Just a quick post to answer some frequently asked questions about this project with the squares. Scroll back to see current status and the intro with more photos.

Shall we begin?

more hand stuff

What are the vital stats? I’m using 1.5″ (unfinished) squares of cotton solids, semi-solids, and read-as-solids from my stash. There are few tools required: quilting betweens needles size 10, thimble, small utility scissors, rotary cutter, small ruler, #2.5 lead pencil, chalk pencil, natural off-white cotton thread. Oh, and cheapo cheater reading glasses for sewing late at night with eye fatigue.

more hand stuff

How are you sewing? Well, I am hand sewing this thing in rounds of inset seams. There’s nothing magical to it.

Bohin chalk pencil

What are those lines? I’m not confident in the precision of my hand sewn quarter-inch seams yet, so I mark the allowances in pencil or chalk (depending on the color of the fabric). Start and end stitching at the intersections of the lines, with back stitches to secure. Oh, and I aim for 10-14 stitches per inch.

Hand stuff.

How do you make the back look like that? In hand sewing, you don’t sew through the seam allowances, so you can better flatten the patchwork. At each intersection, finger press seams to one side clockwise (or counter-clockwise), alternating at adjacent intersection points. When you do this, the center seams naturally open out flat, reducing bulk. (See photos.) This is vague. I know. It’s the kind of thing you have to do to get. To feel secure and a sense of temporary finality, I give it a shot of steam from the back every few rounds, pressing and not stretching.

Here’s a video (also embedded below). It only illustrates the calm of the process. It’s more of an art film than a educational one. Sorry.

Why are you sewing it that way? Isn’t it faster to strip piece it with a machine? Haven’t you seen the Scrappy TAW pattern? Hmm…well, I just want to sew by hand. It might be faster to strip piece with a machine, but it isn’t as pleasant and peaceful and fulfilling for me. Doing one round at a time also allows one easily to change color/fabric choices on the fly; it’s a design method that develops over time. In addition, it’s a true exercise in color theory to observe the change in character and tone of the colors as new rounds are added. Finally, I just prefer the traditional look of this method to the popular pattern one sees around. You have incredibly more freedom this way, in my opinion.

. . . . Speed is not my goal. . . . .

That’s a lotta work! That’s not really a question, right?

snow day.

So how big will it be? Right now it will finish out (after building partial-round triangles of pieces to square the corners) to about 40″ square. It seems 80-100″ is a good goal to make the small scale of the pieces worthwhile. [Is that weird? It seems going big is the way to work with small pieces.]

Is this the only thing you’re working on right now? No way. I’m a monogam-ish sort of person. Process is indeed everything to me, but I do get bored easily. So…on the sly, I’ve started another hand sewn project with tiny pieces of irridescent shot cotton on the side. Those fabrics are slinky and shimmery and kind of make me weep with delight. It’s a good motivational treat to allow myself a moment to work on that when I finish each round of this one.

Any other questions?