I’m not sure exactly how I’ve been quilting for almost 15 years and have never learned to paper piece blocks. I think I just figured it was too fussy, too much waste, too ….. something. That was me being perhaps too close-minded and stuck! Whatever it was, I’m glad I have moved past it. Thank you to one of my most favorite quilters and fellow Santa Barbara Modern Quilt Guild members Irelle of Jibberish Designs, I’m now on my way to learning and maybe even loving foundation paper piecing.
It all started with my Portal Quilt Block pattern. I created this block and then a design followed that I fell in love with, so I decided I would like to share it with others, and have been in the process of learning how to create my very first quilt pattern to sell. The one glitch with this quilt design is that in, my humble opinion, it relies on a level of precision in order to achieve the desired visual affect. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I created the above two prototypes using templates (also a new one for me), figuring that would be the best method. However I was unhappy with how it turned out and started to figure I must just be really bad at accurate sewing that requires matching points!! Oh no!! Luckily, Irelle visited before I got too down on myself and my skills, and informed me that this block would actually be best as a foundation pieced block. Maybe she was just trying to be kind, and spare my feelings, but she said that with this type of block, templates leave too much room for error and even good, accurate piecers might not match points well here. What a relief that was!! There is still hope for me as a precision quilter! 🙂
I love this block and it’s potential for a multitude of awesome designs so much, that I got right to work learning everything I could about paper piecing. There are many video tutorials and lots of great books out there to help you learn this technique, however the most helpful for me was Amanda Rolfe’s video. It’s on the long side as tutorials go, but well worth the time. I got right to work and, after fumbling around with it for a block or two, found it to be an easy process. I’ll admit it is a bit “fussy” as I had expected however, I’ll not let that stop me as I feel it’s an important skill for any quilter to at least be familiar with……and I love the finished product. While I also don’t love how much waste is created both in paper and fabric, I do love the outcome of the blocks and the crispiness of the points. They’re really spot on with this method. Love it!So I’m now on to my third and hopefully final “prototype” of this quilt design, this time using the foundation paper piecing method. I’m already seeing how much easier this will be and how nicely my points will match up. Yay!!I’m so glad I didn’t continue to be stubborn about learning this new technique. It’s opened up a whole new world of quilting for me and I’m excited to see where I can go with it. Life is too short to limit ourselves to the safety of our known skill set. This is true for so much more than quilting, yes? What new things are you excited about learning?