Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Odd-Angle Paper-Piecing Tutorial...and a Giveaway!!

I'm not going to give you a tutorial on how to paper piece. There are lots of them, and Kerry has a very helpful  list here. This is the great thing about paper piecing--aside from its accuracy. There are several different methods, all of which will get you from Point A to Point B, so you are sure to find one that is most comfortable for you.

Since I have been working on my donation quilt, I'm going to show you how I started cutting my fabric for those really odd angles.

At first I wasn't really paying attention so much. I would just cut a bit hunk of fabric and then trim it down later.
The largest scraps went into a special box for Amanda Jean, who makes fabulous quilts out of teensy pieces.
But after awhile, even I, who has no shortage of fabric, was feeling the need to be more frugal. Part of my problem was that the pattern has been enlarged by 133 percent, to make a 16" block.So because some of  the pieces were quite large, no matter how careful I was, pinning my fabric down, invariably it would flip and I would sew it. Grrr.

If you have paper pieced before, then you know that sometimes it seems  you are sewing upside down and backwards. Because, in a sense, that is exactly what you are doing! I don't know about you, but just when I think I have the right amount of fabric for the next piece, after I sew the seam I realize that it doesn't fit at all because the angle is all wrong. And then I have to do what I just read somewhere is called "froggy" sewing: rip it, rip it, rip it. Finally  I remembered how I handled that problem when I was in a block exchange involving paper-pieced birds. I chose to make the scissor-tailed flycatcher. When I was little we lived in Oklahoma and that is the state bird. But mostly I chose it because it is fun to say. Go ahead. Say it out loud. Scissor-tailed flycatcher.
Enter the paper piecer's friend, freezer paper. And being super organized, of course it took me awhile to locate where I had stored it.  Kerry uses freezer paper when she paper pieces as well, but we have slightly different techniques. This link gives the basics of how I learned to paper piece and it is the most comfortable process for me.

I use freezer paper just for those pieces of the pattern that have the odd angles.In fact, I don't even use this method for all the pieces--you can pick and choose where you need it.

The first thing I do is make a quick sketch of the pattern on the non-shiny side.. Really. The lines don't even have to be perfectly straight, just close. Then cut them apart on the lines. No need to add seam allowance.
We'll use example of pieces #1 and #2. #1 will be pinned to the back side of your paper pattern (if you are following the method that I use...)

The next thing is to iron the freezer paper template to the wrong side of the fabric and cut a generous 1/2 inch around each side.

Now on the back side of your pattern, (the one without the lines), you can line it up with piece #1, right sides together, removing the freezer paper template, and pin if you want to. Carefully turn it back to the front side, the side with the sewing lines.
Stitch on this side on the line between #1 and #2.

Then flip it back to the fabric side, and start the process over for piece #3.

This method was really helpful when I got to #7 in this particular pattern, which was a large piece with odd angles.

Before I started with the freezer paper templates I would just have cut a big piece of fabric and hoped for the best. This works SO much better. And the extra time it takes is really miniscule. My pattern happens to be constructed in four quadrants and the freezer paper templates are easily reusable at least four times, if not more.

Pile of scraps before freezer paper templates:

Pile of scraps after using the freezer paper templates:

So while Amanda Jean is probably sobbing now because these scraps are too small even for her, at the same time, through her tears, she is probably applauding my fabric frugality.

If I have just confused you beyond belief, please email me (liveacolorfullife@comcast.net)and I'll try to do a better job of clarifying things.

And guess what? It's giveaway day. Again! Kerry designed the most awesome  paper pieced pattern, Winter Woolies. So cute.
Here is my version (I still have to do the mittens).   But I couldn't wait to post a picture because of the fabric that looks like actual knitting is just too fabulous! (It looks kinda stiff because the paper it still attached...)

The pattern is available in her etsy shop.

OR you could win a pattern here. All you have to do is leave a comment. So tell me: are you a "summer" person or a "winter" person? Personally I'm kind of a "rainy day" person. You know. The kind who loves rain for days on end...So I should actually be paper piecing an umbrella!

Just leave a comment and Random Number Generator will choose a winner on Thursday, October 27, at noon PDT.


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Kathy S. said... #

What a great paper piecing tute. You used great colors! Thanks for the giveaway!

Lee said... #

I'm a summer person, all the way. So don't ask me why I live in Wisconsin. : ) Thanks for the giveaway, I LOVE this pattern! And thanks for the paper-piecing tutorial, makes sense to me.

Gill said... #

Thanks for a great tutorial!
Me I'm a Spring person!! I don't like it too hot and I don't like it too cold!!! so I guess the UK suits me just perfectly!!

Bree said... #

When I was working on a few flying geese blocks, I had the same problems. Either I cut the pieces WAY too big & felt like I was wasting a ton of fabric, or I cut it just barely too small & couldn't use the piece. I actually ended up just cutting up an extra copy of the pattern to get my pieces instead of drawing on freezer paper. Either way works about the same though!

I love summer, as long as it's not too hot. Spring & fall are really my favorites.

Pieces to Love said... #

Great tutorial. The hanging is super cute too!

Cathy O said... #

Cindy, you are amazing. I love reading and leaning. You energize me today!

Sallie said... #

I love rainy days, too! I just wish we had more of them! We need the rain! I prefer summer because I like the longer days. Thanks for the tutorial and giveaway!

www.randomthoughtsdoordi.com said... #

I love rainy days, too. Actually, I love anything except HOT! So I guess you would have to say I am a winter person...but we have no winter in Southen California!

Mary Grace McNamara said... #

I'm with you, give me a few rainy days in a row and I can get a lot done! Summer is too hot, winter is too cold. A good spring or fall rainy day is the best!

Darling pattern and good pp advice here!


Heather D. said... #

Summer person. I don't live in an area that has a harsh winter but even the winter that we do have is too long and cold for me!!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Poppyprint said... #

WINTER!!! My furnace is broken at the moment. The house is perfectly cold! Your scarf is adorable - don't count me, I'v already got the pattern in my line up!

Staci said... #

Thank you for this, I have never seen this method before. Paper piecing is a new thing for me, I tried it for the first time at the start of the year. Right now I am working on my first entirely paper pieced project. I've bee procrastinating the next set of blocks I need to do because of the acute angles. I'll be giving this a try in the next day or so.

I'm a Spring/Fall person. Not too hot, not too cold! Just call me Goldilocks cause I like it to be just right!

Amy Friend said... #

You have THE BEST fabric for the Winter Woolies pattern ever. I love your version! Count me out for the pattern (not that I don't love it but just cause I have it!)

Marthalynn said... #

I love this tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

I'm such a summer person. It's undeniable. I love the warmth of the sun on my skin. I love the long days.

Esther said... #

I'm a winter person! I hate being too hot and I got sun stroke really bad this year so I try to stay out of the sun. I love wearing sweaters and winter boots and mittens!

Doris said... #

I'm an Autumn person, hands down. I get frustrated by our Summer humidity and discomfort and I am freezing no matter what I wear from November-March! Perhaps I should move to California?

Mrs Flying Blind... said... #

Definitely a sunshine girl - but I don't mind if its hot summer or crisp frosty winter, just no drizzle!!

I will re-read this later - I'm sure it made sense!

verykerryberry said... #

Just wanted to comment- I love that knit print fabric- it looks so good- like it has been knitted with the chunkiest of needles. I will add your tute to my list!

Dollwood Farms said... #

I would be a winter person...or a rainy day person too. I live in Florida so there is very little change of seasons, lol

Sonja said... #

I´m a winter person and I love the pattern!!

Love your fabric choices, too!
Great job!

Cecilia said... #

I would have to say that I am an autumn person. I love the sun along with cool weather. Thanks for the tut, it will help me slot. Thanks for the chance to win such a great pattern.

twelfthzodiac said... #

Totally got your tute instructions! Should I try any super fancy paper piecing, I will use this method, it makes perfect sense.
I am summer all the way. But hate to be super hot without a pond/lake/pool/ocean(*sigh*) nearby. We've had a ton of rain lately, but living in the great white North, I know the S word is coming soon, so rain is fine by me.

Anonymous said... #

Wow, that bird took my breath away trying to keep up with your workmanship. I love the cold and my ugg boots.

Archie The Wonder Dog said... #

Great post - thanks for sharing your method! I'm a winter person without a doubt - no sunscreen or hayfever meds required, what's not to love?!!

Jen said... #

Thanks so much for this tute! I totally love it and think you are a genuis :) The pic of before and after scraps sold me! Cute fabric for the pattern, it looks perfect. I'm a both person. I love snow and I love heat. I have lived in Alaska and Las Vegas. I guess I just love the extremes :)

Susan said... #

Your Winter hat and scarf are SO wonderful! What a perfect use of the fabric you have! I love Summer!

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said... #

I'm definitely a winter person. I can put on layers of clothes but can only get so undressed when it's hot. And, like you, I LOVE the rain! Thanks for the opportunity to enter your great giveaway.

Sarah @ FairyFace Designs said... #

Oh, I am a summer person. Hate the winter. Hate the rain. Seriously, if you love the rain you need to move here! Thanks for the tute and links, really useful!

felicity said... #

Very cool idea with the freezer paper. I ascribe to the Gigantic Hunk of Fabric Hoping it Works Then Feel Guilty When I Trim and Have Odd Shaped Scraps method.

I'm a Fall person, and if I can't have a lovely crisp and cool sunny day, I'll take rain. Good thing I live in Vancouver!

Elizabeth Dackson said... #

I'm definitely a winter person :) What an awesome tute you wrote, Cindy, I am absolutely bookmarking this!

Pat said... #

I'm a summer person and one day soon I hope to try paper piecing...your giveaway would be the perfect pattern to try this winter, thanks for all you do.

pinsandneedles said... #

I am definitely a summer person! I love to paper piece but haven't done it enough to feel real confident. I think I need more practice! Thanks!

Rebecca Lynne said... #

Okay I definitely love your little paper piecing with the Patty Young itty bits there. Yum! Not sure I follow it all...but I skimmed. I'll be back later for a more thorough check. But, for now, I enjoyed the eye candy!!!

Mary Jo Hutchinson said... #

Love the star blocks you were working on! I am a fall person! ; )

Tiffany said... #

Thanks for the tips on piecing odd angles.

I am a winter person, I'd much rather be cold than hot!

Thanks for the chance to win winter woolies!

Needled Mom said... #

Okay....I LOVE this idea as my scraps always look like the first pile. This will save me tons of scraps. Thank you.

BJ said... #

I am a Spring person! That wasn't an option, so I will say summer is the next best thing. Living in Saskatchewan Canada, I am cold for half a year! Thanks for the giveaway.

Marcia W. said... #

Cute pattern - something that never see here in Florida. Thanks for the paper piecing suggestion with the freezer paper.

MoeWest said... #

I'm a summer person. I love gardening season. Thanks for the tutorial.

CitricSugar said... #

Thanks for the tips! I had been wondering about those pink blocks...

I love rainy days, too, but I'm a winter person. I love frost on trees, the austere beauty of snow, fog on the river, and the way low clouds in combination with street lights and snow give an evening a rich orange glow.... Plus, cocoa.

Indianna said... #

I love summer best as I love the beach and to be out in the fresh air.......but I also love to ski. Thanks for the fabric saving tip - I will try the one day....just not yet.

Anonymous said... #

How cute! I am DEFINITELY a winter person...too bad I live in South Florida!!

Patti said... #

Thanks for the paper piecing hints.
I am a summer person, although I live with winter half of the year!
Thanks for the opportunity to win.

Sarah said... #

I'm a spring / autumn person! Where were you last week?! Will definitely try your methods with the freezer paper as I've been having all sorts screwups!

yorkie mom said... #

Wonderful tutorial! I love to paper piece but also hate to waste...now I won't have to! I am definitely a winter/fall person. Summer is too hot for me.

Brita said... #

Thank you, thank you! I love your tute, it's going to save me tons of fabric :-) The pattern I'm making now calls for huge rectangles of fabric, with only 2/3 of it being used in the process. Wish I happened to find this site earlier to have a chance to win the cute, cute, cute pattern :-)

Janet said... #

I've missed the giveaway for the fabulous pattern, but I just have to say - If I was Amanda Jean I'd be crying. I love people who waste fabric and give me their scraps...

Mama Pea said... #

Those are great tips, Cindy! Thanks!

Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane said... #

Cindy I love this post- I'm really inspired by paper piecing and am finding my way- haven't tried the freezer paper yet but that seems like a good way to go especially if I want to design my own blocks- is that what you would recommend? I know what you mean about the other way, flipping the fabric and all the waste- that part I do not love!

Kandi said... #

Just found you via Kerry, great idea with the freezer paper, thanks!
Kandi x

Atelier Fujii by Márcia said... #

Hi Cindy!

I am from Brazil and l loved your blog!!!

(Sorry about my English! It's not so good!!!)

I am a crafter and I loved the paper-piecing tutorial!!! It's a wonderful idea!!! :-)

Thank you so much,


Julia Smith said... #

I love the template idea and will try it next time I need it. Thanks for the advice.

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Anonymous said... #

I would love the pattern for the scissor tailed flycatcher. Where did you get it?