Last month I attended a course about foundation paper-piecing at Cotton & Color. Although FPP is not new to me, there are always new tricks and tips to be learnt, and I really profited from that class.
So, in order to put the new techniques into practice, I tackled a pattern that had been on my to-do list for some time now, and that turned to be the perfect birthday gift for my brother. On this one I used a non-woven interfacing as a foundation, which tore away rather easily afterwards (I know I could’ve left that, but the idea was to try new things). Also, I used glue to keep the first piece into place, instead of pining it… I must admit that these past weeks I’m using glue more than I have done before, and with great results, so I should revisit my own opinions about that…
For the quilting, I decided to play with the diagonals of the succulent plant and quilt a 45º grid following them, but excluding the border. It just seemed the right choice and I really like the contrast the quilting gives between the block and the border.
I reinforced the backing of the pillow envelope with heavy stabiliser, which helps to give some structure to the pillow.
Project: Pillow envelope
Size: 40 x 40.5 cm / 15 1/2″ x 16″
Date: May 2017
Pattern: Fröliche Kakten, by Amanda Castor, published on Simply Kreativ Patchwork + Quilting nº 8 (German edition).
Top fabric: L’s modern basics, Lecien
Mod Basics 3, Birch Fabrics
Cookie Book, by Kim Knight, Cotton+Steel
Grunge, by Basic Grey, Moda Fabrics
Modern Background Ink, by Zen Chic, Moda Fabrics
Bluebird, by A. Marcelle Abegg, Cotton+Steel
Background fabric: Bella Solids White 98, Moda Fabrics
Border: Hey Dot!, by Zen Chic, Moda Fabrics
Batting: Thermolam TP971 Fusible, Pellon
Quilting: machine-quilted, Isacord Thread 40, col. 0010
The 93th block of The Splendid Sampler™ is called “Tiny Miracles”, by April Rosenthal. I didn’t have much fabric to choose from, and I wasn’t really sure about the combination, but at the end I quite like it. It’s a really busy block, but as there isn’t so much contrast between fabrics I think it has the necessary overall balance.
As always happens with paper piecing, really thick seams on this one although I didn’t secure each seam with backstitch in order to reduce bulk. Just something to keep in mind when planning the quilting design.
The pattern, link party and other info are here.
Well, this one was supposed to be an easy and quick one. It wasn’t. And truth is, I can’t understand what went wrong with it… well, my flying geese units were short, and instead of re-doing them I insisted on using them in the block… So the block is smaller, and it took ages to get the center seams to match. Why didn’t the flying geese units turn out the right dimensions is still a mystery, the rest, is just me being stubborn.
1. XOXO, Cotton+Steel Basics, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Cotton+Steel
2. Mesa, Alexia Marcelle Abegg, Cotton+Steel
3. Life, enjoy the ride; Tina Higgins Designs, Quilting Treasures
* The background is from the 1000Colours collection, by Lecien, grey n. 501
(This block belongs to a QAL hosted by Amy Gibson –Stitchery Dickory Dock– and based on her book “The Quilt Block Cookbook”).
The 87th block of The Splendid Sampler™ “Shining Star”, by Jackie Kunkel, is a cute star featuring paper-piecing and not-straight seams (!). The paper-piecing was quite easy, the Y-seams required patience, but the trickiest part of putting the block together was the sewing of the complete units. I like to secure the stitches at the beginning and end of each seam while paper-piecing, but it results in an added bulk. The seams of the units were already bulky, so accurate pinning and matching points were really tricky.
That’s one of the main problems I find when piecing complex units with the paper-piecing method: it does provide accurate points, but the “exterior” seams of the units tend to end really bulky.
Link party, pattern and more info for this particular one are here…
… and this is how my blocks 1 to 85 look so far! I will rearrange the order of some of them, and there are some that need to be redone (not many, fortunately), but seeing them together allows for working on colour balance and gives the extra motivation to face the last part of this journey -well, besides of sashing, quilting… but that’s a whole different history, isn’t it?-.
Block 84 of The Splendid Sampler™, “Early Bird” by Joan Ford, is one that falls directly into my “really difficult to piece” category. Fortunately, a second version of the block using paper-piecing was given, so there was no doubt which way to go. Moreover, taking into account I now have a serious problem of fabric shortage, and I’d better play safe, and using scraps, rather than risking big pieces of fabric with an uncertain outcome.
Paper-piecing this one was not difficult; the only thing to be considered is the thickness of the horizontal seams when it comes to plan the quilting. The eye is embroidered using satin-stitch.
The pattern and link party can be found here.
The past hints had led me to think there wouldn’t be a block for December in the Cottton & Color‘s BoM, but to my surprise this little jar is the last addition to the quilt.
Now it’s time to put all the blocks together!
With all the Christmas sewing and projects with more priority at the moment I decided to put the blocks for The Splendid Sampler™ in the slow lane, so they won’t be appearing here in the right order and on the right timing. However, block 85 is a pretty straightforward one, so I squeezed it between other things.
Called “Flow”, by Latifah Saafir, it’s a simple paper pieced block, depicting a plane. What’s curious about this one is that the templates include the seam allowance, which was new to me. It seems to be two versions of this block, one with the main strip perfectly centred on the diagonal, and the second, as it’s seen on the last page of the pattern, with it slightly off. I guess the “correct” one is with the centred strip, and I did something wrong when trimming the block together (I cut from the back, following the paper templates, without checking the front…*sigh*). However, I do like this version, which looks more like a real plane.
This block changes dramatically upon the fabric choice; lots of variations and the pattern are here.
The 81th block of The Splendid Sampler™ is the last block of the three consecutive ones using paper-piecing. “With love from” by Cat Demack was a fun one to piece, and a cute addition to the sampler.
With this one I’ve run out of that grey print. One less from the original fat-eight bundle!
Pattern and link party for this block are found here.
Block n. 80 of The Splendid Sampler™ “Heartstring Star”, by Elizabeth Dackson (Don’t call me Betsy), is the second paper-pieced one of the last three released. Pretty straightforward, I couldn’t resist to highlight my favourite character of the background print in the central square.
Pattern, info and link party with lots of stars are here.
The 79th block of The Splendid Sampler™ “Spool of Inspirational Threads” by Melanie Barrett is the first out of three (for the moment) consecutive paper-pieced blocks. This one wasn’t particularly difficult, although I ended with a shorter seam-allowance at the top piece (it seems it won’t be a problem, though). That happens when you don’t double check the seam allowances once the fabric is pinned to the paper -I don’t normally use glue, and with pinning the fabric may shift a little-.
Great to use scraps, or a directional print for the central part of the spool, pattern and link party for this block are here.