Thursday, May 01, 2014

Washing A Cat?

When I heard that someone I admired was going to teach a class on the New York Beauty block, I didn't hesitate very long before signing up.  I had seen Sarah's work on display and had experienced her warm, laid-back and unpretentious personality at guild meetings. I'd long been fascinated by New York Beauty but never had the courage to try it.

I had had one experience with paper piecing; a friend held my hand (figuratively) as I went through the process and while she was a superb teacher, I thought "never again." The process just didn't seem to be compatible with my brain's wiring. That same blogless friend encouraged me when I mentioned I was thinking of taking this class. More confident that I in my paper-piecing ability, she asked me if I'd ever pieced curves before and when I told her "no," she looked concerned for just a moment before assuring me, "Oh, you'll be fine!"

The class meets for two hours on four Monday evenings, and we are half-way through at this point. Our location is a terrific new sewing studio/fabric shop in Philadelphia, and the class is full of groupies who seem to follow Sarah around, taking every class she teaches. I can see why. A patient and funny woman, she has the knack for [almost] ameliorating my feelings of incompetence. Each week we learn the paper-piecing part of the block in class and make one unit. During the intervening week, I put the shoulders and the center on that unit and then make a second block.

Oddly, so far the curves part has been no challenge. And I seem to have the rhythm/process of the piecing. My snag seems to be positioning the new piece each time so that it entirely covers the outer edges of the previous piece. I'm trying to believe that by the end of the class, I'll have it down.

At our quilt retreat last weekend, at one point the topic turned to different techniques and when asked if she liked to paper-piece, one participant responded, "I'd rather give a cat a bath!" Now having done both of those things at one time or another, it is a good thing we are presently catless. I could see myself struggling to decide whether to sew along those dotted lines or to head for the sink, the shampoo, and the puss.

11 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Your block is stunning. Paper piecing is one of those wierd techniques that, in order to master, you have to convince your brain to think backwards... I understand your pain. This block would be next to impossible, though, to create in any other fashion with that degree of precision.

Chookyblue...... said...

think I'll be sticking with the paper piecing as I hate cats so you'll never get me to wash one..........

Karla said...

Nancy, I have no doubt that you can accomplish anything you choose. Looks great. Now, I think I might find a cat!

Quiltdivajulie said...

NYBeauty blocks are some of my very favorites! My trick is to cut those layover segments larger than the pattern calls for so there is excess to trim. Saves me many a cat washing!

LOVE your colors.

Barbara Anne said...

What a hoot! Love the cat story and while I aspire NEVER to give a cat a bath, I confess to avoiding curves in quilting to this point in my life.

Your New York Beauty block is lovely, both in colors and in the variety of the segments. Applause for your bravery and your success!!!

Hugs!

AnnieO said...

Cat washing--nearly lost a thumb doing that once! Glad your class is the kind with a lot of guidance at intervals. I think it might stick for me with that method!

LizA. said...

Yeah for you! It's really not that difficult and, like most everything else, there are multiple ways to do so if one way doesn't work for you, try another. I really love Judy Niemeyer' patterns. She also gives you very generous templates to cut out for each piece. That's the key to paper piecing, always cut you pieces bigger than you think you need the. And if you do the method where you fold back on the line you're just stitched and trim to 1/4" you have a perfect place to align the next piece.

Janet O. said...

You seem to have mastered both the paper piecing and the curves. Beautiful block!

Darling Millie said...

I have a cat, and washing a cat is nothing I would ever look forward to but I am SO going to steal that line. As for paper piecing, I'm pretty sure I'd rather wash a cat. LOL!

suz said...

your blocks are wonderful and I've heard she's an amazing teacher! I have a friend who is paper-pieced challenged. We kid her that she'd need several yards of fabric to make a block like that! Other than paper piecing, she's an amazing quilter!

Tanya said...

I've never tried curve paper piecing yet... That too is on my someday list. When I've done paper piecing I have to take it a bit at a time as the tireder my brain gets, the more mistakes occur.