Monday, June 27, 2016

Grape Fizz: A Flimsy Finish

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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24 comments:

  1. I love the name you have given this quilt; it makes me think of pop rocks and summer evenings. How awesome to learn new techniques from Amy and pre-trimming? That has me very intrigued. I have been trying to push myself on my color comforts and have finally come to peace with pinks, I think. I might need to explore browns a bit... it can be done, I'm sure of it (but as soon as I wrote that I was cringing a bit on the inside)!

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  2. This is just beautiful! I love that you've used only one print -- it makes it stand out as a special part of the quilt.

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  3. This is lovely - the colours are wonderful. I actually cut appropriate shape material and trimmed a seam before sewing on the last bit of PP I did - although there was still a little unpicking there was certainly less that way.

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  4. I saw this on your IG feed and just love it! The colors are perfect together and I like the title you've given it. When I paper piece I print out a block and cut it with a bit more than a 1/4 all the way around and use it to cut out my fabric into the appropriate shapes. I also trim my pieces with the add-a-quarter ruler BEFORE I sew it so I don't have to trim after (if that made any sense).

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  5. OOO! I can just imagine the quilting on your Grape Fizz already. It's really going to set it off. I have recently developed an interest in paper piecing. Could you recommend a good book to start off with for someone who has NEVER done it before? Beginner stuff.

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    1. Great question. Amy Garro's Paper Pieced Modern has an introductory section that lays out the basics of paper piecing, but paper-piecing involves some spatial thinking that does not come easily to me and that, I think, can be better addressed in videos instead of a book. So, a course on Craftsy (sorry I can't recommend any!) might be a good place to start. Or better yet, find a friend who knows how to paper-piece and can tackle a block or project with you. An easy block that my guild used to teach members how to paper-piece is the Dutch Windmill Block at Red Delicious Life: http://www.reddeliciouslife.com/2015/08/fabri-quilt-new-block-hop-giveaway.html

      It's worth noting that Grape Fizz required just one block and that block's mirror image. For real! Then it's pieced in different fabrics and rotated throughout the quilt to make it look more complicated than it is. The individual block is easy. It's managing the overall project that pushes this quilt into the intermediate paper-piecing arena. : )

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  6. I find purple a hard color. I either have to go all in and use primarily purple, or very small patches of it. I dunno. It's an awkward color for me. That being said, this is bomb awesome, and I'm excited to see what quilting does to it! :)

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  7. Yes! Definitely a success! I love this. Purple is a color I rarely see in quilts and the way you have worked with it here is gorgeous. I like the look that can be achieved with PP, but I always feel like I'm distorting the seams when I tear off the paper. Do you use any special paper? I've tried several.....

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  8. It is a wonderful finish and has a very fresh and modern feel to it. Congratulations. And of course those shades of purple are wonderful.

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  9. The quilt is beautiful! I have a stack of purples that I'm still trying to decide how to use. Hmm....

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  10. Wow, I'm not a purple person, but this is beautiful. Makes me like purple.

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  11. I think it's a success too! I'm not a big fan of purple but I really like how the various shades of this color look next to the white and the beautiful fabric with the motif. I'm looking forward to seeing the fizz. :-)

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  12. Lovely! It might even make me try paper piecing again.

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  13. LOVELY!!! Grape Fizz is the perfect name for this quilt. I bet Amy loved the colors.

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  14. I love that floral and this quilt is just gorgeous! It's great to see Icy Waters in different colors. I wouldn't have thought to use purple but it works so well and I love the name Grape Fizz!

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  15. This is so lovely! Your gradation is spot on, and I love how you incorporated that VW print. It's the perfect touch. Have you decided how you want it quilted?

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  16. I love it! I took Amy's paper piecing design class at the Vermont Quilt Festival last week after being inspired by her trunk show in Amherst. I'm excited to branch out with more paper piecing.

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  17. Love it! I've always loved this quilt and I think purple is definitely underused in modern quilting so I especially love your version.

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  18. This came out beautifully!!! Purple would definitely have been a stretch for me... it's definitely a win:-)

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  19. This is amazing! Who doesn't love purple?

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  20. I think it looks gorgeous in purple, and grape fizz is a perfect name for it. I love the pattern, it's been on my quilty wish list for ages an one day, one day I'll get to it!

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  21. I love this so much! (Purple is my favorite color.) Amy's paper piecing technique that you used sounds like what I do. I find it super helpful in placement of the fabric for the piece I'm attaching... When you have the paper folded back (like for trimming) you can make sure that the fabric you're adding on will cover the whole space it's intended to by holding it up to a light source. I find this particularly helpful with wonky shaped pieces. :-)

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