Being the fussy sew-er that I am, I enjoy hand stitching when its results are superior to stitching by machine. For example, my machine-sewn quilt bindings are awful. So, I hand stitch them. Most Oliver + S patterns call for some hand stitching on the finishing and the results are perfection. I'm a stickler for good finishing, maybe because I learned to sew on Oliver + S patterns. I also like hand embroidery to add special detail (like here and here). The irregularities in the stitches add that charm Dan talks about, and I prefer this look to the perfect stitches of the machine.
This said, I was not at all happy with my hand stitching on my storm at sea blocks. When I saw the crisp, sharp, machine-pieced versions on the class Flickr group, I wished I knew how to machine paper piece. I mentioned that when I commented on this gorgeous block, and its designer suggested I check out YouTube. Brilliant, I tell you! I could not figure out machine paper piecing based on written tutorials. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video is worth 10,000. As it turns out machine paper piecing is easy. And it's a lot of fun. It reminds me of putting a puzzle together. (I like puzzles!). When you cut away the excess fabric and the block is revealed, it's a pleasant surprise every time. (I love surprises, too!).
I showed Dan the two blocks - one machine pieced and one hand pieced - and we compared them side by side. He agreed that the machine pieced one looked much nicer and more precise than my handstitched version.
Hand pieced block -
Machine pieced blocks -
I asked if I should re-do my hand-pieced blocks. He said yes. That's one of the reasons I love this guy. I can count on him to be truthful with me, even when it means I have to start over.
My quilt now looks like this.
I think I'm about half way done. Now I'm going to break for some garment sewing. I mean it this time!