I remember when I started quilting in 2002. I knew that needle turn applique would be my first love in the quilt world. My goal was to be able to applique like the Applique Queens on Simply Quilts. In fact, that is where I really learned a lot about being a “wanna be” quilter. Recuperating from 3 back surgeries in 3 years gave me a lot of time to learn and dabble in starting my quilting journey.
I remember seeing the small blocks, the feathered star, the beautiful patterns from Sue Garman, Mimi Dietrich, Lynette Jensen, Pat Campbell, Robyn Pandolph, Eleanor Burns, Curtis Boehringer, Elly Sienkiewicz, and so many many others who inspired me to become a very serious quilter. As do most quilters, I constantly purchased books, patterns, and more books and patterns. Then it was the realization that fabric from Walmart was nothing compared to the beautiful fabric from a Quilt Store. In 2004 my “piecing journey” began. I knew absolutely NOTHING about making a quilt, but when I was a teenager I had made all of my school clothes and later all of my work clothes – until the age of 30. Since then I have never made one outfit and know for sure I never will again.
In my quilting journey, I strove for perfection and always wanted to make a Dear Jane, Dear Hannah, Feathered Star, Baltimore Albums, and many more. I wanted to learn more about color, movement of color in a quilt, become a Master Appliquer and Quilter, even learning how to paper piece. So much to learn and so many quilters that I met along the way that have helped me.
I always shied away for tiny blocks (Miniature Quilts) and of course those pesky 3, 4, and 5 inch blocks – WHAT – who would be nuts enough to take that on? How about those tiny tiny pieces to applique on a Baltimore Album quilt? I learned that most quilters used paper piecing to obtain accuracy in their quilts. I have tried and tried, but have finally decided that the paper piecing technique is just not my bag. and I am a total PPF (Paper Piecer Failure)! So I have continued to push myself to attain perfection in studying a pattern, cutting and measuring accurately and when I made a block and it did not turn out correctly I ripped that baby apart to see exactly what I was doing wrong. This has taken some years to achieve this. I do not mean to “brag” I am just thrilled that I have taken the difficult road to achieve the results that I want when I make a quilt. This applies to quilts that I enter into Quilt Shows for judging, a Utility quilt for a gift, or a wall hanging or quilt for a donation for a raffle or auction.
When had the opportunity arose for me to join the Austin Quilt Guild Dear Jane Bee, I jumped at the offer. The Bee Keeper designates 4 blocks a month from the Dear Jane book for us to work on. The first 2 weeks I just keep looking at those 4 1/2″ blocks and the tiny tiny pieces and saying to myself, “am I nuts”? I decided that since I had signed up for the project I needed to stick with it and would start on the easiest of the 4 blocks this month! Then I would progress to the most difficult. I even tried to do G-4 Shutter Bug that starts with a 1/2″ square in the middle using paper piecing, but since “I AM A FAILURE AT PAPER PIECING”. So I bit the bullet and I sewed the puppy by machine. (I was going to hand quilt this entire quilt, but my hands have different ideas for me – so I am saving them for appliqueing). I was so excited Sunday when I actually finished the block and it came out perfect!!! Whew! Over that intimidating challenge!
I took pictures of each step in making the Shutter Bug block. This is the fabric that I used for the background. Neat because it provided the different shades of beiges for the block.
Here are the steps taken to make Shutter Bug by machine piecing.
I studied Coyote Chase and decided that I wanted to “cheat” and make this one the easiest way possible.
Justin’s Comet took me awhile. I decided at first to hand piece the block but did not like where it was going. So I tried 2 other times to machine piece it before I got it right!
Now Springbrook Park was a “small” challenge. I printed the pattern on pre-cut freezer paper, cut out the pieces, and prayed, closed my eyes and here is the result:
In December (I think) I started a quilt for my friend Wanda. She wanted a lap quilt with the Ladies with the Umbrella’s. I finally finished them and now need to decide on the setting for the quilt. Not sure where I will go with it, but maybe it will come to me soon.
As a quilter, it is such a wonderful feeling to finish a “segment” of a project. I seemed to be in a “funk” with my quilting with my back problems, so I am thrilled that I have accomplished the Dear Jane blocks and ready to work on the Ladies quilt setting.
Thursday I will have the RF treatment in my back and hoping and praying that when they carterize the nerves in my back that my pain will subside. After all, how can I possibly work on all the wonderful projects I have ready to go. I received my Stonefields pattern about a week ago but when one is not feeling up to par, it is not time to select fabric for a project!
From now on, one thing that Dear Jane has taught me is to not let a small little block like Shutter Bug intimidate me! LOL
So until next time, I hope that all stay healthy, quilt all the time, and enjoy winter time because we are fast approaching Spring. I am hoping that we do have a cool Spring and maybe just 3 months of the 100+ with 100 % humidity………..Now if we have a lot of rain, that would not bother me either.
One Reply to “My Dear Friend and Teacher – “Dear Jane” and being a PPF”
Hello Nan, your block is so wonderful. Congratulations on completing it and getting over your fear of all things paper piecing!!!! I have a had a few trials and tribulations myself and have not finished my corner blocks to Pat Sloans BOM 2014. Will write an email to you when I’m not so busy. But love the different shadings in your fabrics and no it is not cheating. It’s called quilters right to fussy cut!!!!! Julie Beard Adelaide South Australia.