Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tip for Tuesday - What I've Learned ....

... about piecing on paper while working on Rock Island Campfires.

I have not done much piecing on paper before this project.  This isn't the type of paper piecing where you stitch on the line on the backside of the block.  No, this is just using the paper as a base.

So I thought I'd share a few tips in case you've had difficulty in the past or are contemplating attempting this.

  1. Use newsprint which tears easily (Bonnie Hunter uses old phone books).  You can buy packs of sheets, but Nancy had found remnant rolls at a printing company in Alabama.  She fan-folded the paper and rotary cut at about 5".
  2. Start with a foundation slightly larger than the final size.  This allows for shrinkage with sewing and also gives some flexibility in trimming to avoid really tiny pieces in the corner.  (Truthfully, if I do something like this again I'll use even BIGGER foundation papers and larger strips to make the project go faster. <g>)
  3. Speaking of larger strips, in future I would presew 1-inch strips into sets because getting paper off a 1/2" finished strip is a beast.  I found some stripset remnants from my Spider quilt (still a UFO, sadly) to use in the smaller corner segments.
  4. Strips don't have to be straight, but having a clean straight edge as a seam guide insures you are stitching straight. (Don't ask me how I know.)
  5. I kept the paper on until I had sashed four units together.  I probably should have kept the paper on till the top was finished, but I thought it would be awkward removing the paper that way.
  6. Using a shorter stitch makes removing the paper much easier.  As it was I think my machine was set at 2.2.  2.0 or 1.8 might have been better.
  7. Now, as to removing the paper.  All the edges are bias so careful handling is critical.  I found that keeping the blocks face down on a solid surface was helpful.  I started by tearing off the paper outside the seam, then folded the paper back on an outside corner.  (The pink is a file card I laid there for the photo.)  The paper tore more easily after folding.
  8. Next I used a stick flattened on the end (similar to a cuticle pusher stick -- that's a technical term)
    to insert under the next piece of paper, and carefully ran it along the seam line. Then folded that piece back on the seam again before tearing.  And so on .....

In theory, I should not have needed to trim the larger blocks, but I had "fussy cut" my inner sashing in order to get the printed red rick-rack down the center which resulted in a really odd measurement so I trimmed down to 9-1/4" after removing the paper.

I hope you find this helpful.  

I got lucky, no jury duty today, so I'll try to get the center of the top finished.

Keep warm and quilt on!


  1. Great tips. I've used phone book paper with good results. It seems like just the right weight...stable but not too difficult to remove. I keep an old semi-dull seam ripper to lift the paper on the edge, the way you use your flattened stick.

    1. I would be afraid my seam ripper would cut the fabric. Maybe with practice I could master that.

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