Sunday, January 22, 2017

1, 2, 3...

Hello! I am so excited to share my first few blocks with you!

After realizing that english paper piecing would not work for my Dear Jane, I quickly dived into prepping and piecing Block A-1 by hand. Prep work with these babies is no joke! Freezer paper templates, trimming seam allowance, marking with pencil (note: that is sand paper underneath my fabric to help hold onto the fabric when marking it with a pencil).

A-1 Pinwheels Gone Awry {1/15/17 - 28 pieces}

A-2 One Two Buckle My Shoe {1/18/17 - 40 pieces}
 I am not sure how Jane made A3, the photos of the original almost look like she appliquéd little snow caps on mountains, then pieced it together somehow. I went the easy route, with 4 appliqué wedges. I used a disappearing ink pen to mark the background fabric, and then did needle turn appliqué. I got a little excited about capturing a pic of the finished block, I did it before the ink disappeared.

A-3 Hunter's Moon {1/18/17 - 5 pieces}
And just a little while ago I finished A-4, but it's dark and snowy outside so I have no light for pretty pictures. I will just say I gave machine piecing a try, and it went so amazingly well!! 

Dear Jane Status:
Finished Blocks: 3/225
Pieces Tally: 73

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 1 - in which I change my mind

I started my day running to Office Max to get my Dear Jane book spiral bound. I highly recommend this, it cost about $6, and now it opens flat.

I came home and started cutting.
Then I started basting. Have you ever basted a 1/2" tall HST? It is HARD! You can barely see them in this picture...
I decided to test out piecing some of the basted pieces. Matching corners was HARD. I pieced the little triangle onto the background piece and then stitched on an adjacent piece. And I just was not happy. This quilt is way too big of a deal to not be happy with your first few bits of piecing.

So I followed the directions in the book - tracing the pattern onto freezer paper, cutting it apart and ironing and tracing the bits onto fabric, trimming the seam allowance and then hand stitching. Getting to the same exact step for block 1A took significantly less time, and I had 100% control over the fabric the whole time.

Some major PROS I found with hand piecing over EPP: I can actually hold onto the pieces easily. My  corners will match perfectly with very little effort. My stitches will be completely hidden in the seam.

Now I'm not one to tell you to quit something because it is too hard, but why do something the hard way when there is an easier, reliable way to do it? This quilt is supposed to be a FUN challenge for me. Something I can turn to when my hands need something to do. Something that will one day be a beautiful heirloom. It is not supposed to be a headache. So goodbye paper pieces, thanks for experimenting with me today. And to those of you EPP your Dear Janes I applaud you!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dear Jane...the adventure begins!

Dear Jane...
I think every quilter has heard about and seen pictures of Dear Jane. If you aren't familiar with Dear Jane go here
I recall seeing pictures of the quilt or the book at various times over the last few years. Sometimes stopping to consider it, but realizing it would just be a challenge I didn't want to undertake when there were faster, easier quilts to make. 

If you've read my About Me page, you'll know that I slowed down. And if you followed my previous blog and previous incarnations on Instagram, and compare them to the last year or 2 you will realize just how much I have slowed down. I only make something if I want to make it, and work on it when I want to work on it. And if I don't want it, I let it go. (Thanks minimalism/Joshua Becker/KonMari!) Sometime I might talk more about all of that, because I've always intended to, but for now lets move on to the start of this great adventure!

I didn't set out with a plan to make the Dear Jane quilt, I was scrolling through instagram and came across @lilabellelane working an English Paper Pieced (EPP) Dear Jane quilt and I though 'wow what a great way to make a Dear Jane!' So I followed the hashtag trail and discovered that PaperPieces.com put together a whole program for EPPing the Dear Jane quilt. I debated and debated, and finally signed up for the 18 month program. (Note: if you do this, they started in December and they will catch you up.) I'm awaiting the delivery of my first 2 months and the book anytime now.

Selecting fabric was surprisingly easy, and surprisingly outside of the norm for me. I've never used batiks, never particularly cared for the look of them. And I don't recall ever purchasing a Kate Spain fabric, but the moment I saw this bundle I fell in love! And I knew that I wouldn't be so worried about what the actual patterns of the fabric were because they'll get lost in the tiny pieces, but there is variety and depth of volume, and that will be very important with this project.
Kate Spain Latitude batiks
I ordered from Starlit Quilts on Etsy she offered a great price on the bundle, has great shipping costs, my order arrived quickly, and she threw in a mini charm pack!
Seriously - look how gorgeous!!
Having never used batiks, but knowing they are hand dyed I did some research, trying to figure out if I should pre-wash them or not - I didn't want to take any risk with my Dear Jane! I found this fascinating video from Moda about how batiks are made - if you've got 17 minutes watch it, appreciate it! And I found a lot of forum discussion that lead me to decide to give them a quick pre-hand-wash, and boy am I glad I did!!!!
SOOOOO MUCH BLEEDING!!!!!!!  I washed/soaked them in the sink with my regular detergent and HOT water and a zillion Color Catchers. I did a rinse in vinegar ,then a final rinse in my washing machine, so they could spin, followed by a short tumble in the dryer. And finally I pressed them the rest of the way dry.
Another note - batiks smell horrible! Pre-washing them for that reason alone is probably a good idea, but oh the bleeding! Now they smell lovely and all the excess dye is left on this pile of Color Catchers, which I'm thinking my girls and I will turn into some sort of spring flower craft, because, why not?
So now I wait to begin. And I'm going to go slow. I do not anticipate catching up with the shipment program, I'll just focus on a block at a time, like my other quilt-a-longs, and enjoy the process and seeing it grow, and sharing it with you. =)
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Hello!

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog! Take a moment to check out my About Me page to learn more...well, about me!

There is something about a new year that brings about a huge desire for new projects, and this year I was especially antsy for a block of the month type project. And after scouring the internet and finding TONS, I settled on 3.

Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge Blocks - From winter solstice to summer solstice she's posting a free 12" block pattern every Wednesday.

The Snail Paced Slow-along Sew-along hosted by Angie @ Gnome Angel - using the Garden Snail pattern from Pen & Paper Patterns, we are sewing 1 snail a week for 42 weeks.

And PaperPieces.com's epic Dear Jane EPP 18 Month Program! Which I will share more about as time progresses, an will be the main focus of this blog.

I hope you'll enjoy following along with me. If you are participating in any of these sew-a-longs, let me know!