Thursday, August 4, 2011

Peaceful Paper Piecing? NOT!!

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Lately I have been inspired to try something that has intimidated me for quite some time.....paper piecing. A show of hands, now - any of you special peeps do that?

Ahem. Well, don't rub it in. 

You see, I just can't seem to get the hang of it. I have gorgeous examples to look at. Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts has posted about some lovely paper pieced blocks she has made, that really do inspire me to try. 

Tonya at Hillbilly Handiworks even wrote a very clear tutorial with pictures and lots of explanations. Currently she is leading a quilt-along of a lovely grist mill from the land of my youth: beautiful Virgina.....but I, the Queen-of-Too-Many-Commitments knew my limitations, and didn't start that one!
Even my sister shows me up - she can paper piece gorgeous blocks! You should check out her blog and her gallery on OleFrogEyes and see!

Isn't that pretty?

I think I know what happened.....she must have gotten all of the paper-piecing talent, and I got none. How, you ask? Well, I envision it this way:

Imagine a tiny cherub in a long line of sweet babes, getting ready to head down to earth (I'm one of 'em). Saint Peter leans over with a smile and says, "Now....for your talents.... do you want to paper piece?" I, hanging over the edge of the cloud, am distracted by the awesome view: "No, I don't want to scrape your geese." I look up and smile brightly at the saint. 

He realizes I misunderstood, and tries to clarify (you know saints are patient, right? That is how they get to be saints!), "One day when you are older, do you want to do paper piecing?" Totally confused now, I resumed my scouting of the earth below me, and replied, " I don't think so; pay-for-greasing sounds like a yucky job to me." Saint Peter probably sighed and muttered something under his breath about this generation and their lack of attention span as he grabbed my diaper and pulled me back from the edge of the cloud. And then I guess he gave my sis a double portion of the paper piecing gene, because she is a whiz at it!

You don't believe me, eh? Take a glance here at my very first attempt....

I believe the ground under the lighthousekeeper's house is sinking!
Or, try this one....this is from a pattern called "Crazee Heart" that Marcia of Crafty Sewing and Quilting provided. 

(Either the block or the photographer was a little catty-whompus there! You did know I was from the south, right?! LOL)
I don't know if you can see it, but on the upper right of the heart, I sewed two pieces of fabric together to cover that portion.... and I have a - well, a rumple, a pleat, I'm not sure what to call it, but I'm thinking about some decorative stitching to hold it down! 

Now, lest you think that I am totally devoid of any talent, one thing I CAN do is "make fabric" from scraps, and then use it for a project. This is a heart that I made for a friend in the blogging community:

Sew, that went much better!

Now, my paper piecing friends.....I know you are there; I saw those hands! I want to try one more time on the Crazee Heart - I need at least one to send to Tonya for the quilt she is making. 

I am counting on you to make my paper piecing more peaceful! Give me some tips that will help me complete this with fewer gray hairs and more fun!!


PS. If you would like to see another giveaway soon.....I only need 12 more followers to reach 300! (Wink!)


  1. Hmm - Tonya has the best tutorial. If missing your fabric in spaces - color code on a cheater sheet or you can use color pencils and make color dot or square to remind you what goes where. Slow down!!!! Smaller stitches!! AND think upside down and backwards. and remember - we all own seam rippers for a reason (we all make mistakes)

  2. I think your blocks look just fine. At least you are not afraid to state your limitations. Your scrappy block is beautiful!!!

  3. I have just tried my first paper piecing. I used this tut.
    I only did one block and I made it into a mug rug (would show you picture but hubby spilt tea on it!). I found it hard going too it was difficult thinking backwards. Not sure if it is something I would want to do often, but that maybe because I am struggling with it at the moment. Good Luck! Linda

  4. I think your blocks are great! I really do - plus, when I'm having issues with my paperpiecing, I remember our dear Daddy's favorite statement, "You'll never see it on a moving horse."

    Not sure if that means I won't see the imperfections as the quilt goes by me on the horse being used as a riding blanket, or if that means I'll never see it as I ride a horse by the quilt hanging on the clothesline. But the basic point is the same: once something is quilted, many imperfections become unnoticeable, and the quilters are the only ones who notice their own boo-boos! Don't be hard on yourself, Sis, this is supposed to be fun!!!

    I have some blocks that look great on OleFrogEyes that are way less than perfect close up!

    As for hints, I've not had a real class in this, but one hint from friends that have helped me is to make your stitch width much smaller so your papers tear away easily. Of course, I find that it backfires on me with a boo-boo. Way harder to rip it out!

    Hang in there and perservere! It becomes more natural as you go along. Also, with a complicated design, I lay all the pieces out in the shape of the design in front of me and write the color they should be on the paper pieces.... I find my color placement accuracy improves a bit that way. And paper piecing is somewhat wasteful. But using much larger pieces than you really think you will need, will preclude turning a piece back after sewing it on, and finding it's not big enough! Can't think of much else. Mostly, just keep on trying!! :)

  5. I had taken a paper-piecing class and swore I would never EVER paper-piece again. I hated it with a passion! Fast forward a couple of years, and one of my daughters (the one who NEVER asks for anything), asked for a lap-sized calendar quilt (that was originally designed as a wall hanging). A blogger recommended a purchase the DVD from Carol Doak as well as her paper, and that's what I did. Look what I did (this is from my longarm quilter's blog) because I'm so dang pleased with the quilt I made!

  6. Hey, I can't paper piece either! I have taken classes and it's always muddled for me. Last quilt I tried, I finally just ended up piecing it.
    However, your blocks look great from here...

  7. LOL, you are so fun. I didn't know your sis had a blog. I can't wait to go and 'meet' her! If that heart stresses you than don't worry about it! Marcia has had way too much on her plate to bother with hers for now and Sharon helped me out by sending some quilts to the sisters that have breast cancer so we can slow it down a bit.

    Thanks for the shout I wanna meet your sis...


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