Posts Tagged foundation paper piecing
A word to the wise. When you accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’ the day might come when you need to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you can keep and I am here to tell you that getting rid of that ‘stuff’ is no easy task.
We are going to be moving from around 300 square metres into 150 square metres and, as I have a knack of expanding into the space available to me, something (or lots of things) will have to give.
Our furniture doesn’t owe us anything. We’ve had most of it for a long time and some of it was vintage/antique when we got it so that’s not so bad. It’s the ‘stuff’ that will be the problem. My ‘workroom’ is bigger than any of the bedrooms will be in the new house and Mr. T has an industrial sewing machine and rolls of leather as well as all the usual power tools, gardening equipment, etc. but at least he will have a large garage in which to disport himself.
Selling things is time consuming and annoying and giving things away is almost as time consuming and more annoying as there are more takers but the demands on your time are just the same. We only have one or two charity type shops and, soon, they will probably ban me. Mr. T and I take turns in our different cars so that they don’t realise it’s all coming from the same place. The déchetterie (rubbish dump) is complicated and everything has to be separated into categories – I leave those visits to Mr. T.
Anyway, more on that as things progress and, just to show that I am doing things other than trying to keep the house clean and tidy in case of viewings (few and far between in the current ‘situation’) and fretting about the sheer logistics of the whole thing, these are the blocks I did for Kate’s turn in the F2F block swap.
She asked for greys with pops of colour. I didn’t have much grey so, as it was for Kate, I ordered some special Indonesian batiks in dove grey and paper pieced all three blocks as paper piecing is a great way to put everything else out of your mind while you concentrate. Plus, I am much better at paper piecing than regular piecing for some strange reason.
So here are the three I made for Kate.
Are you worried about the amount of ‘stuff’ you have and what you – or whoever has to clear out your house should you unexpectedly drop dead – will do with it all? Or are you one of those enviable people who can keep a rein on their crafting supplies, crafting outcomes, pictures, clothes, shoes, bags, collections of ———–(insert whatever it is you might collect), etc. etc. I think I’m actually going to find the downsizing process quite liberating (she says hopefully) and, in future, will never acquire anything without thinking about how easy it will be to dispose of it in the future.
Even though, due to the current worldwide situation, our international block swap – Footstyle Freestyle (F2F) – has had to adapt this time round, we are still determined to go ahead with it.
Instead of mailing out 3 blocks to the participant due to receive them that month, we are now making them, photographing them, putting them up in the gallery and waiting until we’re out the other side of this to post them. Better safe than sorry and the post is doing strange things at the moment so we don’t want to risk all that hard work getting lost.
It was my turn to receive blocks from the others this month but I’ll just have to wait to see them ‘in the flesh’. However, we each also make three blocks in our chosen colours for ourselves so there was nothing stopping me from making mine in the peacock colours that I’d chosen.
You’ve seen this churn dash one before but my eye kept catching on the ‘too different’ ombré effect on the left which made it hard to focus on the design properly so I took it out and replaced it with a piece of the same fabric that toned in a little better.
This is a foundation paper pieced block by Carol Doak called May Flower
Lastly, one I made up based on the spikes in a hedgehog block I sometimes make but without the hedgehog face.
I haven’t seen the blocks the others have made for me yet – and I’ll only be able to see photos of them anyway until things are back to ‘normal’ – but I think these colours will make for a pretty dramatic quilt eventually.
After last month’s rather cheeky (and violently coloured) scraphappy day entry – the yarn I used for my anti-hunter, bright orange beanie could only very tenuously be called scrap – this time I’m back on good behaviour for this, the last scraphappy day of the year.
A selection of scraps were unearthed and I display the proof below (although some of these didn’t make the final cut.)
You might remember that, last year, I paper pieced a reindeer and made it into a Christmas table runner.
I bought another pattern from the same designer.
Now, I’ve made a scrappy gnome and don’t really know what to do with him.
Because a gnome isn’t just for Christmas is it?
Any ideas? He’s 12 inches square.
Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn. Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.
Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.
Kate , Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.
This time, the theme is stars. Kate does like a pun so this quilt will be named ‘Scinteallate’ – get it? – and some of her quilty followers are helping out a bit by making her a few blocks.
These are my three which are all foundation paper pieced
and my favourite
All on their way to Australia as I type.
A little heads up to Pelenna Patchworks in the UK who sent this (much needed) stash pack of 10 x 10 inch squares of assorted teal fabrics in a brown paper package using non-plastic tape and, just when I thought, ‘oh, they’ve spoilt it by using a plastic bag’, noticed this on the bag. Baby steps!
Last year I mentioned that Anne Lawson, a talented botanical artist, instigated a sketchbook which would start with her in Australia and make its way around the World to interested parties who signed up for the project and, at each stage of the journey, a new entry would be made. As everybody who signed up for it is a woman, it became known as ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook’. I believe there have been others but this one – our one – began life in the Spring of 2016.
I cannot draw or paint to save my life, nor have I ever attempted to write poetry, but I knew that other media was acceptable so thought I’d join in for fun. Then I started dreading its arrival when I saw the standard of entries as they were added to the book then recorded online. The sketchbook finally arrived in France last week – people have been taking their time enjoying the book and considering what to contribute and, despite having considered other options, I decided to go with my first idea. I have taken photographs of most of the entries but didn’t take the book to pieces – too scared – so apologies to the sisterhood if I’ve cut a piece off or haven’t done their piece justice with my photography.
Click on the name beneath the images to go to the contributor’s website.
The sketchbook started and will end with Anne who set the bar high with her sketch of Kakadu Escarpment along with her garlic and lilies that adorn the front and back covers.
by Anne Lawson
Staying in Australia and up to Queensland to Kate who added this delightful paper pieced patchwork feather together with the lovely words beneath.
Staying in Queensland for a tasty, beautifully illustrated Ratatouille recipe from Sandra.
Moving back down to Victoria, Chas created this brilliant cycling trail map to show us some of the sights to be seen from a bicycle on the way to Melbourne’s National Gallery. This is a long, fold out map so I’ve just included a small detail.
The last stop for the sketchbook in Australia was with Sandi Worrall -Hart who wrote a beautiful poem called ‘ The Explorer’ which you can see included in the collage below cleverly compiled by Alys from all the entries so far in the book at the time it reached her in the United States.
From California to Mount Vernon where Sue added these gorgeous mixed media pieces using fabric, beads, thread and charms.
Over to Ushasree in Indianapolis for an eyecatching and colourful collage of small delights
Then a trip over to Europe and Greece with this take on the naming of Athens.
From Greece to Germany where Constanze produced this lovely textile piece which reflects the snowy landscape around her as she created her entry for the sketchbook.
The sketchbook should have stayed in Germany for another entry but, unfortunately, Annett is struggling with some health problems at the moment and didn’t feel able to contribute – we wish her well and hope she’ll be able to join in next time, should there be one!
So, to France and to me.
I’ve told you I can’t draw or paint. Kate, Sue and Constanze had already done perfectly lovely works in textiles and fabric so what to do? I thought about something knitted or even a bit of crochet but it would have to be something quite tiny and relevant. Back in 2016 I attended a workshop on freehand machine embroidery and my plan was to practice and practice and produce something lovely for when the sketchbook arrived at my door. Time passed – quickly as usual – and I didn’t get to practice as much as I would have liked but freehand embroidery is a forgiving craft and I hope I’ve produced something – though ‘naive’ (polite talk for ‘simple’) – that sort of enters into the spirit of the sketchbook, using thread instead of a pencil.
I know it looks like a kid’s drawing but that is sort of the style – honest! I like using natural linen for freehand embroidery as I think it sets off the fabrics and stitches really well but it frays like a bugger so I have deliberately frayed the edges and run a couple of rows of stay (I hope) stitching around the perimeter. If you’re wondering what the blue lines are they are my interpretation of the map of the World. It is very imprecise! Australia is disappearing up the skirt of the last sister, Europe is frillier than necessary and there appears to be a squished square country north of the barely recognisable British Isles but you get my drift. As I’m an English expat living in France I introduced a bit of entente cordiale by using French linen (the type they produce to make those classic linen t-towels) and the dresses are all in Liberty of London fabric. I didn’t want to make any political statement but, as it was a recent event and as I know one of the sisterhood went along with a pink plastic bag on her head, I’ve included a pink pussyhat wearer just to be topical.
As soon as I’ve worked out how to add this to the book – the linen is backed with calico and card so I’ll probably glue it in – it will be on its way to the United Kingdom for its last two entries, then back to Australia where we have hopes that it will be digitally scanned so we can all have a copy to keep.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the Sketchbook as it stands so far in Tialys blog form .
A great project to be involved with 🙂
Do people sometimes ask you why you make your own clothes? Or why you knit your own jumpers/socks/blankets? Or why you make quilts or greetings cards or paint pictures. Does there always have to be a logical answer to questions about why we want to create certain things?
Mr. Tialys cannot see the point in buying perfectly good fabric and then cutting it up into smaller pieces and joining it up again – this is a very common ‘man’ question I believe. If I were smashing plates and making mosaics, I don’t believe he would ask the same thing. Although he might look askance come dinner time.
Another question he often asks is why I have so much fabric that I would have a job using it all up in my lifetime (no matter how long that might be) yet still, occasionally, well quite often actually, buy more. This, I don’t really have an answer to except that it makes me happy and keeps me out of the casinos, pubs, betting shops and places of ill-repute that I might otherwise frequent and spend my money in. Unlikely scenarios but you get my drift.
Sometimes I make things ‘just because’ – although I do usually have some sort of vague idea why I want to make something even if it’s to try out a new skill or method to see whether I want to continue down that road or never touch it again – needle felting anyone?
(This is not to denigrate the craft of needle felting in any way because there are some awesome needle felting artists out there – just my own lack of proficiency at it. Just saying..)
Anyway, I recently got the foundation paper piecing bug which, for anybody who doesn’t know what that is, involves laying small pieces of fabric on to the reverse side of a printed paper pattern, then flipping it over and sewing each, sometimes teeny piece, onto the piece adjoining it in the order stipulated by the pattern, until you have a completed patchwork block or image. Then you have to tear all that paper off which has hopefully been thoroughly perforated by your sewing machine needle and, voila, a finished work that should be very accurately pieced. You may well ask ‘why?’. Well, I like it because I sometimes find accuracy fairly hard to achieve using other piecing methods and this appears to be my best shot.
Here is how a piece looks from the reverse side with some of the papers removed.
So, inspired by a recent project by a blogging friend Avis of OhSewTempting, and because my Dr. Who loving daughter has just moved into her post-university flat and needs a few soft furnishings in her life, I decided to make a paper pieced Tardis and then incorporate it into a cushion.
So far so good. I had a project with a purpose and could use some stash fabric to make it.
I found some ‘constellation’ fabric that had come in a ‘stash building’ bundle of ‘blues’ I’d ordered online and didn’t even realise I had. (Slight pause while we all stop laughing at the very idea I need any ‘stash building’ ). This would made a perfect background for the Doctor’s tardis hurtling through space and time.
Then, I remembered I had some ‘Police Box’ ribbon I’d bought for making quirky dog collars.
It was meant to be. My life was complete.
The first mistake I made was not checking my printer settings so the pattern printed out to finish at 9.5 inches instead of 10 inches which I didn’t realise until I’d already started piecing and, as it didn’t really need to be a specific size as it’s not going into a quilt, I let it be. This, despite the fact that, two posts ago, I wrote about this self-same thing.
The second mistake I made was believing the designer had made an error and put the outside written notice on the wrong side of the tardis – something my daughter would have immediately picked up on. So, I reversed the pieces, forgetting that because you sew the fabric on the reverse, the reverse eventually becomes the front. I expect your brain hurts now. I know mine did. Anyway, trying to be clever made joining those window and door pieces more difficult than they needed to be but I got there in the end.
It was all coming together so well. All the individual sections looked good.
Then I started to join them together.
This was the first result. I had noticed the slight overhang on the right side of the tardis wasn’t overhanging slightly or in any way at all on my version but thought it wouldn’t matter too much as the rest wasn’t bad. Then, what wasn’t that obvious in ‘real life’ became glaringly obvious in the photo – the right hand side of the tardis was in its own time warp and waving about all over the place and there was bagging in the background fabric.
It was around about that time I found myself asking the question ‘why?’ and also cursing quite a lot in a very unladylike manner.
I had to unpick many many teeny stitches and, after a couple of attempts at re-doing it through the papers, eventually took the seams apart up the sides, separated the mid section, redid the ‘police box’ line, took the papers off and then joined it all up again with 1/4 inch seams of my own devising.
Well, I am older and wiser yet again and have now tackled teeny pieces in a pattern and have ended up with a vaguely acceptable tardis.
I’m going to put a border round it to make a bigger cushion and do an envelope back edged with more ‘Public Telephone’ ribbon. Any ideas for the border colour? I’m thinking of the navy I used on the box itself or maybe some navy with little white stars but other suggestions welcome.
O.K., there are still a few areas I could improve on and, if I made it again, I would stitch those little window frames as Avis did as it looks a lot neater (as does her whole project but I have aspirations), and the good thing is that the pattern – printed free from Craftsy here – says ‘intermediate level’ so perhaps I can now feel I’ve graduated from ‘beginner’.
Now, now, settle down.
This is what I mean
With the amount of independent designers creating patterns to be printed off as PDF files these days, those of you who use them for dressmaking, patchwork or other crafts will know what I mean by the all important inch square when printing patterns. There is no use briefly wafting a tape measure in the general direction of the square and saying ‘yes, that’s about right’ because a minute fraction of an inch bigger or smaller is a mistake that will multiply itself throughout the whole pattern and you will end up with something too big, too small and possibly unusable.
I don’t really hold myself completely to blame as I have never set any scaling on my printer but it seems to have taken control and robbed that inch of a teeny tiny morsel so that after two or three hours of painstaking cutting out, sewing on, joining up and congratulating myself on a beautiful bit of paper piecing, I placed my 12.5 inch square ruler on top of it and realised it was the wrong size.
So this block that I had been so proud of only minutes earlier…..
….. had to have a border put round it to bring it up to the requisite 12.5 inches as it is for the new round of F2F Block Swap which starts this month where all the blocks need to be the same size.
So, it’s still not perfect because those outer triangles have had their inner points a little truncated because of the sizing but I think I might still give it to the person I made it for either as a spare block for her eventual quilt or to make a cushion to match.
I know I’m a European and all (for now, anyway 😉 ) and should be speaking in metric tongue but, with patchwork, it really is easiest to keep it in inches. It seems to be the universal language of patchwork – except in France. (How is it in the rest of non-British Europe? – can anybody enlighten me? Do inches rule?). When I was cutting out fabric for another FPP block the other day at my friend’s house, she only had metric rulers and cutting mats. Quelle horreur! However, in a desperate attempt to get on with it, I converted the centimetres into inches and cut the pieces out accordingly. When I got them home and measured them against my imperial rulers, they were all wrong. I think I said ‘merde’ because it is one of the few French swear words I know which is not too rude. Although no French swear words are as bad as some of the ones I know in English (again, unless somebody can enlighten me 😉 ) So, in future, when I go to sew ‘chez Sandra’ I will be taking my own mat and ruler.
I am the first recipient of the blocks this time round and I have already made my three, two of which I have already shown you but here is a ‘little’ reminder
and this is the third one
This is called ‘Building Blocks’ – guess why. The darker ‘side of the block’ is actually navy blue but you get the idea. I just love those little dogs. The pale grey background, morphing into a slightly darker grey is not because the colour ran in the wash but is part of my haul of beautiful Gelato ombré fabrics. The colour starts dark(ish) at one selvedge edge, fades gradually into the middle and then starts getting darker again. I bought a half yard bundle and so have a lot of colours. It is actually very useful and you can see some more of it in the pale greens I used in the ‘failed’ block I showed earlier.
I’ve decided that the colours I’ve chosen for my blocks this time round are quite ‘masculine’ and realised I have never asked Mr. T. whether he would like a quilt to have in his weekday U.K. apartment as a reminder of home comforts – or perhaps he likes to get away from the fabric fest during the week. Anyway, he liked the idea so that is where my eventual quilt will end up – in the London flat frequented by my husband when he’s not here, shortly to be shared with Mlle. Tialys the elder who has just finished University and has landed a job in Shoreditch which, I am reliably informed, is dead trendy these days. At least I know she will be fed properly three evenings a week.
A bit early – Sandra isn’t due to receive her blocks until July – and in the full and certain knowledge that she will not see this blog – here is the block I re-did for her after I re-sized that inch.
I know the stripes go in different directions on alternate corners but it was deliberate to give the block a feeling of movement – like the blades of a windmill turning. (Yeah, right) However, that did make sense to me once I thought of it
as an excuse so I’ll stick with it.
This lovely pattern is by one of our talented F2F Block Swap members, Esther, in the Netherlands. She is so talented and I’m glad she’s participating again this time because she sent me such amazing work last year and it was what inspired me to try foundation paper piecing out for myself. Now, I’m hooked. She has lots of beautiful patterns available on Craftsy and you can download this one called ‘Out There’ for free on Craftsy here. (Esther – I hope I’ve made you proud 🙂 )
Have you ever had a disastrous experience with PDF patterns?
I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish Kate of Tall Tales from Chiconia – a blogging friend and one of the organisers of the F2F swap – a full and speedy recovery from the back surgery she underwent this morning (Australian time) and hope she gets back to a normal, pain-free life and continue with the things she loves to do as soon as possible.