Friday, March 4, 2011

Paper Piecing planning

 I love to paper piece. The results are so precise. But it does take some planning.

I remember when I first started paper piecing. The instructions were so vague and we were told to use "hunks" of fabric. That way is too wasteful and at times when you would fold the fabric, parts of the pattern would not be covered completely.

I have developed my own way to insure the right results. I lay a ruler over the pattern area and measure generously. The minimum you need around an area is 1/4". Live on the edge and use that measurement if you wish. But that also means there is no room for any misalignment or postioning errors. I use a 1/2" allowance. I still do not use much extra fabric and I am always sure that my pattern area is covered perfectly. And since I use squares to cut my pattern pieces the straight of grain is right where it needs to be. Pre-cutting is a time saver too!
But before I cut any fabric I cut the piece from a piece of paper. I write the measurement on the paper piece and lay that over the pattern area to double check. If I am happy I then begin to cut my fabric.

I stack all my cut pieces, like with like as you can see in the picture. I also check them off the master pattern piece. This little bit of planning gives me the edge and I get perfect blocks everytime! If the pattern is really complicated I glue a piece of the correct fabric to the master pattern. I call this my "road map". This was also the term I used during my 31 years of working in the shipping department in a factory. It kept me from retracing my steps and I was always aware of where I was on my orders no matter how complicated they were. I kept advancing in that area until I was the "lead person". I trained all new people coming into the shipping department. I could tell from the first week what part of the area the new person was suited for or NOT AT ALL!
 Isn't this a beautiful block? I used my new Janome DCQ 3160 to do the sewing. She works really good for paper piecing as she has the thread cutter button. I love that button! The only thing I miss on this machine is the knee lift bar that is on the Janome6600P.
I spent the entire day yesterday back in the cutting room sewing on this machine. Hubby keeps complaining that he misses me when I am back there. He is so sweet to want my company even though he is in the other part of the house when I am sewing in my main sewing area in the living room.
I do feel as if I am in a sardine can back in that little room. But I also have a feeling of comimg back home as I used to sew in this room from the beginning. (that was before my fabric collection, sewing machine collection and supplies took over two spare rooms and the entire living room.) I still have my eye on the family room for a longarm machine but Hubby says "NO WAY"!

I know I had posted I was ready to return this machine. I still have not heard back from the sewing machine store about the recall on this machine. Yet I cannot get the machine to foul up again. I worked her hard yesterday. I am a marathon sewer...hours on end. The machine was an angel. And I feel that after 8 solid hours sewing , the machine would have messed up. The machine is powerful and quiet. I can no longer complain about her. And I want to name her. That means she is staying!

 My new Topstitch needles came yesterday. I ordered them through Needlecoop, a Yahoo group. WHOOOHOOO! 200 new needles. These are titanium coated. That adds major time to their use before they get dull. It does add cost to them too. But I am VERY happy with these needles.

Thank you Organ needle company for making these needles!

 My first sighting of a Robin in our front yard. Hubby and I have been hearing them but as of yesterday had not seen one to be sure. The males arrive first. This one is fat and healthy. I offered him some bread and he was not afraid of me.
Today I put some more bread out and he flew down and started enjoying the bread before I was back in the house. I know that they are wild animals. But I really feel an afinity with creatures. I have squirrels that take peanuts from my hand and I am almost positive this bird remembers that "food" comes from this house and he returned from his migration to find it.
 Isn't he a nice chubby Robin?
And the grass almost looks green!
I love my Janomes!


Linda said...

First Robin! Always a wonderful sight! Means Spring is around the corner. Block is gorgeous. Looks perfect! Nice to hear you are bonding with your new Janome! She looks like a real beauty.

JCnNC said...

The block is gorgeous and can't wait to see the quilt. What a beauty it will be. I also have been watching the Robins arrive along with the Jonquils blooming. Spring is here in NC. Happy quilting. Judy C

Quilter Kathy said...

I love how organized your project must have been a fabulous employee! Could you please send some of your heartier robins north? I miss them :)

Karen said...

Paper piecing produces such precise results but it isn't always my friend. I cut my pieces way big because I can never figure out how much is enough to cover the area I need to cover.

Rose Marie said...

What a great tutorial and so timely for me as I struggle with paper piecing my blocks for the school-house quilt! Thanks so much for sharing and I will be doing exactly what you recommend.

Dionne said...

Hey Subee, great tips! Your block is fabulous. I've tried paper-piecing before, I guess it was the old fashioned way because I had all the trouble you mentioned. I'm book marking this post because you've inspired me to try again!

Barb in Mi said...

Thanks for sharing your paper piecing approach! So did you pre-cut all the pieces for your pineapple blocks as well? Or do you mainly use strips? They look soooo tiny...

Idaho Quilter said...

Thanks for the tips on paper piecing. I enjoy the results but not the process, because of cutting the thread, if I had a machine that did that I would be doing more paper piecing. Glad to hear the Janome is working out. Oh I don;t know if I could sew without my knee lift, I love it. Your block is great.

Laurie said...

Hey Subee... as always, you've done a beautiful job on the pieced block.

Glad you're enjoying your new machine and it's stopped acting up on you.

Oh, and send the robins our way! Would love to see them again instead of all the snow we received last night and this morning. :)

Anonymous said...

Is that Martinique fabric you're using in your paper pieced blocks, Subee? Beautiful block.

I'm glad you little Janome is working out, maybe she just needed to get settled in and comfortable, lol.

I was always tempted to buy that box of 4" squares from Keepsake Quilting, it's really eye opening to see how big a box it is.