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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Seamless Piecing - a Misnomer

I confess.

Seamless Piecing isn't really seamless.
I'm sorry if you are shocked.
I hope you still feel you can trust me.

I named the technique Seamless Piecing because the first project I did using this technique was a hexagon baby quilt with only 8 seams. Here's a photo of the 34"x40"quilt. I called it Hexi's Gone Wild.
Hexi's Gone Wild quilt - only 8 seams

To piece this darling little quilt the traditional way, requires cutting at least 300 tiny, oddly shaped triangles. Then those triangles have to be sewn, four to each of the 58 hexi's, plus additional for the negative space, with 300 crazy angles in order to create squares. Then, because few of those newly created squares actually are square, they will need to be trimmed. That's another 250 cuts. And about that negative space, good luck working out the math to make those floating blocks line up. After all that, you can start building your quilt top. Don't forget to line up all 300 of those seams, and if they shift ... Pick, Pick, Pick! Quilting? Not yet. Quilting is still somewhere in the future.

No thank you very much!

With the Seamless Piecing technique, this cute and easy hexagon quilt above, fully quilted, required only 67 pieces of fabric, 8 seams and some machine quilting.

Yes please!

(Numbers don't include the pieced back, which is it's own work of art.)

Here's how I describe the Seamless Piecing technique:

If English Paper Piecing and Machine Applique and Glue Basting and Strip Piecing and Foundation Paper Piecing had a child, and made Quilt-as-You-Go it's godmother, that child would be Seamless Piecing.

Say... what?

Seamless piecing is a little like English Paper piecing, except there is no paper. And it's something like Strip Piecing and Foundation Paper piecing because we'll use fabric strips as our foundation. Throw in some glue and simple machine applique to hold everything together. Then you can Quilt as You Go, or not, it's an option for some SP projects.

Still don't feel like you know what Seamless Piecing is? What it is, is easy and fun and seam ripper free. It's also a skill, better learned by doing. So let's start with a simple project.

Scare up some Halloween fabrics and make the "Witch's Pickets" table runner, easily finished in time for Halloween. If you didn't get the pattern in last week's post, you can find it under "Free Pattern of the Month".

Another great thing about Seamless Piecing:

Sometimes, I'm put off by quilts that are odd sizes. They are often called Throw size or Lap size. They are great and serve a wonderful purpose, and I've made a bunch of them. But really... how many quilts do you need to throw? There have been times when I've seen a quilt I'd love to make, but I'm disappointed when I look at the pattern and realize it's too small to fit a bed and too large (or too much work) to gift to a baby. If I love the block I can try to re-draft it to a size that can work into a bed quilt, but often that leaves me cutting those weird measurements that I prefer to avoid. I could round it off with borders but that often swallows up the pattern. Which leaves me admiring the quilt, but not making it myself.

The size of nearly everything I've made using the seamless piecing technique is limited only by how much effort I want to put in. The Hexagon quilt, for example, could be made into a king size quilt if you want. The Halloween runner could also. All you need to do is extend your foundation strips and do more of what you did to create the small project.

The reason I make things the size I make them is two fold:
1) I like projects under 40" so I don't have to piece the back.
2) I'm using small projects to help you learn the technique.

No one wants to start a giant quilt only to discover they don't care for the technique. On the other hand, if you make a few small projects and decide you love the technique, like I do, I hope you'll run with it and begin designing your own Seamless Piecing projects. THEN, it would be awesome if you share what you make and inspire the rest of us.

Whether it's presented here as a pillow or a large quilt, it's ok to make it your own! In the words of the wise quilter, Lori Holt, "You are the boss of your quilt." With Seamless Piecing, that's true-er and easier than ever.

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