March 21, 2010

Dragonfly... or coconut tree?

After my unsuccessful attempt at traditional piecing for the the dancing dragonfly block, I gave paper piecing a go.

I used trusty Inkscape again, this time to lay out the pieces for each quarter block. The program allowed me to print a very precise paper-piecing template.

Sue Beever has great instructions on paper piecing in her Dancing Dragonfly Quilts book. I followed them, but noticed a few things things:
  • For pieces where the pattern wasn't symmetrical (so for the trapeze parts in the image above, and both "wing" sections), the mirror image of the piece was needed. So to get it to come right, I used the reverse side of the printed paper (where luckily I could still see the lines quite well).
  • Sue called for running paper through the sewing machine, and trimming it with a rotary cutter. I've been so good with not using my sharp tools with paper that I cringed a little as I did it. I should really keep a separate "paper needle" for the sewing machine, and get a spare blade for my Olfa rotary cutter... but I had a deadline and didn't want to take any chances, so I just gritted my teeth and went ahead with it.
  • The seam allowance of two joined bits of fabric both end up being on the same side. So you can't "iron the seams open" in the same way (except for the seams where I joined the four quarters of the block). Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the back of the block... but you get the idea. I also found that it made the joined pieces sit together differently to the ironed-open seam pieces... One side is slightly raised compared to the other (the side where the seam allowance is tucked under...)

On the whole, I found this method to be very easy and accurate. I got a nice 12.5" square pumped out in a matter of hours (I was pretty pedantic, carefully ironing before adding each new piece and having to unpick a bunch of seams I wasn't happy with or that were a result of my placing the fabric the wrong way around). I can't imagine making enough blocks to make an entire quilt!

Anyway, I'm really happy with the way the block turned out, and how the colours make you hesitate... Is it a dragonfly... or a coconut tree?

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the other swap participants come up with, and of course the final quilt!

Related post: First attempt at a quilt block: dancing dragonfly


Sonia said...

Great stuff! It looks like a dragon fly to me but if I close one and tilt my head to the left....

Sonia said...

oops...I meant close one eye and tilt my head to the left...

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