Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lesson Learned

In the late summer of 2005 I thought it would be a great idea to teach a paper piecing class at my LQS -- even better the owner thought a BOM would be a great idea. We decided to use the book - Garden Stars which is now out of print -- actually it was out of print before we even started the class which made it a bit difficult to get copies for the students! It is a great book containing stained glass flower/stars. By the end of September we had all of the fabrics / blocks picked out and I spent the next 3 months paper piecing 12" blocks and putting a quilt top together.

This was not a beginner paper piecing class and I recall specifically telling my LQS owner that we needed to ensure the students were comfortable with paper piecing and most importantly, liked to paper piece. Famous last words -- several students had never paper pieced and by the second month I had lost a good portion of my students :( Partly due to their inexperience with paper piecing and partly because I didn't think to start with the easiest block for the first month. In my logical/analytical mind (I work in accounting/finance), I figured in January we should do the block that I chose for January -- didn't even think about whether we should start with an easy block as my students were to have had paper piecing experience. We did manage to keep two sessions going throughout the year even with the various issues encountered along the way.

As far as I know only one student, Ann, has completed the quilt (pieced, quilted & bound). Mine remains a quilt top with the paper still on the majority of the blocks -- which brings me to my most recent dilemma ----- I mistakenly used printer paper to piece the blocks rather than foundation paper. I had used it before without any issues, however, none of my previous paper piecing projects had 1/4" leading around each and every piece of the block!

So this evening since Spring has come to the Northeast for a day, I dug out my quilt top and decided to sit on the patio and take out the paper. Because of the leading around each piece this is not an easy task -- a task that is made even more difficult by using regular printer/copier paper. Boy do I wish I knew about the dissolving foundation paper when I embarked on this journey!

Anyway, the reason for this post is I am wondering if anyone has a suggestion for easy removal of the small paper pieces particularly those in the seam allowances. I am tempted to remove all of the big pieces and as many of the small pieces as possible and toss it in the washer briefly.

Below is a partial view of the quilt. I plan to replace the plain yellow flower block in the lower left corner with a nicer one before sending it to be quilted.


Jen said...

I have no ideas on how to remove the paper (I've only just begun to learn this technique) but I did read recently that some people used to leave the paper in their blocks when they did English Paper Piecing because it added bulk to the final quilt -- which equaled warmth. Unbelievable, no?

Sunny said...

OOOOO, that is a gargeous quilt. I love to paper piece. I love the precision. I usually take all the big pieces out and use a pair of tweezers that have teeth I have for my serger to get out as much of the other pieces. To help minimize the small pieces, scrore you stitching lines with the back side of the point on your seam ripper before ripping. Also, use a smaller stitch lenth and a larger needle than normal.