Friday, February 9, 2007

Paper Piecing

The second Friday of the month is when I go to my local quilt shop to pick up the next three stars in the series of Carol Doak's 50 Fabulous States Stars, all 12-inch, paper-pieced, and complete with excellent instructions. We began a year ago, and have about four more months to go to complete the stars representing the 50 states.

Cutting the fabric to fit is one of the things that make paper piecing so frustrating for beginners like myself, but my quilt shop, has it pre-cut using the charts in Carol's book, and the pieces allow you plenty of "fudge" room. When doing paper piecing you have to "think right" and "sew left-side". Stashbusters newsletter suggested the paper piecing tutorial on Judy Neimeyer's homepagepage .It is excellent and shows you step-by-step what to do.

Carol Doak also makes a translucent paper you can feed through your printer and its non-woven construction allows you to tear it away easier than most papers. My favorite paper is Fun-dation from HTCW inc. It's like Carol Doak's paper, but they even suggest you leave it in to stabilize your project. Because it's translucent, you can easily see where it is that you are positioning your fabric on the "RIGHT side", so when you turn it to the wrong ("LEFT") side to sew, it's almost fool proof. If you want to tear it out, it comes out quite easily. Many old quilts, like Grandmother's Flower Garden left the paper in for added warmth.

The great thing about this Block-of-the-Month project is that I just had to purchase the book at Phat Quarters and they supply me with the pre-cut fabric each month, that will result in four different quilts in four different color-ways.If I can't make it into the store that month, I can go later and pay $3 for the three stars, which is still a great bargain.

A friend and I are swapping one of the colorways, so that she and I will end up with 24 blocks in one of the color-ways and 0 in the other. We each gave up a colorway that we weren't thrilled about, and now will have enough blocks to make one of the quilts larger.

Another benefit of this 16-month process has been having time to think about how I want to "set" each of the three quilts. I've been collecting pictures from different quilt magazines. One of the quilts I want to set on point and intersperse with plain blocks so that I can showcase some quilting. Another I hope to do a center applique set on point, with the 12 blocks around it, and the third is still in the dreaming phase.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Criss-cross Coasters for Valentine's Gifts

I love the criss-cross coasters that I learned how to make by reading Allsorts blog on typepad. They are the quickest, easiest gifts I've ever made. You need two coordinating fabrics cut in 4.5" strips, a 4" piece of medium weight interfacing and another 4.5" piece for the inner lining. It's all in the folding and layering, a quick stitching, and turning them inside out and you're finished! Thanks, Jennie B. Harris for the clear tutorial you have posted on your blog.

I taught my local quilting group how to make them at our last meeting. They make a cute hostess gift, birthday gift, etc. They are nice to have on hand for a last minute thank you gift. Right now I'm making them in soft pinks/greens for Valentine gifts. A friend made them up in white-on-white and a bright spiral red and they look terrific. She's using them as a dinner party favor for a dinner club.

This weekend I designed a simple placemat that coordinates with them that I am making for a Silent Auction that will benefit a local restoration project. I don't have a digital camera, but I'll try to post a photo of them soon.