I really like paper-piecing. The accuracy I get with paper-pieced projects (like this one or this one) makes me giddy. I still do my fair share of “unsewing” when I paper-piece—most often because a chunk of fabric doesn’t fully cover the intended area—but my skills are rock solid. I didn’t think I needed to improve my technique until I took a class with Amy Garro.
I’ve been following Amy’s blog, 13 Spools, for years (even before it was called 13 Spools!) and was excited when she came out with her first book, Paper Pieced Modern, in early 2015. Other than completing a free block from her here and there, though, I had never tackled one of her full-size quilts.
That changed when my guild—the New Hampshire Modern Quilt Guild—hosted a daylong workshop with Amy. Our project was her Icy Waters design, the cover quilt from Paper Pieced Modern.
If I had pieced Icy Waters outside of the workshop, I would have resorted to my old approach to paper-piecing and there would have been some unsewing. Amy, however, encourages quilters to do much of the work up front with smart cutting. Then she trims her fabric to match a seam on the pattern before sewing it. I had always trimmed the seam allowance after sewing. There’s still waste with Amy’s method, and I made some mistakes in the first block or two. After that, though, that the opportunities for screw-ups were more about organizing the blocks, not the actual sewing.
I finished the quilt top a week and a half after the class. Now I just need to send it out for the quilting. (Have you ever hired a longarmer to quilt for you? I’ve blogged about two quilts I had professionally quilted: one features custom work; the other was quilted with a panograph.)
I’m calling this project Grape Fizz. Right now, it’s really just grape; the fizz will come in with the quilting. I think swirly ribbon-candy quilting will soften all of those hard lines.
This color is a stretch for me. I’m no stranger to shades of purple, but I’ve never devoted an entire quilt to it. The floral by Valori Wells started me on this track, and I added various solids to achieve the ombre effect while still ensuring there was enough contrast between the colors. I’m calling it a success!
What does pushing outside of your color comfort zone look like for you? Have you made the leap yet? If not, what’s stopping you?!
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