At our last retreat Sandra Dee and Hazel attempted some paper piecing to help the guild. I know what you are asking, how does two monkeys attempting to paper piece help your guild? Well, I’m so glad you asked! Our guild sponsored a booth/tree at our local Festival of Trees this holiday season and the Member in Charge asked our guild members to try some paper piecing to make quilted ornaments to decorate this tree. She even provided patterns and finishing instructions so no one was left to flounder. Enter Sandra Dee and Hazel, stage right. At our last retreat these lovely monkeys made their attempts to paper piece. Now, I should say that Inez and I have attempted to paper piece with Sandra Dee before. It did not go well. In fact, at the time we were a member of a 7 woman sit and sew where we were making paper pieced blocks. Poor Sandra Dee ripped hers out so many times that she had to re-photo copy the paper pattern. Unfortunately she did not use the same copier so when she completed her blocks they would not work in the body of the quilt as they were slightly larger. We were able to use them as corner blocks in the border though so it all worked out.
If you are new to paper piecing, you should know that printers and photo copiers print slightly differently from each other. So, if you make copies of your pattern at copier A and then later use copier B to make additional copies they will most likely not match. So always make extra copies, or be sure to remember which copier or printer you used to make your original set so you have things the same size, or if you purchase pre-printed papers for paper piecing and you are not confident of your technique, you may want to get some extras. Just for your sanity.
At this point, I am happy to announce we had a visitor to the porch sitting with the Monkeys. We’ll call her M. M is an experienced paper piecer. She is also the proud owner of a Singer Featherweight. We were very much in awe of both. M took on the task of teaching Sandra Dee and Hazel how to paper piece these 4″ ornaments (I’m guessing that they were 4″ as I don’t have the pattern in front of me). Inez and I were thrilled because we’ve dealt with Sandra Dee and the paper piecing before. Sometimes if you are stuck learning something, it is helpful to have someone different try to explain it. They may have a different way to explain things to make it easier for you. Any way, we were thankful for M and kept an open ear for the Monkey shenanigans that were sure to ensue.
Both of them were very excited to be learning something new and that they were learning it together. M happened to be finishing about 100 of the ornaments single-handedly. She’s a very good paper piecer (of course I exaggerate, it wasn’t 100 but she is a proficient paper piecer. Isn’t alliteration fun?). Hazel and Sandra Dee smiled and laughed as they picked out their fabrics and then they noticed that M had a tool. A special paper piecing ruler. Now, as quilters we love gadgets. Sometimes while we are at retreat we feel a need to go shopping and lucky for us there is a quilt shop not terribly far away. Hazel and Sandra Dee made a trip with some others that were heading to shop and came back with the same special paper piecing ruler. I am pleased to announce that the ruler is still safe in its packaging.
M tried diligently to teach Hazel and Sandra Dee to paper piece and was very pleasant and calm every step of the way and every time each step needed to be repeated and repeated and repeated….. At one point, Sandra Dee thought that she was really making progress and proudly showed her ornament to M. At this point it should be mentioned that the ornaments were all stars. There were three different patterns for them, but they were stars and as we all know, stars have points. Sandra Dee’s star however, was missing a point or two. M, with infinite patience, calmly responded with the line that we would continue to use for the rest of retreat, I’m a little puzzled by your placement. I wish I had a before picture of her ornament. Instead I was laughing too hard to reach for my camera.
In case you are wondering, they did manage to finish their ornaments. Here is Sandra Dee:
And here is Hazel:
Granted these aren’t the completed ornaments, but we tend to celebrate the small victories. The assembling of the complete ornament was non-eventful and both of them hid their ornament in the basket provided to collect them so that others would not be jealous of their newly learned talent for paper piecing. However, I don’t think they will be picking up any Judy Niemeyer patterns just yet…..