>I had to laugh this afternoon…as I was chain piecing some sections together I was also thinking about how to explain the process, and promptly made a mistake 3 times in the same strip. Ah well, these things happen. So here’s what should happen with chain piecing.
Chain piecing seems to be all about preparation, preparation, preparation. Get that right and all should go well…So how to do the preparation. First of all, carefully cut all the shapes evenly to size. While that works in theory, I discovered that the charm squares that I’d bought weren’t square at all, so when I matched the edge of the rectangles with the edge of one charm square consistently to align each square-rectangle set.
This means I have one neat side and one ugly side which I’ll then trim later. As my squares are 5” I found that a dinner plate was a good size for holding the squares, and placing them alternately on the plate made them easier to pick up (ie one as a square, one as a diamond, as shown in the photo).
I put the plate of pieces somewhere handy. For me, that’s on the left side of me with the side of the fabric to be sewn closest to the sewing machine . Then to start sewing, just pick up the first set, align it with the edge of a ¼” seam foot on your sewing machine and start sewing. Sewing at a moderate pace, allows you to control the set you are sewing, sew about ¾ along the seam, then pick up the next set and position it while you finish the seam on the first one. Don’t stop sewing at the end of the first set, just keep going, do a few stitches, then feed in the next set. What you’ll end up with is a string of sets joined together that looks like washing on a wash
ing line as shown in the photo. Once you’ve finished the seam on all your sets, just snip the stitches in between each set and..Bob’s your uncle, you’ve got 126 sets all ready to be ironed.
You’ll find you’ll get into a rhythm of sewing and adding a set and finding the next one etc. I was so into the rhythm I ended up with a piecing song, – opposite pieces, straight sides together, sew the seam, next set. It’s a bit like the shopping list in ‘Teddy Bears Go Shopping’ – if you recite it to yourself as you go it makes sure your pieces are correctly matched and the sequence is comfortable and efficient.
For Life’s Rich Tapestry, I’ve done two lots of chain piecing – joining the square-rectangle units, then joining 2 sets of these into unit. As I have sets of six squares/triangles in the strips in my quilt, the strips were pieced the usual way rather than chain piecing so I could complete one strip at a time and avoid ending up with pieces upside down.
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