Today I'm going to share not one, but two, of my favorite quilting books.
1-"Sylvia's Bridal Sampler" (SBS) by Jennifer Chiaverini
2-"Quick-strip Paper Piecing" by Peggy Martin
Just a hint: these are paperback books, so I took them to my local copy center. They cut the binding off, then inserted the spiral binding, both for just a few dollars. It's much easier to make copies of the foundations that way!
Jennifer Chiaverini is one of my favorite authors, and her pattern books based on the quilts in her novels are wonderful. I first heard of SBS and Chiaverini through my local Bernina dealer, Dave's Bernina, in Provo, Utah. They have a weekly sewing club with different projects every week that should be able to complete in an evening, with friends and snacks, spotlighting different techniques and sewing/tools. They started a Block of the Month for 2011 from SBS. They chose 12 blocks, enlarged them to 12" finished blocks, and taught basic techniques as we sewed and reviewed a different Elm Creek novel every month! Super fun year! Then we embroidered the centers of the blocks with monthly seasonal motifs on the embroidery machines. I talked my friend into going, and then we had weekly sewing get-together at my house in between club nights to work on blocks, and I taught her so much to quilting because she had never done it before. It was so much fun.
While going to BOTM, Jodi became pregnant, and we decided her BOTM would be her baby quilt, as the block party was done by December. The baby came just after we got the top pieced, so I layered, machine-quilted, and bound the whole thing myself. I don't have an embroidery machine, so I hand-embroider "labels" on the backing.
I love SBS book because it has 140 different traditional blocks, all 6" size. Easy directions, all the templates and cutting instructions and foundations are included. There's a gallery of quilts made, and included with each block are illustrations plus photos of finished blocks--which I love.
Since the blocks in SBS are only 6" finished each, many are paper-pieced. Even when the club enlarged them to 12", we still paper-pieced. I just had to share my favorite book and method with my classmates: "Quick-Strip Paper-Piecing" by Peggy Martin. Some of my classmates caught on well, some used it, some tried it, and others preferred cutting patches the usual way.
I taught myself to paper-piece using Marcia Hohn's tutorial on www.quilterscache.com, which uses patches and scraps. But then I started a project for Halloween, and got so frustrated with constantly picking out the patches: not fitting together, the backward thinking of the shape patches, not lining up! I threw up my hands, quit it, and went to Amazon.com to find a book or a new way to do it. I found Peggy's book! http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Strip-Paper-Piecing-Peggy-Martin/dp/1571202161/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348892240&sr=1-1&keywords=quick-strip+paper+piecing
The tutorial for her method is wonderful, with great pictures and it's very well-written. She includes a section on how to adapt her method to other blocks that are not in her book. Then she has a huge section of Mariners Compass-type stars, projects, basic quiltmaking skills, and a fun gallery of quilts from her classes. I immediately tried the Simple Star from the book, which is the second star on my blog header. Then I got to work with other blocks I wanted to make--even those cute firetrucks from Quiltmaker Magazine (Sept 2009), and the Quiltmaker "Snowflakes". I fell in love with paperpiecing! It's highly addicting. All because of Peggy's simple method! I share this method on blog posts and Facebook and classes, everywhere I can because I love it!
There are no shapes to match--you just measure and cut strips of fabric. No headaches and almost eliminating using a seam ripper! It is an assembly-line method, and works great with blocks that have multiple sections that are the same.
Peggy even has a new class on Craftsy.com, teaching her method. I haven't taken it, but I highly recommend it, especially if you learn better from a live instructor and demonstrations instead of from a book. You can click on the orange Craftsy button on Peggy's website to access the demo of the class. http://www.peggymartinquilts.com/
I get into such a rhythm and a "groove" that it's hard to stop. I sit at my sewing machine, have a small table on my left with my mat, rotary cutter, and ruler, then on the right, I have my ironing board and iron set up. I sew sections down a strip, cut them apart with shears, trim the seam allowances on the left, then pivot to the right to iron all the sections at once. Then repeat!
This block I'm working on is from SBS, the Dogtooth Violet, one my favorites from the book. Here is one section finished, then three more being sewn down a fabric strip.
Here they are flipped over, ready to cut apart. There on the left is SBS book, with the directions for sewing the block together.
Next, trimming the seam allowances. Fold the paper and strips back along the seamline, place your ruler with 1/4" marking along the seamline, then trim with the rotary cutter.
Once all the strips are pieced on a section and pressed, flip the section to the paper side up, place the 1/4 mark on the seamline, and trim to 1/4 seam all the way around.
Finished Dogtooth Violet! Gorgeous, and look at those points!
Here's the Tennesse block from SBS, with the diamond sections paper-pieced and trimmed, ready to piece together. (It's a LeMoyne Star, but the diamonds have stripes!) It's alternate name is Liberty Star, which is appropriate for my color-scheme!
And here are some of the finished blocks from my Patriotic-colored Sylvia's Bridal Sampler. All of these are paper-pieced using Peggy Martin's strip method.
When I say "some" of the blocks, I mean "some". I got ambitious because I have a king-sized bed, so I designed my BOTM from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler as a king-sized quilt in Quilt-Pro software. I used 42 blocks from the book (38 different, and 4 of the same for the corners), plus a garden-maze setting, for which I found the directions in one of Chiaverini's other pattern books. :-) So, my current block count is 29 of 42, with three more half-finished on my sewing table as I type. That includes the Tennessee, the Silver and Gold, and Sylvia's Shooting Star.
Here's some more samples of my using Quick-Strip Paper Piecing:
Ambulance from "To the Rescue" from Quiltmaker Magazine (Sept 2009).
And "Snowflakes", another QM pattern. I posted this on their Facebook page, and they published my picture and comment in their next magazine last fall 2011! Wow!