Saturday, October 6, 2012

Learning Paper Piecing...

Earlier this year I joined a QAL...Quilt ALong to make quilt blocks from a book titled "Farmers Wife".  Donna of Brynwood Needleworks graciously offered to hostess this project and offer any help possible. When I signed up I confessed that I have never quilted and didn't know how to quilt, however Donna was certain I would do just fine so she allowed me to join the group.  I soon found that I am not very good at tedious and precise little pieces of fabric and templates and stitching them together.  Further...some of the blocks have no acrylic templates that do make it easier than using little paper templates.  So Donna offered to create paper piecing templates for those blocks.  What?  I have never paper pieced either.  Here is block #1 Attic Windows.  I selected it due to its "simplicity".  I purchased the preferred Carol Doak Foundation paper.  I watched tutorial videos.  I was ready to tackle this.

 My very first two little seams with three little pieces of fabric failed.  This is like signing your name via a mirror.  I am horrible at puzzles and not an engineer in any way.  Going backwards forwards is just not me.
So I print out another sheet to begin again...

 This time I made more progress.  I am really glad I am using fabric scraps from my recent triangle thread catcher project instead of my good FW fabrics which are very limited in quantity.

  However when I examined on closer approval holding my work up to the kitchen under cabinet lighting I see I had failed early on piece 2 again...I missed covering the corner...again.  I also had a serious bulge in the beige piece.  Ack.......

 This time I precut my pieces even larger.  Now I set up my iron next to my sewing machine instead of going from room to room.  I print another foundation sheet.  This makes 3 if you are counting.  Luckily I bought a package of 100!  How did they know I would need so many?

 Mr. C has a saying about "needing every tool he owns to do a matter what the job is".  Now I can honestly relate.  I dug out my light box and set it up on the chair next to my sewing machine.  Much easier than running upstairs to the kitchen.  Now I can actually see before I stitch if my fabric is large enough or shaped to correct direction for the piece necessary.  I see lots of waste in this paper piecing method so far.

 Here is my finished block all pressed and stitched.  I am feeling a little more confident...I am ready for the reveal.

Here I am tearing off all of the paper.  It is working just right.  No residue or remains on my fabrics.
I am really liking the back of this block.

Here is my practice block all completed.  I truly like it.  Lets only took me two days and 4 sheets of foundation paper and copious amounts of fabric scraps and lots of cutting and stitching and ironing and patience to create this little 6" block.
Thank you Donna for your patience and help when I emailed you with my cries for help.  The time and effort you put forth in answering my emails and writing out instructions and being supportive were invaluable to me as is your friendship dear.
Now to get busy with my real FW QAL fabrics I am using in my wall hanging project.  I spent a couple of hours organizing my FW project as it had gotten quite out of control.  Email copies, templates, fabric scraps and such are now better organized for my access.  It is time for me to get serious once again about making  blocks for my wall hanging.  Thank goodness I am not making a California King quilt.
Our weather has seriously cooled off.  At night it is downright cold after all the wonderful warm summer weather we have experienced this year.  Sadly we have had 0, none, zero, zilch, nada rain at all.  We desperately need rain.  I have never seen so many brown dying or dead trees and bushes in this area.  I have no idea what winter will hold for us this year.  Only Mother Nature knows for sure.
Falling into Autumn Bliss and getting back to being creative.  May you each enjoy your bliss...


  1. After all the efforts you have taken you can be proud on yourself.
    You did it! You made your first block.
    I hope you find comfort when I tell you that I am also often mistaken when I have to sew fabrics that have to be flipped over. The other way round, too small etc.

  2. 2 days and 4 pieces of paper equal a great looking block...It just takes a little extra time the first time we learn something new. The block is great!

  3. You did do a nice job, Sherry! We've all started somewhere haven't we!! Nice work!!!

  4. I was wondering how your quilting blocks were coming along. Paper piecing is so precise but I have to admit to not liking it much! Bless you for sticking with it.

  5. You have ended up with a great looking block. Sometimes learning something new starts slowly and then before you know it you are a pro! Nice job.

  6. Oh Sherry, you must be feeling Very Proud of yourself for this effort!!WOW!!!
    I must admit to going a bit cold when I think of tiny fabric bits, and all that measuring.

  7. Good for you...You have totally surpassed anything I could possibly even think of doing. OMG the measuring...I'm to blonde!


  8. Oh Sherry, Your post are always so much fun to read. I laugh all the time. In a good way. Love the outcome of the block, the colors are so nice together.
    We have had rain this week and finally yesterday and today have been nice, but very hot, although you can tell the weather is changing even here in Florida. I can't wait for us to be able to have a couple of cool days. That will probably happen in February of next year. LOL. Happy crafting to you.

  9. Exquisite! That must take so much patience, you do beautiful work.


  10. you certainly persevered here Sherry,and your effort was rewarded. I know I struggle with accuracy when piecing so I am sticking to the crazy style for the time being.

  11. Oooo, I had never heard of this either! Now as a teacher, I am now remembering that these types of activities are SO VALUABLE not just for art purposes, but for helping teach GEOMETRY to young kids! What fun while you are learning the math terms !!!

    Hello there my dear! So glad to see you visited my blog. Yes, autumn is that quieting time to be embraced by your four walls and hunker down and create. I am experimenting with my artistry and I am learning a lot about what "success" means in the art world. I was never an artist and now I have a LOT to learn, not just about the skills, but about marketing, perseverance, ideas, so much.

    I wish you a BEAUTIFUL autumn day! Anita

  12. WOW! You are so good with sewing projects!

  13. Hi Sherry!! I am so sorry I've not visited in so long. I have enjoyed catching up with your blog, I missed a lot!!
    I have to say, you seemed like you enjoyed the expedition!! Your whole journey had me lost, but you kept at it, and accomplished a wonderful thing!!!
    Hope you are well my friend!

  14. Your perseverance and patience paid off as your paper piecing looks terrific! We had no moisture at all in September so it is very dry here as well. It began to snow yesterday though and is snowing again today. The moisture is most welcome. Hope you're getting some as well :)

  15. Well done on creating your 1st block. You will soon be wizzing them up with no problem. Saw your post below on your mouse collection. Do not have that many just one shelf full all sitting on a different piece of pie or cake.
    Hugs Mrs A.


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