A member of the Inklingo Yahoo group asked a good question about how to sew curves by hand.
4 PIECES, 4 SEAMS
There are four identical pieces in a Yin Yang block and the seams are curvy. They are fun to piece when you know how. It’s not hard to sew a very impressive, unusual block like Yin Yang.
I lay the pieces out in order, wrong side up (above) before I start, whether I am sewing by hand or by machine.
Curves are easier with Inklingo than with any other method because there are perfect matching marks printed all along the seam to help align the pieces correctly.
There are instructions in the Inklingo Yin Yang Shape Collection on page 8 which show how I clip the curves. I make one short clip between the matches. It is better to have several short clips than it is to have fewer deep ones. This is the same whether you are hand piecing or machine piecing.
Also, whether you are sewing by hand or by machine, start at the center of the block so you stitch the tightest part of the curve first. Sew with the clips on top, so you can see the clips and the fabric can curl.
I start at the crosshair with one stitch.
I only pin one match at a time. There is no need to pin the whole curve at once the way I do for machine piecing. I actually don’t use any pins—just two needles, one as a needle and the other to pin the next match. I move the “pin” along when I get to each match.
I like this method because I don’t have a whole row of pins to catch my thread and scratch my hand. This method also simplifies my sewing kit because I don’t carry pins.
Next, I go back down through the crosshair to make a backstitch and load the needle. (A hand pieced seam always begins and ends with a backstitch at the crosshair.)
I would normally load 3 to 5 stitches on a straight seam, but on a curve I only load two small ones on the tight part of the curve.
Make a backstich about every half inch or so by inserting the needle before the previous stitch.
As I go along the curve, the fabric curls down around my finger.
I don’t necessarily need to pin at every match.
Pam in Oklahoma says she uses a pressing roll to curl the pieces so the two curves match. (Thanks, Pam!)
I find this method for Yin Yang very relaxing and meditative because I have to slow down and load fewer stitches on the needle at a time. I think that is why so many of us find Yin Yang addictive.
Each of the four seams finishes quickly even though it seems slower compared to a straight seam.
One more piece to add. I “circle the intersection” when I start the last seam to get a nice, tight intersection.
(BTW, Jane Austen’s Writing Table Quilts includes a DVD lesson about hand piecing, and it’s on sale for only $14.95).
TIP Whether I am sewing by hand or by machine, I like to wear a tiny pincushion on one finger so I have a place to park the pin (needle), if I need to.
BY MACHINE – FREE PDF
I pin the whole curve before I start sewing a curve by machine (very different from hand piecing). Pin so you will see the clips as you are sewing, and let the top fabric curl up, as described in the free PDF about sewing curves under the Machine Piecing tab on the Inklingo web site.
Yin Yang (or Ying Yang) is an impressive block, especially because it is so difficult to sew without Inklingo’s stitching lines and matching marks printed on the fabric.
There are instructions for pressing Yin Yang in the shape collection.
You really need to try this block, don’t you think?
Don’t forget to do Tilde’s 15 Minute Challenge this weekend! If you complete the challenge and leave a comment here or on the Inklingo Sampler blog by Monday 30 May, you will be in the draw for one of two $25 Gift Certificates.
I hope this sets you up for a relaxing weekend of stitching and that you share photos of your Yin Yang blocks with the Inklingo Yahoo group too.
Enjoy the curves!
Linda & Monkey
New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Quick Start (Always FREE.) There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.