Friday, July 5, 2024

My Little Library / Beauties Pageant 258

Here is my first batch of volumes from the Summer Book Club QAL. Kate Basti organizes this event dedicated to her Tall Tales paper-piecing block every summer. After many years of admiring others’ burgeoning little libraries, I have finally started my own.

My approach is simple: I aim to use each focal print once in my quilt top and tie everything together with a consistent background fabric and text print. I have many blocks in various stages of assembly right now, and as you can see from the pictures in this post, I’ve sewn everything from giraffes and sharks to birds and turtles.

I may be just 10 or 11 blocks into this project, but I have already learned some lessons ...

I have many more novelty fabrics than I thought. It’s easy when plotting a new project to presume I need to buy more fabric. As it turns out, I have plenty of novelty fabrics perfect for these little books. I’m glad I took the time to organize my fabric and separate the fussy-cut-able novelties from the rest of my stash.

If I can sew one quilt, I can sew two. I’ve established that I have all the fabric I need, but the process of selecting prints and coordinating spines and back covers has proved to be a time commitment. So I decided to make two quilt tops. I mean, if I am going to take the time to curate one fabric-y library, I might as well sew a second. (This is my own special brand of complicating things.)

Chain piecing can cause problems. Chain piecing can speed up the process of sewing the same block over and over again. It can also expedite sewing the same block over and over again incorrectly. Despite referring to a self-drafted cheat sheet that specifies all the pieces (and sizes) I need for a block, I keep mixing up the little bit at the top of the spine with the outside corner of the back cover. Thanks to chain piecing, I did this not once but, like, a dozen times. Blerg.

Foundation paper piecing is a time commitment. When I first started making my blocks, I thought they were going to go pretty fast because their construction is straightforward. Still, paper piecing requires pressing and trimming again and again. It takes time, and sewing two quilt tops requires even more. I think I will sew all the focal prints I have selected and cut out already for both projects and then call it quits for the time being. My goal for the summer is not to complete two tops but to have fun on the journey toward that end.

If you’re sewing along with the Summer Book Club and have a finished block or two, I’d love to see them in this week’s linky!

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  1. Whoa!!! You go, quilty girl!!! Love your text print! And of course, love all your book covers!!! Interesting to read what you're discovering as you go. So true with FPP!!

  2. If you can make one, why not two? Sounds like something I'd do. The blocks are looking very nice. You are going to have two lovely quilts, happy stitching!

  3. Love these blocks and yes, so easy to mix it up and repeat the mistake more than you want. Because I have done a lot of Elizabeth Hartman and you have two pieces often so close inside I clip them with a label...might help. But, I love the idea of making 2 quilts, so you can doubly spread the love with them or keep one and share the other!

  4. These are darling! Love that background too. It took me two summers, several years apart, of participating in the QAL to get my version done.

  5. Hi Michelle, congrats on getting so many book blocks done! I have 10 blocks done from 2 years ago - I really hope to get more done. I have a bin of fabric to use so it wouldn't be difficult to start. I'm with you though, I didn't chain piece but had to rip out stitching in every block. It sure would make a great quilt or throw. Good luck!

  6. Such cute books! And I love your idea of getting the background and pages to unify everything. My brain is also on the same track with the two blocks idea - but I would have run into the same problem of underestimating the time. So I vote yes on your idea to pause it. You can still do another set of two blocks next summer - or whenever you feel like it. Just call it a longtime project ;) xo


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