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.
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.
Yep 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.
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!