Tuesday, March 4, 2014

If I'm not careful, I'll finish Row A of Dear Jane

Three more Dear Jane blocks are complete.  The first two, "Dad's Plaids" and "Florence Nightingale" were pretty simple, not very many pieces and not too hard.  I ironed the melons around a plastic template for "Dad's Plaids", which gave much more accuracy than freezer paper.

I still have to cut the brown fabric out from behind the white applique to make the white melons less dark.  

"Florence Nightingale" came out nice and crisp, even though I'm not using any starch for the paper-piecing.  I had always used starch before, and I never liked how crunchy the blocks would get.  I wanted this Dear Jane to be soft throughout the process.

At 45 pieces, the third block this week, "Cabin Fever", took lots more planning.  I only enjoy paper piecing if the pre-cut pieces easily cover the paper being pieced; also, this way I can avoid using pins during the paper-pieced part of the process.  (Typically I want the pre-cut rectangle to be 1/2" larger than necessary in both directions.)  I also really hate using pre-cut triangles; I would much rather cover a triangular shape with an over-sized rectangle.

To avoid wasting fabric, I decided how big each rectangular paper-pieced pre-cut needs to be, then cut strips of fabric as wide as one side of the rectangle.  I then labeled the width of the strip in the selvage with permanent marker, then I pre-cut all my rectangles.

Having all the correctly sized pre-cuts ready and waiting made "Cabin Fever" come together quickly and accurately.  Having a six inch cutting mat and my little Clover craft ironing station set up next to the sewing machine helped hurry things along too.  I'm using a press cloth for all pressing (even finger pressing) to keep the blocks nice and clean.

Just because I don't pin during the paper-piecing process doesn't mean I don't pin obsessively when putting the sections together.  I use two pins around a removable guide pin at every seam intersection, as well as pins at each end of the section.  I think I had ten pins in the longer side sections.


Hilachas said...

What beautiful blocks you've completed. I need to get back to my Jane. "If I'm not careful, I'll never finish..." haha

Christine M said...

Your blocks look great Susan.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Your blocks look great! I'm in no danger of finishing anything....giggle.

margaret said...

these blocks have worked a treat, I do have the book but so far I have not worked out how to do the blocks, they are so very tiny and fiddly

Mary said...

You are doing a great job on your DJ blocks! I love working with batiks too.

viridian said...

I am a paper piecing person myself, and am about to start this one this weekend.