Move Over, Baby Jesus!

One of the things I like about the new guild that Judy and I have joined is that there are frequent challenges. I decided that I would attempt each challenge that came along unless there was Good Reason not to. Judy (more about whom shortly) has been far more picky.  The challenge for January (remember, we are new members) was to participate in a Secret Angel swap. I had a wonderful time with that and was pleased with how the gifts for my recipient turned out (and equally delighted with what I received). Judy thought she would perhaps participate in this next year. The challenge for the February meeting involved free fabric. Was this a no-brainer or what? Of course I was going to participate. When they said it had to be paper piecing, something I had never done, I hesitated only for a second. Free fabric. After all. Judy thought she'd pass. I came home with a handful of F8s of Madrona Road and immediately procrastinated.  The other night it dawned on me that the guild meeting is coming up soon, and it was prolly time to get piecing.

Back to Judy for a minute here. She's a dear and wise person, a teacher of children with special needs and I imagine that she's damn good at it. Her venue is a Roman Catholic parochial school and her classic story is about the time she was in a faculty meeting and didn't understand something that was being discussed -- something that the rest of the crew seemed to find perfectly obvious -- and one of the nuns said to her, "What? Are you in the Baby Jesus Group?" When she didn't understand that, they explained to her that the various reading groups have names (like we would have had the Red Birds and the Green Birds and the Blue Birds and not know any more than that because we were eight) like the Saint Joseph Group, the Holy Spirit Group, and the Baby Jesus Group. The nuns all knew that the Baby Jesus Group was for the very slowest learners of all.

So whenever one of us has a "d-uh" moment, the others very gently allow for that, explaining that the person who didn't quite catch on is in the Baby Jesus Group. The concept has served us well.

So, back to the other night. Although you can already see where this is going. For my challenge piece, I chose a very nice design where one makes four identical paper pieced six inch blocks and then assembles them into a masterpiece that finishes at twelve inches.

Suffice it to say that I haven't ruined all of the fabric.



howdidIgethere said…
I hope your illustration isn't the actual pattern for your paper piecing? I'm no expert but it seems to defy the basic principles that have been used in any paper piecing project I've done. There's one piece with no number and #1 is L-shaped -- and in the corner. Not like any PP I've ever seen. If you want another pattern that will actually work, let me know!
Pat said…
Your recent posts have been informative, thought-provoking, semi-curmudgeonly & always a must-read, but this is the first one in a very long time that has made me laugh out loud. I'm so glad those dancing ladies are back!

WV: artnigi. picky to a fault about paintings, sculpture and the like. Gerome wiould necver have the Picasso hanging next to that lovely painting of Elvis on velvet; he is so artnigi!
LizA. said…
The easiest tip I can pass along is this: for each piece, measure the widest part & the longest and add 1" if you are beginning paper piecing. Once you get the hang of it you can cut smaller pieces. I usually cut rectangles or oversize triangles. Sometimes it helps to place a pin on the sewing line as a guide for laying down your next piece.

#2 - after you stitch the piece on, find a small thin ruler or piece of card stock place it on the back side, on the line and fold the rest of the block back towards you and with your ruler & rotary cutter trim seam to 1/4". The card stock allows you to fold the piece on the line so you can accurately trim. #3 - make sure you have reduced your stitch length to @2.0
Denise in PA said…
Can't wait to see the finished piece! I'm still waiting for my background fabric to come in to start mine!
LoieJ said…
Paper piecing is harder to explain than to do. Bur I agree with your commenter howdidigethere that if you try to follow the pattern in the illustration, you'll be amazed at how easy this is NOT! You will be frustrated. Bad pattern.
Janet O. said…
*LOL* Your title had me worried, but your story made me snicker.
After my initial lesson on paper piecing (a simple Flying Geese block) I avoided it like the plague for many years. Last Fall when I jumped in with both feet (much to my own amazement), I found that after a few frustrating false starts, it started to come together.
I am a very visual learner and probably would not have been brave enough to attempt it if I hadn't seen that demo in class years ago and at least have that small inkling of what I was getting into. So congrats on not ruining all of the fabric--yet.
And if that is your actual pattern--I agree--it's a bad one.
Lori said…
OMgosh! The baby Jesus group?! I love it! What a kick!
Barbara Anne said…
LOVE that story! I seem to be in the Baby Jesus group about even TV these days. There are too many remote controls needed just to make things work correctly.

I've not done very much paper piecing but was also puzzled by the pictured pattern. Wishing you success!

Anonymous said…
Oh Nancy, paper piecing! Each year I make ornaments to put in Christmas cards for family and a few dear friends. These are paper-pieced and I make about a dozen. Each year I waste more fabric than I use, and each year I say never again, but then find a darling pattern and go back to it. This past Christmas I used a Carol Doak pattern which included specific instructions on how to pre-cut the rectangles with specific sizes and numbers. It saved my life and I'm determined to continue using only her patterns with the pre-cutting directions. The pattern pictured looks much like one of hers. Go to her website and see if you can get the pre-cutting sizes. It will save many grey hairs.
As always, your blog is a joy.
OT Quilter said…
Thanks for the trip down memory lane, all the way back to first grade with Miss Witt and the birdy reading groups. I second the above commenter who recommended Carol Doak's website. There's a learning curve, to be sure, but once you master paper piecing, you'll be pleased with your results.
Anonymous said…
I love, in addition to all the visuals you provided, the idea of immediate procrastination.


PS that pattern of yours is a doozy, the first few pieces just Dont Work.