The joys of paper piecing – wip Wednesday

This week I have been working away on a couple more quilts, all of them paper pieced, and it got me thinking about the pros and cons of using a paper foundation pattern for your blocks.

Lets start with the new block I started this week.completed ohio star blcok

I loved this colour combination and I wanted to make a high contrast block where the pattern would be crisp and clean.  It looks so easy but I must admit I managed to commit several of the paper piecing deadly sins.  According to quiltbug.com they are:

• Placing the fabric wrong side up
• Not following the design – putting the fabric in the wrong place. Sometimes this is caused by not realizing you are working on a mirror image block.
• Placing the fabric the wrong way so it doesn’t fit the block when you flip it over
• sewing on the wrong line
• cutting the fabric piece instead of the seam allowance
• cutting the paper pattern
• catching one fabric piece in the seam allowance of another.

quilting work spaceYep yesterday I managed to do most of them…. I am blaming tiredness.  It is simple to commit these faux pas, and with the detailed Monday paper piecing patterns I post, it is more than likely I will have to unpick at least 6 or 7 times while making the block.  Ah the fun.

Then there is the joy that is bits of paper floating around your house.  My floor is currently scattered with little bits of paper that have evaded the vacuum cleaner after preparing my purple and aqua quilt for basting. wip aqua purple quilt

The advantages for paper piecing for me are:

1.  I do not have to accurately cut into my scraps – I can just pull the little bits and pieces, iron them and then use them where they fit.

2.  It helps me with my inability to be precise.  I can, and have accurately measured, cut and pieced quilts but I get frustrated easily when things do not line up.  This is also the reason that I love “wonky” and “modern” as quilting styles!

3.  It allows me to make detailed, accurate blocks that I could not make freehand – in particular my star sampler could not be done without paper patterns.  I do not have the skill to make these patterns without help!

In the end I think extra steps of paper piecing (like ripping the paper pattern off) and the little hiccups (aka the deadly sins) are worth it for most of the quilts I make.  When I started quilting I was overwhelmed by it all and a paper pattern helped me step into the process without freaking out too much.  I am so glad I had that gentle introduction to the process, because now I am confident enough to just go with what ever I want.

I may even, one day, be confident enough to attempt curves!

16 thoughts on “The joys of paper piecing – wip Wednesday

  1. I am loving your purple and aqua quilt! That is beautiful. One day I’ll try paper piecing – I really enjoyed reading your info on it. Thanks for being such a great resource 🙂

  2. Interesting you call the “deadly sins” hiccups! I was putting together a sampler quilt and I was excited about the paper pieced blocks, for I’ve never done them before. In that one block I committed all 7 Deadly Sins! And then the block ended up being 1/4 inch too small on all sides! I felt I wasted paper, fabric and time! So I stopped working on the sampler. It’s still sitting there on my table. I am afraid if I put it away, I will forget about it… and since it is with Amy Butler fabrics I don’t want to put it away. I want to conquer paper piecing…. someday. 🙂
    On the other hand… I really love the aqua/purple color schemes and will have to make a quilt with those colors soon! I never would have imagined putting those colors together… thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

    • I had the same issue with blocks ending up shorter than they were meant to. Those blocks have been put aside to be part of the back of the quilt. I will get creative with them. When the detailed paper piecing stars start to get me down, I just remind myself it will be worth it in the end. Hopefully it will be!

  3. Thanks for the comment on my blog, sorry, as you’re ‘no reply’, I’ll have to answer the question here – it is a pixellated photo, it’s a secret bee where we won’t find out til the end of the year what our quilts will look like (which should be early April, I’ve actually forgotten what mine started off like!) I do have plans for a mini based on one of the pixellated pics though, so we’ll see how it goes!

    Like your block you’ve been working on, PPing is the only way I’d do that many HSTs!

  4. Oooh, I LOVE the purple and aqua (probably obvious if one has seen my blog header!). I love paper piecing. You can make such gorgeous blocks. I wonder if you’ve tried the method where you fold back the paper and sew next to the fold, rather than sewing over the paper? The rip-the-paper-away step always got on my nerves, but the aforementioned method eliminates that step. Hooray!

  5. Gosh, I was just commenting (read: complaining) about the Dear Jane paper piecing I was doing…those deadly sins kept coming and coming.

    Love the aqua and purple, too! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  6. ROFL! I’ve made everyone of those mistakes. It’s usually a pretty good indicator that it’s time to put my rotary cutter away for the night. Love your purple and aqua quilt. I have a hard time finding purples that I like, but you have quite a few lovely ones in there that I’ve never seen before. I can’t wait to see your finished quilt. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Oh what a week | Wombat Quilts

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