My three brothers had all received quilt gifts by now, but I hadn’t found the right design for my dad and his wife Cathie. It needed to be traditional for Dad, and it had to be blue for Cathie. Then I stumbled across a Connecting Threads quilt kit called Midnight Shadows that was perfect. I even managed to follow the pattern and not change anything! Kind of a small miracle. The quilt had a lot of smallish pieces and lots of points that needed to be lined up. I wasn’t quite used to that yet, and it was very good practice for me. But the quilt came together quickly and I dropped it off with Karen for quilting. I chose the same pantograph called Popcorn that I had used on the Hokey Pokey throw quilt. When I was growing up, Dad was the popcorn king. He made popcorn almost every week in an old broken pressure cooker. He made awesome popcorn. Easiest quilting decision ever.
But the project seemed just too easy. Other than some additional practice on my piecing, I hadn’t really stretched myself either creatively or technically. Luckily, there was still time while Karen was doing the quilting. My nearby quilt shop, A Common Thread, had a paper piecing class scheduled. Jackie and I signed up, even though I wasn’t too sure if I was going to like it. Hey, you never know. The class revolved around creating a New York Beauty Block. I finished my block, but just barely. I understood the concepts just fine, but had real trouble judging whether I had enough fabric to cover the section I was working on. If you know paper piecing, you’ll understand what I mean by that. Jackie was much better at it than I was, and finished four blocks which she put together into a little wall hanging. In the end, I decided I needed to give it another chance to see how I really felt about it. So I found a cool pattern called Circle of Geese and decided to give it a try. I figured I had enough fabric left over from the Midnight Shadows kit to make a couple of coordinating pillows for Dad and Cathie.
I actually had fun making the pillows, and I did learn a few things over the course of the project.
- Paper piecing is not my thing. I’m glad I made the pillows, but that’s probably where my paper piecing career ends. I would have taken a picture of my New York beauty block, but I think I threw it out. ‘Nuff said.
- Paper piecing can waste a lot of fabric. There’s a lot of trimming off “extra” fabric. On the other hand, it’s a great way to use up scraps that you might not otherwise use.
- Fabric has two sides. This may seem obvious, but I had gotten so used to thinking of fabric as having a right side and a wrong side. During the paper piecing class they gave us “permission” to use the wrong side. I only had one fabric that I had enough of, to use as a background for my pillows. It was a dark blue with a somewhat busy pattern. When I laid out my fabrics for the pillows I really struggled, because the whole thing looked too busy and the geese didn’t stand out like I wanted them to. I must have tried a dozen different layouts before remembering that I could use the back of my fabric. The pattern on the front of the fabric showed through to the back so it wasn’t plain blue, but it was still a lot less busy. After that, boom, the layout became obvious.
I finished the pillows with envelope backs (still not ready for zippers) and shipped it all off to Dad and Cathie for their 21st wedding anniversary.