Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to love hand piecing, the technique favored by designer Jen Kingwell of Amitié Textiles. Love her look in the pillow below? Get her tips for making hand-piecing easier!
(From American Patchwork & Quilting February 2014. Buy the digital issue here.)
- I make my templates from template plastic and write the pattern name and any identifying numbers or letters on each one with an ultrafine permanent marker. I store them in sandwich-size ziplock bags.
- For fabric markers I prefer a mechanical pencil with a 2B lead or a fine chalk pencil, usually white.
- When tracing around templates I use a sandpaper board. It holds the fibers firmly, which reduces distortion.
- Good-quality cotton fabrics give the best results.
- I prefer size 11 straw needles from Jeana Kimball. These fine needles have a straight shaft that glides through the fabric easily. They are also long, which allows me to take several running stitches at a time.
- I love Machine Embroidery Thread (also called Broder Thread) from DMC. It is a 50-weight two-ply thread and comes in a fabulous color range. I find the finer the thread and needle, the more accurate the seams.
- The first thing I do is put a quilter’s knot in my thread: I hold my threaded needle in my dominant hand. I take the end of my thread in my other hand and loop it so about 1″ of this end lies on my needle. With my dominant hand, which is still holding the needle, I hold the end of the thread in place. With my other hand I wrap the thread around the needle three to four times. With my fingers holding the wrap on the needle firmly, I use my nondominant hand to pull the needle through the wrap, continuing to hold until this knot stops at the end of the thread. It’s quick and easy and is never too bulky.
- To finish a seam I take a small backstitch: Before pulling the thread all the way through the fabric, I bring my needle through the loop, which effectively ties a knot. To prevent unraveling, I cut the thread but leave about a 1⁄4″ tail.