Remember those half-square-triangles from my last post? I stayed up that night playing with different arrangements for the potholders. I had originally intended to make two potholders like the one at top left, just simple HSTs. Then I realized I had enough to make four potholders. And then I started playing with the layouts on my living room floor. I wound up making four different layouts using the HSTs I made:
The one with the geese is definitely my favorite, mainly because of the quilting. I just did straight lines ¼” away from the diagonal lines, and it turned out really cool, creating different sizes of squares and rectangles. It felt awesome with such tight quilting, too.
I used two layers of Insul-Brite and a 2½” binding. It was really tight hand-sewing that binding down! My index finger was raw the next day. Luckily, while I was at my parents’ house in Arlington over the weekend to give my dad the potholders (which he loved), my mom took me to the Lone Star House of Quilts. The shop had only a few bolts of modern fabric, but I got some fun notions:
I finally got some fork pins! I’ve been wanting these for a while. I’ve also been dying to try some hexagons, and ever since I learned to hand-sew binding I’ve really enjoyed handiwork. So I got some 1″ hexagon templates. I’ve been reading about Melanie’s adventures in hand-piecing hexagons on her blog, Texas Freckles. Melanie is leading a hexagon crusade she calls a “hexagon charm quilt piece-along.” She’s working on a quilt made up of more than 1,000 1″ hexagons. That’s quite an undertaking. I just started playing with my hex templates and some scraps yesterday, just to practice before I start any “real” projects. And to go with my newfound love of handiwork, I got something called a Nimble Thimble. That was purely an impulse buy brought on by my still-raw finger. So far it’s working well, though. It fits snugly and has a little metal reinforcement on the fingertip. I’m still trying to get used to having it on my finger, but it works a lot better than putting a band-aid on as a protective layer 🙂
I was really surprised that I actually enjoy handiwork. I used to do every little thing by machine, including sew the binding down. Now I really like sewing the binding by hand, mainly because it has such and awesome look to it — people who don’t sew might thing it’s held down by magic. And the hexagons are pretty fun so far. The thing I like about sewing by hand is that you can be very deliberate with each stitch and make sure it gets done right. I’ve mentioned before that I’m planning a double-wedding ring quilt as a gift for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary (which is just more than two years away). I’m still quite intimidated by curved piecing, and I’m strongly considering just piecing it all by hand. Something like that becomes an heirloom, so it seems worthwhile. Have any of you tried hand piecing? Or do you have some expert tips at sewing curves on your machine?