When we saw a workshop by sewing quarters Emma Bradford on American piecing I was quite intrigued, I had never heard of this method before and I love to discover new techniques. The workshop we attended was at Emma shop swift quilting company near Tallington lakes in South Lincolnshire.

We were told to bring an open mind, some cardboard, a few fat quarters, sand paper, thread and a hand sewing kit. This seemed very open to me, but I packed all the equipment and materials required.

On our arrival we were greeted like old friends, as Emma always makes us feel very welcome at her shop. Emma sat with us and explained the method of this technique as well as the reasons she enjoys this piecing method. I was very unsure of this method as I had been taught to piece patchwork on a sewing machine.

We were shown lots of blocks Emma had already made up to chose to make ourselves. There’s a huge variety of blocks that can be made with just triangles, squares and rectangles. Once I had decided upon the block of a pinwheel, which is my favourite block Emma took the time to show how to use the shapes to achieve the finished block.

I struggle with colour, if left to my own devices most things I make would be either blue or grey but I took a fat quarter bundle from my stash made up of teal and purple fat quarters. Emma took the time to assure me these colours would work together. The method was explained and we were shown which templates to use and how to mark and cut out the shapes. Emma took the time to show use how to sew these pieces together, the block soon began to come together and Emma was right about the colours beginning to pop.

Hand piecing has never been anything that I have enthusiastically wanted to do, but this method is quite addictive, I’ve made a few blocks now using these great shapes. I can see why Emma keeps some piecing with her to do whilst she’s travelling for work. I’ve had the pieces laid out and I can take a few minutes to pin a few pieces together ready to sew or sit down for a few minutes to sew a couple of pieces. I have to admit I have fallen in love with this method and I am making more blocks from the fat quarter bundle with a few of Emma’s designs, although I did become rather brave and made up the star block myself. I have a set of the shapes recommended by Emma to make the blocks, I am also putting together a bag so I can take this project out and about with me to sew when I get a moment.

Emma is doing the american piecing as a workshop at Festival of Quilts 2020 on Sunday 2nd of August at 9.30am, after a hectic few days of the festival of quilts this would be the perfect way to wind down. There’s another workshop she is teaching on the Saturday which I’m intrigued by,  Tessellated Blocks it’s an all day workshop to produce an amazing piece of work. Please check out Emma Bradford’s website to see where else Emma is teaching or visiting, she could pop up anywhere.   www.swiftquilting.com

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