English Piecing – Circa 1845

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IMG_1804A quilt exhibition came to Charlotte, where I live, in 2003.  My quilt guild was allowed to take a behind the scenes look at the quilts, oh happy day!

That’s where I truly fell in live with English Piecing.  This quilt appeared before me, all laid out and ready to view.  And another connection to me, it was not finished, just a quilt top, I could so relate.  The docent turned over the quilt and there appeared bits of papers and letters used to make the hexagons.  The writing was still readable on most of the bits of letters and the quilt was dated to 1845, quilter unknown.IMG_1802

It was a sweet design using only 1/2″ hexagons placed in a design I hadn’t seen before.  I had to make this quilt.


 So I started making my 1/2″ hexagons and building my design groups.  I broke them up into large groups, muslin groups, and muslin onesies, made sense to me.  I had to start joining all my groups together and finally my little quilt was
finished.IMG_1404

Now how to quilt it and finish it.  The thing about 60° shapes is that they will
never create a straight edge.  You can get a zig-ag straight edge but not completely straight.  I looked at a lot of vintage designs and the a lot of them were simply cut off.  I did that on the very first English Pieced quilt I made and it almost broke my heart to whack off those hexagons, I didn’t want to do it again!

So after a lot of thought I decided I would use the left over hexagons and make a type of binding on the back.  I really like how it turned out.IMG_1849

As for the quilting, because the hexagons were so small, there was a lot of bulk in the quilt top already.  I decided to quilt it through the top and the batting first, then added the backing and quilted it in other areas, not as much as the first quilting.IMG_1852IMG_1844_2

I love English Piecing and have so many designs that I am planning all the time.  I hope you give it a try and I’d love to hear about your projects and what inspires  you.

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