Monday, May 25, 2020

Hand Pieced QAL - Elizabeth

Having fun hand piecing?  It's time to get started on our block #9 - Elizabeth.  (And it is hard to believe  this is the last block!)

Elizabeth has more pieces than our last two blocks but the curves are easier to piece than our last block.  Take your time and enjoy the stitching!

Let's see how you like Elizabeth compared to her friends -
Evelyn, JanePenelopeLouisaCathy,  Jo,  Emma, and Claire,  Curved piecing (IMHO) is much easier to do by hand than it is by machine.  (See the tips for hand piecing curves.)

Still need the pattern for Book Club for the Hand Pieced QAL - grab yours now!  Book Club is a 9 block sampler and two block setting to make either a wall hanging or a throw sized quilt.  Did you miss the QAL announcement?  You can find more information here!  If you have any trouble ordering the pattern, please don't hesitate to email us at - we'll be happy to help!

Tips & Tricks

There are six shapes needed to make our Elizabeth block, all of which need to be cut with templates.  Make sure you mark all your stitching lines on the wrong side of the units.  The Perfect Piecer makes it easy to mark sewing lines even on curves.   Please consult the tutorials for Using Templates and for Marking Stitching Lines if you need some tips.

Once the pieces are cut and prepped, keeping a visual layout in front of you will be key to success.  The fan wedges (shown in orange, blue and gray fabrics below) come from 3 different templates.   It is easy to get them confused so consider sewing those first! (I am using my wonderful wool pressing mat to keep everything organized.)

One technique when handpiecing small or complex curves is to cut a 1/4'' larger on all the straight edges in the template.  Mark your seam lines where they are supposed to be and sew on those original seam lines.  (See more tips on hand piecing curves.)

Sew the wedges together first.

Sew the quarter circle to the arch shape.  Always sew with the concave curve facing up.

Fold the quarter circle unit in half to mark the center and then aligned it with the seam between the two center wedges.  (If you look carefully, you can see the fold in the photo below.)

Note that the gold quarter circle is overcut on the straight edge - the white arch piece is not but only because I forgot to do so when cutting. The excess will get trimmed away at a later step but it gave me some piece of mind when dealing with small curves.

When you are sewing the fan wedges to the arch, pass your needle through those seam intersections!

Repeat the fold and crease of the outside concave piece and align with seam lines between the two center edges.   This curved seam is a little trickier to sew because you need to keep the concave piece on top while also making sure you sew through seam allowances (and not over them) at the bottom.  To make it work, I flipped the piece over each time I need to sew through a seam allowance.

The concave outer edge was also cut larger on each of the straight edges.  Once the block is pressed, align the 45 degree marking on your ruler and trim the block to 9 1/2 '' x 9 1/2 ''

The link-up for Elizabeth (or any blocks you make this week) will open on Thursday, May 28.  You can also add your blocks to the currently open week 8 link-up which closes Thursday right as the week 9 link-up opens.  If you share on IG, please tag your photo with #bookclubqal and #handpiecedqal.

Make sure you go visit Kristen and see her Elizabeth block!

The Book behind the Block

We are first introduced to Elizabeth as she arrives in a small wilderness town in NY to become a school teacher.  The year is 1792.  Elizabeth soon meets and falls in love with Nathaniel, a white man who grew up as part of the Mohican nation.  Their story (and that of their children) unfolds in the six book Wilderness Series by Sara Donati.  Into the Wilderness is the first book.

I enjoy this series of books for several reasons.  First, I love generational stories - they are my favorite!  Second, I also love stories where familiar characters from other novels are woven into the narrative.  Claire (our previous block) from Outlander shows up a few times.  Nathaniel himself is the son of Hawkeye and Cora, first introducted in the novel Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper and then dramatized in the movie (made in 1992).

We chose to name this block Elizabeth to represent how the story begins with Elizabeth and then flows out through time as her family grows.  (In fact, the author has started a new series - the first book is the Gilded Hour - which picks up in 1883 and feature grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Elizabeth!)

Stay in touch and join our community so you don't miss a thing! 

Have a wonderful day! Patty


  1. I enjoyed making Elizabeth, and thought she went together quite smoothly! You are so right that curves are easier with hand-piecing. I'm not familiar with those books, so I'm going to have look for them at my library! Thank you, Patty and Kristin, for this fun QAL!

  2. What an enjoyable post to read with my morning coffee. Loved the tips (and the inspiration, as I’ve set aside my own hand piecing project for no reason at all). I love generational stories, too, and am going to check this one out right now! Stay safe!

  3. Amazing! I want to try this! But now was not the time.....later maybe!


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