Paper Piecing and the Baby Jane

Basically since I started sewing, I've heard about the Dear Jane Quilt:

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As I've already established, I have issues with my eyes being bigger than my sewing machine, so I have decided to make my own Baby Jane (if you're not familiar with this project, more info here). This will involve a significant amount of paper piecing (as well as hand piecing), which I have never tried before. I figured a few youtube videos and I'd have it down. Not so. It turns out that you have to be really careful about where you start with paper piecing, and the templates provided in the book are not numbered, so it can be tricky to figure out. The blocks are also smaller, about 5 inches across. Definitely not for someone with zero experience! In light of this, I've decided to tackle a slightly easier paper piecing project before I try my hand hand at the Baby Jane blocks.

So, I've been drooling over the paper piecing going on over at Wombat Quilts...Cath's Zeppelin block just put it over the top and I had to try it! I tooled on over to 627Handworks to check out the Block Rock'n Blocks and I'm having tons of fun trying it out. I accidentally started with week two's block (not that it really matters to anyone but me :P) and this is what I came up with:

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I wasn't sure what I was doing, so I didn't want to use fabric that I was attached to, and just pulled out scraps from my overflowing box o' scraps. You may recognize some of the patterns from the quilt I recently finished for our bed (I really do need to come up with a name for that one). These were on top and I already know they go well together, so I went with that. I think if I was doing it over again, I might go with white in place of the teal on the outsides of the block...I think the teal is a little overwhelming with the other patterns. Other than that, I really cannot tell you how much I love this method of making blocks!

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One of the things I constantly struggle with is piecing - my husband tells me all the time that slightly wonky seams are part of what makes a hand made quilt unique, but it continues to bother me when things don't quite meet up. Paper piecing, if you're careful, essentially eliminates that problem. It's sort of magic - you just put some fabric down, sew across some lines, iron, and then rip the paper off the back when you're done. I will say that the ironing part does get a bit tedious, but it's an absolutely necessary step and it makes things look so crisp and clean. Plus, it only took a couple of hours to make the above block, so I could probably get two or three done in a day if I was feeling really ambitious.

I started on the second block (which is really the first pattern in the series) this morning, and decided to stick to only two colors this time:

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If I was going to do it again (and I probably will), I'd use three or four colors instead of just two...part of what I'm having fun with is trying to picture how the colors will go together when it's all finished, and they're not quite perfect yet. I think I'm doing pretty well for my first time out though!