Why I Love This Quilt featuring "Harmony" designed by Patty Dudek and Kristin Esser under Running Stitch Designs

Why I Love This Quilt featuring "Harmony" designed by Patty Dudek and Kristin Esser under Running Stitch Designs

 When Patty and Kristin first approached me about carrying their hand piecing quilt patterns I was interested but nervous. Nervous because I wasn’t sure if anyone who came to this site to make modern quilts from patterns meant for sewing machines would buy a pattern to hand piece a quilt!! And if no one bought their pattern, I would feel terrible!

a navy, aqua, lime, and white patchwork Harmony quilt hanging in the sky

But people bought the pattern! In part because Patty and Kristin designed them to be instructive for people who were just starting on hand piecing and because they paired them with a wonderful quilt-a-long that supported makers of any level to get started. 

Quilting is really a kind of tool intensive (and tool expensive) hobby–I type across the room from my expensive sewing machine and cutting table and fancy iron and big cutting mat and and AND! But it doesn’t have to be. Our foremakers out there made quilts with nothing more than scissors and needles and thread and we still can! 

a harmony quilt is hung over the edge of a fence

Of course we do not have to now, but we might be interested in slowing down and hand piecing can go with you away from your sewing machine and into the rest of your life to coffee shops and sporting events and a lovely day at the park or by the sea. I will let Patty talk about why you just might want to be hand piecer (at least sometimes).

But first an introduction: Patty Dudek has been a quilter for over 20 years and shares her quilting adventures on her Elm Street Quilts blog and @elmstreetquilts on IG. She is the current Treasurer and past President of her local MQG guild (the Triangle MQG). Patty lives in North Carolina with her husband and 2 of her 3 adult children. 

Since 2018, Patty has been publishing quilts in magazines including Make Modern, American Patchwork and Quilting, and QuiltCon magazine plus one of her quilts was featured as an MQG quilt of the month. Three of her patterns are available from Quilt Pattern Mart. The first is her quilt Boomerang, which hung at QuiltCon (QuiltCon Together in 2021 and QuiltCon Phoenix in 2022).  The other two patterns - Harmony and Book Club - were designed with Kristin Esser @kristinesser.

a white woman with graying hair and glasses is in a forest, she wears a navy blouse with a speckled white pattern and a charm necklace

Today, Patty will be sharing why she loves the Harmony quilt:

“Harmony was designed in support of the third Hand Piecing quilt-along (QAL) that I ran with my friend Kristin. While Kristin and I have never met in real life, we share a love of hand piecing and really enjoy the process of co-hosting a QAL designed to encourage others to give hand piecing a try. (And just because the pattern is written for hand piecing, there is no reason you can’t sew it by machine!)

Why do I love this quilt?

a harmony quilt block in gray, white, burgandy, and yellow

First, the Harmony block is a large one - 28” x 28” - and when joined with other Harmony blocks, unlocks a secondary pattern! Make a single Harmony block to make a wall hanging or join 4 blocks together for a lovely throw size quilt.  

Second, each Harmony block consists of a set of simple units that help build hand piecing skills. There are plenty of hints and tips available for each unit, the overall block and quilt construction along with the basics of hand piecing on our blogs - find all the links on my Elm Street Quilts blog

flying geese blocks, snips, seam roller, spool of thread, and thread on a needle next to a wicker basket with more flying geese

Third, hand piecing is a wonderful way to spend your time.  With a needle, thread, a pair of snips, you can sew anywhere - sitting on the porch, chatting with friends in a coffee shop, or just curled up on the couch. I find the chance to create with my hands to be both relaxing and a way to destress from the world. There is a bit of prep involved before you can sew - seams need marking and some units need templates - but you can conquer lots of shapes by hand that would be difficult by machine. (Y seams - watch out!)

Interested in trying hand piecing but have no idea where to start? We’ve got lots of tutorials and videos to teach you all the skills you need. Love a good sampler? Check out our Book Club pattern. It contains some of the same units as the Harmony quilt but also brings in curves which are so much fun to hand piece. (That said, during the design process for Harmony, we agreed to avoid curves since not everyone shares my own personal enthusiasm for them!)

Have I convinced you to give hand piecing a try?”


Well, has she?

I really love that the Harmony quilt can be pieced together very easily on your sewing machine, so just in case you try hand piecing and it ends up not being for you, this project won’t be doomed to your UFO shelf forever. You can take it right back to your machine and zip it together that way!


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