Category Archives: foundation piecing

Rainbow Scrap Quilt

I received a quilt book as a Christmas gift that I am enjoying.  It is called “Lovely Landscape Quilts” by Cathy Geier and can be purchased either at your local quilt shop or at Amazon through this link: Lovely Landscape Quilts: Using Strings and Scraps to Piece and Applique Scenic Quilts .

This book presents some very simple techniques for creating impressive landscape quilts.  The techniques produce results that will be satisfying to an experienced quilter, but at the same time are simple enough for a confident beginner.  I like the techniques enough that I am considering creating a new class based on this book.  First I have to make a few quilts so I am sure I can get good results and be confident that my students will also get good results.  I started with a very simple quilt using scraps.

Before describing the landscape techniques she uses in the book, Cathy Geier presents a range of landscape quilts by other artists.  The very first artist presented is Ann Brauer.  If you are interested in Ann’s quilts, she has an Etsy store where she sells her quilts and smaller items.   She may also have a website or blog, but I haven’t looked for those.

The quilt I “copied” is called Rainbows of Summer.  It uses a string piecing technique, making blocks using four to six fabric strips of varying widths.  I started with paper foundation rectangles that I cut 6 inches by 8 inches.  The paper rectangles were good for ensuring that my blocks were all the right size, but tearing out the paper afterward was tedious so I might try making the blocks using a template rather than a paper foundation the next time.

I spent a lot of  time sorting fabrics into colors of the rainbow and cutting strips.  My strips were all about 9-10 inches long and varied in width from 1 inch to 2 inches.  Some of them were narrower at one end that at the other; this adds some visual interest to the finished quilt.

Sewing the blocks is very straightforward once you have selected the colors for each horizontal row of the quilt.  I laid out piles of strips and picked out assorted fabrics as I went along, trying not to repeat the same fabric in one block and to vary the use of the fabric so that it did not always appear in the same position.  I  had 10-15 different fabrics for each color, so I had enough to choose from to create nice variety.  Once I had enough blocks of each color, I squared up all the blocks to 6 by 8 inches.  Then I assembled the quilt top one horizontal row at a time.

Here is the finished quilt top:

Rainbow scrap quilt based on Ann Brauer's "Rainbows of Summer", 64 in by 66 in

Rainbow scrap quilt based on Ann Brauer’s “Rainbows of Summer”, 64 in by 66 in

I really like the variety of fabrics and found this a great way to use up scraps.  Of course I had lots of scrap strips left over so I will have to dream up another project to use them!


Paper for Foundation Piecing

Just a quick post to tell you about a “new” discovery. Most of you know how hard it is to use regular (20, 22, or 24 lb) copy paper for foundation piecing patterns.  The paper just won’t tear away cleanly after stitching and you end up using tweezers to get all the little paper bits off your quilt block.

I have been using 16 lb newsprint for the foundation piecing patterns in my Mariner’s Alphabet Pattern.  It is fairly hard to come by in 8 1/2 by 11 sheets; the only place I have found was through an online order at Office Depot. The newsprint is great at tearing off after stitching, but I have some trouble with it not feeding through my printer properly.  About 5 % of the time multiple pages will feed through at once.  So when I print out a bunch of patterns to sell through the local shops, I have to watch the printer very carefully and double check every pattern to ensure the set of patterns is complete.

Ginny Hillsberg at Uptown Fabrics in Port Townsend is using 16 lb copy paper for this purpose.  Last time I was in her shop, she handed me a stack of it and suggested I try it out.  It feeds through my printer nicely (so far) and the patterns print well.  I tested stitching through it and tearing off the paper; that worked well also.  It is slightly harder to tear than the newsprint, but tore cleanly with a  stitch length  of about 1.5 mm.  I like to use a fairly  short stitch length on foundation piecing  because the seams are less likely to start coming undone at the ends, so I haven’t tested the paper with a regular stitch length.

Once I use up the reams of newsprint I bought last year, I will definitely be switching over to the 16 lb copy paper.  If you can’t find it locally, here is a link to Amazon where it can be purchased:  X-9 Copy Paper, 92 Bright, 500 Sheets/Ream, 8 1/2″ x 11″, 16 lb..  It is also available online at OfficeMax, if you happen to shop there.  Not sure if they stock it in their stores or not.

Mariner’s Alphabet Pattern published

I am pleased to announce that I have published the pattern for my Mariner’s Alphabet quilt. This is a really fun quilt to make. The blocks are simple foundation (paper) piecing. The link to Pattern Spot where it can be purchased is on the Pattern page of this blog.

Mariners Alphabet banner

Mariner’s Alphabet 26 inches by 62 inches