Who doesn’t need ways to de-stress? One great way to de-stress is to go back to our quilting roots and do some hand piecing.
Pat Yamin, owner of Come Quilt Me and a well-known quilter from New York, led a hand piecing class, Time on my Hands, at Road 2019. Hand piecing is a “lost art” says Pat because “it takes time.” With a background in psychology, Pat easily sees the connection between mental well-being and hand piecing. “It is tactile and healing. Small pieces of fabric are manipulated using your hands—something you can’t get from sewing on a machine.” Another benefit is there is no rush to get it done. “You can take it with you traveling, to doctors’ appointments, or any place you know you will have some down time. Hand piecing is very portable and gives you the feeling of immediate success.”
Time on my Hands was an all-day class. Students received a hand piecing quilt kit to work on and everyone was encouraged to just “take your time” and de-stress. Because there was no sewing machine noise, students were also engaged in great conversations and sharing.
Rebecca took the class to relax. “It’s a great way to de-stress.” While she has been quilting for 10 years, Rebecca was brand new to hand piecing and liked how it was so “incredibly easy.” She also liked how hand piecing provides a” connection to our past because it is what our ancestors did.”
Gwen shared that because hand piecing is “so relaxing it is also a great way to be creative. You can really get in the Zen Zone.”
Anita is brand new to quilting; she has made one quilt. She took the class because of hand piecing’s history. “I love 1930’s fabric. It reminds me of my grandmother’s home.”
For inspiration, Pat shared a quilt that she had found at an auction.
The quilt was made from feed sack prints from the 1930’s and 40’s and needed some hand piecing repair work. She also added the sashes to give it a different look. She liked how it turned out so much that she enlisted John Flynn to make kits for her out of 1930’s reproduction fabrics and that is what she uses in her hand piecing classes. “It saves time so the students don’t have to cut out the individual pieces and they have more time to do the hand piecing.
A few of the students took the class not only to de-stress but because they were familiar with Pat and wanted to learn more from her.
Cindy has been quilting for 30 years and was familiar with piecing. She came to the class because of Pat and the camaraderie of the students. “Pat is fabulous. She is calm and knows her subject matter.”
Joe has been quilting for over 20 years. When he first started quilting, all he did was handwork. While he has known Pat for over 20 years (they met when he was working part time in a quilt shop) he still wanted to take this class because “I learn something new every time I take a class from Pat.”
Piecing and quilting on a sewing machine are rewarding. But if you are looking for a project without a deadline, can be taken anywhere, and encourages comradery as you aim to de-stress, nothing can compare to hand piecing.