Catch Up #1… Teaching paper piecing

The first lot of news I wanted to share was that just before I left for Australia my fabulous local quilt store – Modern Domestic – asked me to teach introductory classes on paper piecing.   My immediate response was YES… of course…I want to corrupt/bring to the darkside as many quilters as I can.

class description

I love paper piecing and love the amazing results you can get from the process.  It initially surprised me that so many people had not tried this technique (I wrongly thought that everyone started with paper piecing and went from there!).

So for this class I designed a 16 inch star block, which can easily be turned into a pillow.

MD pillowsIt really is a pretty easy pattern but very effective.  This sample uses some of my Liberty bits and pieces, a splash of Kona cotton and Essex linen for the background.  I loved how this sample turned out… but I did not stop there. I also made…

MD pearl bracele star pillowA Pearl Bracelet version…of course.

If you are interested in the class you can find all the details on Modern Domestic’s website…JUST CLICK HERE.  My first class is next week, and we plan to offer this class throughout next year.

Are you bored with 8 inch green stars yet?

I hope not, as I have another one this week….

Crest star

This 8 inch star is based on a couple of patterns I have found online and in books. This 8 inch version is done for my ongoing green star quilt and you can find the PDF pattern here….Crest Star Pattern.

I am on vacation/holiday at the moment so I am keeping it short and sweet.

More green…

Surprise… I am back again with another installment of Paper Piecing Monday…. and today’s block is another nice one (though I may be a little biased!).

fan star


When I designed the pattern it reminded my of the fan block, which is why the block is called Fan Star… though when I sewed all the pieces together I must admit a better name would have been Pinwheel star.  Naming the blocks is the hard part for me.

Fan star piecesAny way you can find the PDF paper piecing pattern for this 8 inch block here….Fan star. Now I did promise a wip photo but this week kicked my butt and I have not done it yet… next week, I promise.

A smattering of quilt blocks…

I can not believe that June is nearly over…. this year is slipping away way to fast.  It was with a small amount of panic that I realised this week that I was running out of time to finish up some of my Bee blocks, so armed with a pile of fabric, my iPad and a caffeine enriched beverage I set to work.

First up was the June blocks for my Do.good.Stitches bee…

curved blockThe block is a great log cabin variation…there is a great instructional video and pdf pattern for this block at  Though one block does not look that exciting, put four of them together and you get a fabulous orb pattern…

Hope circle orb blocksWhile we are on the subject of Do.good.Stitches Bee blocks, here is May’s blocks which were a blast to make…

scrap cross quilt blocksI have not done a cross block before and loved how easy it was to do.  I got a little carried away with this block and made a few extra.  I used Rachel from Wooden Spoons easy dimensions to make the block…plus lots of starch!

The final lot of Bee blocks I got done this week is a repeat of a block I did last year….

Scrapbeelicious block 2Yep the mini flying geese crazy is back.  This month it was Stephanie from Quarter Incher’s turn to be Queen of our ScrapBeeLicous Bee, and she choose the Liesl Made’s Flying Geese Block.  Yipee….

Scrapbeelicious block 1So I retooled my paper piecing pattern and set to work raiding my scrap stash.  I actually think the only way to make this kind of quilt is to do it as part of a Bee (and to paper piece ti!).  There is no way you want to be making more than a few of these blocks… okay there is no way I could make more than a few of these blocks and remain sane!

As it is Wednesday there is only one thing left to do….link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Block Rock’n Sampler quilt

After a year of Paper Piecing Monday I have finally finished a quilt from my Monday blocks.  I am very proud to present my Block Rock’n sampler quilt top.

modern sampler quilt

All these blocks are from Julie at 627Handwork’s fabulous free Block Rock’n  pattern collection.  There are only two blocks from her collection missing from this quilt – my Icky Thump block became part of the beautiful Icicle quilt and Julie’s Floyd block which I have not made yet.

Block rockn quilt detail

For the record my favourite block is this beauty….

Block Rockn favourite block

For the quilting of this lovely , I went with diagonal lines, which seemed appropriate with the off center block placement I went with.

Block Rockn quilt detail 2

For the backing I found some fabulously outrageous IKEA fabric in my stash which was just perfect.   The photo does not do these neon lips justice.

Block Rockn Quilt back

The final touch was some solid Kona grey binding, which was attached using the sewing machine.  I figured that this quilt might get a lot of love (and stains) and wanted it to be as durable as possible.  Machine binding, though not as pretty  as hand binding, in my opinion, does add some sturdiness.

Block Rockn binding

I seriously love how this quilt came together… so much so that it is staying with me.  It is going to be our couch quilt and I am soooooo excited.

Technique:  Scrap paper piecing
Block size:  12 x 12 blocks
Finished size:  57″ x 60″



Paper Piecing Monday tips

This week as I put my paper piecing block together, I thought of what I have learnt this year doing these blocks… and thought I would share some of my tips.

So this week I choose another of Julie @ 627Handworks great blocks.  The block, Siouxsie, is one that Julie has put up on Craftsy and is block 13 of her Block Rock’n series.  At a $1.00 for the pattern is it a bargain.  You can also download Julie’s free Block Rock’n blocks at Craftsy as well.

paper pieced scrap star block

Tip #1…   I always download the pattern to my desktop before I print.  This is the best way to guarantee that you are printing to the correct scale.  I had some fun issues printing directly from the website early on in Paper Piecing Monday’s life, which resulted in me have to remake some blocks.  Also make sure that you tick the “print in original size” box in your print dialogue box.

Tip #1a… I use normal photocopy paper for printing my patterns.  It is cheap and easily available.

Tip #2… If the block is complex or I am making it complex, I use coloured pens to mark up my paper pattern.  This way I do not lose track of what colour goes where.

star 11 paper piecing pieces

Tip #3… I always glue down my first piece of fabric.  I go through so much Elmers glue it is not funny.  I find it easier to align the first set of seams with one of the fabric pieces already stuck in place and pins cause fabric bunching which is annoying.

glue stickTip #4…  I am always generous with my seam allowance on my scraps.  I have found it is much easier to work with BIG scraps or pieces of fabric than it is to work with precisely cut pieces of fabric.  In paper piecing you get all sorts of weird shapes and having an abundance of extra fabric means that you can get even the weirdest shapes to work, without having to re-sew the block over and over.

Tip #5… Do all sewing with a small stitch length.  I usually do my paper piecing stitching on a length of 2 – 2 1/2.  This helps make ripping the paper off at the end easier, but also ensures the integrity of the sewing.  Ripping the paper off the block can cause stitches to loosen and the smaller stitches helps with this immensely.

stitch setting

Tip #6…  I use scissors to trim my excess fabric, not a rotary cutter and ruler.  I find it quick and easy – I can do it while still sitting beside my machine.  No one ever sees the backside of the block, so I do not mind if it is a little messy.

trusty scissors

Tip #7…. Your iron is your friend. I iron all my seams/pieces to get them to lie flat.  For this block I sewed the first two fabric pieces together on all the pattern sections and then stood up, ironed all the seams and then sat down and sewed the next fabric piece to the pattern.  For last week’s fox block I used my mini iron to sew as I went.  Whatever way all seams get ironed.

Tip #8… Before I sew together the finished paper pattern pieces, I  rip the paper off any bits of the pattern that are bulky or intersect.  This makes the block less chunky and means my sewing machine is less likely to hiccup when it hits the multiple layers of fabric/paper.  With this pattern the center pieces of the block needed to be pulled.  I leave enough of the paper so that you can still see your sewing lines.

remove paper

Tip #9… Tweezers are an essential paper piecing tool.  When you are removing the paper pattern at the end of the process, the big bits are easy but tweezers are the only way to get those pesky little bits of paper that are hiding in the corner of the block.

tweezer action

Tip #10… If at all possible train your husband, children or friend to help you pull the paper off your finished quilt top.  It really does make life easier.

Foxy Paper Piecing Monday

Okay I could not help myself…I just had to do it…

Paper pieced fox block

I decided that my low volume quilt needed a block from No Hat’s In the House fabulous Forest quilt, as a not too subtle nod to the amazing quilt that inspired my low volume sampler.  So I bit the bullet and headed over to the Forest QAL and picked one of their FREE paper piecing  blocks.

These patterns are crazy good but complex.  How complex I hear you ask… well my fox took four colours…

fabric pull for fox

cut into 99 scraps of fabric…

fabric & paper bites 2

sewn onto 27 separate pattern pieces…

block bits and guidethat were then sewing into three sections…

piecing block

These sections were then sewn together to make one incredible block.

I was so thrilled with how this block turned out and I kept shoving it in my husbands face saying “look how fabulous this is”… “isn’t this block incredible”… “have you ever seen anything so amazing”.   He was not as excited as I had hoped about the whole thing.  Actually his response was decidedly underwhelming.  Going to have to get him to work on that.

He just keeps saying “what does the fox say“….