Saturday, August 10, 2013

Quilting Without Math

I love Alexander Henry fabrics...and this line from 2009 called "Ghastlies" is no exception!
My local guild's September workshop is all about paper piecing and I volunteered to assist with teaching, so I thought I'd make a class sample.  Boy, this was WAY MORE FUN than I thought it'd be.  Fussy cutting faces, witches and brooms for the #6 and #7 pieces really made these blocks successful and FUN!

Carol Doak's DVD was on sale at JoAnn Fabrics, so I bought and watched it before attempting the blocks. 
There are also free Youtube Videos highlighting paper piecing techniques. Watching Carol Doak's DVD proved a wise decision, as this was my second attempt ever at paper piecing.  
PAPER PIECING=NO MATH - that gets high marks in my book :-)  
(Sorry all you mathematicians out there-wish I were geared that way!)

After visiting, you will see a tab called FREE PATTERNS above on the right.  If you click on FREE PATTERNS, then scroll down the page, you'll come upon a printable PDF file entitled INTRODUCTION TO PAPER PIECING.

To create the blocks, you will want to print out the block four times (see picture here below).  Cut the paper blocks out leaving a 1/4" seam allowance around each side of the square.  It is OK to use your rotary cutters.  Copier or foundation paper will not dull them.

Items to make Paper Piecing as fun and easy as possible

Please make sure you check that your computer printer is set so that the pieces print out correctly.  You can either use regular printer paper or Carol Doak's special paper piecing paper available on her 

You will want to have the following supplies on hand:

foundation papers with blocks printed upon them 
(these will be supplied to local guild members attending the Sept. 7, 2013 class!)
flat head pins
Add-A-Quarter ruler (or 6-6 1/2" Omnigrid-type ruler)
rotary cutter (smaller is best)
small cutting mat and ironing mat
wooden press iron or small Clover iron
90/14 Sharp or Universal needles
stitch length set to 1.5

The Foundation Piecing Rule:
1.   Trim
2.  Stitch
3.  Press

If you think of the abbreviation for teaspoon, it can help you to keep your steps in order while working!

Hey, that was easy...

Step 1.  Decide which color fabrics you want in which places OR get scrappy and don't worry!
You can measure each line and then add 1" to each side
and cut each piece carefully....OR...
you can grab a bag of scraps that includes a mix of strips and squares.

(Just be ready to select a larger piece in case it doesn't reach 1/2" to either side of the line.)

FUN:  You do not have to pre-cut unless you want to!!

In the photo above, you will see my chosen colors.  I marked them on the face up side of my printed foundation paper, which was trimmed to 1/4" all the way around.
The photo below shows how to see the shadow of the fabric behind the paper so that you can double-check to see that you do have about 1/4" inch in place for sewing your first line.  Line ONE is a bit unusual, because you will sew piece ONE and piece TWO together at the same time.  Beginning with Piece Three, you'll only add one piece at a time.

Besides Carol Doak's DVD on Paper Piecing, YouTube videos can be very helpful (and free!) 
to watch to see this technique in action.

Another option is to join your local quilt guild and request a Paper Piecing class.  If you are in the North Dakota area and would like to join us on Sept. 7, 2013, please check out the GUILD WEBSITE.

I suggest watching some tutorials or DVDs before beginning your first Paper Piecing experience.

Above, you see pieces one and two sewn together with PIECE ONE right side of the material RIGHT SIDE DOWN.  All other pieces will be right side up.

The back of the block will be the right side of your block.
The lines that you can see are the back side of the block.
This is why having a lamp to hold your work up to is really a necessity.

Which piece to connect next?  Follow the numbers pre-printed on each printed foundation block paper. 
If you can count to ten, then you can do this!

You always sew on the line that CONNECTS the piece you are sewing on.  
The one exception:  Sew Piece One and Piece Two on the same line to start.  Piece One faces DOWN and Piece TWO faces towards you, so they are right sides together, as usual.

This photo shows Piece One and Piece Two sewn onto the line connecting them to the foundation paper.

Now to add Piece THREE:  hold the postcard edge along the line you need to sew on for the next piece.  Bend the paper back and fold.    

Paper Piecing RULE:
1.  To sew on Piece Three, place the cardboard along the line that will add Piece Three to your block, then Trim pieces to 1/4" seam allowance using the Add-A-Quarter Ruler.
This will be a guide for you to add your fabric.

Using the Add-A-Quarter ruler to trim off an exact 1/4".

With fabric right side up, place Piece Three fabric onto the 1/4" seam allowance you just cut and then check to see that the shadow shows that your piece of fabric will cover about 
1/2" or more of each side of the line. 

Just like the rule for haircuts,
 If you have not pre-cut your fabrics, it's better to err on the side of too large than too small.

2.  Sew
Now that Piece Three is in place, you can place a flat head pin into the paper foundation and the fabric (avoiding the sewing line), if you like to pin, but FUN:  Pinning is not necessary!
Sew on the line that adds Piece Three to the unit, as below.

Please note the numbers marked onto each section.  Also, the fabric square chosen is quite a bit larger than necessary (only because I didn't pre-cut accurately, so I just chose to err on the side of 'too large'.)

Now what to do?  Remember the Paper Piecing RULE:
Oh, yes....TRIM!!

Then continue to Sew, Press and Trim until all your fabric pieces have been added, line by line, 
counting up to 7 in this case.

Below I have placed all but the final piece #7 onto my foundation paper.
To achieve this look, I fussy cut pieces 6 and 7 from the Alexander Glass "Ghastlies" collection.

Adding Piece Seven (the final piece of this particular block) is shown below:

...and ta-dah!  Here are the FUN results!!

A photo below of four of these foundation-pieced blocks arranged together:

And after adding borders from my stash on hand:

I will be adding a CORNER SPIDER WEB with my embroidery machine before quilting and binding to finish this cutie!

I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial and will not be 'afraid' to try Paper Piecing.


This technique can definitely be rewarding.

P.S.  Do you see my "Amish mistake" in the upper left hand block?
This is only the second time I've ever attempted Paper Piecing, but I'm very happy with my results.

No perfection is ever achieved unless you first try and try again :-)

 Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was "sub-normal," and one of his teachers described him as "mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams." He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math...LOL!
 Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 students in chemistry. In 1872, Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, wrote that "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
 Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.
 R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on.

Wishing you lots of FUN on your journey to success,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

State Fair Quilts!

Ah, the State Fair...does that bring back memories?  Corn dogs, freshly squeezed lemonade, livestock shows, carnival about exhibits?  How about QUILT exhibits?!?  As a young lady, I didn't think much about the quilt exhibits, but I sure do NOW - better late than never, right?!?  Sew, without further ado, here are some of the gorgeous North Dakota State Fair Quilts from July 2013...enjoy!

Which one of these beauties would win the State Champion Ribbon if you were judging????  Please vote in the comments below...

A.  blue & yellow

B.  geometric labyrinth

C.  saw tooth

D. hexagons

E.  sunshine and darkness

F.  Dresden plate applique

G.  blue, green & black Mariner's Compass twist

H.  zig zag and pin wheel

I.  Sunbonnet Sue

J.  Stars galore!

K.  Roosters in the Cabin!

L.  Vase of Flowers with braided border

M.  Giant Nine Patch Flowers

N.  Violet and green study

O.  Snowballs in Summer

P.  Sawtooth border quilt with delicately embroidered blocks

Q.  No 12th block with tan background

R.  Play for Me

S.  Mariner's Compass

Please Vote Below in the Comments!
Thank you :-)



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