Finished Handmade Handmade for Pip Knitting Quilting Work in Progress

The foundations of a heart


Do you ever wake up in the morning just itching to try something out? No, just me then.  I’ve been getting increasingly curious about foundation paper piecing for making quilt blocks, possibly because Pinterest keeps suggesting I might like it (you are wise all seeing Pinterest Cookie Monster, and just a little scary with your accuracy), and possibly because it’s cool.  the idea that you sew from the back, without having to cut precisely and still end up with very beautiful pointy points was both baffling and intriguing.  Which meant there was really only one thing to do; have a go.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

And so this week, I made a mini quilt.  Just because.

After many many happy moments pottering around Pinterest I found the free patterns for foundation piecing on Piecemeal Quilts including a gorgeous set of heart blocks, and my heart was sold.  They’re all lovely blocks and one day it would be so much fun to make a row quilt that has a row of hearts all with the same fabric but in different patterns.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, back to foundation piecing.

The other really great resource I found was You Tube.  I watched a few tutorials but the method and video I liked the best was this one from Connecting Threads:

I don’t have any velum as far as I know so I printed out the pattern and traced it onto greaseproof paper and that worked fine.  I don’t have an add a quarter ruler either so I just eyeballed it when trimming the seams down, though I can see why it would be so handy – I must remember to tell Father Christmas about them.

I did a little stash diving for some scraps and then I was off, and it turns out, foundation piecing is really really easy.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

It is a little big bizarre sewing from the back and there were a couple of times when I got my right and left muddled up and sewed the wrong piece first but greaseproof paper will hold up to some very gentle seam ripping and all was well in the end.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

And then with nice sharp pointy points in all directions, I gently pulled off the backing paper, and squared the block up to 6 inches.  It was at that point that I realised that if I wanted to add a border I probably should have done it when the paper was still attached to ensure that I didn’t loose any of the points, but you live and learn.  Next time I’ll remember.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls


Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

To turn it into a mini quilt I sandwiched a bit of left over wadding with a square pinched from the corner of a fat quarter and filled the heart in with some free motion quilted hearts for the practice.  Clearly I need a bit more practice but that’s just a good excuse to make more quilts.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

The binding is leftover from my very first quilt, I misread the instructions on how much to make and had metres and metres more than I needed so it’s nice to put it to good use after 7 years of sitting in the scraps pile.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

And I love the result.  I managed not to chop the points off the heart when putting the binding off which is nothing short of miraculous and for a few scraps and an afternoon’s work it’s not bad.  As might be suggested by the fact that every time I tried to put it down to take a photo, it kept mysteriously disappearing!

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

This week I’ve also been knitting in all sorts of odd moments and car journeys. Pip’s jumper is going to be Livingstone in a beautiful blue grey baby cashmerino appropriately called Mist and as I’ve already got nearly to the underarms and then had to pull it all back out because I’d got the pattern spacing slightly wrong, it’s probably a good job I’ve started now.  In truth the mistake I made was consistent and not very obvious so I could quite easily have left it, but the more I thought about it the more it niggled and I knew I’d always look at it and think, those seagulls should be further apart.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

I can’t help it, when it comes to knitting I have perfectionist tendencies.

The flock of seagulls is growing again though and we still have more than a month so I’m quite confident that I’ll be finished in time, and hopefully I’ll have a bit of time to get started on something for Kitty before September looms.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

Fingers crossed, and needles.

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  • Ruth 24/07/2015 at 9:39 am

    My first attempt as PP was a bit frustrating as I tried to get away with smaller cuts of fabic – so much easier to use a big piece and trim down especially when funny angles are involved. You did a great job with this and I really like the heart quilting added on top!

    • Carie 24/07/2015 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you – I think I may have done something a bit similar in a quilting class but with a fabric base that we kept and I remembered being told to use big bits!

  • ailsa 24/07/2015 at 11:13 am

    The heart is lovely!

    I’m like you, if I make a mistake when knitting back it comes to put it right!

    • Carie 24/07/2015 at 9:04 pm

      I think it’s a personality type thing, either you can live with it or you can’t – welcome to the frog it back club, I’m sure we’re not the only ones!

  • Linda 24/07/2015 at 4:43 pm

    Your knitting is lovely, don’t over think it!

    • Carie 24/07/2015 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Daisy 24/07/2015 at 4:46 pm

    I love that your binding sat in your scraps for so many years! It’s a lovely mini, and even though you sounded a little unsure of yourself as you sewed, you did an awesome job!

    • Carie 24/07/2015 at 9:05 pm

      It was lovely – there are bits of so many of my quilts in that one little heart!

  • Gina 24/07/2015 at 5:46 pm

    Well done. I love paper piecing. Be aware it can become addictive. If you have’t got an add a quarter ruler, just use your normal quilting ruler. There’s no real need to buy anything specially for this

    • Carie 24/07/2015 at 9:06 pm

      I did think about that but both my quilting rulers are huge and it was just too cumbersome – I may perhaps have acquired a little add a quarter ruler when we drove past a quilt shop today!!

  • Lee Cockrum 24/07/2015 at 6:02 pm

    love the quilt, and the quilted hearts are great!! I might have to try the paper piecing, I like that it builds in the precision for the corners!

    • Carie 24/07/2015 at 9:06 pm

      I love that I’ve got all my points and also I find sewing really tiny bits I end up pulling them out of shape, with this my little rectangles are still rectangular!

  • Bex @ The Mummy Adventure 24/07/2015 at 8:10 pm

    I love the quilt, what a beautiful design. I wish I found more time (ok, any time) to use my sewing machine

    • Carie 24/07/2015 at 9:09 pm

      There are weeks and weeks where it just gathers dust but it’s nice to get it out for a little play once in a while – I’m just more content if I do something a little creative in the day!

  • sally 24/07/2015 at 10:32 pm

    I think this definitely requires more investigation now, I thought initially you were doing paper piecing, but foundation piecing is not something I’ve ever tried, looks very impressive, and I love the ‘seagulls’ too.

    • Carie 25/07/2015 at 11:09 pm

      Oh it’s magic! I’ve done paper piecing before, Elma’s stocking is entirely paper pieced and I love it but this is like merging the two – it’s a lot quicker than paper piecing too!

  • Kelly Cline Quilting 25/07/2015 at 2:21 am

    Love paper piecing when I have the time. LOVE your baby hand 😉

    • Carie 25/07/2015 at 11:09 pm

      The rest of him is rather cute too!

  • Caryl 26/07/2015 at 12:48 am

    I really like the mini heart quilt and thanks for the info.

    • Carie 26/07/2015 at 11:12 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Muv aka Lizzie Lenard 26/07/2015 at 10:25 pm

    Hello Carie,

    Your heart mini is beautiful, especially with the pudgy little hand on it for scale. I love the way you did a hearts FMQ design to match.

    Yes, I would have done the same thing with the knitting. Not that I have done any knitting for years, but I know that it brings out the perfectionist in you.

    Greaseproof paper rules! The cheaper the better, but the brown stuff isn’t much good for tracing. Americans won’t know what we are on about. They wonder why we draw a blank when they start talking about vellum and parchment. That’s for calligraphy.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

    • Carie 26/07/2015 at 11:01 pm

      I had no idea Americans didn’t have greaseproof paper – it’s wonderful stuff for sewing – and occasionally we use it in the kitchen!

  • Colleen 27/07/2015 at 3:06 am

    Hi Carie, very good first project in FPP it really is addicting ! I don’t bother tracing out the pattern – I print it straight on to the cheapest printer paper I can find. cheap=thin
    You’ll be happy you bought that ruler, I press the edge up against the paper fold line and it holds it securely as I rotary cut.

    • Carie 27/07/2015 at 11:40 pm

      Oh that’s a good idea – now I’ve got the ruler I want to make more!!

  • suzy mae 28/07/2015 at 2:13 pm

    I admire anyone who can quilt. It looks like a lot of fun and I would love to try it one day. The flock of seagulls is simply beautiful and such a perfect colour!

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 10:08 pm

      Oh you should definitely try it – it’s no more complicated than slicing fabric up and putting it back together again!