One of the things that originally made me wonder if I would want to hand piece quilt blocks is the fact that it adds an extra step to the preparation before you can actually start sewing. You have to mark a quarter inch line on each piece in order to know where to sew. This just sounded to me like more picky stuff that I didn’t want to do. However, if you are only doing the marking a block at a time, it is not too bad.
I saw a Quilt Show episode with Jinny Beyer (my hero) wherein she described the time saving tip of only marking one of the two pieces you are going to sew. Her reasoning was that a lot of people mark both pieces and then spend time they are sewing trying to line up the two drawn lines so they match, adding quite a bit of time to the actual sewing time. (She also said she never marks because she has done so much hand piecing that she know what a quarter inch looks like. I’m not the least bit surprised by this – but I am jealous.)
I, however, just mark around the outside of all the pieces (except the really dark ones in this case). I do this for two reasons. One is that I can get all the marking out of the way at once and then enjoy the sewing. The other reason is that I have found that later when I am joining the blocks, I have found it more difficult to mark the outside edges of the already pieced block in a way that is not affected by seam bumps. To avoid the added time that Jinny Beyer mentioned, I only look at the marks on one side and don’t worry about the other one.
All of this to say that the first thing I did in working on this was to mark the pieces as you can see below if you look very carefully. I just used a mechanical pencil to do this.