This week’s paper piecing block is Nell’s Star. Quite the stunner I think! And an easy block even though it looks challenging. The Generations Quilt Patterns website indicates that the original block was designed by Judy Martin and was called “Charleston Quilt.” I chose to download the 12″ finished block size. You also have the option of an 8″ finished block.
Let’s revisit the tip of using foundation paper for your paper piecing projects rather than normal copy paper. Foundation paper is much lighter in weight than copy paper. This means that it easily holds up during stitching through your sewing machine needle while also tearing away easily from the back of your finished block. It’s quite fulfilling to rip away at the paper once you’ve finished sewing. And the foundation paper rips so easily that you’re not freaking out thinking you’re about to rip out all of your precious stitches!
I am using Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper. I got it in a pack of 100 pages, sized 8 1/2″ x 11″. It easily fits into my printer. I download my patterns into Adobe as a pdf file (to ensure that the sizes are accurate for each pattern) and print right onto the foundation paper. It’s non-coated so your fabric won’t slip on the paper. I am really happy with the quality of the paper!
How much fabric waste is there in Paper Piecing?
The most frequent question or comment I get about my project is the fabric waste involved with paper piecing. I decided to make this project a true test project. Every skill within paper piecing is new to me so my approach to fabric selection was going to be new too. I planned on cutting 5″ strips of the Bonnie and Camille fabrics I would use for each block. For some fabrics from my stash that would mean 5″ x WOF and for others it might be 5″ x 22″ or cutting a 10″ square layer cake piece into 4 5″ pieces. Regardless, for each block, I would only be “wasting” 5″ of the fabrics. These are all fabrics from my stash AND no fabrics will be repeated in any of the different blocks (except the black & white background print). I hoped that by using this method, I would feel less like I was being wasteful and more inspired to use the fabrics wisely.
I’m finding that it’s not a wasteful endeavor if you look at it like a true sampler quilt. Each block will be special, with fabrics different from the others. My fabrics were all bought with the intention of being used. I won’t let them languish on my shelves! They belong in quilts being used for memory-making!