Welcome back to Fall into a Quilt Along! Are you ready for our next block? If you're missing any of the previous patterns, my quilt along page has all of the links you need to get caught up. Remember, all of the block patterns will be free until November 13, 2018.
I'm so excited about this week's block! Every fall quilt needs a leaf, and this one is just stunning. Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter actually designed two leaves for us - this one, and one that's a little simpler for beginner paper piecers. You can find the pattern for both leaves on her blog post.
Tips and Tricks
If you've never paper pieced before, never fear! Jennifer has written a fabulous pattern that walks you through the process. And I have a bunch of tips that will make everything a little bit easier.
Preparing for Success
The first step is to choose your fabrics. It's important to make sure there will be plenty of contrast between each of them.
Since I chose different colors than the pattern, I decided they also needed to be distributed a little bit differently to look their best. I labeled each section on the front of the pattern with the name of the piece and the color I decided to use.
To avoid confusion, I also rewrote the labels on the template pages.
Since I mixed up the colors a bit, it was really helpful to color each of the piece names on the cutting chart. To be doubly sure that I didn't get mixed up while cutting, I also wrote the color of each fabric on the chart.
This block has a lot of pieces! As I cut each one, I labeled it. This made it quick and easy to sort everything by section and make sure I was grabbing the right pieces when I was ready to sew.
If you're making the Confident Beginner version like I did, you'll have to tape the G8 pieces together. First, cut the tip along the registration line.
Then line it up with the body. All of the printed lines should line up perfectly. Once you have the tip in place, tape both the front and back with clear Scotch tape.
The last step of preparation is to make sure you've shortened your stitch length before you start sewing. I set mine to 1.5. The short stitch length is essential to make it easy to remove the paper without tugging out your stitches.
Placing the First Piece
It can be a little tricky to line up that first piece. Rather than holding it up to the light, I find the easiest way to line it up is to fold along each of the seam lines that surround it. That way you can see exactly where it needs to go. Make sure the fabric overlaps each of the folds by at least 1/4"
A small dab of washable school glue will keep the fabric from shifting. Once you've placed that first piece of fabric where you want it, fold it back and put a bit of glue on the paper. Press the fabric back in place. The glue will hold it long enough for you to sew the first seam.
Adding More Pieces
A bookmark is one of my favorite tools for paper piecing. When you're ready to add the third piece of fabric, lay the bookmark along the seam line and fold the paper back. The bookmark will make sure you get a crisp fold right along the line.
Slide an Add-a-Quarter ruler up against the bookmark and trim the excess fabric. This gives you a straight edge to line up with the next piece of fabric.
Repeat these steps until you've finished piecing the entire section of the block.
Dealing with Difficult Angles
Sometimes the angles in paper piecing can be challenging. If you've ever been frustrated by guessing how to line up the fabric for these angles, this next tip is for you. I'm going to take away the guesswork.
All you need to do is fold the paper back along the seam line. If your next piece of fabric covers the paper when it's folded back, it will cover it after sewing. Here, I've folded the paper back in preparation for lining up the next piece of fabric:
In the picture below, the section we're about to sew isn't covered by the yellow fabric we're adding. That means it won't be covered after sewing, either. We need to shift the fabric.
Here, the fabric is lined up with the edge of the previous piece, and it covers the section of folded back paper. That means we're good to go.
Putting it All Together
Once all of the sections are sewn and trimmed, it's time to put the block together. To be sure my points line up perfectly, I pin straight through both sections that I'm about to sew. I make sure the pin goes right through the point on both the front and the back.
Once I've lined up the points, I pin sideways and sew.
I always remove the paper from each seam as soon as I sew it. It's really hard to get the paper out of the seams once they start crossing each other.
Since there's so many sections coming together in this block, I pressed my seams open between the sections. This makes sure I don't end up with too much bulk in my finished block.
The only paper I remove as I go is the paper in the seams. I wait to remove the rest of the paper until the block is finished.
Here's a peak at the back of my finished leaf. You can see just a few tiny shreds of paper that are caught in the thread. I don't worry about these. They're tiny enough to dissolve the first time the quilt is washed, so I 'd rather leave them than tug on my stitches to remove every last bit of paper.
Once the paper was removed, I pressed my block with starch to keep it from stretching, then trimmed it up. I just love this block so much!
The Leaf Pile
All 7 quilt along hosts have made their own Autumn leaves. Be sure to check them out for tips and inspiration! I've listed everyone by which pattern they chose to make.
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
As always, we have some fabulous prizes this week. Anyone over 18 is eligible to win, including international participants. To be entered in the drawing, simply share your completed Autumn Leaf block by 11:59 pm Eastern time on September 3, 2018. You can share on Instagram with the hashtag #fallintoaqal, in the Partners in Design Facebook group, or in the linky party on Jennifer's post.
The prize for this block is a six month subscription to Make Modern Magazine. Make Modern is a digital magazine for the online quilting community, brought to you from a group of passionate modern quilters in Australia. Every issue includes 10-14 modern quilt patterns plus 10-14 feature articles by amazing quilters from all over the globe.
At the end of the quilt along, we will have a grand prize drawing for anyone that has made a complete quilt top with all 12 blocks. There's no need to have it quilted for the drawing. To be eligible to win, finished quilt tops must be posted by 11:59 pm Eastern time on November 12, 2018.