I have been meaning to do a post about the questions I get asked the most. I figure if a couple of people are wondering, then there are probably a whole lot more wondering the same thing. So. Here I go. And if I’ve missed anything you’re wondering, please feel free to ask away in the comments and I will do my best to reply!
Oh and random pretty pattern sketch pictures added in to break up all the text (all patterns shown are available in my shop). And because it’s my blog and I can pic-ify it if I want to.
When paper piecing, do you backstitch?
Everyone is different on this one, but I personally do. I backstitch at the start and end of each line – yes even those tiny lines. For me, I feel that it gives the block a bit more integrity. Even though the stitch length is teeny tiny, I worry that the seams just might not hold. If you’ve ever had to try to repair a split seam in the middle of a paper pieced block, you’d understand my concern. So I take that extra second or two and back stitch.
How do you quilt paper pieced blocks?
Again – personal preference. Most often I tend to just outline the key parts of the block. That said, I have also done all over quilting on paper pieced blocks without any problems. The only area you might run into some trouble is if you have a block with a lot of sections all joining together at the same point. That can create quite a bit of bulk and you’re best to avoid that unless you want broken needles and much swearing.
Where is the 1” reference square on your patterns, damnit?!
Well rejoice my friends! I have finally figured out how to add an accurate 1” square block (to test accurate printing sizes) to my patterns. I have started adding it to the newer patterns. But with over 150 patterns in my shop, it might take some time for me to add it to allll of the older ones. I plan to. Some day.
So how should I print your patterns that don’t have the magic square?
When printing, check your printer settings. They all vary slightly. But you want to aim for “No scaling” or “Actual size” or “100%”. Now, please note, Aussie A4 paper seems to be a slightly different size to US paper. So I try very hard to make sure my patterns fit onto paper size, but sometimes I might be out just a little. Forgive me.
Also one of my lovely friends Susie found that with the longer pattern pieces, it was better if she rotated the way the page printed (i.e. landscape instead of portrait). Then it printed to size and stayed on the page. I don’t know how or why it works but it does. So that might help.
What paper do you use when foundation piecing?
I use the cheapest printer paper I can find and apologise to all the trees that I see. Cheaper paper tends to be a bit thinner which makes it easier to tear off at the end. I have also tried some super special Carol Doak Foundation piecing paper, which is very easy to tear off, however it’s not the most cost effective. I believe I paid $10 for 30 sheets with free shipping from Book Depository. So that’s an option for those who want to try it.
How about your stitch length? Thread? Needle?
On my Bernina, I set my stitch length to 1.5. It’s small. It’s a pain in the behind to unpick, but it lets me tear the paper off easily. I use Rasant thread because it’s well priced and can purchase it locally. I use a universal needle – mostly because I’m lazy.
What software do you use to design your patterns?
EQ7 my friends. I love it. It makes life so much easier. Well pattern design life. It’s a hefty investment but well worth it. I use it for both designing patterns, as well as trialling colourways on traditional blocks, quilt designs etc. There are probably a lot more features that I could use on it that I just haven’t tried out yet. I did start with using Quilt Assistant (free program) but EQ7 works better for me as a pattern designer.
Can I use one of your patterns for a Bee block? Or to teach at a class?
If they are free patterns, then yes, please go ahead – but please make sure I am credited for the pattern design and a link is provided either to my blog or to my Craftsy shop. It would be nice to sell more patterns after all
If it is one of my paid patterns, then you will need to purchase one copy per person involved. You can contact me for a discounted rate. You cannot just buy one pattern and then print it off umpteen times for whoever you like. That rips me off. And makes me sad. I put a lot of work into the patterns so would really appreciate it if you could keep that in mind.
Do your patterns have y-seams in them?
Hell no. Y-seams are evil. I avoid them at all costs.
Will you design a pattern for me?
Maybe. I do get requests, and sometimes I even make patterns based on them. It depends if the request inspires a pattern, if it suits my style, if it’s something I’m comfortable designing (I don’t like to do licenced images due to copyright concerns – I know I have LEGO patterns but I have permission to share those from the LEGO group) and most importantly, if I have time. If I can’t help you with your request, I will at least try to point you in the direction of a pattern similar to what you’re after.
Do you do anything other than paper piecing?! Seriously woman, you are obsessed.
Yes, yes I am. And yes, yes I do. I do like to do other types of sewing and quilting to. I just love how paper piecing gives me lovely crisp points, and the seams (mostly) line up, and I can make pretty pictures without applique. That said, not every block has to be paper pieced and I do understand that, believe it or not.
There you have it. Questions. Answers. If you are dying of curiosity about anything else, drop me a line, leave me a comment and I will try to answer. Erm paper piecing related that is. I don’t know the meaning of life, I don’t know how to make oodles of money, and I don’t know why the sky is blue. Sorry.