But here's the interesting twist--I've been doing a touch of English paper piecing. Why do I want to hand stitch, but not go the obviously more productive route of machine stitching? I hope this is the most serious problem I ever have to face in life.
I'm working on a pretty small piece but there are a fair bit of pieces to it. I bought a charm pack of 30's Playtime by Chloe's Closet for Moda to use with a pattern I bought. The wee little prints are great for a project like this, but it took some finagling to work with the small amount of fabrics I had.
I also bought pre-cut paper pieces and acrylic templates. I didn't have it in me to cut out all those paper pieces by hand, and I know in my haste to just cut the fabric and get on with it that I'd get less and less accurate as I went along. The templates made it easy to get the most out of my charms, and the cutting went along pretty quickly.
I cut and wrapped all my paper pieces before I stitched anything together. Instead of basting these together with thread I used a fabric glue stick. Oh my word, I'm converted. Soooo easy and fast. I may be speaking too soon as I haven't tried to remove any papers yet--it may turn out that clipping threads will be easier than unsticking papers, but we shall see.
Instead of using regular thread like I normally would, I'm using the above for this project (I found it on Amazon). It's so thin that it feels like I'm sewing with a strand of hair, but it is also super strong. If I have to give it a bit of a hearty tug it doesn't snap, and it's almost hesitant to knot itself up and tangle. I'm also using a long, very skinny needle, so it's making the piecing so smooth I feel like I'm air stitching. The best part is that you can hardly see the stitches.
In some spots the stitches are more visible, but still way less than they would be if I used regular thread. I now understand how people get excited about a certain kind of thread, because I tend to fall into the cranky old lady camp of "Thread's thread. We didn't have fancy thread when I was young and we did just fine" (I have no idea if anyone ever said that--it's something my brain cooked up to justify not buying more expensive thread). It's something you have to feel for yourself. It really is dreamy.
I now have two more hexagons stitched together--one in purple and one in red (both with blue centers). I had to do some careful figuring with my fabric cuts to make sure I'd be able to get enough consistency with the colors. I know you're wondering, so I'm just going to lay it out there right now that I greatly dislike sewing those little diamonds. I thought I wasn't fond of them on my last EPP project, but now I'm sure that I don't like them. I do love the hexies and stretched pentagons (called 'gems' in this shape) so I'm going to see if I can play around with those shapes some more.
It's strange--I used to loathe hand stitching. As the days pass I find myself looking forward to a bit of it. Sometimes we need to be forced to slow down just a bit, and this is a good way to do that.