Tickled to Pieces?
Paper Pieced Pineapple and Wreath
We are on the homestretch for our mystery row quilt, “Heart of the Home”, which began in the chilly month of January. So far, our Guild has made friendship star, house, heart and applique blocks. Today’s meeting introduced the group to paper piecing, a way to make precise points on complex blocks. November will reveal the sixth and final block, plus suggestions for finishing the quilt.
Many of our members had little experience with the paper piecing technique, but most have admired Rhonda’s New York Beauty block and other paper pieced jewels. Rhonda is one of our acknowledged scrappy quilt queens, and paper piecing seems tailor-made to use up odds and ends of fabric too small for anything but hamster nesting materials. (I hope this is accurate–I wasn’t quilting when my girls had hamsters that had hamsters.)
Rhonda had two super-sized teaching aids, huge enlargements of pineapple and log cabin wreath blocks, set up for paper piecing. She showed how to pre-fold all the lines, then starting with the central piece, building layer by layer until the block was finished. She also provided printed instructions and patterns to make finished 9″ blocks for our row quilt. Paper piecing patterns look like finished block layouts, but have numbers on each piece to show the order for sewing the block together.
Although she passed on to us several hints that she has learned through trial and error, Rhonda acknowledged that really, experience is the best teacher. Nevertheless, here are several of her tips.
- Some quilters like to stitch all lines on the paper with an unthreaded needle before starting to paper-piece the block, However, Rhonda’s preference is to prefold all lines. This makes construction easier as new pieces are added and also makes the pattern visible on the back.
- If you cut all block pieces first, use something like an empty silverware tray to keep them orderly, and label each section with the corresponding paper piecing order number.
- Especially if you are just rough-cutting the pieces, be sure your fabric pieces are definitely large enough so no gaps appear when the fabric piece is flipped into place.
- Set your stitch length about 1.5 mm so that the paper is heavily perforated and will be easy to remove later.
- Use flat flower pins to attach the cloth to the back (unprinted ) side of the pattern. Your fold lines help in placement of the fabric before sewing.
- The #1 piece is pinned in place, wrong side of fabric to back side of pattern. (Right side up, in other words.)
- Turn the pattern over so fabric is down, printed lines are up and stitch exactly on the lines of the #1 piece. Trim seam allowances to 1/4″.
- As all other pieces are added to the back of the pattern, they will be pinned right side down, facing the right side of the underlying fabric.
- As the other pieces are stitched down, start stitching 3-4 stitched before the pattern line and continue 3-4 beyond the line. These extra stitches won’t show when the block is completed, and makes backstitching at the beginning and end of each pattern line unnecessary as pieces are added.
The details of paper piecing vary–each quilter finds the tricks most helpful in producing their blocks.
President Catherine inaugurated a novel roll-call method–respond with a favorite quilting or household hint. Here are a few!
- Drink 1 teaspoon of apple cider in a glass of water to soothe an upset digestive system.
- Keep a box of flour in the refrigerator to soothe burns–just bury the burned finger in the cool flour for 10-15 minutes and pain and damage to skin is reduced. Some people use aloe plant jell.
- Keep a new penny in your pocket when you go outside during bee season. If you get stung, scrape the coin over the spot to remove the stinger.
- An upside down sink stopper makes a good strainer for the sink to keep small pieces from going down the drain.
- In the fall, wrap a torn panty hose around an outside spigot to keep it from freezing. (Might not work for a sub-zero night, though!)
- Used gourmet lettuce salad containers from the grocery make great containers for projects. Be sure to include a note on what you have done, what to do next, and a copy of the instructions!
- Put pieces needed for a block, or all the same kind of pieces, into a labeled ziplock bag.
- Dull needles still have a function–use them to pin things to your design wall instead of throwing them away.
- Foam rubber toe separators are great ways to control wound bobbins
Another baby quilt workshop will be held after the holidays.
The “Harvest of Quilts” exhibit will be held October 1 at the Mason County Fairgrounds. Quilts should be brought to the fairgrounds on Friday, September 30 between 3-6 PM. Be sure the quilt is labeled with your name!
The Guild’s White Elephant sale will be held adjacent to the quilt exhibit from 10 AM-3 PM on Saturday. Those who will be helping to set it up should come at 9 AM. Contact Sherry to make arrangements to bring your items (labeled with your initials and a price) and/or to sign up for a block of time. If your item is not sold, it will be returned to you. Proceeds of any sales will go to the Guild treasury. This is a great opportunity to sort and reorganize your stash and supplies!
Show N Tell
Carolyn L-4 applique’ blocks
Mary P-art quilt
Lucille F-doll quilt
Mercedes S-WV quilt, Mexican Stars wall-hanging, 10 minute block quilt
Karen T- Jacket, quilt
D L-2 baby quilts, cupcake potholder
Kay R-wool bed rug, Almost Heaven quilt
Bring a favorite casserole cover and copies of its pattern, and if you have one. Next month, members can choose a pattern to take home to make. Making casserole covers was a planned project for this year, but we couldn’t fit it in the regular meeting time. Please note: bring a pattern–not a recipe!
Also, remember to bring a favorite tip to share with the others. Here’s a hint to be sure we hear from everyone: Start jotting down hints as you think of them, then bring some to the October meeting!
Dues are due next month. This year’s officers agreed to continue serving next year.