilting too... well, that's just wonderful! You have a winner there. Hope you add it to your office wall so others can enjoy it too!

    1. I have a couple of possible solutions 🤠 1. Send them to me and I will give them a good home! 😂🤣 2. If the are similar in size quilt them together, one as the front, one as the back. At some later date you or a family member might fall in love 🥰

  4. Wow, just wow! I loved following you along - through all the ebbs and flows... And I imagined the project to be gorgeous and it is! And that first picture, showing this beauty so well and letting it shine. I really hope you enjoy this finish - even if it is small in size :) xo Melanie

  5. What an absolute treasure you have created. This is such a wonderful example of perseverance with a truly stunning result. WTG!!

  6. I really love that it was all done by hand and that you took the time to finish it that way, too. It's lovely and I look forward to seeing what you choose for your next handwork project!

  7. This is just amazing, Debbie. I could sit and look at the front (and back of the front!) for hours! How cool that the entire quilt is done by hand. I have some quilt pieces of my grandmother's, and I've been thinking I should hand piece them. I haven't ever done that. See? There you go, spreading wonderful inspiration again :-)

  8. Stunning, stunning, stunning! A labour of love. I can’t begin to compute how many hours it must have taken from start to finish. Congratulations

  9. A special accomplishment - and so beautiful! Each and every tiny stitch - hand-sewn - so wonderful. You need a special label for the back on this one, Debbie!

  10. I applaud your determination right down to the very last hand stitch! We don't know how good we have it with our modern machines! It's stunning. I still can't believe it's been two years!

  11. WaHoo! Good for you sticking with it through those down times to see it to a finish. It's so cool.

  12. Love this! Would love a detailed shot of the back, as I'm unsure how to arrange seams on back of a hand piecing project I'm working on,a bowtie quilt 🤗

  13. That turned out absolutely stunning Debbie!