Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Pin Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks

Hello all! I'm sharing how to pin paper pieced quilt blocks to ensure accuracy and section matching. I'm showing you with a great new quilt block from Tartankiwi that I got to pattern test. We'll start with non-ironing and pinning in each section.




I don't find ironing paper piecing in each section necessary. I finger press it. That just means pushing on it, or pushing back and forth, like your fingertip is a tiny iron. Then push a pin through the new seam and bring it up through the middle of the new section. This holds the fabric in place until the new part is sewn or sections are joined. It also helps keep the seam "ironed" flat. This is what the pin looks like.


The best way to make sure the sections fit together and everything lines up is to pin before you sew. Place a pin through each end point of the section and any parts that need to line up exactly. This means the pin is sticking straight up and down into the air. I push all the pins about half way through the first piece then pick up the piece that needs to be joined. Put them right sides together with the pinned section in back and the section to be matched in front. I keep a finger between the sections to help line up each pin one by one. Push each pin through the corresponding point all the way through. 


Once all the points are lined up and pinned, hold the block in your left hand (if you're right handed) and pin the sections together. The new pins are horizontal and perpendicular to the section you're lining up. 
It can be a little tricky but is doable. (If you need more detailed pictures, let me know.) I place them close to the sewing line but far enough away so that the pins are totally clear of the sewing machine foot. This way the sections stay together and lined up without having to worry about moving pins while sewing. If you have to move the pins to sew, you risk moving the sections out of alignment.

If you need more help with pinning, or it's not clear what to do, just let me know. I'd be glad to help! Now a few notes about the egret.

There is a charm and realism to Juliet's quilt blocks that perfectly captures each animal.  It took me a while to decide what fabrics to use as there are actually a few different colors of egrets. There are the snowy white ones that have a gorgeous long cloud of feathers at times. The white ones can have dark beaks and legs, yellow beaks and legs or a mash up of the two. Then there are the grey and red egrets. They were all tempting but I settled on a yellow beak. I think it's a yellow Sketch fabric, but I may be wrong. The top part of the beak is a darker yellow than the bottom so that you can see the two pieces of the beak.See the pin on the bottom right that is pushed through the seam and brought up in the middle of the section?



Since I went with the yellow beak I picked a white bird. The Architexture text fabric for the body still reads as white, just with some visual interest. In the next picture I have the sections I've started to piece on the right and the fabric I've pre-cut on the left. When I want the piecing to go fast I pre-cut all the fabric ahead of time. You also get the special treat, ooh la la! , of seeing my current sewing space. This tre chic studio is my coffee table. I sit oh so elegantly on the floor whilst I piece.



See, I told you, such a treat. You're welcome.



There are some tiny pieces around the eye which makes for small pieces of paper to remove on the back. I can usually pinch the paper, then pull it off. If I can't quite pinch it or there's a stubborn corner piece I just grab a pin and slide it under to lift it up. I use a short stitch length, meaning the stitches are close together and small, which on my machine is about 1.75. This allows the paper to rip off easily without pulling the fabric so there's no distortion in the block.



Paper piecing allows for great accuracy and fantastic patterns that would otherwise be impossible. The yellow pieces around the eye are less than a sixteenth of an inch wide but they were easy to do with paper piecing. I highly recommend giving it a go if you haven't already. Are you working on any paper piecing or would like to be? Let's talk.

Linking up to Paper Piecing Part at Quiet Play and TGIFF at Blossom Heart Quilts, the finished project being pattern testing and setting up a pinning tutorial.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

This is What Falling Off the Wagon Looks like or Sunday Stash

Yep, either these fell off the back of a truck or I fell off the wagon. See, I'm not supposed to be buying fabric. Who says? Well me, my mom and Making Rebecca Lynne at the Fabriholics Anonymous Group on Flickr.



What had happened was... :) I was testing a quilt pattern for Blossom Heart Quilts and I started pulling fabrics. I kept pulling out these really minty aquas. It looked like I had almost enough to not repeat any fabrics. Almost. So the next time I happened to be in front of the fabric store I parked and went and got some, just two. It's actually a little hard to find very minty aquas. Then since I'm making a cream and red block for myself for the Stash Fabulous Bee I probably needed some more creams.



Low volume and creams are good blenders right? And this one is a Christmas fabric so it was on super sale. And it has a metallic shimmer.



Mmm, gold. So here they are, my beautiful walk of fabri-shame and stash guilt. Know why? I ended up having enough minty aqua already in my stash for there to be no repeats. Now I have extra aqua for no good reason. Except maybe scraps and goodies for swaps.

The cream crosshatch I sent off for background fabric for the Stash Fab Bee and the text/sew fabric I've been using as background on my pattern test animal blocks for Juliet at Tartankiwi (also on major sale). So, very necessary that :) And they do all look nice together.


Happy Stash and Sunday to You! Linking up to Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Badger Paper Piece Quilt Block

The nice big post about paper piecing and pattern testing for Tartankiwi seems to have gone the way of the world. It's hiding from me. In the mean time this badger is a paper pieced pattern that I tested a while ago.

If you get the chance to do pattern testing for someone I would recommend it. I have become a better paper piecer for having done it. While I had done some paper piecing before it was more along the lines of compass or mariners blocks. Those are fairly straight forward and all of the sections are exactly the same. Blocks like the flying geese circle or intricate ones were out of my comfort zone and seemed too difficult and intricate for me. I was intimidated by them and hesitated even trying to sew them. Testing for Tartankiwi made all the difference for me.

One day I saw on her blog a call for people to test her patterns. If there's one thing I had learned about paper piecing its that if you can sew on a line, you can make a block. So I volunteered myself. I like to stretch my boundaries and learn new things. It feels great having conquered something that seemed really hard or impossible.

By the time I tested this pattern I felt 100 % capable to sew it up with no problems or hesitation. It is a straight forward and easy block to sew up and I think he is so charming. I totally fell for him while I was sewing him together. I'd like to introduce you to him. Here's Boris the Badger.



If you'd like to make one, head on over to Tartankiwi.

Linking up to Quiet Play's paper piece Friday. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Radiant Orchid Sunday Stash, Warp and Weft

I'm not going to buy more fabric. Probably. So this edition of stash is brought to you by Winning! Warp and Weft and Quilter in the Closet
Ty Pennington Damask Aubergine, Not Sure?, Bromley, Glimma Marby Mineral Dust Lotta Jansdotter, Tula Pink Birds and the Bees Squirrel, Not Sure?

Warp and Weft had a Radiant Orchid bundle giveaway and the requirement was to say what you would use the bundle for and how you are planning on putting Radiant Orchid, the Pantone Color of the Year, to use in your life. I answered:

‘First I would throw a welcome Radiant Orchid party this December, in conjunction with my birthday. After all, the announcement of the new Pantone color is just as important as my very birth. I would hand cut pennants for an orchid birthday banner for me and if these fabrics arrived in time make a table runner featuring tula squirrels that would nigh on float above a cloud of snowy white so that the orchid-ness shines. I’d make a floral orchid hair piece (mayhap with a feather in my cap? fascinator), pull out the orchid colored rose earrings I have, don those. I would bedeck mine eyes with the ‘enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones” and bring out the green. I would grace my guests with the radiance of orchid accessories in the water closet. While they are freshening up I would tie my new hostess apron on, made with layers of light and dark orchid tulle in a retro modern feel. Then I’d put the finishing touches on my purple potato aperitif and straighten the bouquet of orchid flori-bundance and bring out the lavender scented sugar to sprinkle atop the nights purple dessert. The whole while we would let our new beau orchid beguile us with it’s charm, it’s savoir faire. We would luxuriate in it, bath in it’s essence as you were. I welcome it’s radiance with open arms.’ – Jeifner, Second Hand Dinosaur

Little crazy but totally doable :) Unfortunately the post didn't get here until after my birthday, so I couldn't go with the original plan. We did have purple potatoes that day, though. Yum. I'm still planning on a Radiant Orchid party and will blog about it and what we were able to do on my birthday but it will have to wait. Look how great the package is from Warp and Weft. It's a brown paper package tied up in string! It is also, coincidentally a favorite thing, fabric that is, but also parcels.




Just in case that wasn't enough stash for you, I'll share another Sew Mama Sew win. What, you don't spend all that week spending every spare second and moving into sleep deprivation to enter every single one? Me either. I do have to say that I only enter the ones I would really like to win. So not actually every single one. The
Quilter in the Closet had a book giveaway for SMS giveaway week as well.


That one! It's the Angela Walters one. Now I have an at home, in the 
book flesh book I can poor over and handle and twist and turn until it
makes sense quilting guide. Also that cute note and the extra charm 
squares. Love it. She also kindly wished me luck on my One Block
Wonder QAL quilt and suggested I'd possibly be able to use the book
to inspire my quilting. Very nice that. About that quilt... still not even
one seam is sewn. I suppose that's how it goes with a purely for fun
for me quilt. The back burner's a nice place to keep warm during
winter anyways :)


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Moments for the Week, Letter L, Easy as ABC

There were a few special moments this week but I only have pictures of two of them. Hmm. Must take more pictures.

I tried out a version of Blossom Heart Quilts Easy as ABC's patterns for the letter "L". There was this space to the right of the L that was just sitting there so I figured it'd be great for a little fussy cut showcasing. I have a little friend that is just so very girly and loving things pink and sparkly, so I made it in her colors with Mirror Ball Dot sparkle. This is one of my special moments because it worked exactly how I wanted it to.


My other special moment this week was receiving a sweet letter from one of my good friends. We really haven't seen each other over the last month, when normally I see her at least once a week. What a wonderful surprise to see a real letter in the mail and it was all for me. It made me feel loved and appreciated and just brightened up my whole week. I think I may just write back. Maybe have a pen-pal slash real friend all at the same time, ha!


Now, I was thinking of moments because there is a new linky starting over at Weekend Doings. It made me think a bit more in depth about the past week and what my sewing/quilting moment was and my life moment. Have a wonderful week and recognize some moments for yourself. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

First Quarter Finish Myself Along: Quilts, Zip Pouches, Paper Piecing and Crochet

There are a lot of projects that I've been working on. I really like to have various projects going on at the same time. When something doesn't quite work with one, I switch to another so my subconscious can figure it all out (she's clever like that).

Here we go:
A triple zip pouch for the Triple Zip Pouch Swap on Flickr .

A small pouch or drawstring bag for a little swap between soon to be besties.

Finish this quilt that has been waiting patiently for me for a long time. The top is good to go, just the rest of it needs to get done.

I'm working on a crocheted scarf that is part of a small challenge that my friend Lysa and I gave ourselves. It has to include a certain piece of trim that she bought on a trip.

There are a few that don't have pictures yet:
  • Secret Tote Swap- Don't have my partners info so I haven't pulled fabrics for it yet
  • Pattern test a block for Tartankiwi- needs to be done within about a week. You should really check out her patterns if you haven't already. 
  • 4 Bee blocks- I'm planning on making at least one extra bee block for each of the ladies in my hive that sent out blocks. I may need to ask for some angel blocks as well from the larger group so they receive, hopefully, as many blocks as they sent out. 

  • Finish setting up and getting started on a new bee called Stash Fabulous Bee that my friend MissRiain and I are starting. It'll be a year long bee from February to February. That way there's a little flexibility with the holidays and everyone's schedule. Gosh, that means I'm planning into 2015 already. Wow. 
On that astonishing note I'll add that I originally wanted to link up to the Finish-A-long on Littlest Thistle but my computer refused to pull up her website. Silly computer. I wish you a lovely weekend. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lovely Year of Finishes Blocks and Lovely Gift Cards

Last day to get your Lovely Year of Finishes goals posted for January! Mine is to get 4 bee blocks done. Two of them will look something like this:


It's another of my Cairo Star blocks and I still need to do some tiny tweaks to the pattern. I also joined a new bee and want to get my two blocks for February done this month. I'm to make two 12.5" high blocks that have wonky triangle trees. They can be any width. I'm thinking this is going to be a great break from all the preciseness needed for paper piecing. So those are my 4 blocks for my January making goal.

I also had a lovely break from the routine of normal life and had a girls night out. We gathered at a friends house and had dinner. We talked and shared which was just what my heart needed. Good friends make life light and joyful. Then our hostess pulled out paper and we made cards as we chatted. These are most of the ones I made. Paper making, card making, block piecing it's all from the same part of myself. Feels good to just make and to feel prepared for future greeting card emergencies, ha!



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday is in Progress and Kickin' Some Trash

It seems like there are a hundred million thousand projects and things to do. Some I committed to do months and months ago and others needed to be done right away. One of the ones that I've been working on is the Made With Oakshott Challenge with Oakshott Cottons and Lily's Quilts. 

Made With Oakshott Challenge, Jeifner, secondhanddinosaur.blogspot.com

The fabric is ethically sourced hand woven cotton. It has one color in the warp and a different one in the weft. In other words, one color thread going vertically and, in this case, black thread going horizontally. Or vice versa. The result is a perfect weight fabric for quilting and sewing that has a beautiful shimmer to it. I got sent this little bundle to make into a twin sized quilt. The design was up to me and I offered to make a visual sound wave inspired by Tula Pink. Here was one of the starting points I had in mind when I saw a picture of the bundle online.

Made With Oakshott Challenge

As I worked on the project, I realized that the way I had imagined it going didn't work. Not at all. So I had to switch gears. I went about it another way, cut up more pieces. Sewed pieces back together and although the technique I was using was what I wanted, it again was not going to work on a twin-sized large scale. Once again, I started over. It has been difficult translating my vision for these gorgeous fabrics in a way that showcases them and is true to the idea and to me as an artist. This quilt is like nothing I've made before, especially in a fiber medium. 

I finally laid out a twin sized sheet on the floor to arrange the pieces on. That way when I have to clean up for guests or visiting toddlers, I can literally roll up shop. I have only been able to work on it an hour or two every other day. There is no pattern for it, so it is a lot of sew, sew, check, cut, sew, check, sew cut, etc. etc. With it finally coming along well, I wish I could just work on it straight until it's done! 

I've gotten bee blocks done, this one is for the 3x6 Sampler Mini Bee, Sampler Group.

3x6 Mini Bee Sampler Hive, feathered star, paper pieced, red and aqua, grey, secondhanddinosaur.blogspot.com, jeifner

 I used the templates from Carolyn C. McCormick's Flock of Feathered Stars book block 12 "The Hour Glass" but I switched pieces around and did some backwards to achieve this look. I'll come back and show you all the blocks I did for the group. I am loving these feathered stars. I used another feathered star for my Mini Quilt Swap on Flickr. 

Mini Quilt Swap, feathered star, paper pieced, French General, chateau rouge, secondhanddinosaur.blogspot.com, jeifner

It's another one that I was worried about while I made it. I loved all the separate pieces and wasn't quite seeing the whole picture since, the whole picture needed to be finished to see it. Ha, funny how that works. Here's the middle of it. Love how paper piecing is so precise

French General Block Paper Pieced Red Cream,Mini Quilt Swap, feathered star, chateau rouge, secondhanddinosaur.blogspot.com, jeifner

I love how it all turned out and I'm excited to show it to you! And I will. On one of these days coming up when my Oakshott Wave is done, it is daytime to take pictures, I'm not at work, I'm not dodging small children and there's not an active blizzard. And the world is in perfect harmony, ha. Happy In-Between Holidays to you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Favorite Fabric Swap, I Have What You Need

What if someone has that one piece of fabric you've been wanting, pining and drooling over? It's just sitting there in their stash unloved and unused. Maybe not unloved but surely you love it more than anyone else possibly could. Over on Making Rebecca Lynne there is now a swap going on for you! You list the fabrics you have been searching for and hopefully someone will have it and will swap for something they like.

What would I like? Thanks for asking :)


Heather Ross Goldfish from the line Lightening Bugs and Other Mysteries. I would love either the free swimming fish and/or the fish in bags.


Timber and Leaf Fawn or Deer Blue, the one with the pink deer. It is a slightly odd print, looking like a border, but I love it. 



Melody Miller Ruby Sparkle, Cameras Ring a Ling in any color way. I know some shops are still selling this but I'd rather swap for it than buy more.


I missed out on this print when it came out. I thought I'd never use such a large print for anything but now I wish I'd grabbed some. It's so pretty and bold.


If you happen to have any of the dark or black colorways of Constellations I wouldn't mind taking those off your hands as well :)

Linking up to Making Rebecca Lynne

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday Monday Stash

What's that? I was going to sew from my stash this year? Uh... (ducking my head into the corner) ... but there was Constellations and its getting harder and harder to find and I wants it.

Sunday Monday Stash Blues

Preciousssss...


Linking up to Finding Fifth :) Sunday Stash 84.