Monday, October 23, 2017


I have done a lot of paperless paper piecing and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.  I was very optimistic and did the main part of my quilt using that process.  This large square of 36 blocks will sit on point in the center of the quilt.  When I finished that part I still needed to piece 8 triangles with the same pattern to place in the outside corners of the quilt top.  In order to scientifically compare the two processes (paperless vs paper piecing) I decided to do the corner pieces with paper.  The result came out highly in favor of using paper.  The increased precision when stitching the main seam is amazing.

TIP:  Start small when you are trying a new method.

There are two main points to address:

1.  Squaring  up the blocks.  This was not as precise with the paperless piecing and thus it was often difficult to match points in the main seams.  Lots of do-overs, but imperfection reigns.  Since I add seam allowance on my paper patterns every piece is trimmed perfectly with points exactly at the seam line.

2.  With the paperless method everything is glued together, then stitched.  It looked fine, but when it came to matching points at a main seam, the glue added thickness and my sewing machine tended to skew the stitching slightly when going over the thickness.  I had two particular points (yellow) that were supposed to meet, but they did not do so in any of the blocks.  They did come out about the same in every block so they looked OK...I guess.

TIP:  Save the paperless paper piecing for simple blocks.  Use paper if you are making lots of points (no photo of the failed blocks - I want to forget them).

Corner piece with perfect points.
What shall I do?  I think I will soak the quilt top for a couple of hours to dissolve all the glue.  As it is now it will be very difficult to get even quilting stitches when the needle has to negotiate glue lumps.  As I press it afterwards, I will try to adjust points.  If that doesn't work I may just do it over, because this design is worth it.

I soaked it.  I didn't take the Sulky Solvy paper out of the spiral in the center.  When quilt top dried, the spiral center was all stiff and there were bits of paper fiber stuck to the top of the quilt top.  So....into the washing machine next time I have weather to wash...maybe Wednesday.  It is a bit horrifying and I have made the decision to redo all those blocks.  This would not have happened if the top had been quilted when soaked because the quilting would have contained everything.  The glue?  Did it dissolve into the water and get all over everything?  I don't know.  I think soap and water will get it all out.

This means shopping for a new fabric to take the place of the fussy-cut fabric I used throughout. The remains of that fabric looks like a huge moth got to it.  There is a rainbow after all.  Searching for fabric is like buying candy.

Now, don't worry, I am excited to get this quilt beautifully correct and as perfect as possible.  I will paper piece and I will tear out the paper before quilting.  I have also decided to cut up the "bad" one and create another quilt with it.  I think that will be fun.  Below is my idea, but it is not fully developed yet.  I will be looking for inspiration and thinking about details in the next few months.  No rush.

How cool is that?  Created using the graphic version of the quilt on my computer.

TIP:  Failure is a dirty word.  Don't let it discourage you.  Find the bright side because there always is one.  Mistakes can be a jumping off point for improvement and new ideas if you keep an open mind.

Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish you bright thoughts as you stitch this week.


  1. Wow - what a lot of work you have in this project! And you're learning along the way. It should be gorgeous when you get it all together :)

  2. Hi Mardi,
    What a beautiful design! I am glad you are able to share your vision with us, as I couldn't imagine where this was going. I was going to say that not one single person would look at your yellow points as closely as you are (it looks fabulous to me), but if you are not happy then definitely do it over. As you said, there's no rush! I enjoy watching and hearing about your progress, especially your tips. ~smile~ Roseanne

  3. Mardi, Winston Churchill said: "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." It seems to me you are succeeding and learning through the process...and sharing your experiences helps all of us. I absolutely love the design you shared above. It has a great "Southwest" feel to it and would look amazing all sewn up. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as Winston Churchill, but you know, he was right. It is a great way to live and I find myself as excited about getting re-started as I was to start in the first place. I all works out, and it is fun getting there. Thanks for your comment.