Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Birds and the Bee Blocks

Appearances can be deceptive.

Generally speaking paper piecing is more complicated than regular straight line piecing.
And therein lies the deception.

Tall Tales Block

This paper-pieced block was completed in one afternoon - start to finish.  The Tall Tales Block was quick and I love how it turned out. It looks so adorable.

Economy Block - 1 of 9

This seemingly simple "economy block" block took three days. It was SO MUCH WORK. It has 81 pieces - go ahead count away. Each of the nine units has nine fabric pieces.

Economy Block - 2 of 9


Picking fabric required careful consideration of contrasts and values. I wanted to make sure that each unit had enough contrast between the three fabrics but also had sufficient contrast with the adjacent unit and yet the whole block had to look harmonious.

Economy Block - 3 of 9

Fussy-cutting, trimming, squaring, ironing galore and yet the points may or may not match.  I am exhausted just describing this 12.5" block.  In any case, it is done.

Finally Done

This economy block monster robbed me of my desire to attempt the next Bee Block.  The Urban Woven Block will just have to wait for now.

Completing Bee Blocks goal is incomplete :-(

Besides, I have a new role to fulfill this year. I am the Block of the Month (BOM) Coordinator for my Quilt Guild.

After the success of My Twitter Feed, several of my guild members asked me to provide the Bird Block as a BOM.

Mirror Image Birds - 9" by 12"

I chose to enlarge the block and also include the changes I made when I was first making the birds.
The new block is 9" by 12".

I completed the enlarged birds block. Also finished writing the tutorial but...now the PDF file is so big that I was unable to email it to my newsletter. Split it into three PDF documents. That should work.

I am having trouble with my June Tailor basting spray.  It is inconsistent. Sticky in some parts and not in others.  Makes the quilt sandwich unstable, causing it to move, resulting in tucks and puckers. I experienced the same problem when quilting Mayflower.

Basting Pins

For now, I have augmented the basted sandwich with basting pins.  Hope I can finish this quilt this weekend.  But I need to find another basting spray. What do you suggest?

Work in Progress

Just feels like I have been spinning wheels but not getting to my goals.  Ten days to go.
I could really use words of wisdom from you!!!


  1. I prefer 505 basting spray. That is partly because it is much easier to find in the UK than other brands.

  2. When you save to PDF, use "Save as" PDF then select "smallest size" and your pattern should be really easier to send.

  3. I am a 505 girl too. Haven't had any problems, knock on wood. Did I just jinx myself??

  4. I love 505 spray. I holds well and I've never had problems. I've even let sandwiches sit for weeks before quilting. Good luck you can make your goals!

  5. Do not feel bad, I feel like I'm spinning right there with you. Those pesky square in a square blocks in the economy block look all sweet and innocent, but they really do take time to make. I keep switching back and forth from pin basting and spray basting. I have had pretty good luck with the 505 spray, so that is what I tend to use. Keep plugging along, Preeti. I have faith in you.

  6. I use the 505 on small projects but still prefer pins for a bigger quilt!

  7. I have always used 505 and some pins - just in case. I don't want to find out that it's not holding together halfway through quilting it.
    I haven't tried paper piecing yet, but envy anyone who has tackled it. I recently took a PP pattern and transformed it into the simple pattern it looked like it should have been to start with. A first for me, since I usually take a simple pattern and complicate it.

  8. I used 505 before the long-arm and put it aside for a couple (2-3?) of years. I decided to use it for a small project and when I sprayed it, it was like spraying silly string, except very sticky. I had to remove it by pulling the strings off. I assume your spray isn't so old, but is it possible that it's aged a little? Other than that, I don't have any suggestions, but I do like your blocks. You've got such an eye for color!

  9. Remember you said this is the year of doing whatever pleases you. So if the current goals aren't working out for you, tweak the goals until they please you. 🙂 I can't help you with the basting spray. It makes me sneeze. Bravo for doing My Twitter Feed as BOM for your guild. They are so fun and such a good scrap buster.

  10. The economy blocks may have taken you a long time, but they turned out great. Wish I could help with the basting, but I always just use thread. And I'm with Janine for tweaking your goals if they don't work for you. Why make it hard on yourself? And I know the guild will love those birds!

  11. I think that paper piecing vs. traditional piecing is a little like Elvis and the Beatles... you love one and hate the other, and usually don't love both. I actually happen to be a super big fan of paper piecing and just finished a quilt top where I paper pieced all the flying geese... tja, don't love those. In any case the effort was well worth it, and you simply can't pick any fabrics that are more suitable for fussy cutting than Heather Ross fabrics.

  12. I do love paper piecing! In fact, I'm suppose to be writing a pattern right now...but I'm not! Take a breath and a very deep breath! You'll get through! I'm still a huge fan of those birdies and I love your economy block!

  13. Hi Preeti,
    I also use 505 basting spray. I do not use it often but it has always really worked well for me. Oh, I just love those owls with the teal binding - that just makes me smile. ~smile~ Roseanne

  14. Go easy on yourself - quilting isn't a race! And of course, life happens. Thanks for sharing your block and showing your other creations on Midweek Makers this week

  15. Your blocks look great. Congrats on your new guild role. I don't have any issues with the June Tailor spray. Perhaps it is just that particular can.....

  16. I much prefer the Sulky basting spray. (No clue what it is really called.) But the reason I like it is it can be sprayed inside, no dangerous fumes and it dissipates over time. The can looks smaller but I'm inclined to think it lasts as long as the 505 but I've never been able to figure out if it does or not. Yikes. 81 pieces would put me off doing other blocks too. But it is a really cute finished block!

  17. Sorry Preeti, I can't be of any help since I pin baste and totally sympathize with the Economy Blocks--they are pesky to make but really are nice once you're done. Your Mayflower looks great, makes me want to quilt my C+S top now.

    1. Whoops, I'm talking about your Coin quilt and not Mayflower--do you think it might be two much pressure on your Walking Foot that may be causing the shifting problem?

  18. Nice contrast is a priority that I attempt when making a quilt. You have chosen well. The center blocks show up nicely. When it comes to less stress, I much prefer paper piecing over regular piecing. I enjoy the more accurate results. Sorry, I have not tried spray basting. I hand baste with perle cotton. Next quilt, I am going to look into a having it basted by a long armer as I admire the tautness of long armed quilts.