paper piecing project

vacuumfreakNovember 2, 2012

I always post the beginning of a project and not the end because I get bored and never finish anything I start! I'm determined to this time, and the project is simple so hopefully this thread will end with a picture of the final product :o)

My best friend has an aunt named Aunt Jean and she's a sweet 80 year old lady that we go thrift shopping and out to eat with a couple times a month.... she recently had a heart problem scare and she gets depressed around the holidays because it marks the anniversary of her husband and daughter's passing.... so I wanted to make something with cats (she has 10 cats... the strays come by and she feeds them so they stick around) and send it to her just because.... I think something unexpected is just what she needs right now. Plus, it gives me something to engross myself in... I had 2 neighbors that were pretty close friends for the 7 years I've lived here move several hours away (and one was the guy right above me, I hope I don't get loud people in his place) and I feel all abandoned now, especially losing them both in the same day... so a project is just what I need. :o). Of course the tote bag for my friend's birthday is put on hold for this and may be late, but it's for his aunt!

I found a cool cat print fat quarter and am going to do a quilted table runner with that and a couple of cat themed paper pieced blocks. The blocks are 6 inches and diamond shaped, so I'm going to applique them onto a blank background fabric to make a square shape (alternatively, I could sew triangles to each of the flat sides to make a square, that just occured to me). I'm planning to make 4 rows and 2 columns... the first row will start with a paper pieced cat block and right beside it will be a plain square.... the next row will start with a plain square and beside that will go a square from the cat print fat quater... then Ill repeat that again using the other paper peieced cat design, and the cat print below that.... almost a tiled or checker board design.... then border, quilt, and bind... (I could only find two free cat designs, but that is OK because I really don't want to spend 5 years on this lest she never get it.... she has heart problems and is 80!)

Goodness I hope that wasn't too much to read... helps me to organize my game plan to see it written out :o)

Here is the block that I completed.... this is the "sloppy copy"... it will not be going into the project. I have to make about 3 of any one design to get the hang of it and that is just the first one... I messed up several times, starting where I wasn't supposed to so the stitches showed and having to piece strips to have enough material to cover because I didn't use enough to start with.... I should sail right through the next one with everything I learned on this one. I found I like the vintage machine better for paper peicing.... and the free motion foot from the other machine fit right on the old machine (I tried with the regular foot and couldn't see where I was going) so I was able to make a comical attempt to draw the face of the cat.... more practice needed to be sure!

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vacuumfreak

This is the cat print fat quarter...

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 1:06AM
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vacuumfreak

Can you believe that I only got one block out of all that mess? I think I was going for the Guiness Book of World Records.... most mess for least completed blocks!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 1:09AM
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K8Orlando

Fun project!

Paper piecing is MESSY and can waste lot of fabric but you can do designs with it you can't do any other way. So for me its worth the mess - and its fun too!

Keep posting picture updates!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 5:15AM
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geezerfolks_SharonG_FL

vacuumfreak, You are a brave soul to post your plans on this one. But, I do like the kitty in a basket. Please keep us updated on your progress.

SharonG/FL

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:36AM
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msmeow

Cute block and cute FQ! I like your design idea and think it will really cheer up Aunt Jean. :)

Donna

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:37AM
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littlehelen_gw

Your idea is special and will be well appreciated by Aunt Jean! ...Keep on going and post the pics as you progress. (I assume you have vacuums to clean the PP mess!
:-) )
V.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:31PM
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rosajoe_gw

That is so CUTE!

I totally understand the 'abandonment' issues - I felt some when I moved from CF. Throwing yourself into a project is the perfect cure.

Your sewing room looks like mine lol, I have such a mess and it will probably stay that way until I finish the Christmas and Bday gifts.
Rosa

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:31PM
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vacuumfreak

Thanks ladies... I just got up and am about to continue working on this... I'm forsaking going to the grocery store and doing laundry to get this project done!

I think I will have more control if I hand sew the faces onto the cats rather than try to free motion them on... the only problem is that I can't remember the last time I hand sewed anything. Does anyone have a link to a youtube tutorial on how to thread a hand sewing needle? :-/

I can thread it, but finding the few I have, probably from 1987, will be a challenge :o)

The vacuums are because I love and collect them, but lately I've started liking sewing machines more... very dangerous! I could sell the vacuums and get sewing machines instead, they do take up less room :o) The fact that I only have two is only due to space constraints and extreme self control! I have to be careful which vacuum I use when I sew because thread and material wrap around the roller.... a canister that is suction only seems to work best.

Rosa, if that were my sewing room, it would be OK.... the problem is that it's a corner of my living room :o)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 3:31PM
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K8Orlando

Did you know there is a small, independent vacuum store for sale in Orlando on Orange Blossom Trail??? This could be perfect for you and if you start selling sewing machines it could be perfect for many of us!!!

Kate

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 4:21PM
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bev2009

Your block is adorable. She should also love the fat quarter fabric. Hang in there, you can get er done!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 7:56PM
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vacuumfreak

So I think I got hold of a bad design... This was the second block (my phone is going to turn it sideways, but you will see what I mean).... I've made it twice and each time, right ear of the left cat doesn't turn out right.... so frustrating. I initially thought that I did something wrong, so I remade it and they both look the same. On this one, I used the wrong color, but I fixed that the second time and there is still something wrong with the angle.... despite the fact that I sewed straight.... I think it has to do with the way the different sections lined up when they were pieced together... I think I'm going to stick with the bow tie kitty and then maybe do a paper pieced flower for the other paper pieced block...

Aunt Jean is sick and the doctors said her blood is too thick so she's not doing well.... more encouragement to get this done and sent to cheer her up.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:04AM
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magothyrivergirl

Very cute! Sometimes the patterns are wrong. Get something done and the gift to her. Even if you bind the pretty blue one and take it to her - it is cheery and visually bright! Do it soon.
I love to Paper piece - hate the mess - but I feel it uses up small pieces of fabric that are too small or cut too funny to make anything else.

Good Job Bobby!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:04AM
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sunnycentralfl

Those sweet little kitties would perk anybody up!

I appaud you for keeping us posted and that really helps you keep your project on track.

Sending Good Wishes your way!
Gwen

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:45AM
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vacuumfreak

I found a much simpler design that is just a cat face... I'm still going to use the bow tie kitty as well, once I make one that is presentable. I have to say, I love paper piece patterns that are all one section! I was up til 6 this morning working on this and am in the middle of hand stitching the face onto the cat.... take a good look because you probably won't see a hand sewing needle in my hand ever again. :o)

This one is going into the project come h e double hockey sticks or high water. :o). Even if I have to draw the face in with a magic marker!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:01PM
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vacuumfreak

Kate I've seen vacuum shops for sale before, but it is hard to make money with that because most people just head to Wal-mart and buy the cheapest piece of plastic junk from China when they need something like that...

Thanks Marsha and Gwen!

I finished putting the face on the cat.... it was almost fun and I am pleased with the way it turned out!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 3:48PM
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vacuumfreak

OK, so another whole day spent sewing.... I did have to tear myself away for a little while to get some food for the real cat (they sure get cranky when they are out of food!)...

This is the bow tie kitty with hand stitched face... it turned out well and looked perfect, until I peeled the paper off... Some of the stitches came out with the paper and shredded the material in the process so I had to do a repair job and now the block isn't as square or flat as it used to be.... hopefully won't be noticed when I zig zag it down to the background material.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:29PM
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vacuumfreak

Here is a very tentative lay out... It is hard to find pieces in my stash that are big enough to make 9 inch squares out of (they have to be that big because of the 6 inch bow tie kitty being diamond shaped)... I'm not going to stick with the green on the bottom right block... I may try to find something blue, even if I have to piece something to get the right size...

I think I have some old muslin and thought about using that as a background to the paper pieced blocks to make them stand out more...

I thought about just making it 4 squares instead of 2 across and 4 down...

So much to figure out still :o)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 10:35PM
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quiltnhen

A really cheery quilt. Hope it helps her mend.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:03PM
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magothyrivergirl

Bobby~always shorten your stitch when paper piecing for the reason you mentioned. Another hint- fold the paper along the seam line and that helps alittle for the tear away.

This is turning out to be a very adorable project that is sure to bring a smile and warm her heart.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:21AM
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msmeow

I've also heard spritzing the paper with water makes it easier to tear, but haven't tried it.

I think your kitties are adorable!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:37AM
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vacuumfreak

Marsha, I did have the stitch length set to 1.5... the problem happened because there was a place that I sewed the material upside down so the back was facing out. To fix it, I cut the excess material off, but had to leave the stitches in since they were so small... when I put new material on facing the correct way, I sewed over the existing seam! I had no clue it was doing to do that though! Lesson learned.

One thing I did do was unthread the machine and "air sew" over the whole block several times to make more holes... then I used the seam ripper as a picker, being careful not to go through the material.

Donna, that is a great idea about spraying the water! I'm going to try that! I keep a bottle by the ironing board (the same one I use on the cat when he's up to no good, just have to switch it from spritz to stream) because when unfold fat quarters I have to use a cold water mist to get the wrinkles out... steam just doesn't do it for some reason.

I'm working both jobs today, [so I won't be at the guild meeting, Donna and Kate :o(... have fun and let me know how it goes] with only 3 hours in between... I may do a bit between jobs, but I'm completely off tomorrow so hopefully I can get this finished. I wanted to send it tomorrow, but now I'll just be glad to finish it! The rest should go quickly now that the paper piecing is done... I'm almost swimming in fabric scraps. I used to date someone who worked on cars and once told me that whenever you begin a project, expect it to take twice as long as you initially planned... I think the same is true of quilting/sewing projects!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:14AM
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lola99

Nice job. I'm impressed with anyone who can start a project and 3 days later be almost done. My quilts (even easy ones) are measured in months and years, not days and weeks!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:45AM
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vacuumfreak

Oh boy did I do some quilting today :o) I was off from both jobs, and actually, quilting is the ONLY thing I did! I decided to make it just 4 big squares and I think it's plenty big enough... It's not perfect or straight, but I really think this will make Aunt Jean smile, and I seriously doubt she will notice the goofs... apparently she has the flu or a really bad cold and she was driving to get a prescription today and rear ended someone on the way!

I had some muslin in the closet that I bought when I was 19 and naive (the lady sold me 72 dollars worth of material and I could barely make my car payment!)... I've had it for 10 years! I had to wash it first because it was so old, but I must say, I REALLY like it! It is so soft and really warms up the quilt... I don't think I'll ever use regular "ugly" fabric (my normal practice) for the back of a quilt again.

I used a blanket stitch and black thread to applique the first paper pieced block, and lavender thread with a zig zag stitch to do the 2nd one. I played with the stitch width and length and ripped everything out a few times until I got something I happy with.

All this fabric was stuff I already owned so the fact that I didn't have to buy anything for this project was awesome. The black is a velour type of material that really adds texture... I bought it about 8 years ago when I made an Egyptian themed pillow for a friend who was moving away... So glad to finally have a use for it!

Then I pieced and put the border on and quilted. I spray basted again, even though I think that is what messed up my machine the last time, it was the easiest thing to do. I only used the vintage machine for paper piecing, and then switched back to the modern one for everything else. I got scared because I had the vintage machine down on the floor beside me and the other one up on the table and the foot pedals were too close together... I stepped on the wrong foot pedal and kept wondering why the machine wouldn't go about 3 times... then realized what was happening and got the super smart idea to move the foot pedal that I wasn't using out of the way! Switching machines is really hard, I'd gotten so used the old one that I kept reaching to the back for the presser foot lifter and it's on the side on the other machine.... I didn't even fool with the walking foot, and for the quilting, I set the stitch length on 3 millimeters. The quilt moved through the machine perfectly. I expected it to be a nightmare like the big quilt I did was! I was ready for a fight and it wasn't even necessary! Something that really helped me quilt this thing was that I bought masking tape and used that as a guide... so much better than marking with chalk for straight line quilting. I couldn't find my clear mono-filament (maybe I threw it away the when Marsha told me it would be nothing but trouble), so I used gold thread to quilt with and I think it works well.

I did my own version of a quilt tag with a personalized message... The lines are there because I was going to try to make it look like a scrap of notebook paper and I tried to mark the lines with disappearing ink... I abandoned the idea because it was becoming too much of a project. Then I tried to say the magic words to make the disappearing ink, well, disappear, but it hasn't yet! Does anyone know how I can get the ink off of there? It was a double tipped Dritz pen, and one side is removable with water, the other just says "disappearing ink"... that's the one I used, so I don't think water is going to remove it. I appliqued the tag with pink thread and used a blanket stitch.

I just have to put the border on (and do a general clean up of loose threads), and I'm thinking about piecing it with different random colors... I will definitely be machine sewing the binding to both the front and back. I've seen a few Youtube tutorials, and it looks easy enough. I'm going to get a card to go with it and hopefully can get to the post office on Thursday.

Thanks for taking this journey with me and allowing me to share the process. It's been fun, but it will be nice to have my life back and to clean up the scraps that are becoming my new floor covering...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:19AM
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msmeow

Bobby, it looks great! She will love it!

Donna

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:24AM
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magothyrivergirl

Great way to spend your day off!
She will love it!
It may take a day for the ink to disappear ..... it does look like notebook paper.....

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:37AM
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littlehelen_gw

Bobby,
Your results will definitly cheer up Aunt Jean, it's very cute! I enjoyed the journey as I'm sure many of us have. Congratulations on finishing your project...I now it feels good.
V.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:48AM
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bev2009

It's adorable. So glad you got it done so quickly.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:38PM
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geezerfolks_SharonG_FL

That's great!! I really like those faces. You did good and yes, thank you for letting us follow along. I enjoyed your journey.

I'm wondering when anyone starts a small project, if you would allow the rest of us to follow your process/progress. Something to think about......

SharonG/FL

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:35PM
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vacuumfreak

Thanks guys, it was really fun and your encouragement was tremendously appreciated! I talked to my friend today, and he said that Aunt Jean was taken to the hospital at 6 this morning because she was having trouble breathing... they have her on steroids and antibiotics and are trying to prevent pneumonia... I better fly through the border tonight so it's ready tomorrow! There's going to be smoke coming from my sewing machine :o)

I'm going to visit her tomorrow with my friend who is her nephew (they are keeping her overnight), but I don't really want to take this to the hospital because I don't want it to transmit germs or get lost, and I really want it to be a "just because" thing and not a "get well" thing, but I'm scared something might happen to her if I wait too long and she'll never get it...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:05PM
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vvesper

I'm usually over on the gardenweb forums, but have recently begun quilting and have been reading over here. How is Aunt Jean? Did you get to give her the quilt? It's so cute, and such a wonderful idea to perk her up.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 1:20PM
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monicatx

Thank you for sharing all the trouble you had in making this quilt. It is nice to realize that I am not the only one. The cats are adorable.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 11:36PM
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rosajoe_gw

Bobby I love the quilt! I have never used tape for a quilting guide, but I will now!!

Hope Aunt Jean is doing well.
Rosa

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 1:28PM
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vacuumfreak

Thanks for checking back with me... I kept having trouble with the binding... the colors were great (I pieced strips from several colors and it looked great), but I just coudn't make it even... so my friend suggested that I just cut it off and finish the edge with the scalloped edge stitch on my sewing machine. I did just that, and used color changing thread... I've done that on fabric cards before, but never on a quilt.

Aunt Jean loved the quilt, she thought I bought it at a store at first, so that was almost like a compliment LOL

She's still kicking, but her resting pulse rate is staying between 140 and 155 and she refuses to go back to the doctor, so who knows what is going to happen...

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:55PM
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vvesper

I'm so glad she made it at least to get your gift. That must have given her a tremendous lift! Hopefully her heart rate will calm down or she'll agree to see the doc eventually.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 1:22PM
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rosajoe_gw

After sitting in the doc's office for 2 hours and then waiting for him for 30 minutes in the exam room and the actual time with the doc was less than 10 minutes, I'm with Aunt Jean LOL!!!!

It's a gorgeous quilt so I'm sure she loves it!
Rosa

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 6:38PM
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