Monday, March 18, 2013

Paper Piecing: March BOM "Just Spoolin Around"

I haven't fully given up on paper piecing. . .YET.

I'm glad I'm sticking with it and I'm very glad I skipped the February block.  I know it would have sent me into a fit of crazed cursing and/or tears.  Either way, it would have been an embarrassing tantrum that just doesn't need to happen.

I am glad I did the March block.  Just as I thought, it was more suited to my mega super (ie pathetic) beginner skill set.  Yes, it has a lot of parts but not a lot of angles.  That's the key with me.  Though there were quite a few wee little pieces which did strain my patience.

Ok, enough yapping, let's see how it turned out.

Not bad.

Not perfect, but much better than my first attempt (the Jan block).

I'd like to point out all the fabric is the right size.  That was my major fail on the January block so WOOT!  Let's hear it for improving!

That said, the block still has some Major Issues which are darn obvious.  Things are crooked and a bit wonky pretty much all over the block.

You can see it really well on this section.  I didn't match it together so well and took a big ole bite out of the corner of the top of the spool.  I swear, I did make the spool per the instructions (with pointy edges on the brown part) but you just can't see the point on that corner I fed to the seam allowance.


The spool is also a bit off (the color part isn't lined up very well on the brown part).  But that's par for the course for the whole block, so I'm not all broken up over it.

And you can see I'm all kinds of crookedy and wonky on the stacked spools.  Really, it's a think of beauty how the spools can even attempt to balance when the bottom one has such a jacked up and uneven bottom (linen) piece.

I bet you also noticed my cheat there, huh?  Yeah, but the time I got to this portion of the block I just could not fathom having to endure those pointy bits (on the "wooden" part of the spool) so I just eliminated them on that there top spool.

Trust me, my sanity loves me for making that choice.  And honestly, it doesn't look that bad.  Yes, I really like the pointy spools of the original pattern (looks much more detailed) but a beginner has to do what a beginner has to do to get through the block.  I stand by my (kind of literal) corner cutting.

I'm happy to report another improvement from my last go with paper piecing (Jan's block).  I only totally messed up ONE part of the block and had to start over.  The very first part (the left hand spool).  My first go on that I just jacked it up royally (sewed some parts in the wrong order) so I had to cut into one of my back-up copies of the pattern (oh yeah, I make about four copies of each because I KNOW I'm going to jack something up).  So I only had that one major crap up.  *pelvic thrust*

I was also able to actually use up some scraps on this block instead of just making a crap ton more.  All the colorful parts of the spools were from small scraps and used up the entire scrap.  Double bonus, the brown scraps were some fabric that I received in a 2.5 inch square swap but they weren't the right size (which peed me off pretty tough) so being able to use them was a small "in your face, jerky person who swapped me those knowing they were stingy and not really the right kind of fabric".  Ok, that sounds more aggressive and angry than I really feel but you get what I'm saying.  I was vindicated and it was good.  And the scraps really look decent (kind of "thready" even though the one is going the "wrong" direction--eh, so what).

AND, I was able to use up some fabric I didn't really like.  The solids I used for the backgrounds are just so damn ugly.  And the blue is kind of thin and just crappy.  I think the gray was part of a scrap pack I got when I first started buying fabric and the blue was a remnant I picked up around the same time (before I knew how much super thin fabric sucks the big one).  So I was cutting that fug-o fabric up without even one whit of "wasting guilt".  I think that definitely helped me out on this block.

Ok, so on to the big question.

Now that I've made TWO paper pieced blocks, what's my opinion of paper piecing?

Well, I'm leaning toward not really liking it that much.  Not an active dislike, mind you, but I guess I still don't really "get" the love folks have for it.  Yes, I "get" how cool the finished products look (especially if you can do it well) but the process is a bit tedious to me (at this stage) and I still have huge "wasting guilt" over the whole thing.  Perhaps the "wasting guilt" would fade as I got better at it and could actually use scraps more (instead of just making more and more scraps).

That said, I'm not giving up on it yet.  I'm going to continue with this BOM project, doing those blocks that I feel are suited to my skill level and collecting all the patterns so I have them for future practice.  Maybe by the time the series is over I'll feel confident enough to tackle that seam ripper block (just thinking about that one gives me the chills).

Speaking of seam rippers, how the hell do you pick out the seams on this paper piecing stuff?  Maybe I'm setting my stitch length TOO short, but it's just about impossible to pick out a jacked seam and not destroy the fabric.  And forget it totally if I back stitch at the beginning/end of a seam.  I actually gave up on doing that after a while just because I knew I'd never be able to pick it out.

OH, and mega props to the tutorial on how to put the sections together.  The tip to use a big stitch length as a way of basting the pieces together to get a preview of placement was FABULOUS.  That tip alone made joining so much easier (and I credit it with making that part of the process so much easier).

Ok, I'm done yapping now.  Time to share this mess off over at Quiet Play.  


  1. I think your block is fabulous!
    Paper piecing grows on you... and you keep learning from every project.
    I also love that tip to make basting stitches first.


    1. Thank you.

      I'm very pleased with it in all its imperfect glory.

  2. Well done you for sticking with it! It's not the easiest of techniques but does get better with practice. I think my first attempt at paper piecing put me off it for about a year. Came back to it, and well the rest is history. ;)

    Btw you'll be glad you joined in this month - you won of the linky prizes! ;) Emailing you now with details!