The Modern Jane
May 31, 2010 § 17 Comments
My stack of Dear Jane blocks is growing slowly. She was calling to me this weekend and I finished 5 more blocks for a total of 15. That’s makes me only 5 blocks behind my self-imposed schedule. No matter. I’m not keeping track. This is a journey.
It’s hard to imagine how much sewing the women of by-gone eras had to do to become so proficient in their craft. I still feel rather clumsy while hand-piecing these blocks. Some of them look pretty good. And some of them are rather wobbly looking. It got me to thinking about all the modern tools we have to help us sew faster and with more precision. What would it have been like to sew with so much less than what we have today?
These are just some of the tools I’ve been using. Carolyn at work teaches machine applique and I use some of her techniques to prepare my pieces. The Dear Jane templates are on my computer. I print them onto C. Jenkins freezer paper that runs through the printer, cut them out and iron to the back of my fabric. If there is any applique, Mary Ellens’ Best Press starch (it smells like lavender) is “painted” along the seam allowance so that when it’s pressed under it crisp and smooth. And Roxanne’s Baste It glue holds the piece in place while I stitch it to to the block.
Then there’s long staple cotton thread, electric auto shut off irons, rotary cutters, acrylic rulers, scissors with serrated blades and sewing machines with computers. I can’t imagine what I would do with only a newsprint or cardboard template, needle & thread.
I’ve also been thinking about the thread I’ve been using, DMC 50 weight for the applique and Aurofil 50 weight for the piecing. Will it hold up without breaking when the whole quilt is finished? What do you use for hand piecing or hand applique? I’ve also been thinking that while I’ve set the goal to hand piece all of the blocks, I think I am going to machine sew all the blocks together with the sashing. The one aspect of hand piecing that is still throwing me is not stitching through the cross seams when multiple pieces are joined together. I’m dreading the thought of how much work that would be when it comes to joining the blocks and the sashing. Hopefully the quilt police won’t stop me for mixing hand piecing and machine piecing! Still, that’s a LONG way off to be worrying about it now.