If, someday in the future (either near or distant) you ever get the (harebrained) idea that you would like to paper piece a quilt (in other words, sew that puppy entirely by hand), please pause for just a moment. Then you can start to tear the apartment apart for several days looking for the letter you vaguely recall writing yourself way back in 2007.
And when you finally remember that this letter does not, in fact, exist in hard copy but can easily be found on the blog, you can stop the fruitless search and pause again long enough to re-read it carefully.
You'll find yourself right here. So, welcome!
Let's think about paper piecing. Consider, first of all, this doll quilt, which you finished just the other day. It was completely handsewn using a method called Quilt Patis, which is a clever way to create the Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern and is apparently faster than the usual paper piecing method. It is also a relatively entertaining way (at first) to sew all those little slips of fabric to the 1 1/2" hexagons (I created my own Patis using template plastic and leftover yogurt lids--hurrah for recycling!). Wasn't it enjoyable? You could just stitch away mindlessly while participating in coversations, watching television (remember that old invention?), or just killing time. Mindless. Stitching. Over and over again. After a while it became a bit tedious, didn't it?
Ok, so you mostly enjoyed your first foray into the world of hand piecing. Now let's think about the finished product. It's small. Really small. Just 8 1/2" x 11 1/2" small. And although it's size is diminutive, the work involved in producing said itsy-bitsy quilt, was much greater than it may appear. In fact, let's think back and remember that it took approximately nine days of obsessive cutting and stitching to complete the little piece. Very obsessive. As in, waiting for the kiddo to finish her breakfast, riding in your sister's car, waiting for the kiddo to finish her bath, hanging out in the evenings, waiting for the kiddo to let you change her diaper, dragging the project everywhere you went kind of obsessive. You get the picture. Little Patis at your elbow at every turn for nine straight days. Stitching every unclaimed moment, no matter how brief. Plus hours spent in the evenings, cutting and stitching.
Now, granted, a portion of that nine days was spent cutting out the templates. And then cutting more templates when the first batch(es) were all in use. And another portion of the time was spent patiently snipping and tucking the backing in order to achieve the sharp(ish) points at the ends without using a binding. And of course there was the hand quilting. But, hey, let's face it: most of the time was simply spent piecing and hand sewing.
So let's review. Finished size: less than a foot long and just over a half foot wide. Not nearly large enough for a table placemat. Not big enough to cover most of Tsia's dolls in their bed. (And dolls will not be touching this quilt, let's make that clear from the start. This one is for the wall only.) If we were to apply the work-versus-finished-size ratio to, say, a queen-sized quilt (just for the sake of discussion), how much time do we think it might take to finish that quilt? How many years of obsessive, unceasing hand stitching?
On the other hand, perhaps we shouldn't consider that possibility. The conclusions are overwhelming, bleak, and thoroughly depressing.
Stick with the machine, kid. And don't say I didn't warn you.
Now let's go find some chocolate instead.