Friday, June 19, 2009

Chain stitching for beginners

I am in piecing purgatory this week. A couple months ago, I took one look at Camille's "Pint-Sized Wild Thing" pattern and I just HAD to try it. I've only ever made one other pinwheel type quilt in my life and I always swore it would be the last one. Triangles and triangle type shapes and I have just never gotten along well. Then I saw her adorable little whirligigs and I threw caution out the window. Somehow I never paused to think about the fact that these pint-sized pinwheels would be the smallest piecing shapes I've ever worked with. To make up an entire blanket of them, it requires many many tiny little squares. I've been cutting and trimming and stitching all week and I'm still not even half-way there. All I can say is, thank God for chain stitching! For those of you who think you would never have the patience to try a patchwork quilt, you need to be introduced to this time saving trick. I line up my tiny pieces in a neat assembly line in front of my machine. DSC09260 Pair by pair, I grab the next set in line and without snipping the sewing threads I sew them into one long banner. It saves all the stopping and starting and backstitching normally involved with sewing a row. And you end up with this cute chain of pairs. DSC09265 Once the assembly line is done, I snip the sets, open and press, and start the next assembly line. For a pattern like this where it is important that pairs are kept together, it has helped me to keep organized despite the short sessions I've been sneaking in during naps and breaks. DSC09256 For experienced quilters, this may be an obvious method but I remember it being like a huge lightbulb going on for me. I'm hoping you just might find it useful enough that you'll try a project that has intimidated you. Back to the ironing board for me, I have my zillionth little whirligig to press. It's a good thing I still think this pattern is so cute.


  1. This is completely new to me! Thanks for sharing. Now I have an urge to buy fabric and give it a whirl!

  2. See? I knew I couldn't be the only one that would think this was a huge revelation. :)


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