Saturday, July 10, 2010

Round Robin: a paper pieced adventure

This is the final rotation of my quilting bee's Round Robin project. The characteristics requested by Jody for her quilt are: adventurous, vivid, and inquisitive. My block contribution is shown here with her original fabrics from the bag.
My sketches for an "adventure block" were representative of a compass. The ideal technique for preserving the points made by these acute angles is paper piecing. It's been a while since I designed a paper piece pattern, and it was quite the adventure to refresh my memory on the process (gotta think about reverse images for this technique).

At my computer, I launched my vector drawing program and began designing my 10" block by dividing the block into four quadrants. I had pulled several bright, vivid fabrics from my stash to use in the block, so I was not limited by the number of pieces in each mini-block quadrant. After three drafts of a design, I was satisfied with this version, and printed the four copies needed to compose the block (below left).
The adventure escalated while I was preparing the "fabric hunks" for the sewing process. Although paper piecing is ideal for fabric scraps and left-over bits because the fabric is stabilized by the paper foundation, I still pay attention to grain direction if at all possible—particularly on those pieces that are on the block's outside edges.

Pattern pieces were created for each segment and an arrow drawn to indicate the preferred grain direction (above right). I didn't realize until I began sewing the first quadrant, however, that the patterns needed to be created from a reverse image—or that I should have put the pattern on the wrong side of the fabric for cutting. [With a symmetrical block this is not an issue.] The solution was to retrace the lines on the other side of the printed pattern. With that done, the block assembly went as planned.
I think the quilt's character is well illustrated in my quilt block: vivid, inquisitive, and definitely adventurous. And it plays well the other blocks (above) in this collection. I hope she likes it!
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