The Lily Pad: The Journal of White Lotus Quilting

Scary canary paper piecing :)

Posted in Block of the Month (BOM),Quilting tips and techniques by whitelotusquilting on January 6, 2011
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Okay, here it is: the one block section you definitely need to foundation piece in the Behemoth:

Paper pieced star from block #2 of the Behemoth

It’s from the second Behemoth large block, the one we were working on in November (you’re with me, right???), but that I still haven’t posted all the components to yet.  (There’s a few more to come.)  Okay, so maybe block #3 will be in February, but that’s good, right?  It gives everyone a chance to catch up.  Besides.  the first few blocks are the most time consuming to show and explain, and the more experience you get, the easier the later blocks become.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :).

This is a pretty good place to start if you haven’t done paper piecing before.  Let me clarify.  The technique you will use on this block component is actually called paper foundation piecing.  There is another technique called English paper piecing, which is very different, that we’re not going to cover in the Behemoth.

If you click on the picture above you’ll get to the photostream that has the entire process documented so if you haven’t done paper foundation piecing yet (or haven’t made friends with it) then you might want to check out each individual step.  You need a dark, a medium, and a light, and I started with 2.5″ strips and then trimmed them to fit the paper.  That’s quick and easy for me but it does waste a bit of fabric so if that keeps you up late at night then you might start with pieces cut closer to their finished sizes.

Foundation piecing can be out of fabric, stabilizer, or paper, and can be left in (depending on the type) or removed after piecing, depending on what you’re after.  A foundation provides perfect seam line guidance for very spiky points, which are difficult to piece with other methods due to sewing distortion.  Also a foundation provides strength and stability for slippery or biased fabrics (like silk ties) so depending on the circumstance you may wish to leave the foundation in the quilt.

Paper foundation piecing isn’t really scary at all but many quilters shy away from it because it is a bit of a perspective shift.  Typically you’re looking down at the seam you’re sewing from the top side of the work.  With foundation piecing you’re looking at the seam from the bottom — that is, you’re sewing with the wrong side of the quilt top facing you.  Clear as mud?  Well you can think of it like a compass issue.  In the West we look at our compasses top down, as if they were by our feet.  The Chinese look at their compasses as if they were in the sky, looking up at them (by the way, this reverses north and south without altering east and west — how’s that for a brain flip).  So just think of paper foundation piecing as looking up through your quilt top toward the sky.  The printed guidelines on the paper or other foundation will be flipped from how it appears on the right side of the quilt.

So give it a try and make your own beautiful eight pointed star!