“How do you make a quilt with all sorts of different intricate pieces and angles?”
I had my eyes set on designing a quilt with cute animals on it. Animals that were actually sewn pieces in the quilt, and not appliquéd or stitched on top of the quilt. I wanted all the pieces to fit together perfectly like a puzzle.
I never asked my question out loud. I assumed that only master quilters with ninja math skills could make quilts like that.
Then I stumbled across “foundation paper piecing” and the stars aligned. This is how quilters were making the intricately pieced quilts!
Foundation paper piecing is almost like quilting-by-number. The design is printed onto paper with each piece labeled with letters and numbers like A1, A2, A3, B1, B2. You first cut the paper into the different sections like the A section and B sections. Then you sew your fabric directly to the paper in the order of the numbers for each section. Finally, you sew the finished sections together completing the design.
By following the lines on the paper, all of your fabrics line up perfectly to each other and form the intricate patterns that I absolutely love.
It looks difficult, like Sudoku for quilting, but it’s actually very easy and enormously satisfying.
I gave foundation paper piecing a try. Of course, like a crazy person, I decided to make a design myself having never done it before, and for a magazine deadline. I made a simple elephant head design and fell in love with the foundation paper piece sewing process.
|My first adventure in Foundation Paper Piecing. Designed by me for Quiltmaker's magazine, 100 blocks vol. 5|
After that project, life got in the way and I never did foundation paper piecing again. I wasn’t doing much personal crafting at the time (BOO!!!) so foundation paper piecing went, with lots of other things, to the wayside.
However, over the past year I’ve changed a few daily habits, and now I craft every day! (During my nightly 9:30pm central live streaming Periscopes)
After making the commitment to get on Periscope every evening and craft, I’ve made and tried more projects in the past couple months, than I have for the past 4 years. It’s amazing what a tiny amount of time every day can yield.
So when I got the opportunity to try paper piecing again, I knew I could commit, and jumped at the chance.
I met Susi Bellingham of Tiny Toffee Designs on Instagram (@lillaluise) and instantly fell in love with her foundation paper pieced patterns.
There were three immediate things about her foundation paper pieced designs that set off the “squee” meter for me.
1: The paper piecing was TEENSY TINY.
2: The designs were of super cute animals like foxes and narwhals.
3: The finished designs were hexies for English Paper Piecing.
Cute times 3!
|Image from the Tiny Toffee Designs Instagram account (@lillaluise)|
We got chatting and I was super excited when she asked me to be in her blog hop for some new little hexie designs.
I was asked to try her “Shine like a Star” pattern.
I cut the pattern into its A,B, and C sections and was ready to go.
I was going to do the background in one color and the star in another (I had the fabric out and ready to go), but when I was about to get started I had 3 mini charm packs of fabric within arm’s length. They were stacked up on a pile of fabric on it’s way to a “fabric stash” bin.
I opened up the charm packs and used them instead. The 2 ½ inch pieces of fabric weren’t large enough to do the background or the star pieces in all the same color, so I had to mix and match, creating a patchwork look.
|A stack of mini charm pack fabric cuts. I used one charm for each paper pieced segment.|
|3 little patchwork stars.|
I couldn’t be more happy with the result. I ended up with three little patchwork stars. And they are SO CUTE!
I ultimately sewed the 3 finished hexagon stars together using English Paper Piecing techniques and glued them to a leather journal with contact cement. I punched holes in the cover of the journal and stitched on the work “Reach”.
Reach for the stars!
|Decided where to place holes then punched the holes into the leather sketchbook cover.|
|My finished leather sketchbook. Reach for the stars!|
What do you think?
I’m so happy with how the turned out.
To check out Susi’s totally cute new foundation pieced hexie patterns, check out her etsy shop, blog and instagram:
Tiny Toffee Designs ETSY shop
Tiny Toffee Designs blog
Tiny Toffee Designs on Instagram (@lillaluise)
If you want to watch a replay of my live Periscope of me making this entire project from start to finish, click the link below.
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Feel free to contact me (Alyssa) at emails [at] penguinandfish [dot] com (type out using the “@” and “.” symbols with no spaces), or leave a comment below.
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