Category Archives: Paper piecing

Quilt Retreat and a Book Review

Remember two years ago when I went on a quilt retreat in Downieville and ended up buying a house? (You can read about that here.)  Well, this weekend was the Downieville quilt retreat for 2016. I had such a great time. When I was packing up and getting ready for the retreat, I was somewhat hesitant because I was not totally looking forward to the classes I signed up for. But that hesitance was all for naught. The weekend was wonderful and both classes so much fun.

Friday I took a class called Reverse Applique. I thought that it was to be a class on traditional reverse applique where the shape is cut from the top fabric, edges are turned under and the second fabric applied underneath the first (showing through the shape that was cut.)  Nope, this class was really a basic applique class but the images were sliced up a bit and stitched back together to show a negative image against the positive. I chose to make a snowflake theme. (There were several to choose from.)  These are really pretty though.


The process was the basic trace, fuse, and applique. However this was the first time I used a clear polymer thread. Yikes – that was a strange experience.  While my sewing machine was ok with it, my eyes were not!  It was so hard to see what I was doing. There were so many little curves to work around. Once I had them appliqued, we split each one in half and sewed the half triangle to its opposite.


I am in the process of picking the stabilizer off the backs so I can square these and put them together. I think it will hang up at Downieville. The colors are nice for the living room.


Friday night most of us met for dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. This is a tiny guild which makes for a small retreat. I like that though because it is easy to get to know the others. There was a string band playing music and we had dinner on the deck. Very relaxing.

Saturday’s class was a paper piecing project. This was the one I was nervous about. I have only paper pieced one block. While it wasn’t awful, it was tricky for me. Remember my lack of spatial perception? That comes heavily into play with paper piecing.


But what luck. I had the best teacher! She was so patient and even offered to rip out my (numerous) mistakes for me. I didn’t let her do that of course, but it was sweet of her to offer. She patiently explained and explained the process to me and finally it clicked!


Everything about paper piecing is the polar opposite of how my mind works. Placing the fabric from behind, stitching above where you can’t really see the fabric, trimming up for the next piece – it is a trick for me to put that all together. But I think I’ve got it. At least I hope so. I was able to finish three of the six little Christmas trees for this project. (That took me a good five hours to accomplish.) It will be interesting to see if I can jump back in and get the other trees pieced without a whole lot of difficulty.


I am excited to have learned this and hopefully with practice, it will become easier!

As with many quilt guilds, The Mountain Star Quilters do an Opportunity quilt each year. They tend to make somewhat traditional quilts and this year’s was just lovely. I actually joined in with the sewing and had fun making some of the blocks (I think they are Sawtooth Stars?) We raffled it off and the proceeds go to the scholarship fund for the local high school. I took a picture of just a portion because there were people visiting and it blocked part of the quilt but you get the idea. It is a queen size quilt though.



Finally, I wanted to share a bit about a book I recently read. Blogging for Books provided a copy of Still Here, by Lara Vapnyar to me for review. Honestly, I didn’t like the book.


I chose this book because I thought the plot was really relevant to today’s world. Now that people have such an online presence, there are decisions to be made about one’s on-line accounts, blogs, social media, photos etc once a person dies. For example, when people are writing wills and going through the estate planning process, it is now thought prudent to give someone authorization to deal with your on-line property. Who will close your Facebook account, deal with your blog site or Etsy shop? This is something to consider and (obviously) is something that hasn’t had to be dealt with before the last 15 years or so.  I read the description of the book and thought that was to be part of the story.
However, this was not really the case. The story is that of four friends who are all in their late thirties to early forties and have come from Russia to live and work in the US. Honestly, the story moved incredibly slow. I had to force myself to pick it up and continue to read it. The characters are all a bit morose and their attitudes are quite negative as a rule. Each of the four are going through struggles, with career, marriage, parenting, losing their aging parents. I think it would be difficult to move from one country to another and strive to assimilate into the culture. But the four friends in this book are somewhat shallow minded and self obsessed. I kept hoping something would happen to change this. The ending is mostly positive and leaves the reader feeling that maybe these people are going to make some positive changes and possibly mature a bit.
The author does a decent job portraying (almost satirizing) people who are really steeped in today’s social media frenzy. The story is weak and left me feeling almost depressed. Not a great read.

I do think the subject of one’s on-line property is an interesting one. Have you thought about how you would want your accounts to be dealt with should something awful happen? Kind of morbid and uncomfortable, I know, but with the technology that has become such a large part of our world, it is a subject that will be reckoned with.

Linking up with a few of my favorites. Check them out a the top of the page, under Link Ups.


Lacking Willpower

This fabric fast just isn’t working for me. It’s a lot like when you are on a diet so you decide to give up dessert. Your mind becomes consumed with dessert. Pictures of brownies, ice cream, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate fill your brain. Selective attention, it’s all you think about. So, that is me and fabric. Friday on Instagram I saw a post in my feed about an anniversary celebration giveaway at Doe Street Fabrics. I don’t enter these very often but for some reason, I went for it. I reposted the picture and threw my name in the hat. Saturday afternoon I was looking at Instagram and saw that I won a $25 gift certificate. Yay for free fabric!!

I went over to Doe Street Fabrics (an Etsy shop) to browse her inventory. The shop is owned and operated by Angie Metessa of Plain City, Ohio. I think Angie was as excited as I was when I won her giveaway. She has so many cute pieces to choose from. She also has fabric listed on Instagram as well as her Facebook page. Choices, choices, choices. It was hard to make up my mind especially since her prices are really reasonable. My mind went right into rationalization mode. Well, said my mind, you could really pick several items. Since you have a $25 certificate, this will be such a deal!! Oh, yes… you know the routine. We’ve all gone there.

First I selected this fat quarter bundle from Joel Dewberry’s Nottinghill line. The colors are wonderful.

Quilter's Fat Quarter Bundle of Joel Dewberry Notting Hill- Poppies, Kaleidascope, Hexagons and Square Petals

Then I grabbed a set of 1/2 yard cuts from Riley Blake’s Floriography Line.

Willpower? Nah. Self-control? Nope. Gorgeous fabric coming my way from Ohio? You bet! Can’t wait.

I did try something new today! Kitty Wilkin of released a cute pattern for a paper pieced heart. She posted a tutorial for it on her site on Friday.  I have always felt intimidated by paper piecing but this pattern looked really simple so I gave it a try. It was really fun. I watched this tutorial by Connecting Threads on basic paper piecing so I had some idea of how to do it before I got started. I didn’t have the quarter inch ruler she was using and tried using a quilting ruler but it was cumbersome. Her ruler with the 1/4″ lip looked pretty handy. Love learning something new!IMG_20150117_2754

The process is simpler than I thought (though this pattern was mainly just straight lines.) This block was like piecing a log cabin block and then cutting a heart shape. One piece of fabric (the red and cream stripe on the left) was a little bit too narrow so that side of the heart is less than perfect. I think I will make another one for practice. It is a cute little block. I appliqued it to a 9 1/2 inch square. Not sure what I will do with the blocks but I’ll figure something out.

Linking to Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash.