Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I've never done English paper piecing. I've read about it, and it sounded fussy and complicated so I've never even considered that it might be for me. I don't even like the little bit of whipstitching to get pillows or stuffed animals closed, so why on earth would I subject myself to whipstitching as the main construction technique??? Then I saw this Star Blossoms tutorial on Stitched in Color and I had to try it. (I love everything on that blog; she uses the most beautiful colors in all of her work, and I always finish reading her posts with the inspiration to sit and sew).

We have pictures of a farmer's market in Amsterdam hanging up along the top of our kitchen and there are gaps that would be perfect for single quilt blocks to hang. I figure this will give me a chance to try out some more complicated blocks with minimal commitment (it's just ONE, after all). Plus, I get to use more scraps! So, I printed out a sheet of 1-inch hexagons, figured out how to cut them into the jewel shapes (just cut along two edges that are one segment apart until they meet at a triangle) and 2-inch six point diamonds (do the same thing in two directions) and set to basting.

To me, basting is a dirty word. It rhymes with wasting. As in time, thread, patience. I know it's a necessary part of being a good sewing citizen and is important in all sorts of ways for all sorts of projects, but I don't like it. Maybe that's why I've never tried paper piecing. Well, besides the whipstitching. In this case, it's fun! Before I knew it, I had all 13 of my shapes basted and ready for assembly. I can imagine how easy it would be to end up with piles of basted shapes waiting around in baskets or jars. 

On to the dreaded whipstitching! Actually, once I got started it turned out to be quite meditative. Maybe I'm reconciled with whipstitching. It helps that in this case I'm sewing two flat things together instead of also trying to wrestle stuffing out of the way. I got all six petals sewn to the middle and to each other. Not bad for an hour or so of work on a weeknight! 

More to come on this little project as it progresses. 

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