For the last few years I have taken part in many, many online quilt-alongs and block-of-the-month programmes. I've even got as far as finishing some of them... I can honestly say that I have never regretted the decision to join in. I've done blocks of the day, blocks of the week and blocks of the month and I've loved it. The one thing that most of them have had in common, is machine piecing, be it rotary cutting or foundation piecing. Only the Splendid Sampler, which is mostly machine pieced, and the New Hexagon Millefiore quilt which is English Paper Piecing and the Collection quilt, which will be applique if I ever get going with it, have stood out. And whilst I love machine piecing blocks, and will still always be tempted by these projects, I decided that 2017 was the year to step out of my comfort zone. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing with you some of the new projects I've started this year. I wanted to wait until I had completed at least some of the project before introducing them here, so at least the posts will have pictures! The first of these projects is Delilah.
Delilah is a template of the month programme designed by Jen Kingwell. Having fallen back in love with my My Small World quilt, I spent a few weeks agonising over this one, before inevitably joining up. This project is still a block of the month (or two blocks a month...), but there are two things that set this apart from other quilts I've made. The first is the "template" part. I'm not wild on templates! But I've never worked with nice fancy (orange) acrylic ones before. And templates are important for this quilt because of the second reason it stands out: I'm going to hand piece this quilt. Not over papers, just regular hand piecing.
I've done hand piecing once before. The first quilt I ever started was a hand-pieced one. I made two blocks. The quality of my seams was appalling - they looked like they would fall apart as you looked at them. But that was seven years ago, and I would like to think that my skills have come along since then. You wouldn't have thought so that first night on the sofa. I nearly gave in. My seams were still dodgy. But the lovely ladies on Instagram came to the rescue: they gave me lots of tips, and Helen sent an example of her hand-piecing to me in the post! She has ridiculously neat and tiny hand-piecing...
It's taken me 10 days of little bursts of sofa sewing to finish this 12" block. By the time I sewed the final seam at the weekend I was happier that it was looking a lot more like Helen's seams, and would probably not fall apart instantly. I will also add, that when learning a new technique, curves probably isn't the best place to start! I still have to make another of these blocks for this month's homework but I was so flipping chuffed with this first blocks, I just couldn't wait to share!