One of my goals for 2012 was to conquer my fear of paper piecing, and from what I have read and had others tell me, paper piecing is a pretty common fear in the online quilting community. Well, this quarter I joined an online virtual quilting bee called the 3×6 Bee. We were asked to fill in a survey with our preferred type of bee: paper piecing, wonky, stars, pinwheels, etc. I said paper piecing and picked two others, well…I am in a hive that is all paper piecing blocks. This scared the day lights out of me at first but then I realized it was just what I needed to get over my fear of paper piecing!
I started out using regular printer paper for the foundation of my blocks. This worked fine but it was hard to tear off without stretching the stitches, it left behind little scraps which meant I was constantly pulling out my sewing tweezers to yank the buggers out, and I had to really lower my stitch length to 1.2 in order to get a nice tear. Keep in mind that a super low stitch length would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that I am still learning paper piecing and therefore I tend to have to rip out fairly often and those stitches are WAY to tiny for ripping out.
I could raise my stitch length to 1.6 – which is still low – but not so low that I can’t easily rip it out if I absolutely have to. Also, it is super thin which makes it easy to tear off at the end.
To give the paper a fair trial I tested it out in my laser jet printer and my ink jet printer:
When I put too many sheets in my ink jet, they got jammed and tore; however, feeding them one at a time I was able to get a very nice and even print. When I printed multiples on the laser jet, they tended to come out curled (this is due to the heat created by an ink jet printer) after a few minutes they flattened back out and were good to go.
Things I liked:
- I could use a larger stitch length and not worry about stretching my stitches when I removed the paper
- They are very light weight making it easy to sew through, this is easier on my needle and over all machine. The light weight feature means I do not have to change my needle as often when paper piecing.
- Being thin makes it relatively easy to see through them (see recommendations)
- I could use them on either of my printers – laser jet and link jet. This tells me that they would be fine for use on virtually any home machine
- They do not curl or become brittle when pressed – this is important as you do a lot of pressing when paper piecing
- I would like to see them in come in white. They are a very light tan color and when paper piecing at night, even using an improvised light box (see tomorrow’s post), they can be a little hard to see through
- Be careful when using an ink jet printer and consider hand feeding them to prevent tearing. The sheets are extra thin and my machine grabbed 2 at once – which is what caused my jam.
If you are interested in learning even more about Paper Piecing but you are scared to death of it, check out Katy’s blog The Littlest Thistle – she is currently doing a series called Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified and she has some great basic blocks on there with step by step tutorials. Go conquer your fears, I am!
Have you tried paper piecing? Have you tried Carol Doak’s Foundation Papers? I would love to know what you think about both!