Friday, April 22, 2016

You Never Know Until You Try - This Month's PP Escapades

I joined a Birthday Club yet again this year. You pick a block you'd like to receive from the members for your birthday.  And the other members pick a block they would like to receive for their birthday.  This was the Feb. birthday girl's block in her choice of colors and fabrics (batik for pink, blue and lime green if you have it).  Feb. birthday girl joined late so I just made her block and sent it off this month. 

I've tried paper piecing in the past. And I've always decided I don't really like it. Other people can sure make some beautiful and precise blocks with paper piecing but not me. 

First of all, I hate cutting odd sized pieces of fabric - sometimes itty-bitty pieces of fabric. I often cut them going the wrong way or the wrong side up. 

Second of all, I often sew the pieces pointing the wrong direction.  And then I have to rip it and then the paper rips and cuss words spew forth from my mouth.  I was never good at those tests where you saw a flat box with flaps and had to decide how it would look put together.  I'm not even sure what those tests were testing. (Nobody else ever knows what I'm talking about when I talk about this test so maybe I took it one night long ago in a nightmare. I swear it was some test on the ACT. )

Thirdly, I like to chain piece. I don't see an easy way to chain piece most paper pieced blocks (I've found a few exceptions).  

Finally, I hate removing papers. Not only do I hate removing them but I sometimes stretch the block out of shape when I do remove them. Kind of defeats the purpose of paper piecing if you ask me. 

This is the block of the month at Block Lotto.  I made one block for the drawing. I had to give it a try.  I'm never one to decline a challenge or to say "I can't" before I give something a try and really know I can't. Plus, since I'm quilting along and making the Old MacDonald Sampler I needed to make 5 for my sampler.  These are the four with sky background. Later I'll make one with mountain background.

I like the block. I didn't enjoy making them.  I haven't taken the paper off yet. I'm afraid I'll stretch them right out of shape.   I considered making a different butterfly block for my sampler that was not paper pieced but then see the part above about "I can't".   Look! I can! (I can stand on my head too but I don't enjoy walking around like that). 

And finally, I paper pieced some cat parts for a Cat Lady quilt. 

My nephew and wife, both cat lovers, are expecting a baby in October so I thought the Cat Lady quilt would be a nice gift for baby.  I started making it and then realized the size is rather large for a baby quilt (60 x 60).   I'll still make it but probably not as THE baby quilt. 

And this is the type of paper piecing I really don't mind.  I made my Pickle Dish quilt using this type of paper piecing.  You can cut lots of fabric pieces all the same size and you can actually chain piece them.  You still have to remove the papers but the pieces aren't itty-bitty (don't need to get out the tweezers) and you can get a bunch of them made in no time. 

Ok. So I've tried. I do know I don't really like paper piecing. But I don't think I'm ready to say "never again". I still have dreams of a New York Beauty. 


gayle said...

Your blocks look great from here!
And I remember that test! (That was the part I scored the highest on. Maybe I should give paper piecing another shot?)
I'm dreaming of a New York Beauty, too. Someday...

Karen's Quilts from Cape Town said...

This might be worth a try... I've kept the link promising to try it again myself sometime. I've reproduced the foundations by stitching through layers with one pattern on top (so as to get more than one block on a page to try and save paper) and once tried the freezer paper method, which was sort of OK....

sophie said...

I think I am like you in my willingness to try anything twice–twice because I rarely enjoy working out of my comfort zone the first time and once I have figured something out, doing it a second time gives me a chance of actually enjoying it ;-)

Coincidentally, in 2003, we made Laced Star blocks like the one at the top of your blog post today. At the time–even though it was paper pieced–it was one of the most popular blocks that year. You can see our scrappy versions here: Laced Stars for the Block Lotto-February 2003.

Cathy said...

Your blocks are all lovely - Great job! The Cat Lady quilt will be awesome. When I read your blog, I realize that having many projects in various stages of planning and completion is a quilter's norm. And I feel better! But I'm so done with paper piecing. Life is too short, and there are too many other wonderful projects to work on!

---"Love" said...

Your blocks look great to me too. I once attended a guild workshop on paper piecing, and at the end, the instructor asked me what I had learned. I quickly said, "I've learned that I don't ever want to do paper piecing again!" Now that I'm older and slower, I'm tempted to try it again; that method does turn out some fantastic quilts. ---"Love"

the girlfriend gap said...

I would recommend paper piecing with freezer paper. No paper to rip off. No more pulling your hair out when you find out the piece of fabric you just sewed on is not quite big enough. I usually hold my fabric together where I am going to sew next and flip the paper over to make sure it is good.
There are probably tutorials on line... but this is how I do it .

Iron a piece of freezer paper onto a remnant of fabric first as it tends to shrink a bit when ironed. Remove paper. Trace your pattern on this piece of freezer paper. Go over each line with a tracing wheel so the lines fold easily. I extend my pattern an extra 1/4 inch around the outer edge and then trim my pattern to the right size after it is all sewn together. It seems my blocks always shrink a bit if there are a lot of pieces. Iron the wrong side of a piece of fabric 1 to the sticky side section # 1 of your freezer paper pattern. Each time you sew, you fold the paper back and sew the two pieces together right along the edge of the paper. After you sew piece one and two together, trim the seam to 1/4 inch. If you have an Add a 1/4" ruler it is so easy, the little lip slides right up to the paper and then trim. Open your seam so that the right side of the fabric is up , freezer paper is on the bottom. Press the seam that you just sewed with the iron covering pieces 1 and 2 of your pattern. Your fabric will be held in place by the waxy side of the freezer paper as you press. Go to the next number fold back on the line you will be sewing next between piece 2 and 3 repeat process until finished. Each time you sew, the fabric will be next to your sewing machine the paper will be up just like regular paper piecing only you don't sew on the paper. Sew right along the fold of your pattern each time.

Use a low to moderate temp on your iron so that the freezer paper sticks just enough you can remove it easily with out tugging. You can use each pattern 2-3 times!

Happy Paper Piecing.

Kaja said...

This was interesting. I haven't tried paper piecing, but have ideas that would only work if I did. Maybe I should stop being a wimp and give it a go.

Quiltdivajulie said...

The New York Beauty style block is about the only one I'm willing to paper piece ... For all the same reasons you listed.